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Thursday, 15 Tishrei 5778 / October 5, 2017

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

De'ot - Chapter Three, De'ot - Chapter Four, De'ot - Chapter Five

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De'ot - Chapter Three

1

A person might say, "Since envy, desire, [the pursuit] of honor, and the like, are a wrong path and drive a person from the world, I shall separate from them to a very great degree and move away from them to the opposite extreme." For example, he will not eat meat, nor drink wine, nor live in a pleasant home, nor wear fine clothing, but, rather, [wear] sackcloth and coarse wool and the like - just as the pagan priests do.

This, too, is a bad path and it is forbidden to walk upon it. Whoever follows this path is called a sinner [as implied by Numbers 6:11's] statement concerning a nazarite: "and he [the priest] shall make an atonement for him, for his having sinned regarding [his] soul." Our sages declared: If the nazarite who abstained only from wine requires atonement, how much more so does one who abstains from everything.

Therefore, our Sages directed man to abstain only from those things which the Torah denies him and not to forbid himself permitted things by vows and oaths [of abstention]. Thus, our Sages stated: Are not those things which the Torah has prohibited sufficient for you that you must forbid additional things to yourself?

This general statement also refers to those who fast constantly. They are not following a good path, [for] our Sages have forbidden a man to mortify himself by fasting. Of all the above, and their like, Solomon directed and said: "Do not be overly righteous and do not be overly clever; why make yourself desolate?" (Ecclesiastes 7:16).

א

שמא יאמר אדם הואיל והקנאה והתאוה והכבוד וכיוצא בהם דרך רעה הן ומוציאין את האדם מן העולם אפרוש מהן ביותר ואתרחק לצד האחרון עד שלא יאכל בשר ולא ישתה יין ולא ישא אשה ולא ישב בדירה נאה ולא ילבש מלבוש נאה אלא השק והצמר הקשה וכיוצא בהן כגון כהני העובדי כוכבים גם זה דרך רעה היא ואסור לילך בה המהלך בדרך זו נקרא חוטא שהרי הוא אומר בנזיר וכפר עליו מאשר חטא על הנפש אמרו חכמים ומה אם נזיר שלא פירש אלא מן היין צריך כפרה המונע עצמו מכל דבר ודבר על אחת כמה וכמה לפיכך צוו חכמים שלא ימנע אדם עצמו אלא מדברים שמנעתו התורה בלבד ולא יהא אוסר עצמו בנדרים ובשבועות על דברים המותרים כך אמרו חכמים לא דייך מה שאסרה תורה אלא שאתה אוסר עליך דברים אחרים ובכלל הזה אלו שמתענין תמיד אינן בדרך טובה ואסרו חכמים שיהא אדם מסגף עצמו בתענית ועל כל הדברים האלו וכיוצא בהן צוה שלמה ואמר אל תהי צדיק הרבה ואל תתחכם יותר למה תשומם:

A person might say, "Since envy, desire, [the pursuit] of honor, and the like, are a wrong path and drive a person from the world, - With these statements, the Rambam obviously refers to the mishnah from Avot which he quoted at the conclusion of the previous chapter. Having decried the traits mentioned there, he explains that his condemnation is directed against excessive materialism, but not against all involvement in worldly affairs.

I shall separate from them to a very great degree and move away from them to the opposite extreme." - I.e., asceticism

For example, he will not eat meat, nor drink wine, nor live in a pleasant home, nor wear fine clothing, but, rather, [wear] sackcloth and coarse wool and the like - In Shemoneh Perakim, Chapter 4, the Rambam makes a similar - but more lengthy - condemnation of asceticism. There he also mentions other ascetic practices - refraining from sleep and seeking solitude in the mountains and deserts.

just as the pagan priests do. - This translation follows the published texts of the Mishneh Torah which state: kohanei haovdei kochavim. However, many manuscripts and early printed editions state kohanei Edom - "Roman priests," which would seem to indicate that the Rambam had hermitlike Catholic monastic orders in mind.

This, too, is a bad path and it is forbidden to walk upon it. - In Shemoneh Perakim (ibid.), the Rambam explains that, at certain times, many of the pious adopted ascetic practices as a safeguard against excessive involvement in materialism. However, they never regarded such practices as a goal in their own right. Others observed their behavior and mistook asceticism for an end rather than a means to achieve the middle path.

From the Rambam's statements in Shemoneh Perakim, it would appear that there are two drawbacks to asceticism:
a) It might lead a person to poor health, illness, and a lack of strength which would prevent him from serving God as the Rambam states in Halachah 3.
b) A person might err and feel that he has fulfilled his obligation to serve God through these ascetic practices. As a result, he may never feel the need to dedicate himself to the service of God as He prescribed in the Torah.

There is a third disadvantage that is stressed heavily by the teachings of Kabbalah and Chassidut and may be hinted at by the Rambam's statements in the following halachot.

The Zohar (Vol. II, p. 42b) states that God created the world "in order to let Himself be known." Similarly, Tanya (Chapter 33) explains that God created the world because He desired to have a dwelling place in the lower worlds. Thus, a person who tends to otherworldliness and asceticism, defeats God's purpose in creation.

Whoever follows this path is called a sinner [as implied by Numbers 6:11's] statement concerning a nazarite: "and he [the priest] shall make an atonement for him, for his having sinned regarding [his] soul." - A nazarite is forbidden to become impure through any contact with a dead body for the extent of his nazarite vow. If he contracts such impurity, he is required to bring a special sin offering. See Numbers, Chapter 6, Hilchot Nezirut, Chapters 6-8.

Our sages declared: - Ta'anit 11a. [Interestingly, the author of this statement, Rabbi Eliezer HaKfar, is also the author of the statement (Avot, ibid.) that "envy, desire, and the pursuit of honor, drive a person from the world."]

If the nazarite who abstained only from wine requires atonement, how much more so does one who abstains from everything.

Therefore, our Sages directed man to abstain only from those things which the Torah denies him and not to forbid himself permitted things by vows and oaths - One should not conclude that the Rambam completely disapproves of vows and oaths. At the conclusion of Hilchot Nedarim (13:23), the Rambam states: "Whoever takes a vow in order to stabilize his temperaments and correct his deeds, is zealous and praiseworthy."

In Hilchot Nedarim, he gives examples of people who were excessively inclined to a particular quality who take vows to correct their faults (in a manner reminiscent of his advice in the beginning of Chapter 2 of these halachot). Rather, what the Rambam criticizes in our halachah is abstention for the sake of abstention.

[of abstention]. - Note the Jerusalem Talmud, Kiddushin 4:12:

Rav Chizkiyah the priest said in the name of Rav: "A person will ultimately be called to judgment for everything which his eye saw and which he did not taste."
Rav Lazar was concerned because of this teaching. He saved his pennies and would [purchase] and eat from every fruit once a year.

Thus, our Sages stated: - The Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim 9:1

Are not those things which the Torah has prohibited sufficient for you that you must forbid additional things to yourself? - In Shemoneh Perakim (ibid.), the Rambam prefaces this statement with the following comment: "Our Sages have made statements about this subject which are more marvelous than any others that I have ever seen."

This general statement also refers to those who fast constantly. - In Shemoneh Perakim, the Rambam also criticizes excessive fasting. He quotes the prophet, Zechariah, who questions the motives of the Jews' fasts (7:5): "Was it for Me that you fasted?" and exhorts them to "Practice true justice, and show kindness and mercy every man to his brother" as the proper service of God. To underscore this point, he concludes with the prophecy (ibid. 8:19) that even the public fasts will ultimately be transformed into festivals and days of rejoicing.

They are not following a good path, [for] our Sages - Ta'anit 11a

have forbidden a man to mortify himself by fasting. - The phrase "to mortify himself" is significant here. The Rambam (Hilchot Ta'anit 1:4; 1:9) himself mentions that the Sages commanded both the community and the individual to fast in times of distress.

The Rambam's statements have been questioned by the Rashba (Responsa 431 and 688) and by the Lechem Mishneh based on Nedarim 10a. However, the commentaries note that Shmuel, the author of the statement in Ta'anit, also states (Bava Kama 91a) that one may fast. Here, the Rambam's statements are directed against self- mortification and asceticism and not against fasting per se.

Nevertheless, it must be noted that in Hilchot Teshuvah, when the Rambam describes "the paths of Teshuvah" (3:4), he makes no mention of fasting.

Of all the above, and their like, Solomon directed and said: "Do not be overly righteous and do not be overly clever; why make yourself desolate?" (Ecclesiastes 7:16) - The midrashic works have not interpreted this verse in the manner suggested here. However, we find other Spanish Jewish Sages who followed this interpretation. See Duties of the Heart 3:25, Ibn Ezra in his commentary to Ecclesiastes.

Note that this verse uses the two terms - the righteous (tzadik and the wise (chacham) - which the Rambam has used to designate the man with a ideal traits.

The placement of this halachah raises questions. One might have expected it to appear in the previous chapter which deals with other excesses and deviations from the middle path. However, it is possible to explain that, in its present position, it serves as a preface to the following halachot which explain how our service of God and connection to Him can be established within the context of our material reality. Thus, when viewed as a totality, this chapter emphasizes how Judaism desires that religious fulfillment be found within the context of our day to day life, rather than in otherworldly "spiritual" activities.

2

A person should direct his heart and the totality of his behavior to one goal, becoming aware of God, blessed be He. The [way] he rests, rises, and speaks should all be directed to this end.

For example: when involved in business dealings or while working for a wage, he should not think solely of gathering money. Rather, he should do these things, so that he will be able to obtain that which the body needs - food, drink, a home and a wife.

Similarly, when he eats, drinks and engages in intimate relations, he should not intend to do these things solely for pleasure to the point where he will eat and drink only that which is sweet to the palate and engage in intercourse for pleasure. Rather, he should take care to eat and drink only in order to be healthy in body and limb.

Therefore, he should not eat all that the palate desires like a dog or a donkey. Rather, he should eat what is beneficial for the body, be it bitter or sweet. Conversely, he should not eat what is harmful to the body, even though it is sweet to the palate. For example: a person with a warm constitution should not eat meat or honey, nor drink wine, as Solomon has stated in a parable: The eating of much honey is not good (Proverbs 25:27). One should drink endive juice, even though it it bitter, for then, he will be eating and drinking for medical reasons only, in order to become healthy and be whole - for a man cannot exist without eating and drinking.

Similarly, he should not have intercourse except to keep his body healthy and to preserve the [human] race. Therefore, he should not engage in intercourse whenever he feels desire, but when he knows that he requires a seminal emission for medical reasons or in order to preserve the [human] race.

ב

צריך האדם שיכוון לבו וכל מעשיו כולם לידע את השם ברוך הוא בלבד ויהיה שבתו וקומו ודבורו הכל לעומת זה הדבר כיצד כשישא ויתן או יעשה מלאכה ליטול שכר לא יהיה בלבו לקבוץ ממון בלבד אלא יעשה דברים האלו כדי שימצא דברים שהגוף צריך להם מאכילה ושתיה וישיבת בית ונשיאת אשה וכן כשיאכל וישתה ויבעול לא ישים בלבו לעשות דברים האלו כדי ליהנות בלבד עד שנמצא שאינו אוכל ושותה אלא המתוק לחיך ויבעול כדי ליהנות אלא ישים על לבו שיאכל וישתה כדי להברות גופו ואיבריו בלבד לפיכך לא יאכל כל שהחיך מתאוה ככלב וחמור אלא יאכל דברים המועילים לגוף אם מרים אם מתוקים ולא יאכל דברים הרעים לגוף אע"פ שהן מתוקים לחיך כיצד מי שהיה בשרו חם לא יאכל בשר ולא דבש ולא ישתה יין כענין שאמר שלמה דרך משל אכול דבש וגו' ושותה מי העולשין אף על פי שהוא מר שנמצא שותה ואוכל דרך רפואה בלבד כדי שיבריא ויעמוד שלם הואיל ואי אפשר לאדם לחיות אלא באכילה ושתיה וכן כשיבעול לא יבעול אלא כדי להברות גופו וכדי לקיים את הזרע לפיכך אינו בועל כל זמן שיתאוה אלא כל עת שידע שהוא צריך להוציא שכבת זרע כמו דרך הרפואה או לקיים את הזרע:

A person should direct his heart and the totality of his behavior to one goal, - In Shemoneh Perakim, Chapter 5, the Rambam addresses himself to many of the concepts mentioned in this and the following halachah. He begins that chapter with the declaration:

A person must control all the powers of his soul with [his] intellect... and concentrate on a single goal at all times: To comprehend God, blessed be He, to the extent that man can know Him.
All of his activities: what he does, the way he rests, and what he says should lead to this goal.

becoming aware of God, blessed be He. - Literally, the term means "The Name," but obviously, it refers to the Master of The Name.

