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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?