SECTION 156 The Desired Pattern of Business Involvement [and Other Ethical Directives]. (1-21)

קנו סֵדֶר מַשָּׂא וּמַתָּן וּבוֹ כ"א סְעִיפִים:

1 [The1 Sages’ license to merely] establish fixed times for Torah study was granted only to one who must be involved in business activities2 in order to sustain himself and his family. (Explained3 thus by Rashi on Tehillim 119:126: “It is a time to act for G‑d; they have abrogated Your Torah,” and in Yalkut Shimoni4 on that verse.) By contrast, anyone who does not need to do this,5 or who is supported by others, is obligated to fulfill the charge that6 “you shall meditate on it day and night,” according to its literal meaning. (See Sanhedrin, ch. 10, p. 99b. See also the passage in Menachos, ch. 11, p. 99b, that begins Tzei uvdok: [i.e., “Go out and find an hour which is neither day nor night” to delve in secular disciplines.7 This is not a mere minority opinion, for] the other Sages cited there differ only with regard to someone who must involve himself in business activities. See also: Avos DeRabbi Nasan, ch. 21, and the beginning of the Prologue to Eichah Rabbah8 and Koheles Rabbah (p. 115a9) on the Biblical phrase,10 “When the sound of the grinding grows faint....” There they comment: “Just as millstones [are never idle by day or by night, so it is written of the study of the Torah, ‘You shall meditate on it day and night.’ ”])11

Moreover, even someone who is required to take such measures12 should relate to his work not as his primary focus but as a transitory activity13 to be undertaken to the extent necessary to earn his livelihood, whereas his primary focus should be his Torah study. In this way, both will endure. By contrast, “all Torah study that is not coupled with labor will ultimately come to an end,”14 for poverty will cause a person to stray from the intent of his Creator.15 Rather, he whose soul yearns for the Torah, and whose heart inspires him to fulfill this mitzvah appropriately, should work only a little every day, enough to suffice for his livelihood, and should engage in Torah study for the remainder of the day and night.16

א לֹאא אָמְרוּ1 (וְכֵן הוּא בְּפֵרוּשׁ3 רַשִׁ"י בִּתְהִלִּים סִימָן קיט עַל פָּסוּק "עֵת לַעֲשׂוֹת לַה' הֵפֵרוּ תּוֹרָתֶךָ" וּבְיַּלְקוּט4 שָׁםב) קְבִיעַת עִתִּים לַתּוֹרָה,ג אֶלָּא בְּמִי שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לַעֲסֹק בְּדֶרֶךְ אֶרֶץ2 לְהַחֲיוֹת נַפְשׁוֹ וְנַפְשׁוֹת בֵּיתוֹ.ד אֲבָל מִי שֶׁאֵין צָרִיךְ לְכָךְ,5 אוֹ שֶׁמִּתְפַּרְנֵס מִשֶּׁל אֲחֵרִים – חַיָּב לְקַיֵּם6 "וְהָגִיתָ בּוֹ יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה" כְּמַשְׁמָעוֹה (וְעַיֵּן בְּסַנְהֶדְרִין פֶּרֶק חֵלֶק דַּף צ"ט ע"בו וּבִמְנָחוֹת פֶּרֶק י"א דַּף צ"ט ע"ב צֵא וּבְדֹקז כו',7 וּשְׁאָר תַּנָּאֵי שָׁם לֹא פְלִיגֵי אֶלָּא בְּמִי שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לַעֲסֹק בְּדֶרֶךְ אֶרֶץ, וּבְאָבוֹת דְּרַבִּי נָתָן פֶּרֶק כ"א וּבְמִדְרָשׁ רַבָּה רֵישׁ פְּתִיחְתָא דְּאֵיכָהח,8 וּבְקֹהֶלֶת רַבָּה פי"ב, ד דַּף קט"ו אט,9 עַל פָּסוּק10 "בִּשְׁפַל קוֹל הַטַּחֲנָה" – מַה טָחֲנָה זוֹ כו'י).11

וְאַף מִי שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לְכָךְ12 – לֹא יַעֲשֶׂה מְלַאכְתּוֹ עִקָּר אֶלָּא עֲרַאייא,13 כְּדֵי פַּרְנָסָתוֹ בִּלְבַדיב וְתוֹרָתוֹ קֶבַע, וְזֶה וְזֶה יִתְקַיְּמוּ בְּיָדוֹ. אֲבָל כָּל תּוֹרָה שֶׁאֵין עִמָּהּ מְלָאכָה – סוֹפָהּ בְּטֵלָה,יג,14 כִּי הָעֹנִי יַעֲבִרֶנּוּ עַל דַּעַת קוֹנוֹ.יד,15 אֶלָּא מִי שֶׁחָשְׁקָה נַפְשׁוֹ בַּתּוֹרָה וְנָשָׂא לִבּוֹ לְקַיֵּם מִצְוָה זוֹ כָּרָאוּי – יַעֲשֶׂה מְלָאכָה מְעַט בְּכָל יוֹם כְּדֵי חַיָּיו,טו וּשְׁאָר יוֹמוֹ וְלֵילוֹ עוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה:טז,16

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2 When one performs work or carries out commercial activity, his intent should solely be to earn his bodily needs so that he will be able to serve his Creator. This is [implied by] the verse, “Know Him in all your ways [and He will smooth your paths].” (Mishlei 3:6; see its interpretation in Avos DeRabbi Nasan, ch. 17[:7], and in Rambam, Shemoneh Perakim,17 ch. 5.18)

Everyone19 is obligated to teach his son a vocation or how to engage in commercial activity.20 If one does not do so, it is as if he taught him thievery, for ultimately he will steal from others for his sustenance.

One must be careful to conduct his business dealings in good faith, i.e., one must not break21 his word. [The Sages22 perceived a hint of this] in the verse,23 “You shall have a just hin.” [Playing on the similarity between hin, a Biblical liquid measure, and hein, Aramaic for Yes,] the Sages taught:24 “Your Yes shall be upright25 and your No shall be upright.” This means that “if you utter a positive commitment or a refusal, carry it out and relate to it in an upright manner.”26 (See Rambam, Hilchos Deos 5:13; his Hilchos Mechirah 7:8; his Commentary to the Mishnah, at the end of Tractate Shevi’is; the Shelah, in his Tractate Chullin, p. 114a, with regard to carrying out business dealings in good faith.27) [Conversely,] whoever breaks his word is considered as having worshiped false deities.28 [Indeed,] it is desirable for anyone who stands in fear of Heaven to honor even a resolve that he made in his heart.29 This is [implied by] the verse (in Tehillim 15[:2]) [that extols the man] “who speaks the truth in his heart.”