The [way] he rests, rises, and speaks should all be directed to this end. - In the previous Halachah, the Rambam condemned asceticism and otherworldliness. In this Halachah, he stresses the desired intent of our worldly involvement, to know God.

In Chapter 1, Halachah 6, the Rambam introduced a religious component into the development of an ethical personalty, pointing out that we must "imitate" God's qualities. In this halachah, he adds a further point. All of man's actions are to be taken in an atmosphere of God-awareness.

The concept of knowing God recalls the opening Halachah of the Mishneh Torah:

The fundamental [principle] upon which all fundamental [principles are based] and the pillar of the wisdoms is to know that there is a Primary Being.

In both halachot, the Rambam emphasizes how the knowledge of God is not an abstract, intellectual past-time, but rather an all- encompassing commitment, embracing every aspect of our experience. Torah living does not confine God to the synagogue or the house of study, but provides us with a means to relate to Him within every dimension of our lives (Al HaTeshuvah).

For example: when involved in business dealings or while working for a wage, he should not think solely of gathering money. - i.e., he should not view the acquisition of money as an end in its own right.

Rather, he should do these things, - as a means...

so that he will be able to obtain that which the body needs - food, drink, a home and a wife. - However, as the Rambam continues in the following Halachah, the maintenance of physical well-being is also not an end in its own right. Rather, it is also only a means for the service of God.

Similarly, when he eats, drinks and engages in intimate relations, he should not intend to do these things solely for pleasure - In Shemoneh Perakim (ibid.), the Rambam also uses the expression "solely for pleasure," indicating that the Rambam does not advocate a life without physical pleasure. (Note also the passage from the Rambam's commentary on the Mishnah, Sanhedrin 7:4, quoted below.)

There is nothing wrong with enjoying food, for example, as long as one does so within the framework of maintaining health. Indeed, in Shemoneh Perakim, the Rambam emphasizes how one may use pleasure to encourage himself to perform the acts necessary to maintain his health.

to the point where he will eat and drink only that which is sweet to the palate and have intercourse for pleasure. Rather, he should take care to eat and drink only in order to be healthy in body and limb. - The Rambam has just laid down the principle that all of man's actions are to be carried out in a framework of awareness of God. Yet, to exemplify this principle, he speaks not of awareness of God, but of avoiding indulgence and maintaining one's health. The Rambam introduces the maintenance of health as an immediate - and intermediary - goal which will provide us with a program of concrete action.

Therefore, he should not eat all that the palate desires like a dog or a donkey. - In Shemoneh Perakim (ibid.), the Rambam states: "In such an activity, a person is just like an animal. It is not an action man undertakes because he is a man, but rather, one that he undertakes because he is an animal."

Rather, he should eat what is beneficial for the body, be it bitter or sweet. Conversely, he should not eat what is harmful to the body, even though it is sweet to the palate. - The Rambam gives a full list of proper eating habits in the following chapter. Here, he cites only selected examples:

For example: a person with a warm constitution should not eat meat or honey, nor drink wine - as Solomon has stated in a parable: The eating of much honey is not good (Proverbs 25:27). One should drink endive juice, even though it is bitter, - this is given as a remedy for a warm liver constitution (Maimonides' Medical Aphorisms).

for then, he will be eating and drinking for medical reasons only, in order to become healthy and be whole - for a man cannot exist without eating and drinking.

Similarly, he should not have intercourse except to keep his body healthy - See Chapter 4, Halachah 19, for a discussion of this matter.

and to preserve the [human] race. - The Ra'avad mentions a third reason for intercourse - granting one's wife her conjugal rights The Rambam does not mention that issue here because, in these chapters he focuses on those behaviors in which a person engages voluntarily as an expression of his personal desires. He discusses a man's conjugal obligations later in the Mishneh Torah, in Hilchot Ishut, Chapter 14 (Kessef Mishneh).

Therefore, he should not engage in intercourse whenever he feels desire, - See also Chapter 5, Halachah 4, which discusses the frequency of intimate relations.

but when he knows that he requires a seminal emission for medical reasons, or in order to preserve the [human] race. - In his commentary to the mishnah, Sanhedrin 7:4, the Rambam writes:

The intent of intimate relations is the preservation of the species and not only pleasure. The aspect of pleasure was only introduced in order to arouse the creations toward that ultimate goal...
The proof of this is that desire and pleasure cease after ejaculation for this was the entire goal for which our instincts were aroused. If the goal were pleasure, satisfaction would continue as long as man desired.

3

A person who accustoms himself to live by [the rules of] medicine does not follow a proper path if his sole intention is that his entire body and limbs be healthy and that he have children who will do his work and toil for him. Rather, he should have the intent that his body be whole and strong, in order for his inner soul to be upright so that [it will be able] to know God. For it is impossible to understand and become knowledgeable in the wisdoms when one is starving or sick, or when one of his limbs pains him. [Similarly,] one should intend to have a son [with the hope that] perhaps he will be a wise and great man in Israel.

Thus, whoever walks in such a path all his days will be serving God constantly; even in the midst of his business dealings, even during intercourse for his intent in all matters is to fulfill his needs so that his body be whole to serve God.

Even when he sleeps, if he retires with the intention that his mind and body rest, lest he take ill and be unable to serve God because he is sick, then his sleep is service to the Omnipresent, blessed be He.

On this matter, our Sages have directed and said: "And all your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven." This is what Solomon declared in his wisdom: "Know Him in all your ways and He will straighten your paths" (Proverbs 3:6).

ג

המנהיג עצמו על פי הרפואה אם שם על לבו שיהיה כל גופו ואבריו שלמים בלבד ושיהיו לו בנים עושין מלאכתו ועמלין לצורכו אין זו דרך טובה אלא ישים על לבו שיהא גופו שלם וחזק כדי שתהיה נפשו ישרה לדעת את ה' שאי אפשר שיבין וישתכל בחכמות והוא רעב וחולה או אחד מאיבריו כואב וישים על לבו שיהיה לו בן אולי יהיה חכם וגדול בישראל נמצא המהלך בדרך זו כל ימיו עובד את ה' תמיד אפילו בשעה שנושא ונותן ואפילו בשעה שבועל מפני שמחשבתו בכל כדי שימצא צרכיו עד שיהיה גופו שלם לעבוד את ה' ואפילו בשעה שהוא ישן אם ישן לדעת כדי שתנוח דעתו עליו וינוח גופו כדי שלא יחלה ולא יוכל לעבוד את ה' והוא חולה נמצאת שינה שלו עבודה למקום ברוך הוא ועל ענין זה צוו חכמים ואמרו וכל מעשיך יהיו לשם שמים והוא שאמר שלמה בחכמתו בכל דרכיך דעהו והוא יישר אורחותיך:

A person who accustoms himself to live by [the rules of] medicine does not follow a proper path if his sole intention is that his entire body and limbs be healthy - The Rambam puts the maintenance of health mentioned in the previous halachah into proper perspective. It is not to be pursued as a goal in its own right. Rather, it should be appreciated as merely a means to enable one to reach an awareness of God. The Rambam develops this idea at length in Shemoneh Perakim Chapter 5. There, he states:

A person should have the intention while eating, drinking, having intercourse, sleeping, awakening, moving, and resting, [that he does so] for the purpose of his physical health alone.
His intention in [seeking] physical health should be to prepare for the soul healthy and sound vessels to acquire wisdom and intellectual and emotional advantages until he reaches the goal of [knowing God].

and that he have children who will do his work and toil for him.- i.e., though procreation is a valid reason for intimate relations, one's intent in procreation should not be selfish.

Rather, he should have the intent that his body be whole and strong, in order for his inner soul to be upright so that [it will be able] to know God. - The Rambam also elaborates on the interrelation between the attainment of physical health and spiritual achievement in the Guide to the Perplexed, Vol. III, Chapter 27.

Heath is necessary as part of one's process of striving to know God...

For it is impossible to understand and become knowledgeable in the wisdoms when one is starving or sick, or when one of his limbs pains him. - The Maggid of Mezeritch would say: "A small hole in the body creates a large hole in the soul."

[Similarly,] one should intend to have a son [with the hope that perhaps he will be a wise and great man in Israel. - This is the desired goal in procreation - to perpetuate the nation, not only physically, but also spiritually.

Thus, whoever walks in such a path all his days will be serving God constantly; even in the midst of his business dealings, even during intercourse for his intent in all matters is to fulfill his needs so that his body be whole to serve God. - In Shemoneh Perakim (ibid.), the Rambam associates such behavior with Deuteronomy 6:5: "Love God, your Lord, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might." The course of action described enables us to dedicate every aspect of our being toward the love of God as prescribed by this verse.

Even when he sleeps, if he retires with the intention that his mind and body rest, lest he take ill and be unable to serve God because he is sick, then his sleep is service to the Omnipresent, blessed be He. - Perhaps, the Rambam uses this name for God to convey the concept that just as God's presence pervades all existence, our service of Him must encompass all aspects of our lives.

On this matter, our Sages - Avot 2:15

have directed and said: "And all your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven." - In Shemoneh Perakim (ibid.), the Rambam elaborates upon this statement as follows:

Our Sages included this entire concept in the most succinct expression possible... When one meditates on this concise statement, one wonders how they could describe in its entirety an idea so awesome that many books were written about it without encompassing it totally. Without a doubt, [the statement] was made with Divine inspiration.

The commentaries note that Beitzah 16a stated concerning Hillel: "All of his deeds were for the sake of Heaven," and associates that with the following narrative in VaYikra Rabbah 34:3.

Hillel bid his students farewell. They asked him where he was going He told them that he was going to perform a mitzvah. They discovered that he was going to the bathhouse and asked him to explain his previous statements. He told them: Since the human body is created in the image of God, it is a mitzvah to wash oneself.

This is what Solomon declared in his wisdom: "Know Him in all your ways - Avot D'Rabbi Natan 17:7 also associates the above statement with this Biblical quote. Berachot 63b describes this verse as: "A small passage upon which all the fundamentals of Torah depend." Note also the Rambam's comments in Shemoneh Perakim, ibid.

Likkutei Sichot, Vol. III, notes that the rules of Torah scholarship would have called for the quotation of the Biblical verse before the quote from our Sages. However, the Rambam chooses this sequence because it reflects a progression in the service of God.

"All of your deeds should be for the Sake of Heaven" implies that the deeds are not themselves holy, merely that they are directed toward a Godly intent. "Know Him in all your ways" implies that a bond with God can be established within the context of our physical activity itself.

and He will straighten your paths" (Proverbs 3:6). - In Iggerot HaKodesh, the Ramban interprets the state described in this clause as a natural product of the elevated rung of service mentioned in the previous clause. When a person develops an all encompassing bond with God, Divine light will illuminate all his paths.

