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THE ART OF GRAPHOLOGY
I know this article is long, so if you stick to the end, I have a treat for you.
Living in Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem, I have gotten to know some pretty interesting people. The Kollel guy across the street convinced me to try out his courses on graphology and face reading. That was eight years ago, and today, I can decipher many things about a person’s personality, just by reading the signature, or looking at a person’s face. Usually, I have an 85%+ accuracy. (Just a few months ago, one of my learning partners who is in textiles told me he had an upcoming appointment with the head of sales in a massive retail chain in America: he was eager to have them take his line. After analyzing their faces, I was able to direct him as to the best approach to use with them. It worked like a charm…)
I took this a step further and learned how to read the way people are in their relationships, just by shaking their hands. I have given classes on these three, and it does not cease to entertain people. If I just look at the handwriting of a husband and wife, I can tell their Shalom Bayit problems, as the differences in personality that I read are the root of their disagreements. These signs of personality always give me, as a coach, a deeper look at the person I am trying to help, and they guide me toward the questions I should ask, helping me to know where to explore more.
And then, I moved to the other side of Bayit Vegan, closer to Eldad Nakar, who put out a Jewish book on reading body language, עצמותי תאמרנה – a successful book in Hebrew, which was translated into “In G-d’s Image” by Feldheim I got close to Eldad, and he never ceases to impress me with his deep knowledge and insights.
One day, Eldad pulls me over after shul. “I got to show you something. You told me about your learning and passion for graphology, which I also studied. Here. Look at what the Baal Haturim writes. In the beginning of Sefer Bamidbar, Moshe was counting the Tribes. The words used to describe how he counted the tribe of Shimon, לִבְנֵ֣י שִׁמְע֔וֹן תּוֹלְדֹתָ֥ם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֖ם לְבֵ֣ית אֲבֹתָ֑ם פְּקֻדָ֗יו בְּמִסְפַּ֤ר שֵׁמוֹת֙ לְגֻלְגְּלֹתָ֔ם The tally of the tribe of Shimon, their descendants, according to their families, according to their fathers’ houses, by the number of individual names … (Bamidbar 1;22) A seemingly, pretty unassuming passuk. Right? The Baal Haturim does not think so! The Baal Haturim, in his script of the Sefer Torah, the way the letters are written according to his version, the lamed, here, is written differently from the other lameds. (The Rambam, and the Tur, had different ways of how certain letters in the Torah were, and their opinions we do not go with, Halachically.)
Now, so what that the letter Lamed is not written the regular way, that Lamed is written! Right? Wrong! In my house, I have two fat books, one from the letter Aleph till the letter Lamed, and the other book, from the letter Mem till the letter Taf. There are 95 different ways that people make just the letter Lamed, and each one has meaning!
You see, one of the foundations of graphology is that all kids in school are taught how the letters are supposed to be, and all kids are taught exactly the same way the government wants the letters to look. The size, the angle, the curve. Why, if so, are their no two handwritings that are exactly the same??? The answer is the subconscious wants to convey the uniqueness of its personality, its strengths its weaknesses, its values and its tendencies, and it prefers to do so by preferring certain shapes, colors or curves over others. Those curves, shapes, and colors all mean things about a person’s personality. This is why I just enter into someone’s house, and I can tell you, according to the design of the house, the person’s personality. And it goes two ways: if a person changes the colors in his life, of what he/she wears, the shapes, the curves, his handwriting and signature – the personality, itself, will change.
Graphology and reading people by their handshakes or body language have to do with your subconscious choices. There are at least 8 subconscious choices a person makes, when he shakes his hand, and how he shakes it: how he stands, how he smiles, how many times he pumps, how the hand tightens, if and how the web of the hand connects, etc. There is a norm of the successful handshake, and anything that is done differently is a red light indicating to something about how this person is in his relationships. Israel uses body language to “read” people as they come through customs, and when they ask you, before you board planes to and from Israel, if you packed your bags, they want to see if your eyes move, and in which direction. And that, in addition to the fact that they have trained personnel watching people’s body language from tinted windows all over the airport.
Whatever you say, how you say it, whatever you don’t say, are all signs for the therapist, whose eyes are peeled and ears are on high alert to pick up signs about underlying issues. We hold Bilaam accountable as being the person who is the antithesis, to Avraham Avinu, just from something he said, that he did not have to!!! Anyone who has a good eye (Contentment, not jealous), a low Ruach (humility, healthy ego/self-esteem, does not look for respect/honor/fame) and a Nefesh Shefela (does not chase passions/ desires/ lust/ materialism). And anyone who does not have these three traits is from the disciples of Bilaam. (Avot 5; 19)
Question: Where do we see that Bilaam had these bad traits? וַיַּ֣עַן בִּלְעָ֗ם וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אֶל־עַבְדֵ֣י בָלָ֔ק אִם־יִתֶּן־לִ֥י בָלָ֛ק מְלֹ֥א בֵית֖וֹ כֶּ֣סֶף וְזָהָ֑ב לֹ֣א אוּכַ֗ל לַעֲבֹר֙ אֶת־פִּי֙ יְקֹוָ֣ק אֱלֹהָ֔י לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת קְטַנָּ֖ה א֥וֹ גְדוֹלָֽה: And Bilaam answered, and he said to the servants of Balak, if Balak will give me his whole house of silver and gold, I won’t be able to transgress the Mouth of YKVK my G-d, to do something small or big. (Bamidbar 22;18) From here we learn that Bilaam was not content with what he had, that he wanted fame and that he chased after material gain. What?!? All Bilaam said was that no matter how much you pay me, I can’t transgress G-d’s request! That sounds pretty noble, on Bilaam’s side; he even said that YKVK is my G-d! Don’t we see the Mishna in the end of Avot with the story of R’ Yossi ben Kisma, that he said something very similar? Someone once met him and said, Rabbi, You want to live amongst us, and I will give you thousands of thousands of golden dinars, precious stones and diamonds? And he answered, My son, even if you give me all the silver, and gold and precious stones and diamonds of the entire world, I will live only in a place of Torah, because you can’t take any money with you to next world. You can take only Torah and good deeds.” What is the difference between Bilaam and R’ Yossi ben Kisma?