To what does the above apply? To matters between oneself and one’s fellowman. In contrast, [commitments] addressing one’s own needs need not be fulfilled if they do not involve a mitzvah in some way.30

One should not make a false commitment to another, even for the sake of peace. Our Sages stated31 that “one may adjust32 [the truth] for the sake of peace” only when relating past events, but not with regard to the future. (The [latter ruling] leaves room for some deliberation, because peace supersedes all the mitzvos. This is written in Bamidbar Rabbah on Parshas Chukas,33 [in the comment of the Sages] on the verse,34 “Seek peace and pursue it.” [Moreover, it was stated above that the Sages of] the Gemara31 allow one to adjust [the truth of] one’s words for the sake of peace — and the Rif, in his paraphrase of [the second chapter of Bava Metzia35], writes that to do so is not merely permitted, but a mitzvah. If so, what is the source that forbids one to adjust [the truth] with regard to the future? Perhaps this should be permitted, in the spirit of the verse, “Know Him in all your ways,” as interpreted [by the Sages] in Berachos 63a.36 See also Bereishis Rabbah 1[:5],37 Eliyah Rabbah;38 and Pri Megadim.39)

One should be careful not to mention G‑d’s name in vain,40 for wherever the Divine name is uttered freely [and without need], death or poverty abound.41 (Obviously, a distinction can be drawn between this law and the license granted by our Sages, in the Mishnah in Berachos 9[:5], to mention G‑d’s name when greeting a friend.)42

One should be careful not to take an oath even in truth, for King Yannai43 possessed 1000 villages and they were all destroyed because their [inhabitants habitually] took oaths, even though they would uphold them.44

ב וּכְשֶׁעוֹשֶׂה מְלָאכָה אוֹ נוֹשֵׂא וְנוֹתֵן – לֹא תִּהְיֶה כַּוָּנָתוֹ אֶלָּא כְּדֵי לִמְצֹא צָרְכֵי הַגּוּף כְּדֵי שֶׁיּוּכַל לַעֲבֹד לְבוֹרְאוֹ,יז כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "בְּכָל דְּרָכֶיךָ דָעֵהוּ וגו'" (מִשְׁלֵי סִימָן ג', ו') (וְעַיֵּן מִזֶּה בְּאָבוֹת דְּרַבִּי נָתָן פי"זיח וּבִשְׁמוֹנָה פְּרָקִים לְהָרמב"ם17 פֶּרֶק ה).18

וְחַיָּב כָּל אָדָם19 לְלַמֵּד לִבְנוֹ מְלָאכָהיט אוֹ לַעֲסֹק בִּסְחוֹרָה.כ,20 וְאִם אֵינוֹ עוֹשֶׂה כֵּן – כְּאִלּוּ מְלַמְּדוֹ לִסְטוּת, שֶׁסּוֹפוֹ לְלַסְטֵם אֶת הַבְּרִיּוֹת בִּשְׁבִיל פַּרְנָסָתוֹ.כא

וְיִזָּהֵר לִישָּׂא וְלִתֵּן בֶּאֱמוּנָהכב שֶׁלֹּא יַחֲלִיף אֶת דִּבּוּרוֹ,21 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:כג,22 "וְהִין צֶדֶק יִהְיֶה לָכֶם",23 שֶׁיִּהְיֶה הֵן שֶׁלְּךְ – צֶדֶק,25 וְלָאו שֶׁלְךְ – צֶדֶק,כד,24 כְּלוֹמַר כְּשֶׁאַתָּה מְדַבֵּר הֵן אוֹ לָאו – קַיֵּם דְּבָרֶיךָ וְהַצְדֵּק אוֹתָםכה,26 (וְעַיֵּן בְהָרמב"ם פֶּרֶק ה' מֵהִלְכוֹת דֵּעוֹת הֲלָכָה י"גכו וּפֶרֶק ז' מֵהִלְכוֹת מְכִירָה הֲלָכָה ח' וּבְפֵרוּשׁ הַמִּשְׁנָיוֹת סוֹף שְׁבִיעִית וּבְשׁל"ה בְּמַסֶּכֶת חֻלִּין שֶׁלּוֹ דַּף קי"ד ע"אכז גַּבֵּי עִנְיַן מַשָּׂא וּמַתָּן בֶּאֱמוּנָה).27 וְכָל הַמַּחֲלִיף אֶת דִּבּוּרוֹ – כְּאִלּוּ עוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים וּמַזָּלוֹת.כח,28 וַאֲפִלּוּ מַחֲשָׁבָה שֶׁנִּגְמְרָה בְּלִבּוֹכט,29 – טוֹב לְקַיְּמָהּ כָּל מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּיָדוֹ יִרְאַת שָׁמַיִם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "וְדֹבֵר אֱמֶת בִּלְבָבוֹ" (תְּהִלִּים סִימָן טו). בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? בְּדָבָר שֶׁבֵּינוֹ לַחֲבֵרוֹ, אֲבָל (אִם) דִּבְרֵי עַצְמוֹ מִצְּרָכָיו אִם אֵין בָּהֶן סְמַךְ מִצְוָהל,30 – אֵין צָרִיךְ לְקַיְּמָן.לא

וַאֲפִלּוּ מִפְּנֵי הַשָּׁלוֹם לֹא יַבְטִיחַ שֶׁקֶר לַחֲבֵרוֹ.לב וְלֹא אָמְרוּ31 "מֻתָּר לְשַׁנּוֹת32 מִפְּנֵי הַשָּׁלוֹם", אֶלָּא בְּסִפּוּר דְּבָרִים שֶׁכְּבָר עָבְרוּ (וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם צָרִיךְ עִיּוּן קְצָת, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהַשָּׁלוֹם גָּדוֹל מִכָּל הַמִּצְווֹת כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּמִדְרָשׁ רַבָּה פָּרָשַׁת חֻקַּתלג,33 עַל פָּסוּקלד,34 "בַּקֵּשׁ שָׁלוֹם וְרָדְפֵהוּ", וּבַגְּמָרָאלה,31 הִתִּיר לְשַׁנּוֹת דִּבּוּרוֹ מִפְּנֵי הַשָּׁלוֹם, והרי"ף פֶּרֶק אֵלּוּ מְצִיאוֹתלו כָּתַב דְּלָאו הֶתֵּר הוּא אֶלָּא מִצְוָה, אִם כֵּן מִנָּלָן דִּלְשַׁנּוֹת בִּלְהַבָּא אָסוּר, שֶׁמָּא יֵשׁ לְהַתִּיר, עַל דֶּרֶךְ "בְּכָל דְּרָכֶיךָ דָעֵהוּ"לז פ"ט דִּבְרָכוֹת דַּף ס"ג ע"א,36 וְעַיֵּן בְּמִדְרָשׁ רַבָּה פָּרָשַׁת בְּרֵאשִׁית פֶּרֶק א',37 וְעַיֵּן בְּאֵלִיָה רַבָּהלח,38 מִזֶּה וּבִפְרִי מְגָדִיםלט),39 וְלֹא בְּדָבָר שֶׁלְּהַבָּא.

