“Shamreini k’ishon bat ayin” – protect me like the pupil of the eye

(Psalm 17:8)

R’ Dovid Kimchi explains that the root word of ‘ishon’ (pupil) is ISH which means man. The final letters of “ishon” imply smallness – so the word ISHON can mean a small man. Indeed, when you look into someone’s eye, you see a very diminished image of yourself in their pupils.

Based on this, Rav Mordechai Gifter taught that when looking at someone else, many people view themselves as superior and more deserving of respect. However, our bodies teach us that when we look at others, we should regard ourselves as we appear in the pupils of their eyes – as smaller and less deserving of honour. When encountering another, we should seek to identify the virtues that make them special and worthy of recognition.

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