Monday, July 27, 2009

IMO, guarding the eyes

So, there is an article up on a website that someone posted as a note over on facebook. (things get around on the internet) It is on shmirat ha eynayim, guarding the eyes. I read the article and the only thing that happened to me was I managed to get very annoyed. So, I decided to write about it and give my not so humble opinion. My blog, my opinion. (oh yeah, I said it!)

Personally, I think 30 minutes praying about shmirat ha'lashon would be better spent. Moreover, articles like these tend to make women feel like pariahs. Why? Because many, many frum men I see do not just practice shmirat ha eynayim when they see 'immodest' women, they do it when they see anyone female. I can admire and respect a man who lowers his eyes when a scantily clad woman walks by but I think it is ridiculous when I am walking down the street on shabbat and I say, shabbat shalom and the male walking on the sidewalk either looks the other way or barely glances at me, scoots as far away from me as possible on the sidewalk and mumbles 'gut shabbas'. I try to think positively, maybe he really has serious issues he is dealing with. But everyone one of them?! What happened to be a mensch? A gentleman? You certainly do not need to ogle a woman, but a nod of the head and acknowledgment of the lady's existence is polite enough.

It seems to me that articles like these are also insulting to men. They seem to have been reduced to nothing more than animals who can do nothing about themselves and their drives and therefore should never,ever look at anyone female for fear of G-d knows what!

I will never forget when I was relatively new to orthodoxy and I traveled to see a Rabbi who shall remain nameless, speak. I read his writings, I communicated with him via email and I could not wait to hear him. I went with two other ladies and afterward wanted very much to speak with him. So there I was waiting my turn for quite some time when it became embarrassingly obvious he had no intention of speaking to me. I could not believe it and could not figure out what was wrong. He spoke to other women, but then I began to realize that they had their husbands with them and I just had two other women. I felt humiliated when the light bulb went off in my then unaware head and walked away. Over the course of several days, I kept wondering if I should write to said rabbi to apologize, (not exactly sure for what) or try to explain myself. I really felt awful and finally just decided to let it go since quite frankly, I just did not get it.

And I still don't. I can only help but wonder how articles and teachings like these can, will and are taken to extremes. It makes me wonder what is going to be next on the agenda.

NOTE: All due respect to the website where the article was found. I learn much from this site, but I am reserving my right as a Jew to argue and disagree. We have a long and wonderful history of "two Jews, three opinions". And this sephardi lady has opinion a'plenty! Peace!


Judi said...

Aunque todavía no estoy muy segura acerca de cuál sea mi opinión al respecto (sigo este blog porque me deja pensando), quiero felicitarla y agradecerle por exponer su pensamiento de una manera tan clara, respetuosa y valiente.

The Author said...

Good post. I agree with what you have said. Thank you for sharing!

goldtears said...

I read the article and it says a man may not desire any woman. Does this include his wife? Why?