Friday, August 16, 2013

Blog Elul - "See"

As the father of little children, I find myself spending a lot of time trying to capture them on 'film' and on video.  My wife and I then spend a lot of time culling through the pictures, and I spend a lot of time editing the video so that it can actually be presentable.  We share it mostly with family though, on occasion, we like to subject our friends to our adorable children as well.  But hopefully not too much.

All that being said, one issue I have really wrestled with over the years is that when I am so busy trying to capture the 'perfect' moment, I end up not actually being in the moment.  I am trying so hard to capture the adorableness for posterity that I am not enjoying the adorableness as it is taking place.

You can see this if you go to just about any type of performance, graduation, and the like.  The paparazzi (i.e. the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, well-wishers) immediately whip out more electronics than were ever used to land man on the moon in order to record that moment, which they may never refer back to again.

This is not to say that I do not think we shouldn't be capturing major milestones and the like, but is there a point where we are so busy that we forget to genuinely see what is going on around us? 

We are all familiar with the mitzvah to hear: Shema!  As in Hear O Israel.  Yet, even more emphatic in some ways is the commandment to genuinely "see." 

The Hebrew words re'eh, ra'ah, and ro'eh (all related 'see') appear in the Torah many many times.  As Rabbi Avi Weiss wrote, "The first time the word is found in the Torah, the Torah states that after creating light or energy, "vayar Elohim ki tov, God saw it was good." (Genesis 1:4) Obviously an anthropomorphism. Still as God saw, so do we have the power to see."

To really see what is going on requires our attention.  It requires our presence.  And sometimes it even demands of us to put down our electronic devices and really take in all that is going on around us. 

Or in my case, to just take in the adorable children and not always focus so much on recording it for posterity. 


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