וְיִזָּהֵר מִלְּהַזְכִּיר שֵׁם שָׁמַיִם לְבַטָּלָה,מ,40 שֶׁבְּכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁהַזְכָּרַת הַשֵּׁם מְצוּיָה – מִיתָה אוֹ עֲנִיּוּת מְצוּיָהמא,41 (וּפָשׁוּט לְחַלֵּק בֵּין דִּין זֶה וּבֵין שְׁאֵלַת שְׁלוֹם חֲבֵרוֹ בַּשֵּׁם שֶׁהִתִּירוּ חֲכָמִים בְּמִשְׁנָה פֶּרֶק ט' דִּבְרָכוֹתמב).42

וְיִזָּהֵר מִלִּשָּׁבֵעַ אֲפִלּוּ בָּאֱמֶת,מג שֶׁאֶלֶף עֲיָרוֹת הָיוּ לוֹ לְיַנַּאי הַמֶּלֶךְ43 וְכֻלָּם נֶחְרְבוּ, לְפִי שֶׁהָיוּ נִשְׁבָּעִים שְׁבוּעוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהָיוּ מְקַיְּמִים אוֹתָם:מד,44

3 It is a positive commandment of Scriptural origin to walk in the paths of G‑d,45 as it is written, “You shall walk in His paths” (Devarim 28:9). [The Sages] taught46 [the following] interpretation of this mitzvah: “Just as He is described as gracious,47 so too, should you be gracious, acting kindly to the undeserving. Just as He is described as compassionate, so too, should you be compassionate. Just as He is described as longsuffering, so too, should you be longsuffering.” The same principle applies to all of a man’s other character traits: in them, too, one must make himself resemble his Creator, loathing the evil in them and choosing the good.

How should one habituate himself [to follow] good character traits until they are rooted in his [personality]? He should repeat his actions — once, twice, three times — in conformity to these character traits, doing this continually until such acts are easy for him and these traits become rooted within his soul. If, for example, he was miserly, he should liberally distribute large amounts of money to the poor and also perform acts of kindness48 to the rich. He should do so repeatedly until the attribute of “abounding kindness” with which G‑d is praised49 is firmly established within His soul.

After this quality is established within his soul, he should not make excessive donations, for this, too, is not a good path. (See Arachin 28a and Kesubbos 50a, and note Rashi on Beitzah 16a and Chullin 84a.)50 [Indeed,] the Sages ordained51 that one should donate extravagantly no more than a fifth [of his resources for charitable purposes].52 Rather, one should follow an intermediate path.

This is the desirable and upright path [with regard to all character traits] — except for humility, [of which it is said],53 “Be exceedingly humble,” for “Whoever is haughty of heart is an abomination unto G‑d” (Mishlei 16:5). One should therefore distance himself from this trait to the furthest extreme. Whoever lifts his heart up in pride is considered as if he denied G‑d,54 as it is written, “Lest your heart grow haughty and you forget the L‑rd [your G‑d]” (Devarim 8:14). [Moreover,] whoever is possessed of arrogance55 is likened to a tree worshiped idolatrously,56 and the dust [to which his body is reduced] will not be stirred at the time of the Resurrection.57

Similarly, anger is a very base quality and it derives from arrogance.58 One should therefore distance himself from this trait, too, to the furthest extreme. Even if one finds it necessary to [display] anger in order to distance people from sin and inspire them to return to desirable [conduct], he should make it appear that he is angry, but within himself, his mind should be composed. Our Sages declared: “Whoever is in a rage is considered as if he worshiped false deities”;59 [moreover,] “his soul departs from him,”60 as it is written, “You who tear your soul apart in anger” (Iyov 18:4). [The Sages] therefore commanded that one distance himself from anger to the extent that he conducts himself as if entirely oblivious to the words of those who seek to anger [him].

For this is the path of the righteous: “They bear humiliation, but do not humiliate others; they hear [others] shame them, but do not respond; they act out of love and are joyous in their sufferings.”61 Of them it is written, “Those who love Him will be like the sun coming out in its might” (Shoftim 5[:31]).

If62 one is a Torah scholar and he was insulted and disgraced by one of the common people, he should not respond to this embarrassment. All the same, [the scoffer] will be punished for disgracing the Torah. If someone steps forward to justly argue [the scholar’s] case on his behalf, [the scholar] should remain silent and not protest. For it was concerning such a case63 that [the Sages] said: “Any Torah scholar who is not vengeful [for the honor due to the Torah] and who does not bear a grudge [for this honor] like a snake is not a Torah scholar,” for [his conduct shows] that his Torah [knowledge] is [so] unimportant to him that its disgrace does not concern him. Nevertheless, if efforts are made to appease him, he should accept the appeasement immediately, for the appeasement already rectified [the damage done to] the honor of the Torah. Concerning this, [the Sages] taught: “Whoever overlooks64 his instinctive emotions, and forgives one who seeks to appease him, has his sins overlooked.”

All the above applies to personal aggravation. In financial matters, by contrast, even a Torah scholar is forbidden to bear a grudge in his heart. Needless to say, he may not seek revenge.62

One who takes revenge or bears a grudge against one of his fellowmen transgresses a prohibitive commandment,65 as it is written, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against the members of your people” (Vayikra 19:18).

What is meant by seeking revenge? One man asks his neighbor: “Lend me your hatchet,” and the neighbor refuses — but on the morrow, he comes and asks to borrow his sickle. If the first man says, “I will not lend you just as you did not lend me,” that is taking revenge. If he says, “I will lend you; I’m not like you,” that is bearing a grudge. Instead, he should erase the matter from his heart, not mention it, and never bring it to mind at all. Everyone must be careful about this matter.

