Volume 28 Number 49
                 Produced: Wed Feb 17 21:52:39 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aiyan Hora (4)
         [Alexander Heppenheimer, Marat A. Denenberg, Joshua Hoffman,
Brandon Raff]
Conditional Forgiveness
         [Richard Wolpoe]
Faith and Trust
         [David Charlap]
FAITH(AMN) vs TRUST (BTCH)-- Biblical usage
         [Russell Hendel]
Forgiveness in Judaism
         [Cheryl Maryles]


From: Alexander Heppenheimer <Alexander_Heppenheimer@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 22:37:50 -0800
Subject: Re: Aiyan Hora

Chaim Shapiro wrote:

>What is the concept of an Aiyan hora?  The way it sounds from
>conversations I have had from many frum individuals, it sounds like
>they believe that the evil eye has some power which is outside of the
>pervue of G-d Chas Vasholem.

If a frum person does believe that, then that is definitely a problem...
such a person clearly needs a better grounding in Torah thought - a review
of Tanya, or Nefesh HaChayim, would probably help. Then again, it may be
just that the people you've spoken with have a hard time explaining
themselves clearly. With Hashem's help, I'll see if I can do it any better:

As I understand it, the basic idea of an ayin hara is that it is one of the
forces Hashem created in this world, and its function is to channel extra
Divine scrutiny upon a person, place, or thing. In other words, ordinarily
Hashem deals with us with a great deal of patience, so that even when a
person deserves some punishment for a misdeed (chas veshalom), He doesn't
exact that punishment right away; an ayin hara calls attention to this
fact, "forcing" (so to speak) Hashem to carefully re-examine the situation
and quite possibly impose the punishment that was (already) in waiting.

In that sense, an ayin hara is no more an independent force than, say,
electricity: a person who touches a bare electrical wire gets a shock,
because that's the way Hashem designed the world; and a person who comes
under the notice of an ayin hara may (chas veshalom) be harmed, for the
same reason. Which means that a person who is careful about avoiding an
ayin hara is not thereby denying Hashem's total control over his life, any
more so than a parent who covers the electrical outlets to keep the baby
from getting into them.

[The difference is that the electrical current invariably causes the shock,
because Hashem created the laws of nature in such a way that He rarely
overtly disrupts their functioning (cases such as the Ten Plagues being the
exception); whereas since an ayin hara is not really a law of nature, but
rather a supernatural mechanism, Hashem is much more likely to override it
- and we thus find the Gemara making the blanket statement that, for
example, the members of the Tribe of Yosef cannot be affected negatively by
an ayin hara. Besides, it's always possible that the extra re-examination
of the situation will turn up extenuating factors, or other reasons for
Hashem to continue bestowing good on the person.]

The same holds true as far as positive actions, such as the idea that you
mention of eating of the end of the challah (I always heard that it's the
end of the esrog, but that's another matter): given that Hashem sends His
blessings to us through various filters and channels (a job, a particular
doctor or medicine, etc.), maybe that's one such channel!

Now, of course, it's perfectly true that some of the ideas advanced in the
name of "avoidance of ayin hara" sound awfully superstitious. The short
answer there is CYLOR: he'll be able to tell you which of them come from,
or at least are supported by, Torah sources, and which are goyishe
superstitions that have no place in our lives.

Kol tuv,

From: Marat A. Denenberg <mead@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 22:32:14 -0500
Subject: RE: Aiyan Hora

The concept was explained to me in the following fashion. When the 'evil
eye' occurs, it turns G-d's attention on that person and that the next
time He might wish to punish that person he will do so in the fashion of
the 'evil eye'. For instance, in your example of the stunted growth of
the child occurring when someone steps over him. If the child were to
falter later in his life, He might remember and choose to punish him by
stunting his growth. In other words, the 'evil eye' brings His attention
to bear on the person involved in concern to that particular
characteristic. I was also lead to understand that a person can't
actually believe that if the 'evil eye' occurs that that is exactly what
will happen or else the person would break the commandment against the
belief in lucky times (or unlucky for that matter). On a similar note,
an example of the 'evil eye' in Scripture would be when Jacob tells his
sons to enter the city from different entrances on their way to see
their brother (I believe Rashi discusses the matter in detail).

Marat A. Denenberg

From: Joshua Hoffman <JoshHoff@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 02:29:27 EST
Subject: Re: Aiyan Hora

Rav Ahron Soloveichek has explained that the meaning of ayin hora
accords with its literal translation: bad vision, or the wrong way of
looking at things Thus, to count Jews by numbers can bring an ayin hora
because it leads one to look at each Jew as just a number, rather than
as an entire world. Looking at things in the wrong way can cause
frustraton and its consequent psychological disorders. The idea of fish
not being subject to ayin hora, explains Rav Ahron, is that fish are not
subject to frustration, because no matter what you do to a fish, it
remains kosher.

From: Brandon Raff <brandon@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 21:56:52 +0200 (SAT)
Subject: Re: Aiyan Hora

> 	As ridiculous as that notion sounds, lets look at this
> reasonably.  Stepping over a child will stunt his growth.... Don't we

This is superstition

Aiyan Hora is based on the following priciple:

In Jewish thought, Hashem no longer performs "open" miracles. We do not
see the red sea splitting, nor do we get the manna from heaven. The reason
- becuase that would remove our free-will. If Hashem had to openly reveal
Himself to us as He did at Har Sinia, how could we sin afterwards? [BTW
there are midrashim that state that Hashem "hardened" the Jewish people's
heart after the revelation just as He had hardened Par'ohs heart during
the plagues - in order to give thier free-will back!]

