LOOKING vs SEEING
What's the difference between looking and seeing? EVERYTHING!
As we see in this week's Parshat Toldot, "when Yitzhak (Isaac) was old and his eyes were too dim to see," (Genesis 27:1) he calls his eldest son Eisav (Esau) to confer his blessing and clan leadership on him. Sadly, this isn't the first instance of Yitzhak not really seeing.
In last week's parsha, when Yitzhak is outside in the fields awaiting the arrival of his potential future wife, the Torah tells us he looked up and saw...camels coming. At the same time, when Rivka (Rebecca) looks up, she sees...Yitzhak! Kinda symbolic.
Over and over, the Torah sends us subtle hints that the real inheritor of the mantle of leadership passed down by Avraham and Sarah is Rivka, not Yitzhak. She's the one, who like Avraham and Sarah, offers audacious and radical hospitality to the servant at the well. She's the one for whom Midrash tells us the light that remained lit during the life of Sarah returned when Rivka entered her husband's family tent.
So when Rivka hears that Yitzhak is planning to pass that mantle on to the undeserving and completely inappropriate Eisav rather than Yaakov (Jacob), she takes matters into her own hands and orchestrates things so that the proto-Jewish people gets the leader it needs.
To me, this is a clear sign of why we need other trusted and wise individuals in our lives to give us REAL feedback and even (hopefully) loving critique! Whether it's a therapist or your best friend or your significant other or your senior staff, we all need other people to help us really see what we sometimes can't see on our own.
I've repeatedly told my senior staff: "Let me know if I'm messing up, doing something that upsets you or is off track. I may not agree or feel that your suggestion is implementable, but I will never penalize you in any way for being honest. I NEED YOUR HONESTY!"
Each one of us need people- personally and professionally- who will tell us their truth. Let's make sure that we have those people in our life... and that we listen and encourage them to speak.
Otherwise, one day someone might write about you: "S/he looked but didn't see."