Shemirat Einayim Stories
This week's Pahad David has some interesting Shemirat Einayim stories (stories about guarding one's eyes) on page 2 of the newsletter, based on the Midrash that says that Yosef merited greatness due to his not deriving benefit from a woman that was not his:
- R' Tzemah Mazuz of Kisei Rahamim heard second-hand that when Rav Ovadia Yosef Shlit"a's wife passed away in 5754, Baba Elazar ZT"L asked Rav Ovadia how he merited to have children who were all Talmidei Hachamim and Tzadikkim.
Rav Ovadia initially said simply that Hashem give him a gift. However, Baba Elazar was not impressed and said Hashem doesn't give gifts for nothing, so what merit did he have that allowed him to have righteous children?
Rav Ovadia repeated again that simply Hashem gave that blessing to him. Baba Elazar pressed him and pressed him and said, "I'm not leaving here until you reveal your secret."
Rav Ovadia finally said, "You know, dozens of years ago, I was a Dayan in a Petah Tikva Beit Din, and couples came there to get divorced. Most of the couples were not Torah-observant, so most of the women were not dressed modestly. And we, the judges, needed to investigate, ask questions, talk and try to make peace. This was not easy!
"And never did I - Has Veshalom - lift up my eyes to see with whom I am speaking. I spoke and my eyes were looking down on the floor." In place of the holiness of the eyes, HKB"H knows to compensate properly, as Haza"l say למען ייטב לך ולבניך אחריך - theft and illicit relationships that people desire constantly, when someone stays away from them, HKB"H pays back that much more.
- Rav Moshe Aharon Pinto ZT"L had people come to him often for blessings, including women, but everyone attested to the fact that he didn't look at the women who came to him. His rabbanit - Rabbanit Mazal Pinto Telit"a - tried to test this on him. She changed her clothes and head-covering and went in to her own home to get a blessing from her husband, changing her natural voice. Her disguise was so good that no one there recognized her in her own home.
When she went to see him, he asked her, "What is your name?"
"Mazal, the daughter of whom?"
"Mazal bat Simha."
The rav smiled and said, "You have the same name as my wife and your mother is the same as her mother." He blessed her with good wishes.
She asked if he could also bless her children.
"You have a husband?"
"And what's his name?"
"Ha, ha! Your name is like my wife's name, your mother's name is like her mother's name, and your husband's name is exactly like mine!" He blessed her again.
Afterwards, the rabbanit mentioned the names of her children, and he said, "BeHasdei Hashem! Hashem put here a woman whose name is like my wife's, her mother's like my wife's mother's, her husband's like me, and her children like mine! Such providence!"
Suddenly, the woman started laughing and asked her husband, "Have you forgotten me? Don't you know who I am?" Then, the rav understood that it was his wife, and asked her why she did this trick. She answered, "I wanted to test you to make sure you didn't stare at women. The whole time I mentioned the names, I thought that maybe curiosity would cause you to stare, but you never did. Now I understand that you are a true tzaddik."
However, Rav Moshe Aharon didn't like what she did, and told her that she should not have done so. "What if I looked out of curiosity? There is a Yetzer Hara that tried to get me to look, but thank G-d, I overcame it and did not look. Even if I did look, really you are my wife, but what if you were really another woman..."
- It says in the book Si'ah Sarfei Kodesh that once some people were praising Rav Kook ZT"L for his Shemirat Einayim in front of Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld ZT"L in that whenever someone walked into the room, he would look down so as not to see something he shouldn't and that whenever he talked to women with halachic questions, he would answer them with his eyes closed.
Rav Sonnenfeld answered, "If so, he will have a greater portion in the next world."
Also, Rav Yitzhak Arieli, the author of Einayim Lamishpat, learned with Rav Kook as his Havruta for many hours of the day for over 3 years and when they learned, they were in a locked door and no one left for any reason barring saving a life. Rav Arieli attested to the fact that throughout those years, Rav Kook did not see the form of a woman at all.