Looking for the Postive

In Parshat Vayechi, (Breisheet 48:10) we read: “Now the eyes of Yisrael were dim from old age, so that he could not see.”


Yaakov was 147 years old so it is not surprising that he could hardly see.


When are some of the other times in the Tanach that people had trouble with their eyes?


According to the Maharam, there are three psukim (sentences) in the Torah that start with the word “v’eynei”, “now the eyes of…” including the pasuk mentioned in our parsha.


The second pasuk that starts with “v’eynei” is earlier in Breisheet 29:17: “And Lea’s eyes were weak; but Rachel was beautiful and well favored.”


According to Breisheet Raba, Leah’s eyes were weak from crying all of the time since everyone would tell her that since Rivka had two sons and Lavan had two daughters, the older daughter would marry the older son, meaning that she would have to marry the wicked Esav and the younger daughter would marry the younger son, meaning that Rachel would marry Yaakov.


The third pasuk to start with “v’eynei” is in Eyov (Job) 11:20: “But the eyes of the wicked shall fail and they shall not escape and their hope shall turn to despair.”


The Rabbis taught in Breisheet Raba: Whoever raises an evil son or an evil student will have eyes that will become dim. The reason that God will make his eyes dim is actually a blessing, so that he will not be able to leave the house very often and that way he will not see the evil behavior that is taking place.


We see the concept of a parent losing their eyesight so that they will not have to see the bad behavior of their evil son in the case of Yitzchak and his wicked son, Esav. Yitzchak lost his eyesight, (Breisheet 27:1): “Yitzchak had grown old. His eyesight had faded and he could not see.”


We see the concept of a teacher losing their eyesight so that they will not have to see how wicked their student turned out from the story of Achiya HaShiloni, the Prophet and Yeravam the King, one of Achiya’s students. Achiya appointed Yeravam over Yisrael. Unfortunately, Yeravam ended up becoming a bad person who sinned and caused B’nai Yisrael to sin. When Achiya became older, we see that he lost his eyesight (Kings- Melachim I 14:4) “…But Achiya could not see, for his eyes were set by reason for his age.”


We can learn from here that God wants us to use our eyes to see the positive things in this world.