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The Systems of the Jewish Year

We Are All Just A Little Bit Blind

By Rabbi Yaacov Haber

Yitzchak was blind.  Had he been able to see, the history of the world would have been different. Instead of giving his monumental blessing to his son Yaakov, he would have given the blessing to his other son Eisav and the geula would have been in the hands of Eisav’s descendants, not Yaakov’s.

Yitzchak’s blindness was clearly part of G-d’s plan for the future of the world.

Why did Yitzchak think that the bracha would be best given to Eisav rather than Yaakov? What was the cause of Yitzchak’s blindness?

The Midrash says, homiletically, that Yitzchak’s blindess originated at the Akeida, where the heavens opened and the Angels saw Yitzchak’s distress. This sight caused them to cry and their tears fell into Yitzchak’s eyes, making him blind.

I had a friend as a student in yeshiva by the name of Birnbaum, the son of the Rosh Yeshiva of Mir in America. I recall talking to him about the future ahead of both us. He thought that his life path was clear and defined by his background. He would certainly be the next Rosh Yeshivah of Mir.

Tragically, however, this was not meant to be. Only days after our conversation, he was accidentally shot and killed at a young age. His father, Rav Shmuel Birnbaum AH was inconsolable. People coming to make a Shiva call didn’t know what to say. How would they bring him some comfort?

Eventually someone visited him and said he would like to repeat something he had once heard previously from Reb Shmuel himself.

Reb Shmuel once asked why the Midrash stated that the Heavens had to open up in order for the Angels to see the events of the Akeida. Didn’t they know what is happening? Aren’t they intimately aware of all of creation?

He answered that this was because until the windows were opened, the Angels had no reason to cry. From their perspective in the upper world of Truth everything was going fine; there was no cause for distress. It was only down in our world that things didn’t look rosy. Yitzchok was blinded.

Once the barrier between the two worlds was removed the Angels were able to see Yitzchak’s pain and his distress. They began to cry for Yitzchak. Conversely, when we are distressed and in pain down in this world, the perspective from the world of Truth may be very different. With this Rav Shmuel Birnbaum was able to gain some comfort.

Yitzchak’s blindness was a result of the human lack of clarity. Even Yitzchak, who was closer to the world of Truth during his lifetime than perhaps anyone else in history, concluded for the moment, that Eisav would be the best bearer of the bracha.  It was due to this very same blindness that he gave the bracha to Yaakov, who was the right choice from the perspective of Truth.

“אמר רבי בנימין… הכל בחזקת סומין עד שהקדוש ברוך הוא מאיר את עיניהם , מן הכא ויפקח אלוקים את עיניה… וכו’”

Reb Binyamin said: we are all blind until G-d open our eyes.

In a way we are all blind and limited in our perspective. It is only when and if G-d opens our eyes that we are able to see the complete truth.

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