An open miracle would do exactly that. Thus we can only experience
"hidden" miracles - and bythat I mean miracles that can be "explained"
away, and not remove our free-will.

Back to Aiyan Hara. The gemorah - Bava Batra perek aleph talks about
giving some one an Aiyan hara concerning the produce of his field. If
someone were to go to your field and count all your produce, then a
miracle can NO longer take place with your produce. If I counted 1000
stalks in your field, then next day there won't suddenly be 2000 stalks.
That would now be considered an open miracle. Nature will have to take its
course. Thus by me counting the produce of your land, I am stopping a
mircle from talking place, and i am stopping the quantity of your produce
increasing un-naturally.

This is the concept of Aiyan Hara.

> Eating the end of the challah will result in having boys.  Why?  G-d
> determines that (while allowing for tefillah to help).  What power does
> eating the challah have?

I heard something very different concerning the ends of Chalah.
Kabalistically one should NOT eat the ends of the Challah.

According to one tradition, the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil in Gan
Eiden, was a wheat stalk. Without going into details wheat can either be
used for Matzah or Lechem - two different / opposite characteristics.

As the Challah is made from the fruit of the tree of knowledge, one end of
the challah represents "good knowledge" while the other end represents
"bad knowledge (forgetfulness)" Seen as we do not know which end
represents which, we should not eat either end. [or maybe the same person
should eat both?]

I would interested to learn where the idea of eating the ends of the
challah will help you have sons, comes from.

As a side note, after Adam and Chavah sinned, Hashem stopped them from
eating from the Tree of Life. Would this imply that they were allowed to
continue eating from the Tree of Knowledge?



From: Richard Wolpoe <richard_wolpoe@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 15:09:37 -0500
Subject: Conditional Forgiveness

Re: Professor Hendel's post...
 It seems obvious from "Mussar"-based philosophy that witholding
forgiveness in order to rectify the other party's behavior is a valid
reason.  It is witholding forgiveness out of a sense of vindictiveness
that would be prohibited.

IMHO, unconditional forgiveness should be avoided if leads one to become
a "co-dependent" enabler.  Preferably it should be used as a way of
perceiving both parties as being subjet to human frailty.

Rich Wolpoe


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 02:34:11 +0000
Subject: Re: Faith and Trust

>> What is the difference between faith and trust? Bitachon and emuna?
>> I have heard several explanatios but they don't satisfy me.
>> I have been told that where there is knowledge, you can't have faith.

I've always worked under the understanding that "emunah" is a faith that
is grounded in experience.

For example, if an employee of yours has given you years of flawless
work and you give him a difficult assignment, you will expect him to
cary out this task successfully.  This is how I understand "emuna". 
Your faith is grounded in your experience with his years of service.

On the other hand, if this employee's record is poor, and you give him
the task, and you expect him to cary it out successfully, that's not
emuna.  That's just foolish.

We, as Jews, have emuna in God because He has proven His ability and
desire to sustain us over the past millennia, not simply because of a
gut feeling or another person's say-so.

-- David


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Subject: FAITH(AMN) vs TRUST (BTCH)-- Biblical usage

Bill Handler, v28n44 asks the difference between FAITH and TRUST.

One simple method of learning differences of terms is to use the
Biblical Konkordance and study lists of vereses with each verb. Here are
some partial results:

BaTaCH(Trust): (a) Chizkiyahu trusted God to save Israel from Assyria
(2R 18,5); (b) The husband trusts the wife of valor (Prv 31,11); (c) The
army depended (trusted) the ambush-troops to cover for them (jud 20:36)

EMN (FAITH): (a) Jacob did not believe (at first) that Joseph was alive
(Gen 45:26), (b) In order that the Jews believe you when you say that
God has sent me (Ex 4:5,8,...); (c) Ex 14:31...they believed in God and
Moses his servant (d) And Abraham believed God (Gen 15:6...that he would
inherit Israel...)).

Thus BELIEF (AMN)=FAITH means that you accept as true the statements a
person makes (you don't ask for further proof). The clearest example is
that after the signs the Jews believed Moses (without further tests)

BTCH=TRUST=Dependable means that you depend on a person to do some task
which you need (The clearest example is how the army unit depended on
the backup unit to sweep out the enemy before them).

As a final example: EMN means you BELIEVE without further tests that God
will give you all needed Parnasah. BTCH means e.g. that if you put in
several hours of work a week that you depend on God to bring you buyers
good weather etc. so you can earn your living.

Russell Jay Hendel;Phd ASA RHendel @ mcs drexel edu
Adjust Associate Professo of Math and Computer Science
Moderator Rashi is Simple


From: Cheryl Maryles <C-Maryles@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 1999 17:19:38 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Forgiveness in Judaism

I don't know who composed the actual text of the ribbon shel olam prayer,
but the concept of the prayer is not recent or chasidic. It is based on a
gemara (megilla 28) which says that the Taana R' Nechunya ben hakana, and
the Amora Mar Zutra merited long life because they forgave everyone who
wronged them each night before they went to sleep. Since the tefffila has
a strong basis in Chazal, and the M.B. also says you should say it, and
because it is supposed to be a merit for long life, I'd advise you to say
it and also try to mean it, and realize that even though you have reasons
not to say it, great people before us think we should say it.
Elie Ginsparg


End of Volume 28 Issue 49