Vision of the Blind
There’s none so blind as they that won’t see. -Jonathan Swift
The darkness was complete. “I am your guide,” the disembodied voice stated. We were totally dependent on that voice and then the attached hand that guided each of us individually from time to time. We were in the “Blind Museum” in Holon, Israel. Our guide had a distinct advantage over us by the fact that he was blind. He could sense our positions from the sound of our voice. He could navigate the dark rooms and corridors easily. He was at home. We were strangers in a strange land.
The Sfat Emet on the Torah reading of Shelach for 5631 (1871) states that what we see can often deceive us. We must focus instead on the inner reality of each person, each thing and each situation. The outer layer that is visible to the eye often hides a much deeper and more meaningful reality.
Our sojourn through the darkness of the Blind Museum highlighted this reality. Just by the sound of our voice, the guide could tell something about our personalities, our concerns, our predicaments, besides our locations. We in turn got a sense of his kindness, his intelligence, his sense of humor, without laying eyes on him.
The Sfat Emet explains that the Sin of the Spies was that they let their eyes deceive them. They saw the outward impressive military might of the Canaanite kingdoms. This caused them to lose faith in God and His power over all of reality. If they would have ignored the sight of their eyes and understood and believed in the true inner reality, they would have had faith and they would have succeeded in their conquest of Israel.
Sometimes it’s better to ignore the evidence of our eyes. Sometimes the blind man sees more than we do.
To Gabi, our guide at the Blind Museum, “Dialogue in the Dark,” at the Israel Children’s Museum in Holon. Extremely recommended visit.