Saper Vedere

Opening a book I hadn’t seen in nine years, I found an inscription from a former student: “Thank you for opening my eyes to see Torah, Mitzvot, life, and myself, as never before. Your student forever, and with eternal thanks. S. ”

Less than a year later, as I was dying, as my doctors believed, in a hospital in Germany, he called to tell me that life is too painful to be lived with open eyes. He hasn’t spoken with me since.

Open eyes have allowed me to see painful realities about life and people, but I hope to never close them. Leonardo Da Vinci ‘s cosmology, which he called “Saper vedere,” – knowing how to see – was a blunt instrument that he used to assault the fatuity of his times, but it also empowered him to design plans for tanks, submarines, parachutes, the first revolving stage and much more. His knowing how to see gave us the Mona Lisa, and his study of anatomy.  He suffered for his vision but he never shut his eyes and the world continues to benefit from his vedere.

Our eyes have been open since Elul. Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur & Succot were toothpicks holding them open. What will we do now?  Will we keep our eyes wide open even when we will see things we would rather not? Or, will we keep them open to see everything around and about us with a fresh perspective and clarity? Have we fallen right back into ‘regular’ life without a festival every few days? Have we succeeded in leaving our new lenses in our eyes, watching everything with joy & anticipation?

The Foundation Stone™ and The Foundation Stone™ Blog are filled with the wisdom necessary to keep our eyes open. From the Haftarah – Beyond, to our daily postings on prayer: Adam, Heavenly Praises, Light & DarkAs The Patriarchs, and Achieving Kavanah all help us achieve saper vedere. We added a new weekly post on Shabbat Prayers. Mishlei: A Fantasy Lecture By King Solomonchanges the way we perceive wisdom. Table Talk gives us a bird’s eye view of Adam, and Adah and Zillah. The Heileger Chana Chaya offers a fresh vision ofCommandments From Within, Bentzion of Medziboz shares the Baal Shem Tov’s view in Keter Shem Tov and Stories of the Baal Shem Tov. HaRav Yochanan Zweigshares The Profundities of Torah, Rabbi Chaim Goldberger,(who as am I, is a student of Rabbi Zweig, and is one of my wisest friends) The Voice of Torah andRabbi Shmuel Brazil, From The Rebbe’s Tish. Rabbi Yaakov Shlomo Weinberg’s The Torah Connection offers the perspective of the Yeshiva world on men and women.

Too much to see at one time? My two favorites are Achieving Kavanah and The Treasure Hunt.

Here’s looking at you!

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Simcha L. Weinberg

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