Chapter 2ב׳
1 א

חוֹלֵי הַגּוּף טוֹעֲמִים הַמַּר מָתוֹק וּמָתוֹק מַר. וְיֵשׁ מִן הַחוֹלִים מִי שֶׁמִּתְאַוְּה וְתָאֵב לְמַאֲכָלוֹת שֶׁאֵינָן רְאוּיִין לַאֲכִילָה כְּגוֹן הֶעָפָר וְהַפֶּחָם וְשׂוֹנֵא הַמַּאֲכָלוֹת הַטּוֹבִים כְּגוֹן הַפַּת וְהַבָּשָׂר הַכּל לְפִי רֹב הַחלִי. כָּךְ בְּנֵי אָדָם שֶׁנַּפְשׁוֹתֵיהֶם חוֹלוֹת מִתְאַוִּים וְאוֹהֲבִים הַדֵּעוֹת הָרָעוֹת וְשׂוֹנְאִים הַדֶּרֶךְ הַטּוֹבָה וּמִתְעַצְּלִים לָלֶכֶת בָּהּ וְהִיא כְּבֵדָה עֲלֵיהֶם לִמְאֹד לְפִי חָלְיָם. וְכֵן יְשַׁעְיָהוּ אוֹמֵר בַּאֲנָשִׁים הַלָּלוּ (ישעיה ה כ) "הוֹי הָאֹמְרִים לָרַע טוֹב וְלַטּוֹב רָע שָׂמִים חשֶׁךְ לְאוֹר וְאוֹר לְחשֶׁךְ שָׂמִים מַר לְמָתוֹק וּמָתוֹק לְמָר". וַעֲלֵיהֶם נֶאֱמַר (משלי ב יג) "הַעֹזְבִים אָרְחוֹת ישֶׁר לָלֶכֶת בְּדַרְכֵי חשֶׁךְ". וּמַה הִיא תַּקָּנַת חוֹלֵי הַנְּפָשׁוֹת. יֵלְכוּ אֵצֶל הַחֲכָמִים שֶׁהֵן רוֹפְאֵי הַנְּפָשׁוֹת וִירַפְּאוּ חָלְיָם בַּדֵּעוֹת שֶׁמְּלַמְּדִין אוֹתָם עַד שֶׁיַּחֲזִירוּם לַדֶּרֶךְ הַטּוֹבָה. וְהַמַּכִּירִים בַּדֵּעוֹת הָרָעוֹת שֶׁלָּהֶם וְאֵינָם הוֹלְכִים אֵצֶל הַחֲכָמִים לְרַפֵּא אוֹתָם עֲלֵיהֶם אָמַר שְׁלֹמֹה (משלי א ז) "חָכְמָה וּמוּסָר אֱוִילִים בָּזוּ":

To the physically sick the bitter tastes sweet, and the sweet bitter. Of among the sick there may be one who craves and desires food which is unfit for cunsumption, for instance, dirt and coal, and despises good food such as bread and meat, according to the seriousness of the disease. Even so are people whose souls are sick; they desire and love the evil tendencies, and hate the good way, and are lazy to follow it, for it becomes a very heavy load upon them, in proportion to their ailment. Even so does Isaiah speak of such people: "Woe unto those that say of the evil it is good, and of the good it is evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter" (Is. 5.20). Respecting their like it is said: "Who leave the path of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness" (Prov. 2.13). And what is the corrective measure for the soul-sick? Let them go to the wise who are doctors of the souls and they will heal their disease with tendencies wherein they will instruct them until they will bring them back to the right way. And they that are conscious of their evil tendencies and do not go to the wise to be cured by them, concerning them Solomon said: "Wisdom and instruction fools alone despise" (Ibid. 1.7).

