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Beit Midrash Jewish Laws and Thoughts

To See Through Eyes of Sanctity

Look at the world through “eyes of sanctity,” with a point of view which strives to see the Divinity therein. Only the openness of a Torah point of view allows for true openness. Any other kind of openness will spell a divorce of man from himself.
Dedicated to the memory of
Asher Ben Haim
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We use the term "openness" to refer to our interaction with all that surrounds us, with all aspects of existence. To be "closed," on the other hand, means to fear interaction with that which is new.

Rabbi Kook writes of himself (Shemoneh Kevatzim 1: 295), "I am full of courage and freedom. Cowardice robed in 'fear of heaven' cannot lead me astray."

The universe was created for us to interact with it, and, according to the Sages, in the World to Come we will have to give account for everything which we saw in this word and did not derive benefit from. However, one must know how exactly to interact with the world.

Let us again consider the words of Rabbi Kook (ibid. 1:181): "...Look at the illumination of the Divine Presence which is in the entire universe...consider the wonders of creation, their Divine vibrancy, not as some dark and remote program standing before your eyes. Rather, know the world you live in, know yourself and your surroundings..."

Know yourself and your world, but through "eyes of sanctity," through a point of view which strives to see the Divine life therein. Because man was created in the image of God, and the Torah is his order, only an openness that employs a Torah point of view allows for true openness. Any other kind of openness will spell a divorce of man from himself, a state of being closed.

Rabbi Kook continues, warning us not to "swallow the names, the words, the idioms, and the letters."

Swallowing means eating without chewing, without digestion. The encounter must be deep, an encounter which will create a hold and an understanding. Our task in this world is not to stand on the sidelines and observe the workings of nature, technological advances, and new schools of thought, as if they were temporary phenomena, unrelated to us. Rather, we must participate. Everything in creation has something to tell us. We can learn from or make use of every facet of creation. However, as noted, all this must be carried out while viewing things through "eyes of sanctity," with the aim of embracing the good and leaving the bad.

"You possess wings for flying, the wings of a great eagle - do not ignore them, lest they ignore you. Demand them, and they will present themselves to you in an instant."

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