Torah teaches that “Silence is a protective fence to wisdom.” To guard our true wisdom we need to get in touch with what we know in silence before we try to put it into limited words.
Tradition tells us that when a baby is still in the womb, an angel comes and teaches it all of wisdom. But just before the baby is be born, the angel touches the baby above the lip—causing the little crevice there—and the baby forgets all it had learned. Clearly the message here is that knowledge is innate and that education is not a process of discovery but of recovery.
But what is the message behind the odd action of the angel. To cause forgetfulness, wouldn’t it make more sense to tap the baby on the head rather than the mouth?
When we come into this world with the desire to speak, we already forget the essence of what we really know, which is before words and beyond words. The essence of truth cannot be put into words. There is a level of knowing that transcends words.
As babies we have the capacity of seeing the All in everything, but once we are born into this world, with the need to put what we see into words, we fragment that vision. The greatest obstacle to a life of radical amazement, seeing life with the eyes of wonder, is our conviction that we have to label and categorize whatever we see.
When we rely on assumptions, mental cliches, and we project our labels, our notions, our pictures onto reality, we see what we have programmed ourselves to see, rather than seeing reality as it is. No wonder there is no wonder in our lives.
An excerpt from my book “Seeing G-d”