The Eyes See What the Heart Desires
Mikeitz (Genesis 41:1-44:17 )
Two people walk into the same shopping mall, walk past the same shops, restaurants, and items. When asked about the new restaurant which they had both walked past, one shopper could describe it in detail, yet the other had not even noticed its existence.
Why is this?
A difference in desire. One was hungry, and therefore noticed anywhere that sold food, but the other only noticed the shops that were relevant to his shopping needs.
What we see and remember will be swayed by our preconceived ideas and interests. Had the second shopper who was looking to buy shoes been queried about shoe stores, he would have had plenty to say!
Yosef faces his brothers after not seeing them for 22 years. Yosef recognises them, yet the brothers do not recognise Yosef.
One way of understanding this is that in the minds of the brothers, the governor that they were standing in front of was so unlikely to be Yosef that they simply did not recognise him!
In the Shema we are commanded "do not follow after your heart, and after your eyes…" An explanation for this, is that although it is the eyes that actually ‘see’, the heart is mentioned first. It is our heart and desires that direct our eyes to what they see.
Someone who wants to notice opportunities around them for kindness, to spot a person looking upset, notice the homeless man on the street, or even the opportunity to lend something to someone, first needs to ‘want’ to see the opportunities!
Rabbi Dessler wrote, "There is no thinking without prior interest."
Once the desire is there, the heart will direct the eyes, and the world is suddenly viewed in a new light. The opportunities for kindness that were always there but not seen, now shine brightly!