2 ב

וְכֵיצַד הִיא רְפוּאָתָם. מִי שֶׁהוּא בַּעַל חֵמָה אוֹמְרִים לוֹ לְהַנְהִיג עַצְמוֹ שֶׁאִם הֻכָּה וְקֻלַּל לֹא יַרְגִּישׁ כְּלָל. וְיֵלֵךְ בְּדֶרֶךְ זוֹ זְמַן מְרֻבֶּה עַד שֶׁיִּתְעַקֵּר הַחֵמָה מִלִּבּוֹ. וְאִם הָיָה גְּבַהּ לֵב יַנְהִיג עַצְמוֹ בְּבִזָּיוֹן הַרְבֵּה וְיֵשֵׁב לְמַטָּה מִן הַכּל וְיִלְבַּשׁ בְּלוֹיֵי סְחָבוֹת הַמְבַזּוֹת אֶת לוֹבְשֵׁיהֶם וְכַיּוֹצֵא בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ עַד שֶׁיַּעֲקֹר גֹּבַהּ הַלֵּב מִמֶּנּוּ וְיַחֲזֹר לַדֶּרֶךְ הָאֶמְצָעִית שֶׁהוּא דֶּרֶךְ הַטּוֹבָה. וְלִכְשֶׁיַּחֲזֹר לַדֶּרֶךְ הָאֶמְצָעִית יֵלֵךְ בָּהּ כָּל יָמָיו. וְעַל קַו זֶה יַעֲשֶׂה בִּשְׁאָר כָּל הַדֵּעוֹת אִם הָיָה רָחוֹק לַקָּצֶה הָאֶחָד יַרְחִיק עַצְמוֹ לַקָּצֶה הַשֵּׁנִי וְיִנְהֹג בּוֹ זְמַן רַב עַד שֶׁיַּחֲזֹר בּוֹ לַדֶּרֶךְ הַטּוֹבָה וְהִיא מִדָּה בֵּינוֹנִית שֶׁבְּכָל דֵּעָה וְדֵעָה:

And how may their cure be? He who is of a hot temperment should be taught to demean himself this wise: If he be smitten and cursed, he must not feel the insult at all. and follow this way a long time until anger will be completely rooted out from his heart. And he who was arrogant should accustom himself to a life of extreme self-abasement by occupying the lowermost seat of everybody, and dress in such rags which shame those that wear them, and do such in like matters until the haughtiness of his heart will be rooted out of him, when he will return to the middle-way, which is the good way. But when he will return to the middle-way he should follow it throughout his lifetime. And this line he should follow in all the rest of his tendencies; if he had distanced himself to the extreme point of one he should remove himself to the extreme end of the other and follow it up a long time until he may return to the good way, which is the middle-standard in each and every tendency.

3 ג

וְיֵשׁ דֵּעוֹת שֶׁאָסוּר לוֹ לָאָדָם לִנְהֹג בָּהֶן בְּבֵינוֹנִית אֶלָּא יִתְרַחֵק מִן הַקָּצֶה הָאֶחָד עַד הַקָּצֶה הָאַחֵר. וְהוּא גֹּבַהּ לֵב. שֶׁאֵין דֶּרֶךְ הַטּוֹבָה שֶׁיִּהְיֶה אָדָם עָנָו בִּלְבַד אֶלָּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה שְׁפַל רוּחַ וְתִהְיֶה רוּחוֹ נְמוּכָה לִמְאֹד. וּלְפִיכָךְ נֶאֱמַר בְּמשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ (במדבר יב ג) "עָנָו מְאֹד" וְלֹא נֶאֱמַר עָנָו בִּלְבַד. וּלְפִיכָךְ צִוּוּ חֲכָמִים מְאֹד מְאֹד הֱוֵי שְׁפַל רוּחַ. וְעוֹד אָמְרוּ שֶׁכָּל הַמַּגְבִּיהַּ לִבּוֹ כָּפַר בָּעִקָּר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ח יד) "וְרָם לְבָבֶךָ וְשָׁכַחְתָּ אֶת ה' אֱלֹקֶיךָ". וְעוֹד אָמְרוּ בְּשַׁמָּתָא מַאן דְּאִית בֵּיהּ גַּסּוּת הָרוּחַ וַאֲפִלּוּ מִקְצָתָהּ. וְכֵן הַכַּעַס מִדָּה רָעָה הִיא עַד לִמְאֹד וְרָאוּי לָאָדָם שֶׁיִּתְרַחֵק מִמֶּנָּה עַד הַקָּצֶה הָאַחֵר. וִילַמֵּד עַצְמוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יִכְעֹס וַאֲפִלּוּ עַל דָּבָר שֶׁרָאוּי לִכְעֹס עָלָיו. וְאִם רָצָה לְהַטִּיל אֵימָה עַל בָּנָיו וּבְנֵי בֵּיתוֹ אוֹ עַל הַצִּבּוּר אִם הָיָה פַּרְנָס וְרָצָה לִכְעֹס עֲלֵיהֶן כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּחְזְרוּ לַמּוּטָב יַרְאֶה עַצְמוֹ בִּפְנֵיהֶם שֶׁהוּא כּוֹעֵס כְּדֵי לְיַסְּרָם וְתִהְיֶה דַּעְתּוֹ מְיֻשֶּׁבֶת בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין עַצְמוֹ כְּאָדָם שֶׁהוּא מְדַמֶּה כּוֹעֵס בִּשְׁעַת כַּעֲסוֹ וְהוּא אֵינוֹ כּוֹעֵס. אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים כָּל הַכּוֹעֵס כְּאִלּוּ עוֹבֵד עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים. וְאָמְרוּ שֶׁכָּל הַכּוֹעֵס אִם חָכָם הוּא חָכְמָתוֹ מִסְתַּלֶּקֶת מִמֶּנּוּ וְאִם נָבִיא הוּא נְבוּאָתוֹ מִסְתַּלֶּקֶת מִמֶּנּוּ. וּבַעֲלֵי כַּעַס אֵין חַיֵּיהֶם חַיִּים. לְפִיכָךְ צִוּוּ לְהִתְרַחֵק מִן הַכַּעַס עַד שֶׁיַּנְהִיג עַצְמוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יַרְגִּישׁ אֲפִלּוּ לַדְּבָרִים הַמַּכְעִיסִים וְזוֹ הִיא הַדֶּרֶךְ הַטּוֹבָה. וְדֶרֶךְ הַצַּדִּיקִים הֵן עֲלוּבִין וְאֵינָן עוֹלְבִין שׁוֹמְעִים חֶרְפָּתָם וְאֵינָם מְשִׁיבִין עוֹשִׂין מֵאַהֲבָה וּשְׂמֵחִים בְּיִסּוּרִים. וַעֲלֵיהֶם הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר (שופטים ה לא) "וְאֹהֲבָיו כְּצֵאת הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ בִּגְבֻרָתוֹ":

