30 November 2008

You Can't Trust Your Eyes

This world is an illusion. A table looks solid and static, but at the molecular level, the slow-moving electrons only make it seem solid. It is actually in motion at all times.

What appear to us as random events are in fact well-orchestrated scenarios constructed for the purpose of granting free-will and awarding merit for correct choices.

Free-will requires equality on both sides of the "equation." For example, just as Europe really began to burn under the Jews' feet in the 1930s, Eretz Yisrael experienced massacres by the Arabs and the British White Paper was issued severely restricting immigration. While events in Europe gave a push to Jews to leave, it became much more difficult to get to Eretz Yisrael while next to impossible to enter America. People reasoned that all things being equal, they were better off going with the flow, rather than fighting their way upstream. We know now what a big mistake that was, yet we haven't internalized the lesson.

We see the same scenario being played out today with the same results. Eretz Yisrael is shrouded in an illusion. It appears to many as though the Jews might be facing another exile or worse, annihilation. A corrupt regime appears to be in firm control of the government including the courts, the army and the police. The shadow of Achmadinejad looms dark and forbidding on the eastern horizon and nobody knows how the economy will survive the global recession. The Goldeneh Medinah is looking a bit tarnished these days, but compared to the seeming dangers facing Jews in Israel, it's just so much easier to stick with the familiar. It's a "hunker-down" mentality.

It's also another aspect of the sin of the spies. Despite the fact that Hashem had already pronounced Eretz Yisrael a "good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey," they had to go and see for themselves and then they made the mistake of trusting in their own sight---"In our eyes, we seemed like grasshoppers, and so we were in their eyes." They confused illusion with reality and based upon their faulty interpretation of events, they erred grievously and brought ruin upon us in every generation.

The prophet Yeshayahu informs us that this will not be a problem for Mashiach: "He will be imbued with a spirit of fear for Hashem; and will not need to judge by what his eyes see nor decide by what his ears hear."
The path of G-d is not walked by sight, but by faith. This concept belonged to Jews long before the xians stole it. This was Avraham Avinu's response to "Lech Lecha."

Shlomo HaMelech wrote in Mishlei: "Wisdom lies before an understanding person, but a fool's eyes are in the ends of the earth." We have to understand and internalize the fact that what we see is not necessarily what is.

Hashem gave us His Torah and the words of all the prophets were recorded for our instruction. We have to trust what we know to be true and not rely on what our eyes show us.

The following clip expresses this idea in a very memorable way. It impressed me the first time I saw it and I've never forgotten it. This is what it looked like to me when I decided to come and live in Eretz Yisrael---like a yawning, black chasm. Only after you take that first step in pure, absolute faith do you learn the truth---that Hashem is there and has already prepared a way across in front of you. You'll never see it...you'll never know it...until you take that first step.

If you have trouble viewing the video. See it here.

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