Do you stop to listen to the music?

Miami's Community Newspapers

This is a true story. One cold morning at a metro station in Washington, D.C., a man sat playing his violin. As thousands of people passed through the station on their way to work, the man played six Bach pieces.

Only six onlookers paused throughout the 45-minute performance. A three-year old boy was intrigued with the man as he played. His young eyes were transfixed on the violinist even as his mother tugged him along.

A total of $32 was collected from 20 people who tossed money into the man’s jar but did not care enough to stop and admire the presentation. The musician received no recognition. No one noticed when he finished playing. No one applauded. No one took note of the fact that the musician played one of the most intricate pieces of music ever written on a violin worth $3.5 million. Nor did anyone have a clue that the man was Joshua Bell – one of the finest musicians in the world – who only two days earlier had performed before a packed theater in Boston at an average price of $100 per seat.

This story raises several questions: In an unexpected place and time, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context? If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made, what else are we missing?

It is not uncommon in our daily life to walk right past a miracle and look the other way. We may stare straight at a magnificent wonder and call it coincidence. On better occasions, we walk away from a spiritually elevating event feeling higher and better than when we entered, only to let the inspiration slip through our fingers and plunge back into our mundane reality.

Many extraordinary moments and events are often dismissed as happenstance. One example: Israel’s very existence today. This year marked the 64th anniversary of when Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, was recognized in the eyes of the world as belonging to the Jewish people. This is no ordinary occurrence. Rather, Israel and its continued existence should be viewed as the wonder and marvel it truly is.

You do not need to look very deep into the essence of things to realize that God helps make it all possible. David ben Gurion, the main founder and first Prime Minister of Israel said, “A Jew who doesn’t believe in miracles is not a realist.” Just look at the nature of this country and you will see a miracle at its core.

I encourage you to take a moment to listen to the miraculous music that surrounds you; the music that is the existence and flourishing of the Jewish people, played on the priceless violin of Israel, by the hand of God – the greatest musician ever to exist.

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