I have to write this quickly, because I have so much to do! It's been a very productive week and I'm "in a groove"! Can't stop! I have earned Shabbat this week!
OK. Appreciation Wednesday.
In my gemara class, we are studying the eighth chapter of Talmud Tractate Bava Kamma. The chapter talks about how the Biblical term "an eye for an eye" and "a burn for a burn" etc does not actually mean that you take out someone's eye if they poked out someone else's; rather, it means that the perpetrator has to pay the victim compensation for the loss of his eye (for the eye itself, lost wages, medical fees, pain, and loss of dignity, to be more specific). The gemara we've learned so far discusses 10 possible proofs for why we know that the Bible is not meant to be taken literally in this case (5 proofs are accepted, 5 are thrown out); who wrote the mishna and how do we know; and whether the damages for this type of case can be collected outside of Israel.
As you can imagine, we talk a lot about physical injuries. Eyes poked out, burns, eyes poked out, arms cut off, eyes poked out. In case you haven't noticed, I'm very squeamish about eyes. Oh, God, it is so gross sometimes!
Meanwhile, I'm reading Agatha Christie's The Clocks, and the murder takes place in the home of a blind woman. I'm still at the beginning, but the book has gotten me thinking about how difficult it would be for me to manage without my eyesight.
And now today, in my Navi class, we learned the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chapters of Samuel I, in which the High Priest, Eli, slowly goes blind (though whether that is a literal blindness, or a figurative one, or both is an interesting question).
So, this week I've been very much appreciating my ability to see. It's something we usually take for granted. But when I stop to think about it, it is only because I'm able to see that I'm able to do, or at least do easily, so many things that I love to do: drive; write articles for publication (possible to do without eyesight but harder); read any book or internet site I want; get around town easily; enjoy a nice view; see other people's facial expressions; go to a new city and explore; dive into a pool knowing there is noone underneath me; see what's going on in movies and television shows; walk through the park without worrying too much about stepping in dog poop; knowing that my lipstick exactly matches my outfit or my mood; stroll through a mall and be able to see what is for sale; check out the cute guys; etc etc etc.
So, in honor of today's Appreciation Wednesday, I hope everyone who can read this for themselves will take a moment to thank Hashem, or whatever higher power you believe in, for the gift of sight.
PS Blogging will be sparse the next few days.