Rectifying the Sense of SightTamuz

Seeing Inside


In Hebrew, the idiom "to see someone's face" can mean either to appease him or to fight him.

After winning the wrestling bout with Esau's archangel, Jacob says, "for I have seen the angel of God face to face and my soul has been saved." Several of the traditional commentaries explain that seeing face to face in this context means engaging in physical combat. (This meaning of the idiom "to see one's face" is explicit in another place in the Bible where the king of Judah invites the king of Israel to see one another's face, i.e., to wage war.) Later, when Jacob meets Esau he says to him "for I have seen your face as the face of the angel of God and you have desired me." Rashi in his commentary to this verse alludes to the idiom's meaning of making war while explicitly stating the meaning to appease.

Our sense of sight is our ability to assess a situation at hand, to see what is before us. It is our ability to discern between friend and foe. By the power of love projected by our right eye we appease those that we have offended and reestablish our bond of brotherhood with them. By the power of might projected by our left eye we express our determination to stand up to and live by the precepts of our faith and fight the enemies of truth and justice.

Rectified eyes see not only the superficial reality before them but penetrate into the inner essence of the reality they observe. "Face" in Hebrew means "innerness." To see another's face is to see the spiritual reality within him.

Tamuz, the month of sight, is the month to find and make new friends as well as the month to fight and be victorious over our spiritual enemies, beginning with our own evil inclination (who sets his eyes – projects his impure energies – to destroy our spiritual Temple).

Tamuz is the month to fall in love (at first sight) with true beauty, as expressed in the garb of modesty, and to reject false, immodest beauty. In the book of Proverbs the truly beautiful woman symbolizes the wisdom of the Torah. Tamuz is the month to find and fall in love with her.

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