Sunday, March 07, 2010

Superstition and Gazing at Women

Ulla says: A dargash bed is a bed of good fortune.

The Rishonim ask: Shouldn’t such a bed be forbidden on account of the prohibition of nichush; One should not act upon the basis of omens or lucky times (Vayikra 19:26)?

The Radvaz answers that it is being used as a sign to strengthen one’s luck, but not to be superstitious about it. R’ Eliezer MiMitz disagrees with him and maintains that even that would be forbidden.

The Shitah Mikubetzes explains that this is a bed designated for the guardian angel of the house. It was done for the purpose of honoring the Holy One, blessed is He. This is similar in the manner that we prepare a chair for Eliyahu Hanavi by a bris milah.

The Ra”n in Sanhedrin explains that it is a bed which is constantly made and kept empty in order to demonstrate that the household has more than they need. Through this, one is recognizing that Hashem has blessed him with wealth and thanking Him for it.

The Rambam writes that dargash is a small bed that is placed before a larger bed; it is used as a stepping-stool in order to climb onto the higher bed.

The Rosh explains that the angel in charge of poverty resides in a dirty house and the angel in charge of riches and success resides in a clean house. The dargash is a bed which always remained clean in order to beckon the angel of wealth to reside in the house.

The Wisdom of Rabbi Yehonasan

By: Meoros HaDaf HaYomi

And he may break through property to make a way for himself.

Rabbi Yehonasan Eibschitz was familiar with the royal family. Once the king was about to enter the city and to test Rabbi Yehonasan’s wisdom, asked him to guess the gate through which he would enter. Rabbi Yehonasan replied that he would put his answer in writing, to be opened only after the king’s entry to the city. The king thought of a trick and broke through the city wall, making a new gate and imagining that Rabbi Yehonasan could never foresee such a ploy. After his arrival, the reply was opened, showing the excerpt from the Mishna: “…the king may break through property to make a way for himself.”


Gazing at Women

The Gemora records a dispute between the Chachamim and Rabbi Yehudah regarding where the women stand when attending a funeral. Chachamim are of the opinion that they may stand both in front and behind the coffin, while Rabbi Yehudah maintains that they may only stand in front.

Tosfos explains that since when attending a funeral it is a time of anguish, we are not concerned that the men will see the women and have illicit thoughts, therefore we allow the women to stand in front of the coffin while the men are behind them. However, Tosfos continues that there are those who have the custom to position the men in front of the coffin and the women behind it, for it is improper for the men to gaze at the women.

There are many things men are forbidden to do, so as to distance themselves from immorality. Obviously these laws do not apply to one’s wife. Due to the severity of these laws and the fact that it is unknown to many people, these halachos will be a bit explicit.

It is forbidden to:

1) Wink, snap the fingers or any other bodily movement that is considered flirting.

2) Joke around with a woman, or to act in a light-hearted manner.

3) Gaze at her beauty. This also applies to an unmarried girl.

4) Smell the perfume that a woman is wearing.

5) Gaze at the clothing of a woman that one knows, even if she is not wearing it at the time.

6) If one is walking down the street and a woman is walking in front of him, it is forbidden to continue to walk behind her; rather, he should quicken his pace and get in front of her. If this is not possible, then he should either go to the side or wait until she is sufficiently ahead of him. There is a dispute as to how much of a distance needs to be between them. Mahari and others hold that it is enough if a man is four amos behind a woman, while the Radvaz rules that one must distance himself until he can’t clearly see her walking and movements. This applies even where ladies go covered from head to toe.

7) Pass the house of a prostitute.

8) Gaze at any part of a woman’s body.

9) Listen to a woman singing.