The Brain

By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

 


Introduction. 1

A Question.. 2

Abraham in India.. 3

Abraham in Persia.. 3

The Gifts. 4

In The Sefirot. 5

Chachmah.. 6

Binah.. 6

Daat. 7

In Geography. 7

The Occident And The Orient. 8

In Medicine. 9

In Music. 9

Cultural Differences. 10

Living Arrangements. 10

In Education. 11

Communal Orientation. 11

Pragmatism.. 12

Application of Law.. 12

Democracy vs. Dictatorships. 12

Pangaea.. 12

Anti-Semitism... 13

In the Tanach and Nazarean Codicil. 13

North and South.. 14

The Brain. 15

Right Brain.. 16

Left Brain.. 16

Mid-brain.. 17

Left and Right Handed.. 17

In the Torah. 18

In the Ark. 18

In the Lectionary. 20

In The Alphabets. 22

Conclusion. 23

Appendix A. 23

High Individualism Countries. 23

Low Individualism Countries. 23

Other Country Individualism Scores. 24

Bibliography. 25

 

Introduction

 

In this paper I would like to study the human brain and explore what Jewish wisdom has to say about the connections between the human brain, the people of the Occident and the Orient, and the geography of the world.

 

This will be a mystical study because of the nature of the material that delves into how the physical human brain, the Sefirot (סְפִירוֹת),[1] the luchot (tablets of the testimony given to Moses), the Torah lectionary, geography, and the nature of the Occidental and the Oriental minds, are related to Torah and to each other.

 

Man is a metaphor for creation and HaShem. Indeed, one of several meanings of the Hebrew word adam (“man”) is “I resemble”. For man is a microcosm of creation, in the words of the Talmud, “As the soul fills the body, so HaShem fills the universe”.[2] Thus Iyov (Job) declares, “From my flesh, I perceive HaShem”,[3] by contemplating the workings of our body and the manner in which it relates to, and is animated by our soul, we gain insight into the workings of creation and the manner in which it relates to and is sustained by its source. Man is a microcosm, and so provides analogies for all other worlds which can explain the secrets of reality and the great riddles hidden from our senses”.[4]

 

It is instructive to note that, in English, the major parts of the brain are called hemispheres and the major geographical parts of the world are called hemispheres. We will be looking at the Eastern (Orient) and Western (Occident) hemispheres as they relate to the brain’s right and left sides. We will also look at the Torah as it relates to the brain, the Eastern hemisphere, the Western hemisphere, and Israel.

 

The Occident refers to the Western world (Europe and America) and the Orient refers to the Eastern world (Asia). The land of Israel lies directly between the Occident and the Orient. Indeed, the Occident is west because it is west of Israel and the Orient is in the East because it is East of Israel.

 

It is interesting to know the origins of these words in English. Orient points (Orientation) to the direction of the rising of the sun and Occident points to the direction of the setting of the sun. The root meaning of Occident is to fall,[5] i.e., where the sun falls. That the word Occident means, to fall, from a cosmological perspective is revealing, because it is in the left hemisphere, the side of the sefirot of Gevurah, where the greatest aspect of the fall of Adam[6] occurred.

 

A careful reading of the Torah will show that when one goes to the East, they are going away from HaShem. Conversely, when one goes towards the west, then they are going towards HaShem. We will see this manifested in the religions of the Orient and the religions of the Occident.

 

The Orient is divorced from the Occident in terms of it’s destiny. The Occident was designed to battle the Jews. The Orient is a world of spiritual potential that is much higher than the Occidental world. The consciousness in the Orient is that of spirituality. It was built by Avraham when he sent Ketura and her children to the east with fragments of spirituality that they were to develop. The Orientals are not limited, tangible, and impirical like the Occident. The Occident is very limited in spirituality. The Orient is a wisdom based much more on kabbalistic sources.

 

Our Hakhamim teach that, in general, all right sides are associated with the expansive, masculine, and unifying aspects of the attribute of Chesed and all left sides are associated with the contracting, feminine, and polarizing aspects of the attribute of Gevurah. Although these two forces are equivalent in quality and necessity, they are not equivalent in manifestation or in their vulnerability to become imbalanced. As is known, Gevurah is potentially more powerful than Chesed but paradoxically it is more volatile. Putting it simply, if something goes wrong in the scheme of things the first to get hit, and the hardest to fall, is the attribute of Gevurah, the “left side”, the Occidental side, of creation.

 

When Adam ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he generated a chain reaction that primarily caused the “left” side of his world to collapse. He now has to repair the damage of his sin. This meant that he was required to descend “downward” and to the “left” of creation in order to do the tikkun, the correction. This is the meaning of the verse, “For on the day that you eat of it you will surely die [be forced to descend]”. Adam’s mission now was to descend into the lower realms of the “left side” of creation to repair the damage. Where that “left side” of creation is located in the Occident, the “left side”, vis-à-vis Israel.

 

In general, Eastern religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism, Shintoism, Confucianism, etc. are based on a unified view of reality. In general Christianity (and all of its variations) and Islam are based on a dualistic[7] view of reality. The Torah, Jews, and the Land of Israel are right in the middle functioning as the global and spiritual mid-brain. Lying between the Orient and the Occident lies the mystery of Jewish existence and it is no accident.

 

A Question

 

I have a few questions: Why has virtually the entire history of the Jewish people been in the Western world?

 

Jews have been exiled, dispersed, migrated and settled within literally every country in the world, that is, in the Western world, why?

 

Jewish presence in the Eastern hemisphere of the world, aside from a few anomalies and speculations, has been non-existent, why?

 

Why has anti-Semitism been virtually a Western world phenomenon? 

 

I would like to explore some answers to these questions, as we study.

 

This study will rely on a very special pasuk[8] in the Torah:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 25:5-6 And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. 6 But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, Eastward, unto the East country.

 

Abraham fathered children through his concubine Keturah and send them Eastward with gifts. There are remnants of this existing in the world today.

 

Abraham in India

 

The Torah states that Ishmael, son of Hagar, and his descendants lived in India. “…Ishmael breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his kin… They dwelt from Havilah (India), by Shur, which is close to Egypt, all the way to Asshur”.[9]

 

Rabbi Menashe Ben Israel wrote:[10] “…he (Abraham) sent the sons of his concubines away from Isaac while he was yet alive towards the East to the holy land, India. Behold, you may see there the Abrahamites, who are today called Brahmans; they are the sons of Abraham our Patriarch and they were the first in India to spread this faith…”

 

Ancient Jewish wisdom informs us that Abraham’s concubine’s children went to India with all Abraham had taught them, and established Hinduism, To this very day their descendants, the priestly caste in Hinduism, are still called Brahmins, or descendants of “Abraham”.[11]

 

The Brahmin[12] elite descend from the sons of Abraham’s concubines, whom Abraham sent to the East. He gave them gifts: a spiritual path, and powers which are right for them,[13] and which prepare them to grow, develop and be ready to absorb and receive the light of holiness. This light will soon become the world’s lot when we, the children of Isaac and Jacob, will merit to enlighten every corner. This will be achieved with the coming of Mashiach.

 

Hodu (the Hebrew word for India) means “Give thanks”, which is, indeed, a very Jewish concept. The entire difference between an Indian (Hodi) and a Jew (Yehudi) is just the letter, yud at the beginning. An Indian is close to a Jew. Sometimes a Jew has the yud [the essential point of connection] but is missing the hodi (acknowledgement), and he or she needs to go to India to find it.[14]

 

Abraham in Persia

 

“The Persians also claim Ibrahim, i.e. Abraham, for their founder, as well as the Jews. Thus we see that according to all ancient history the Persians, the Jews, and the Arabians are descendants of Abraham.[15] We are told that Terah, the father of Abraham, originally came from an Eastern country called Ur, of the Chaldees, to dwell in a district called Mesopotamia. Sometime after he had dwelt there, Abraham, or Abram, or Brahma, and his wife Sara or Sarai, or Saraswati,[16] left their father’s family and came into Canaan. The identity of Abraham and Sara with Brahma and Saraswati was first pointed out by the Jesuit missionaries”.[17]

 

The Gifts

 

There is a tradition that teaches that the gifts Abraham gave (Genesis 25:5-6), were actually mystical techniques. What this means is that there was a meditative element which was given over to the East which preceded even the historical formation of the family of Israel. It is most significant that the Western world is, for the most part, the arena in which the Jewish people were scattered during the exile. The thought processes prevalent in the Western world are essentially left-brain, linear, individualistic, and thus point to the fact that the Jewish people in exile were rectifying the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil, which was damaged most on the left side.

