The evil eye is a malevolent look that many cultures believe able to cause injury or misfortune for the person at whom it is directed for reasons of envy or dislike. Talismans created to protect against the evil eye are also frequently called “evil eyes”.
Daniel Handler has mentioned before that the Baudelaire family is Jewish, like he himself is. He’s also said he thinks the books are “somewhat Jewish in tone,” due to the fact that he wrote them. The reason these two things are related is because the evil eye, in Judaism, actually has two sides.
Judaism believes that a “good eye” designates an attitude of good will and kindness towards others. Someone who has this attitude in life will rejoice when his fellow man prospers; he will wish everyone well. An “evil eye” denotes the opposite attitude. A man with “an evil eye” will not only feel no joy but experience actual distress when others prosper, and will rejoice when others suffer. A person of this character represents a great danger to our moral purity. Many Observant Jews avoid talking about valuable items they own, good luck that has come to them and, in particular, their children. If any of these are mentioned, the speaker and/or listener will say “b’li ayin hara” (Hebrew), meaning “without an evil eye”, or “kein eina hara” (Yiddish; often shortened to “kennahara”), “no evil eye”. It has also been suggested the 10th commandment: “do not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor” is a law against bestowing the evil eye on another person.
Which, if you think about it, sort of makes it the perfect symbol for an organization like V.F.D.. The eye tattoo is able to represent each side of the schism properly. There’s the side that wishes everyone well and fights evil, as well as the side that experiences distress when others prosper.