Monday, November 23, 2009

Vision, part 2

I had started to write about our vision in an earlier post, but I got sidetracked with a great sicha.
What I wanted to show was that the possuk says that Yitzchak was old, and his eyes weakened. Instead of saying that Yitzchak's deteriorated vision was a result of his old age, Rashi instead brings three explanations. The Rebbe explained in the sicha that it did not make sense for Yitzchak's old age to naturally cause his eyesight to diminish, for he had received a direct Bracha from Hashem. A blessing from the Al-mighty certainly wouldn't allow for the natural deterioration of the body. Besides, it might not have even been a natural event, to go blind as one nears the end of his life, for the Torah doesn't tell us of any other person who this happens to.

That's from the sicha.

I always thought that our vision is a funny thing.
As soon as we get a good handle on it, we start to lose it. Go into any kindergarten today, and most kids will be wearing glasses, or need to be wearing glasses.
I was the oldest of my family, for the age at which I needed corrective lenses. I was 14. Everyone else got glasses earlier in life.

When do our other senses start to fail us or deteriorate? Do people start losing their hearing as a teenager? In our hypothetical kindergarten, are there some boys that have started to bald?

It doesn't make sense to me how Hashem could give us the beautiful power of sight, but we start losing it so early. We never have a chance to appreciate it, before we're stuck in the doctor's office, hearing things like, "Now, hold still. This might come a little close," and "A? Or B?"

Also, how do you think people lived before the advent of glasses?
Before the 8th century, people really didn't have a permanent way of seeing with clarity. They would just hold up buckets of water, or use other methods of magnification.

How would soldiers fight? How would kings govern?
Would only those with decent eyesight be given positions of power?

How did anyone live back then, without having the clarity which we have now? Imagine living in a very fuzzy and dark world.

It's very possible that our bodies have changed over time.
We see from Yitzchak, that not necessarily was it the natural thing which came with old age, to lose your eyesight.

I wonder if it is true that we have changed, and if so, what the reason is.
What happened in the last thousand years, that our bodies start rejecting the magnificent gift Hashem has given us, so soon after we are born?