The Relationship between Sight and Vision

Posted on: October 24th, 2012 by Hayim Herring
The Relationship between Sight and Vision

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In last week’s Alban’s Weekly Newsletter, Alban Field Consultant, Linda Rich, wrote a thoughtful post on the use of the metaphor of site and seeing to capture the multifaceted roles of today’s rabbis. In the coming weeks, as we read those weekly torah readings (parshiyot) dealing with our founding matriarchs and patriarchs, our first leaders, the use of the Hebrew word for “seeing” is especially pronounced. For example, God commands Abraham to journey to a land that God will make show him (Genesis 12:1). Likewise, at the end of his life, Abraham is commanded by God to sacrifice his son Isaac on an unknown mountain that God makes visible to him on the third day of his journey. Sarah sees Yishmael interacting inappropriately with Isaac (Genesis 21: 9), causing Hagar to flee to the desert with her son. When she runs out of water, she can’t stand the sight of Ishmael perishing from thirst (Genesis 21: 16), and although a well of water is in front of her, she doesn’t see it until God opens her eyes (Genesis 21:19). And Rebecca is able to perceive which of her twins is the most fit heir to traditions of Isaac and Abraham (Genesis 27). Our roots began with visionary leaders, and Rich’s article reminds us that rabbis are heirs to that tradition.

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