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Tuesday
Aug152017

“EYES TO SEE…”

HIDING IN PLAIN VIEW (Part 2 of a 3-part series)

By Prof. Shimon Silman
RYAL Institute and Touro College

In Part 1: A Fake World, we made the point that we dont really see the reality of the world. It is an עלמא דשקרא as the Zohar calls ita fake world, and only through the Torah can we successfully interact with the true reality.

Now we consider the opposite extreme. There are things in this world as it is (a fake world) that are right before our eyes and yet, we don’t see them. Let me give you a very simple, personal example of this that comes to mind as I type this article. When I first started using Hebrew on my keyboard I had a lot of trouble finding the letter ע. I just couldn’t find it until I scanned the entire keyboard from the first row until I found it. Where was it? Right in the middle of the keyboard—right before my eyes! But this didn’t help. Every time I needed an ע I had to search for it again. Finally, I trained myself that every time I needed an ע I would think to myself: “It’s right before your eyes—hiding in plain view!”

MAGIC EYE

On a much larger scale, the Rebbe MH”M tells us to open our eyes to see the Geula in the world: “In these days—the Era of Moshiach—which we are now in, all we need to do is open our eyes and then we see that the true and complete Geula is already here, literally.” (Sicha of 19 Kislev, 5752)

This brings us to a discussion of exactly what it means to “open our eyes.” The Rebbe MH”M did not tell us to go to the Kabbalists to find out the right gematria to use to see the world properly or (L’havdil) to go to the scientists and get an electron microscope to look deeper into the world. He told us to simply open our eyes and see what’s right in front of us.

A very good model for something that is right in front of our eyes but we can’t see it until we “open our eyes” is a type of image called an autostereogram, known popularly as “magic eye.”

This is how it works: You see in the picture (reproduced in this article) what appears to be a field of flowers. (It looks better in color but it works in black & white too.) But if you “open your eyes” you will see something else…

There are a few ways to do this. Central to all of them is not to focus on the image itself. Instead, hold it in front of your eyes and just stare blankly at it, not focusing on anything. Then stare off into the distance as if you were looking at something far away—all the while continuing to look at the image. It may help to move the image slowly away from your eyes as you continue to stare blankly at it. You’ll get the “hang of it.” If you succeed, the image will appear 3-dimensional and the image of a deer will appear standing in the middle of this field of flowers. The point is that you are seeing something that was there all along. You can only appreciate the significance of this after you have experienced it.

When we see something, an image is received by the eye and the eye sends the information on to the brain. But that’s only part of the story. It has been found that when we see something, the brain sends more information to the eye than the eye sends to the brain. So the eye is not telling the brain what it sees, the brain is telling the eye what it should see. The brain, based on the information stored in it and its past experiences, interprets the information sent to it and sends the results back to the eye telling it, “This is what you are seeing.” I personally have had experiences where I was confronted with a situation so unfamiliar to me and so contrary to my life experiences that I just didn’t see it—even though I was looking at it. My brain had no way to interpret the information that my eye was sending it so it had nothing to send back.

This is why the first stage in “opening our eyes” to see something that is hidden in plain view involves blanking out our vision—clearing our mind. In the case of the magic eye image it’s a blank stare into space. In the case of opening our eyes to see that the Geula is here, it involves reprogramming our brain so that it interprets what it sees in Geula terms, not in Galus terms.

A NEW PARADIGM

The Rebbe MH”M points out that we were raised in Galus so we are trained to look at things in Galus terms. To open our eyes—reprogram our brains—we have to learn a lot of information about the Geula so that we can start to look at events and objects in the world in the new terms of the Geula. We blank out our Galus vision then look at the world and interpret it using our new Geula information. This is not easy but it’s what people have to do whenever there is a new paradigm, a new model of reality. This is what scientists had to do when quantum mechanics was discovered. It wasn’t easy. There was a lot of resistance to it and it took a while. Einstein himself, one of the early pioneers of the theory, strongly resisted some of its conclusions.

