Beauty is in the eye… (Tiferes Part II)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is certainly true.

However, it’s hard to deny that some people just seem to have a certain something. Cultures have different standards, yet isn’t there something?

I would have to gather more evidence to say what I am about to say with scientific accuracy, yet I do think there is a definable standard of beauty that spans across all segments of the human race, and beyond.

Symmetry. When a person has symmetrical features, there is a beauty there.

Tiferes is the beauty of symmetry. The root word of Tiferes is Pe’eir. And in Jewish writings, this word Pe’eir which is a general word for adornment is always understood as a reference to Tefillin, specifically the Tefillin shel Rosh, worn on the head. And every man who wears tefillin knows that they need to be perfectly centered on the head, so that they are in perfect symmetry.

The tendencies of the first two basic character traits are Chesed and Gevurah. More vs. Less. Outward expression vs. Limitations. To everything there is a time, yet God created a world that is meant to be symmetrical, and in order for our souls to be beautiful, they have to be symmetrical as well.

The plot in this third act is to come from thesis (Chesed) to antithesis (Gevurah) to a synthesis of the two. This is a day-to-day, moment to moment struggle for all but the most talented. Some people are just natural at walking a tight rope. Others wobble and just have to practice. You know where your tendencies are. Nobody is perfect. Yet our task in achieving symmetry is to know when our behavior is leaning in one direction and our souls look lopsided. We then have to tug the rope the other way. The next day we might have to do the opposite.

And it’s not a matter of 50-50. As I wrote earlier, sometimes it takes four smiles to remedy the imbalance caused by one frown.

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