ג מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה מִן הַתּוֹרָה לֵילֵךְ בְּדַרְכֵי ה',מה,45 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "וְהָלַכְתָּ בִּדְרָכָיו" (בְּפָרָשַׁת תָּבוֹא כח, ט). וְכָךְ לָמְדוּ46 בְּפֵרוּשׁ מִצְוָה זוֹ:מו מַה הוּא נִקְרָא "חַנּוּן"47 – אַף אַתָּה הֱיֵה חַנּוּן וְעוֹשֶׂה מַתְּנַת חִנָּם, מַה הוּא נִקְרָא "רַחוּם" – אַף אַתָּה הֱיֵה רַחוּם, מַה הוּא נִקְרָא "אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם" – אַף אַתָּה הֱיֵה אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם.מז וְכֵן שְׁאָר כָּל הַמִּדּוֹת שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּאָדָם – צָרִיךְ לְהַדְמוֹת עַצְמוֹ בָּהֶם לְבוֹרְאוֹ,מח וְלִמְאֹס בָּרַע שֶׁבָּהֶם וְלִבְחֹר בַּטּוֹב.מט

וְכֵיצַד יַרְגִּיל אָדָם עַצְמוֹ בְּמִדּוֹת טוֹבוֹת עַד שֶׁיִּקָּבְעוּ בּוֹ?נ יַעֲשֶׂה וְיִשְׁנֶה וִישַׁלֵּשׁ בַּמַּעֲשִׂים שֶׁעוֹשֶׂה עַל פִּי הַמִּדּוֹת הָאֵלּוּ, וְיַחֲזֹר בָּהֶם תָּמִיד עַד שֶׁתִּהְיֶה עֲשִׂיָּתָן קַלָּה בְּעֵינָיו וְיִקָּבְעוּ הַמִּדּוֹת בְּנַפְשׁוֹ, כְּגוֹן אִם הָיָה כִּילַי – יְפַזֵּרנא וְיִתֵּן מָמוֹן הַרְבֵּה לָעֲנִיִּים וְיִגְמֹל חֶסֶד48 גַּם לָעֲשִׁירִים,נב וְיַחֲזֹר וְיִתֵּן עַד שֶׁתִּקָּבַע בְּנַפְשׁוֹ מִדַּת "וְרַב חֶסֶד"נג שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּבֵּחַ בָּהּ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא.49

וְאַחַר שֶׁתִּקָּבַע בְּנַפְשׁוֹ מִדָּה זוֹ (בַּעֲרָכִין פֶּרֶק הַמַּקְדִּישׁ שָׂדֵהוּ דַּף כ"ח ע"א בַּמִּשְׁנָה וּגְמָרָא שָׁם וּבִכְתֻבּוֹת פֶּרֶק נַעֲרָה דַּף נ' ע"א, וְעַיֵּן בְּפֵרוּשׁ רַשִׁ"י פֶּרֶק ב' דְּבֵיצָה דַּף ט"ז ע"אנד וּבְפֶרֶק ו' דְּחֻלִּין דַּף פ"ד ע"אנה)50 – לֹא יְפַזֵּר יוֹתֵר מִדַּאי, שֶׁזּוֹ אֵינָהּ דֶּרֶךְ טוֹבָה,נו וְתַקָּנַת חֲכָמִים51 שֶׁלֹּא יְבַזְבֵּז52 יוֹתֵר מֵחֹמֶשׁ,נז אֶלָּא יִנְהַג בְּדֶרֶךְ הַמִּצּוּעַ הוּא דֶּרֶךְ הַטּוֹבָה וְהַיְשָׁרָה.

חוּץ מִשִּׁפְלוּת הָרוּחַ,נח,53 שֶׁ"מְאֹד מְאֹד הֱוֵי שְׁפַל רוּחַ",נט כִּי "תּוֹעֲבַת ה' כָּל גְּבַהּ לֵב" (מִשְׁלֵי סִימָן טז, ה'), לָכֵן יִתְרַחֵק מִזֶּה עַד קָצֶה הָאַחֲרוֹן. וְכָל הַמַּגְבִּיהַּ לְבָבוֹ – כְּאִלּוּ כָּפַר בָּעִקָּר,ס,54 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "וְרָם לְבָבֶךָ וְשָׁכַחְתָּ אֶת ה' וגו'" (בְּפָרָשַׁת עֵקֶב ח', י"ד). וְכָל מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּיָדוֹ גַּסּוּת הָרוּחַ55 – הוּא כַּאֲשֵׁרָה,56 וְאֵין עֲפָרוֹ נִנְעָר בִּתְחִיַּת הַמֵּתִים.סא,57

וְכֵן הַכַּעַס מִדָּה רָעָה מְאֹדסב וּמִגַּסּוּת הָרוּחַ הִיא בָּאָה,סג,58 לָכֵן יִתְרַחֵק מִזֶּה גַּם כֵּן עַד קָצֶה אַחֲרוֹן.סד וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם צָרִיךְ לִכְעֹס עַל הָעָם לְהַפְרִישָׁם מִדְּבַר עֲבֵרָה וּלְהַחֲזִירָם לַמּוּטָב – יַרְאֶה עַצְמוֹ כְּאִלּוּ הוּא כּוֹעֵס,סה וְתִהְיֶה דַּעְתּוֹ מְיֻשֶּׁבֶת עָלָיו בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין עַצְמוֹ. וְאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים:סו כָּל הַכּוֹעֵס – כְּאִלּוּ עוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים וּמַזָּלוֹת,59 וְנִשְׁמָתוֹ מִסְתַּלֶּקֶת מִמֶּנּוּ,סז,60 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "טֹרֵף נַפְשׁוֹ בְּאַפּוֹ" (בְּאִיּוֹב סִימָן י"ח, ד). לְפִיכָךְ צִוּוּ לְהִתְרַחֵק מִן הַכַּעַס, עַד שֶׁיַּנְהִיג עַצְמוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יַרְגִּישׁ כְּלָל לְדִבְרֵי הַמַּכְעִיסִים.סח וְזוֹ דֶּרֶךְ צַדִּיקִים: עֲלוּבִים וְאֵינָם עוֹלְבִים, שׁוֹמְעִים חֶרְפָּתָם וְאֵינָם מְשִׁיבִים, עוֹשִׂים מֵאַהֲבָה וּשְׂמֵחִים בַּיִּסּוּרִים,סט,61 וַעֲלֵיהֶם הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר: "וְאֹהֲבָיו כְּצֵאת הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ בִּגְבֻרָתוֹ" (בְּסֵפֶר שׁוֹפְטִים סוֹף סִימָן ה').

וְאִם62 הוּא תַּלְמִיד חָכָם וְחֵרְפוֹ וּבִזָּהוּ אֶחָד מֵהָעָם – הוּא לֹא יָשִׁיב עַל חֶרְפָּתוֹ,ע וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם יִהְיֶה לוֹ עֹנֶשׁ עַל בִּזְיוֹן הַתּוֹרָה. וְאִם יָבוֹא אַחֵר לִנְקֹם נִקְמָתוֹ בְּקִיּוּם הַמִּשְׁפָּט – יִשְׁתֹּק וְלֹא יִמְחֶה בְּיָדוֹ.עא וְעַל זֶה אָמְרוּ:עב,63 כָּל תַּלְמִיד חָכָם שֶׁאֵינוֹ נוֹקֵם וְנוֹטֵר כְּנָחָשׁ – אֵינוֹ תַּלְמִיד חָכָם, הוֹאִיל וְאֵין תּוֹרָתוֹ חֲשׁוּבָה בְּעֵינָיו וְאֵינוֹ מַקְפִּיד עַל בִּזְיוֹנָהּ. וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם אִם מְפַיְּסִים אוֹתוֹ – צָרִיךְ לְהִתְפַּיֵּס מִיָּד,עג שֶׁבְּפִיּוּס זֶה כְּבָר נִתְקַן כְּבוֹד הַתּוֹרָה. וְעַל זֶה אָמְרוּ: כָּל הַמַּעֲבִיר64 עַל מִדּוֹתָיו וּמוֹחֵל לְמִי שֶׁמְּפַיְּסוֹ – מַעֲבִירִין לוֹ עַל כָּל פְּשָׁעָיו.

