Ayin Ro’eh – The Eye Sees

‘I don’t understand your generation, why things about G-d are not clear as day for them. In my days, it was hard to grasp what some of the things we learned meant – for example, the Mishna in Pirkei Avos, where it talks of the all-seeing eye and the ear that hears all. For me, growing up without technology, I would wonder, how is it possible that every little thing that humans do is recorded forever.   Yet, now with all the technology, how could your generation not understand it clearly. That G-d can capture every nuance, every little step of your lives. You have video cameras and computers and spy cameras. You should get it.’

So lectured my mother many a time in her blended European and Middle Eastern accent which she made unique with concise English words. Ever the philosopher, ever the devout religious woman, she found the nonchalance of my generation frustrating. She had kept the faith, even when concepts took a leap of imagination. And, now, no vivid imagination was needed for us – -the technology was there to prove that the Mishna written years before was plausible. All actions could be recorded and replayed at a later date.

Bikur Cholim stints in hospitals knock you silly and weak. You would think strenuous exercise is tiring. But sitting for hours on end at the bedside of someone ill wipes you out way more. For Jewish patients and their caretakers/families in many NY hospitals there are set up Bikur Cholim rooms, a place where we can head to for some kosher food, prayers and some reading material. One stint I did was for hours on end (in fact it was about two months volunteering).  I would do an overnight, run home to sleep, then head back for a few daytime hours. Along came Shabbat, and there I was again, back in the hospital, providing support for a patient.

I’ve done it in the past, the Shabbat experience in the hospital, and I try to keep it real. That means, for me, dressing the part. Friday night I wore an elegant outfit from sundown, straight through the long night sitting at the bedside. Saturday morning I was kinda creased and crumpled. I ran down to the Bikur Cholim room where I had stashed a reserve outfit and was rewarded with an empty Bikur Cholim room. Using the solitude to my advantage (and standing against the door so no-one would walk in on me), I quickly slipped out of my crumbled outfit into a new pristine one. Ah, there I felt proper again, in the matter of mere moments. I exited the room, triumphant in the opportunity I had just gotten to switch clothes discretely, and relieved that this hospital had a room big enough to maneuver it (not every Bikur Cholim room is conducive for such an exercise).

A few nights later I was back on duty at the hospital. I made a stop at the Bikur Cholim room. Posted conspicuously were new signs, black letters on white paper, proclaiming, “please note, this room is under 24 hour surveillance.” I looked around frantically, and, yes, sure enough, there were the video cameras looming noticeable now, but which I had not noticed on my last trip here. My face is still a bit red. But, my friends, how much of our life do we do that, sneak something, thinking we got away with it. Woe to us in the next world when we are notified about the 24 hour surveillance. A word to the wise – if you don’t want to have to view that sin in public, don’t do it in private. Just don’t do it, my friend.

{I wrote this post a bit of while back, right after it happened, but then pulled it down, so embarrassed I was at what I had done…but then decided back up it goes, for its message is way too important to let my embarassment stop it from being here.}

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About jewishspectacles

Jewish Spectacles-the kind you look through, not the kind you create!
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3 Responses to Ayin Ro’eh – The Eye Sees

  1. Shaindy Lunger says:

    I just love this line “If you don’t want to have to view that sin in public don’t do it in private.”

  2. neilsharris says:

    Excellent posting and lesson. Once at an NCSY shabbaton in Wichita, KS the local paper came motzei Shabbos to do an article on the event. Never have I seen teen boys dance with so much zerizus…and this was well over 25 yrs ago. When someone is watching everything we do is different.

    • I know, which is why all the “reality” shows have no reality, because once there is a camera in the mix, people change their behaviors. I was fascinated by a science phenomenon where light knows when it is being watched! How’s that — even particles and beams behave differently under observation!

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