OPINIONS: The Gemara says that Yehoshua advised the descendants of Yosef, who felt that they needed more land in Eretz Yisrael, to settle in the forests. Part of his advice was practical -- to settle a portion of their land which they had not considered settling. However, the Gemara says that Yehoshua also intended to advise Shevet Yosef that settling in the forests is generally a good thing; since people cannot see one's dwelling in the forest, living there protects a person from an "Ayin ha'Ra."

The concept of "Ayin ha'Ra" is mentioned many times throughout the Gemara as well as in the SHULCHAN ARUCH (CM 378:5), which states the Halachah that one is not permitted to stand next to another person's field and admire the fine crop which has grown in the field, because his Ayin ha'Ra might cause harm to the crop.

Is a person entitled to say that he does not care about an Ayin ha'Ra such that it should not affect him at all? The Gemara in Pesachim (110b) teaches that one who is not afraid of and pays no attention to the Shedim ("demons," or forces that inflict harm) is not subject to the Shedim's harm. Does the same apply to the potential harm of an Ayin ha'Ra? Could the members of Shevet Yosef told Yehoshua that they did not want to settle in the forests because they had no concern for Ayin ha'Ra?

(a) RAV MOSHE FEINSTEIN zt'l (in IGROS MOSHE EH 3:26) writes that one who is not concerned for an Ayin ha'Ra indeed will not be harmed by an Ayin ha'Ra. Nevertheless, even one who is not concerned for an Ayin ha'Ra should avoid doing something which is extremely out of the ordinary, since such an act definitely will cause an Ayin ha'Ra. Rav Moshe therefore rules that a young woman who is pregnant should not be concerned about Ayin ha'Ra, since it is normal for young women to become pregnant. This is also implied by the CHASAM SOFER (EH 116).

(b) The author of SEFER L'RE'ACHA KAMOCHA (vol. 2, ch. 4, fn. 231) has difficulty with the ruling of the Igros Moshe. The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 141:6) rules that two brothers are not allowed to be called up for an Aliyah to the Torah one after another because of the concern for Ayin ha'Ra. The BIRKEI YOSEF, KAF HA'CHAIM, and many others point out that this concern applies even if the brothers say that they are not concerned about an Ayin ha'Ra. This Halachah is also quoted by the MISHNAH BERURAH (OC 141:19). The l'Re'acha Kamocha writes that although the ARUCH HA'SHULCHAN (OC 141:8) rules that one who is not concern about Ayin ha'Ra may do whatever he wants, he may not mean that such a person will not be harmed by an Ayin ha'Ra, but rather that such a person may choose to ignore the fact that he probably will be harmed if he and his brother accept two consecutive Aliyos. (RAV REFAEL LEVIN zt'l, the brother-in-law of RAV Y. S. ELYASHIV shlit'a yblch'a, used to give young women who were pregnant a paper with the eleven verses which were organized by RABEINU BACHYE in his commentary on Parshas Matos to ward off any Ayin ha'Ra, and he told them to say this Tefilah every day.)

It seems that it is possible to refute the l'Re'acha Kamocha's proof from the Halachah that two brothers may not receive consecutive Aliyos. In that case, where the act is a public one, the Rabanan were concerned that if enough sets of brothers who are not concerned about Ayin ha'Ra will allow themselves to be called up to the Torah consecutively, people might forget the Halachah altogether, and eventually even brothers who are concerned about Ayin ha'Ra will be called to the Torah consecutively and they will suffer harm as a result. (Y. MONTROSE)



OPINIONS: The Gemara quotes a Beraisa which suggests that the portions of Eretz Yisrael that were supposed to go to the Meraglim, Mislonenim, and Adas Korach (the members of the congregation of Korach) were given instead to Yehoshua and Kalev. The Gemara later says that it is impossible that so much land was given to Yehoshua and Kalev. Rather, it must be that the Beraisa means that the portions of land that were supposed to go to the Mislonenim of Adas Korach were given instead to Yehoshua and Kalev.

Who were the "Mislonenim of Adas Korach," and how did they differ from "Adas Korach" itself?

(a) The RASHBAM (DH Elu Mislonenim) explains that the Gemara calls the people who gathered together with Korach the "Mislonenim of Adas Korach." Korach and his family are called "Adas Korach."

The RITVA challenges this explanation, because nowhere are the people who gathered around Korach called the "Mislonenim" of Adas Korach.

(b) The Ritva quotes the RE'EM who explains that the people who were burned by the fire which descended to punish anyone affiliated with Korach are called "Adas Korach," while the people who later complained to Moshe and Aharon, "You have killed the nation of Hash-m" (Bamidbar 17:6), are called the "Mislonenim" of Adas Korach.

The Ritva is not satisfied with this explanation. The people who complained to Moshe and Aharon after the members of Korach's rebellion were punished were a large group, and thus the Gemara's question, that it is impossible that Yehoshua and Kalev inherited so much land, remains. Moreover, these people were not part of Korach's group. They merely complained that the killing of that group was too much. Why should they be called the "Mislonenim that were in in the congregation of Korach"?

(c) The Ritva therefore concludes that the "Mislonenim of Adas Korach" are the people who complained originally, at the incident of the Meraglim, and who later joined Korach's congregation. (Y. MONTROSE)