Chapter 3ג׳
1 א

שֶׁמָּא יֹאמַר אָדָם הוֹאִיל וְהַקִּנְאָה וְהַתַּאֲוָה וְהַכָּבוֹד וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶם דֶּרֶךְ רָעָה הֵן וּמוֹצִיאִין אֶת הָאָדָם מִן הָעוֹלָם. אֶפְרשׁ מֵהֶן בְּיוֹתֵר וְאֶתְרַחֵק לַצַּד הָאַחֲרוֹן. עַד שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכַל בָּשָׂר וְלֹא יִשְׁתֶּה יַיִן וְלֹא יִשָּׂא אִשָּׁה וְלֹא יֵשֵׁב בְּדִירָה נָאָה וְלֹא יִלְבַּשׁ מַלְבּוּשׁ נָאֶה אֶלָּא הַשַּׂק וְהַצֶּמֶר הַקָּשֶׁה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן כְּגוֹן כֹּהֲנֵי הָעוֹבְדֵי כּוֹכָבִים. גַּם זֶה דֶּרֶךְ רָעָה הִיא וְאָסוּר לֵילֵךְ בָּהּ. הַמְהַלֵּךְ בְּדֶרֶךְ זוֹ נִקְרָא חוֹטֵא. שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר בְּנָזִיר (במדבר ו יא) "וְכִפֶּר עָלָיו מֵאֲשֶׁר חָטָא עַל הַנָּפֶשׁ". אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים וּמָה אִם נָזִיר שֶׁלֹּא פֵּרַשׁ אֶלָּא מִן הַיַּיִן צָרִיךְ כַּפָּרָה הַמּוֹנֵעַ עַצְמוֹ מִכָּל דָּבָר וְדָבָר עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה. לְפִיכָךְ צִוּוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁלֹּא יִמְנַע אָדָם עַצְמוֹ אֶלָּא מִדְּבָרִים שֶׁמְּנַעְתּוֹ הַתּוֹרָה בִּלְבַד. וְלֹא יְהֵא אוֹסֵר עַצְמוֹ בִּנְדָרִים וּבִשְׁבוּעוֹת עַל דְּבָרִים הַמֻּתָּרִים. כָּךְ אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים לֹא דַּיֶּךָ מַה שֶּׁאָסְרָה תּוֹרָה אֶלָּא שֶׁאַתָּה אוֹסֵר עָלֶיךָ דְּבָרִים אֲחֵרִים. וּבַכְּלָל הַזֶּה אֵלּוּ שֶׁמִּתְעַנִּין תָּמִיד אֵינָן בְּדֶרֶךְ טוֹבָה. וְאָסְרוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁיְּהֵא אָדָם מְסַגֵּף עַצְמוֹ בְּתַעֲנִית. וְעַל כָּל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן צִוָּה שְׁלֹמֹה וְאָמַר (קהלת ז טז) "אַל תְּהִי צַדִּיק הַרְבֵּה וְאַל תִּתְחַכַּם יוֹתֵר לָמָּה תִּשּׁוֹמֵם":

Peradventure man will say: Seeing that envy, desire and vainglory and like tendencies are evil tendencies and remove man from life, I will separate myself from them exceedingly and reach their remotest extreme. Until he will eat no meat, drink no wine, marry no woman, dwell in no comfortable quarters, dress in no proper clothes but in a sack and coarse wool, and the like, as for instance the idolatrous priests do. Even such is an evil way, and it is forbidden to follow it. He who follows this way is called a sinner, for it is said of a Nazarite: "And make an atonement for him, because he hath sinned against the soul" (Num. 6.11), whereupon the sages said: "If the Nazarite, who did not separate himself from aught but wine must have atonement, he who deprives himself from each and every thing how manifold must his atonement be" (Baba Kama. 91b)!1See Ta’anit, 11a. G. Therefore did the sages command, saying: A man shall not deprive himself of ought save the things which the Torah itself deprived him of; nor shall he bind himself by vows and oaths to abstain from things which are permitted. They have even said: "Is it not enough for thee what the Torah has forbidden, that thou doest forbid thyself even other things" (Yeru. Nedarim. 7.37)? And in this rule are included such who are continuously fasting, for they are not in the good way, and the sages prohibited one from punishing himself with fast days. Concerning such and like matters Solomon admonished saying: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither show thyself wise; why wouldst thou destroy thyself" (Ecc. 7.16).

