Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev was a nineteenth-century rabbi known for his mastery of an unwieldy Mishnaic teaching. To carry one’s self with the ayin tovah, or the “good eye,” is to see in a certain light the world and everyone in it. One scholar describes it as the choice “to intentionally focus on what is most pure in each person—to see their highest and holiest potential.”
Rabbi Yitzchok was beloved for his good eye, utilized even in cases where virtue seemed entirely wanting and holiness altogether deficient.
As one author describes, “He’d roust the local drunk from his stupor on High Holy Days, seat him at the head of the table, and respectfully ask for his wisdom… He extended his caring to all, whether powerful or impoverished, scholarly or simple, righteous or reprobate.”
In minds often besieged by warring sides, opinions ad nauseam, and defensive or disparaging thoughts, the good eye is indeed a shift of perception.
I appreciate stories that remind me to keep my eyes opened for all that can be seen but can just as easily be missed. How we learn to see the world, how we labor to see and know the world, is profoundly important.
Learning to see with the good eye may well be a difficult feat without mindful effort and practice. But could it not be an entirely transformative art for both the seer and the world being seen?
-thoughts from Jill Carattini, managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia. July 3, 2017.