Simple But Not Simplistic: Yitro and the Revelation of Kindness

The truth rarely is ever nice and neat, but it can be sudden. It is often messy, but can be straightforward. This is best captured in the synthesis of senses in this week’s Torah portion, Yitro. At Sinai they saw the sound of thunder (Exodus 20:15). At Sinai the sublime beauty of God was revealed with a blending of sensory experiences. Synesthesia communicates something complex in a way that is simple but not simplistic.

If I was a slave, what would it mean to be freed? What would it mean to find myself meeting the Creator? It must have just been overwhelming. This blending is understandable. But is that it?

I could only imagine the Israelites profound sense of gratitude. This and the synesthesia at revelation is echoed by Mark Twain who said, “Kindness is a language that the blind can see and the deaf can hear.” Kindness in its essence is simple, but rarely simplistic. By our nature were are driven toward looking out for ourselves. In many ways were are enslaved by self-interest. Altruism, the practice of concern for happiness of others, is clear as day and so hard to actualize.

Amidst all of the darkness, hatred, bigotry, and anti-Semitism in the world right now we could use a little flash of revelation even if it not so clear.

– Links to other posts on synesthesia

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