For the week ending 12 July 2008 / 9 Tammuz 5768

Just Listening

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Become a Supporter Library Library

Question: I am frequently approached by a person with a problem seeking my advice. While I am happy to offer counsel in an area in which I have some training or experience, the problem presented is sometimes of a nature beyond my ability to be anything more than a listener and I am tempted to excuse myself from serving in this capacity. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: First of all, don't reject the possibility of helping even in areas outside your expertise. Very often the person consulting you is faced with a choice between two or more courses of action and is unable to make a decision as to which he should follow. As an objective listener you may well be in a position to evaluate the choices and offer an opinion as to which is the most likely to succeed.

But even if you cannot offer any form of counsel, it is a great service on your part to just listen. "When one suffers from anxiety," say our Sages, "he should pour out his heart to someone else." The relief you provide for a worried party by simply listening to him is of great value and well justifies the time and patience you dedicate to being a sympathetic audience.

© 1995-2024 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved.

Articles may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue or school newsletters. Hardcopy or electronic. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission in advance at [email protected] and credit for the source as Ohr Somayach Institutions

« Back to Ethics

Ohr Somayach International is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation (letter on file) EIN 13-3503155 and your donation is tax deductable.