in israel's mind's eye

One more Torah from the Hesed L'Avraham: (basically every few paragraphs of the Hesed L'Avraham blows me away so I'll try to cherry pick those most easily related via blog.)

Rav Azulai explains a little about the eye-mind relationship. He says that the reason why it is forbidden to look at certain things is that looking at those things (nudity for example) causes the mind to become more physical and less spiritual.

Everything we see creates an image in our mind. Similarly we are capable of imagining any image in our mind. (Sometimes this is called very aptly our mind's eye.) Whether it is something we imagine or a reflection of something seen in the outside world, the image in our mind affects the nature of our mind itself. Our mind actually becomes more physical, more impure when we bear the image of something impure in our mind.

Conversely, when we picture something holy in our mind, our mind becomes more elevated, more spiritual. This, Rav Azulai explains, is why we have a custom to visit our Rabbi and to come before HaShem three times a year, similarly for this reason he explains that it is a mitzwah even to just see the land of Israel even if we cannot enter it. (Thank HaShem that this is not generally a problem nowadays.)

There is one more amazing point, he explains further that when we stand before someone holy, we cause that holy person to picture us in his or her mind. When they have us in their mind, since their mind is always involved in holiness, then we are brought closer to the holiness in their mind and similarly elevated even more than simply picturing that holy person in our own minds.

This plays out in many ways, when we see a loved one, they picture us with great love in their minds and we picture them with great love in ours, and in so doing the bond of love is greatly increased. The same thing is true about hatred and those we hate. This is why it is forbidden to look at a Rasha, as well as someone who is angry.

From here we can extrapolate an amazing point. Seeing the picture even of someone or something holy is tremendously uplifting but not nearly so much as the mirror effect of being physically present before that someone or something.

Rav Azulai even explains that when we see Eretz Yisrael, she sees us right back. We are visualized in her mind, just as she is visualized in ours. When we look with great love, she looks back with equally great love. Can you imagine, even if one couldn't make it to Israel but they were able to see Israel, they were contained within the mind of Eretz Yisrael if not the body?

This was the berachah that HaShem bestowed upon Mosheh Rabeinu despite not letting him into the land.


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