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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

See the world in 3D!


Daf Yomi Chagigah 2

Today's Life Yomi has been dedicated by Paula Weil in memory of her mother, Jean Tabachnik z"l.  May Jean be a good advocate in the Heavenly Court for good health for the family.  

There is a folk story of a blind girl who hated herself just because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She said that if she could only see the world, she would marry him.  One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her and suddenly she could see everything, including her boyfriend.
Her boyfriend asked her, “Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?”

The girl was shocked when she saw that her boyfriend was blind too, and refused to marry him. Her boyfriend walked away in tears. Some weeks later, the girl received a letter from her ex, which read: Please just take care of my eyes dear.  Love you forever.

Our eyes are so important to everything we do.  We all thank G-d every day for granting us the gift of sight.   But we have one nose, one heart, one head.  Why do we need two eyes?

The Mishnah states: Everyone is obligated to be seen at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem on the three pilgrimage festivals.

The Gemara asks: Whom does the word “everyone” come to include? 
Answer: One who is blind in one eye.  The Mishnah teaches us this lesson, in contrast to the teaching of Yochanan ben Dhabi who quotes Rabbi Judah as saying: One who is blind in one eye is exempt from the mitzvah of being seen, as the Torah states, “he shall be seen”, which may be read “he shall see”.  The same way that one comes to see so does he come to be seen.  Just like one sees with both eyes so must one be seen with both eyes.

Rabbeinu Tam explains: Just like one comes to the Temple to be seen by both of “G-d’s eyes” so must the person be prepared to come and open both his eyes.

Try closing one of your eyes and looking at something at a distance.   There’s no way of telling how far away it is.  With one eye, everything appears two-dimensional.  The incredible gift of two eyes is the ability to see the world in 3D. 

Sadly, many people see the world in 2D.  Their motto is WYSIWYG – what you see is what you get.  If I can’t see the Divine, then it’s not there.  The physical plane that they can see is all they’re prepared to accept. 

Unfortunately, there are people at the other extreme who ignore the existence of the world around them.  As far as they’re concerned, all that’s real is spirituality and the world should be dismissed.  And so they close themselves off to the world and live an angelic existence, insulated from the world around them. That perspective is also 2D.

Our thrice-annual visit to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem served as a reminder of how to see the world in 3D.  G-d placed us in this world in order to bring Heaven down to earth and elevate the physical plane to the spiritual.  The Temple was the ultimate manifestation of that idea – a physical house for G-d, so to speak, in this world.

And so when we came to the Temple, the Almighty would demonstrate true ‘seeing’ to us.  The message:  Don’t look at the world through one eye in 2D.  That’s a very shallow way of viewing My world, says G-d.  Instead, use both your eyes to appreciate the depth that’s out there.  The Temple reminded us that our purpose is to see the physical and the spiritual and use both our eyes to combine the two visions and achieve focus.

Stop looking at the surface.  There’s more out there than meets the eye.  Start focusing and you will find that the eyes are the window to the soul!