1 Posted by - July 2, 2014 - Bamidbar, Parsha


Parashat Balak

is thinking positive so important? Because negative thinking can destroy. Bilaam, the wicked sorcerer, was hired by the nations of the world to put an end to the Jews. His power was nothing more than the power to curse. Bilaam, the most negative person on earth, could wipe out the Jewish Nation with his Evil Eye. No one, nothing, could stop him. Except G-d.  How does a curse or the Evil Eye affect another’s destiny?

Judaism teaches us about the greatness of Man. The power of thought and a person’s beliefs are among the greatest powers in the universe. Thinking and thought can change destiny.  This is the power behind the Evil Eye. Wondering how someone deserves success puts that person under Heavenly scrutiny. Does he really deserve what he’s got? Maybe, it should be taken away from him. Negative thoughts provide power for curses and the Evil Eye. In a recent Daf Hayomi, (Taanit 8a) the Talmud illustrates the power of belief with a story.

Once, a twelve year old girl was walking home. She fell into a deep pit on the side of a deserted road. A young passerby noticed the stranded girl and said, “If I lift you from this pit, will you marry me?” She answered in the affirmative. The two of them swore that they would marry. They looked for witnesses, but they were alone. Then, they noticed a rat, walking near the pit, and they both decided that the pit and the rat would be witnesses. The girl remained true to her word, refusing any other offers of marriage. But, eventually, the boy  forgot his promise and married someone else. The young couple had a son. A rat came and bit the child, and he died. A second son was born, but fell into a pit and died. The wife asked her husband, “What are these strange occurrences that happen only to us?” He remembered his promise to the girl; he remembered the pit and the rat that they called to witness their agreement, and he told his wife everything. She asked for a divorce, and he married the virgin that he had, originally, promised to marry . It is from this account that our rabbis derive the concept of the power of belief.  Even belief in a pit and in a rat. What we believe – whether it is positive or negative – is going to happen! No one said it better than R’ Nachman of Breslev. “Know this. Thought is extremely potent. If a person intensifies his thinking about something, he can make it reality!!!” (Likutei M, A, 193)

But there is something positive we can learn from the Evil Eye. If thinking negatively, pessimistically, can hurt, what can positive thought do? What would happen if I would be optimistic about myself and others, my family and my community? If Bilaam could destroy with his negativity, surely we can build and revive ourselves and others with a positive outlook. Being positive is the magnet that keeps couples together. It is the secret of family bonding and of successful communities. And the only chance a parent has to be appreciated by his children as they grow is staying positive. Needless to say, Bilaam had no wife, no family and no community. All he had was a donkey.

A community member approached my father, Rabbi I. Farhi, with a dilemma. She invited a neighbor who was not as blessed as she was, and made her feel welcome. But, it seems that every time the neighbor came, something would go wrong in the house. Rabbi, I feel that she is giving me the Evil Eye. Should I stop inviting her?

My father responded in the following manner. The Evil Eye is mentioned in the Talmud. It does exist. People are not aware though, that it works mostly with negativity and pessimism. A person can bring an Evil Eye on himself and even on his own, beloved children, Heaven forbid, via negative thinking. Instead of allowing negativity to spoil the relationship between these two women, we can bring compassion into the picture. That woman must feel that she is missing something. Instead of distancing her, pray for her that she also have blessing in her home. Pray for her that she have what she is missing. The woman prayed for her neighbor, and G-d answered her prayers. And, things stopped going wrong when that neighbor came for a visit.

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