web analytics
January 27, 2015 / 7 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part IV)


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

The Talmud provides numerous examples that demonstrate that a tzaddik can set the evil eye upon another Jew. How then do we explain the statement that the descendants of Joseph (which is interpreted to mean all Jews) are immune to the power of the evil eye?

Perhaps people who act wickedly are an exception to this rule. Tractate Berachot (58a) relates that a Sadducee once contradicted R. Sheshet. R. Sheshet cast his eyes upon him and the Sadducee became a heap of bones. (This was a particularly amazing feat as R. Sheshet was blind.) A similar fate befell an old man who spoke derisively of R. Shimon ben Yochai (Shabbos 33b-34a). Tractate Sanhedrin (100a) relates that a student of R. Yochanan derided his master’s teaching and was punished by R. Yochanan’s gaze.

We might therefore postulate that Jacob was seeking to protect his sons from the punishing gaze of the righteous Joseph who would be able to see the sin they had committed. But isn’t Joseph precisely the one who ultimately protects Jews from the evil eye? And is not within the power of a tzaddik to nullify Hashem’s decrees which at times seem harsh for man? Abraham sought to nullify the decree against Sodom (Genesis 18:31-32) and only could not do so because his condition that that ten righteous people be present in Sodom was not met.

Rabbenu Yona offers a different explanation for the evil eye in his commentary on the statement of R. Yehoshua (Avot 2:11): “An evil eye, the evil inclination, and hatred for [one's fellow] creatures put a man out of the world” (see also Avot DeRabbi Natan 16:1). Rabbenu Yona explains that when a person is not satisfied with what he has and casts his eye on his fellow’s portion, he becomes consumed with a burning desire for that which he is unable to attain. Such jealousy ultimately destroys him and thus takes him away from this world.

Based on Rabbenu Yona, we can suggest that there are clearly two different types of evil eye. One is the gaze of one who is wicked and whose intention is to cause harm, which is what R. Yehoshua is referencing. Such a gaze has no power over a Jew. Worse, the one casting such an evil gaze suffers and ultimately is the cause of his own self-destruction.

On the other hand there is the gaze of the righteous, which is so effective that it even has the power to affect a Jew. Thus, Jacob was worried since he never accepted the death of Joseph and in his subconscious related to the ruler of Egypt as his long-lost son. As such, he was concerned about Joseph’s gaze, the gaze a tzaddik, from which there is no protection.

We return to our question regarding the statement of Rav (Bava Metzia 107b) that 99 people in the cemetery died of an ayin hara and only one died of natural causes. How could this be if Jews are immune to the evil eye? Rabbi Aryeh Leib Yellin (Yefei Einayim, Bava Metzia 107b) asks this question and answers by citing the Korban Ho’eida in his commentary on the Jerusalem Talmud (Shabbos 14:3 where the same statement of Rav is found), who explains that the Babylonians were unusually subject to the evil eye since they were overly ostentatious.

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is the Torah editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part IV)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Hassnain Aliamin , one of four Muslim teenagers who attacked a Jew in Gateshead.
‘Let’s Go Jew-Bashing’ Muslims Hauled into British Court
Latest Judaism Stories
Tissot_The_Waters_Are_Divided

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

Parshat Bo

Before performing the 10th plague God makes a fundamental argument about the ultimate nature of justice.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Life Before The Printed Word
‘A Revi’is Of Blood’
(Yevamos 114a-b)

How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

“It means that the disqualification of relatives as witnesses is a procedural issue, not a question of honesty,” explained Rabbi Dayan.

Property ownership is an extremely important and fundamental right and principle according to the Torah.

The tenderest description of the husband/wife relationship is “re’im v’ahuvim/loving, kind friends”

And if a person can take steps to perform the mitzvah, he should do so (even if he won’t be held accountable for not performing it due to circumstances beyond his control).

Suddenly, she turns to me and says, “B’emet, I need to thank you, you made me excited to come back to Israel.”

Pesach is called “zikaron,” a Biblical term used describing an object eliciting a certain memory

Recouping $ and assets from Germans and Swiss for their Holocaust actions is rooted in the Exodus

Pharaoh perverted symbols of life (the Nile and midwives) into agents of death.

I think that we have to follow the approach of the Tannaim and Amoraim. They followed the latest scientific developments of their time.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Vol. LXVI No. 3                           5775 New York City CANDLE LIGHTING TIME January 16, 2015–25 Teves 5775 4:36 p.m. NYC E.S.T.   Sabbath Ends: 5:40 p.m. NYC E.S.T. Sabbath Ends: Rabbenu Tam 6:08 p.m. NYC E.S.T. Weekly Reading: Va’era Weekly Haftara: Koh Amar Hashem (Ezekiel 28:25-29:21) Daf Yomi: Yevamos 104 Mishna Yomit: Kelim 17:2-3 Halacha Yomit: […]

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Vol. LXVI No. 1                           5775 New York City CANDLE LIGHTING TIME January 2, 2015 – 11 Teves 5775 4:22 p.m. NYC E.S.T.   Sabbath Ends: 5:27 p.m. NYC E.S.T. Sabbath Ends: Rabbenu Tam 5:54 p.m. NYC E.S.T. Weekly Reading: VaYechi Weekly Haftara: VaYikrevu Yemei Dovid (I Kings 2:1-12) Daf Yomi: Yevamos 90 Mishna Yomit: Kelim […]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-ayin-hara-part-iv/2011/12/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: