Enlighten our Eyes - Day 9
Rabbi Y.S. Goldschmidt
Our weekly excerpt from the book "Enlighten our Eyes" (translated from the Hebrew sefer called "Ve'ha'er Eineinu").
In Their Footsteps, continued...
Rav Nosson Wachtfogel, ztz״l
Rav Nosson Wachtfogel, ztz״l, famous mashgiach ruchani of Beis Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, attributed all his tremendous successes in life to his outstanding diligence in shmiras einayim. He was convinced that this purity was what prompted Rav Aharon Kotler, ztz״l, to choose him over some other more highly qualified candidates.
“I guarded my eyes non-stop” he once said. “My Rebbetzin would bring in her young seminary students and I had to speak with them and teach them. Even during long conversations, I looked not at them but at a point to the side, quite imperceptibly though, so as not to cause offence. At first, admittedly, it was difficult, but after a while I was able to switch to autopilot.”
“Once I became mashgiach, my duties included regularly finding fresh and interesting material for my discourses. I’m sure I wasn’t equal to the task but somehow Hashem always helped me, and now these discourses have even been published. I can hardly believe it. I feel that it all began with my ultra-sensitivity to what my eyes would behold. And all the other good things then followed as a chain reaction to the holiness this engendered.
Rav Yehuda Zev Segal, ztz״l
The Manchester Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Yehuda Zev Segal, ztz״l, once missed his plane as he sat in the airport with his eyes glued to a sefer, afraid to look up at the timetable screen lest he see some other images displayed alongside there too. Having consecrated his eyes since earliest youth, he wasn’t going to take any chances. Catching planes came secondary.
Rav Moshe Aryeh Freund, ztz״l
Someone once asked Rav Moshe Aryeh Freund, ztz״l, to look up at a second-floor balcony, to give a halachic ruling. “I’ll gladly walk up the stairs with you to view the building layout,” he replied, “but I couldn’t look upwards like you request. It’s something I haven’t allowed myself to do since a very young age."
Dayan Gershon Posen, ztz״l
The author’s father tells in the name of his own father z״l that in the Frankfurt of over 80 years ago, Dayan Gershon Posen, ztz״l, would deliver a shiur for ladies whilst remaining screened behind a curtain.
Rav Aharon Kotler, ztz״l
On one occasion, it just so happened that Rav Aharon Kotler, ztz״l, inadvertently saw something unsuitable when turning a corner. His anguished reaction was to lean against a wall and weep. His citadel had been breached. “Ribono Shel Olam” he cried, “You took away so, so many of our brothers and sisters in the holocaust. Why did You leave me alive?“ He would have preferred death at the hands of the Nazis rather than life in America if that meant sullied eyes.