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Dec 28, 2015

Rav Shteinman's shmiras eynayim

A strange story was related regarding Rav Shteinman.

the story goes that when Rav Shteinman was a young man and went out on a shidduch date with his eventual wife, he wore a shmatta covering his eyes. When asked why he did this, Rav Shteinman supposedly answered that he was concerned that maybe the young woman he was going to meet would not want to marry him, and then he will have seen her for no reason and "impurified" his eyes for no purpose. He had decided that if she would say she wants to marry him, he would then remove the cover from his eyes and look at her momentarily, as he would be required to see his wife before marrying.
source: Kikar

I am not really sure what the purpose of this story is. Is it true? Is it not true? Is it hadracha - is this how we are supposed to act, or a level we are supposed to try to achieve? Is this just a story of something extraordinary by somebody extraordinary for us to admire but not really learn from on a practical level? I am not sure what the point is.

It does seem to be another moment in the hassidization of Litvishe rabbonim, though to be fair - the story was being told by a hassidishe rav.

Rav Shteinman is a great man, rav, leader. He doesn't need stories like this. They don't make him greater. If it really happened as it was told, I don't think this is one of those stories we need to know or are meant to learn anything from.

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  1. I don't think this is one of those stories we need to know or are meant to learn anything from.
    why not? All stories about tzaddikim are supposed to teach us about hanhagot or good ways to adopt.
    Or is the issue that you don't agree or don't think the story is credible?

  2. 1. I am not sure it is credible.
    2. what lesson would we learn from it? that people should wear shmattas over their eyes on dates or whenever they might see a female? it definitely isnt a hanhaga for the tzibbur and we find no source for any such thing that I am aware of. so what would we learn from it, if true?

    1. I suspect it was fabricated by someone from "Etz" to make Rav Shteinmann look foolish.

  3. I think we can learn about how serious he takes this issue. True, we are not meant to emulate him on a practical level, but we can certainly contemplate about shemiras and taharas enayim, and the importance it should play in our lives. And each person must figure out how to apply this newfound sensitivity to these halachos and inyanim

  4. How come no one mentioned that perhaps, one can take away from the story that looks are much less important and practically irrelevant?


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