Dear Readers,

What forms our perceptions of reality? On what do we base how we view our world?

Logic and rational plays a big role. Human beings have the unique capacity to think, analyze and determine. But there are many other factors.

Here’s an example: Have you ever bought a lottery ticket, enticed by the allure of winning millions?

What are the chances of winning? Only one in 14 million people will win big, but we dream that we’ll be that one.

Here’s another scenario: Have you ever texted while driving?

One in four car accidents is caused by texting and driving. Moreover, the likelihood of causing an accident while texting is six times more than driving while intoxicated.

So why when it comes to texting, do we think, ‘No way! It’s not going to happen to me!’ And yet, with a lottery ticket, we think I’ll be that one?

Because we want to believe in that, and so it changes how we perceive reality. Our education, our background, the society we grew up in, our predispositions, emotions or inclinations, and many other dynamics color or blur our vision, so that some of our decisions are not rational.

Moreover, our brain is limited, and when it doesn’t have the tools to comprehend something, it creates a thought process based on our preconceived notions.

Consider this: Have you ever tried to swat a fly midair? You’re sure that you got a direct hit, but a second later, you see it buzzing away. What happened?

Compared to humans, flies essentially see the world in slow motion. A fly can execute six full turns per second, and most flies can flap their wings 200 cycles per second. Flies move so quickly that our eyes can’t follow them. But instead of our brain admitting that it can’t track such speed, based on the fly’s trajectory, it estimates where the fly will be. Our brain’s subjective tracking is wrong; thus, when we try to swat that fly, we fail.

If so many of our perceptions are colored by our subjective outlooks, is there any objective truth?

The Torah is called Torat Emet, the “Torah of Truth” because the Torah describes G‑d’s reality. G‑d who is the Creator of our world, and the Creator of each of us is the only definition of absolute truth.

Inside our soul is a small piece of G‑d. Relating to that part of our soul and allowing its expression is where we activate our emunah, commonly translated as “faith.” Emunah, from the root amein literally means “truth” (just like when we say “Amen” to blessings or prayers, it means, “it is true.”) This part of our soul sees the truth of reality and its experience of G‑dliness.

While our brain can detect the five senses of our world, emunah begins where our brain’s reason leaves off. Just as a metal detector can sense many things—though not emotions, of course—our rational faculties are limited. Emunah doesn’t necessarily contradict reason; it just takes us beyond it, to experience the supra-rational of the soul’s true reality.

Wishing you a soulful week!

Chana Weisberg
Editor, TJW