 

The Zohar gives us some insight into this idea:

 

Soncino Zohar, Bereshit, Section 1, Page 99b R. Abba continued: ‘I once found myself in a town inhabited by descendants of the “children of the East”, and they imparted to me some of the Wisdom of antiquity with which they were acquainted. They also possessed some books of their Wisdom, and they showed me one in which it was written that, according to the goal which a man sets himself in this world, so does he draw to himself a spirit from on high. If he strives to attain some holy and lofty object, he draws that object from on high to himself below. But if his desire is to cleave to the other side, and he makes this his whole intent, then he draws to himself from above the other influence. They said, further, that all depends on the kind of speech, action, and intention to which a man habituates himself, for he draws to himself here below from on high that side to which he habitually cleaves.

 

Our Patriarch, Abraham , was called out of a land[18] filled with the worship of other gods. Obeying a directive from HaShem, he journeyed with his family to a land he did not know. He was promised that he would be a father of many nations.[19] This promise was not just a physical one, but a spiritual one, as well. It is well known that Christianity and Islam have their beginnings in Judaism, and are thus “Abrahamic faiths.” The religions of the East, too, can be traced to Abraham. The oldest religion of the East is Hinduism, from which the others, such as Buddhism, sprang. Abraham sent the sons of Keturah, his second wife, East with gifts.[20]

 

The Midrash[21] further tells us that Shem and his great-grandson, Eber, established a yeshiva, a school, in which they taught the only Torah of the time, the Seven Noachide Laws. Understanding this, we can see the thread woven through religions of the West and East. This code, and all associated with it, is the “knowledge of the ancient ones.” 

 

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s English commentary on Sefer Yetzirah notes that Abraham lived in the 18th century BCE, the same time period in which mystical books, such as the Vedic Scriptures, were written in the far East, making it logical that Jewish mystical texts would also have been written or conceived at that time.

 

While some commentaries indicate that “The land to the East” might be Arab areas just to the East of the land of Israel,[22] most understand this to be referring to the far East.

 

The Oral Torah presents a consistent connection between Jewish teachings and Eastern mysticism, brought East by the children of Keturah.

 

Soncino Zohar, Bereshit, Section 1, Page 100b For the ancient children of the East were possessed of a wisdom which they inherited from Abraham, who transmitted it to the sons of the concubines, as it is written, “But unto the sons of the concubines that Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and he sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, Eastward, unto the country of the children of the East” (Gen. XXV, 6). In course of time they followed the track of that wisdom into many (wrong) directions.

 

Soncino Zohar, Bereshit, Section 1, Page 223a R. Isaac said: ‘It is written: “And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the East” (I Kings v, 9). What is the wisdom of the children of the East? Tradition tells us that it was the wisdom which they inherited from Abraham . For we read that Abraham “gave all that he had unto Isaac” (Gen. xxv, 5): this refers to the higher wisdom, which he possessed through the knowledge of the holy name of God. “But to the sons of the concubines which Abraham had Abraham gave gifts”; to wit, certain information about the lower crowns, and he settled them in “the East country” (Ibid.); and from that source the children of the East inherited wisdom.’

 

As great as their wisdom was, it does not hold a candle to the Wisdom that the Torah brings, as we see in King Solomon:

 

1 Melachim (Kings) 4:29-34 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. 30 And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the East country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. 32 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. 33 And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. 34 And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.

 

Thus we see that HaShem has a plan for the children of the East. He has prepared them ahead of time for a cosmic appointment. A time when the end becomes enwedged in the beginning.[23]

 

In The Sefirot[24]

 

The Sefirot are the spiritual framework for the human body. The Sefirot are often described visually in the form of a human body or that of the Tree of Life.

 

The Sefirot are also reflected in man’s spiritual make-up, with each faculty in man derived from the sefirot.

 

The sefirot are divided in to groups of three: The right side, the left side, and the center mediating between the two.

 

The following table shows the three parts of the sefirot, the hemispheres of the earth, and the brain that we will be looking at in this study.

 

Bina בִּינָה

Left Brain

The West

The Nisan Torah cycle

 

Chakmah חָכְמָה

Right Brain

The East

The Tishri Torah cycle

 

Daat דַּעַת

Mid-brain

Israel

The Oral Torah

 

 

The mystics understand that the brain is divided into three divisions: The left hemisphere, the right hemisphere, and the mid-brain. The sefirot are divided into divisions of three: Chachmah, Binah, and Daat.

 

The world is also divided into three parts: The Eastern hemisphere, the Western hemisphere, and the Middle East, with Jerusalem, Israel at the very center. It is only with respect to Israel that the ‘orient’ is in the east and the ‘occident is in the west. That is why it is called the Middle East.

It is also worth noting that the land of Israel is also laid out like a human being. The brain is in Shechem, the heart is in Jerusalem, and the womb is in Hebron. This subject is covered in greater detail in the study titled: CITY.

 

Finally, we find that the luchot[25] and the Torah lectionary are also composed of three related parts. We will explore these parts in greater detail as we progress with this study.

 

Chachmah

 

Chachmah - חכמה (wisdom) is when one considers everything carefully and separating himself from that which is not proper. Chachmah is the original flash of insight. It involves the thrill of a new idea. When you feel “struck” by some new insight or new concept, you are in your Chachmah mode. Chachmah is that concise, nutshell of an idea that you just conceived. But you’ve only conceived it, you haven’t yet developed it, or even really understood it. This general perception contains the splendor of sublime ideals at their highest level, before the detailed characteristics of reality have become known.

 

Chachmah is the thought process we experience when we are looking for a concise, all-encompassing, abstract solution to a particular problem. This sefirah has all of the pieces put together and working to provide the whole picture of an idea. It has all of the collective pieces much as any collective group finds itself sufficient for any task. It has none of individual part or aspects because they are undifferentiated at this point. This collective sufficiency is the model for the Eastern mindset.

 

Within Chakmah is the seed that in and of itself contains everything with all the parts in an undifferentiated state much as the male seed contains everything in a tiny speck. In this state, Chakmah is extremely creative as it contains everything in potential. None of the potential has been actualized so there are no limitations.

 

Chachmah is the beginning of that ecstatic moment in the act of marriage. It is the beginning of the ecstatic moment when we rest from our own toil and HaShem gives us the answer to a problem that we have been grappling with.

 

Chachmah is situated at the top of the right column, and corresponds to the right hemisphere of the brain, and to the Oriental mind. Chakmah is also related to the Tishri cycle of the triennial Torah reading cycle.

 

Chachmah is koach mah, the power of what. Chachmah is called the question while Binah is called the answer.

 

If we carefully study the attributes of Chakmah we will surely get some significant insights into the oriental mind.

 

Binah

 

Binah בינה (understanding) is the aspect of the thinking process in which we understand by comparison and analyses. Immediately after we have the beginning of an ecstatic moment[26] of Chakmah; HaShem sends us the Binah, the understanding of that ecstatic moment. At this point we are only vaguely aware that we are getting an idea from HaShem.

 

Binah is the faculty we use when we focus on the details, when we process and analyze particular nuances of a situation, when we use non-verbal cues and tones of voice as signals for evaluating emotional responses, when we break down an idea into words and sentences in order to communicate it to another.

 

Within Binah the embryonic archetypes of Chakmah become more distinct and differentiated into specific phenomena. This sefirah is often associated with the female because it is the woman who causes the seed to become differentiated into arms, legs, head, and body. In this state, potential is becoming actualized, therefore the creativity is diminished. Thus the Occidental has the ability to bring the potential into actuality. The potential is now limited, but it is becoming real!

 

Binah (understanding) is situated at the top of the left column, and corresponds to the left hemisphere of the brain, and the Occidental mind, which thrives on its close examination of the details.

 

The Eastern mindset mimics the right side of the brain, and the Western mindset mimics the left side of the brain.

 

If we carefully study the attributes of Binah we will surely get some significant insights into the occidental mind.

 

Daat

 

Daat - דעת (knowledge or connection) is the part of the intellect which connects one’s abstract thought to the reality of emotions and action. When we become aware that we have had an ecstatic moment and we ‘know’ that we have the correct answer with all of the pieces.

 

Daat is the aspect of the thorough bonding, connection and attachment of the feeling of the mind to the concept. That is, the power of attention or concentration. And this is what brings about the aspect of deep comprehension of the concept after the learning so that it is just like an aspect of a vessel to the depth of the understood concept. That is, Daat is a vessel for binah, attention and concentration is a vessel for understanding.

 

Daat is the offspring of the male and female. Daat takes the Chakmah and the Binah and builds it into a child who lives and acts according to the seed that produced him. It is in Daat that Israel demonstrates the ability to bring Chakmah and Binah into concrete reality, in all its differentiated greatness. The only potential is in the myriads of actions that will become manifest based on this concretized reality.

