Friday, July 01, 2005

Question & Answer With Rabbi Lazer Brody - Part III - Shmiras Einayim

A Simple Jew asks:

What is the modern application of the ruling in Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 152:8 that states, "He who gazes, even at the small finger of a woman in order to enjoy its sight, commits a very grave sin."?

Rabbi Lazer Brody answers:

The KSA 152:8 is based on a deoraissa commandment (Num. 15:39), "Velo sasuru", that you should not go astray after the [sights of the] eyes. The Chofetz Chaim gave paramount importance to this commandment, and included it as one of the six perpetual mitzvas that a person must fulfill always (see Mishna Brura, Be'er Halocha, "Klal gadol", Shulchan Aruch 1:1). The Rambam explains that gazing eyes lead to actual forbidden deeds, and therefore prevent a person from making Tshuva (see Rambam, Hilchos Tshuva, 4:4).

The Gemorra states (Brachos 24a), "He who looks at a woman's pinky finger is as though he looked at her private parts," equating looking with outright arayos. Our latter-day poskim, including Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, differentiate between seeing a woman and looking at her. While the former is permissible, the latter - especially when the intent is for personal gratification - is strictly forbidden.

Looking at a woman with the intent of enjoyment blinds and blemishes the soul, according to the leading mussar sforim, particularly "Reshis Chochma" (see Shaar Hayira, Shaar Hakdusha), thereby severely damaging a person's ability to learn Torah and to believe in Hashem. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev writes that impurity enters the soul much faster via the eyes that in does via the mouth. Also, looking at other women weakens a person's relationship with his own wife, according to the Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a.

When a man carries the images of other women in his mind, especially during conjugal relations, he risks having children with terrible character traits (see Gemorra, Nedarim 20b).

The Chofetz Chaim writes that it's preferable to lose every worldly possession rather than transgressing one deoraissa commandment. Therefore, we must execute extreme caution in the use of our eyes. One who watches television and movies almost surely transgresses "Lo sasuru" frequently, heaven forbid. Therefore, the modern application of KSA 152:8 is no movies, no TV, and no pleasure-gazing at women. Those who guard their eyes will surely merit seeing Moshiach tzidkeinu and the rebuilding of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, amen.

Visit Rabbi Lazer Brody's website here.

Question & Answer - Part I can be found here.

Question & Answer - Part II can be found here.

A Simple Jew's thought on Shmiras Einayim can be found here.


At July 1, 2005 at 10:23:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When R' Elya Lopian z"l was the mashigiach in Kfar Chassidim, there was a policy that the students would not go to weddings. So, there was a certain student who's sister was getting married in Yerushalaim, and he went to R' Elya to ask permission to attend.
Rabbi Lopian told him that it was improper for a single boy of his age to go, and that he should remain in yeshiva.
A few days later the student tried again, and R' Elya was surprised that he was being asked a second time, and again he did not approve of the boy going to the wedding - and he repeated to the boy that he will see many women at a wedding, and he will be at risk of having improper thoughts, if not worse.
The day before the wedding the student tried again. The boy told R' Lopian that the wedding would not effect him, and that he would surely be fine.
To this R' Elya was shocked; he quickly asked the boy, "What is your mother's name?!"
The student was confused, and replied: "Why do you need my mother's name?"
R' Lopian said:
"I am a ninety year old man, and when I hear the click-clack of a woman's shoe on the pavement I fear that it will give me improper thoughts. You are a single young man, and you are telling me that you are sure not to be effected by attending an event where you will see so many women - you must be sick! Therefore, I am asking for your mother's name so I can pray for you to get well."

The boy did not attend...

At July 4, 2008 at 5:19:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am looking for Rabbi Lazer Brody's e-mail address please!!! if someone can help me ge it my e-mail address is plese put in the subject RABBI BRODY so i know who it is. PLEASE help me get it, thank you


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