I have often pondered the practical aspect of this phrase. What does it really mean to jump in and act, and then to hearken to God’s words. Sometimes, we need to experiment as to what “feels” right by acting, and then we determine how we bring God’s commands, God’s intentions into our actions.
This past week, the culmination of 25 years of action occurred, as we witnessed the Israeli government committing to an egalitarian section of the Kotel. Women of the Wall have been acting on behalf of all Jews for may years, and now they must listen and hearken to the words of the Israeli leaders, and they strive to create something that once seemed unimaginable.
The solution may not be perfect, but sometimes action moves us to the next action, and the listening needs to happen in between the acts. As we observe the actions of those fighting so all Jews can pray in their own way at the Kotel, we must be reminded that actions are always in partnership with the mitzvah of listening: listening to the voices around, listening to the response of our actions.
The Israelites had no idea as to what it meant to act and then to listen, but we can learn from their experiences, and understand how important it is to act, and to act with conviction, but also to listen to God’s words and the words being shared by all.