Why is it that we have two eyes?

(as you can see, I've been trying to post my back-logged Torah from chutz-la'aretz. Here is a dvar Torah I gave over the first shabbath I was at my parents' house)

Really, there is no need for us to have two eyes, we could have three, we'd see more. Why don't we have compound eyes, like insects, then we could still see in three dimensions and multiple directions with only a single eye. Why two eyes?

It occurred to me that we have two eyes so that we never lose sight of the truth. Our two eyes represent Hesed and Gevurah (Kindness and Might) and with them both we look upon everything. Now, a lie can only play to one particular attribute at a time, making the lie seem more appealing to that attribute than the actual truth. When we look through two eyes, through the opposite attributes of Hesed and Gevurah, we see through all the lies. Whether the lie tries to make us more harsh or more soft, the other attribute is never fooled, and so, if we work hard to always see with both our eyes, we can always find the truth.

This is the Jewish way. We open both eyes and look. But, as any good optometrist will tell you, we each have a dominant eye. We look primarily with one of our two eyes, and the other one mainly plays a supporting role. What is the Jewish way? Do we look with Judgement, Gevurah seeking to divide and set apart, or do we look with kindness seeking to unify, which is the primary or dominant perspective?

Mosheh Rabbeinu hints at the answer when he describes the plans of the two and one half tribes who will be settling the land they captured outside of Israel. They say they will build fences for their sheep and cities for their dependents. They question Mosheh: Is this the Jewish way? First walling things off, dividing them with 'fences', ie. Gevurah? Or is the Jewish way to first build cities which bring people together for their comfort and shelter? Mosheh corrects their thinking: First build cities--look always first with Hesed, and then afterwards build fences--compliment the Hesed with a fresh perspective of Gevurah.

Without both eyes, we can lose sight of the truth, but if we want to get the most out of life, we have to give precedence to our kindly eye. Ayin Tov, as Elazar ben Arach explains in Pirkei Avoth.


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