April 26, 2004

Do You Need Glasses?
"And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as 
it vomited out the nations that were before you" 
(Vayikra / Leviticus18:28).

I have worn glasses for most of my life. I remember 
how wonderful the day was when I got my first pair. I 
had not been seeing very well for some time. Neither 
my parents nor my teachers had noticed. Then one day I 
made a comment to my mother that I couldn't see 
something properly. Not too long after that, I had 
glasses.

What had seemed normal to me was in reality not 
normal. I had been missing so much of the world around 
me. While there are times that I wish I didn't have to 
wear glasses, I am most of the time very thankful for 
them.

Wearing glasses is not natural. The natural thing for 
many people is to see the world in a distorted way. 
Yet the reality is that people with unclear vision are 
at a disadvantage in life. Corrective lenses are 
effective in helping those who need them to see the 
world properly.

A most common philosophy in our day teaches that 
everyone's opinion is of equal value with that of 
everybody else. The underlying conviction operating 
here is that there is no absolute truths in the 
universe. Therefore truth is whatever each person 
decides for him or herself. Each person's viewpoint 
becomes their own authority concerning the meaning of 
life.

Obviously we could never effectively apply this to our 
eyesight. If we did, the world would be a very 
dangerous place. Automobile licensing bureaus are 
right to impose the use of glasses upon those who need 
them. We would never accept someone insisting that 
they have the right to see the world the way they do, 
if they are not seeing it according to the way it 
really is.

Some may object at my drawing a parallel between our 
eyesight and our opinions of life. Yet it doesn't take 
a philosopher to know that if a society doesn't agree 
on how to relate to the basic issues of life, we end 
up with chaos. The fact is, even the people who claim 
there are no absolute right and wrongs in life, 
themselves hold to a long list of absolutes.

The world is not a random, meaningless interplay 
between chance particles of energy and matter. It is a 
complex, yet cohesive, scientifically sound design. 
Some things work and some things don't. The more we 
learn how to interact properly with this world and 
with each other, the better our lives will be.

None of us are born with the ability to see the world 
the way it really is. Whether we admit it or not, most 
of us spend our lives stumbling and bumbling trying to 
find our way. Most of us have long lists of injuries 
that we have either suffered or caused due to our 
shortsightedness.

Since we are shortsighted, we need glasses. Instead of 
relying on our natural abilities, we need to view life 
through corrective lenses. That is what the Scriptures 
are.

The regulations of life that we encounter in the Bible 
are not cold-hearted restrictions, which exist to keep 
us from having fun. Rather they are insights into how 
life actually works. The chapters that are part of 
this week's parsha (weekly Torah reading), list a wide 
range of relational and behavioral boundaries. Our 
health and welfare depends on strict adherence to 
these things.

The consequences of ignoring these directives may not 
seem evident. When we sin, we do not immediately feel 
bad, hear warning bells or get hit by lightening. In 
fact many wrong behaviors seem pleasant to us at the 
time. Unless we put on the glasses of Scripture, we 
cannot see far enough into the future of our lives to 
realize where our sin is actually taking us.

Do you need glasses?