De'ot - Chapter Four

1

Since maintaining a healthy and sound body is among the ways of God - for one cannot understand or have any knowledge of the Creator, if he is ill - therefore, he must avoid that which harms the body and accustom himself to that which is healthful and helps the body become stronger.

They are as follows: a person should never eat unless he is hungry, nor drink unless thirsty. He should never put off relieving himself, even for an instant. Rather, whenever he [feels the] need to urinate or move his bowels, he should do so immediately.

א

הואיל והיות הגוף בריא ושלם מדרכי השם הוא שהרי אי אפשר שיבין או ידע דבר מידיעת הבורא והוא חולה לפיכך צריך להרחיק אדם עצמו מדברים המאבדין את הגוף ולהנהיג עצמו בדברים המברין והמחלימים ואלו הן:

לעולם לא יאכל אדם אלא כשהוא רעב ולא ישתה אלא כשהוא צמא ואל ישהא נקביו אפילו רגע אחד אלא כל זמן שצריך להשתין או להסך את רגליו יעמוד מיד:

2

One should not eat until his stomach is full. Rather, [he should stop when] he has eaten to close to three quarter's of full satisfaction.

One should drink only a small amount of water during the meal, and mix that with wine. When the food begins to be digested in his intestines, he may drink what is necessary. However, he should not drink much water, even when the food has been digested.

One should not eat until he has checked himself thoroughly that he does not need to relieve himself. He should not eat until he has taken a stroll which is sufficient to raise his body temperature.

Alternatively, he should work or exert himself in some other way. The rule is that he should engage his body and exert himself in a sweat-producing task each morning. Afterwards, he should rest slightly until he regains composure and [then, he should] eat. If he were to bathe in hot water after exerting himself, it would be beneficial. Afterwards, he should wait a short while and eat.

ב

לא יאכל אדם עד שתתמלא כריסו אלא יפחות כמו רביע משבעתו ולא ישתה מים בתוך המזון אלא מעט ומזוג ביין וכשיתחיל המזון להתעכל במעיו שותה מה שהוא צריך לשתות ולא ירבה לשתות מים ואפילו כשיתעכל המזון ולא יאכל עד שיבדוק עצמו יפה יפה שמא יהיה צריך לנקביו לא יאכל אדם עד שילך קודם אכילה עד שיתחיל גופו לחום או יעשה מלאכתו או יתיגע ביגע אחר כללו של דבר יענה גופו וייגע כל יום בבקר עד שיתחיל גופו לחום וישקוט מעט עד שתתישב נפשו ואוכל ואם רחץ בחמין אחר שיגע הרי זה טוב ואחר כך שוהה מעט ואוכל:

3

One should always eat while seated or reclining on his left side. He should not walk about, ride, exert himself, subject his body to startling influence, nor take a stroll until the food has been digested in his intestines. Anyone who takes a stroll or exerts himself after eating brings serious and harmful illnesses upon himself.

ג

לעולם כשיאכל אדם ישב במקומו או יטה על שמאל ולא יהלך ולא ירכב ולא ייגע ולא יזעזע גופו ולא יטייל עד שיתעכל המזון שבמעיו וכל המטייל אחר אכילתו או שיגע הרי זה מביא על עצמו חלאים רעים וקשים:

4

Together, day and night make up [a period of] twenty four hours. It is sufficient for a man to sleep a third of this period; i.e., eight hours. These should be towards the end of the night, so that there be eight hours from the beginning of his sleep until sunrise. Thus, he should rise from his bed before sunrise.

ד

היום והלילה כ"ד שעות די לו לאדם לישן שלישן שהוא שמונה שעות ויהיו בסוף הלילה כדי שתהיה מתחלת שנתו עד שתעלה השמש שמונה שעות ונמצא עומד ממטתו קודם שתעלה השמש:

5

One should not sleep face down or on his back, but on his side - on his left side at the beginning of the night and on the right side at the end of the night. He should not retire shortly after eating, but should wait some three or four hours.

One should not sleep during the day.

ה

לא יישן אדם לא על פניו ולא על ערפו אלא על צדו בתחלת הלילה על צד שמאל ובסוף הלילה על צד ימין ולא יישן סמוך לאכילה אלא ימתין אחר אכילה כמו שלש או ארבע שעות ולא יישן ביום:

6

Laxative foods such as grapes, figs, mulberries, pears, melons, certain types of cucumbers and certain types of zucchini should be eaten first, before the meal. One should not eat them together with his main meal. Rather, he should wait until they have descended from the upper stomach and [then] eat his meal.

Foods which are constipating, such as pomegranates, quinces, apples, and crustumenian pears should be eaten immediately after the meal and not in quantity.

ו

דברים המשלשלין את בני מעים כגון ענבים ותאנים ותותים ואגסים ואבטיחים ומיני הקשואים ומיני מלפפונות אוכל אותם האדם בתחלה קודם אכילה ולא יערבם עם המזון אלא שוהה מעט עד שיצאו מבטן העליון ואוכל מזונו ודברים שמאמצין את בני מעים כגון רמונים ופרישים ותפוחים וקרוסטומולין אוכל אותן תיכף למזונו ולא ירבה לאכול מהן:

7

A person who desires to eat poultry and meat in one sitting, should eat the poultry first. Similarly, if he desires to eat both eggs and poultry, he should eat the eggs first. If [he desires to eat] both meat of large cattle and that of small cattle, he should eat the meat of small cattle first; [i.e.,] he should always eat the lighter fare first and the heavier fare afterwards.

ז

כשירצה אדם לאכול בשר עוף ובשר בהמה כאחד אוכל בתחלה בשר העוף וכן ביצים ובשר עוף אוכל בתחלה ביצים בשר בהמה דקה ובשר בהמה גסה אוכל בתחלה בשר דקה לעולם יקדים אדם דבר הקל ומאחר הכבד:

8

In the summer, one should eat unseasoned foods without many spices and use vinegar. In the rainy season, one should eat seasoned foods, use many spices, and eat some mustard and chiltit.

One should follow these principles in regard to cold climates and hot climates, [choosing the food] appropriate to each and every one of them.

ח

בימות החמה אוכל מאכלים הקרים ולא ירבה בתבלים ואוכל את החומץ ובימות הגשמים אוכל מאכלים החמים ומרבה בתבלים ואוכל מעט מן החרדל ומן החלתית ועל דרך זו הולך ועושה במקומות הקרים ובמקומות החמים בכ"מ ומקום הראוי לו:

9

There are foods which are extremely harmful and it is proper that one should never eat them, for example: large fish that are aged and salted, cheese which is aged and salted, truffles and mushrooms, meat which is aged and salted, wine from the press, cooked food which has been left over until it produces an odor, and any food with a bad smell or a very bitter taste. These are like poison to the body.

There are [other] foods which are harmful, but their harmful effects do not compare to those first [mentioned]. Therefore, a person ought to eat them only sparingly and after intervals of many days. He should not eat them regularly as his main fare or constantly as a sidedish with his food.

[They are] large fish, cheese and milk which has been left over for more than twenty-four hours after the milking, the meat of large oxen or he-goats, horse-beans, lentils, chickpeas, barley bread, matzot, cabbage, leeks, onions, garlic, mustard and radishes. All of these are harmful foods. It is fitting that he should eat them very sparingly and only in the rainy season, abstaining entirely in the summer. [Of these], horse-beans and lentils alone, should not be eaten either in the summer or winter. Squash may be eaten in the summer season.

ט

יש מאכלות שהם רעים ביותר עד מאד וראוי לאדם שלא לאוכלן לעולם כגון הדגים הגדולים המלוחים הישנים והגבינה המלוחה הישנה והכמהין ופטריות והבשר המליח הישן ויין מגתו ותבשיל ששהא עד שנדף ריחו וכן כל מאכל שריחו רע או מר ביותר הרי אלו לגוף כמו סם המות ויש מאכלות שהן רעים אבל אינן כמו הראשונים לרוע לפיכך ראוי לאדם שלא לאכול מהן אלא מעט ואחר ימים הרבה ולא ירגיל עצמו להיות מזונו מהם או לאוכלן עם מזונו תמיד כגון דגים גדולים וגבינה וחלב ששהא אחר שנחלב כ"ד שעות ובשר שורים גדולים ותישים גדולים והפול והעדשים והספיר ולחם שעורים ולחם מצות והכרוב והחציר והבצלים והשומים והחרדל והצנון כל אלו מאכלים רעים הם אין ראוי לאדם לאכול מאלו אלא מעט עד מאד ובימות הגשמים אבל בימות החמה לא יאכל מהן כלל והפול והעדשים בלבד אין ראוי לאוכלן לא בימות החמה ולא בימות הגשמים והדלועין אוכלין מהן בימות החמה:

10

There are foods which are harmful, but less so than these. They are water fowl, young pigeons, dates, bread roasted in oil or kneaded in oil, flour which has been sifted so well that no bran is left, fish brine and pickled fish oil. They ought not to be eaten in quantity.

A man who is wise, overcomes his desires, is not drawn by his appetites and eats nothing of the aforementioned unless he needs them for a medical reason, is [indeed] heroic.

י

ויש מאכלות שהם רעים ואינן כמו אלו והם עוף המים ובני יונה הקטנים והתמרים ולחם קלוי בשמן או לחם שנילוש בשמן והסולת שנפו אותה כל צרכה עד שלא נשארה בה ריח מורסן והציר והמורייס אין ראוי להרבות מאכלות אלו ואדם שהוא חכם וכובש את יצרו ולא ימשך אחר תאותו ולא יאכל מן הנזכרים כלום אלא אם נצרך להם לרפואה הרי זה גבור:

11

One should always avoid fruits. He should not eat of them in quantity even [when] dried and, it goes without saying [when they are] fresh. When they are not sufficiently ripe, they are like swords to the body. Carobs, too, are always harmful.

All pickled fruits are harmful and should be eaten only sparingly in summer weather and in hot climates. Figs, grapes and almonds are always beneficial, both fresh and dried. One may eat of them as much as he requires. However, he should not eat them constantly even though they are the most beneficial of fruits.

יא

לעולם ימנע אדם עצמו מפירות האילנות ולא ירבה מהן ואפילו יבשין ואין צריך לומר רטובים אבל קודם שיתבשלו כל צרכן הרי הן כחרבות לגוף וכן החרובים רעים לעולם וכל הפירות החמוצין רעים ואין אוכלין מהן אלא מעט בימות החמה ובמקומות החמים והתאנים והענבים והשקדים לעולם טובים בין רטובין בין יבשין ואוכל אדם מהם כל צורכו ולא יתמיד אכילתם אע"פ שהן טובים מכל פרי האילנות:

12

Honey and wine are harmful to the young and wholesome for the old. Certainly, this applies in the rainy season. In summer, one should eat two-thirds of what he eats in the winter.

יב

הדבש והיין רע לקטנים ויפה לזקנים וכל שכן בימות הגשמים וצריך אדם לאכול בימות החמה שני שלישים מה שהוא אוכל בימות הגשמים:

13

A person should always try to have loose movements throughout his life, tending slightly towards diarrhea. This is a cardinal principle in medicine: Whenever one suffers from constipation or has difficulty moving his bowels, serious diseases will beset him.

How can he induce loose movements if he has mild constipation? If he is a young man, each morning, he should eat well-cooked halimi which have been seasoned in olive-oil, pickled fish oil, and salt without bread daily; or drink the boiled water of [cooked] spinach or cabbage, [seasoned] with olive oil, pickled fish oil and salt.

If he is an old man, he should drink honey diluted with hot water, in the morning, wait approximately four hours and then eat his meal.