 

Daat is the third faculty of the intellect. It is the ability to integrate and harmonize diametrically opposed views or states of being. In Kabbalah, knowledge is seen as the synthesis of right and left brain activities. This sefirah mediates between the left and the right sides and brings to synthesis the minds of the East and the West.

 

The land of Israel represents Daat because it is in the center, between the Eastern and Western hemispheres. It is what connects East and West.

 

If we carefully study the attributes of Daat we will surely get some significant insights into the Jewish mind, which synthesizes the Eastern and the Western mind. The Jew is the synthesis of Chakmah and Binah by being Daat. This will help us to understand why Jews have always made significant contribution to the world in terms of inventions, Nobel prizes, and significant contributions to every aspect of action in the world.

 

In Geography

 

Israel exists at the nexus between East and West, between left brain and right brain, thus paralleling daat. Both geographically, and as far as ways of thinking are concerned, Israel is in the mediating position. As we pointed out, most of Israel’s history involved dealing with the western world (as opposed to the far East), especially during the exile. But now, when Israel is being rejuvenated in its homeland, the focus of tikkun olam (תיקון ולם)[27] has shifted. This is the essential reason why so many Jews are looking to the East. The deeper process which this heralds is the return of lost sparks to the soul of Israel. Both right and left brain paradigms must be joined together to form a totality greater than each element. This totality is Daat in its rectified state.

 

The Oriental and the Occidental people both rest on the earth which is encased in a membrane of water above and a membrane of water below, just like the brain!

 

The Occident And The Orient

 

Most folks have noticed that folks from the East, the Orient, and folks from the West, the Occident, are very different in the ways that they think and act. In this paper we are beginning to understand that HaShem has purposely set the Eastern and Western minds to relate to the right and the left brain as well as luchot in the ark.

 

The Western, or Occidental mindset is associated with the contracting, feminine, polarizing portion which corresponds to the Sefirah of Gevurah. The thought processes prevalent in the Western world are essentially left-brain, individualistic, and thus point to the fact that the Jewish people in exile were rectifying the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was damaged most on the left side.

 

The Eastern, or Oriental mindset is associated with the expansive, masculine, unifying portion which corresponds to the Sefirah of Chesed.[28] The thought processes prevalent in the Eastern world are essentially right-brain, holistic in focus, and collective in their deeds. This perspective is illustrated by a Chinese proverb which states that, “the peg that stands out is pounded down”.[29]

 

While Western religions, Christianity and Islam each have a close and sometimes troubled relationship with Judaism, the Chinese, who as a nation have no particular relationship with the Torah, also have no need to delegitimize any aspect of the Jewish past.

 

In Chinese, the term Jew has no negative connotation of the sort one finds in various monotheistic languages. Anti-Semitism is virtually unknown in the East.

 

The following table details some of the differences between Orientals and accidentals:

 

Occidental

Oriental

Reads from left to right.

Reads from right to left.

Will not harbor a criminal relative. It would be dishonorable.

Would be shamed if he did not harbor a criminal relative.

Occidental martial arts lack religious belief system.

Oriental martial arts are permeated with a religious belief system.

Tends to act in his own self-interest even if it harms a group.

Tends to act in the group’s interest even if it harms his own self-interest.

Are prone to anti-Semitism.

Respect the Jewish people and their success.

Categorization by rules comes easily.

Categorization by rules comes with difficulty.

Look for categories in the organization of objects.

Look for relationships in the organization of objects.

Young learn nouns first.

Young learn verbs first.

Excel at geometry

Excel at math and algebra but not geometry.

Regards objects in isolation.

Regards objects in context.

Language intonations convey mood.

Language intonations convey differences in word meaning.

Uses logic/reason

Uses intuition/emotions

Thinks in words

Thinks in pictures

Deals in parts/specifics

Deals in wholes/relationships

Will analyze/break apart

Will synthesize/put together

Thinks sequentially

Thinks holistically

Is time bound

Is time free

Is extroverted

Is introverted

Is characterized as male

Is characterized as female

Identifies with the individual

Identifies with the group

Is ordered/controlled

Is spontaneous/free

Dualistic view of reality

Unified view of reality

 

In Medicine

 

Oriental medicine focuses on prevention and balance, while Occidental medicine focuses on cure and intervention.

 

Eastern medicine is right-brained Oriented, while Western medicine is left-brained Oriented. The following table lists the differences between Eastern and Western medicine:

 

Eastern Medicine

Western Medicine

telescopic, macrobiologic

microscopic, microbiologic

philosophical, metaphysical

scientific, technologic

functional

anatomical

health-Oriented

disease-Oriented

concentric, holistic

individual, analytical

subjective, qualitative

objective, quantitative

tailor-made

ready-made

Self-strengthening

Elimination of the causes

 

The Orient and the Occident also correspond to the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

 

Since Jerusalem is the center of the world, it makes sense that the Orient are the lands East of Jerusalem and the Occident are the lands West of Jerusalem. For this reason, Jerusalem or Israel represents the mid-brain.

 

In general, Eastern religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. are based on a unified view of reality. In general Christianity (and all of its variations) and Islam are based on a dualistic view of reality. The Torah, Jews, and the land of Israel are right in the middle functioning as the global and spiritual mid-brain. Judeo-Christianity is a Christian theological term created in order to “graft the branch back into the root”. Such a conception of “Old Testament” Judaism is certainly Western duality, but authentic Torah Judaism it is not. In fact, when the Hellenization, Christianization, and Westernization of Torah are stripped away, esoteric Judaism is more Eastern than it is Western! In the center, between the Orient and the Occident are the Jewish people. The Jewish people mediate between East and West, between right and left.

 

The Orient correspond to the right hemisphere of the brain and the right sefirah of Chachmah.

 

The Occident correspond to the left hemisphere of the brain and the left sefirah of Binah.

 

Jerusalem, or Israel, corresponds to the midbrain and the center sefirah of daat which mediates between the two sides. When we view the hemispheres from Israel, we see that the Western hemisphere is on the left side and the Eastern hemisphere is on the right side.

 

In Music

 

Kabbala Soul Music

By Rabbi DovBer Pinson

 

Generally, it is maintained that there are two distinct styles of music. Let us term these, for convenience's sake, as "Western music", music which originates from Western society, and "Non-Western", music which is derived from all other cultures, particularly those of the East and Africa. Western music is usually recognizable as "goal oriented music". This means to say, music that is narrative in structure, consisting of a series of progressive "events", so to speak. The listener feels the progression of the music, and it evokes a sense of movement within him. It feels like the music has a destination, and it takes the listener on its journey.

 

Non-Western music is characterized by a prolongation of a single note, or a select group of sounds which continues in a set pattern throughout the entire melody. This type of music arouses a more contemplative state, evoking within the listener a sense of timelessness and inner space.

 

Appropriately, these moods of music reflect the essential theology of these two civilizations. In the West, the predominant belief is that Creation began at a period of time, as time is linear, culminating in a future: Creation, Revelation and finally Redemption. Reflecting this reality, the music the West produces follows this pattern. It begins, reaches a high point and climaxes. By contrast, in the East, where time is viewed to be cyclical, with no "beginning", "middle" or "end", its music, too, is cyclical and repetitive.

 

The Kabbala and Jewish mystical teachings, on some level, meld these two together. Yes, Creation began at some point in time, and time itself was created; nonetheless, Creation is continuous, moment to moment anew. Nothing is merely in the past, nor hoped for purely the future. Everything is within the eternal present. As such, the music that the Jewish mystics produced, especially the songs of Chassidim known as "nigunim", are reflective of both these musical spectrums.

 

There are some nigunim that are structured and progressive. These tunes are to the Western ear "sophisticated" tunes, consisting of a beginning, a body and a climax. There are other nigunim that contain repetitions of single, individual sounds with little or no words. And some contain both.

 

While Neitzsche suggested that the "fire magic of music" is to be found in its anti-rationality, and what he sought in music was its "ecstatic irrationality", the Jewish mystic looks to unveil within music its transcendence. Perhaps not the transcendence within the music itself, as some would argue that music is nothing more than "sonorous air" or, as Leibniz had it, "unconscious arithmetic"; rather the reaction to the music, the transcendence reached as one reacts to the music.

A wordless tune (as is much of Jewish mystical song, particularly Chassidic) is the way two individuals can communicate on a transcendent soul level. Any breakdown in the verbal communication mode can be repaired by creating a conduit that transcends words. When a person feels alienated from his Source, or for that manner, from his fellow man, a wordless tune which exists on a realm that defies distinctions, separations, and disharmony, is the most fitting remedy, causing a unity of souls.

