There are little secrets that hardly seem worth knowing, like the name of the cleft running from nostril to lip. Apparently the ancient Greeks found that crease attractive, because their name for it, philtrum, can also mean a love potion.
Then there are the Great Secrets: Where did we come from? Why are we here? What lies ahead?
And sometimes these secrets are connected.
Avi once told me a Talmudic story about the philtrum. Before birth, he said, each child is smooth-lipped and accompanied by an angel of the Lord. The seraph is a guide and mentor, unfolding the great secrets of the universe to the burgeoning soul.
Just before joining the world, the baby understands the inner workings of the cosmos, from fundament to welkin and beyond. But as the child prepares for birth, the angel performs a final benediction. Laying a single finger upon lips that have yet to breathe, the spirit commands its charge:
The impress of the seraph's finger sears the philtrum into the babe's malleable flesh. And so we wander through our lives seeking remembrance of all we have lost; struggling to understand, catching only occasional glimpses of truths we instinctively recognize…