Shelach: Concept 24: Introduction
613 Concepts #24
“Do not explore after your heart and after your eyes after which you stray.”
Self Control: Both our eyes and our hearts wander and wonder. Eyes wander. We constantly see attractive things. Some are things we do not have. Some are things we should not have. We constantly see things and our desires are stirred. Our hearts are filled with questions. We wonder about God. We wonder about reward and punishment. We wonder if what we do has meaning. We wonder “what if,” or, “if only…” This concept is not to allow our eyes or hearts to wander. They naturally do.
“A hearing ear and a seeing eye; God made them both.” Did God not make all the different parts of the body? Solomon specified the two senses that cannot help but be exposed to negative influences. The idea of this concept is to accept that we can control our behavior after our eyes and hearts have wandered. We can assert self-control over our behavior.
Focus on Good: We spend a great deal of time looking at what we do not have, and concentrating on our problems. We are so centered on what is not ours that we lose sight of what is. We are quite skilled in identifying with the good parts of what others have, but falter when it comes to appreciating what is ours. This concept reminds us not to use our ability to find good in something on externals, but to redirect it toward the good in our lives.
Desire and Belief: “Eyes” = I do not want to… “”Heart” = I cannot. We constantly fight an inner battle on at least two major fronts; Belief and Desire. One who steals a precious item from someone else because he wants that thing is battling desire. Someone who cheats in business is fighting a lack of faith that God will care for him and there is no need to cheat.
Sensitivity: When we begin to close our eyes to our surroundings we close out many of the things we should see. If we stop looking in order to protect our eyes we will also stop seeing suffering and those in need.
There is the Evil Inclination of cold, which desensitizes a person to his surroundings. This Evil Inclination cannot easily be transformed into holiness. There is an Evil Inclination of passion, which can easily be redirected toward holiness and to serve God with that passion.