Yossi’s Rabbi called him one evening at home and asked him to come to his office the next day. He wanted him to meet someone.
The next day, after Yeshiva, Yossi went to his Rabbi’s office. The Rabbi opened the door and there, sitting in a chair, was a young man with a knitted Kippa (head covering), a colorful shirt and light pants. Yossi had never seen someone dressed like this in his Yeshiva.
His Rabbi introduced him, “Yossi, this is David. David works with many people helping them to control their emotions, especially anger. I have told David about you and your special ability, and he would like, with your permission, to meet with you for a while, once a week, to help you to develop the skills you need, to be in control of your feelings.”
Yossi looked at his Rabbi, then at David and again at his Rabbi. He was confused that a person, who was not dressed like the Rabbi, seemed to be so respected by the Rabbi. This sense of curiosity encouraged Yossi to want to meet with David and to find out who he was and why the Rabbi was recommending him to help Yossi with his situation.
“If my Rabbi says that you can help me, then I will try”, said Yossi.
“Wonderful”, answered David. “Let’s get started right now!”
Yossi told David what had happened to him and one other time, more recently, when he saw the most hateful words written on a stone wall by his home and once again, he felt the lasers shooting out from his eyes.
“When I regained my eyesight, the words had been replaced by words of loving kindness”, Yossi whispered. “I am just afraid that if I see someone or something happening between people, that makes me angry, I could actually hurt someone with these eyes of mine.”
David listened carefully to everything that Yossi told him. He asked him if he would feel comfortable showing him some of the places where he thought that he had changed the writing on the wall. Yossi was less enthusiastic about walking around his neighborhood with David as people might stare at him with this man who is not a part of their community.
“Yossi, you could give me a tour of your neighborhood, as if I were a tourist here.” David realized that Yossi might feel uncomfortable walking around with him.
“Ok”, said Yossi. “We can try it. If someone asks me, I will say that I am just showing you around.”
Yossi and David left the Yeshiva and began their “tour” of the neighborhood. The first place they went, David saw what was written on the wall and it was words of kindness, which expressed love for your neighbor. The
next place Yossi took him, the words on the wall had been painted over. There wasn’t anything written in its place, but they were simply covered with white paint.
The third place, there was writing on the wall; however, as they came closer, they could see that the writing was in red paint. It was covering something written in black paint. The words were evil and hateful. As Yossi stared at the red letters and read them slowly, he began to shake.
David watched what was happening but decided not to interfere and to let Yossi continue. Yossi stepped back and his eyes began to turn red, like the letters on the wall. White light beams began shooting from his eyes towards the wall, burning up all the red letters. When the letters were all erased, another beam, more of a yellow light, began shooting from Yossi’s eyes. All the words of hate were transformed into words of love. When the writing was completed, Yossi fell back with his eyes closed. It took a few minutes before he opened his eyes, looked at the wall, then at David, then he began to regain his strength and stand up.
“Yossi”, asked David, “do you remember what happened here?” “Yes,” answered Yossi. “I remember everything. I just am not in control of it.”
David walked with Yossi back to the Yeshiva. They went into the Rabbi’s office and David said to them, “I had a hard time believing what Yossi told me until I saw it happen with my own eyes! Does anyone else know about this, Yossi?” David asked.
“No”, Yossi answered. “But I think it is only a matter of time before someone sees me doing this. Our neighborhood has a lot of people, and it won’t be long before someone sees me, especially since I can’t seem to control this. Can you help me to stop doing this, David?” Yossi pleaded.
David thought for a few minutes. “Yossi, before we can solve this problem, we need to try and understand what exactly the problem is here? On the one hand, what you are doing is actually very beautiful. You are erasing the hateful words on the walls of your neighborhood and replacing them with words of loving kindness. That is not a problem. It is a solution to a problem, of evil words against others! “
Yossi thought about what David said, “yes, this could be good until someone sees me doing it and tells others and I become like a boy with ‘superpowers’ that everyone makes fun of!”
“Well, that is a possibility, Yossi, but there are many other possibilities. You could become someone people admire and look up to for helping to bring a love of one another to our divided community. That is another possibility.”
“Do you think that could really happen?” Asked Yossi.
“It is possible”, answered David. “However, we still haven’t figured out what the problem is that we have here. When I watched those laser beams coming from your eyes, erasing the paint on the wall, and engraving new letters into the wall, I wondered, what would happen if those lasers were aimed at a person and not a wall? Could they injure someone? Does this only happen when you read something that makes you angry or does it happen whenever you are angry? If this only happens when you read something that makes you angry, we just need to make sure that no one is near the letters, but, if it happens any time that you are angry, this is a much bigger problem.”
“How can we find out?” asked the Rabbi.
