I heard on the radio, that a mystic Rabbi in a small town  in Israel restored the sight of a blind person, and now she sees again. A 22 year old female told her story: From the age of 16 years  her vision gradually deteriorated, and then at the age of 18 years, she became blind. I knew that the reporter was reliable. Was it a miracle?

Next day the same story appeared in the newspaper, where I read that the young lady lost her vision during an argument with her family. Last week she received from the Rabbi an amulet. The following day she perceived a dim light. Gradually she regained her vision and now she sees  again. Was it Hysteria?  I remained dissatisfied, and decided to find out myself.

I  arrived at a hut that was located in the outskirts of the town. Inside, in a modest room, behind a wooden table sat the Rabbi, writing an amulet for an old lady that sat in front of him. He remembered the blind female. She entered his room accompanied by her mother. The Rabbi asked the mother to remain outside, and invited Farha to sit next to him. When she approached him, he noticed that she avoided the table. He wrote the amulet and asked her to return in a week.

After finding out that she lived in Jerusalem, I learned that she was treated also by an eye specialist. She had retinitis pigmentosa. A progressive loss of light sensitive cells in her retina, known also as Tubular Vision; a narrowing  of the visual  field, as though one were  looking through a tube.

A nice story. But wait.  We have touched only its surface. Before getting  deeper we ought to turn to Aristotle.


'On the Soul'  by Aristotle (1,2)  was a source of inspiration for generations of western philosophers. Still, to the beginner it may offer an unpleasant surprise. Hitherto you may have believed that your soul was eternal, Aristotle regards it as mortal. For some, the soul serves for communication with God, a channel for prayers; Aristotle's Soul is shared by animals and plants which obviously do not pray.

Aristotle's 'Soul' is non other then our Wisdom of the Body (WOB). The purpose of the eye is to see, but it cannot see when removed from the body. It is the soul that sees. Soul and body are one: 'as the pupil plus the power of sight constitutes the eye, so the soul plus the body constitutes the animal' (On the Soul, Book -2). The mind is part of the soul but independent and eternal: 'The case of mind is different; it seems to be an independent substance implanted within the soul and to be incapable of being destroyed.'


How did we get hold of the mind?  Here we turn to the Bible.
Location; Paradise. Turning to the serpent, Eve said: 'God has forbidden us either to eat or to touch the fruit of that; if we do, we shall die.' The serpent said: 'Of course you will not die. God knows as soon as you eat it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods knowing both good and evil.' (Genesis 3: 3-5 (3)). In order to get the mind  Eve and Adam sinned the Original Sin. While the soul (WOB) is utterly selfish, it is the mind that judges whether its  activities are good or evil, and like God it is  eternal.

The original sin turned Farha's family against her. Blaming her forbidden love, for her blindness. Until that evening she hoped that her kin forgave her, yet their hostility proved otherwise. She escaped into her room and was embraced by a complete darkness, followed  by  four years of blindness.


How did Farha manage with her tunnel vision when she still could see?
Actually she saw the world through a tiny hole. Everything else remained hidden behind a black curtain . Yet she figured out how  this world looked like. She imagined it, and so could lead a normal life. Her imagining WOB (soul) reconstructed the obscure world with the help of other senses, like, hearing,  touch, and smell.

'For imagining lies within our own power whenever we wish (e.g. we can call up a picture)' says Aristotle, and adds:
'That imagination is not sense is clear from the following considerations: Sense is either a faculty or
an activity, e.g. sight or seeing: imagination takes place in the absence of both, as e.g. in dreams. (Again, sense is always present, imagination not.)

Following the feud with her family, Farha lost hope and her  imagination was turned off. Now that the amulet protected her against these evil spirits, she started seeing again. The doctor's diagnosis was correct: Retinitis Pigmentosa, yet without the amulet she would not have ever regained her eye sight.

1. Aristotle. On the Soul. Written 350 B.C.E
Translated by J. A. Smith
. The four causes of disease
3. The New English Bible. Oxford Study Edition 1972

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