The idea of an ayin hara seems to always be on our minds. Many of us are even aware that it has halachic ramifications in regards to hezek ria, meaning that one can damage someone else’s property simply by gazing at it. People often scramble to find ways to overcome this “jinx.”
For example, when someone looks at the good of another, and wants the force of their “gaze” to be only with an “ayin tov” or a benevolent eye, a common approach is to say “bli ayin hara.” That will hopefully keep the “ayin hara” – the “evil eye” away.
In this week’s parsha we have the pasuk Ben Porat Yosef (Bereishis 49:22). Rashi explains this phrase as someone that has chein – grace. Medrish Yalkut (161) says that one learns from ben porat that an ayin hara does not affect Yosef’s children. Therefore, we give the blessing “ben porat” so that an ayin hara should not affect the person.
The Chida teaches us that not only does someone like Yosef suffer no negative effects from an ayin hara, but he actually has the ability to change it so that it affects him positively – as if it were a brocho. This explains the root of “Ben Porat” as coming from the words “pru urvu” meaning “be fruitful.”
How is that Yosef merits this special brocho? Chazal explain it is because of Yosef’s strong conviction of ‘what is mine is mine, and what isn’t mine I will not even look at.’ This gives him a strong insulation to his natural boundaries. Hence, not only doesn’t he look at what others have, but others cannot affect him with an evil eye. Figuratively, the emanation from the “ayin hara” that does not penetrate adds to the thickness of his existing barrier, nurturing his environment to grow and prosper.
Yosef’s approach is not only a segula for warding off bad, but a way to achieve goodness and happiness in our own lives. For if we are not looking at what others have, but instead enjoying the goodness that HKBH has bestowed on us, we will see only good. Possibly we too can achieve this blessing of turning the evil into good because of our beliefs that what we have is “just right.”