 

Cultural Differences

 

My son[30] and I have interviewed folks from the orient. We have spoken to folks from India, China, Japan, Cambodia, and Korea. These Oriental folks had several common cultural traits which are generally not found in the Occident.

 

Living Arrangements

 

My son learned, in an interview, that a Japanese student in his college slept in her parent’s bedroom until she was twelve years old. Since learning this, we have asked this question to other Orientals. We received similar answers from the Chinese, Cambodian, and Indians (folks from India). In western countries this is unusual. Most Occidental kids spend only their infancy in their parent’s bedroom, assuming they have the room to spare.[31]

 

Co-sleeping may be what engenders the collective mindset. Co-sleeping children often form stronger family bonds that last into adulthood. In Japan, the infant is seen more as a separate biological organism who from the beginning, in order to develop, needs to be drawn into increasingly interdependent relations with others. In America, the infant is seen more as a dependent biological organism who, in order to develop, needs to be made increasingly independent of others. Both cultures acknowledge that isolating a child at night is stressful but interpret the experience differently.

 

My son learned, in an interview, that a Japanese student in his college took showers with her parents until she was twelve years old. Since learning this, we have put this question to other Orientals. We received a similar answer from the Chinese. In western countries this is unusual. Most kids never shower with their parents, except in exceptional or in beginning situations.

 

In Education

 

In the Orient, it is believed that skills in math, for example, are not a talent but instead something that anyone can work hard to attain. As a result, students work hard and there is more support for teachers. In contrast, Americans are much more likely to assume that a talent for math is something a student either has or lacks.

 

The New York time wrote an article about a “Tiger Mom”.[32] This article describes the extremes that a Chinese mother used to cajole her son into acquiring a straight ‘A’ report card. My son and I have subsequently interviewed other Orientals and have found this to generally be true for the Japanese, Indians, Cambodians, and the Chinese. They all noted an intense parental desire for their children to get ‘A’s on their report cards and tests. It is rare for Occidental parents to push their children beyond what the children are capable. A ‘C’ student who does his best is not pushed to achieve beyond his capabilities. Good grades seem to be a collective mechanism for insuring the success of the community and family, which is also a tendency of Orientals in contrast to Occidentals.

 

Nesbitt[33] contrasts American and Chinese children’s books. The famous lines “See Dick run...” are much different than those in the equivalent Chinese primer which doesn’t describe actions by an individual but instead describes information about relationships between people; “Big brother takes care of little brother...” Later in the book, the author describes the way children in Asia, Europe and America are raised by their parents but also the ways that they create relationships between things. For example, when given a series of images to pair together, an Oriental child is more likely to group a cow with grass because a cow eats grass. An American child would be more likely to pair the cow with a chicken because they fit into the same “taxonomic” category. Interestingly, the Torah of the Jews portrays a synthesis between the Occidental and the Oriental minds. The Torah portrays both individualistic and collective approaches, each at their proper time. Jews are often flaming individualists who see themselves as an integral part of a community and of a people.

 

Occidental infants learn nouns more rapidly than verbs, whereas it is the other way around in the Orient. This tendency can be explained in light to the collective orientation of the Oriental brain. Verbs tend to connect actions with results, implying a relationship, where nouns tend to stand alone and emphasize the individual objects.

 

Communal Orientation

 

Most Orientals have a strong attachment to their family, community, and jobs. These attachments are almost always reciprocal. While most occidentals place a high value on family relationships, they are often less community oriented and generally have only a weak connection to their jobs. It is extremely rare for an Occidental company to feel a reciprocal relationship with their employees. Western communities rarely invest in their citizens. Orientals see everything as interrelated whereas Occidentals are more likely to think within the scope of individual people or objects. This qualities may be a result of the inherent pragmatism employed by Orientals.

 

When Occidentals and Oriental individuals are asked to describe themselves. Occidentals described their personality traits and activities (“I am friendly, I am a teacher”) to explain their individuality. Oriental instead described themselves based on context and on relationships (“I am serious at work, I am Joan’s friend”).

 

(As an aside, I am coming to understand that a significant issue with the assimilation of the African American community into the economic prosperity of America, primarily centers on the aspect of communal attachment rather than race. Their communal desires cause behaviors that advance them in their community at the expense of their advancement as individuals or personal benefit.)

 

Pragmatism

 

Pragmatism seems to be one of the core values in the Oriental problem-solving style. This perspective works very efficiently. However, it keeps them from forward thinking and creative problem-solving. It takes getting outside the box of pragmatism to see a problem in new light and perhaps even discover the real problem behind the symptoms and then find the creative solutions.

 

Application of Law

 

In his discussion of law, Nisbett[34] noted that, in an Oriental context, it is not a contest between opponents where one party wins and the other loses based on the evidence, as in the Occident. Instead, the goal of Asian law is to assist in reducing animosity and using evidence to seek a “Middle Way” to solve the issue at hand, regardless of whether it is just or not. Justice is not a goal of Oriental law. Whether or not this solution sounds logical or not, is moot; the acceptance of this idea is demonstrative of the circular relationship characteristic of Oriental thought in contrast to a linear pattern of Western perception.

 

It is interesting to note that the Torah law, of the Jews, seeks not only justice, but also the appearance of justice. This appearance of justice is also a key to maintaining good relationships. Thus we note that Israel is the only place where Occidental and Oriental justice converge.

 

Democracy vs. Dictatorships

 

The following graphic depicts the distribution of dictatorships in the world.

 

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, published in 2011, the democracy index map,[35] uses colors to depict those countries which are democratic or dictatorships. The closer to dark green, the higher the degree of democracy; the closer to dark red, the higher the degree of dictatorship.

 

This map shows that democracy is primarily an Occidental value and that the Oriental model tends towards dictatorships.

 

This concords well with the notion that those nations which follow HaShem according to the Torah tend towards a model of freedom. Those that have a religion which is not based on the Torah tend towrds dictatorship.

 

Pangaea

 

 

The continental drift theory suggests that the supercontinent, Pangaea, was the name of the great land mass prior to the drift. A cursory look suggests a strong resemblance to the human brain (mentally turn the picture clockwise 1 quarter rotation). This lends credence to an understanding that there is a connection between the hemispheres of the earth and the hemispheres of the brain.

 

Now compare it to the words of a Jewish sage who lived almost a thousand years ago.

 

Ibn Ezra to Genesis 1:2 First G-d created one continent, but then split it into seven continents...

 

A thousand years ago, Ibn Ezra knew that the continents were merged, and that there were seven continents. This was written long before America, Australia, or Antarctica were discovered.

 

Anti-Semitism

 

Anti-Semitism is well known in the West and nearly unknown in the East. Why? We know that the origin of anti-Semitism is found in the Torah.

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 27:41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.

 

Midrash Rabbah - Genesis LXVII:8 AND ESAU HATED JACOB (XXVII, 41). R. Leazar b. R. Jose said: He was filled with hatred, hostility, and vindictiveness toward him [Jacob], so that to this very day one speaks of the senatores [enemies] of Rome.’

 

The hatred of Esau is the hatred of Rome, and Rome represents the Western world.

 

Western Anti-Semitism may be manifested in many ways, ranging from individual expressions of hatred and discrimination against individual Jews to organized violent attacks by mobs, by state police, or military attacks on entire Jewish communities. Extreme instances of persecution, in the West, include the First Crusade of 1096, the expulsion from England in 1290, the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion from Spain in 1492, the expulsion from Portugal in 1497, various pogroms, the Dreyfus Affair, and perhaps the most infamous, the Holocaust by Nazi Germany.

 

In the Tanach[36] and Nazarean Codicil

 

It is interesting to note that HaShem came from the East after Adam ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 3:8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God going in the garden to the direction of the sun (East), and the man and his wife hid from before the Lord God in the midst of the trees of the garden.

 

When Adam sinned he crashed the world. However, the greatest fall happened on the left side, the western side. From this we learn that the Western hemisphere had fallen and Adam could only hear from the East. Only the right side of his brain could hear. The left side had fallen because of his sin.

 

Additionally, when we follow the Jews as they were taken into exile, we find that they invariably migrated to the west whenever they had the chance.

 

When we follow the disciples of the Master of Nazareth, we see that they, too, went to the west to make disciples. The most famous traveler in the Nazarean Codicil[37] was Hakham Shaul (the apostle Paul). The following maps gives some of the detail of his travels:

It is instructive to note that Hakham Shaul and all of the Jews of the Nazarean Codicil went to the West in their efforts to Talmudise the Gentiles. They never went to the East.

 

Throughout history, Jews have been virtually unknown to have settled in the East. About the furthest East that Jews have settled was in Babylon. Thus while we have millions of Jews living in America and Europe, we have almost no Jews living in China, Japan, and southEast Asia.