וְכָל זֶה בְּצַעַר הַגּוּף,עד אֲבָל בְּדָבָר שֶׁבְּמָמוֹן – אַף תַּלְמִיד חָכָם אָסוּר לִטֹר בְּלִבּוֹ, וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר לִנְקֹם.62

וְהַנּוֹקֵם מֵחֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ הַנּוֹטֵר – עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂהעה,65 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "לֹא תִקֹם וְלֹא תִטֹּר אֶת בְּנֵי עַמֶּךָ" (בְּפָרָשַׁת קְדוֹשִׁים תִּהְיוּעו). אֵיזֶהוּ נְקִימָה? אָמַר לוֹ "הַשְׁאִילֵנִי קַרְדֻּמְּךָ" וְלֹא הִשְׁאִילוֹ, וּלְמָחָר בָּא חֲבֵרוֹ אֶצְלוֹ וְאָמַר לוֹ "הַשְׁאִילֵנִי מַגָּלְךָ", וְאָמַר לוֹ "אֵינִי מַשְׁאִילְךָ כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁלֹּא הִשְׁאַלְתַּנִי" – זוֹ הִיא נְקִימָה. וְאִם אָמַר לוֹ "הֲרֵינִי מַשְׁאִילְךָ וְאֵינִי כְּמוֹתְךָ" – זוֹ הִיא נְטִירָה. אֶלָּא יִמְחֶה הַדָּבָר מִלִּבּוֹ, וְלֹא יַזְכִּרֶנוּ,עז וְלֹא יַעֲלֶה עַל לֵב לְעוֹלָם. וְצָרִיךְ כָּל הָאָדָם לִזָּהֵר בְּזֶה:

4 It is a positive commandment to cleave to those who know G‑d and His Torah, as it is written, “And you shall cleave to Him” (Devarim 10:20). (Rambam writes thus in Sefer HaMitzvos, positive commandment 6. Ramban in his Hasagos to [that work, in positive commandment] 7, [sec. 2,] also accepts this view. [It should certainly be acknowledged], because Megillas Esther, [a defense of Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvos,] states that the version [of the derush66] cited by Ramban is incorrect.67 That statement is borne out by the teachings of the Sages in Temurah 3b and Rashi there.68 See also Sefer Mitzvos Gadol, positive commandment 8.) This commandment is repeated elsewhere: “And to cleave to Him” (ibid. 30:2). On this the Sages ask:69 “Is it possible for a mortal to cleave to the Divine Presence?!” Hence, they explained this mitzvah as follows:70 Cleave to the Sages and their students in order to learn from their deeds. In this spirit the Sages directed:71 “Sit in the dust of their feet and drink in their words thirstily.”

For this reason, one ought to endeavor to marry the daughter of a Torah scholar, to marry his daughter to a Torah scholar, to eat and drink with Torah scholars, to conduct business for Torah scholars,72 and to associate with them in every way possible,71 thereby fulfilling the verse, “To cleave to Him.” Furthermore, whoever participates in a feast attended by a Torah scholar is considered as if he had basked in the radiance of the Divine Presence.73

In the Sifri,70 [the Sages] also interpreted [the charge] “to cleave to Him” as [an instruction] to study the words of Aggadah,74 “because by doing so you will come to recognize Him Who spoke and [brought] the world into existence.” (See Avos DeRabbi Nassan 29[:7].75 See also Yoma 75a, [which gives a non-literal interpretation, on the level of derush,] of the verse,76 “And the manna was like gad seed.”77 That interpretation is based on the Mechilta.)

ד (רמב"ם בְּסֵפֶר הַמִצְוֹת בַּעֲשָׂיִין סִימָן ו', וְגַם הָרמב"ן בַּהַשָּׂגוֹת שָׁם סִימָן ז' מוֹדֶה לְזֶה, וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן שֶׁהַ"מְּגִלַּת אֶסְתֵּר" שָׁם סק"ב כָּתַב66 שֶׁאֵין הַגִּרְסָא כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתַב הָרמב"ן.67 וְכֵן הוּא בְּפֶרֶק קַמָּא דִּתְמוּרָה דַּף ג' סוֹף ע"ב כִּדְבָרָיו, וְכֵן פרש"י שָׁם.עח,68 סמ"ג עֲשָׂיִין סִימָן ח') מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לִדָּבֵק בְּיוֹדְעֵי ה'עט וּבְתוֹרָתוֹ,פ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "וּבוֹ תִדְבָּק" (בְּפָרָשַׁת עֵקֶב יו"ד, כ'). וְנִכְפַּל הַצִּוּוּיפא בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "וּלְדָבְקָהּ בוֹ" (סוֹף פָּרָשַׁת נִצָּבִים). וְאָמְרוּ רז"ל:פב,69וְכִי אֶפְשָׁר לָאָדָם לִדָּבֵק בַּשְּׁכִינָה? אֶלָּא כָּךְ אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִיםפג,70 בְּפֵרוּשׁ מִצְוָה זוֹ: הִדָּבֵק בַּחֲכָמִים וּבְתַלְמִידֵיהֶם כְּדֵי לִלְמֹד מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם. וְכֵן צִוּוּ חֲכָמִיםפד וְאָמְרוּ:71 הֱוֵי מִתְאַבֵּק בַּעֲפַר רַגְלֵיהֶם וֶהֱוֵי שׁוֹתֶה בַּצָּמָא אֶת דִּבְרֵיהֶם. לְפִיכָךְ, צָרִיךְ כָּל אָדָם לְהִשְׁתַּדֵּל לִשָּׂא בַּת תַּלְמִיד חָכָם, וּלְהַשִּׂיא בִּתּוֹ לְתַלְמִיד חָכָם,פה וְלֶאֱכֹל וְלִשְׁתּוֹת עִם תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים, וְלַעֲשׂוֹת פְּרַקְמַטְיָא לְתַלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים,72 וּלְהִתְחַבֵּר לָהֶם בְּכָל מִינֵי חִבּוּר,פו,71 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "וּלְדָבְקָה בוֹ". וְכָל הַנֶּהֱנֶה מִסְּעוּדָה שֶׁתַּלְמִיד חָכָם שָׁרוּי בְּתוֹכָהּ – כְּאִלּוּ נֶהֱנֶה מִזִּיו הַשְּׁכִינָה.פז,73

