Turn On Your LightsJuly 11, 2012 - 5:00 am
“I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, ‘What have I done?’ Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle.” — Jeremiah 8:6
“Like a blind man walking along the seashore.” That’s how Rabbi Moses Hayim Luzzatto, an 18th century Italian rabbi and philosopher, describes many, if not most, human beings. In his magnum opus, The Path of the Just, Luzzatto explains that most people go through life spiritually blind. They don’t stop to think and look critically at the path that they are taking.
A person who walks this world without considering the direction that he or she is headed is like a blind man walking by the shore. He is in great danger, says Rabbi Luzzatto, and his chances of getting lost are far greater than those of finding his way.
To illustrate his point, Luzzatto points to the book of Jeremiah: “None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, ‘What have I done?’” The prophet Jeremiah was frustrated at the blindness among his brethren. He saw disaster looming on the horizon and he struggled in vain to get the Jewish people to repent. And then it hit him: They don’t even realize that they are doing things wrong! How can they possibly repent when they are blind to the truth? How can they get back on the right path if they don’t open their eyes to see where they are going?
Next, Jeremiah gives us a profound insight into human nature. The spiritually blind person is “like a horse charging into battle,” says the prophet. A horse charging in battle is going too fast to consider whether or not it is taking the most strategic course. The horse just runs, oblivious to the head-on collision it’s about to have. This, explained Jeremiah, is the cause of spiritual blindness. If we are speeding down the fast lane of life, it’s impossible to take in the scenery. We could be headed the wrong way and we wouldn’t even know it.
Rabbi Luzzatto explains that being busy is one of the greatest stumbling blocks before mankind. If we are too busy to think then we are too busy to change. And if we never adjust our course in life, we will never reach our goal. Even worse, we may find ourselves in treacherous territory, like a blind man walking dangerously close to the raging waves of the ocean.
Ever notice that we have more time-saving conveniences than ever and yet we are just as busy, if not busier? Carve out time for daily contemplation. Take the time to turn off your life and turn on your lights so you can see your way!