“We will need to do some experiments”, answered David. “In the meantime, Yossi. Please do not tell anyone else about this. Let’s see what causes these beams to come out of your eyes before we worry about other problems. It was very nice to meet you Yossi. Let’s meet again next week at the same time in my office, which is not far from here.”
“I will take you to David’s office the next time”, the Rabbi said. “We will all work together to try to understand this special gift that Hashem (God) has given to you Yossi.”
Yossi left the Rabbi’s office. He felt better that the Rabbi and David would help him with his “problem”; however, he had a feeling that he was the one who would really have to get this under control and make sure that he would never use this “power” to hurt others. He would pray that Hashem would help him to control his laser beam eyes.
The following week, Yossi went to David’s office after Yeshiva. David wanted to ask Yossi some questions and listen to his answers. They were questions about his family and his friends. Yossi’s favorite games, trips, foods. Then David looked at Yossi and asked, “Yossi, do you become angry easily with family members or friends?” Yossi didn’t even have to think about that answer, “No”, he said. “I am very fortunate that I have a lot of patience with my younger sisters and even the boys in my school who sometimes annoy people. Sometimes I get sad or frustrated. When I couldn’t read in first grade and all the other boys had started reading, I felt frustrated and stupid.”
“What did your parents do?”, asked David. “They sent me to a reading specialist who had me doing exercises with my eye muscles. The problem is with the muscles connecting the eyes to the brain. The specialist had me wear special glasses in addition to doing the eye exercises.”
“Did this help?” asked David
“It did help, but I am still not a strong reader. Reading is hard for me and so often I memorize things, so I don’t have to read the passages or prayers that we say often. Now, however, I notice that I am reading more and more. For example, I read street signs and store signs that I used to ignore. This is why I noticed the hateful writing on the walls in the streets.”
“Let’s go back to how you felt when you became angry after reading what was written on the walls” David asked. “Close your eyes, relax and try to think back to how you felt when you saw those hateful words.”
Yossi sat back in the chair, closed his eyes, relaxed, and tried to put himself back in front of the wall with the words. At first, he couldn’t remember anything. David told him not to try so hard, just let his mind gently think about one of those times.
Suddenly, Yossi jumped up from the chair, looked at David and said, “I remember! I remember that I was thinking about a boy in my Cheder in first grade who made fun of me because the teacher put me in a chair away from all the children reading together and gave me toys to play with, as if I were a child in Gan (nursery school). He would call me names and tell me that I was stupid, and I should go home and learn how to cook with my sisters. I wanted to punch him and yell at him and tell him that he was the stupid one!”
“In our school”, Yossi continued, “if you started a fight with someone you could get hit by the teacher. The teacher would blame me because the boy spoke to me softly, with his hateful words. I was the only one who had heard him. So, I kept my mouth shut, but what I really wanted to do was to keep his mouth shut. Why did he have to be so mean to me, I thought to myself? I started not feeling good and telling my parents that I wasn’t feeling well enough to go to school.”
“What happened then?”, asked David.
“My parents found someone to begin to help me with my reading, after the teacher told my parents that I wasn’t learning and maybe I needed a special school.”
“Did you think about this boy while you were reading the hateful words on the walls, Yossi? asked David.
“Yes. I remember thinking about him and suddenly my eyes became very focused, as they sometimes did while I was doing my eye exercises. The muscles in my eyes became hard and then I felt as if I lost my eyesight. I don’t know how long it lasted, but when it was over, I was on the ground, tired and confused. Then I remembered to look up at the wall and I saw different words from what was originally written there.”
“My first thoughts”, added Yossi, were that I must not have correctly read what was written. However, the next two times, when I saw the writing, I paid special attention and read the words twice, focusing the way the reading specialist had taught me to.”
After listening to Yossi, David had an idea. David had a book in his office of many pictures of people in many situations. In one of the pictures, there was a boy making fun of another boy. David asked Yossi to look at that picture for several minutes. When he saw that nothing was going to happen, his eyes didn’t change and begin to shoot laser beams, he asked Yossi how the picture made him feel.
“I see in this picture what happened to me in first grade. It makes me sad and a little angry too. I am grateful that I can read better now, but I will never forget how hurt I was and how stupid that boy made me feel!” Yossi expressed to David.
“What is interesting to me”, responded David, “is that looking at the picture didn’t cause you to shoot the laser beams at the boy who was bullying the other boy. You expressed some strong feelings about anger and being hurt, but that didn’t result in destroying the picture. That is a good sign”, he added.
“Yossi, this week I would like you to concentrate on your feelings. When you see something happening around you, think about how it makes you feel. If there are things that you see that make you angry, I want you to write them down in a notebook or diary and we will discuss them next week. Do you think that you can do this?” David asked.
“Yes, I think I can”, answered Yossi. He then said goodbye to David and thought about his “assignment” for the week.
(Yossi and the Laser Beam Eyes- part III- will appear next week.)