Countdown To Chanukah 21 – Repairing Our Vision
“That shall be your fringe; look at it and recall all the commandments of God and observe them, so that you do not follow your heart and eyes in your lustful urge (Bamidbar 15:39 – sefaria.org).”
The Gra, in his commentary to Tikkunei Zohar (89b), writes that what we see makes a powerful impression and is not easily forgotten. We can understand so much more by actually seeing something than we can by hearing.
The Peleh Yoetz (#341) speaks of vision as so impactful that God blessed our eyes with tears to wash away the destructive and the painful we have seen, as in, “My eyes shed streams of water because men do not obey Your teaching (Psalms 119:136).” The Machazeh Einayim (Chapter 3) reads “do not obey,” as, “did not guard Your teaching,” by guarding their eyes.
We are taught by these masters of Musar, Ethical Direction, to make a concerted effort to see the holy as in God’s Name, a Torah, or a Holy book; to see the beautiful in the world, to see joy and acts of good.
Chanukah, and its Menorah is the perfect opportunity to elevate our vision, to look at the light we have brought into the world, the illuminations we have received from God in response, the joy in our lives – all so much more effective than tears to cleanse our vision from any negativity.
We can then sing the Hallel, “This is God’s doing; it is marvelous in our sight. This is the day that God has made— let us exult and rejoice in Him (Psalms 118:23-24).”
We can, during our approach to Chanukah, as does the Talmud, connect our Tzitzit that nurture our vision and focus on the Mitzvah and its important place in the Shema to pay attention to what we see and how we see.