The Chumash commentary on week’s Torah Portion has really gotten me thinking about perspective.
Without fail, when we look at a map, North is at the top and is our frame of reference. It’s what we depend on to get our bearings. It’s a given, so to speak. But what if someone rotated the frame of reference 90 degrees on you? Where would that leave you? We would be traveling in a direction that we thought was the right direction, but it ended up leading you on a path you really didn’t want to take.
But the perspective of the world and the perspective of the Bible don’t often agree. This is where we have to be students of the Word to realize the difference, rather than just following a path based on our own perspective. In the biblical perspective, North is not the primary frame of reference. The primary frame of reference from the Bible is East. When you’re navigating a map and don’t know that “up” is East, it could really affect your destination.
This is the same principle we find when we first come to Torah. We’re traveling along, and then one day someone tells us that we need to turn our map around. “What? You’ve got to be kidding. This must be a joke. No, it’s not a joke – you just think you know it all. You’re soooo judgmental. Just because you look at the map that way, doesn’t mean I have to.” And thus it goes, until one finally knuckles down and wrestles with the biblical text to find out the truth of the matter.
Bottom lines is that we can either excuse our ignorance, and then whine about our destination when we get there (wherever that might be), or we can change our perspective and get back on the right track. It’s all about choice…and perspective.