Babylonian Talmud, Ketubot 67b 1
1תלמוד בבלי מסכת כתובות דף סז עמוד ב
ההוא דאתא לקמיה דרבי נחמיה, אמר ליה: במה אתה סועד? א"ל: בבשר שמן ויין ישן. רצונך שתגלגל עמי בעדשים? גלגל עמו בעדשים ומת, אמר: אוי לו לזה שהרגו נחמיה! אדרבה, אוי לו לנחמיה שהרגו לזה מיבעי ליה! אלא, איהו הוא דלא איבעי ליה לפנוקי נפשיה כולי האי.
A certain man once applied to Rabbi Nehemiah [for maintenance]. “What do your meals consist of,” Rabbi Nehemiah asked him. “Of fat meat and aged wine,” the poor person replied. “Will you consent to live with me on lentils,” the rabbi asked. The other consented and lived with him on lentils and died. “Woe to this man whom Nehemiah has killed,” Rabbi Nehemiah said. Instead, he should have said “Woe to Nehemiah who has killed this man.” The fact, however, is that the man himself was to blame, for he should not have cultivated his luxurious habits to such an extent. [Translation by Rabbi Jill Jacobs]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. Why was this man accustomed to eating fat meat and wine? Why did Rabbi Nehemiah ask him to change his habits?

2. Was this a reasonable request from Rabbi Nehemiah? How did it affect the poor man?

3. Who was to blame for the poor man’s death? What social justice values can we learn from this text?

Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)