וְעוֹד דָּרְשׁוּ בְּסִפְרֵי שָׁם:פח,70 "וּלְדָבְקָה בוֹ" – לְמַד דִּבְרֵי אַגָּדָה,74 שֶׁמִּתּוֹךְ כָּךְ אַתָּה מַכִּיר אֶת מִי שֶׁאָמַר וְהָיָה הָעוֹלָם (וְעַיֵּן בְּאָבוֹת דְּרַבִּי נָתָן פֶּרֶק כ"ט.פט,75 וְעַיֵּן בַּגְּמָרָא פֶּרֶק בַּתְרָא דְּיוֹמָא דַּף ע"ה ע"א עַל פָּסוּק76 "וְהַמָּן כִּזְרַע גַּד הוּא",77 וְהוּא מֵהַמְּכִילְתָּאצ):

5 It is a positive commandment incumbent on everyone to love every other individual as his own person,78 as it is written,79 “Love your fellowman as yourself.” One must therefore be concerned for the honor and property of one’s fellow as he is concerned for his own honor and property.80

Whoever aggrandizes himself at the expense of his fellow’s repute will not be granted a portion in the World to Come.81

ה מִצְוָה עַל כָּל אָדָם לֶאֱהֹב אֶת כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד כְּגוּפוֹ,צא,78 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:צב,79 "וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ". לְפִיכָךְ צָרִיךְ לָחוּס עַל כְּבוֹדוֹ וְעַל מָמוֹנוֹ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁחָס עַל כָּבוֹד וּמָמוֹן שֶׁלּוֹ.צג,80 וְהַמִּתְכַּבֵּד בִּקְלוֹן חֲבֵרוֹ – אֵין לוֹ חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא:צד,81

6 If one person wrongs another, the latter should not hate him and remain silent. Instead, it is a mitzvah that he should inform him by saying, “Why did you do this-and-this to me?”82 — as it is written, “You shall surely admonish83 your fellow.”84 If [the wronged party] is willing to forgive the other and not admonish him, this is pious conduct.85 The Torah was concerned only with [forbidding] feelings of hate.

ו כְּשֶׁיֶּחֱטָא אִישׁ לְאִישׁ לֹא יִשְׂטְמֶנּוּ וְיִשְׁתֹּק,צה אֶלָּא מִצְוָה עָלָיו לְהוֹדִיעוֹ וְלוֹמַר "לָמָּה עָשִׂיתָ לִי כָּךְ וְכָךְ",82 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:צו "הוֹכֵחַ תּוֹכִיחַ83 אֶת עֲמִיתֶךָ".84 וְאִם רוֹצֶה לִמְחֹל לוֹ וְלֹא לְהוֹכִיחוֹ – הֲרֵי זֶה מִדַּת חֲסִידוּת,85 וְלֹא הִקְפִּידָה הַתּוֹרָה אֶלָּא עַל הַמַּשְׂטֵמָה:צז

7 If one sees that his fellowman is sinning or is following an undesirable path, it is a mitzvah to guide him back to the good, and to inform him that he is wronging his soul through his evil deeds, as it is written,85 “You shall surely admonish your fellow.”86

If [the wrongdoer] does not take heed, one should admonish him again87 — as implied by [the dual form of the verb] hocheiach tochiach88 — even 100 times, until the wrongdoer strikes him or curses him.

One is obligated to admonish only a comrade, a colleague with whom he is familiar; one is not required to admonish another person who will hate him and seek revenge if he admonishes him, for such a person will certainly not listen to him. With regard to his friend, by contrast, even if one knows that he will not listen to him, one is obligated to admonish him, unless the sinner is transgressing unknowingly.89 In such an instance, we [follow the principle],90 “Better that he [transgress] unknowingly91 than knowingly.”92

When many people transgress even intentionally, they should not be admonished more than once if one knows that his words will not be heeded. With regard to such matters [the Sages] said,93 “Just as it is a mitzvah to say something that will be heeded, so is it a mitzvah to refrain from saying something that will not be heeded.” And if they are transgressing unknowingly, they should not be admonished at all, for it is “better that they [transgress] unknowingly than knowingly.”90

To whom does the above apply? To a private individual who is admonishing others. The rabbinical court,94 by contrast, is obligated to admonish and rebuke [transgressors] so that they themselves will not be held accountable for that sin.95 [This applies] even if the prohibition is a matter of doubt96 and even if there are many who transgress unknowingly. [The court] should not evade responsibility by saying, “Better that they [transgress] unknowingly than knowingly.”90 An exception is a prohibition that is not explicit in the Torah that has been violated by many people because they do not believe that it is prohibited — for then it is very difficult to protest their conduct since the court cannot station a policeman in everyone’s home. It was concerning such cases that [the Sages] said,90 “Desist from being wrathful and rebuking97 the Jewish people; better that they [transgress] unknowingly than knowingly.”

ז הָרוֹאֶה אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁחָטָא אוֹ שֶׁהָלַךְ בְּדֶרֶךְ לֹא טוֹבָה – מִצְוָה עָלָיו לְהַחֲזִירוֹ לַמּוּטָב, וּלְהוֹדִיעוֹ שֶׁהוּא חוֹטֵא עַל נַפְשׁוֹ בְּמַעֲשָׂיו הָרָעִים,צח שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:צט,85 "הוֹכֵחַ תּוֹכִיחַ אֶת עֲמִיתֶךָ".86 וְאִם לֹא קִבֵּל מִמֶּנּוּ – יַחֲזֹר וְיוֹכִיחֶנּוּ,ק,87 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "הוֹכֵחַ תּוֹכִיחַ"88– אֲפִלּוּ מֵאָה פְּעָמִים,קא עַד שֶׁיַּכֶּנּוּ הַחוֹטֵאקב אוֹ יְקַלְּלֶנּוּ.קג

וְאֵינוֹ מְחֻיָּב לְהוֹכִיחַ אֶלָּא עֲמִיתוֹ שֶׁהוּא חֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁהוּא גַּס בּוֹ, אֲבָל אִישׁ אַחֵר שֶׁאִם יוֹכִיחֶנּוּ יִשְׂנָאֶנּוּ וְיִנְקֹם מִמֶּנּוּ – אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהוֹכִיחוֹ,קד כֵּיוָן שֶׁבְּוַדַּאי לֹא יִשְׁמַע לוֹ.קהאֲבָל חֲבֵרוֹ אֲפִלּוּ אִם יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁלֹּא יִשְׁמַע לוֹ – חַיָּב לְהוֹכִיחוֹ,קו אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הוּא חוֹטֵא בְּשׁוֹגֵג,89 שֶׁאָז אָנוּ אוֹמְרִים:90 מוּטָב שֶׁיִּהְיֶה שׁוֹגֵג91 וְאַל יִהְיֶה מֵזִיד.קז,92

