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Unmasking The Soul

Thursday, 22 August, 2013 - 12:04 pm


This article touched me, I felt it would be worthwhile to share.

Have a good shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman


We tend to think of the English word "face" as describing the outer layer of a person.  However, in Hebrew, the word for face—panim—comes from the same root as pnim meaning "interior."

In the Hebrew language—the holy language of creation—things are named for their essence.  And here Hebrew teaches us that the essence of a face is the opposite of what we think of ordinarily.

For many of us, our face has become a mask for our feelings rather than an expression of our higher self, our inner holiness. We have learned how to put on a smile while feeling terrible inside, or how to shed tears as a manipulation or pretense when we are not truly sad. In this instance, Hebrew is telling us what the face is supposed to convey, not what we do with it.

A mark of a holy person is that the inside is the same as the outside. And we recognize this.  It is common, when we meet such a person to say that he or she has an aura—a special glow. Ecclesiastes (8:1) states: "The wisdom of the person shines in the face." We see this as a light of a holy person's face, because the face reflects that person's soul.

We're told that the great 15th century Kabbalist, the Ari, could read people's faces. And many people, when they would pass him on the street, would cover their faces because they felt that he saw past the mask and they were ashamed.

Ask yourself: If the Ari was walking the earth today, would you want him to see your face?  Would you be ashamed too? To what extent is your face a mask for feelings you want to hide? To what extent does it reveal your inner core of holiness? 

  • Exercise for the day:  

    - As you interact with people today be conscious of what your face projects and to what extent it is an expression of your inner self.

    - At least once during the day try to feel a connection to the holiness inside and let it shine on your face.

    - Make a special attempt to smile to people today. Remember that everything is projection and reflection—your smile elicits a smile, etc. "As water reflects a face, one heart reflects another." (Proverbs 27:19)

Excerpt from 60 Days: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays, by Simon Jacobson. ©Copyright The Meaningful Life Center, 2013. All rights reserved.www.meaningfullife.com

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