And, yet, there are certain tendencies which man is forbidden to follow in the middle-way, but must distance himself from extreme to extreme. The good way is not merely that man be meek, but that he should be humble-spirited, then his spirit will be extremely lowly. This is the reason why it is said of Moses that he was very meek (Num. 12.3) and not merely meek. This is also the reason why the sages commanded saying: "Be exceedingly humble of spirit" (Pir. Ab. iv. 4). They, moreover, said: "He who is of a haughty heart denies the head principle" (Sotah, 4b), even as it is said: "Thine heart be then lifted up, and thou forget the Lord they God" (Deut. 8.14); and they also said: "Isolated be he in whom there is a haughty spirit, even a little thereof" (Sotah. 5a). So is anger an extremely evil tendency and it is proper for man to remove himself from it to the other extreme. One should teach himself not to get angry, even over a matter which befits anger. If one desires to engender awe in his children and his household, or in the public, if he be at the head of a community, even if he desire to get angry at them so as to bring them back to the good way, he should only act angry in their presence so as to reprove them, but his disposition must remain calm within himself, even as a man imitates, who is angry when the time calls forth anger but in reality he is not angry. The sages of yore said: "He who yields to anger is as if he worshiped idolatry".1See Nedarim, 22b. G. They also said: "Whosoever yields to anger, if he be a wise man his wisdom leaves him, and if he be a prophet his prophecy leaves him."2Pesahim, 66b. C. Verily the life of irritable persons is no life.3Ibid. 113a. C. They have, therefore, commanded to be afar from anger, so that one will train himself not to mind even the things which do cause irritation, for such is the good way. The conduct of the just is to take insults but not give insults, hear themselves flouted but make no reply, do their duty as a work of love, and bear affliction cheerfully. Concerning them the Verse says: "But may those that love Him be as the rising of the sun in his might" (Judg. 5.31).

4 ד

לְעוֹלָם יַרְבֶּה אָדָם בִּשְׁתִיקָה וְלֹא יְדַבֵּר אֶלָּא אוֹ בִּדְבַר חָכְמָה אוֹ בִּדְבָרִים שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לָהֶם לְחַיֵּי גּוּפוֹ. אָמְרוּ עַל רַב תַּלְמִיד רַבֵּנוּ הַקָּדוֹשׁ שֶׁלֹּא שָׂח שִׂיחָה בְּטֵלָה כָּל יָמָיו. וְזוֹ הִיא שִׂיחַת רֹב כָּל אָדָם. וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּצָרְכֵי הַגּוּף לֹא יַרְבֶּה אָדָם דְּבָרִים. וְעַל זֶה צִוּוּ חֲכָמִים וְאָמְרוּ כָּל הַמַּרְבֶּה דְּבָרִים מֵבִיא חֵטְא. וְאָמְרוּ (משנה אבות א יז) "לֹא מָצָאתִי לַגּוּף טוֹב אֶלָּא שְׁתִיקָה". וְכֵן בְּדִבְרֵי תּוֹרָה וּבְדִבְרֵי חָכְמָה יִהְיוּ דִּבְרֵי הָאָדָם מְעַטִּים וְעִנְיְנֵיהֶם מְרֻבִּים. וְהוּא שֶׁצִּוּוּ חֲכָמִים וְאָמְרוּ (גמרא פסחים ג ב) "לְעוֹלָם יִשְׁנֶה אָדָם לְתַלְמִידָיו דֶּרֶךְ קְצָרָה". אֲבָל אִם הָיוּ הַדְּבָרִים מְרֻבִּין וְהָעִנְיָן מֻעָט הֲרֵי זוֹ סִכְלוּת וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר (קהלת ה ב) "כִּי בָּא הַחֲלוֹם בְּרֹב עִנְיָן וְקוֹל כְּסִיל בְּרֹב דְּבָרִים":