He should do this for one day, or three, or four, if necessary, until he has loose bowels.

יג

לעולם ישתדל אדם שיהיו מעיו רפין כל ימיו ויהיה קרוב לשלשול מעט וזה כלל גדול ברפואה כל זמן שהרעי נמנע או יוצא בקושי חלאים רעים באים ובמה ירפה אדם מעיו אם יתאמצו מעט אם היה בחור יאכל בבקר בבקר מלוחים שלוקים מתובלין בשמן זית ובמורייס ובמלח בלא פת או ישתה מי שלק של תרדין או כרוב בשמן זית ומורייס ומלח ואם היה זקן ישתה דבש מזוג במים חמים בבקר וישהא כמו ארבע שעות ואח"כ יאכל סעודתו ויעשה כן יום אחד או שלשה או ארבעה ימים אם צריך לכך עד שירפו מעיו:

14

They have given another principle with regard to physical well-being: As long as one exercises, exerts himself greatly, does not eat to the point of satiation and has loose bowels, he will not suffer sickness and he will grow in strength. [This applies] even if he eats harmful foods.

יד

וועד כלל אחר אמרו בבריאות הגוף כל זמן שאדם מתעמל ויגע הרבה ואינו שבע ומעיו רפין אין חולי בא עליו וכחו מתחזק ואפילו אוכל מאכלות הרעים:

15

[Conversely,] whoever is idle and does not exercise, or does not move his bowels when he has the need, or is constipated, even if he eats the proper foods and takes care to follow the rules of medicine, will be full of pain for all his days and his strength will fade away.

Overeating is like poison to anyone's body. It is the main source of all illness. Most illnesses which afflict a man are caused by harmful foods or by his filling his belly and overeating, even of healthful foods.

This was implied by Solomon in his wisdom: "Whoever guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from distress" (Proverbs 21:23); i.e., "guards his mouth" from eating harmful food or eating his fill and "his tongue" from speaking [about things] other than his needs.

טו

וכל מי שהוא יושב לבטח ואינו מתעמל או מי שמשהא נקביו או מי שמעיו קשין אפילו אכל מאכלות טובים ושמר עצמו על פי הרפואה כל ימיו יהיו מכאובים וכחו תשש ואכילה גסה לגוף כל אדם כמו סם המות והוא עיקר לכל החלאים ורוב החלאים שבאים על האדם אינם אלא או מפני מאכלים רעים או מפני שהוא ממלא בטנו ואוכל אכילה גסה אפילו ממאכלים טובים הוא ששלמה אמר בחכמתו שומר פיו ולשונו שומר מצרות נפשו כלומר שומר פיו מלאכול מאכל רע או מלשבוע ולשונו מלדבר אלא בצרכיו:

16

The [proper] manner of bathing is that a person should go to the baths once every seven days. He should not enter [the bath soon after mealtime; nor when he is hungry, but when his food has begun to be digested.

He should bathe the entire body in hot - but not scalding water - and his head, only, in scalding water. Then, he should bathe his body in tepid water, followed by bathings in successively cooler water, until he has bathed in cold water. [However,] he should not use tepid or cold water for his head, nor should he bathe in cold water in the winter.

He should not bathe until after he is in a sweat and his whole body has been massaged. He should not linger in the bath. Rather, as soon as he is in a sweat and been massaged, he should rinse off and leave.

He should examine himself to see if he needs to move his bowels before entering the bath and after leaving it. Similarly, he should always examine himself before and after eating, before and after sexual intercourse, before and after exertion and exercise, before and after sleeping, all in all, on ten [different occasions].

טז

דרך הרחיצה שיכנס אדם למרחץ משבעה ימים לשבעה ימים ולא יכנס סמוך לאכילה ולא כשהוא רעב אלא כשיתחיל המזון להתעכל ורוחץ כל גופו בחמין שאין הגוף נכוה בהן וראשו בלבד בחמין שהגוף נכוה בהן ואחר כך ירחץ גופו בפושרין ואח"כ בפושרין מן הפושרין עד שירחץ בצונן ולא יעבור על ראשו מים לא פושרין ולא צונן ולא ירחץ בצונן בימות הגשמים ולא ירחץ עד שיזיע ויפרך כל גופו ולא יאריך במרחץ אלא כשיזיע ויפרך גופו ישתטף ויצא ובודק עצמו קודם שיכנס למרחץ ואחר שיצא שמא יהא צריך לנקביו וכן בודק אדם עצמו תמיד קודם אכילה ואחר אכילה וקודם בעילה ואחר בעילה וקודם שייגע ויתעמל ואחר שייגע ויתעמל וקודם שיישן ואחר שיישן ובשיעור הכל עשרה:

17

When one leaves the bath, he should dress and cover his head in the outer room [of the bathhouse], so that he not catch a chill. He should take this precaution even in the summer.

After leaving [the baths], he should wait until he regains his composure, and the warmth [from bathing] has receded, and then eat.

A nap before eating, after the bath, is very beneficial. One should not drink cold water on leaving the baths and it goes without saying, that he should not drink while bathing. If he should be thirsty upon leaving the bath and cannot refrain, he should mix the water with wine or honey, and drink.

It is beneficial for one to rub himself with oil at the baths, during the winter, after he has rinsed off.

יז

כשיצא אדם מן המרחץ ילבש בגדיו ויכסה ראשו בבית החיצון כדי שלא תשלוט בו רוח קרה ואפילו בימות החמה צריך להזהר וישהא אחר שיצא עד שתתישב נפשו וינוח גופו ותסור החמימות ואחר כך יאכל ואם ישן מעט כשיצא מן המרחץ קודם אכילה הרי זה יפה מאד ולא ישתה מים קרים בצאתו מן המרחץ ואין צריך לומר שלא ישתה במרחץ ואם צמא כשיצא מן המרחץ ואינו יכול למנוע עצמו יערב המים ביין או בדבש וישתה ואם סך בשמן במרחץ בימות הגשמים אחר שישתטף הרי זה טוב:

18

One should not accustom himself to constant bloodletting. He should not be bled unless there is an extreme necessity. He should not be bled in the summer or winter, but slightly in Nisan and slightly in Tishrei.

After the age of fifty, he should not be bled at all. He should not be bled and go to the baths on the same day, or leave on a journey after being bled; nor should he be bled on the day on which he returns from a trip.

He should eat less than usual on the day of a bloodletting. He should rest on that day, not exert himself, nor exercise, nor stroll.

יח

לא ירגיל אדם להקיז דם תמיד ולא יקיז אלא אם יהיה צריך לו ביותר ולא יקיז לא בימות החמה ולא בימות הגשמים אלא מעט בימי ניסן ומעט בימי תשרי ומאחר חמשים שנה לא יקיז כלל ולא יקיז אדם דם ויכנס למרחץ בו ביום ולא יקיז ויצא לדרך ולא ביום שיבא מן הדרך ויאכל וישתה ביום ההקזה פחות ממה שהוא רגיל וינוח ביום ההקזה ולא ייגע ולא יתעמל ולא יטייל:

19

Semen is the strength of the body, its life [force], and the light of the eyes; the greater the emission [of sperm], [the greater] the damage to the body, to its strength and the greater the loss to one's life [span]. This was implied by Solomon in his wisdom: "Do not give your strength to women" (Proverbs 31:3).

Whoever is steeped in sexual relations, old age springs upon him [before its time], his strength is depleted, his eyes become dim, a foul odor emanates from his mouth and his armpits, the hair of his head, his eyebrows, and eyelashes fall out, the hair of his beard, armpits, and legs grows in abundance, his teeth fall out and he suffers many pains beyond these. The wise of the doctors have said: One of a thousand dies from other illnesses and a thousand from excessive intercourse.

Therefore, a person must take care in this matter if he wishes to live in good [health]. He should not engage in intercourse except when the body is healthy and particularly strong, when he has many involuntary erections, the erection is still present even when he makes an effort to think of something else, he finds a heaviness from the loins and below, the tendons of the testicles seem to be stretched, and his flesh is warm. Such a person needs to engage in intercourse and it is medically advisable.

He should not engage in intercourse on a full or empty stomach, but after the food has been digested. He should examine himself to see if he needs to move his bowels before and after intercourse. He should not engage in intercourse while standing or sitting, nor in the bathhouse, nor on a day on which he goes to the bathhouse, nor on a day on which he lets blood, nor on the day he departs on a journey or arrives from a journey, nor [on the day] before or afterwards.

יט

שכבת זרע היא כח הגוף וחייו ומאור העינים וכל שתצא ביותר הגוף כלה וכחו כלה וחייו אובדים הוא שאמר שלמה בחכמתו אל תתן לנשים חילך כל השטוף בבעילה זקנה קופצת עליו וכחו תשש ועיניו כהות וריח רע נודף מפיו ומשחיו ושער ראשו וגבות עיניו וריסי עיניו נושרות ושער זקנו ושחיו ושער רגליו רבה שיניו נופלות והרבה כאבים חוץ מאלו באים עליו אמרו חכמי הרופאים אחד מאלף מת בשאר חלאים והאלף מרוב התשמיש לפיכך צריך אדם להזהר בדבר זה אם רצה לחיות בטובה ולא יבעול אלא כשימצא גופו בריא וחזק ביותר והוא מתקשה הרבה שלא לדעתו ומסיח עצמו לדבר אחר והקישוי בו כשהיה וימצא כובד ממתניו ולמטה וכאלו חוטי הביצים נמשכים ובשרו חם זה צריך לבעול ורפואה לו שיבעול לא יבעול אדם והוא שבע ולא רעב אלא אחר שיתעכל המזון שבמעיו ויבדוק נקביו קודם בעילה ולאחר בעילה ולא יבעול מעומד ולא מיושב ולא בבית המרחץ ולא ביום שיכנס למרחץ ולא ביום הקזה ולא ביום יציאה לדרך או ביאה מן הדרך לא לפניהם ולא לאחריהם:

20

Whoever conducts himself in the ways which we have drawn up, I will guarantee that he will not become ill throughout his life, until he reaches advanced age and dies. He will not need a doctor. His body will remain intact and healthy throughout his life.

One may rely on this guarantee] unless [his body] was impaired from the birth, he was accustomed to one of the harmful habits from birth, or should there be a plague or a drought in the world.

כ

כל המנהיג עצמו בדרכים אלו שהורינו אני ערב לו שאינו בא לידי חולי כל ימיו עד שיזקין הרבה וימות ואינו צריך לרופא ויהיה גופו שלם ועומד על בוריו כל ימיו אלא אם כן היה גופו רע מתחילת ברייתו או אם היה רגיל במנהג מן המנהגות הרעים מתחילת מולדתו או אם תבא מכת דבר או מכת בצורת לעולם:

21

All of these beneficial habits which we have stated apply only to a healthy man. In contrast, a sick person, or one who has a single organ which is not healthy, or one who has followed a harmful way of life for many years, each of these must choose different patterns of behavior in accordance with his [particular] illness as it is explained in the medical literature.

Any change from the conduct which one normally follows is the beginning of sickness.

כא

וכל המנהגות הטובים האלו שאמרנו אין ראוי לנהוג בהן אלא הבריא אבל החולה או מי שאחד מאיבריו חולה או מי שנהג מנהג רע שנים רבות יש לכל אחד מהם דרכים אחרים והנהגות כפי חליו כמו שיתבאר בספר הרפואות ושינוי וסת תחילת חולי:

22

Where there is no doctor available, neither the healthy nor the sick man should budge from all the directions given in this chapter for each of them ultimately brings to a beneficial result.

