Thursday, March 08, 2007

Peregrinating Among The Te'amim

י"ט באדר תשס"ז

Without the sense of smell, human beings can only distinguish five tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and savory. The single number "five" of physically discernable tastes corresponds to Binah, where all tastes are in complex unity. The forms which this "five" takes - sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and savory - correspond to categories of "taste expression" in Malchut.

If one looks at the shapes of the tropes (te'amim), it can be observed that there are five sets of shapes that comprise the structures of all the tropes:

point (dot-diamond)
single line (straight or 90 degree angled)
curved line
parallel lines (straight or curved)
circle (open and closed)

Smell and taste are chemical senses, and by some, are regarded as one sense. Nearly 80% of our ability to taste is due to our sense of smell. Without smell, as written above, we can only distinguish the basic five tastes and lack the ability to distinguish the over 10,000 different odor molecules which contribute to distinguishing the "nuances" of taste.

Olfaction (the sense of smell) is located in the parts of the brain which influence creativity, memory and emotions. Consequently, even through smell alone, burning incense can profoundly influence us in all these areas.

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