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Na'aseh Ve'nishma

In synagogue was read one of the most famous phrases in the Torah, ‘na’aseh venishma’, literally, “we will do and we will hear” (Ex. 24:7). What does this mean and why does it matter? In the Babylonian Talmud, it is taken to describe the enthusiasm and whole-heartedness with which the Israelites accepted the covenant with God at Mount Sinai. When they said to Moses, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do and we will hear”, they were saying, in effect: Whatever God asks of us, we will do – saying this before they had heard any of the commandments. Like in the steps, where we ask for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out. Each phrase is asking for willingness and for faith. Faith is not just doing something you believe, but also trust that understanding will follow. Will we go after sobriety with the same commitment? My sponsor used to that all you have to change is everything. Can we do whatever it takes? No one knows what it is to be sober without getting sober. We can only know by doing. Its not like buying a car when it is possible to get the facts before you make a decision. Action comes before understanding. So: na’aseh venishma, “We will do and eventually, through extended practice and long exposure, we will understand.”

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