The answer is, listen to the difference between what R’ Yossi was offered, and what Bilaam was offered. Bilaam was never offered all of Balak’s money, so why did he make mention of it? Ah!! It is because it is on his mind! The Torah teaches this principle, and our Rabbis deduce from the slightest, least necessary diversion from the norm, a path into the deepest psychology of the human mind!
When Hashem gave the Ten Commandments, that He, Himself, wrote on the twilight of the first Shabbat, He started with the word, אנכי. Our Rabbis tell us that this word is the acronym and stands for אנא נפשאי כתבית יהבית which means, G-d says, I put myself into the writing of the Torah, and I gave you Myself, through My Torah (Shabbat 105a). You can get to know G-d, through learning His Torah. When someone writes something, he is giving himself to you, through what he writes and how he writes.
R’ Shlomo Ibn Gabirol (1021-1058), someone that the Ibn Ezra (1055 – 1140) very much admired and respected, wrote in his Sefer Mibhar Hapninim, “The handwriting of a person shows you his mind, and the moral of man and his secrets are in his handwriting, and by deciphering each letter, his secrets are revealed.” (Shaar Hahakarah) The Maharal writes that the script of every nation is the essence of the nation, for every letter is simply a shape of the mind; this is why each nation has its own script. (Or Hadash 63; Shem Aryeh)
Getting back to the Baal Haturim. The basis of all Jewish psychology is broken down to נר”ן, which stands for, Neshama, Ruah, and Nefesh. (See Orhot Tzaddikim Shaar Yirat Shamayim). If we would place the Neshama, Ruah and Nefesh, the internal person, on the external map of man, the Neshama is paralleled to the head, the Ruach to the heart, and the Nefesh to the liver. The head is the place represented by the Neshama, as the Neshama is the part of the psychology that is in charge of the person’s moral, ethical, spiritual, intellectual, value system. The Ruah is the ego, the self-esteem, how a person feels amongst his peers, and this is represented by the heart. This is why, when a person points to himself, he points to his heart, not to his head or to his lower body. The Nefesh, which is the animalistic drive of man, is represented by the blood, the liver, and lowest part of the soul map. This is the part of the psychology that is driven by passion, desire, lust, wanting offspring, the reflexes of fight or flight, the drive for material acquisition, etc.
These three drives are the different drives of psychology. Freud believed that the drive of all human behavior is the Nefesh, the animalistic drive. Jung believed the drive of man is his drive for self-esteem, and ego, Ruach. Frankel believed that man is driven by meaning, Neshama. According to Judaism, there is truth in all three. Hence, the word נר”ן, which stands for Neshama, Ruah and Nefesh. If we would look at a map of the functions of the different parts of the brain we would see how the uppermost part is in charge of moral, the middle of the brain is more the part of social, and the bottom is the part that is for the animalistic part of the psyche.
In graphology, we split up the writing into three groups: the higher case letters, the middle case letters, and the lower-case letters. The letter Lamed is important, because in its height, it reflects a person’s moral, ethical, spiritual, and value system, things that have to do with the mind and Neshama. While the middle height letters, show us the part of the man that is related to Ruach, the ego, self-esteem. The letters Kuf, Chaf Sofit, Nun Sofit, that are lower, are also important, for they show us the lower part of man and his passions, the Nefesh.
So many self-help methods, including the twelve steps of Alcoholic Anonymous, are connected to this break down of three and are the same “three” mentioned earlier in the Mishna Avot: a good eye, low Ruach, or humble spirit, and a Nefesh Shefelah. Nefesh is represented by Taavaa – passion – the relationship between man and himself. Kavod – honor, the ego, the self-esteem, and the relationship of man with others, which is Ruach. Kinah- jealousy, the belief of my purpose and uniqueness of my soul and the relationship of man with G-d, and is by the Neshama.
Now we can understand the Baal Haturim! The Lamed, of the tribe of Shimon, is crooked at its bottom, because the head of the tribe, Zimri Ben Salu, sinned, morally, and fell from his tribe. The Lamed is the tallest of all the letters, and this is the letter that reflects upon the leader of the tribe, Zimri, who was the Nasi Bet Av, the leader of the tribe. And since there is a crooked part of the letter, this is to tell you like the Midrashim learn, that there will never be, from Zimri onward, a Jewish Leader from the tribe of Shimon, although from every other tribe, we had a leader of the people. Also, the second Lamed of the word גלגלתם is made tall without a hat at the top of the letter, to show that Zimri will teach his tribe Shimon in an open, upright and brazen way, to act with promiscuity and immoral conduct.
In graphology, the way the person makes the top of his higher letters, tells us about the relationship with the father figure, as the father figure is usually responsible for establishing the moral, ethical and spiritual value system of the child. The relationship with the mother figure is found in the way the writer makes his lower letters, as a person’s passions, desires, and material drive are developed through his mother. Zimri, the father figure, was not moral and caused his people to be immoral, and therefore, there will never be a leader from the tribe of Shimon!
All this is learnt from how the script of the Baal Haturim had the letter Lamed of this passuk in the Sefer Torah!
Thanks for reading till the end! My gift to you, is, for the next week, you can WhatsApp a picture of your signature to +972585272023, and you can have your handwriting analyzed!