Thursday, June 17, 2010

Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes

Shabbat Balak (The Book of Numbers/ Sefer Bamidbar 22:2 – 25:9)
14 Tammuz 5770 / June 26th, 2010

Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes!

In this week's Torah portion we read about King Balak of Moav who enlists the prophet Baalam ben Be'Or to curse the Israelites for fear that they will destroy Moav in battle.

The story goes that G-d becomes angry that Baalam went without waiting for the King's messengers to come get him first, and thus, an angel with a fiery sword is sent to block his way. On three occasions the angel appears in Baalam and his donkey's path. Baalam is blind to the angel, though the donkey can see the swinging flaming sword held by the celestial being. The donkey avoids the angel at each point and Baalam, angrily punishes the donkey for skirting the path.

How is the donkey able to see the angel and Baalam not? This is a great question for the month of Tammuz, which has a Kabalisic association with the quality of site. Both people and animals have ways of being on auto-pilot. It seems that for non-human creatures (from rocks to trees to donkeys), being alive is somewhat simple. They just go with the flow following the rules of biology. They interact with the world with the goal of survival, and see what they need to see to enact this goal. It is natural for them. For humans, things can be more complicated. What does it mean for you to simply be yourself in this world? There is no ONE authentic way to be you! And so, sometimes it is easy to switch to autopilot, moving in one direction by solely focusing on what serves your chosen momentum.

The problem with this kind of autopilot, as we see with Baalam, is that we might begin to ignore the signs that beckon us to shift directions. We can begin to become insensitive to both the beauty and pain that calls to our attention. This week's portion can serve as a reminder for us to keep looking at the world with fresh eyes. As human beings with have the opportunity to live life with astounding awareness, ensuring that in each moment we are living with our highest vision of self in mind.      

Many blessings!


Post a Comment