web analytics
March 29, 2015 / 9 Nisan, 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.

Current Top Story
18,000 Iranian Centrifuges
Netanyahu Warns Iran-Yemen-Nuclear Deal Axis ‘Dangerous to Humanity’ [video]
Latest Judaism Stories
Bodenheim-032715

Our ability to teach is only successful if done by example.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Outside of the High Holidays, Pesach is probably the most celebrated biblical holiday for the majority of Jews.

Business-Halacha-logo

“If I notify people, nobody will buy the matzos!” exclaimed Mr. Mandel. “Once the halachic advisory panel ruled leniently, why can’t I sell the matzos regularly?”

The-Shmuz

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

Her Children, Her Whim
‘Kesubas Bnin Dichrin’
(Kesubos 52b)

Question: Must one spend great sums of money and invest much effort in making one’s home kosher for Passover? Not all of us have such unlimited funds.

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

Yachatz is not mentioned in the Gemara. What is the foundation for yachatz?

First, the punishment for eating chametz on Pesach is karet, premature death at the Hand of God.

Why is it necessary to invite people to eat from the korban Pesach?

How was I going to get to Manhattan? No cabs were going, we didn’t have a car, and many people who did have cars had no gas.

Did you ever notice that immediately upon being granted our freedom from Egypt, the Jewish people accepted upon themselves the yoke of a new master – Hashem?

Why does Torah make the priests go through a long and seemingly bizarre induction ceremony?

Often people in important positions separate from everyday people & tasks-NOT the Kohen Gadol

You smuggled tefillin into the camp? How can they help? Every day men risked their lives to use them

Rambam: Eating blood’s forbidden because connected to idolatry;Ramban: We’re affected by what we eat

Rambam warns that a festival meal without taking care of the needy isn’t fulfilling simchat yom tov

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Must one spend great sums of money and invest much effort in making one’s home kosher for Passover? Not all of us have such unlimited funds.

Name Withheld
(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)

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)

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: