A Window to Our Souls

Yael Eckstein  |  August 26, 2022

Yael Eckstein hugging an elderly wearing white head scarf wrap.

As water reflects the face,
    so one’s life reflects the heart.
— Proverbs 27:19

We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.

There were many ways that the coronavirus pandemic disrupted our lives, but one that affected many people was wearing a mask. While masks helped reduce the spread of the virus, we certainly lost the ability to really see each other.

So many studies have shown the importance of seeing people’s faces when we interact with them. There is so much of the personal connection that is lost when we can’t see each other’s faces.

Add to that social distancing and having to conduct much of our daily business — including teaching our children — on Zoom or Skype, and the effect of separation was greater than anticipated. I know that for many of us when mask mandates were lifted, we all — quite literally — were able to breath better.

It was great to see each other’s faces again!

A Window to Our Souls

Proverbs teaches us about the emotional connection we feel when seeing each other’s faces. We read, “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.”

The Hebrew actually says, “As water, face to face; so the heart of man to man.” In other words, just as we feel the connection and empathy when we look into the face of another person who is looking at us, our hearts connect to each other in the same way.

For example, when you make eye contact with someone and they smile, it makes you want to smile, too. A sad expression on a friend’s face arouses our own feelings of empathy and sadness. Faces connect people to each other.

The Hebrew word for “face” is panim. It’s almost the same word, and is from the same root, as penim, which means “inner” or “what’s inside,” because the only part of a person’s outer appearance that really lets us see what is going on inside them is their face.

When you think about it, our faces are a window to our souls. When we use our own faces to make people happy and feel cared for, we are using what is inside us to reach what is inside them.

Your Turn:

Be conscious of your own facial expression as a window to the world. Use it to make others feel happy and loved.

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