Do You Have a Good Eye, or An Evil One?
22 `The eye is the lamp of the body.' So if you have a `good eye' [that is, if you are generous] your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if you have an `evil eye' [if you are stingy] your whole body will be full of darkness. If, then, the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!— Matthew 6:22-23 NIV
In the Hebrew
- Ayin tovah ("good eye")
- Ayin hara ("evil eye")
A person is said to be olam katan (עוֹלָם קָטָן), a miniature world. The eye reflects the world outside and reveals the world inside. A person's outlook reveals their inner character. This is part of what Yeshua meant when He talked about 'eyes' in these Scriptures.
According to the Talmud (Shabbat 104a), the good eye of Ayin looks toward Samekh in the alphabet and stands for the acronym semokh ("support") anaiyim ("the poor"). That is, the ayin tovah ("good eye") will manifest itself in benevolence and charity toward others. On the other hand, the ayin hara ("evil eye") will look to the letter Pey (mouth), considering how it might consume for itself in greed and envy.
Ayin is sometimes described as having two eyes that connect to a common "optic nerve" that leads to the brain. The two eyes represent choice or the actions of the will (i.e., the heart). We can choose whether to use the good eye or the evil eye to perceive things; we can choose to see the glass as half full rather than half empty.
Ayin (like the letter Aleph) is a silent letter. It is said that Ayin "sees" but does not speak, and therefore represents the attitude of humility (or anavah). Anavah begins with an Ayin, as does the word for service (avodah) and yoke (ol). On the other hand, Ayin can represent idolatry (avodah zara) as well as slavery (avedut), both of which are born out of the heart of envy.
When the eye is evil (ayin ra), it becomes a slave to the purposes of sin and the yetzer hara (the evil impulse). As Rashi said, "The heart and the eyes are the spies of the body: they lead a person to transgress; the eyes see, the heart covets, and the body transgresses (Bamidbar 15.39)
So I repeat the question, "Do You Have A Good Eye or An Evil One?" Do we love others more than we love ourselves? Acts of service and kindness show God's love to everyone.
It’s so important especially during these pandemic times to have a good eye. Let’s give someone a cup of cold water and be concerned for brothers and sisters regardless of economic status, race or anything else! Let us show the love of Yeshua to all we meet.
In Yeshua's love,
Photo by Kat J on Unsplash