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Succos 5779 - Seeing Eye to Eye

By Rabbi Zvi Teichman

Posted on 09/23/18

Have you ever wondered where the expression ‘to see eye to eye’ stems from?


We are about to celebrate Sukkos by sitting in a Sukkah which is to reminiscent of how in during our sojourn in the desert, G-d enveloped us in his protective Clouds of Glory.


There the verse describes how G-d appeared to us ‘eye to eye’ and stood His clouds over us. (Bamidbar 14 14)


What can it mean to look G-d in the eye?


In our portion it reports how G-d preserves us like, אישון עינו, the pupil of His eye.


(Devarim 32 10)


Rabbeinu Bechaye explains how the word אישון alludes to the pupil of an eye. It’s root is איש, a man. The extra ון added, now אישון implies a ‘miniature’ man. If you will gaze at the pupil of a person standing opposite you and gazing at you directly, you will see a reflection of yourself in miniature, thus a אישון-little man.


We, as it were, become fused to His very being, and now present in His eyes.


In the same vein, I may add, He is, at it were, reflected in our very essence as well, as He is now present and etched on our pupil.


There is an amazing scientific observation that discovered that when staring at someone you love or are interested in, your pupil dilates, expanding its blackness. However, if you face someone you are weary of, your pupil will constrict.


In other words, where love and appreciation exists, it becomes manifest in the larger image of the other imprinted on one’s bigger pupil.


G-d expands His universe, His pupil, proportionately to the level of His affection for us. We too, the more we diminish our selfish interests, the more room we make for G-d, and He becomes a presence in our vision and perspective.


When the ‘generous eye’ of Avraham notices three weary travelers on a excruciatingly hot day, he immediately seeks to invite them in, running toward them while yet recovering from the surgery of his circumcision and dripping with blood. He begs them to seek some cool shade and ‘recline under the tree’. We are taught that in the merit of his offering them protective shade, his progeny merited the Clouds of Glory and the subsequent mitzvah of Sukkah.


When we make room for others and expand our generous eye by increasing in our eyes the value of others, then G-d will reciprocate by embedding our great stature upon His very eye.


It is for that reason we speak of the סוכת שלום, a Sukkah of Peace, and the notion of a Sukkah that the entire Jewish people will reside comfortably together in. It is also the holiday where we bring Sacrifices, the seventy bulls, corresponding to the total number of nations, we hope to one day inspire to return as well. It is also the holiday where we take the four species, representing the four categories of Jews and binds them all into one.


The very word סוכה actually means to ‘see’, because it is in the capacity to see with an eye that encompasses all that we merit to be embraced fully in G-d’s sites.


May תשע"ט, herald the blessing that תהא שנת עין טובה  this be a year inspired with a ‘good eye’ expanding our validation of others so that we will merit soon, עין בעין יראו בשוב ד' ציון (נב ח), Eye to eye they shall see when the Lord returns to Zion!


באהבה,


בברכת חג שמח,


צבי יהודה טייכמאן