They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell; they have hands, but cannot touch, feet, but cannot walk; they cannot make a sound in their throats. (115:5-7)

The Psalmist wrote these words to describe idols, but they can also describe people who aren’t paying attention to living their lives. They describe people who misuse their ability to speak, who don’t pay attention to what is in front of them, and who don’t listen to what people around them are trying to tell them. They describe people who don’t take the time to fully smell and taste the food prepared for them, who never take the time to hug their loved ones, and who decline to go and visit and talk with the people around them who need company.

The gift of speech is a blessing, but the ability to speak well is a talent. One who misuses that talent for the purpose of lashon hara (gossip) or to denigrate others has a mouth but does not use it well. One who behaves selfishly and does not see the needs of the people around him has eyes and chooses not to see. One who does not care about the thoughts and feelings of those around her has ears which do not hear the things which are important.

We use our senses and our limbs to connect with people around us. When we fail to use our body for the most basic mitzvah of “Love your fellow as yourself” we become engaged in idolatry of the self. On the other hand, those who use their bodies and their senses to serve others are blessing God and being blessed by God.

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