Halacha for Monday 2 Tammuz 5784 July 8 2024

“Ayin Hara”

Concerns About Ayin Hara
Ayin Hara” (the Evil Eye) refers to a phenomenon whereby someone admires something another individual has and can thereby harm that individual. Indeed, our Sages taught at the beginning of Masechet Baba Batra (2b) that “it is forbidden for one to stand and watch one’s friend’s field when the stalks are at full growth.” Looking at the field when it is at its finest state can harm its owner.

There are different explanations for how to explain Ayin Hara, however, the basic idea is that the idea of Ayin Hara exists in the world, and it can sometimes be harmful.

Two Consecutive Aliyot
It is customary that two brothers or a father and son do not receive an Aliyah to the Torah consecutively. The reason for this is due to an Ayin Hara concern, for the entire congregation pay attention to the fact that these immediate blood relatives are going up to the Torah consecutively.

If both of them wish to receive Aliyot, someone else should receive an Aliyah between them, so it is no longer consecutive. Even if the two brothers or father and son claim that they are not concerned about Ayin Hara, we nevertheless do not allow them to receive consecutive Aliyot.

However, if the second immediate relative already went up to the Torah, even if he has not yet begun to recite the blessing, we do not tell him to sit back down. It is obvious that if he has begun reciting the blessing on the Torah, the concern of a blessing in vain overrides Ayin Hara concerns.

“And Hashem Shall Remove from You All Illness”
The Torah (Devarim 7) states: “And it shall be because you heed these laws and you shall observe and keep them, Hashem shall keep for you the covenant and kindness that He has sworn to your fathers. And Hashem shall remove from you all illness and all of the terrible maladies of Egypt that you have come to know, He shall not place upon you, and He shall place them upon all your enemies.” Our Sages (Baba Metzia 107b) expounded the words “And Hashem shall remove from you all illness” as a reference to something upon which all illnesses hinge upon, and Rav explains that this is a reference to Ayin Hara.

The Gemara states that Rav knew how Ayin Hara impacted all ailments, for once, Rav visited a cemetery and using his holy spirit, he began to see who died at his allotted time and who died for other reasons. He exclaimed that ninety-nine percent of the deceased had died as a result of Ayin Hara and only one percent died of natural causes and at their allotted time.

We can derive from the above Gemara that Ayin Hara does exist in the world and the vast majority of people could live longer were it not that they were susceptible to Ayin Hara. However, since they were affected by Ayin Hara, they pass away earlier than they should have.

In the following Halachot, we shall discuss this matter further.

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