Although I am not an expert, but I could immediately give a good reason. The ear is the receiver of sounds, and when the sound hits your ear it vibrates; at the bottom the soft spot doesn't vibrate. The part that has cartilage and skin and bone vibrates, but the bottom is nothing but meat and it doesn't vibrate; it absorbs the sound. That makes the sound that comes into the ear clear – it stops the vibrations. Common sense.
But the gemara says something else. Why is the alya soft? Sh'im yishma dovor sh'eino hagun, if you hear something that is not worth hearing… sometimes you hear something by accident. I was once sitting on a bench, and behind me was sitting a young man with an older man, the older man was relating his experiences. It was terrible! I got up and walked away. It was terrible, he was metamei my mind.
Suppose you cannot walk away for some reason? You are on an airplane, and behind you somebody is saying words that you should not hear. You can't walk off the airplane! You take the fat part of your ear and push it into your ear like this, and you plug up your ear. Oh, that's convenient! That's what the gemara says, that's the purpose of it, you close up your ear.
That's the purpose of it? We know what the purpose is. It's necessary to help you hear properly, otherwise your ear would vibrate. Never mind, the chachomim say. What you say is true, but there is a higher purpose, a much more important purpose. That purpose is, don't spoil your neshomo by hearing a thing that you shouldn't listen to. Very important. I was once waiting in a shoe repair store, all day long his radio was going. It was terrible. All day long the radio was going with all kinds of stupidity, wickedness! His mind is full of garbage. It's so important to protect yourself.
You know, when they come and bring money with the Brinks truck, a man jumps out with a gun, and the other man carries out the bags of money, and they're looking around at all sides. It's only money… what's money? No, you have to be careful, you have to watch. You have to watch your ears even more! You have to have a guard with a gun in front of your ears, so you shouldn't hear the wrong things. What goes into your head is worse than being robbed of money, it's forever! The Kuzari says that what goes into your ears, it goes with you to the Next World, you take along the shtus with you. If you heard love songs when you were a young boy, that shtus goes into your neshama and you take it with you to the Next World! So you have to have a guard with a gun in front of your ears. And so, Hakadosh Baruch Hu gave us His guard here.
So we will repeat a principle now. Although the lobe of the ear is important in the mechanism of receiving sound without vibration, and that's very important, but what's still more important is, the ruchnius of its function! The spiritual advantage. To rescue your mind from being ruined by what comes in.
Good Shabbos To All
This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210