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Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita, gives over a profound lesson about the connection between having a good eye, and the redemption of the Jewish people.
(Translated and reprinted from the Kvevat Shomrem Newsletter, Parshat Va-etchanan, 5777).
GOOD HEART VS GOOD EYE
The simple meaning of a ‘good heart’ is that you do acts of (chesed) kindness, that you have mercy on the other person. But an ayin tova, a good eye, this means that you encourage and support another person without being envious of them. So a ‘good eye’ is something else, entirely.
The Zohar says that if we could have seen the eyes of King David, [we would know that] they contained all the colors that exist in the world. The eye of Bilaam contained within it all the evil in the world, but the eyes of David only wished good on another person, “you put joy in my heart…” etc.
That the other guy has a villa, and that he should have a nice car, and a skyscraper, and a penthouse. I don’t need anything, I can live in some hole in the ground - so having a good eye is much more than having a good heart.
The gematria of עפרון Ephron, is ‘ayin ra’ - an evil eye, the opposite of a good eye. King David had such a good eye, that every place he looked, the whole city would immediately make teshuva. If David had lived for another 30 years, the whole world would have returned in teshuva.
THE YESHIVA IS A FAMILY
If we look at the other person with a good eye, and we love the other person…I always say that this yeshiva [Shuvu Banim] is a family. This yeshiva is not a yeshiva like the other yeshivas, this is a family. Love your brothers, love your friends, each person should love the other, and want to help them. Here, we help everyone else without flagging, because the foundation here is that we’re a family, it’s a yeshiva that’s a family, this is my brother, this is my father…..
We got used to being together… like brothers and sisters, like a family, like parents with their children…And this is also true of all Am Yisrael, all of the people of Israel are also one family, all of Am Yisrael are one body, one family.
When there’s a good eye, says the Avi Ezri, there won’t be any more murders in Israel. Everyone will see the other person with a good eye, so even the murderers will be able to escape from their ‘evil eye’. If there would be brotherly love and friendship between all of Israel, there wouldn’t be any murders, there wouldn’t be any more robberies, no-one would touch anyone else’s money. Everyone would coo [together] like one person.
LASHON HARA IS WORSE THAN IMMORALITY, BLOODSHED AND WORSHIPPING IDOLS
The moment there would be love and friendship in Israel - and this is that that means, because ‘you should do what is just in the eyes of Hashem’. A person says some lashon hara (gossip) about someone, publishes something about someone, or says something that isn’t true or accurate, this is worse than [the sins] of immorality, bloodshed or worshipping idols - it’s worse than anything!
A person should distribute tzedaka (charity) in abundance. He shouldn’t be afraid, he shouldn’t say ‘what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is yours’. [Instead he should say] ‘What’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is yours’.
TZEDAKA CAN MOVE THE CELESTIAL ORBS
The Rebbe says, a person who’s distributing money, who’s giving, who had a good eye for everyone, and he throws money around without making an accounting of it, and he doesn’t pay attention to anything else - he can change the whole natural order. He can shift the sun, he can move the sun, the moon, the stars - he can shift everything!
So, tzedaka can move all the celestial orbs. There are 12 mazalot (signs of the zodiac), and 7 celestial bodies, and by way of tzedaka, by giving tzedaka to the Tzaddik…not every type of tzedaka shifts the celestial orbs, only the tzedaka that goes to the Tzaddik…
All the suffering and difficulties that a person has, every type of trouble and pain, everything - a person does it to himself, by being jealous, and by hating others, and by having a stingy outlook. He doesn’t have a good eye.
Ayin tova, a good eye. ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him, and you will heap burning coals upon his head’. Give your biggest enemy something to drink, something to eat, laud him, talk about his good points. This is the only way that God will destroy all of the rashaim (evildoers), and only then will we merit to the complete geula (redemption), may it be speedily in our days.