How should we understand the principle of ayin horah, the evil eye? And how do we avoid it?
It was explained here once but I’ll explain it again. What is the evil eye? The evil eye is as follows: If you are proud of your possessions and you practice ostentation – you display your wealth or your success – then you cause a certain sorrow to other people who don’t have that success. That is why Jewish mothers who have a brood of a lot of children, they make it their business that when somebody comes in to the house, they shoo the children out. The visitor may be a childless person or somebody who doesn’t have that much nachas; why should he be pained to see how successful you are in building your family?
Now, you have to know that even though it’s not your fault – on the contrary you are doing a great thing by raising a big family — nevertheless Hakodosh Boruch Hu takes into account the distress of every individual. And it doesn’t mean that there will be some drastic action but there could be some kind of penalty for causing distress to people.
And that is why it is always good to cover up your success. Don’t display your wealth with expensive diamonds, expensive necklaces; you can never know what is going to happen. Maybe Hakodosh Boruch Hu will cause a bum to come along and snatch it off of you. And that would be the easiest way to get away with it! Sometimes a physician might have to take it off of you in the operating room.
And so it’s always good not to display your success. Try to be as plain as you can. That is why it is good for wealthy people to teach their children to live plainly; not to give them too much money to spend; and they should try to act like people of the poor. You wealthy people, see to it that your children are always like poor children. They shouldn’t have things to display and come among other children in the yeshiva and they show expensive watches or expensive toys to others and it hurts the poor boy or poor girl who can’t afford it. And Hakodosh Boruch Hu doesn’t keep quiet. And that is ayin horah; that is a bad eye, because people look at you with an eye and they feel bad and Hakodosh Boruch Hu will take some action. That is why it is so important.
Now, the things that people do to ward off ayin horah are all foolish things. The best way is not to be ostentatious, not to display your success. But if you are displaying it, it’s not going to help you to put a piece of garlic in your pocket.
TAPE # 408