Positive Vision - Day 26
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger
Our weekly excerpt from the book "Positive Vision"
Day 26 - Ayin Tovah - Seeing the Good in Others
We spoke yesterday about how our neshamah connects to the outside world through the power of our eyes. They are the windows into the neshamah and the windows out.
R' Chaim Shmulevitz brings yet another proof of this concept. He cites a Midrash that states that when the generation of those who lived in the Midbar saw the produce of Eretz Yisrael that was brought to them in the Wilderness by local merchants, they died immediately. Why? Because Hashem had decreed that they may not enter Eretz Yisrael - and seeing the detached fruit was considered as if they had entered the Land, so they perished as soon as they saw it. Merely seeing Eretz Yisrael, and even just its produce, contravened Hashem's promise that they would not enter Eretz Yisrael.
R' Chaim, however, points out that this same idea, that we connect to what we see, provides a powerful silver lining, for seeing greatness has an equally positive impact. R' Yehudah HaNasi )also known as Rabbeinu HaKadosh( would say that he was greater than his colleagues because he had seen R' Meir, albeit only from the back. Yerushalmi relates similarly that
R' Yochanan and Reish Lakish say that they merited to understand Torah only because they once saw R' Yehudah HaNasi's finger.
Accordingly, R' Chaim suggests that if one wishes to undo the damage he has done by looking at improper things, he should endeavor to look at people who are kadosh, and he will thereby acquire kedushah.
The eye's power to connect has yet another powerful ramification.
One of the Rishonim, R' Menachem Recanati, writes as follows:
Know that the eye has the power to influence things both to the good and to the bad. Therefore an "ayin hara" can cause damage ... Similarly, if a tzaddik curses or even looks with an ayin hara, another tzaddik must come to do the opposite ... Therefore Hashem warned Klal Yisrael not to even look at idols because doing so feeds the yetzer hara, from which it draws nourishment ...
The polar opposite of an ayin hara, an evil eye, is an ayin tovah, a good eye. One of Hashem's middos is that He has an ayin tovah for Klal Yisrael, and in some sense, does not "see" the evil of Klal Yisrael as the verse states [Hashem] does not look at evil in Yaakov, and has seen no perver- sity in Israel. Hashem sees the neshamos of Jews and knows that they are overwhelmingly good and that their aveiros are external to their essence.
R' Tzvi Meyer Zilberberg shlita notes that we are all instructed to follow in Hashem's ways and adopt this middah as well. We should see only that which is good in others because, in fact, even with aveiros, a Jew is overwhelmingly good. He adds that those of us who cannot see this, have sullied their eyes.
R Tzvi Meyer adds: It is only pure and untainted eyes, those that reflect the middos of Hashem, that can see the world as Hashem sees it, and focus on all that is good within another person.