Seasons of the Moon In October 1608, the national government in The hague debated two patent applications - that of hans Lipperhey of Middelburg and that of Jacob Metius of Alkmaar. The application was for a device for "seeing faraway things as though nearby." it consisted of a convex and concave lens in a tube that magnified objects three or four times.

The news of this new invention spread rapidly through Europe. By April 1609 three-powered spyglasses could be bought in spectacle makers' shops on the Pont Neuf in Paris, and four months later there were several in italy. Later that year, Thomas harriot took his six-power telescope and pointed it at the moon.

And that was the end of the Man in the Moon.

With the advent of the telescope, the Man in the Moon was struck a mortal blow. Now it was revealed for all to see that the "face" of the moon was not a face at all but an agglomeration of inert rock and dust.

The Man in the Moon may have passed into folklore, but in some very fundamental ways he is still very much with us.

Look at the world. Do you know what you see? Sometimes it's difficult to be sure exactly what you're looking at. Preconceptions can often lead our eyes astray. Is the world really the way we see it? Or are we creating a virtual reality based on what our eyes expect to see?

In other words, do we know what we see? Or do we see - what we know?

Nothing, it would seem, is more incontrovertible than our own existence. I exist. I am here. I am an independent reality. Aren't I?

Twice a day a Jew covers his closed eyes with his right hand and proclaims, "Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad! - Hear, O Israel, Hashem our God, Hashem is One!" When we say that God is One, we are not just declaring that there is only one God; we are affirming that nothing else exists except for him or outside him. Nothing. his is a Oneness that allows for no "other."

When a Jew says Shema, he gives over his very existence to the Creator. he declares that on the ultimate level he has no separate existence whatsoever.

The Shema counterintuits everything that our eyes tell us. Our physical senses do not teach us that nothing else exists except for him. Quite the reverse. Our senses tell us that if anything exists at all - it's me. From my point of view, the world could be an ultra-high-definition 3D movie with SurroundSound. My instinctive perception is that nothing else exists except for me. Through saying the Shema, we reverse this paradigm. The Shema is the way the Jew "sees" beyond the picture that his five senses paint.

How, you will ask, can we perceive something that is beyond our senses? if our senses are the sole agents of perception, how can we perceive anything beyond them? More - how can we perceive something that totally contradicts them?

The Torah teaches us that there is an extrasensory perception, a channel to that higher reality: "A God of faith and lacking sin; righteous and straight is he" (Devarim 32:4). A cursory reading of this verse would suggest that "a God of faith" means that God keeps his word, that he's "faith-ful." however, there is another, deeper meaning here.

"A God of faith" means that God "believed in the world and created it" (Sifri, Pekudei 307). What does it mean that God "believed" in the world? Surely it is the world that believes (or doesn't believe) in God - not the reverse.

Before this physical creation, God created another existence, another world. The name of that world is Emuna - Belief.

"God believed in the world and created it" means that before this creation, God brought into being an existence called Emuna and within the boundaries of Emuna, within that nonphysical world, God created the universe. In other words, this entire physical existence from its absolute beginning till its ultimate end is created within, and depends upon, another system. Not a solar system. Not a galactic system. A system called Emuna. Contained within that world is all of this world. Nothing can exist outside of that larger system. Nothing can exist outside of Emuna.

When we look at the world through physical eyes, it seems that the world's existence is selfevident, and within the world is a thing called belief, emuna. Our physical eyes would tell us that emuna is optional. You can choose to believe, or you can choose not to believe. This is the way the rest of the world looks at reality. however, from the Jewish perspective, the world is looking through the other end of the "telescope." The world has mistaken that which is optional for that which is perforce and that which is necessary for that which is incidental. The world has mistaken the rocks and dust of this world for the Man in the Moon. Judaism takes the telescope and turns it around. Emuna doesn't exist in the world - the world exists in Emuna.

We tend to think that nothing is as solid as a rock; nothing is as certain as what our eyes see. These are the certainties - and faith, emuna, is not something "certain." The world's paradigm is that faith is something you can choose to subscribe to, like some spiritual cable TV. You can channel-hop, or you could just turn the whole set off. The reverse is true. God created emuna as a truth, as a reality, as an existence, and then placed within that creation every rock and mountain, every sea and shore. It is with this sensitivity that a Jew draws close to Rosh haShana. Rosh haShana is the day that we crown the Creator as King of the world. What does it mean to crown a nonphysical nonspiritual Being of whom we can ultimately know nothing? Where is there a stadium that can contain his coronation? Where is there a crown large enough to place on his head? The crown that we give to the Almighty is our gift of ourselves to him. When we place our very existence within the world called Emuna, we place the Crown on the Creator.

you have left Your Footprints
in the highlands of Mann.
the still-rocks still-luminesce Your One Small Step
in this un-tranquility base.
Your Singular Stamp marks
every Landing
every Encounter
with the Unseen Hand.
only You can put
the moon in the man.

More articles available at Ohr Somayach's website.