2 ב

צָרִיךְ הָאָדָם שֶׁיְּכַוִּן לִבּוֹ וְכָל מַעֲשָׂיו כֻּלָּם לֵידַע אֶת הַשֵּׁם בָּרוּךְ הוּא בִּלְבַד, וְיִהְיֶה שִׁבְתּוֹ וְקוּמוֹ וְדִבּוּרוֹ הַכּל לְעֻמַּת זֶה הַדָּבָר. כֵּיצַד? כְּשֶׁיִּשָּׂא וְיִתֵּן אוֹ יַעֲשֶׂה מְלָאכָה לִטּל שָׂכָר, לֹא יִהְיֶה בְּלִבּוֹ לִקְבֹּץ מָמוֹן בִּלְבַד, אֶלָּא יַעֲשֶׂה דְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּמְצָא דְּבָרִים שֶׁהַגּוּף צָרִיךְ לָהֶם מֵאֲכִילָה וּשְׁתִיָּה וִישִׁיבַת בַּיִת וּנְשִׂיאַת אִשָּׁה. וְכֵן כְּשֶׁיֹּאכַל וְיִשְׁתֶּה וְיִבְעל לֹא יָשִׂים בְּלִבּוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹת דְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ כְּדֵי לֵהָנוֹת בִּלְבַד עַד שֶׁנִּמְצָא שֶׁאֵינוֹ אוֹכֵל וְשׁוֹתֶה אֶלָּא הַמָּתוֹק לַחֵךְ וְיִבְעל כְּדֵי לֵהָנוֹת, אֶלָּא יָשִׂים עַל לִבּוֹ שֶׁיֹּאכַל וְיִשְׁתֶּה כְּדֵי לְהַבְרוֹת גּוּפוֹ וְאֵיבָרָיו בִּלְבַד. לְפִיכָךְ לֹא יֹאכַל כָּל שֶׁהַחֵךְ מִתְאַוֶּה כְּכֶלֶב וַחֲמוֹר אֶלָּא יֹאכַל דְּבָרִים הַמּוֹעִילִים לַגּוּף אִם מָרִים אִם מְתוּקִים. וְלֹא יֹאכַל דְּבָרִים הָרָעִים לַגּוּף אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן מְתוּקִים לַחֵךְ. כֵּיצַד? מִי שֶׁהָיָה בְּשָׂרוֹ חַם לֹא יֹאכַל בָּשָׂר וְלֹא דְּבַשׁ וְלֹא יִשְׁתֶּה יַיִן, כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁאָמַר שְׁלֹמֹה דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל (משלי כה כז) "אָכל דְּבַשׁ" וְגוֹ'. וְשׁוֹתֶה מֵי הָעֳלָשִׁין אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא מַר שֶׁנִּמְצָא שׁוֹתֶה וְאוֹכֵל דֶּרֶךְ רְפוּאָה בִּלְבַד כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּבְרִיא וְיַעֲמֹד שָׁלֵם הוֹאִיל וְאִי אֶפְשָׁר לָאָדָם לִחְיוֹת אֶלָּא בַּאֲכִילָה וּשְׁתִיָּה. וְכֵן כְּשֶׁיִּבְעל לֹא יִבְעל אֶלָּא כְּדֵי לְהַבְרוֹת גּוּפוֹ וּכְדֵי לְקַיֵּם אֶת הַזֶּרַע. לְפִיכָךְ אֵינוֹ בּוֹעֵל כָּל זְמַן שֶׁיִּתְאַוֶּה אֶלָּא כָּל עֵת שֶׁיֵּדַע שֶׁהוּא צָרִיךְ לְהוֹצִיא שִׁכְבַת זֶרַע כְּמוֹ דֶּרֶךְ הָרְפוּאָה אוֹ לְקַיֵּם אֶת הַזֶּרַע:

It is necessary for man to set his heart and all his efforts solely to know the Name, blessed is He! so that his sitting down, his rising up and his speech shall be facing this goal. How may he accomplish it? When he will buy, or sell, or do work for wages, he should not have in his heart the accumulation of money only but he should perform these duties as a means to acquire the necessities of the body, as food, drink, dwelling-place and marriage; likewise when he will eat, drink, or lead a family life, he should not set his heart upon these things for the sole enjoyment thereof, until, as a consequence he will not eat and drink save that which is sweet to the palate, and marry to gratify his sensuality only. But he shall set his heart to eat and drink solely in order to keep his body and limbs in good health. He, therefore, should not eat everything his palate craves for like a dog or an ass, but partake of the things which are wholesome to the body whether bitter or sweet; and he shall not eat food which is bad for the body even though it be sweet to the palate. For example? One whose body was feverish shall not eat meat, nor honey, and drink no wine, as the subject was proverbally expressed by Solomon: "To eat too much honey is not good" (Prov. 25.27); he should rather drink cichorium intybus, even though it is bitter, as a consequence whereof he will eat and drink solely as a remedial means so that he may become healthy and stay healthy, seeing that it is impossible for man to sustain life save by food and drink. Likewise in connubial relation there shall be no coition save when it is of benefit to health, or to sustain species. One should, therefore, not yield to every urge, save when knowing that emission of semen is a helpful means medically or to sustain species.