כב

כל מקום שאין בו רופא אחד הבריא ואחד החולה אין ראוי לו לזוז מכל הדרכים האלו שנאמרו בפרק זה שכל אחד מהן לאחרית טובה מביא:

23

A Torah Sage is not permitted to live in a community which does not have the following: a doctor, a bloodletter, a bathhouse, a latrine, an available source of water such as a river or a spring, a synagogue, a teacher of children, a scribe, a charity supervisor, a rabbinical court empowered to impose corporal punishment and jail sentences.

כג

כל עיר שאין בה עשרה דברים האלו אין תלמיד חכם רשאי לדור בתוכה ואלו הן:

רופא ואומן ובית המרחץ ובית הכסא ומים מצויין כגון נהר ומעין ובית הכנסת ומלמד תינוקות ולבלר וגבאי צדקה ובית דין מכים וחובשים:

De'ot - Chapter Five

1

Just as the wise man is recognized through his wisdom and his temperaments and in these, he stands apart from the rest of the people, so, too, he should be recognized through his actions - in his eating, drinking, intimate relations, in relieving himself, in his speech, manner of walking and dress, in the management of his finances, and in his business dealings. All of these actions should be exceptionally becoming and befitting.

What is implied? A Torah Sage should not be a glutton. Rather, he should eat food which will keep his body healthy, without overeating. He should not seek to fill his stomach, like those who stuff themselves with food and drink until their bellies burst. They are alluded to by [the statement of] the prophet [Malachi 2:3]: "I will spread dung on your faces, the dung of your feasts." Our Sages explain: These are the people who eat and drink and make all their days like feast days. They say, "Eat and drink, for tomorrow, we will die."

This is the food of the wicked. It is these tables which the verse censures, saying: "For all tables are full of vomit and excrement; there is no room" (Isaiah 28:8).

In contrast, a wise man eats only one dish or two, eating only enough to sustain him. That is sufficient for him. This is alluded to by Solomon's statement: "The righteous man eats to satisfy his soul" (Proverbs 13:25).

א

כשם שהחכם ניכר בחכמתו ובדעותיו והוא מובדל בהם משאר העם כך צריך שיהיה ניכר במעשיו במאכלו ובמשקהו ובבעילתו ובעשיית צרכיו ובדבורו ובהילוכו ובמלבושו ובכלכול דבריו ובמשאו ובמתנו ויהיו כל המעשים האלו נאים ומתוקנים ביותר כיצד תלמיד חכם לא יהיה גרגרן אלא אוכל מאכל הראוי להברות גופו ולא יאכל ממנו אכילה גסה ולא יהא רודף למלאת בטנו כאלו שמתמלאין ממאכל ומשתה עד שתיפח כריסם ועליהם מפורש בקבלה וזריתי פרש על פניכם אמרו חכמים אלו בני אדם שאוכלין ושותין ועושין כל ימיהם כחגים והם האומרים אכול ושתה כי מחר נמות וזהו מאכל הרשעים ושלחנות אלו הם שגינה הכתוב ואמר כי כל שלחנות מלאו קיא צואה בלי מקום אבל החכם אינו אוכל אלא תבשיל אחד או שנים ואוכל ממנו כדי חייו ודיו הוא שאמר שלמה צדיק אוכל לשובע נפשו:

Just as the wise man - This term provides the key to this chapter. Throughout the chapter, the Rambam uses the term talmid chacham (Torah Sage). However, he begins the chapter by using the term, chacham (wise man), to refer to his statements in Chapter 1, Halachot 4-5, which describe a wise man as one who constantly evaluates his behavior and follows the desired middle path.

is recognized through his wisdom and his temperaments and in these, he stands apart from the rest of the people, so, too, he should be recognized through his actions - Sefer HaMitzvot (positive mitzvah 8) describes the mitzvah of resembling God as seeking "to emulate Him - His good deeds and the honorable attributes with which He was described."

As mentioned in the commentary to the first chapter, in Hilchot De'ot, the Rambam puts a far greater stress on a person's emulation of God's "attributes" and less to the emulation of His deeds. Therefore, the first three chapters emphasize the importance of personality development and the methods with which we can refine our character traits. This chapter concludes the treatment of the mitzvah to emulate God and focuses on the "good deeds" that reflect the process of inner refinement described above.

In Chapter 3, the Rambam postulates that we must set two goals for our behavior:
a) an immediate and intermediary goal, the maintenance of physical health;
b) the ultimate goal, the knowledge and service of God.

In Chapter 4, he outlines a regimen of behavior that allows man to reach the first goal. In this chapter, he concentrates on the second and more complete purpose.

in his eating, - The commentaries have suggested the Sifre, Zot HaBrachah and Derech Eretz Zuta, Chapters 5 and 7 as sources for the Rambam's statements. However, neither of those sources is quoted verbatim. Rather, they serve as models which the Rambam uses as the basis for his own composition.

The Rambam elaborates on each of the particulars listed here in the following halachot. In regard to eating, see the second part of this halachah and Halachah 2.

drinking, - This refers to drinking wine. See Halachah 3.

intimate relations, - See Halachot 4-5.

in relieving himself, - See Halachah 6.

in his speech, - See Halachah 7.

manner of walking - See Halachah 8.

and dress, - See Halachah 9.

in the management of his finances, - See Halachah 10-12.

and in his business dealings.- See Halachot 13.

All of these actions should be becoming and befitting.

What is implied? A Torah Sage - Though the Rambam begins the chapter with the use of the term chacham (wise man), when he starts to speak of details, he employs the term talmid chacham (Torah Sage). Perhaps this implies that the peaks of character development epitomized by the chacham can only be achieved when one develops his wisdom in Torah study.

should not be a glutton. Rather, he should eat food which will keep his body healthy, - as described in the previous chapter. Furthermore, even when eating these foods, he should not overindulge.

without overeating. - In the previous chapter, Halachah 15, the Rambam warned against overeating from a health perspective. Now, he treats it as an ethical inadequacy and a departure from the desired middle path. See also Chapter 1, Halachah 4, Chapter 3, Halachah 2.

He should not seek to fill his stomach, like those who stuff themselves with food and drink until their bellies burst. - The Rambam underlines the negative aspects of the tendency to overindulge and gorge oneself on food by using an extreme example. See also the Guide to the Perplexed, Vol. III, Chapter 8, where he compares people who pursue gluttony to a slave who revels in dung.

They are alluded to by [the statement of] the prophet [Malachi 2:3]: "I will spread dung on your faces, the dung of your feasts." - We have translated the verse in keeping with the interpretation of our Sages quoted below. However, in its original context, the verse refers to those who bring the festival offerings without proper intent.

Our Sages - Shabbat 151b

explain: These are the people who eat and drink and make all their days like feast days. - Though it is a mitzvah to celebrate the Sabbaths and festivals with feasts, here we are referring to those who feast:
a) self-indulgently and without a commitment to fulfill God's will; and
b) constantly and not only on select occasions.

They say, "Eat and drink for tomorrow, we will die." This statement is found in Isaiah 22:13. However, the Rambam is not quoting the verse as a support, he is merely borrowing the expression to exemplify an existential search for pleasure.

This is the food of the wicked. It is these tables which the verse censures, saying: "For all tables are full of vomit and excrement; there is no room" (Isaiah 28:8). - The final word of the verse, makom, can also refer to God and thus, implies that God's presence is also lacking. Eating for the sake of indulgence is the direct opposite of the approach of "Knowing God in all your ways" described previously.

Avot 3:3 also quotes this verse and the Rambam alludes to that mishnah in the following halachah.

In contrast, a wise man eats only one dish or two, eating only enough to sustain him. That is sufficient for him. - As a source for eating two dishes, the commentaries have suggested Derech Eretz Rabbah, Chapter 7:

It happened that Rabbi Akiva served a meal to his students. [The servants] brought two dishes before them... they ate and were satisfied.

As a source for eating one dish, they point to (Sanhedrin 94b):

"And may the name of the righteous be blessed (Proverbs 3:33)" - this refers to Hezekiah, king of Judah, who ate [only] a litra of greens for a meal.

These sources notwithstanding, it appears that the Rambam is merely stating that a Sage should confine himself to simple and modest fare; he may not have had a specific source in mind.

This is alluded to by Solomon's statement: "The righteous man eats to satisfy his soul" (Proverbs 13:25). - Note the Rambam's use of this verse in Chapter 1, Halachah 4.

2

When the wise man eats the little which is fitting for him, he should eat it only in his own home, at his table. He should not eat in a store or in the marketplace, unless there is a very pressing need, lest he be viewed without respect by others.

He should not eat together with the unlearned, nor at those tables that are "filled with vomit and excrement." He should not eat frequently in other places, even in the company of wise men, nor should he eat where there is a large gathering.

It is not fitting for him to eat at another person's [table] except at a feast associated with a mitzvah, e.g., a betrothal or wedding feast - and then, [only] when a scholar is marrying the daughter of a scholar.

The righteous and the pious of old never partook of a meal that was not their own.

ב

כשהחכם אוכל מעט זה הראוי לו לא יאכלנו אלא בביתו על שולחנו ולא יאכל בחנות ולא בשוק אלא מפני צורך גדול כדי שלא יתגנה בפני הבריות ולא יאכל אצל עמי הארץ ולא על אותן השלחנות המלאים קיא צואה ולא ירבה סעודותיו בכל מקום ואפילו עם החכמים ולא יאכל בסעודות שיש בהן קיבוץ הרבה ואין ראוי לו לאכול אלא בסעודה של מצוה בלבד כגון סעודת אירוסין ונישואין והוא שיהיה תלמיד חכם שנשא בת תלמיד חכם והצדיקים והחסידים הראשונים לא אכלו מסעודה שאינה שלהן:


When the wise man eats the little, which is fitting for him, he should eat it only in his own home at his table, - The previous halachah discussed the quantity of food and the attitude with which it was to be eaten. The present halachah concerns itself with the place and the company in which the wise should eat. It revolves around the principle that a person should be modest while eating and refrain from doing so in public. (See the Guide to the Perplexed, ibid.)

[He should not eat] in a store - Kol Ya'akov notes that this store may even be one specifically designated for eating, e.g., a restaurant, coffee-shop, or the like. Indeed, we find the Hebrew, chanut, used to refer to a place of eating in Bava Metzia 83b.

or in the marketplace, - Though the Jerusalem Talmud, Ma'aserot 3:2 mentions this prohibition in reference to a Torah Sage, the Babylonian Talmud, Kiddushin 40b condemns even a common person for such behavior, stating: "Whoever eats in the marketplace is like a dog." The passage in Kiddushin continues to explain that such a person is unacceptable as a witness and the Rambam quotes that law (Hilchot Edut 11:5).

The commentaries have attempted to resolve this difficulty in different ways: For example Tosafot, Kiddushin (ibid.) explains that a common person is condemned only if he eats a full meal in the market place, while a wise man should not eat anything at all in public. The Kessef Mishneh (Hilchot Edut) differentiates between eating in a crowded place - which is forbidden for everyone - and eating in a quiet corner - which is deemed improper only for a Sage. The Bach (Choshen Mishpat 34) explains that a common person is censored only for eating while walking through the market place, while the wise man should not eat in public even while standing in one place.

Nevertheless, it must be noted that in this halachah, the Rambam uses the expression chacham (a wise man), his ideal for a person with a developed personality, and not talmid chacham (a Torah Sage). Apparently, he does not differentiate between a Torah Sage and a common person in this matter and requires a refined, highly developed standard in meeting our physical needs from everyone.

unless there is a very pressing need, lest he be viewed without respect by others.

He should not eat together with the unlearned, - Sanhedrin 52b states that, at the outset, a common person will consider a Torah Sage to be like a vessel of gold. However, if the Sage derives benefit from the common person, he will come to regard the Sage like an earthenware shard.

