Elishas Prayer, Open Your Eyes,  Sanwar, Sunvar?

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    • Partners in Prayer 6 months ago

      It has been reported that a Chamas leader Sinwar is hiding underground [tunnels] somewhere in Gaza. (NPR)

      The name of Sinwar sounds like Sinvar, or Sanverim,  which mean blindness.

      Sanverim, blindness is commonly associated with those that commit evil; our enemies.

      We are taught that our Yetzer Hara is a great teacher.  What can we learn from the message of enemies and blindness?

      Take a look at how what happened to the people of Sodom.

      וְאֶת־הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר־פֶּתַח הַבַּיִת הִכּוּ בַּסַּנְוֵרִים מִקָּטֹן וְעַד־גָּדוֹל וַיִּלְאוּ לִמְצֹא הַפָּתַח, And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.[3]

      Notice how the word used for the blindness the angels struck the people of Sodom with is סַּנְוֵרִים, Sanverim.  It is derived from the word סִנְווּר, sinvur, blinding, or סִנְוֵר, sinver, he blinded.

      The people of Sodom are blinded.

      We see the theme of blindness and vision used when Elisha was being surrounded by the king of Aram.

      The king of Aram sent his army and horses, and surrounded Elisha at night.  Elisha told his servant to not be afraid, just because there were so many of them surrounding them [Elisha].[4]

      וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל אֱלִישָׁע וַיֹּאמַר יְהוָה פְּקַח־נָא אֶת־עֵינָיו וְיִרְאֶה וַיִּפְקַח יְהוָה אֶת־עֵינֵי הַנַּעַר וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה הָהָר מָלֵא סוּסִים וְרֶכֶב אֵשׁ סְבִיבֹת אֱלִישָׁע, And Elisha prayed, and said, Hashem, that You open his eyes, that he may see. And Hashem opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

      וַיֵּרְדוּ אֵלָיו וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל אֱלִישָׁע אֶל־יְהוָה וַיֹּאמַר הַךְ־נָא אֶת־הַגּוֹי־הַזֶּה בַּסַּנְוֵרִים וַיַּכֵּם בַּסַּנְוֵרִים כִּדְבַר אֱלִישָׁע, And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed to Hashem, and said, Smite this people, I pray to You, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

      Elisha first prays for the young man to open his eyes and see.  The words used are: פְּקַח־נָא אֶת־עֵינָיו וְיִרְאֶה, Please, open his eyes and he will see. [5]

      Rabbi Simcha L Weinberg, neiro yair has taught then when a Navi speaks it must be relevant today, as it is L’dorei Doros.

      What are we to learn from this idea of the wicked being blinded, and eyes being opened?

      How can we apply this to our current situation, when  blindness is associated with our enemy in a war?

      We are taught that the sun itself will burn and consume the wicked in the future,  And the righteous will be healed by it. (Avodah Zara, 4a)

      There is a difference between someone who has worked consciously on preparing oneself to see.  I imagine the righteous who have worked on seeing, are those who live with seeking, looking, seeing, hoping, anticipating salvation.  They experience the sun as healing.  When one chooses to blind him or herself, and  sun will be too strong, and they will be blind, or burnt from the rays of the sun.

      Are we seeing?

      Do we just daven, and say פֹּקֵחַ עִוְרִים, and poof , we are able to see?

      The Ramchal says no, as I understand.

      He dedicates three chapters alone on the topic of Zehirus, watchfulness,  in his sefer Mesillas Yesharim;  to teach us how to see.

      He begins by using the word לְפַקֵּחַ, [to open ones vision] to attend to oneself, in his explanation of watchfulness from blinding ourselves..  (Note how this is the same world Elisha used to teach his student, פְּקַח־נָא אֶת־עֵינָיו וְיִרְאֶה)

      The Ramchal says: הִנֵּה הָרוֹצֶה לְפַקֵּחַ עַל עַצְמוֹ, He who wants to pay attention, or watch over oneself…

      The Ramchal devotes three chapters to this subject of watchfulness needed in order to see and not be as a blind person. (which is recommended to study)

      Therefore, we actually need the Ratzon, the desire, first to open our eyes.  We have to be willing to do the work, to take responsibility for our eyes, for the capacity Hashem gave us to see.

      When we say Hashem is a פֹּקֵחַ עִוְרִים, He restores, (opens the vision) of the blind ,  (Morning Brachos, and Tehillim 146:8) or when we  ask Him to illuminate our eyes in His Torah by the blessing of Torah,  I think it is our moment of taking responsibility for our vision.

      The good news is that when we bless Hashem for being a פֹּקֵחַ עִוְרִים, we use His Name, Hashem, Who is eternal.  This means that even if I did not take responsibility before, it is not too late for me to do so now.  We are

      Therefore, I can pray to Hashem to open my eyes and say to Him:

      “Hashem, I may have been hiding, or not taking responsibility, but I WANT to sincerely see now,  I am committed to seeing Your Ways , I am committed to follow the steps taught to us by You through your holy people, such as the Ramchal, and the Talmidei Chachamim I have been privileged  to learn from,  who are eye openers, and therefore I bless You for providing me the  tools to see. ”

      Please Hashem, may we all be victorious in becoming Seers as taught by the Ramchal so that we can be zoche to serve You in the Beis Hamikdash in its full glory without delay with Your Help.



















      [1] Sifrei, Bamidbar18

      [2] Bereishis, 19: 9,10

      [3] Bereishis, 19: 11

      [4] Melachim II, 6:16

      [5] Bereishis 3:7, Note, It is the same word used to describe Adam and Chava’s eyes being opened in the garden after the sin, וַתִּפָּקַחְנָה עֵינֵי שְׁנֵיהֶם.

      [6] Sifrei, Bamidbar18

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