וְרַבִּים אֲפִלּוּ הֵם מְזִידִין – אֵין לְהוֹכִיחָם יוֹתֵר מִפַּעַם אַחַת אִם יָדוּעַ לוֹ שֶׁדְּבָרָיו אֵינָם נִשְׁמָעִים.קח וְעַל זֶה אָמְרוּ:קט,93 כְּשֵׁם שֶׁמִּצְוָה לוֹמַר דָבָר הַנִּשְׁמָע – כָּךְ מִצְוָה שֶׁלֹּא לוֹמַר דָּבָר שֶׁלֹּא נִשְׁמָע. וְאִם הֵם שׁוֹגְגִים – אֵין לְהוֹכִיחָם כְּלָל, שֶׁמּוּטָב שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שׁוֹגְגִים וְאַל יִהְיוּ מֵזִידִים.קי,90

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? בַּיָּחִיד הַמּוֹכִיחַ, אֲבָל עַל הַבֵּית דִּין94 מֻטָּל לְהוֹכִיחָם וְלִגְעֹר בָּם, שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיוּ נִתְפָּשִׂים בְּאוֹתוֹ עָוֹן.קיא,95 וַאֲפִלּוּ הוּא דָּבָר שֶׁאִסּוּרוֹ אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא מִסָּפֵק,קיב,96 וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם רַבִּים הֵם הַשּׁוֹגְגִים. וְאֵין לָהֶם לְהִשָּׁמֵט וְלוֹמַר: מוּטָב שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שׁוֹגְגִין וְאַל יִהְיוּ מְזִידִים,90 אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הוּא אִסּוּר שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְפֹרָשׁ בַּתּוֹרָהקיג וּפָרְצוּ בּוֹ רַבִּים מִפְּנֵי חֶסְרוֹן אֱמוּנָתָם בָּאִסּוּר, שֶׁאָז קָשֶׁה מְאֹד לִמְחוֹת בְּיָדָם,קיד שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לְבֵית דִּין לְהַעֲמִיד שׁוֹטְרִים בְּבֵית כָּל אֶחָד.קטו וְעַל זֶה אָמְרוּ:קטז,90 הַנַּח לָהֶם לְיִשְׂרָאֵל מִקְּצֹף עֲלֵיהֶם וּמִגְּעֹר בָּם,קיז,97 מוּטָב שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שׁוֹגְגִין וְאַל יִהְיוּ מְזִידִים:

8 Whoever admonishes his fellow, whether with regard to personal matters between them or matters between himself and G‑d, should admonish him in private, speak to him calmly and gently,98 and tell him that he is speaking to him only for his own good. If one speaks to him harshly and embarrasses him, he violates a prohibitive commandment,99 as it is written,100 “Do not bear a sin because of him.” The Sages taught:101 “Lest you think that you should admonish someone and [cause] his face to change [color in shame], [know that] it is written, ‘Do not bear a sin because of him.’ ” (Although Rashi, commenting on the verse, interprets this command as meaning that one should not admonish a person publicly and thereby embarrass him, Sefer Mitzvos Gadol and Rambam understand that the above prohibition — that one should not admonish another with harsh words until his face changes color — implies that it is forbidden to do so even in private.) From [this verse] we learn that it is forbidden to embarrass a fellowman even in private, and, needless to say, in public. For this reason one should not call another a name that causes him embarrassment,102 nor relate embarrassing matters in his presence. Indeed, [the Sages taught that] “whoever shames his fellowman103 in public will not be granted a portion in the World to Come.”104

When does the above105 apply? With regard to matters between one man and another. With regard to matters [between man and] G‑d, by contrast, if [the transgressor] does not repent,106 he should be admonished in public until he returns to a good path, as was the practice of all the prophets of Israel. All of the above applies with regard to a transgression committed in private. If, however, one committed a transgression overtly,107 he must be admonished immediately so that G‑d’s name will not be desecrated.108

A student who sees his Torah teacher commit a transgression should tell him: “Teacher, you taught me such-and-such,” in order to remind him, for perhaps he is acting out of forgetfulness. If he does not heed him, he should not admonish him again.109 This [restriction] does not apply with regard to a peer, as was explained above.110

ח כָּל הַמּוֹכִיחַ אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ, בֵּין בִּדְבָרִים שֶׁבֵּינוֹ לְבֵינוֹ בֵּין בִּדְבָרִים שֶׁבֵּינוֹ לְבֵין הַמָּקוֹם – צָרִיךְ לְהוֹכִיחוֹ בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין עַצְמוֹ, וִידַבֵּר לוֹ בְּנַחַת וּבְלָשׁוֹן רַכָּה,98 וְיוֹדִיעוֹ שֶׁאֵינוֹ אוֹמֵר לוֹ אֶלָּא לְטוֹבָתוֹ.קיח וְאִם דִּבֵּר אִתּוֹ קָשׁוֹת וְהִכְלִימוֹ – עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה,קיט,99 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:קכ,100 "וְלֹא תִשָּׂא עָלָיו חֵטְא". כָּךְ אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים:קכא,101 יָכוֹל אַתָּה מוֹכִיחוֹ וּפָנָיו מִשְׁתַּנּוֹת – תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר "וְלֹא תִשָּׂא עָלָיו חֵטְא" (וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁרַשִׁ"י שָׁםקכב פֵּרֵשׁ דְּהַיְנוּ כְּשֶׁיּוֹכִיחֵנוּ בָּרַבִּים לְהַלְבִּין פָּנָיו, הִנֵּה הַסמ"ג וְהָרמב"ם פֵּרְשׁוּ שֶׁלֹּא יוֹכִיחֶנּו בִּדְבָרִים קָשִׁים עַד שֶׁפָּנָיו נִשְׁתַּנּוֹת וְהַיְנוּ אֲפִלּוּ בֵּינוֹ לְבֵינוֹ). מִכָּאן שֶׁאָסוּר לְאָדָם לְהַכְלִים אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ אֲפִלּוּ בֵּינוֹ לְבֵינוֹ, וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר בָּרַבִּים.קכג לְפִיכָךְ לֹא יִקְרָאֶנּוּ בְּשֵׁם שֶׁהוּא בּוֹשׁ מִמֶּנּוּ,102 וְלֹא מְסַפֵּר לְפָנָיו דָּבָר שֶׁהוּא בּוֹשׁ מִמֶּנּוּ.קכד וְכָל הַמַּלְבִּין פְּנֵי חֲבֵרוֹ103 בָּרַבִּים – אֵין לוֹ חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא.קכה,104

