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In-between Understanding

דברים | 1:16 וָאֲצַוֶּה֙ אֶת־שֹׁ֣פְטֵיכֶ֔ם בָּעֵ֥ת הַהִ֖וא לֵאמֹ֑ר שָׁמֹ֤עַ בֵּין־אֲחֵיכֶם֙ וּשְׁפַטְתֶּ֣ם צֶ֔דֶק בֵּֽין־אִ֥ישׁ וּבֵין־אָחִ֖יו וּבֵ֥ין גֵּרֽוֹ

In Deutoronomy 1:16 Moses tells the Jewish people: “I will command your judges at that time to say LISTEN between your brothers, and judge justice between man [person], between brothers and between strangers.” In this verse the word “Bein” is mentioned three times so it's worth further investigation. The Ba’al ShemTov understood the word “Bein” to be connected to Binah [בינה]; understanding. And using this dimension of the meaning we can re-read the sentence to say “I will command your judges at that time to say listen [to reach] an understanding among your brothers, and judge justice with an understanding of [hu]man and an understanding of the stranger.”

If this verse were a logic gate it would be asking the reader-observer to hold three sets of logic simultaneously, or in serial, prior to the judge reaching the verdict.

An understanding of:

a) humans

b) siblings

c) strangers

and specifically, an understanding via listening. The Rishonim, our Sages teach us it is impossible for an individual to understand something other than by way of its opposite. In other words, we can further extrapolate that prior to reaching judgment, the judge must run the logical gamut of six logic gates. An understanding of humans and non-humans, siblings and non-siblings, and strangers and non-strangers.

As the day progresses and we interact with the world we are likely going to encounter other people, family and strangers. Each with their own understanding of you, and their own understanding of themselves. And we also know this world is elem [עלם], it is hidden from us. So what is hidden? One possibility is the full 6-dimensional understanding itself. It is very difficult to reach an understanding of someone’s intention in the present. We must therefore attempt to perpetually operate in-between two states. The ideal world where everything is bliss, and the other reality present where things may be cyclical, confusing, stressful, painful, frustrating, and filled with self-doubt, or babies crying and cars honking. Between strangers and non-strangers there is not a lack of physical or metaphysical noise.

If we find ourselves flooded with any of these negative emotions or vibrations while interacting with any of the [6] archetypes, we must re-calibrate to be in-between the spaces. To be free of negative self-judgment and judgement of others, and free of self-doubt and others' doubt [of ourselves.]

In Man's Search For Meaning, Viktor Frankl writes: "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."

We must strive to reach a level of understanding our-selves, and know we can never fully understand fellow people, strangers, and maybe not even family. Where, independent of the sequence of events we experience throughout our day internally we are emotionally calibrated to respond, but that response does not have to be speech, or action, it can be via listening. When we remain non-physically responsive, and non-judgmental when stimulated, then this level of understanding is the fertilizer for growth.

Interacting non-responsively may sound paradoxical but it is precisely the space to attempt and remain in order to curate a perpetually blissful experience in a space [world] where everything is hidden. If my sequence of events has led me to conclude anything about our hidden experience right in front of our ears it's that we are here to experience love and joy. If we are experiencing anything other than these two states, we may need to reexamine the space(s) we create and consider re-calibrating our understanding of self through deep listening, not only meditatively (internally) but also externally between our people, our siblings and our strangers, and grow with every interaction. Growth through every interaction is joy, and binah in Happy Letters is reflective of the understanding we reach post-reflection via בינה which might feel light as a balloon [ב], peaceful as a dove [י], calm as a candle [נ], or pleasantly fragrant like the Hibiscus [ה].


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