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Opening Our Eyes

When you look from different sides at a fish swimming in a fish bowl, it looks as if the fish is in a different place each time. This familiar optical illusion is due to the fact that light bends as it passes from one medium to another – the principle known as refraction.

In recent years, Professor Ulf Leonhardt, a leading physicist, has suggested that this principle could be used to render objects invisible. He proposed a design for an “invisibility cloak,” made out of material that refracts any light that falls on it. The “meta-material” is constructed of particles that have a smaller wavelength than light, and diverts light away from it the way a rock diverts water in a stream.

“Seeing is believing,” goes an old adage. We tend to put a great deal of trust in the evidence of our own eyes. Yet the existence of optical illusions such as these demonstrate just how faulty our vision actually is at creating an accurate representation of reality.

Although most of reality that surrounds us is invisible to our eyes, we are able to perceive it through intellect and then design tools to enable us to detect it. The same is true in a spiritual sense. We may not be able to see G-d directly. However, we can study His teachings and practice His commandments, both means through which we form a relationship with Him and learn to recognize Him. At this time, we fulfill the mitzvot without necessarily seeing the spiritual effects they are having on this world. It may feel that we are practicing in darkness, not understanding what we are doing or why. Underneath the surface, though, our mitzvot are creating a new reality, which will soon be revealed to us.

What awaits us is a revelation that will outstrip any that we have known until now – the revelation of Moshiach. In actuality, he is already in our midst and exerts his effects, although we may not be aware of it. The great Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria described the revelation of Moshiach as a process: First he will be revealed, then concealed, then revealed again. Even during the concealment, however, Moshiach’s influence continues to be felt in this world and we live with his inspiration.

The revelation of Moshiach will usher in an era of absolute vision: we will all be able to see the Source of everything, G-d Himself in all His glory. As the verse states, “Our eyes will see when G-d will return to Zion,” and “Your eyes will behold your Master.”


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