We still must clarify what is the benefit of viewing the land from afar, if he were never to enter it.

One verse says, "If even a man of this [evil] generation, were to even see the good land" (Deut. 1:35). This implies that the mere viewing of the land has some great benefit. Further, Moses pleaded for and was granted this privilege just prior to his death. As is written, "Ascend to the top of the mountain…and see the land that I am giving the children of Israel" (Deut. 32:49), as well as "Moses ascended the mountain …and G‑d showed him the entire land" (Deut. 34:1). The above all indicate that there is a benefit to seeing the land even if one is barred from entering it.

That benefit can be best understood by the passage of the Zohar (Shelach 169 a) starting, "And Joseph shall place his hands upon your eyes" (Gen. 46:4). There, the Zohar expounds upon the concept of the eyes being the preface of the forms that are imagined by ones wisdom. First one gives a form to the concept with his knowledge and wisdom, and behold the form is drawn there. If the form of that concept is a base material and physical one that appears to one's mind, then that detracts from the quality of that concept. When one envisions holy concepts they have the power to rectify his soul…

Just so, it is prohibited to gaze at women, for even if one doesn't envision performing a licentious act, in the end he will imagine in his mind that form and he may contemplate or just imagine something improper even if he never acts upon those thoughts. The reason for that is that the images and forms that he had developed in his mind profoundly damage his soul. Yet the flip side is true, for when one envisions holy concepts they have the power to rectify his soul.

From the above concept, we can derive a few benefits for our service of G‑d. When person imagines in his mind a holy form, that very form shall be complete his wisdom. This is what is meant by Rabbi Aba in the Zohar (Mishpatim 123b) where he discusses his keeping an image of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in front of him. Through that image he was able to attain great level of understanding. That is what is meant by the verse, "And your eyes shall behold your Teacher" (Isaiah 30:20).

That is also what is meant by the verse, "Don't turn to the idols" (Lev. 19:4). There is a prohibition against merely looking at an idol worshiper, for that disgraceful image damages the soul. That is the same reason why we are prohibited from looking at an evil person.

Yet when an image of a person greater than you is in your mind, one can attain wondrous vistas of spirituality. That is the reason one is obligated to greet his Rebbe on each holiday. For that greeting shall impress the image of his Rebbe in his mind. [The phrase here is ambiguous, and can actually be understood as - that by greeting his Rebbe he can impress his Rebbe's mind in his own- namely granting the person the ability to conceive the level of his master]. The divine providence can be found everywhere; nonetheless it is incomparable to one contemplating … the Shechina while being at a holy place…

In that fashion we can also understand the verse, "[Elisha said] As G‑d, before whom I have stood, lives," (Kings II 5:16). Elisha is referring to his standing in front of Elijah [his teacher]. This means that when he stood and observed Elijah, Elijah's image was definitely ingrained in Elisha's mind. The vision of Elijah, standing and serving his Master with such intense connection while in a prophetic state, was as if he were constantly before G‑d. [That enabled Elisha to claim as if he stood before G‑d as well].

That is also one of the reasons for the commandment of, "All of your men shall be seen (or see) [by the] countenance of your Master" (Ex. 23:17). For the men should depict in their minds the splendor of the image of the existence of the Shechina standing there. And even though divine providence can be found everywhere, nonetheless it is incomparable to one contemplating and engraving an image of the Shechina while being at a holy place. That is a way of understanding the verse, "And you shall not see My countenance empty" (ibid.). As well as in many other verses in the Torah.

Therefore one should close his eyes during prayer, in order to remove from his mind physical forms entirely, and unify his thoughts with intellectual images.

Behold, there is no doubt that when two great friends see each other, the mere seeing definitely causes them great joy and happiness, and they engrave each other's image in their minds. That is true because of their great love. Yet the inverse is true for enemies. With that, we can understand the following verses: "No evil sojourns with You" (Psalms 5:5) and "Who asked of you to trample My courtyard" (Isaiah 1:12). For when G‑d is angry with us, our appearing before him in His temple will evoke further hatred and anger. G‑d showed him the entire land by means of the Hidden Light of Creation…

That is the reason why the spies were not allowed to enter the land, as in the verse, "none of the men of these people shall see the good land…" (Deut. 1:35). This is because they had spoken degradingly of the land and they hated it [like enemies of the land]. Therefore it is befitting that their image not be brought into the land, in order to avert the evocation of hatred and anger (if they were to be seen amongst the rest of the people) instead of love.

Yet by Our Teacher Moses that wasn't true, rather, "And G‑d showed him the entire land" (Deut. 34:1). [This was even though it was from afar]. The Zohar explains this concept as follows. Why did Moses see all the land, which is impossible for the physical eye to do? Really G‑d showed him the entire land by means of the Hidden Light of Creation. For with that light one could see from one end of the world to the other (Chagiga 12a).

And now with those prefaces, we can understand the mystery of why we display (during the ceremony of Hagbah — the lifting of the Torah scroll) to the congregation the writing in the Torah scroll. This concept was also demonstrated in the Holy Temple of heaven, as mentioned in the Zohar. (End of Chapter Five.)