Is Interrupting a Form of Death?

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    • Partners in Prayer 7 months ago

      Can interrupting another, not waiting for another to complete their words, be a form of death? The urge and act of interrupting someone before one completes one’s words, seems to be a very formidable yetzer Hara.

      The Pirkei Avos states:

      “A wise man does not speak before one who is greater than he in wisdom, And does not break into his fellow’s speech; And is not hasty to answer.”[1]

      Who was the first interrupter?

      I believe the first “interrupter” was the snake in its pushing its way to speak with Chava, before she was able to complete her process of discovery.   It was anti-kavod to her and her status as a human being built by Hashem Himself, and caused a ripple effect of “interruptions”; eating from the tree prematurely, without a bracha. The interruption can cause a disconnect to the attachment and awareness that one is required to have, of standing before Hashem as a continuous expression.

      It is this interrupting, acting prematurely that gets the brothers into trouble with Yosef, coming to incorrect conclusions before Yosef even gets close to them, and conspired to kill him. Chazal teaches us that the brothers assumed Yosef was coming to kill them, and they did not wait for him to finish speaking,  so to speak, to recognize who he was.[2]

      I think it is the same interrupting, and being impetuous in his dealing with his father, that led to the episode with his exchanging the bed for his mother.  He was inserting his voice, uninvited, and not yet his place or time.[3]   Reuven addresses this later, as they wait for Moshe to complete his words before responding to Moshe before going to Eretz Yisrael. [4]

      There are many Halachos of Tefillah and interruption and I chose the one below as I think it helps shed light and protection from this yetzer harah, to learn how to protect oneself  from the middah of interrupting Kavyachol ,chas Vishalom,  in prayer and in our  interactions with others.

      The Gmarra in Brachos cites  the following about interruption during prayer [Amidah].“One may only stand and begin to pray from an approach of כֹּבֶד רֹאשׁ, gravity. There is a tradition that the early generations of pious men would wait one hour, in order to reach the solemn frame of mind appropriate for prayer, and then pray, so that they would focus their hearts toward their Father in Heaven. Standing in prayer is standing before God and, as such, even if the king greets him, he should not respond to him; and even if a snake is wrapped on his heel, he should not interrupt his prayer.”

      I don’t think it is by accident that this G’marra describes the snake, the heel , the same concepts in the Gan Eden story. I think it describes this yetzer Hara, the snake that wrapped itself around the heel of Chava,  that interrupted Adam and Chava’s discovery of self (as I understand) I think the snake being wrapped around the heel, is indicating where the Nachash attacked Chava and is telling. ( which is a larger topic).[5]

      May we be zoche to master the yetzer hara of interrupting and rise to the status of accessing Hashem’s Chochma,  and serve as a fixing for the interruptions that blocks or clarity and recognition of before Whom we are standing, and for the interruptions between ourselves and another that prevents us from seeing the greatness in each other Chas vishalom.



















      [1] Pirkei Avos, 5:7

      [2] Bereishis, 37:18, Malbim, based on an idea learned in a class taught by Harav Simcha L Weinberg, n’’y

      [3] Bereishis, 49:3

      [4] Gra on Pirkei Avot



      [5] See Ramchal Derech Etz Hachaim

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