The "evil eye" is an ancient concept that exists in nearly every culture throughout the world. The evil eye can take the form of a brief glance or a stare, and it can cause great misfortune to the recipient. Jewish sages say the evil eye can also deaden the soul of the one who gives it. Since the evil eye can be given unintentionally, it is important to be aware of its potential.
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Behave modestly. It is known that those who flaunt their luxuries, beauty, children, property and talents are vulnerable to the evil eye. You should be modest in your dress, thought and speech to prevent jealousy.
Wear an amulet. The most popular Jewish amulet is a red wool string worn around the left wrist. This is not an ordinary red string, but is taken from the tomb of Rachel in Israel. If you buy such a string, make sure it is the real item and not a fake.
Be scrupulous in learning Torah and observing commandments. The evil eye can only work by bringing a judgment down from Heaven. If you are careful to observe Torah laws, you are less likely to suffer from a harsh judgment.
Judge others favorably. Those who are well-disposed towards others are less likely to suffer from jealousy. As Rabbi Shammai says, greet everyone with a cheerful face. Others will be happy for you if you have good fortune rather than being jealous of you.
Remove yourself from the situation. If you feel someone is staring at you or is giving you the evil eye, trust your instinct and move away immediately. Do everything you can to prevent people from staring at you without being abrupt or rude.
Check your mezuzahs. A mezuzah, or special parchment with Bible verses written on it, should be on the left side of every door in your house, except for the bathroom. They should be checked every year by a professional scribe and can protect you from the evil eye.
Believe in Divine Providence. It is important to remember that the evil eye can only work with God's permission, and it is more important to believe in Divine Providence than to believe in the evil eye.
Tips and warnings
- Avoid people who lack what you have, even if they seem friendly to you. For instance, if you have many children, do not visit childless people excessively. You want to avoid appearing to "flaunt" your family, unless you are sure they have a healthy attitude.
- Don't think that you can avoid the evil eye by complaining. People who complain can become depressed and can arouse even more jealousy and resentment from others, especially from those who feel they lack certain things.
- Do not become obsessed with the evil eye. Remember that God, not the evil eye, controls the world. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn has said one can remove the vitality from the evil eye by disregarding it.
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