Monday, August 14, 2006

True Vision Soul To Soul

Exploring the etymology of the word shazif שזיף, from the root שזף, with respect to distinguishing an original meaning as either "to look" or "to burn", Dave at Balashon writes:

In the other two instances where the root שזף appears, in Iyov 20:9 and 28:7, it clearly means "to look". Amos Chacham on Shir HaShirim writes that the meaning, even in our verse, means "to gaze". Kaddari also writes that the sense of "burned" in Shir HaShirim is "borrowed" from the meaning "to gaze".

However, the Even Shoshan dictionary says the borrowing is in the other direction - first the root meant "to burn", then later "to look". Steinberg takes the same approach, and says the later sense means "a sharp burning stare".

In my mind, the concepts of "burning" and "intense gaze" are related in the idea that an intense gaze into the eyes of another can "burn" an impression into the soul. That may also account for the connection between "burn/scorch" and "gaze". By "intense gaze", I'm not referring to "staring", but to some attribute of soul sight - an intense gaze capable of impressing the soul of another (or even of oneself through the act of truly looking) need not necessarily be more than a glance. It is the quality of looking that matters in this kind of "gaze". Perhaps it is this quality of looking that the root שזף is referring to.

Moreover and in other words, it is the ability to establish a soul to soul connection through eye contact. Consequently, there is no "which came first" original meaning - as both meanings are original - as both meanings are implied simultaneously in the idea of the gaze that burns an impression into another's soul, soul to soul.

the House of Yaakov is a fire, and the House of Yosef is a flame
Ovadiah 1:18

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