Note Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah 5:11, where the Rambam equates the dining of a learned and pious man together with the unlearned with the desecration of the Name of God. See also Hilchot Sanhedrin (25:4) where he rules that communal leaders and judges should not eat and drink with the common people.

nor at those tables that are "filled with vomit and excrement." - This expression is obviously a reference to Avot 3:3:

[When] three eat at one table and do not speak words of Torah there, it is as if they eat from sacrifices to the dead [i.e., idols] as [Isaiah 28:8] states: "For all tables are full of vomit and excrement; there is no room."

In his commentary to this mishnah, the Rambam writes:

Previously, the verse dealt with eating and drinking while forsaking the Torah and those who study it. Therefore, all of these tables are considered as if excrement and filth; i.e., the foods of idol worship, are eaten upon them.

Furthermore,...

He - the wise man

should not eat frequently in other places, - outside his own home; i.e., the wise man, even when he eats in a private home and in the proper company, should limit the number of homes that he frequents (Pesachim 49a).

even in the company of wise men, nor should he eat where there is a large gathering. - The reason for these restrictions is, as the Rambam expresses in the Guide to the Perplexed (ibid.), a basic desire for a person, particularly when he relates to others, to emphasize the refined and developed aspects of his being and not those which he shares with other animals. Therefore, even when there is no danger of subjecting himself to undesirable influences or disgracing the Torah with which he is identified, he should refrain from performing a physical activity like eating in the presence of others.

It is not fitting for him to eat at another person's [table] except at a feast associated with a mitzvah, - Chullin 95b states that Rav would not partake of a meal in public unless it was associated with a mitzvah.

e.g., a betrothal - This decision is not accepted by all authorities. Some do not consider such a betrothal feast as "associated with a mitzvah."

Erusin translated as "betrothal," refers to the first stage of the marriage process, i.e., giving the woman the wedding ring. In Talmudic and post-Talmudic times, this ceremony was carried out before the actual wedding (nisuin). At present, we perform the two stages of the wedding, erusin and nisuin together. Thus, reference to what we term engagement as erusin is technically a misnomer.

or wedding feast - and then, [only] when a scholar is marrying the daughter of a scholar. - Pesachim 49a mentions that weddings between scholars and common people are undesirable and should not be attended by a Torah Sage (Avodat HaMelech). The Rambam also deals with this subject in Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah, Chapter 21.

The righteous and the pious of old never partook of a meal that was not their own. - Chullin 7b relates that even when Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi invited Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair to a meal, the latter Sage refused. Note also the Rambam's comments at the conclusion of Hilchot Zechiah U'Matanah.

3

When a wise man drinks wine, he drinks only enough to soften the food in his stomach.

Whoever becomes drunk is a sinner, is shameful, and will lose his wisdom. If he becomes drunk before the common people, he desecrates God's Name.

It is forbidden to drink even a small quantity of wine in the afternoon hours, unless it is taken together with food. Drink that is taken together with food is not intoxicating. Only wine that is taken after the meal is to be avoided.

ג

כשהחכם שותה יין אינו שותה אלא כדי לשרות אכילה שבמעיו וכל המשתכר הרי זה חוטא ומגונה ומפסיד חכמתו ואם נשתכר בפני עמי הארץ הרי זה חילל את השם ואסור לשתות יין בצהרים ואפילו מעט אלא אם היה בכלל האכילה שהשתיה שהיא בכלל האכילה אינה משכרת ואין נזהרין אלא מיין שלאחר המזון:


When a wise man drinks wine, he drinks only enough to soften the food in his stomach. - Ketubot 8b states that wine is useful in the process of digestion.

Whoever becomes drunk is a sinner, - The commentaries cite Berachot 29b: "Do not become drunk and do not sin;" a passage which seems to say that drink leads to sins. There is room for question for it appears that the Rambam views drinking itself as sinful.

is shameful, - In the Guide to the Perplexed, Vol. III, Chapter 8, the Rambam castigates drunken revelry in the harshest terms:

A drinking party is more shameful than a gathering of naked people [who] defecate together in daylight in one place. Elimination is a necessary human function. However, drunkenness is the voluntary act of the wicked man.

and will lose his wisdom. - See Proverbs 31:5: "Lest he drink and forget the Law and pervert the judgement of all the poor."

The Torah gives examples of the degrading effects of drunkenness (Noah, Genesis, Chapter 8; Lot, Genesis, Chapter 19). There are specific prohibitions against drinking - e.g. a priest is not allowed to perform the priestly services while under the influence of alcohol (Leviticus 10:9-11). Similarly, numerous passages throughout the Prophets and Sacred Writings castigate drunkenness. These are also paralleled in the rabbinic literature, e.g. Sanhedrin 70a, VaYikra Rabbah 12.

If he becomes drunk before the common people, he desecrates God's Name. - Note the Rambam's remarks in Hilchot Sanhedrin 25:4:

When a person is given a position of authority over the community... most certainly [he is forbidden] to eat and drink and become drunk in public and in a gathering of the ignorant or at a repast of friends.
Woe to those judges who act with such affront to the Torah of Moses, who disgrace its laws and reduce it to the earth, bring it down to the dust and cause evil to themselves and their descendants in this world and the next.

Most commentaries cite Pesachim 49a as the source for the Rambam's statement, however, that passage does not mention intoxication. The Zohar, Vol. I, 110a, specifically associates drunkenness with the desecration of God's name.

Since intoxication is such an undesirable state...

It is forbidden to drink even a small quantity of wine - Note Hilchot Tefilah 4:17 which considers a revi'it (between 3 and 5 oz.) of wine as slightly intoxicating. Since our wines are considerably weaker than those of the Rambam's time, it is questionable whether this measure would apply today.

in the afternoon hours, - Avot 3:13 mentions wine that is drunken in the afternoon as one of four things which "remove a person from the world." Avot D'Rabbi Natan, Chapter 21, explains that drinking wine in the afternoon causes a person to "negate the entire Torah."

unless it is taken together with food because drink that is taken together with food is not intoxicating - to the same degree as wine that is drunk without food. See the Rambam's commentary to the Mishnah, Pesachim 10:6.

Only wine that is taken after the meal is to be avoided.

4

Although a man's wife is permitted to him at all times, it is fitting that a wise man behave with holiness. He should not frequent his wife like a rooster. Rather, [he should limit his relations to once a week] from Sabbath evening to Sabbath evening, if he has the physical stamina.

When he speaks with her, he should not do so at the beginning of the night, when he is sated and his belly [is] full, nor at the end of the night, when he is hungry; rather, in the middle of the night, when his food has been digested.

He should not be excessively lightheaded, nor should he talk obscene nonsense even in intimate conversation with his wife. Behold, the prophet has stated (Amos 4:13): "And He repeats to a man what he has spoken." [On this verse,] our Sages commented: A person will have to account for even the light conversation that he has with his wife.

[At the time of relations,] they should not be drunk, nor lackadaisical, nor tense - [neither both of them,] or [even] one of them. She should not be asleep, nor should the man take her by force, against her will. Rather, [the relations should take place] amidst their mutual consent and joy. He should converse and dally with her somewhat, so that she be relaxed. He should be intimate [with her] modestly and not boldly, and withdraw [from her] immediately.

ד

אף על פי שאשתו של אדם מותרת לו תמיד ראוי לו לתלמיד חכם שינהיג עצמו בקדושה ולא יהא מצוי אצל אשתו כתרנגול אלא מלילי שבת ללילי שבת אם יש בו כח וכשהוא מספר עמה לא יספר בתחלת הלילה כשהוא שבע ובטנו מלא ולא בסוף הלילה כשהוא רעב אלא באמצע הלילה כשיתעכל המזון שבמעיו ולא יקל בראשו ביותר ולא ינבל את פיו בדברי הבאי ואפילו בינו לבינה הרי הוא אומר בקבלה מגיד לאדם מה שיחו אמרו חכמים אפילו שיחה קלה שבין אדם לאשתו עתיד ליתן עליה את הדין ולא יהיו שניהם לא שכורים ולא עצלנים ולא עצבנים ולא אחד מהן ולא תהיה ישינה ולא יאנוס אותה והיא אינה רוצה אלא ברצון שניהם ובשמחתם יספר וישחק מעט עמה כדי שתתישב נפשה ויבעול בבושה ולא בעזות ויפרוש מיד:


Although a man's wife is permitted to him at all times, - i.e., outside the restrictions of the niddah

it is fitting that a wise man behave with holiness. - Though a Jew's commitment to holiness must encompass every aspect of his behavior, the Torah and our Sages have always emphasized the importance of this quality in regard to sexuality. There is no more powerful expression of man's basic, instinctual nature than sex. Therefore, precisely in this area, a Jew must reveal that his nature is not only material, that he possesses a spiritual dimension that lies at the core of his being and seeks expression.

For this reason, the Jewish marriage bond is referred to as Kiddushin, emphasizing how kedushah, holiness, is a fundamental element in marriage. Similarly, Leviticus 20:7, proclaims "Sanctify yourselves and be holy, for I am God, your Lord," as a preface to the laws proscribing forbidden intimate relations. Sh'vuot 18b interprets the above verse as also including a command to conduct oneself in a holy manner within permitted relationships.

The quality of holiness involves not only restraint, as mentioned in the ensuing statements, but also the manner in which relations are carried out. The Rambam elaborates on this aspect in Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 21:9 and in his commentary to the Mishnah, Sanhedrin 7:4.

He should not frequent his wife like a rooster. - The rooster is a widely used symbol of lust. The phrase used by the Rambam is quoted from Berachot 22a. See also Hilchot Tefilah 4:5.

In Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 21:11, the Rambam also elaborates on this matter, calling frequent intimate relations a severe blemish and boorish behavior which was frowned upon by the Sages.

Rather, [he should limit his relations to once a week] - Ketubot 62a,b describes the frequency with which people involved in different occupations should engage in intimate relations (See also Hilchot Ishut 14:1-4.). The measure given here is the one allotted to Torah Sages.

from Sabbath evening to Sabbath evening, - Ketubot (ibid.) states that Psalms 1:3: "It brings forth its fruit in its season" applies to such a person.

[The commentaries note the continuation of the verse, "Its leaves will not wither", and interpret it as implying that the draining of physical energy caused by intimate relations which the Rambam described in Chapter 4, Halachah 21, will not occur when a person follows this schedule.]

Iggeret HaKodesh (attributed to the Ramban) emphasizes that on the Sabbath, a person is granted a greater spiritual potential which enables him to maintain his bond with God even when involved in physical activities.

if he has the physical stamina. - See Hilchot Ishut, Chapter 14, where the Rambam prescribes criteria for the frequency of intimate relations that are coordinated with a person's physical stamina.

When he speaks - The Rambam quotes this euphemism for intimate relations from Nedarim 20b.

with her, he should not do so at the beginning of the night, when he is sated and his belly [is] full, nor at the end of the night, when he is hungry; rather, in the middle of the night, when his food has been digested. - Note Chapter 4, Halachah 19. Iggeret HaKodesh explains that both during the time food is being digested and when a person is hungry, his emotional balance is somewhat disturbed and it is difficult for him to develop the proper attitude and spiritual awareness necessary to make intimate relations a Godly act.

Nedarim 20b emphasizes that the midnight hour also allows a person to rest from all his worldly involvement. The quiet of the hour prevents him from being disturbed by other thoughts and he is able to concentrate on his wife alone.

Despite the advantages of having relations at midnight, many contemporary authorities suggest that a couple not hold to this as a binding rule. If a couple have already begun thinking of sex, they should not be forced to wait until midnight to fulfill their desires.