 

This has begun to change in the last few hundred years. Small groups of Jews have begun to settle in the East.

 

When the Jews went into exile in 70CE, they went to the West. No where do we see Jews migrating en masse to the East. Neither do we see Jews talmudizing the Gentiles in the East.

 

Clearly HaShem needed to fix up the West and not the East. Clearly the West needed the benefit of having the Jews among them.

 

North and South

 

Scholarly research (See Appendix A) suggests that folks in North America, Europe, Australia, and in Israel, are very individualistic. In addition, the same research has shown that folks in South America, Africa, and the East are very collectivistic. If we plot these on a map we would see something resembling the following table:


 


 

North America

Individualistic

Europe

Individualistic

 

Asia

Collectivistic

 

 

Israel

Individualistic within community

 

South America

Collectivistic

Africa

Collectivistic

 

Australia

Individualistic

 

 


What are we to make of this situation?

 

One answer that seems very satisfying is to note that the right brain controls the left side of the body while the left brain controls the right side of the body. Thus we see that as we descend in the body we also switch sides. This same phenomenon seems to exist in the world. If the north is individualistic, then the south is collectivistic and vice versa.

 

Thus we see the left brain and right brain correspond to the Western and Eastern hemispheres in the north; while the reverse is true in the south.

 

Why have the Occidental nations (the West) dominated the sciences, military might, and other significant achievements throughout most of history? To understand this we will need to understand right-handedness.

 

Right-handedness is the form of handedness in which one has greater coordination and dexterity in the right hand than in the left hand. Right-handed individuals will perform everyday tasks such as writing, cooking and carrying out one’s personal hygiene with the right hand. The right hand is therefore the dominant hand. A variety of studies suggest that 70-90% of world population are right-handed rather than left-handed or any other form of handedness. [38]

 

There is no prevailing theory that explains why right-handedness is so much more common than left-handedness.[39] I would, therefore, like to propose a theory: The Occidental nations are left-brained and therefore they are ‘right handed’. This right handedness is a form of dominance. Because the Occidental peoples are left-brained they tend to dominate (the right hand) certain sectors of achievement.

 

Thus we see that the world generally follows the pattern set forth in the brains of most individuals.

 

The Brain

 

In various Jewish texts man is referred to as an olam katan, a small universe.

 

“Man is a microcosm of Torah”. Just as “G-d looked into the Torah and accordingly created the macrocosmic world,” so too with regard to man, who is called “a small world“.[40]

 

Without the concept of man as a microcosm, [41] much knowledge will be hard to put in a context. The relationship of the peoples of the world to the anatomy of the brain is one such area of knowledge.

 

Man is made in the image of HaShem. This means that even the details of our anatomy mirror that of the Creator.

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 1:26-27 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

 

According to Hakham Bachya,[42] our primary duty is to study that which is closest to us: The human being.

 

It is our duty to study the origins and birth of the human, the form and structure of his physical frame, how the various body parts are connected and function together, the purpose of each individual part and the need for it to take its present form. Next we should study man’s advantages, his various temperaments, the faculties of his soul, the light of his intellect, his qualities -- those that are essential and those that are accidental; his desires, and the ultimate purpose of his being. When we have arrived at an understanding of the matters noted in regard to man, much of the mystery of this universe will become clear to us, since the one resembles the other... as Job said (Job 19:26): “From my flesh I see God.”

 

Our brain and the physiological manner in which it processes thought are also a microcosm of the Divine. Just as the Sefirot have a three part structure, so too does the human brain have a three part structure. The following graphic depicts this three part structure of the Sephirot:

 

The brain contains three large parts: The right brain, the left brain and mid-brain. This is how I shall refer to these parts throughout this paper.

 

Scientifically, they are called:

 

Right brain:    The right hemisphere of the Cerebrum.

 

Left brain:       The left hemisphere of the Cerebrum.

 

Mid-brain:      The medulla oblongata and the Cerebellum.

 

Scientists have determined that each hemisphere of the brain has different ‘thought’ functions.

 

Just as a brain has two hemispheres, the right and the left, so too there were two tablets. Just as man contemplates only Torah ideas and ideals, so too the Ark contained the essence of Torah. Just as the brain is triply encased in a skull with two membranes, the luchot were also encased in three boxes. Finally, the Oriental and the Occidental people both rest on the earth which is encased in a membrane of water above and a membrane of water below. Clearly there is a relationship between the left and right brain, the Oriental and the Occidental, and the luchot in the ark.

 

Additionally, as Torah is wisdom and is stored in the ark, so, too, does wisdom come from the brain of man.

 

A person’s two principle organs are his brain and his heart. The Maharal, commenting on the Mishna in Avot, “May it be Your will that the Beit HaMikdash be rebuilt speedily in our days, and make our portion in Your Torah”, explains that there is a reference here to these two organs. Divine service is the heart, while Torah [the Tablets of the Covenant] is the brain.

 

How does one serve HaShem with his brain? By studying Torah. The brain is man’s most important organ, his intellect.

 

The left and right hemispheres of the Cerebrum are the largest part of the human brain. They are associated with higher brain functions such as thought and action. Let’s look at the parts of the brain in greater detail.

 

Right Brain

 

The right hemisphere, of the brain,[43] is intuitive, unifying, subjective, and holistic. Those with moderate to strong right-brain strengths will choose to draw, act, or create. Those with the left-brain preference will write or speak.

 

The right brain is the primordial point of creation from which all knowable reality originates.

 

The right brain handles ambiguity well, often treating it as a paradox, works with probabilities, works with estimates or degrees where the left brain needs to have absolutes and must know exacts.

 

The right brain needs to be joyful and elevated to draw the Light of Chakmah.

 

In Eastern philosophy and life there is no question about the reality of imagery and imagination.

 

Some of those cultures, most notably having a great affinity for the imaginal, are the Chinese, Tibetan, and Islamic.

 

As a thought develops it is first received in the right brain as an intuitive flash subjectively bound up in itself with such unification that it cannot yet be expressed. The illumination is then transferred via a set of nerves (the mid-brain) to the left-brain where the singular idea is broken down into its distinct points and objectively analyzed and then communicated. The final product, the actualized idea, is the child. This relationship, which replicates itself throughout creation, has an echo in the philosophical construct of thesis, antitheses, and synthesis.

 

The Orient correspond to the right hemisphere of the brain and the right sefirah of Chachmah.

 

Sod interpretation of the Torah is associated with the right brain. Sod deals with the realties of inner space, the hidden domains of the unconscious, and

through them, the higher dimensions which we call, the spiritual.

 

Left Brain

 

The left hemisphere, of the brain,[44] is analytical, dualistic, objective, and disparate. It is the side that develops abstract conception of the right brain, giving it breadth and depth. When we use the left-brain, we don’t see things holistically; We understand them, we see their parts, their relationships and contexts.

 

The left brain is associated with the power of conceptual analysis and reasoning, both inductive and deductive. It has the ability to explain and elucidate concepts both to oneself and others. The systematic, scientific approach to exploring and understanding the world around us is linked with the left brain. Binah is the sphere of left-brain thinking, dualities, relationships, connections, histories, cause-and-effect, rules, logical systems, and nit-picking, all the things controlled by your left-brain.

 

Left brain thinking is characterized by careful, accurate observation of details followed by the application of acute inferential reasoning to the resulting data in order to generate new knowledge and deeper understanding of interrelationships, causes and effects and so on. Thus the left brain sefirah of binah is defined in the Talmud as “understanding one thing from another thing”.[45]

 

Worry, stress, and depression come from an overload of the left brain.

 

The Occident correspond to the left hemisphere of the brain and the left sefirah of Binah.

 

Pshat interpretation of the Torah is associated with the right brain. Pshat deals with the realities of the outer world around us.

 

Mid-brain

 

The mid-brain is important for voluntary motor function, vision, hearing, eye and body movement. Thus the midbrain mediates the thoughts of the left and right hemispheres and converts them into action.

 

The mid-brain conveys intelligence that is inaccessible until it is reflected from the left brain to the body.

 

Jerusalem, or Israel, corresponds to the midbrain and the center sefirah of Daat which mediates between the two sides.

 

Left and Right Handed

 

The majority of people are right handed, meaning that the right side of their body is strong and left side of their body is weak. If we say the brain is controlling the body, that would mean that right side of the majority of people which deals with faith, is weak.

 

This suggests that the occidental people are left brained and therefore it is the right hand that is stronger. This suggests that the occendental people will always be stronger than the oriental people.

