Individual Postings 1st appeared(& were copied in html form) on the Email List Mail Jewish

From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Fri, 8 Aug 1997 13:28:27 -0400 Subject: Ayin Hara: Births vs Bar Mitzvahs and Weddings Why do we have EVIL EYE prohibitions for buying baby presents (before the birth) but not for bar mitzvahs and weddings? I believe this can be explained using a recent explanation I made in another email group on the meaning of the EVIL EYE. I basically posited that EVIL EYE = RIGHT TO SOCIAL PRIVACY = RIGHT NOT TO BE EXCESSIVELY TALKED ABOUT In other words just as halachah recognizes my right to visual privacy--e.g. I can force my neighbor to participate in building a fence between me and him in order to prevent him "from seeing me (and invading my privacy)--so to does halacha recognize my right not to be the "talk of the town"--(which I (loosely) call social privacy). Some examples illustrate this: * If my father and I get an aliyah then we will be the "talk of the shule" (e.g. "Do you see all the honors the Hendel family is getting?") * If I "eye" my neighbors field during periods of growth I might talk about his success and "make him the talk of the town" Hence, consecutive aliyahs and viewing fields are EVIL EYE prohibited * Similarly if everyone gets presents for a yet to be born baby it will make this woman and her pregnancy the "talk of the town"--this stress coupled with the stress of pregnancy may be more than the woman can cope with. The excessive talk may "damage" her (Note: The talmud explicitly uses the term that "invasion of visual privacy is "damage") By contrast a Bar Mitvah, reaching 12,13 is something that is "going to happen anyway"--there is no fear of damage As for a couple about to get married, they are ALREADY IN A STATE OF STRESS (cf. Rambam, Laws of Shema Chapter 4:1,2,3). So talking about them or giving them presents will not ADD TO THEIR stress. I believe that this DAMAGE approach to the EVIL EYE prohibitions is consistent with halachah and enables understanding many of its intricacies (NOTE: I am not claiming that ALL evil eye prohbitions come from social privacy damage..I am just claiming it is one component) Russell Jay Hende; PH.d; ASA; RHendel @ Mcs Drexel edu