Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Day 7: Know the Laws of Shmirat Einayim

Part 1/3 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

by Miller, Rabbi Zvi (See all authors)

In recent years, many of us have become more aware of Torah laws governing Shmirat HaLashon, and now we are careful about what we say and what we hear.

When we were first introduced to the laws of Shmirat HaLashon, we might have felt overwhelmed. But with study and practice, keeping these laws became easier.

In the same way, when we first hear the laws of Shmirat Einayim we may think, "This is impossible! There's no way I can be this careful." But as we study, we understand the wisdom of these laws and the more motivated we become.

The Four Primary Laws of Looking at and Thinking about Women

Below is a summary of relevant rulings. Familiarize yourself with these laws, and you will have a ready and practical guide to live by: (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer, Chapter 21, Law 1)

(1) It is forbidden to look at a woman if she is dressed immodestly. (There are different laws regarding one's wife.)

(2) a. If you know of an area where immodestly dressed women are present, it is forbidden to enter this area. An alternative route must be taken.

b. If there is no alternative route, or the alternative route is impractical or costly, you are permitted to pass through the area providing you make every reasonable effort to avoid seeing the immodest sights.

(3) It is forbidden to have thoughts of desire for any woman. (There are different laws regarding one's wife.)

(4) It is forbidden to derive pleasure from looking at the beauty of a woman, even if she is modestly dressed. (There are different laws regarding one's wife.)

Clearly, these laws are not easy to apply in situations where women cannot be avoided, such as a work setting. The upcoming segments will deal with specific advice and techniques regarding various scenarios.