Shemiras Hanefesh: Are the Halachic safety precautions due to risks of physcial or spiritual danger?

Is the danger physical, for the body, or spiritual, for the soul:

It is possible that by some of the Rabbinically enacted dangers, the dangerous effect is not to the physical body, but rather to the soul.[1] For example, it is possible that not guarding the danger can suddenly cause one to lose all his motivation in serving G-d in prayer and Torah learning.[2]

Ruach Ra’ah: One of the more common supernatural dangers is a danger due to reasons of Ruach Ra’ah, or the evil spirit. Some Poskim[3] rule that although a person will not be actually harmed if he transgresses one of the Ruach Ra’ah Dangers on mere occasion, if he does so often, he will certainly be harmed.


[1] Nachalas Avos 28b; Soles Belula, brought in Kaf Hachaim 4:19, explains that all the above mentioned consequences of touching the body with impure hands refers to spiritual matters. Meaning if one touches his eyes or ears then on that day he will be blind or deaf to matters of Torah that he reads or hears.

[2] The Tzemach Tzedek once witnessed his helper going to eat food that was left under the bed. The helper said to the Tzemach Tzedek “Rebbe, I do not fear the evil spirit.” The Tzemach Tzedek replied “Fool, fool, Do you know what an evil spirit is? It causes you for three days to not want to learn or Daven.” [heard from Rav Eliyahu Landau Shlita]

[3] Makor Chaim of Chavos Yair 4:3

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