 

For many centuries and probably in some countries to this day, if a child is naturally left handed they are made use their right hand, left handed people are considered weird. But but the majority of the world leaders and also stalin and hitler were left handed. In US, 5 out of 7 presidents are also lefties.[46]

 

Writing in Scientific American, McManus states that:  Studies in the U.K., U.S. and Australia have revealed that left-handed people differ from right-handers by only one IQ point, which is not noteworthy ... Left-handers’ brains are structured differently from right-handers’ in ways that can allow them to process language, spatial relations and emotions in more diverse and potentially creative ways. Also, a slightly larger number of left-handers than right-handers are especially gifted in music and math. A study of musicians in professional orchestras found a significantly greater proportion of talented left-handers, even among those who played instruments that seem designed for right-handers, such as violins. Similarly, studies of adolescents who took tests to assess mathematical giftedness found many more left-handers in the population

 

right-to-left alphabets, such as the Arabic and Hebrew, are generally considered easier to write with the left hand in general.

 

Lefties Make Better Artists

 

Southpaws have been bragging about their creative clout for years. But is it true -- does being left-handed mean you’re also more likely to be artistic or innovative?


According to research published in the American Journal of Psychology, there is some evidence that left-handed people have the upper hand in at least one creative facet -- they’re better at divergent thinking, a method of idea generation that explores many possible solutions.

 

In the Torah

 

In the Ark

 

The contents of the Ark has been debated through the centuries. Chazal, our Sages, tell us that the first set of luchot (tablets) containing the Ten Commandments, which were broken by Moses,[47] and the second set of luchot, which remained intact, were contained in the Ark:

 

Bava Batra 14b An objection was brought [against the statement regarding the size of a scroll from the following]: The ark which Moses made was two cubits and a half in length, a cubit and a half in breadth, and a cubit and a half in height, the cubit being six handbreadths. The tablets were six handbreadths in length, six in breadth and three in thickness. They were placed lengthwise in the ark.[48] Now how much of the length of the ark was taken up by the tablets? Twelve handbreadths. Three therefore were left. Take away one handbreadth, a half for each side of the ark,[49] and there were left two handbreadths, and in these the scroll of the Law was deposited. [That a scroll was in the ark we know because] it says, There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone which Moses put there.[50] Now in the words ‘nothing’ and ‘save’ we have a limitation following a limitation, and the purpose of a limitation following a limitation is to intimate the presence of something which is not mentioned, in this case the scroll of the Law which was deposited in the ark. You have accounted for the length of the ark, now account for its breadth. How much of the [breadth of the] ark do the tables take up? Six handbreadths. Three therefore are left. Take away one, half for [the thickness of] each side, and two are left, so as to allow the scroll to be put in and taken out without squeezing. This is the opinion of R. Meir. R. Judah says that the cubit of the ark had only five handbreadths . The tables were six handbreadths in length, six in breadth and three in thickness, and were deposited lengthwise in the ark. How much did they take up of the ark? Twelve handbreadths. There was thus left half a handbreadth, a finger’s breadth[51] for each side. You have accounted for the length of the ark, now go and account for its breadth. How much of the [breadth of the] ark was taken up by the tablets? Six handbreadths. There were thus left a handbreadth and a half. Take away from them half a handbreadth, a finger’s breadth for each side, and there will be left a handbreadth. Here were deposited the columns[52] mentioned in the verse, King Solomon made himself a palanquin of the wood of Lebanon, he made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom there of gold, the seat of purple, etc.[53] At the side of the ark was placed the coffer in which the Philistines sent a present to the God of Israel, as it says, And put the jewels of gold which ye return him for a guilt offering in a coffer by the side thereof, and send it away that it may go,[54] and on this was placed the scroll of the Law, as it says, Take this book of the law, and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord;[55] It was placed by the side of the ark and not in it. What then do I make of the words, There was nought in the ark save?[56] This intimates that the fragments of the tables[57] were [also] deposited in the ark. Now if we assume that the circumference of the scroll was six handbreadths, — let us see: a circumference of three handbreadths means a width of one.[58] Since then the scroll closed in the middle, the space between the two cylinders must have been over and above the two handbreadths. How did this get in to the two handbreadths?[59] — The scroll read in the Temple Court[60] was rolled round one cylinder. Even so, how could two handbreadths get into exactly two? R. Ashi replied: The scroll was rolled together up to a certain point [and placed in the ark], and then the remainder was rolled up on top.

 

If we accept R. Judah’s theory, where was the scroll placed before the coffer came? — A ledge projected from the ark, and on this the scroll was placed. What does R. Meir make of the words, At the side of the ark? — This is to indicate that the scroll is to be placed at the side of the tables and not between them; but even so, it was in the ark, only at the side.

 

According to R. Meir, where were the [silver] sticks placed?[61] — Outside. And whence does R. Meir learn that the fragments of the [first] tables were deposited in the ark?[62] — From the same source as R. Huna, who said: What is the meaning of the verse, Which is called by the Name, even the name of the Lord of Hosts that sitteth upon the Cherubim?[63] [The repetition of the word ‘name’] teaches that the tables and the fragments of the tables were deposited in the ark. And, what does R. Judah make of these words? — He requires them for the lesson enunciated by R. Johanan, who ‘said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: This teaches us that the Name [of four letters] and all the subsidiary names [of God] were deposited in the ark. And does not R. Meir also require the verse for this lesson? — Certainly he does. Whence then does he learn that the fragments of the first tables were deposited in the ark? He learns it from the exposition reported [also] by R. Joseph. For R. Joseph learned: Which thou brakest and thou shalt put them:[64] [the juxtaposition of these words] teaches us that both the tablets and the fragments of the tablets were deposited in the ark. And what does R. Judah make of this verse? — He requires it for the lesson enunciated by Resh Lakish, who said: Which thou brakest: God said to Moses, Thou hast done well to break.[65]

 

According to one opinion in the Talmud, both sets of luchot were together in the Ark; according to another, there were two Arks, and each contained one set of luchot.[66]

 

The Torah [i.e., the Tablets of the Covenant] alludes to the brain within [the head].[67] What is very interesting is how the luchot are commonly depicted. Note the similarity between the luchot and the brain in the following picture.

 

 

The luchot were composed of two sets of sapphire tablets. On the first tablet were inscribed the five words for the first five commandments. These five commandments taught us the requirement to love HaShem. There were precious few details to tell us how to love HaShem, but they contained the wisdom (Chakmah) to clearly see that we were required to love HaShem. Here are the first five commandments contained on the first sapphire tablet:

 

1. Belief in HaShem.

2. Prohibition of improper worship.

3. Prohibition of oaths.

4. Observance of Shabbat and the festivals.

5. Honor for parents.

 

The second tablet contained the five words for the second set of five commandments, which taught us to love our neighbor. Again, there were precious few details as to how we were to love our neighbor.

 

What we received with the second set of tablets was the understanding (Binah) that the love of HaShem was incomplete without the love of our neighbor. In other words, loving our neighbor was loving HaShem. Here are the second set of five commandments contained on the second sapphire tablet:

 

6. Prohibition against killing.

7. Prohibition against sexual immorality.

8. Prohibition of kidnapping (theft).

9. Prohibition of harming a person through speech.

10. Prohibition of coveting

 

What is missing from tablet number one (Chakmah) and tablet number two (Binah) are the details as to how we are to love HaShem and our neighbor. That is where our Hakhamim[68] come in. Our Hakhamim are the repositories of the Oral Torah (Daat). The Oral Torah provides the details as to how we are to love HaShem and our neighbor. This daat, this knowledge, translates the Chakmah (wisdom) and the Binah (understanding), as contained in the luchot, into the required actions.

 

Just as our right brain initially receives the Chakmah (wisdom) from HaShem as an inspiration, so too does the first tablet give us the Chakmah (wisdom) of HaShem. The Chakmah is then conveyed to the left brain which translates the Chakmah into Binah (understanding). After we have the Binah (understanding), we pass the knowledge to the mid-brain which connects (Daat) the Binah (understanding) with the required actions for the body to perform.

 

In the Lectionary

 

Because the brain is represented by the luchot,[69] it follows that the two triennial torah cycles that make up the septennial cycle are also alluded to by the brain’s hemispheres. These two cycles are “mirror” images of each other. Both of these cycles begin on a Rosh HaShana, literally head of the year.[70] Thus the “head” of the year is related to the head with it’s brain.

 

When we look at a Sephardi Torah scroll we can see that its shape is also the shape of the depicted luchot and of the brain. Like the brain, the Torah scroll is made from organic matter (cow, sheep, or deer skin), and the words are written with an organic ink.

 

Further, the Torah scroll is kept in the Heichal (היכל)[71] in the Esnoga[72] which is like a skull, just as the ark in the Temple is the “skull” for the luchot. The side picture shows a typical Heichal in the Esnoga.

