Rav Yehuda said that Rav said: Anyone who has food for himself but nevertheless starves himself in years of famine will be saved from an unusual death, as it is stated: “In famine, He will redeem you from death” (Job 5:20). This is derived from the precise wording of the verse. According to its straightforward meaning, instead of “in famine,” it should have said: From famine, as one is delivered from famine. Rather, this is what the verse is saying: As a reward for starving himself in years of famine, Job will be saved from an unusual death. Similarly, Reish Lakish said: It is prohibited for a person to have conjugal relations in years of famine, so that children not be born during these difficult years. As it is stated: “And to Joseph were born two sons before the year of famine came” (Genesis 41:50). It was taught in a baraita: Nevertheless, those without children may have marital relations in years of famine, as they must strive to fulfill the mitzva to be fruitful and multiply. Likewise, the Sages taught in a baraita: When the Jewish people is immersed in distress, and one of them separates himself from the community and does not share their suffering, the two ministering angels who accompany a person come and place their hands on his head, as though he was an offering, and say: This man, so-and-so, who has separated himself from the community, let him not see the consolation of the community. A similar idea is taught in another baraita: When the community is immersed in suffering, a person may not say: I will go to my home and I will eat and drink, and peace be upon you, my soul. And if he does so, the verse says about him: “And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen and killing sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine; let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die” (Isaiah 22:13). And the prophecy continues with what is written afterward, in the following verse: “And the Lord of hosts revealed Himself in my ears: Surely this iniquity shall not be expiated by you until you die” (Isaiah 22:14). The baraita comments: Up to this point is the attribute of middling people, who merely exclude themselves from the suffering of the community. However, with regard to the attribute of wicked people, what is written about those who hope for more of these days? “Come, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant” (Isaiah 56:12). And what is written afterward? “The righteous perishes, and no man lays it to heart, and godly men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come” (Isaiah 57:1). This verse teaches that righteous people suffer early death to prevent them from witnessing the harm that will befall these evil people. The baraita continues: Rather, a person should be distressed together with the community. As we found with Moses our teacher that he was distressed together with the community, as it is stated during the war with Amalek: “But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat upon it” (Exodus 17:12). But didn’t Moses have one pillow or one cushion to sit upon; why was he forced to sit on a rock? Rather, Moses said as follows: Since the Jewish people are immersed in suffering, I too will be with them in suffering, as much as I am able, although I am not participating in the fighting. The baraita adds: And anyone who is distressed together with the community will merit seeing the consolation of the community. The baraita further states: And lest a person say, I have acted in secret; who will testify against me on the Day of Judgment? The tanna explains that the stones of a person’s house and the beams of a person’s house will testify against him, as it is stated: “For a stone shall cry out from the wall, and a beam out of the timber shall answer it” (Habakkuk 2:11). In the school of Rabbi Sheila they say: The two ministering angels who accompany a person will testify against him, as it is stated: “For He will give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways” (Psalms 91:11). Rabbi Ḥidka said: A person’s soul will testify against him, as it is stated: “Keep the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom” (Micah 7:5). And some say: A man’s limbs will testify against him, as it is stated: “You are My witnesses, says the Lord” (Isaiah 43:10). The baraita cites another verse that deals with judgment. “A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, He is just and righteous” (Deuteronomy 32:4). The baraita interprets “a God of faithfulness” to mean that just as punishment is exacted from the wicked in the World-to-Come even for a light transgression that they commit, so too, punishment is exacted from the righteous in this world for a light transgression that they commit. The righteous suffer their punishment in this world to purify them so they can enjoy the World-to-Come. The baraita turns to the second section of the verse: “And without iniquity.” This teaches that just as reward is paid to the righteous in the World-to-Come even for a minor mitzva that they fulfill, so too, reward is paid to the wicked in this world for even a minor mitzva that they fulfill, to give the wicked all the reward they deserve for the performance of mitzvot in this world, and deprive them of any share in the World-to-Come. With regard to the third section of the verse: “He is just and righteous,” the Sages said: At the hour of a person’s departure to his eternal home, all his deeds are enumerated before him and are rendered visible to him once again, and the deeds themselves say to him: You did such and such, in such and such a place, on such and such a day, and he says: Yes, that is exactly what happened. And they say to him: Sign a statement that this is correct, and he signs it, as it is stated: “He makes the hand of every man sign” (Job 37:7). And not only that, but after a one has been shown all his deeds, he justifies the judgment upon himself, and says to them: You have judged me well. This response serves to fulfill that which is stated: “That You may be justified when You speak and be right when You judge” (Psalms 51:6). § The Gemara returns to the primary topic of the tractate, the issue of fasts. Shmuel said: Whoever sits in observance of a fast is called a sinner, as it is inappropriate to take unnecessary suffering upon oneself. The Gemara comments: Shmuel holds in accordance with the opinion of the following tanna, as it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Elazar HaKappar the Great says: What is the meaning when the verse states, with regard to a nazirite: “And he will atone for him for that he sinned by the soul [nefesh]” (Numbers 6:11). But with what soul did this nazirite sin? Rather, the nazirite sinned by the distress he caused himself when he abstained from wine, in accordance with the terms of his vow.