Advice on: Guarding the eyes

close up of a lion's eyes

Rabbi Berland’s Advice on: Guarding one’s eyes

Continuing our series translating Etzot HaNachal, a compendium of practical advice by Rabbi Eliezer Berland, shlita, based on the teaching of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.


  • The ‘Sefer HaChinuch’ (mitzvah 185) says an awesome thing:

That a man should consider his meeting with a woman as though he is staring at Gehinnom.

  •                 Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian told us that the Angel of Death awaits in the street.

When you leave the Beis HaMidrash, know that the Angel of Death is waiting for you at the entrance, ready to make you stumble and to burn up everything you’ve just learned.

  • When crossing the road you don’t need to look at the most ugly things.

Close your eyes, in any event someone behind will beep you if necessary, what’s going to happen? Another few moments of guarding your eyes is worth everything.

  •                 A person can travel the entire country, the entire world guarding his eyes.

There are people who go to Uman and return and don’t open their eyes the entire way.

  • Even a man who’s driving a car can guard his eyes. He can ask Hashem for help.

Avraham Avinu went through the whole world. He closed his eyes and didn’t see a thing. The children of Yaakov Avinu went from Israel down to Egypt. They didn’t open their eyes the whole way.

  • A man looks at what’s going on in the street and this is ‘oness’ (compulsion/no choice).

The Rebbe says, if its oness then he doesn’t get punished. But he still loses out.

  •                 They don’t punish something which comes through oness, but afterwards the person permits himself to look.

(Like it says), a person who sins and repeats it, it becomes like something permitted for him. He says, one way or another I’m going to look anyway, one way or another I’m going to see things. But, when you lose your mochin (mind/intellect), you lose everything.

  • When a person walks down the street, he has a yetzer hara to look around him.

But he doesn’t need to specifically walk down the sidewalk, amongst other people, neither does he need to walk in the middle of the road amongst the traffic. Rather, he can walk on the edge of the sidewalk or slightly on the road on the side of the sidewalk.

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  • On every holy action there are ten klipot (husks).

On every instance of guarding one’s eyes, there are ten klipot. A man closes his eyes and then opens them like a spring, he closes them again and once more opens them like a spring.

He should do this a million times each day, until one day he merits to guard his eyes. He should not despair even if he falls a billion times, he should get up a billion and one times. This is our work.

  • There is tremendous work involved in not looking to the side.

A person steals glances to the side. He knows that it’s forbidden to look directly, so he always steals glances from the side.

On this, he needs to make endless teshuva, because a Jew is not suspected of looking directly, but looking from the side… On this he needs to make endless teshuva, not to look from the side.

  • If you have the possibility of guarding your eyes, you should know that guarding the eyes is worth three thousand dollars.

Just like buying an etrog for a thousand dollars. After all, isn’t guarding your eyes worth much more than an etrog?

With an etrog, it’s possible to also fulfill your obligation with a less expensive etrog, that’s worth only a hundred dollars, fifty dollars, even one worth just fifty shekel is enough to fulfill your obligation. But, guarding your eyes, that’s something where it’s impossible to fulfill your obligation!

  •                 If you caused a blemish with your eyes, so you caused a blemish with your eyes!

This isn’t a matter of more expensive or less expensive. You caused a blemish with your eyes! You transgressed a negative commandment!

  • Avraham Avinu would not look outside his dalet amot (approx. 2 meters).

  • When a person lifts up his eyes to Heaven his da’at (spiritual awareness) returns to him.


If you would like to help us raise the money required to print Rabbi Eliezer Berland’s book of advice in English, please go HERE to donate.

You can see more of Rabbi Berland’s ‘advice’ HERE.


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