Harvey S. Hecker Character Development Series: Our words are a powerful force to build – and destroy.
#8: Guard Your Eyes
Originally published by Rabbi Shraga Simmons on aish.com
In the world of sensory stimulation – sounds, smells and images – eyes are our primary interface with the world. Eyesight accounts for 80% of what we learn and 80% of our memories.
We need to choose our images wisely, as the Torah exhorts: “Don’t stray after your heart and eyes” (Numbers 15:39).1 We see a bright, attractive image and may be tempted – “misled by our eyes” – to choose a fleeting pleasure. In the Garden of Eden, Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge because “she saw it was good.”2
Society places heavy emphasis on the visual. “If it looks good, it must be good.” Everything from advertising to the experience of eating is enhanced by visual elements of color and design. Precisely because the sensory pull is so strong and pervasive, it is a constant challenge to stay the proper course. Especially in today’s saturated media environment, where it’s nearly impossible to steer clear of provocative images, we have endless opportunities to work hard at guarding our eyes – one of the Six Constant Mitzvot.