Ever let man multiply silence, and not speak aught else save in a matter of wisdom or of things which he needs for the sustenance of life in his body. Of Rab, the disciple of our Holy Master, it was said, that he never in his life uttered idle talk4 Caro contradicts the text here, saying: “I found in Sukkah, 28, that this distinction was attributed to Rabbi Johanan, but about Rab I DO not now know where to locate such statement.” The text is correct, as Maimonides only quotes references which are laws of conduct and not sermons. See Yoma, 19b about the name Kaputal and Kabutal. G.. Verily, such is the talk of a majority of the people, whereas, even of the necessities of the body man should not multiply words. Concerning this the sages admonished, saying: "Whosoever propogates words generates sin" (Pir. Ab. 1.17). And they, moreover, said: "I found nothing better for the body than silence" (Ibid). Likewise in words of Torah and in words of wisdom shall man's words be few but the thought therein sagacious, which is what the sages charged saying: "Ever let the master instruct his disciples concisely" (Hullin. 63b). But if the words be many and their meaning insignificant it is but stupidity, concerning which it was said: "For a dream cometh through a multitude of matter, and the voice of a fool cometh with a multitude of words" (Ecc. 5.3).

5 ה

(משנה אבות ג יג) "סְיָג לַחָכְמָה שְׁתִיקָה". לְפִיכָךְ לֹא יְמַהֵר לְהָשִׁיב וְלֹא יַרְבֶּה לְדַבֵּר. וִילַמֵּד לַתַּלְמִידִים בְּשׁוּבָה וָנַחַת בְּלֹא צְעָקָה וּבְלֹא אֲרִיכוּת לָשׁוֹן. הוּא שֶׁאָמַר שְׁלֹמֹה (קהלת ט יז) "דִּבְרֵי חֲכָמִים בְּנַחַת נִשְׁמָעִים":

Silence is the boundary of wisdom; therefore shall one not reply in haste, and not propogate speech. One shall instruct his disciples with forebearance and calmness, without vociferation and without circumlocution. That is what Solomon said: "The words of the wise men, spoken quietly, are heard" (Ibid. 9.17).

6 ו

אָסוּר לָאָדָם לְהַנְהִיג עַצְמוֹ בְּדִבְרֵי חֲלָקוֹת וּפִתּוּי. וְלֹא יִהְיֶה אֶחָד בַּפֶּה וְאֶחָד בַּלֵּב אֶלָּא תּוֹכוֹ כְּבָרוֹ וְהָעִנְיָן שֶׁבַּלֵּב הוּא הַדָּבָר שֶׁבַּפֶּה. וְאָסוּר לִגְנֹב דַּעַת הַבְּרִיּוֹת וַאֲפִלּוּ דַּעַת הַנָּכְרִי. כֵּיצַד. לֹא יִמְכֹּר לְנָכְרִי בְּשַׂר נְבֵלָה בִּמְקוֹם בְּשַׂר שְׁחוּטָה. וְלֹא מִנְעָל שֶׁל מֵתָה בִּמְקוֹם מִנְעָל שֶׁל שְׁחוּטָה. וְלֹא יְסַרְהֵב בַּחֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁיֹּאכַל אֶצְלוֹ וְהוּא יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁאֵינוֹ אוֹכֵל. וְלֹא יַרְבֶּה לוֹ בְּתִקְרֹבֶת וְהוּא יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְקַבֵּל. וְלֹא יִפְתַּח לוֹ חֲבִיּוֹת שֶׁהוּא צָרִיךְ לְפָתְחָן לְמָכְרָן כְּדֵי לְפַתּוֹתוֹ שֶׁבִּשְׁבִיל כְּבוֹדוֹ פָּתַח וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ. וַאֲפִלּוּ מִלָּה אַחַת שֶׁל פִּתּוּי וְשֶׁל גְּנֵבַת דַּעַת אָסוּר, אֶלָּא שְׂפַת אֱמֶת וְרוּחַ נָכוֹן וְלֵב טָהוֹר מִכָּל עָמָל וְהַוּוֹת:

