Sunday, November 1, 2009

Another Way

One of the most vocal proponents of the need for “shemiras einayim” in recent times was Rav Eliyahu Lopian, zt”l. Once, a certain young man wished to travel a long distance from the yeshiva for a wedding. Since he was learning in Kfar Chassidim, he required permission to travel from the mashgiach, the venerable Rav Eliyahu Lopian. But when he requested permission, he was surprised that Rav Lopian did not look on this favorably.
“Aren’t you afraid that you will see what is unseemly and spiritually damaging?” he asked.
“Not really,” the young man replied. “I have never found that seeing such things have any real effect on me.”
The mashgiach then made what seemed to be a very strange request. “May I have your mother’s name please?”
The bochur was flummoxed, “But why?”
The mashgiach clearly pitied the young man when he said, “I am eighty years old and I tell you truly that even walking a little bit in the street effects me adversely, and you, a young man in the prime of life, feel nothing? Obviously you are sick, so I need your mother’s name to daven for your complete recovery!”
On another occasion, when Rav Lopian was still living in Yerushalayim, a group arrived exactly on time for a va’ad and joyously shared with the mashgiach that they had cut through the Machaneh Yehudah market in order to make it on time.
To their dismay, the mashgiach was not pleased with this discovery, since it is virtually impossible to avoid seeing the unseemly in such a crowded area. “How could you have possibly cut through the shuk?” he thundered. “The Rashbam says clearly that if there is another way, one who takes the shorter path paved with pritzus is wicked even if he closes his eyes and sees nothing since he should have distanced himself from potential sin, not drawn it nearer to him. The gemara tells us that we must distance ourselves from what is unseemly!”

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