Holy Listening in the Hannah Narrative

Shanah Tovah Tikateyvu. Many people asked to have Rabbi Hannah’s Rosh Hashanah D’var Torah online to study in more depth.

G’mar Chatimah Tovah.

Holy Listening in the Hannah Narrative
Rabbi Hannah Dresner. Rosh Hashanah 5777, October 3, 2016

29952177645_811a1e0421_hThere’s nothing better than feeling heard.

And there’s nothing more gratifying than being in relationship with someone whom we truly hear, feeling known in return.

We say that the biblical Hannah, whom we just read about in our haftarah, is of theologic historical importance because she invented personal prayer. The fact that she spoke to God in lament and supplication means that she conceived of a Divine Presence who listens, and that is her great innovation.

In an environment where worship was not based in language, but rather in the presentation of sacrificial gifts, and where Israelite worship was a communal act offered by the priest as intermediary on behalf of the collective, Hannah imagined that her individual plea could reach God, and that God would be affected.

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