One might reasonably ask a question at this point: Where is the mid-brain in this example? In other words, I can see, in the Torah scroll, the resemblance to the luchot and to the brain, but where is the resemblance to the mid-brain?

 

To answer this question we must go back and ask what is the normal function of the mid-brain? We said earlier that the function of the mid-brain was to communicate the brain’s thoughts into bodily action. This Torah function is accomplished by the Oral Torah, the Torah Shebaal Peh (תורה שבעל פה). The Oral Torah is contained within our Hakhamim, our Rabbis. It is our Hakhamim who communicate the Oral Torah to us and advise us as to how it is applied to particular situation.

 

The function of the mid-brain, in its resemblance to the luchot in the Temple, is similar to what we have for the Torah scrolls. With the luchot, the “mid-brain” function is still the Oral Torah, but instead of being contained in our Hakhamim, it is contained within the Kohen Gadole, the High Priest, who was the ultimate Hakham.

 

The two triennial cycles, of three and half years, resemble the Sephirot of Chakmah and Binah because they are exactly six months apart. The first triennial cycle begins in Tishri and the second triennial cycle begins in Nisan. Thus a septennial cycle incorporates two triennial cycles which are offset by six months.

 

The Talmud records a dispute between Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Joshua:

 

Rosh HaShana 10b R. Eliezer says: In Tishri the world was created; in Tishri the Patriarchs9 were born; in Tishri the Patriarchs died; on Passover Isaac was born; on New Year Sarah, Rachel and Hannah were visited; on New Year Joseph went forth from prison; on New Year the bondage of our ancestors in Egypt ceased; in Nisan they were redeemed and in Nisan they will be redeemed in the time to come. R. Joshua says: In Nisan the world was created; in Nisan the Patriarchs were born; in Nisan the Patriarchs died; on Passover Isaac was born; on New Year Sarah, Rachel and Hannah were visited; on New Year Joseph went forth from prison; on New Year the bondage of our ancestors ceased in Egypt; and in Nisan they will be redeemed in time to come.

 

From this dispute we learn that in some way the world was created in Nisan and in some way the world was created in Tishri. How can both opinions be right?

 

Chazal teach that in Nisan the world was conceived and in Tishri the world was created.

 

It is well known that the flash of inspiration is related to Chakmah and the fleshing out of that idea is related to Binah. When the idea reaches the lower world it is manifested as Daat. When we have that flash of inspiration, we ‘know‘ that it is the right answer with all of its component parts.

 

An example from the septennial cycle readings should help to clarify this idea. Take a look at the following table to see this example: SHMITATC.

 

On Tebet 18, 5771, which is December 25, 2010, we read Vayikra (Leviticus) 26:3 – 26:26. This portion details the blessing for loving HaShem by obeying His commandments and studying His Torah. It also contains the punishments for those who do not obey the commandments and do not study His Torah. HaShem, as it were, has placed us at a turning point and told us what would happen based on our actions.

 

This turning point in our lives is read at the tekufah (winter solstice), a turning point of the year.

 

With this observation we begin to get a glimmer that there is some connection between time and the Torah portion that is read on Shabbat. However, when we jump forward three and a half years to Sivan 16, 5774 (June 14, 2014), where we read Vayikra (Leviticus) 26:3 – 26:26 a second time, we see that it also falls on the Shabbat closest to the tekufah of Tammuz (the summer solstice). With this Binah (understanding) we begin to understand that we now have two witnesses which declare that these are two turning points in time that represent the two choices presented to us in the Torah portion.

 

Either we obey HaShem and study His Torah, thus receiving more light (wisdom), or we rebel against HaShem and His Torah and receive diminishing light. These two choices are reflected in the tekufot (turning points of the year). At the tekufah of Tebet (the winter solstice) we begin to see the days becoming longer, the light is increasing. At the tekufah of Tammuz (the summer solstice) we begin to see the days becoming shorter, the light is decreasing.

 

With both triennial cycles combined into a septennial cycle, we now have the Chakmah (wisdom) and the Binah (understanding) to enable us to use the Daat (Oral Torah) to move our bodies in the way we should turn.

 

The two triennial cycles resemble Chakmah and Binah. Their manifestation in the world is through the Oral Torah, through Daat. It is our Hakhamim who teach us how the weekly Torah reading is expressed as prophecy for that week.

 

In The Alphabets

 

Alphabets with vowels tend to be written from left to right. Those, like Hebrew, that contain only consonants but not vowels, tend to be written from right to left.

 

Latin alphabets are used throughout the western hemisphere and Australia except for North Africa.

 

The following languages are written right to left:

 

Arabic script - used for Arabic, Persian, Urdu and many other languages.

Hebrew - used for Hebrew, Yiddish and some other Jewish languages.

Syriac - used for varieties of the Syriac language.

Thaana - used for Dhivehi.

N'Ko script - used for several languages of West Africa.

Samaritan alphabet - closely related to Hebrew, used for the Samaritans' writings

Mandaic alphabet - closely related to Syriac, used for the Mandaic language

Aramaic alphabet - ancient, closely related to Hebrew and Phoenician

Phoenician - ancient, closely related to Hebrew and Imperial Aramaic

Lydian - ancient; some texts are left-to-right

Cypriot syllabary

Kharosthi - an ancient script of India

Old South Arabian

Avestan

Pahlavi scripts

Old Turkic

Etruscan language - extinct language

Umbrian language - an extinct Italic language formerly spoken by the Umbri in the ancient Italian region of Umbria.

 

The following languages are written left to right:

 

Devanagari – used in India and Nepal.

Abugidas – Used in Tibet, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Cambodia.

China

Japan

Arabic

Libya

Egypt

Algeria

Morocco

Middle East

Afghanistan

Pakistan

Iran

 

When we read something written in an alphabet, like English, that contains vowels, each word is more or less intelligible on its own. So we can use the linear, sequential left brain, which controls rightward movement, which is why English is written from left to right.


Not so when we read a text written in an alphabet without vowels. Imagine English without vowels. The letters ht, for example, might mean any of hot, hat, hit, hut, heat or hate. How do you tell which? Only by understanding the context, and perhaps even how the sentence ends. For that you need to use the integrative and holistic right brain, which controls leftward motion. That is why vowel-less alphabets tend to be written from right to left.

 

Conclusion

 

There is much to be learned from diligent Torah study. It is the Torah and our Hakhamim who teach us how to relate to Orientals, to Occidentals, and to Jews. Our Hakhamim teach us with the septennial lectionary, the sefirot, and the Oral law.

 

The world started with Adam walking with HaShem in Gan Eden. Since we know that the end will be like the beginning, it follows that eventually all three groups of people, the Orientals, the Occidentals, and the Jews will merge into a single group in the end. We can witness the beginnings of this merger in our own lifetimes.

 

When Adam fell, the greatest damage was to the left side of the sefirot and to the Occidental world. Therefore the major fix involved sending His chosen people to the Occidental world to effect the repair. Unfortunately, the Occidental world was composed of Esau and Rome who hate Yaaqov (Jews).

 

We see that in the last one hundred years that Occidentals are increasingly going to live in the Orient. At the same time we are seeing Orientals coming in increasing numbers to live in the Occident. Jews are already well dispersed in the Occident, but they are beginning to have communities in the Orient. Further inter-marriage and assimilation is decimating Jewish communities. Jews were supposed to be a ‘separate people’. Inter-marriage has begun to seal this merger of the Orientals, the Occidentals, and the Jews.

 

This global merger is clearly part of HaShem’s plan to accomplish tikkun olam, the repairing of His world. In the end, HaShem is sifting mankind and bring the scattered sparks back together. These are end time events. This is HaShem’s plan. It is moving inexorably towards His conclusion.

 

Based on this understanding, many question and anomalies can now be elegantly resolved. For example, The Oriental account of the history of the world, teaches that the world is billions of years old and will continue for billions of years to come. There is no concept of an accelerating messianic age, i.e., necessary redemption and total tikkun of all creation, the great Shabbat. They are correct and true to their collective nature because, that is how time is experienced in the dimension of Akudim,[73] time is virtually timeless! Another example is the obsession the Western world has, via Christianity, with corporealizing divinity in the form of a man. They are also correct and true to their individualistic nature. The left-brain is dualistic by nature and needs to communicate in concrete and corporeal expresssions.

 

Appendix A[74]

 

High Individualism Countries

 

Countries with high individualism scores typically bestow promotions based on individual initiative. Below is a list of countries with the highest individualism scores.

Low Individualism Countries

 

Cultures with low individualism scores focus more on collective efforts with promotion based on seniority. The following shows the countries with the lowest individualism scores from Hofstede’s study.

*Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

Other Country Individualism Scores

 

Shown below are the individualism scores for other countries in Professor Hofstede’s study.

*Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates

**Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia

 

 

Country

Individualistic

Scores

(Lower score indicates Collectivistic)

Arab World **

38

Argentina

46

Australia

90

Austria

55

Austria

55

Bangladesh *

20

Belgium

75

Brazil

38

Bulgaria *

30

Canada

80

Chile

23

China *

20

Colombia

13

Costa Rica

15

Czech Republic *

58

Denmark

74

East Africa **

27

Ecuador

8

El Salvador

19

Estonia *

60

Finland

63

France

71

Germany

67

Greece

35

Guatemala

6

Hong Kong

25

Hungary *

80

India

48

Indonesia

14

Iran

41

Ireland

70

Israel

54

Italy

76

Jamaica

39

Japan

46

Luxembourg *

60

Malaysia

26

Malta *

59

Mexico

30

Morocco *

46

Netherlands

80

New Zealand

79

Norway

69

Pakistan

14

Panama

11

Peru

16

Philippines

32

Poland *

60

Portugal

27

Romania *

30

Russia *

39

Singapore

20

Slovakia *

52

South Africa

65

South Korea

18

Spain

51

Surinam *

47

Sweden

71

Switzerland

68

Taiwan

17

Thailand

20

Trinidad *

16

Turkey

37

United Kingdom

89

United States

91

Uruguay

36

Venezuela

12

Vietnam *

20

West Africa

20

 

 

* Estimated values

 

** Regional estimated values:

 

‘Arab World

=

Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates

 

East Africa’

=

Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia

 

‘West Africa’

=

Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

 

© Geert Hofstede - all rights reserved

 

* * *

 

Bibliography:

 

Sefer Yitzirah, The Book of Creation, by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan.

 

Kabbalah Concepts, by Rabbi Raphael Afialo.

 

Body, Mind, and Soul, Kabbalah on Human Physiology, Disease, and Healing, By Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh.

 

The geography of thought: how Asians and Westerners think differently-- and why, By Richard E. Nisbett.

 

How To Live & Do Business In China, by Ernie Tadla.

 

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America on December 19, research team from the Life Sciences College at China Science and Technology University - led by Professor Chen Lin.

 

Nisbett, R.E. (2003). The geography of thought: How Asians and Westerners think differently...and why. New York: Free Press. An accessible overview of the relationship between culture and cognition.

 

* * *

 

 

Notes:

The seven days of creation are divided as follows:

 

First day: Light.

Fourth day: Sun, moon, and stars.

Second day: Separated waters above from waters below.

Fifth day: Fish and birds.

Third day: Dry land and plants.

Sixth day: Animals and man.

Sabbath

 

From the above table we can see that the first three days are related to the next three days. These two sets are connected by the day of connection, the Sabbath. This reflects the same general pattern as the brain, the Eastern hemisphere, Western hemisphere, and Israel connections.

 

The seven days of creation are related to the seven years of the Shmita cycle.

 

* * *

 

This study was written by

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:

 

Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian

4544 Highline Drive SE

Olympia, WA 98501

 

Internet address: gkilli@aol.com

Web page: http://www.betemunah.org/

 

(360) 918-2905

 

Return to The WATCHMAN home page

Send comments to Greg Killian at his email address: gkilli@aol.com



[1] Sephirot or Sephiroth A Hebrew word meaning “enumerations”, are the ten attributes and emanations in Kabbalah, through which HaShem reveals himself

[2] Berachot 30a

[3] Iyov 19:26

[4] Shomer Emunim HaKadmon, argument 1, sec. 27

[5] Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin occident-, occidens, from present participle of occidere to fall, set (of the sun)

[6] Bereshit (Genesis) chapter three describes Adam’s sin in detail.

[7] Dualism (from the Latin word duo meaning "two") denotes a state of two parts.

[8] A pasuk is a verse.

[9] Bereshit (Genesis) 25:17-18

[10] From Hinduism Back to Judaism by Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson.

[11] Rabbi Daniel Lapin

[12] Brahmin is named after Abraham.

[13] They are right for them, yet not right for Israel, which has its own path.

[14] Hod, the eighth sefira counting from Chochma, signifies gratitude, acknowledgment and receptivity.

[15] Anacalypsis; Vol. I; p.85

[16] In Hinduism, Saraswati (Sanskrit: सरस्वती,Sarasvatī), is the goddess of knowledge, music, arts and science. She is the consort of Brahma, also revered as his Shakti. Her figure is also popular in the Jain religion of west and central India. In Konkani she is Saraswati, Sharada, Veenapani, Pustaka dharini, Vidyadayini. In Kannada, she is Sharade, Sharadamba, Vani, Veenapani in the famous Shringeri temple. In Tamil, she is also known as kalaimagal, Kalaivaani, Vaani. She is also addressed as sharadha, Veena pustaka dharani, vaakdevi, varadhanayagi and many other names.

[17] Anacalypsis;Vol. I; p. 387

[18] Ur Chasdim

[19] Bereshit (Genesis) 17:4

[20] Bereshit (Genesis) 25:6

[21] Midrash Rabbah - Genesis LXIII:10

[22] Daat Zekeinim on Gen 25:6

[23] Sefer Yitzirah 1:8

[24] The concepts in this section come from: Meditation and Kabbalah, By Aryeh Kaplan, page 256.

[25] The tablets of the testimony.

[26] The ecstatic moment in wisdom is like the ecstatic moment in sex. In both experiences one realizes that he is ‘there’.

[27] Hebrew phrase that means “repairing the world”.

[28] Normally translated as ‘kindness’, but it carries the meaning of ‘unlimited giving’.

[29] Nisbett, R. E. (2003). The geography of thought: How Asians and Westerners think differently. . . and why. Pg 48. New York: The Free Press.

[30] Micah Jonah Killian

[31] Similar studies by others have yielded similar results. See a study by cultural psychologist Richard Shweder. Also: “Caudill and Plath’s (1966) well-known study of Japanese sleeping locations.

[32] http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/books/20book.html

[33] The Geography of Thought: Asian and Western Minds at Work, Richard E. Nisbett

[34] The Geography of Thought: Asian and Western Minds at Work, Richard E. Nisbett

[35] "Democracy Index 2011".Economist Intelligence Unit.

[36] An acronym for Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim, the so called Old Testament.

[37] The so-called New Testament.

[38] Psychology for A-level second edition, page 309.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Tanchuma, beginning of Parshat Pekudei, and Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 69, p. 100b, et al.

[41] Shomer Emunim HaKadmon, argument 1, sec. 27

[42] Chapter 5

[43] The right brain.

[44] The left brain.

[45] Chagigah 14a, Sanhedrin 93b, Rashi on Exodus 31:3

[46] Right-Hand, Left-Hand, Chris McManus of University College London

[47] Shemot (Exodus) 32:19.

[48] I.e., one next to the other along the length of the ark.

[49] Viz., for the thickness.

[50] I Melachim (Kings) 8:9.

[51] One handbreadth = four finger-breadths.

[52] Two silver sticks like the sticks of a scroll placed on each side of the tables.

[53] Song of Songs 3:9-10.

[54] I Shmuel (Samuel) 6:8.

[55] Devarim (Deuteronomy) 31:26.

[56] I.e., the double limitation.

[57] The first tables which Moses broke.

[58] And therefore the scroll must have been two handbreadths wide.

[59] If we assume with R. Meir that there was a scroll in the ark.

[60] On Tabernacles, in accordance with Deut. 31:9-13.

[61] Since there was no room for them in the ark alongside the Scroll at the base of the tables.

[62] Seeing that the verse on which R. Judah bases this is needed by him for another lesson.

[63] II Shmuel (Samuel) 6:2.

[64] Devarim (Deuteronomy) 10:2.

[65] Although I did not tell thee. The words ‘which thou brakest’ can be utilized for this lesson because they are strictly speaking superfluous.

[66] Berachot 8b

[67] Arizal - From Parashat Terumah in the writings of

the Ari of Safed- translated from Sefer HaLikutim and Likutei Torah by Rabbi Moshe Wisnefsky.

[68] Literally ‘wise men’. This is how the Sephardic Jews call their Rabbis.

[69] Apples from the Orchard, Parashat Terumah, page 180.

[70] Rosh HaShana 2a

[71] This is what Sephardim call the place where the Torah scrolls are kept. In Ashkenazim synagogues this storage place is called the Aron, the ark.

[72] Esnoga is how Sephardi Jews call their synagogue.

[73] The World of “Binding”

[74] © Geert Hofstede - all rights reserved