Jealousy and the Evil Eye

The long and the short of it is that we do, with reservations. European Jews are always saying, "keneyna hara.” That means, "Let there be no evil eye!" It's even mentioned in the Talmud. And the Talmud gives us a remedy as well. What is it?

The Talmud instructs us to clasp our hands and recite the following formula: "I am a descendent of Joseph the righteous, and therefore the evil eye has no power over me." Then a biblical verse is to be recited, and the person has nothing to fear.

How does this work?

Abraham was given the power to bless. He was, for all intents and purposes, God's conduit for blessing. How was this so?

In order for a blessing to take place, there must be some good to begin with. Blessing means increase, as we have previously noted in another entry, so it increases an already existing good.

Other people may see the blessings we have and react to them in one of two ways. They can either be jealous of the blessing, or rejoice in our good fortune. The jealous types will curse, and the generous types will bless. The former wants to destroy our blessing, the latter wants to increase it.

When a jealous person sees another's success, their jealousy is the equivalent of the evil eye. In fact, it is the definition of it. An eye looks at something, examines it. The evil eye, in effect, is asking a very difficult question: "Does this person really deserve this blessing?"

And then, in heaven, ever sensitive to the needs of fairness, this person's blessing is examined. Just like a blessing requires something to grow from, so, too, a curse requires something to destroy from. If there is anything imperfect in the blessing, or its recipient, the evil eye's curse has upon what to take hold. Heaven may remove the blessing because of the accusation called "evil eye".

Abraham always saw the good in others, and thus had the power to bless. He found the good points, was generous of nature, and was God's conduit for blessing. Joseph, however, was even more powerful. He defeated the evil eye time and time again. Let's look at his story briefly.

Starting with his father's favoritism, Joseph was the victim of the evil eye of his brothers. He could have been bitter towards them, thus creating the negative energy that their evil eye could use to destroy him. He didn't, and his first example of immunity to the evil eye was demonstrated. Later, when Potiphar's wife cast her eye upon him, he defeated it by not succumbing to her temptations.

Finally, when he was blessed with the leadership of Egypt, he never gave in to pettiness, never resented anyone else's success, and never sought to take revenge against those who caused him harm. Thus, he defeated the evil eye at every turn.

That is how we can, too. By always being positive, never being vindictive or jealous, we following Joseph's footsteps. This little Talmudic gesture is meant to remind us of that, and not simply a "counter voodoo technique."

Never hesitate to bless, never hesitate to rejoice in others success. Always be a conduit of positive energy, and you will be immune to the evil eye when success comes your way! May this happen soon!

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