It is forbidden for man to demean himself by the use of the language of flattery and allurement; and he shall not be one thing with his mouth and another with his heart; but his inner and outer being must be the same, for the subject of the heart is the matter of the mouth. And, it is forbidden to steal the mind of people, even the mind of the alien. For example? One shall not sell to an alien meat of a beast that died of itself or that was improperly slaughtered (Nebelah) and represent that it was meat of an animal that was slaughtered properly; or shoes of the hide of a beast that died of itself and represent that it was of a slaughtered beast; one shall not urge his friend to dine with him, when he knows that he would not eat; nor over-burden him with offerings when he knows that he would not accept; nor open a barrel, which he must open for his trade, to talk in his friend that he opened it in his honor, and so other like deceptions. Even one word of allurement and stealing of mind is forbidden. But man must be of true lip, steadfast spirit, and pure heart, free from all travail and clamor.5 Hullin, 94a. C.

7 ז

לֹא יְהֵא אָדָם בַּעַל שְׂחוֹק וּמַהֲתַלּוֹת וְלֹא עָצֵב וְאוֹנֵן אֶלָּא שָׂמֵחַ. כָּךְ אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים שְׂחוֹק וְקַלּוּת רֹאשׁ מַרְגִּילִין אֶת הָאָדָם לְעֶרְוָה. וְצִוּוּ שֶׁלֹּא יְהֵא אָדָם פָּרוּץ בִּצְחוֹק וְלֹא עָצֵב וּמִתְאַבֵּל אֶלָּא מְקַבֵּל אֶת כָּל הָאָדָם בְּסֵבֶר פָּנִים יָפוֹת. וְכֵן לֹא יִהְיֶה בַּעַל נֶפֶשׁ רְחָבָה נִבְהָל לַהוֹן וְלֹא עָצֵב וּבָטֵל מִמְּלָאכָה. אֶלָּא בַּעַל עַיִן טוֹבָה מְמַעֵט בְּעֵסֶק וְעוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה. וְאוֹתוֹ הַמְּעַט שֶׁהוּא חֶלְקוֹ יִשְׂמַח בּוֹ. וְלֹא בַּעַל קְטָטָה וְלֹא בַּעַל קִנְאָה וְלֹא בַּעַל תַּאֲוָה וְלֹא רוֹדֵף אַחַר הַכָּבוֹד. כָּךְ אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים הַקִּנְאָה וְהַתַּאֲוָה וְהַכָּבוֹד מוֹצִיאִין אֶת הָאָדָם מִן הָעוֹלָם. כְּלָלוֹ שֶׁל דָּבָר יֵלֵךְ בַּמִּדָּה הַבֵּינוֹנִית שֶׁבְּכָל דֵּעָה וְדֵעָה עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ כָּל דֵּעוֹתָיו מְכֻוָּנוֹת בָּאֶמְצָעוּת. וְהוּא שֶׁשְּׁלֹמֹה אָמַר (משלי ד כו) "פַּלֵּס מַעְגַּל רַגְלֶךָ וְכָל דְּרָכֶיךָ יִכֹּנוּ":

Man shall not be frivolous and sarcastic, nor sad and pessimistic, but of good cheer. Thus said the wise men: "Frivolity and light-headedness train man for prostitution" (Pir. Ab.3). And they have commanded: Man shall not be boisterous in laughter, nor sad and forlorn, but receive every person with a kind expression upon his face.6Pir. Ab. 1.15.C And so should he not be a man of an over-ambitious soul rushing for wealth, nor despondent and idle from work; but a being with a goodly eye, engage in affairs but little and be occupied in the study of the Torah, and in that little portion of his he shall rejoice. He shall not be contentious, envious, covetous or vain-glorious. Thus have the wise men said: "Envy, covetousness, and vain-gloriousness remove man from life" (Pir. Ab. 4.25). As a general rule of the matter he should follow the tendency of the middle-course of each and every disposition to the end that all of his tendencies will be firmly in the center, which is as Solomon said: "Balance well the track of thy foot, and let all thy ways be firmly right" (Prov. 4.26).