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The truth according to whom?

Friday, 17 February 2006

It’s all about perception. Didn’t someone once say that perception is ninety percent reality? Or as Christopher A. Ray wrote, “Perception is merely reality filtered through the prism of your soul.”

Take this week’s Torah portion. After 400 years of Egyptian enslavement and a close escape through the Sea of Reeds, we finally come face-to-face with our God. The details of this experience, as well as our forty years of desert wanderings, will be recorded by Moses. It will be his voice that will reach across the generations, keeping our history alive in every age. Therefore, it will be his perception that will colour our story.

What about the other voices? How can we know a complete story if the other voices are silent? And how would our understanding be altered if we could hear someone else’s perception?

We All Stood Together
My brother and I were at Sinai
He kept a journal
of what he saw
of what he heard
of what it all meant to him
I wish I had such a record
of what happened to me
It seems like every time I want to write
I can’t
I’m always holding a baby
one of my own
or one of my friend’s
always holding a baby
so my hands are never free
to write things down
And then
As time passes
the particulars
the hard data
the who what when where why
slip away from me
and all I’m left with is
the feeling
But feelings are just sounds
The vowel barking of a mute
my brother is so sure of what he heard
after all he’s got a record of it
consonant after consonant after consonant
If we remembered it together
we could recreate holy time
sparks flying
(Merle Feld, A Spiritual Life: A Jewish Feminist Journey Albany: SUNY Press, 1999, p. 205)

When we hear stories from our children, do we stop and take into account that the facts are being presented from their perspective and may not be the whole story? Conversely, when we form an opinion about something, do we heed the fact that our children may have a very different perspective of the same situation? Poppyseed once took a class that I didn’t think was as good as it “should” have been. And yet, Poppyseed loved it! She could not wait to go to class each week and was sad when it was over. Looking through her eyes, I saw a completely different experience and learned to value the class for what she got out of it rather than what I expected.

As we read our people’s story of revelation, may we remember that we are hearing only one side of a multi-faceted story and learn ways to filter stories through the prisms of other souls.

Kol Tuv!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. PepGiraffe permalink
    Saturday, 18 February 2006 3:02 am

    What class was it? I mean, it’s clear that you don’t want to say, but I want to know.

  2. Rivster permalink
    Saturday, 18 February 2006 6:25 pm

    Of course I’m not going to say, silly girl! That’s not the point here 😉

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