3 ג

הַמַּנְהִיג עַצְמוֹ עַל פִּי הָרְפוּאָה. אִם שָׂם עַל לִבּוֹ שֶיִּהְיֶה כָּל גּוּפוֹ וְאֵיבָרָיו שְׁלֵמִים בִּלְבַד וְשֶׁיִּהְיוּ לוֹ בָּנִים עוֹשִׂין מְלַאכְתּוֹ וַעֲמֵלִין לְצָרְכּוֹ אֵין זוֹ דֶּרֶךְ טוֹבָה. אֶלָּא יָשִׂים עַל לִבּוֹ שֶׁיְּהֵא גּוּפוֹ שָׁלֵם וְחָזָק כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּהְיֶה נַפְשׁוֹ יְשָׁרָה לָדַעַת אֶת ה'. שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיָּבִין וְיִשְׂתַּכֵּל בַּחָכְמוֹת וְהוּא רָעֵב וְחוֹלֶה אוֹ אֶחָד מֵאֵיבָרָיו כּוֹאֵב. וְיָשִׂים עַל לִבּוֹ שֶׁיִּהְיֶה לוֹ בֵּן אוּלַי יִהְיֶה חָכָם וְגָדוֹל בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל. נִמְצָא הַמְהַלֵּךְ בְּדֶרֶךְ זוֹ כָּל יָמָיו עוֹבֵד אֶת ה' תָּמִיד. אֲפִלּוּ בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁנּוֹשֵׂא וְנוֹתֵן וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁבּוֹעֵל. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמַּחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ בַּכּל כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּמְצָא צְרָכָיו עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה גּוּפוֹ שָׁלֵם לַעֲבֹד אֶת ה'. וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהוּא יָשֵׁן אִם יָשֵׁן לְדַעַת כְּדֵי שֶׁתָּנוּחַ דַּעְתּוֹ עָלָיו וְיָנוּחַ גּוּפוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יֶחֱלֶה וְלֹא יוּכַל לַעֲבֹד אֶת ה' וְהוּא חוֹלֶה, נִמְצֵאת שֵׁנָה שֶׁלּוֹ עֲבוֹדָה לַמָּקוֹם בָּרוּךְ הוּא. וְעַל עִנְיָן זֶה צִוּוּ חֲכָמִים וְאָמְרוּ (משנה אבות ב יב) "וְכָל מַעֲשֶׂיךָ יִהְיוּ לְשֵׁם שָׁמַיִם". וְהוּא שֶׁאָמַר שְׁלֹמֹה בְּחָכְמָתוֹ (משלי ג ו) "בְּכָל דְּרָכֶיךָ דָעֵהוּ וְהוּא יְיַשֵּׁר אֹרְחֹתֶיךָ":

He who follows the medical directions, but sets his heart merely to keep his body and limbs healthy and beget children to do his work and strive for his needs, such is not the good way. But he should set his heart to have a sound and strong body so that his soul be tranquil to acquire the knowledge of the Lord; for, it is impossible that one should comprehend and improve himself in scholarship when he is hungry, or sick, or when one of his limbs pains; but he should set his heart to have a son who, perhaps will be a great sage in Israel Consequently, one who follows such way all of his life, is constantly in God's service, even when he is buying and selling, even when he performs the grossest duty, seeing that his thought beneath it all is to find enough to satisfy his wants, so that his body be sound, ready to serve God. Even when one sleeps, if his sleep be purposeful so that his mind be rested, and rests his body so as to prevent himself from becoming sick and be unable to serve God as a result of sickness, it will be found that even his very sleep is part of his service to God, blessed is He! And on this subject the sages commanded and said: "And let all thine actions be with devotion to the Name of God" (Pir. Av. 2.12); and, concerning this Solomon in his wisdom said: "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will make level thy paths" (Prov. 3.6).