He should not be excessively lightheaded, - Previously (Chapter 2, Halachah 7), the Rambam cited a mishnah (Avot 3:16) which links lightheadedness and immorality.

nor should he talk obscene nonsense even in intimate conversation with his wife. - Though a man should talk to his wife to prepare her for intimacy, he must be careful of what he says. Note the comments of VaYikra Rabbah 24:7.

"And your camp shall be holy, that He see no lewd things in you" (Deuteronomy 23:15). The latter refers to unseemly speech. Rav Shmuel bar Nachman said: Lewd speech is obscenity.

Behold, the prophet has stated (Amos 4:13): "And He tells over to a man what he has spoken." [On this verse,] our Sages - Chagigah 5b

commented: A person will have to account - when being judged in the afterworld...

for even the light conversation that he has with his wife. - for every aspect of a man's behavior is significant.

[At the time of relations,] they should not be drunk, - For intimate relations to be a meaningful act, each of the partners must have all his faculties at his command.

As mentioned in the following halachah, a proper attitude toward intimate relations will cause one to father children who are refined and attractive. The converse is also true. If parents engage in intimate relations in a coarse manner or if there is friction and lack of harmony between them, the children born of their union will have undesirable character traits.

In particular, Nedarim 20b describes ten situations in which relations are forbidden and states that the children born of such unions are endowed with extremely negative tendencies. One of the undesirable states at the time of relations is drunkenness. See also the following halachah and Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 21:12.

nor lackadaisical, - People should not engage in relations except when motivated by desire (preferably a holy desire as explained in Chapter 3). For this reason, as mentioned below, a husband should spend time arousing his wife's desires.

nor tense - Some manuscripts have atzubim- "depressed" - instead. Neither state of mind conforms to the attitude desired by the Torah as mentioned below.

[neither both of them,] or [even] one of them. - The act of intimacy should be a true union between man and wife. Therefore, the partners must work on developing a single state of mind.

She should not be asleep, nor should the man take her by force, - These two situations are also included among the ten prohibited relations mentioned in Nedarim 20b.

against her will. - The Avodat HaMelech states that this statement also implies that one should not compel his wife to agree to intimate relations. See Eiruvin 100b.

Rather, [the relations should take place] amidst their mutual consent and joy. He should converse and dally with her somewhat, - Chagigah 5b describes how the Sage, Rav, would abandon all formalities and inspire an atmosphere of relaxed happiness before intimacy. (Note the description of Rav in Chapter 2, Halachah 4.)

so that she be relaxed. - Iggeret HaKodesh states:

You should motivate her with words that move her heart and settle her mind and make her happy so that your mind will be fused with hers, and your intent with her intent.
You should say some things that arouse her desire, feelings of connection, love, will, and romance, and others which lead her to the fear of God, piety, and modesty.

He should be intimate [with her] modestly and not boldly, and withdraw [from her] immediately. - The commentaries note that the Rambam's statements are based on the following passage from Nedarim 20b:

They asked Ima Shalom (the wife of Rabbi Eliezer): "Why are your children so attractive?"
She replied to them: "He only engages in relations with me... at midnight. During intimacy, he uncovers a handbreadth and covers a handbreadth (i.e., engages in intimacy modestly) and it appears that a demon is pressuring him" (i.e., he would withdraw after completing the act of intimacy).

5

Whoever conducts himself in this manner [may be assured that] not only does he sanctify his soul, purify himself, and refine his character, but, furthermore, if he has children, they will be handsome and modest, worthy of wisdom and piety.

[In contrast,] whoever conducts himself in the ways of the rest of the people who walk in darkness, will have children like those people.

ה

כל הנוהג מנהג זה לא די לו שקדש נפשו וטהר עצמו ותקן דעותיו אלא שאם היו לו בנים יהיו נאים וביישנים ראוין לחכמה ולחסידות וכל הנוהג במנהגות שאר העם ההולכים בחשך יהיו לו בנים כמו אותם העם:


Whoever conducts himself in this manner [may be assured that] not only does he sanctify his soul, purify himself, and refine his character, but, furthermore, - in addition to these spiritual and ethical benefits,...

if he has children, - The Rambam does not promise that children will be conceived. However, if conception takes place,...

they - the offspring

will be handsome - Note the passage from Nedarim quoted in the previous halachah.

and modest, worthy of wisdom and piety. - Iggeret HaKodesh states:

When a person joins together with his wife while his thoughts cleave to the spiritual realms, those thoughts draw down a sublime light which rests on that drop of semen... Thus, that drop of semen is always connected to that shining light.
This is the mystic secret implied in [God's words to the prophet, Jeremiah, (1:5)]: "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you;" i.e., He had already established a connection of shining light with the sperm [from which] that Tzaddik [was conceived] at the time of [his parents'] union.

[In contrast,] whoever conducts himself in the ways of the rest of the people who walk in darkness - The latter phrase is borrowed, out of context, from Isaiah 9:1.

will have children like those people. - The effect of improper intimate behavior on offspring is mentioned in Nedarim 20b and Eruvin 100b. Note our comments in the previous halachah. See, too, Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 21:12.

6

Torah Sages conduct themselves with exceptional modesty. They do not demean themselves and do not bare their heads or their bodies.

Even when one enters a latrine, he should be modest and not uncover himself until he is seated. He should not wipe himself clean with the right hand. He should stay away from all others and enter a chamber beyond a chamber, a cave within a cave, and relieve himself. If he [must] relieve himself behind a fence, he should move far enough away that no one can hear the sound if he breaks wind. If he [must] relieve himself in an open area, he should be far enough off so that no one can see him baring himself.

One should not speak while relieving himself, even if there is great need. Just as he conducts himself with modesty while in the latrine by day, he should [also] do so at night.

One should always train himself to relieve himself in the early morning and after dark only, so that he [need] not go far off.

ו

צניעות גדולה נוהגים תלמידי חכמים בעצמן לא יתבזו ולא יתגלו ראשן ולא גופן ואפילו בשעה שיכנס לבית הכסא יהא צנוע ולא יגלה בגדיו עד שישב ולא יקנח בימין ויתרחק מכל אדם ויכנס חדר לפנים מחדר מערה לפנים מן המערה ונפנה ואם נפנה אחורי הגדר יתרחק כדי שלא ישמע חבירו קולו אם נתעטש ואם נפנה בבקעה ירחיק כדי שלא יראה חבירו פירועו ולא ידבר כשהוא נפנה אפילו לצורך גדול וכדרך שנוהג צניעות ביום בבית הכסא כך נוהג בלילה ולעולם ילמד אדם עצמו להפנות שחרית וערבית בלבד כדי שלא יתרחק:


Torah Sages conduct themselves with exceptional modesty. - With this statement, the Rambam establishes a connection with the previous halachah and sets the motif for what follows. Modesty is not simply a matter of dress, (this is discussed in halachah 9), but rather, an awareness of God which causes a person to cover head and body out of respect for the Divine Presence. The Rambam expands upon this concept in the Guide for the Perplexed (Vol. III, Chapter 52):

He is constantly with us, observing us, as [Jeremiah 23:24] proclaims: 'Can a man hide himself in the secret places and I not see him,' says God." Understand this well.
Know that when perfect men comprehend this, they achieve such humility, such awe and fear of God and a sense of shame before Him... that their private behavior with their wives and in latrines is like their public conduct with other people.
Know that they have forbidden a man to walk with an erect carriage, because: "the entire world is filled with His glory" (Isaiah 6:3)... We are always in His presence... Thus, the greatest among the Sages found it difficult to bare their heads because the Divine Presence constantly hovers over man.

They do not demean themselves and do not bare their heads, - Kiddushin 30a relates that Rabbi Chiya bar Abba once saw Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi taking his son to school while wearing a makeshift hat. When Rabbi Chiya asked him the reason he was wearing such a head-covering, he explained that he was forced to leave his home in a hurry and was not able to arrange his turban. Nevertheless, he found it preferable to wear even a makeshift head-covering, rather than go out bareheaded.

Kiddushin 31a quotes Rav Huna, the son of Rav Yeshoshua, as explaining that he would not walk four cubits bareheaded out of respect for "the Divine Presence which is above my head." (See also Zohar, Vol. III, p. 245b.) Similarly, Shabbat 156b relates that an astrologer told Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak's mother that he was destined to be a thief. From his earliest childhood, she trained him to avoid this fate. She would constantly tell him to cover his head "so that the fear of God will be upon you."

or their bodies. - The Mishnah Berurah (2:1) lays down the following general rule: Any portion of our bodies which is usually covered should not be revealed unless there is a specific reason for doing so.

Modesty, as understood in the present context, results from the awareness of the Divine Presence. The ordinary man experiences such awareness while at prayer when "he is as if standing before the Divine Presence" (Hilchot Tefilah 4:16) and then he is required not to bare his head (ibid. 5:5) or various parts of his body; e.g., his chest (ibid. 4:7) and his feet (ibid. 5:5). As emphasized in Chapter 3, Halachah 3, a wise man should try to be conscious of the Divine Presence at all times and places. As a result, he will constantly be modest.

Though in Talmudic times and in the Rambam's era, personal modesty and covering one's head were considered the signs of a Sage (Kiddushin 8a) and a unique and special merit (Shabbat 118b), at present, both practices have been accepted as ordinary behavior for all observant Jews.

Even when one enters a latrine, he should be modest and not uncover himself until he is seated. - Tamid 27b quotes Rav as giving his son the following advice: "Sit and reveal yourself. Cover yourself and stand."

He should not wipe himself clean with the right hand. - Since the right hand is used to tie Tefillin (Berachot 62a) and is given priority over the left hand regarding service in the Temple (Zevachim 24a), the installation ceremony of priests (Leviticus 8:23), and other ritual manners, it is not proper that it be used for this function.

Many authorities maintain that this restriction only applies when one is cleaning oneself with one's hand alone, but not when one uses toilet paper.

He should stay away from all others and enter a chamber beyond a chamber, a cave within a cave, and relieve himself. - Berachot 62b derives this law from I Samuel 24:3's description of the behavior of King Saul. Though it is forbidden to delay relieving oneself (Hilchot Ma'achalot Asurot 17:31), our Sages did not give this prohibition precedence over the dictates of modesty (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 3:11).

If - no latrine is available and

he [must] relieve himself - These restrictions only apply to defecation. The Sages feared that refraining from urination might be damaging (Bechorot 44b).

behind a fence, he should move far enough away that no one can hear the sound if he breaks wind. - I.e., even though an observer might see that he is squatting and thus, conclude that he is defecating, since the fence covers his lower body, there is no difficulty (Berachot 62a).

If he [must] relieve himself in an open area, - where such a barrier is not available

he should be far enough off so that no one can see him baring himself. - i.e., though the ultimate reason for modesty is the awareness of God's presence, there also is a dimension of modesty which implies respect for one's fellow man and restraint in revealing one's body and bodily functions in his presence.

One should not speak while relieving himself, even if there is great need. - Berachot 62a states that "modesty and silence are appropriate for the latrine." Sanhedrin 19a states that women are allowed to speak in the latrine to prevent men from entering.

Just as he conducts himself with modesty while in the latrine by day, he should also do so at night. - Berachot, ibid. Since modesty is practiced out of an awareness of God's presence, there is no difference between day and night (The Guide to the Perplexed, Vol. III, Chapter 52).

One should always train himself to relieve himself in the early morning and after dark only, so that he [need] not go far off - to avoid others seeing him (Berachot, ibid.).

7

A Torah Sage should not shout or shriek while speaking, like the cattle and wild beasts, nor should he raise his voice overly much. Instead, he should speak gently to all people. [In addition to] speaking gently, he should take care not to stand at a distance, lest [his speech] appear like the speech of the haughty.

He should greet all men [before they greet him], so that they be pleased with him. He should judge every one in a good light, speak favorably of his fellow man, [never mentioning] anything that is shameful to him, love peace and pursue it.

