Mitzvos aren’t tasks to check off. They’re pursuits to experience, to lose yourself in, to get passionate about, to delve ever deeper and grow ever greater in. Like you were an oceanographer constantly plumbing new depths in the ocean. An entrepreneur throwing your all into growing a business you love. A sports player constantly improving in your sport.
In reality, though… how many of us can relate to this?
How many of us experience tefillah as an epic, all-consuming journey filled with thrilling highs and painful lows and climactic, eye-opening discoveries?
What about our Shabbos?
Our Torah learning?
Our efforts to refine our speech?
Our chessed activities?
Shir Hashirim, Perek 4, Pasuk 9:
Shlomo Hamelech tells us that the Jewish people “captured Hashem’s heart with one eye.” That occurred, explains the Gemara, when we first accepted the Torah. Later, however – after actually doing the mitzvos – we drew Him close “with both eyes.”
One eye, two eyes – what’s the difference? Don’t we see the same thing whether we’re looking at it with one eye or two?
We do. But. Only with two eyes can we perceive depth.
One-eye vision is a 2D experience. Two-eye vision is a 3D experience.
It’s a lot like the difference between watching a game and playing it.
When you’re a spectator, even if you live in the stadium, you’re still just a spectator. Yes,
you witness the game, you can see what happens and who wins – but you’re still experiencing things in a limited way.
But when you’re on the court, when you’re the one playing the game – oh, what an experience! Every bit of you is involved. You’re privy to the inner workings of the game. You feel the full force of every setback and success.
That’s the difference between “one-eye” Judaism and “two-eye” Judaism.
There are those who enjoy reading “Gedolim books.” We love hearing stories about people who truly live Torah and mitzvos. These stories give us a window into such a life, a whiff of the joy and depth these great people experience.
What if… we too could learn to lead such a life? What if we didn’t have to nurture our love for Judaism through books, because we were learning how to experience life in the same way?
What if we could truly learn to pursue Torah and mitzvos the way Hashem meant us to?
Join us as we work toward discovering a trail that will lead us to a genuine life of Torah.
Rabbi Levi Lebovits is the Director of the Vaad Project, Yeshiva Toras Chaim of Denver.