Our Gemara again discusses the preference of right over left. On Daf 15 we investigated this concept metaphysically. I just wanted to add some more thoughts on this matter:

 

What happens when we want to know what the weather is? Do we look out the window, or do we look at an app on our phone? What about if you want to know what time sunset is in order to pray? Do we look out the window or do we look at the Myzmanim app our phone? The point is, we are disconnected from the natural world due to our technology. In general we are not used to taking our cues from nature and observable phenomenon. And that makes us less able to learn from things that were more obvious and sensible to the Sages of a different era. 

 

The rabbis were able to look at an extra letter or missing letter in the Torah and find meaning from it, because it was written by the hand of G-d. So too, they could look at nature and also “darshen it” for potential meaning and messages.  Is the Universe not also the writing of G-d’s hand?

The idea of right handedness and left handedness was not viewed as a simple matter spiritually or psychologically. Even animals also exhibit right handed or left-handedness (https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/the-animal-kingdom-is-full-of-righties-and-lefties )  The Sages understood that left and right are a deep archetypal pattern, and saw its pervasive presence as a symbol of a deeper universal truth. On the most simple level, it represents somewhat parallel forces with one dominating the other. Think about it, whether it’s about good or evil, or Mercy versus Justice, there are two forces that struggle for dominance, or at least there is a natural process of one aspect being dominant over the other.  Of note, even subatomic particles have preferences toward left spin or Right spin depending on their nature (https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22730354-600-possible-new-particle-hints-that-universe-may-not-be-left-handed/ ). This shows Right and Left-handedness is something that seems to be programmed into the universe. There is a theological Zoharitic principle, הסתכל באורייתא וברא עולמא, G-d looked at the Torah as a guide for how to create the Universe (Zohar II:161b). The point being, the spiritual truths are not metaphors for the physical, but the other way around, the physical is a metaphor for the spiritual.  We might consider all these physical manifestations of right or left handedness are only physical expressions of this universal idea of opposing forces, with one force more dominant.

Within our own personalities, there may also be left-handedness and right-handedness. Meaning, within our particular personality traits we might tend naturally more toward one or the other. There are those that are more generous and those who are more stingy, those who tend toward sadness and those who tend more toward happiness etc. It is important to reflect on the existence of that condition, yet it is often hard to know which direction to trend as being right or wrong.  In almost every aspect of nature, there are going to be opposing forces and yet one side that should authentically be more dominant. I believe this is what many of these rituals were trying to achieve.  The Sages wanted us to be mindful of the existence of trends and the importance of monitoring them.

For Video versions of this click here, and look for title and daf.  

Translations Courtesy of Sefaria