The Torah teaches control. Control of our eyes, our mouth, our hands, our ears, our emotions and even our nose. We avoid looking at immodest dressed people – to avoid temptation. We avoid looking at the face of a wicked person – his face might have an effect on our spirituality. We avoid looking at the standing grain of a fellow in order to spare his field from an evil eye.
In an older post we mentioned a story:
Guarding One’s Eyes & Protecting Lives
Once a man was sitting in the front of a bus. A woman boarded the bus dressed immodestly. He turned his glance to refrain from looking. Another woman came on, and he closed his eyes again. He decided to go to the back of the bus.
Being tired, he slumbered. He dreamed that there was a bomb under his seat. Upon awaking, he dismissed it from his mind. Slumbering again, he had the same dream. When he decided to check under his seat he saw a package with wires emerging. He immediately notified the driver and all were evacuated from the bus. When all passengers were off, the bomb exploded.
Shortly after, the man went to see a great Jewish sage – Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira – the Baba Sali. Baba Sali explained the incident – the bus was to explode causing great damage. But when the man did two acts of guarding his eyes, he created two protecting angels. The angels pleaded before G-d and said – You can’t let this bus explode, there is a righteous person on the bus. For this the man had two dreams and the bus was saved.
This man saved a bus load of people by his avoiding looking at immodesty. Obviously it works both ways – a woman who dresses modestly also gets tremendous reward.
Guarding Eyes Gives You Tangible Reward in this World
These are the general rewards. Guarding ones eyes also makes a person more refined and helps them to maintain a closer relationship with Hash-m. One of the things Hash-m dislikes is immodesty and immorality. When it is present – he “leaves” so to speak. The feeling of being void of G-d’s presence is a punishment in itself.
Another outcome of guarding one’s eyes and being modest is a physical reward in this world. A person who guards his eyes will not be attracted by a woman that may be beautiful on the outside, but her character traits leave much to be desired. A person gets used to looks, but a scathing personality is difficult to get used to. A person who marries for beauty – have more of a chance of divorce – because the physical attractiveness may be there – but the basis to build a healthy, meaningful and growing relationship with another may be lacking.
A woman who is modest in dress and attitude attracts people of the same kind. A man that appreciates her for her inner qualities – rather than someone who loves the shell but not the pearl inside. In the end she also will have a greater relationship with the man she ends up marrying – because he will appreciate her for her inner and outer qualities – making for a better long-term relationship with her spouse in marriage.
The Test of the Internet
Unfortunately internet has made it more difficult to guard ones eyes. Putting a filter on the internet will help – but also safeguarding smartphones from immodesty is also a wise investment. See our previous article on safeguarding children and adults from internet.
Seeing Great Spiritual Sights
There was a rabbi who once covered his eyes for seven years to avoid seeing immodesty and impropriety. When he took off his covering – he was able to see things spiritually that others could not. Another man heard about this and decided also to cover his eyes for 7 years to be able to get he same benefit. He did so. Yet when he finished his shielding his eyes from the exterior, he was not able to see wondrous spiritual sights. He asked the rabbi why he did not merit to also to see these great sights. The rabbi responded “I covered my eyes to not see [immodesty]. You covered your eyes to see! [spiritual sights]”
Nowadays every small effort makes a difference. May we merit great spiritual sights and levels from our small, sincere efforts to guard the Torah. Amen.