The Dynamics of Leaning In and Moving Away in Relationshipsהרב שי טחןכט שבט, תשפד08/02/2024
Body language from Parashat Yitroתגיות:שפת גוףפרשת יתרומתן תורה
וכל העם ראים את הקולת ואת הלפידם ואת קול השפר ואת ההר עשן וירא העם וינעו ויעמדו מרחק (שמות כ,טו)
ויעמדו מרחוק- היו נרתעין לאחוריהם (רש״י)
In Parashat Beshalach, we discussed how Hashem instructedthe nation to retract; recognizing that moving back is a sign of confusion and being lost. Consequently, Pharaoh would perceive the nation as vulnerable at this moment, potentially leading him to launch an attack. However, sometimes, moving backward is a sign of fear as we can learn from our parasha.
Paying close attention to the way the body leans can provide insight into one's feelings toward another. For example, when we like someone, we tend to lean our body and head towards them. Conversely, when we dislike someone, our body tends to move away from them.
We can gain insights into how others perceive us by observing the way their bodies lean during interactions. Surprisingly, we can also learn about ourselves through this process. Body language, being an automatic and unplanned reaction of the body, allows us to pay attention to our own physical responses when in the presence of others. By doing so, we can discern whether we naturally gravitate towards them, feel intimidated, or genuinely find comfort in their company.
In Parashat Yitro, when the nation gathered at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, the pasuk notes that Hashem spoke to the people, emphasizing that they were able to "see the voice of Hashem." Rashi astutely observes that this extraordinary phenomenon induced a sense of great fear among the Israelites. But how did Rashi discern their fear when the verse itself does not explicitly mention it? The answer lies in another verse stating that they "retreated." Rashi deduces that this retreat was a direct outcome, revealing the unspoken reaction of fear to the awe-inspiring experience of witnessing the divine voice.