If he sees that his words will be effective, and will be given attention, he should speak; if not, he should keep silent. What is implied? He should not try to placate a man in the moment of his anger. He should not question a man about his vow at the time he is making his vow, [but wait] until he is tranquil of mind and calm. He should not comfort a man while his dead is lying before him because [the bereaved] is unsettled until he has buried [his dead]. The same applies in other similar cases. He should not look at his fellow man at the moment of his humiliation, but turn his attention away.

He should not distort facts, exaggerate a situation, or minimize it, except in the interests of peace and the like.

The guiding rule is that he should speak only words of wisdom or in connection with acts of kindness and the like. He should not speak to a woman in the marketplace, even if she be his wife, or his sister, or his daughter.

ז

תלמיד חכם לא יהא צועק וצווח בשעת דבורו כבהמות וחיות ולא יגביה קולו ביותר אלא דבורו בנחת עם כל הבריות וכשידבר בנחת יזהר שלא יתרחק עד שיראה כדברי גסי הרוח ומקדים שלום לכל האדם כדי שתהא רוחן נוחה הימנו ודן את כל האדם לכף זכות מספר בשבח חבירו ולא בגנותו כלל אוהב שלום ורודף שלום אם רואה שדבריו מועילים ונשמעים אומר ואם לאו שותק כיצד לא ירצה חבירו בשעת כעסו ולא ישאל לו על נדרו בשעה שנדר עד שתתקרר דעתו וינוח ולא ינחמנו בשעה שמתו מוטל לפניו מפני שהוא בהול עד שיקברהו וכן כל כיוצא באלו ולא יראה לחבירו בשעת קלקלתו אלא יעלים עיניו ממנו ולא ישנה בדבורו ולא יוסיף ולא יגרע אלא בדברי שלום וכיוצא בהן כללו של דבר אינו מדבר אלא בדברי חכמה או בגמילות חסדים וכיוצא בהן ולא יספר עם אשה בשוק ואפילו היא אשתו או אחותו או בתו:

8

A Torah Sage should not walk erect, with his head held high, as [Isaiah 3:16] states: "And they walked with necks outstretched and flashing eyes." He should not walk with a [short-stepped,] toe-to-heel, stately [gait] like [that of] women and the proud, as [Isaiah, ibid.] states: "walking and mincing as they go, tinkling with their feet."

Nor should he run in public like a madman, nor bend over like a hunchback. Rather, he should cast his eyes downward as he [does when he] stands during prayer. He should walk in the market-place like a person preoccupied with his business affairs.

From a man's carriage, too, one can recognize whether he is wise and a thoughtful person or mindless and a fool. Thus, Solomon said in his wisdom (Ecclesiastes 10:3): "On the road, too, when the fool walks, his mind is empty and he proclaims to all that he is a fool" - he informs everyone about himself, that he is a fool.

ח

לא ילך תלמיד חכם בקומה זקופה וגרון נטוי כענין שנאמר ותלכנה נטויות גרון ומשקרות עינים ולא יהלך עקב בצד גודל בנחת כמו הנשים וגסי הרוח כענין שנאמר הלוך וטפוף תלכנה וברגליהם תעכסנה ולא ירוץ ברשות הרבים כמנהג משוגעים ולא יכפוף קומתו כבעלי חטוטרת אלא מסתכל למטה כמו שהוא עומד בתפלה ומהלך בשוק כאדם שהוא טרוד בעסקיו גם ממהלכו של אדם ניכר אם חכם ובעל דעה הוא או שוטה וסכל וכן אמר שלמה בחכמתו וגם בדרך כשהסכל הולך לבו חסר ואמר לכל סכל הוא הוא מודיע לכל על עצמו שהוא סכל:

9

A Torah Sage's clothing should be attractive and clean. It is forbidden that [a] blood or fat [stain] or the like be found on his garment.

He should not wear regal garb, e.g., clothes of gold and purple, which draw everyone's attention, nor the dress of the poor which shames its wearers, but attractive garments of the middle range.

His flesh should not be visible under his clothing as [is the case when one wears] the exceptionally sheer linen garments produced in Egypt. His clothes should not drag on the ground like the dress of the haughty, but [should extend] to the heel and his sleeves [should extend] to his fingers.

He should not let his cloak hang down, for that creates an impression of haughtiness, except on the Sabbath if he has no change [of cloak].

In the summer, he should not wear shoes that have often been mended and have many patches. He may do so in the rainy season, if he is poor.

He should not go out in the marketplace perfumed, or with perfumed clothes, nor should he put perfume on his hair. However, he is permitted to rub perfume on his body if he does so in order to remove filth. Similarly, he should not go out alone at night, unless he has a set time to go out for his studies. All of these [restrictions are instituted] because of [possible] suspicion [of immorality].

ט

מלבוש תלמיד חכם מלבוש נאה ונקי ואסור לו שימצא בבגדו כתם או שמנונית וכיוצא בהן ולא ילבש לא מלבוש מלכים כגון בגדי זהב וארגמן שהכל מסתכלין בהן ולא מלבוש עניים שהוא מבזה את לובשיו אלא בגדים בינונים נאים ולא יהא בשרו נראה מתחת מדיו כמו בגדי הפשתן הקלים ביותר שעושים במצרים ולא יהיו בגדיו סחובין על הארץ כמו בגדי גסי הרוח אלא עד עקבו ובית יד שלו עד ראשי אצבעותיו ולא ישלשל טליתו מפני שנראה כגסות הרוח אלא בשבת בלבד אם אין לו להחליף ולא ינעל מנעלים מטולאים טלאי על גבי טלאי בימות החמה אבל בימות הגשמים מותר אם היה עני לא יצא מבושם לשוק ולא בבגדים מבושמים ולא ישים בושם בשערו אבל אם משח בשרו בבושם כדי להעביר את הזוהמא מותר וכן לא יצא יחידי בלילה אלא א"כ היה לו זמן קבוע לצאת בו לתלמודו כל אלו מפני החשד:

10

A Torah Sage manages his financial affairs judiciously. He eats, drinks, and provides for his household in accordance with his funds and [degree of] success without overtaxing himself.

The Sages have directed [us] regarding the ways of the world: A person should eat meat only with appetite as [Deuteronomy 12:20] states: "If your soul should crave to eat meat..." It is sufficient for the healthy to eat meat [once weekly,] from Sabbath eve to Sabbath eve. If he is wealthy enough to eat meat every day, he may.

The Sages have [also] directed us, saying: One should always eat less than befits his income, dress as befits [his income], and provide for his wife and children beyond what befits [his income].

י

תלמיד חכם מכלכל דבריו במשפט אוכל ושותה וזן את אנשי ביתו כפי ממונו והצלחתו ולא יטריח על עצמו יותר מדאי צוו חכמים בדרך ארץ שלא יאכל אדם בשר אלא תיאבון שנאמר כי תאוה נפשך לאכול בשר דיו לבריא לאכול בשר מערב שבת לערב שבת ואם היה עשיר כדי לאכול בשר בכל יום אוכל צוו חכמים ואמרו לעולם יאכל אדם פחות מן הראוי לו לפי ממונו וילבש כראוי לו ויכבד אשתו ובניו יותר מן הראוי לו:

11

The way of sensible men is that first, one should establish an occupation by which he can support himself. Then, he should purchase a house to live in and then, marry a wife. [This order of priorities may be inferred from Deuteronomy 20:5-7], which states: "Who is the man who has planted a vineyard, but not redeemed it...;" "who is the man who has built a house, but not dedicated it...;" "who is the man who has betrothed a woman, but not taken her [to wife]..."

In contrast, a fool begins by marrying a wife. Then, if he can find the means, he purchases a house. Finally, towards the end of his life, he will search about for a trade or support himself from charity.

[This is also implied by the order of] the curses mentioned [in Deuteronomy 28:30]: "You shall betroth a woman..., you shall build a house..., you shall plant a vineyard;" i.e., your behavior will be disordered so that you will not succeed in your ways. However, in regard to blessing [I Samuel 18:14] states: "And David was thoughtful in all his undertakings and God was with him."

יא

דרך בעלי דעה שיקבע לו אדם מלאכה המפרנסת אותו תחילה ואח"כ יקנה בית דירה ואחר כך ישא אשה שנאמר מי האיש אשר נטע כרם ולא חללו מי האיש אשר בנה בית חדש ולא חנכו מי האיש אשר ארש אשה ולא לקחה אבל הטפשין מתחילין לישא אשה ואח"כ אם תמצא ידו יקנה בית ואחר כך בסוף ימיו יחזור לבקש אומנות או יתפרנס מן הצדקה וכן הוא אומר בקללות אשה תארש בית תבנה כרם תטע כלומר יהיו מעשיך הפוכין כדי שלא תצליח את דרכיך ובברכה הוא אומר ויהי דוד לכל דרכיו משכיל וה' עמו:

12

One is forbidden to renounce ownership of, or consecrate, all of his possessions and [thereby,] become a burden to society.

He should not sell a field and buy a house, [sell] a house and buy chattels, or use money [acquired] by [selling] his house for trade. Conversely, he should sell chattels to buy a field. The rule is that he should aim to improve his [financial position] and to exchange the impermanent for the permanent.

His intention should not be to enjoy slight momentary pleasure, or to enjoy some slight pleasure [for which he] incurs a great loss.

יב

ואסור לו לאדם להפקיר או להקדיש כל נכסיו ויטריח על הבריות ולא ימכור שדה ויקנה בית ולא בית ויקנה מטלטלין או יעשה סחורה בדמי ביתו אבל מוכר הוא מטלטלין וקונה שדה כללו של דבר ישים מגמתו להצליח נכסיו ולהחליף הכלה בקיים ולא תהיה כוונתו ליהנות מעט לפי שעה או ליהנות מעט ויפסיד הרבה:

13

A Torah Sage [should conduct] his business dealings with honesty and good faith. When [his] answer is "no," he says, "no;" when [his answer] is "yes," he says, "yes."

He is stringent with himself in his accounting, gives and yields to others when he buys from them, but is not demanding [about what they owe him].

He pays for his purchases immediately. He does not act as a guarantor, or accept objects for deposit, or act as a debt collector for a lender.

He accepts obligations in matters of buying and selling for which the Torah does not hold him liable, in order to uphold and not go back on his verbal commitments. If others have obligations to him by law, he grants them an extension and pardons them. He lends and bestows gifts.

He does not encroach upon another's occupation, nor does he ever cause someone discomfort. The rule is that he should be among the pursued and not the pursuers, among those who accept humiliation but not among those who humiliate [others]. Whoever does all the above and their like, of him [Isaiah 49:3] states: "And He said to me, 'You are My servant, Israel, through whom I will be glorified.'”

יג

משאו ומתנו של תלמיד חכם באמת ובאמונה אומר על לאו לאו ועל הן הן מדקדק על עצמו בחשבון ונותן ומוותר לאחרים כשיקח מהן ולא ידקדק עליהן ונותן דמי המקח לאלתר ואינו נעשה לא ערב ולא קבלן ולא יבא בהרשאה (אינו) מחייב עצמו בדברי מקח וממכר במקום שלא חייבה אותו תורה כדי שיעמוד בדבורו ולא ישנהו ואם נתחייבו לו אחרים בדין מאריך ומוחל להן ומלוה וחונן ולא ירד לתוך אומנות חבירו ולא יצר לאדם לעולם בחייו כללו של דבר יהיה מן הנרדפים ולא מן הרודפים מן הנעלבים ולא מן העולבים ואדם שעושה כל המעשים האלו וכיוצא בהן עליו הכתוב אומר ויאמר לי עבדי אתה ישראל אשר בך אתפאר:

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