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  • Leann Shamash

Hardened Hearts

#hardenhearts #Whenyourheartishardened #closedmind #closedheart

In Parshat Va'era the Egyptians are introduced to the might and the power of God through the ten plagues which are introduced consecutively, each producing much misery. At each intersection of dialogue and plague the text emphasizes that Pharaoh's heart was hardened by God. Pharaoh waffled between allowing the Hebrews to leave and keeping them resulting in more plagues.

Would Pharaoh have relented earlier to let the people go if his heart was not hardened by God? It is difficult to know, but it seems that God has a plan in mind and Pharaoh becomes as much of a player in God's unfolding drama as Joseph and the forefathers and foremothers.

Hardened hearts and stubborn defiance plays a large role in the current landscape as it has over the generations. People's hearts are increasingly hardened toward the words of others and it seems like narratives fly through the air but do not intersect with an over abundance of hardened hearts.

Hardened hearts are sometimes necessary to protect ideas and people, but perhaps some heart softening is in order and has been order many times during history to keep a gentler society.


Hardened Hearts


When your heart is hardened


you stand alone


eyes squeezed shut.

ears locked

fingers clenched,

feet dug in.


Hypervigilant


When your heart is hardened,

your power to decide,

debate

calcifies and crumbles.


When your heart is hardened,

the world is black and white.

Words like

ours

and us

dominate.


More rejections than reflections

dot the dialogue.

Compromise becomes a useless antique,

pushed to the back of the cabinet.


It's Us versus Them


Right versus Wrong


It doesn’t much matter which side you are on.

Right or left.

Pro or con.

It’s all the same.


When your heart is hardened

the I is more important than the thou.

Dialogue is lost in a sea of rejections.

Stubbornness,

the darkened goal post,

that blinds players from

scoring the goal.


And the king of all hard heartedness

The oldest syndrome in the world.

We're all infected at some point.



The

I

Cannot

Be

Wrong

Syndrome.


You hear one voice that repeats

like a broken 45,

only us,

only us,

only us,

only us

like hail falling

sizzling

from the sky.


The words

scorch the earth

while the words

progress,

share,

love,

neighbor,

dialogue,

community

slip away,

their ink

fading,

fading

until

it

is

barely

seen.


In every generation

we seek the cure

for the hardened heart.


Society needs a cure.


Desperately.


Some people seek it

and sometimes,

perhaps it is luck,

or

perhaps

it is something else.


A hint of light?


A soft murmur?

The broken 45 repeats.

listen,

listen,

listen,

listen,

listen.


You hear it.

You understand it,

with all the strength that listening brings.


Perhaps you are the one who has found the cure.




But when the Egyptian magician-priests did the same with their spells, Pharaoh’s heart stiffened and he did not heed them—as יהוה had spoken.

Exodus 7:22 (Translation from Sefaria)


But יהוה stiffened the heart of Pharaoh, and he would not heed them, just as יהוה had told Moses.


Exodus 9:12 (Translation from Sefaria)



Speak Now by Leslie Odom Junior











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