Many years ago they asked a famous brain surgeon if he believed in the soul. He responded by saying if the soul really exists in man it most probably resides in the brain for it is the most mysterious and magical part of the human body. This was stated over forty years ago before the invention of Nano technology and beyond. Yet with all the new advances, research, and insights, no one really knows and understands the fascinating and incredible process of human thinking which all of us take for granted.
The human brain is the most complex organ in the human body and probably the most complex physical creation present on this universe. It is evident that, the world’s greatest man made wonders are a result of the human brain making it the most amazing feature in a human being. The human brain with its complexity acts like a storage device which holds safely a person’s most cherished memories. A person’s personality is by far influenced by the brain as well as generation of human consciousness which gives a person passion, motion and emotion. A command center for the central nervous system, the brain serves human beings with ample physical and cognitive abilities. – The number of neurons present in the brain is approximately 100 billion which is about 15 times of the total human population on earth. This high number of neurons increases the processing ability of the brain.
Rashi in this week’s parsha on the passuk (Bereishis 1,26) Let us make Man in our image and likeness comments that the word כדמותינו is the power to understand and to gain wisdom. Our minds are our reflection of G-dliness and divineness upon earth as we say prior to putting on Tefillin הנשמה שבמוחי the soul that resides in my brain. If the goal of life was the pursuit of earthliness and physical pleasures, there was no need for man to be created with a divineness dwelling within him. The animal soul would have been sufficient to gratify our bodily needs. Our G-dliness was placed inside of us for the purpose of a higher calling which is to rise above the animal instinct, harness and discipline our senses, to make morally correct decisions, and to remind us of our purpose and meaning in this world.
All of the above are achieved through our most precious gift of thinking. Everyone would love to be able to afford a life coach to accompany him daily. Well everyone does. It is our heavenly spark residing in our brain that directs and encourages us to stay on the right path and not veer from righteousness. Of course we don’t have to listen to it just like we don’t have to listen to our life coaches even though we handsomely pay them. We can shut off and tune out our spark that delicately suggests to us to morally think over our inventory of actions and to take notice of our shortcomings. In other words we can make ourselves conveniently distracted which chores, physical enjoyments, reading, shopping, eating, planning, daydreaming, entertainment, friends, cellphones, internet etc.
A very smart individual once said a remarkable double take message: “The range of what we do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change until we notice how failing to notice shapes our deeds”. The only way to take notice is to think together with your life coach, your neshamah, and together you will come up with an idea to make changes and transform your life into something remarkable. The Rebbi of the Chafetz Chayim Rav Nochum Grodna went so far as to pay someone to follow him around the entire day taking notes concerning his speech, deeds and actions in order that every night he would have a daily record with which to make an introspection. As they say in the vernacular “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail”.
Many times we fail to think merely because we are down right lazy. Laziness is not just a dysfunction of the body it is the roadblock to success. Shlomo Hamalech writes (Mishlei 24,30) על שדה איש עצל עברתי I passed over a lazy person’s field. The Medrash comments that this person referred to in this passuk is no other than Adam Harishon. Rav Dessler explains that had Adam prior to his eating from the Aitz Hadaas undergone a prolonged thinking process by churning over and over in his mind the pros and cons of this cataclysmic decision of partaking from its fruit, the outcome of his decision would have been different. The failure to reprocess the correctiveness of his moral choice just one more time which Chazal dubbed in their Ruach Hakodesh an omission which stemmed from a subtle laziness, was the cause of Man’s downfall until this very day. If we are lazy, then we will fail to think, which will cause us to fail, and furthermore to fail to take notice that we failed, and will leave this world as a spiritual dwarf because of our failed mission.
Speech is our way of daily communication. To perform this act divinely, one must think before he speaks. During World War Two the British military and officers were made to understood very well not to share with any strangers any news and information concerning the war since they might possibly be a spy. Hence evolved the slogan, “Loose lips sink ships” and lives. Just think how many ships we have sunk and ruined because of our torpedo loose lips by not thinking before we spoke. How many hurtful words have we said to our spouses, children, friends, family members, that we regret saying afterwards when we realize the irreparable damages that we have caused in our relationships because of our blurted uncontrolled emotional outbursts.
We find in the Torah that to express the thought of “movement towards something” two forms can be used. For instance, take the two forms to express towards Mitzrayim: אל מצרים or מצרימה by adding on a letter ה at the end of the designated place. What is the lesson by having two forms? The Tzaddikim explain that if one can put off saying or responding to something for a later time and date then don’t say it now. Leave it to later. By the time later comes around you might find it totally unnecessary to say. In fact, Baruch Hashem for you that you didn’t say your “knee jerk” remarks because you were not privy of all the facts surrounding the situation or you were just plainly misinformed.
I want to share with you an acronym of THINK which will help all of us in the process of deciding if what we say should be said. By following this five second protocol before communicating, guarantees that 40% of your verbal messages will not fit the bill and should not even exit your mouths.
T is it TRUE
H is it HELPFUL
I is it INSPIRING
N is it NECESSARY
K is it KIND
Only by disciplining ourselves not to be lazy to think, will help us notice that we fail to notice where we can improve our daily lives and become spreaders of light dispelling the darkness and evil that man himself created through his unbridled selfishness, lust, greed, and decadence. Instead of being close to his creator Man’s laziness stemming from his composition of one of his four foundations calledעפר , set him afar from himself and Hashem. By thinking we will form a deeper relationship with Hashem and everyone else and even with oneself.