Turn “your” eyes inward

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov retold a ancient parable.

The King wanted to remodel his splendid Palace. His desire was the King’s Bedroom would be made beautiful. The King called his top two Minister’s and told them of his desire. He gave them two identical halves of the same room to decorate as a means to test which of the Minister’s could perform the best work. He promised to pay both of them for their time and according to their work. The King expected a wonderful result. The King asked that they have the project finished by the time he returned to the Kingdom. The deadline was set for sixty days.

The first minister worked diligently from the first day. He used the money and resources that the King gave him. He loved the King and wanted to give a gift worthy of the King. As he worked day in and day out, the love he felt for the King showed in his creation. The gold, white and mixture of colors created a magnificent reflection of the light. The room shone.

The second minister loved the king, but was not able to concentrate on the project. He spoiled his time by spending his money and efforts in the small town below the Kingdom.

The first minister was able to complete his project a week before the deadline and he happily awaited the return. He contemplated the sorry plight of his neighbor and offered to help the second minister. His offer was refused.

The second minister became afraid of his failure and within days of the return of the King to the Kingdom he knew that he could no longer complete the project. He sat on the broken furniture in his half of the King’s room, which had gathered dust and was drab and smelly compared to the other half of the room, which shone. He knew the King was just. He knew the King loved him, but he also felt the pain of failure in his heart. He understood that he failed the King.

A day before the scheduled return, the second minister came upon an idea. He went into the town below the Kingdom and he bought mirrors. He worked hard getting them up the hill and into the room. He tore down curtains from another part of the Castle and awaited the King.

When the King beheld the work of the first minister, he was pleased. He rewarded the man.

The second minister then pulled aside the curtain. The mirrors shone back the first minister’s room. The room was beautiful but clearly an illusion. The King stared.

There are three options for an ending among the Jewish people.

1. The King punished the Minister for his treachery.

2. The King rewarded the Minister for the work.

3. The King chose to reward the Minister in the same way that he worked. He granted him the a reward of Gold, reflected in the same mirrors. He rewarded illusion with illusion.

The historical answer when telling the story was always that he King rewarded illusion with illusion, but when the same story was told by Rebbe Nachman, he would end the tale with the second minister being richly rewarded.

The reason for this change is a matter of perspective. Rebbe Nachman saw the parable through the eyes of the King. The parable was the King’s story and was a view into the love that both minister’s had for the King. Both ministers were trying to gain his approval, but they did it in very different ways. The work was accomplished along two very separate paths. Rebbe Nachman saw the parable through “turned eyes.”

Turning the Eyes Inward

There is a a mitzvot that we should pray daily. Rebbe Nachman and the Ba’al Shem Tov both understood that prayer is central to transforming your life. As Jews, we lift our hands upward towards the L-rd. This forces our eyes upward, eye to eye.

The Sh’ma tells us to Hear and Do. The primary act of a spiritual creature is to understand the spiritual world by hearing the commands of Hashem and doing them. The problem is that this still leaves us in a place where we cannot “see” Hashem. He remains in a hidden and concealed state. A place where a screen or Massach is between us an our King.

Lifting our eyes in an act of prayer is connecting to the Maschiach. Hashem sees us as the King sees us. He looks down and see us with loving Kindness. He loves us as his own.

The intermediary relationship with Maschiach lifts us beyond the veil. We rise up through prayer to another dimension. We cross through the worlds of the Creation, through Action, Foundation and Divinity. The separateness of G-d and Spiritual man, the Massach, the line between the upper and lower world, begins to face as we cross over to seeing the world through the King’s eyes. In that place, you turn back to look at yourself in the same ways as the King looks at you. You turn your eyes inward and see yourself in the same way as the King.

Eyes Upward

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