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Face To Face

Communication is a central part of our lives. The quality of our lives is determined to a great extent by the quality of our relationships. The quality of our relationships is determined in a large part by how successful we are in communicating with others.

You knew that. But there is more. People often communicate via email, telephone or other technological means. If you want to have a meaningful conversation then such means serve as a barrier to true connection. It is extremely difficult [or well nigh impossible] to fully understand another human being. We need all the help we can get. That means not only HEARING the other persons voice but also SEEING his face as the dialogue is being conducted. There are so many nuances that a person misses when not speaking face to face.

A theological insight to help bolster our [I think self evident] thesis. The Torah says that Hashem spoke to Moshe "face to face" [panim el panim]. This means that while all other Prophets communicated with Hashem without achieving true clarity, Moshe conversed with Hashem as if [kviyachol] he could see his face, symbolizing a much higher level of clarity. Just as when conversing with a person you understand him much better when seeing him, so too Moshe had a superior level of understanding of Hashem. [Rav Simcha Zissel Broide in "Som Derech" Shmos Page 295]

Panim also comes from the word "pnimius" - the inside. You can see a persons "insides" if you can see his face.

The lesson: If you want to have a meaningful conversation with someone - face to face is desideratum. Of course that is not always possible so in such instances we thank Hashem for the modern miracle called "technology".

In modern hebrew a face to face meeting is called "pgisha bi'arba einaim" [a meeting with four eyes]. I have four-eyes even without another person. I prefer a "pgisha bi'shesh einaim" or even "bi'shmonah einaim". I like other people. I get bored of myself after a while.....

Looking forward to meeting you soon!

Love and blessings,

Elchanan ben Henna Miriam

i am technologically inept, but baruch hashem for technology anyway: without it, how else would all the torah in yerushalayim find those of us in the far-flung reaches of galus?

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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