There is a lot of complex information packed into the 1,673 words in this week’s parasha – more words than in any other parasha in the entire book of Vayikra.

Even more significantly, the text is divided up into as many as 18 paragraphs, more than one would expect.

Rashi, quoting the Midrash, explains that the text is broken into so many small sections to indicate that Moses needed to reflect on what G-d had said in one section before moving on to the next section. The Midrash adds: “And if this was necessary for Moses, how much more so is it necessary for us lesser mortals!”

This is a profoundly relevant thought. Today, we are assailed with so much information through news feeds and social media that our mental and emotional health is being affected. “Media saturation overload” has become a recognized form of stress disorder.

The Torah is teaching us that whoever you are, you need time to reflect on what you are hearing and learning. Without a pause for contemplation, we simply won’t fully process what is being said. Great orators regularly use pauses to communicate more effectively. Just as white space helps frame the words on the page so too, pauses in a spoken medium help the listener absorb and internalize the information. The silence is as important as the sound.

One of London’s leading educators, Rabbi Yehoshua Hartman, described an incident that occurred to him some years ago, at a shiur of his teacher, the late Rabbi Moshe Shapira (d. 2016). Rabbi Hartman arrived with a new device to record the lecture which he placed on the table in front of Rabbi Shapira. “What is that?” Rabbi Shapira asked. “It’s a voice-activated tape recorder,” Rabbi Hartman replied. “It will only record when you are speaking. In that way, we will save space and be able to record more of the rabbi’s words.” Rabbi Shapira looked at him and said: “If you don’t record my pauses, you won’t understand what I have said.”

Top tip of the week: Pausing pays! Listen, pause, listen some more.