The way I see it (pun intended), the aspect of the Geula that’s easiest to see is the fulfillment of the Swords into Plowshares prophecy. The Rebbe MH”M opened our eyes to it in the sicha of Mishpatim, 5752, essentially telling us what to look for. I wrote an entire 150-page chapter on it in my book Scientific Thought in Messianic Times (Chapter III) and that’s not nearly the whole story.

This transformation of military technology into peaceful uses is easy to see once we know what to look for. Back in the 1990s a group of physicists from the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics (who never learned the sicha) published an article online titled, “The practice and Progress of Defense Conversion in China.” They concluded the article by saying, “The peaceful use of military technology represents the trend of history.”

The issue of global security (also discussed in Chapter III), which is related to Swords into Plowshares, requires a bit more work of opening the eyes, especially in recent years. (Some people have to work harder to open their eyes to see the deer in the magic eye image!) Earlier this year I published an article in Beis Moshiach (Parshas Mishpatim) and on the Arutz 7 website (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/20338) titled “Preparing for War or Playing Chess” in which I refer to an article published in Time magazine by Mikhail Gorbachev (remember him?) who claims that the nations of the world are preparing for war. But a careful analysis of the facts confirms the view of a U.S. Defense Department scientist that “they are just playing a game of chess” (see the article).

EYES ON ISIS

Now, let’s open our eyes to ISIS: Suddenly, an unusually cruel terrorist group appears on the scene and has unexpected great success amassing money and power, conquering land from other countries and essentially forging its own state. It’s not the kind of phenomenon that we’ve been looking forward to in the Era of Moshiach. Or perhaps it is?

Let’s look at what they have done and at what they have not done. The greatest threats to Israel in recent time have been from Iran, Syria, which is supported by Iran, and Hezbollah, which is the terrorist arm of Iran. ISIS has kept Syria and Hezbollah busy and distracted by their fighting so that they could not even think about Israel. Syria, especially, has been neutralized.

Furthermore, ISIS has not even tried to attack Israel, Boruch Hashem! At one point the “Palestinians” accused ISIS of being Zionists because they won’t touch Israel.

Jürgen Todenhöfer, a German journalist, spent 10 days with ISIS in 2014. Yes, he feared for his life and said he has no plans to go back again, but while there he was given a guided tour of the “state.” He reported that ISIS is “much stronger and much more dangerous” than anyone in the West realizes and that every day, hundreds of new fighters arrive from all over the world. They told him that they are not afraid of the American or British armies—they would like the U.S. army to come over and fight with them. The only army in the world that they are afraid of, they told him, is the Israeli army!

In November 2016, ISIS mistakenly fired on some Israeli soldiers on the Golan Heights near the Syrian border. Israel fired back and ISIS lost 4 men. According to former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon , ISIS later APOLOGIZED to Israel for the attack! (That’s how the headline appeared on the website of the British newspaper Daily Mail—the word ‘apologized’ in caps.)

This is like right out of the Tanach… An enemy threatens Israel. Hashem tells the Navi to go to the king and tell him not to worry because He is going to bring in another nation to come and attack our enemy and we will be safe. And He strikes fear in the hearts of the other nation so that they will be afraid of us and they too won’t attack us.

Is this not a Messianic event?

Everything happening in the world now is a Messianic event in some stage of growth. When it reaches full bloom, its role in the Geula will be obvious. Until then we may have to “open our eyes” to see it.

MOSHIACH AMONG US

There are things that we don’t even have to “open our eyes” to see. In the sicha of Behar-B’Chukosai 5751 the Rebbe MH”M said, “Immediately we see that Moshiach is already present among us, and everyone points with his finger and says, ‘Behold! This is Melech HaMoshiach and he already came.’”

May Hashem open our eyes to see all the ענינים of the Geula, and even more than that, may Hashem bring about the full revelation of the Rebbe MH”M who will bring the Geula to its completion immediately. Then all the ענינים of the Geula will be visible naturally.

 

[In Part 3, “Creating Reality,” we will explain BE”H how the way we look at something can itself determine the reality of the situation.]

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