Do not follow the whims of your heart or what your eyes see

The Literal Commandment

"Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God. (Numbers 15:38-40)

 

The literal commandment is not to follow after our own hearts and our own eyes.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Pictures of Messiah

Through the prophet Jeremiah, G-d declared

"The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds." (Jeremiah 17:9)

 

If we know that our hearts are deceitful and will lie to us then we know that we should not follow the whims of our hearts. Lust, envy, greed, murder, strife, malice... all of these stem from our deceitful hearts.

Messiah was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He is the righteous judge (2 Timothy 4:8). We should not follow the whims of our heart but should instead follow the One who is without sin and is wholly righteous.

Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. (John 7:24)

 

We should turn to the one whose heart was pure and follow after Him for He declared

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Messiah fulfilled this commandment by not following the whims of His heart or what His eyes saw.

He was shown all the kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:8-9) and was tempted by the devil to worship him. Although Messiah saw all the kingdoms of the world laid before Him, He did not follow the whims of what His eyes saw and remained faithful to the One who sent Him.

 

Traditional Observance

This commandment is traditionally observed by not straying after the thinking of the heart and the sight of the eyes. Specifically it involves guarding one's thoughts so as not to devote our time or our thoughts to ideas which are opposed to the system of thinking and living found in Scripture.

If we were to begin thinking that murder, adultery, theft, or homosexuality was actually permitted or reasonable in some way (or thinking thoughts that would rationalize such behavior) we should catch ourselves and turn our thoughts away from such things to the truth of Scripture.

 

Other Notes

By the grace of G-d, we are able to fulfill this commandment today by not following after the whims (lusts) of our heart or the things our eyes see.

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 25
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 1
  • Mishneh Torah Book Knowledge
  • Mishneh Torah Category 4- Idolatry and Gentile Customs
  • Reference Numbers 15:39
  • Scripture Book Numbers
  • Chapter 15
  • Verse 39
  • English It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot,
  • Hebrew לט וְהָיָה לָכֶם, לְצִיצִת, וּרְאִיתֶם אֹתוֹ וּזְכַרְתֶּם אֶת-כָּל-מִצְו‍ֹת יְהוָה, וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָם; וְלֹא-תָתוּרוּ אַחֲרֵי לְבַבְכֶם, וְאַחֲרֵי עֵינֵיכֶם, אֲשֶׁר-אַתֶּם זֹנִים, אַחֲרֵיהֶם.
  • Greek 39 καὶ ἔσται ὑμῖν ἐν τοῖς κρασπέδοις καὶ ὄψεσθε αὐτὰ καὶ μνησθήσεσθε πασῶν τῶν ἐντολῶν κυρίου καὶ ποιήσετε αὐτὰς καὶ οὐ διαστραφήσεσθε ὀπίσω τῶν διανοιῶν ὑμῶν καὶ ὀπίσω τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν ὑμῶν, ἐν οἷς ὑμεῖς ἐκπορνεύετε ὀπίσω αὐτῶν,
  • Parashah 37- Shelach
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 387
  • Sef. Hach. Command Not to go straying after one's heart and eyes
  • Category Morality
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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