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים?105 בִּדְבָרִים שֶׁבֵּין אָדָם לַחֲבֵרוֹ, אֲבָל בְּדִבְרֵי שָׁמַיִם אִם לֹא חָזַר בּוֹ106 – צָרִיךְ לְהוֹכִיחוֹ בָּרַבִּים עַד שֶׁיַחֲזֹר לַמּוּטָב, כְּמוֹ שֶׁעָשׂוּ כָּל הַנְּבִיאִים בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל.קכו וְכָל זֶה בַּעֲבֵרָה שֶׁבַּסֵּתֶר, אֲבָל אִם עָבַר עֲבֵרָה בְּגָלוּי107 – יוֹכִיחֶנוּ מִיָּד, שֶׁלֹּא יִתְחַלֵּל שֵׁם שָׁמַיִם.קכז,108 וְתַלְמִיד שֶׁרָאָה אֶת רַבּוֹ עוֹבֵר עֲבֵרָה – יֹאמַר לוֹ "לִמַּדְתַּנִי רַבֵּינוּ כָּךְ וְכָךְ",קכח לְהַזְכִּירוֹ אוּלַי שׁוֹגֵג הוּא. וְאִם אֵינוֹ שׁוֹמֵעַ לוֹ – לֹא יוֹכִיחֶנּוּ עוֹד,קכט,109 מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בַּחֲבֵרוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר:קל,110

9 One must be mindful [in his relationship] with orphans and widows, even if they are very wealthy.111 Anyone who vexes them, angers them, hurts their feelings, oppresses them, or causes them financial loss, violates a prohibitive commandment,112 as it is written,113 “Do not afflict any widow or orphan.” Certainly, [the above applies to one] who beats them or curses them.

When does the above apply? When one treats them harshly for his own purposes. If, by contrast, a teacher chastises [orphans] in order to teach them Torah or a vocation or to lead them along a path of upright conduct, this is permitted. Nevertheless, one should not treat them as he treats others, but differently, guiding them with patience and great compassion, whether they are orphaned from a father or a mother.

Until when is one considered an orphan in this regard? Until he does not need to be supported, brought up and taken care of, but takes care of all his own needs as other adults do.

ט חַיָּב אָדָם לִזָּהֵר בִּיתוֹמִים וְאַלְמָנוֹת אֲפִלּוּ הֵם עֲשִׁירִים גְּדוֹלִים.111 וְכָל הַמַּקְנִיטָן, אוֹ הִכְעִיסָן, אוֹ הִכְאִיב לִבָּם, אוֹ רָדָה בָּהֶן, אוֹ אִבֵּד מָמוֹנָן – הֲרֵי זֶה עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה,קלא,112 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:קלב,113 "כָּל אַלְמָנָה וְיָתוֹם לֹא תְעַנּוּן". וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן הַמַּכֶּה אוֹתָן אוֹ הַמְקַלְלָן.

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? בִּזְמַן שֶׁעִנָּה אוֹתָן לְצֹרֶךְ עַצְמוֹ, אֲבָל אִם עִנָּה אוֹתָן רַבָּן כְּדֵי לְלַמְּדָן תּוֹרָה אוֹ אֻמָּנוּת אוֹ לְהוֹלִיכָן בְּדֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה – הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר.קלג וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן לֹא יִנְהַג בָּהֶן מִנְהָג כָּל אָדָם, אֶלָּא יַעֲשֶׂה לָהֶם הֶפְרֵשׁ, וִינַהֲלֵם בְּנַחַת וּבְרַחֲמִים גְּדוֹלִים, אֶחָד יָתוֹם מֵאָב וְאֶחָד יָתוֹם מֵאֵם.קלד

וְעַד אֵימַת נִקְרָאִים יְתוֹמִים לְעִנְיָן זֶה? עַד שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיוּ צְרִיכִין לְאָדָם לְהִסָּמֵךְ עָלָיו וּלְאָמְנָן וּלְהִטָּפֵל בָּהֶן, אֶלָּא יִהְיֶה עוֹשֶׂה כָּל צָרְכֵי עַצְמוֹ לְעַצְמוֹ כִּשְׁאָר כָּל הַגְּדוֹלִים:

10 One who relates gossip about his fellowman violates a prohibitive commandment,114 as it is written, “Do not go gossiping among your people” (Vayikra 19:16).

What is meant by a gossiper? One who collects115 information and goes from person to person saying: “So-and-so said this-and-this”; “This-and-this is what I heard about so-and-so.”116 Even if the things he says are true and they impute no disgrace and the individual who is spoken of does not dispute them at all, such a person destroys the world, for [such conduct] can sometimes lead to bloodshed, as [the Sages] said concerning the episode of Doeg and Achimelech.117 (The commentary entitled Kessef Mishneh118 describes a gossiper as one who says, “So-and-so and so-and-so said this-and-this about you” or “did this-and-this to you.” The author of Smag (Sefer Mitzvos Gadol) [prohibitive commandment 9] states: “Who is a gossiper? One who reveals to a friend matters which another person related about him confidentially.” He supports his statement by citing the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 3:7) and the Gemara (Sanhedrin 31a).119 His approach is apparently accepted by the Aruch as well, which states at the end of s.v. lashon: “The phrase ‘Do not go gossiping’ is paraphrased [in Aramaic] by the Targum Yerushalmi as lishna tlisai” [lit., “a third tongue”; explained below]. This phrase is also used in Arachin 15b,120 where it is explained by Rashi.121 Tosafos there offers a different interpretation. Raavad, in his gloss to Hilchos Deos, beginning of ch. 7, appears to agree with Rashi, and the same is true of Midrash Rabbah on the beginning of Parshas Emor.122)

A listener who accepts gossip123 is punished more severely than the one who relates it, unless he sees evidence of its truth.124

Included in this prohibition is [speaking] slander,125 i.e., making degrading comments about one’s fellowman even though they are true.126 Even if one says: “Where can fire be found continually if not in the house of So-and-so, where there is always meat and fish?” This constitutes lashon hara127 if it was spoken in a derogatory manner, with the intent of belittling that person by implying that he is “a glutton for meat.”128

If, by contrast, one tells [derogatory] lies about his fellowman, he is called a defamer.129 (See Kesubbos, ch. 4, p. 46a.)130

י הַמְרַגֵּל בַּחֲבֵרוֹ – עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה,קלה,114 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "לֹא תֵלֵךְ רָכִיל בְּעַמֶּךָ" (קְדֹשִׁים י"ט, ט"ז). אֵיזֶהוּ רָכִיל?קלו זֶה שֶׁטּוֹעֵן115 דְּבָרִים וְהוֹלֵךְ מִזֶּה לָזֶה וְאוֹמֵר: כָּךְ וְכָךְ אָמַר פְּלוֹנִי, כָּךְ וְכָךְ שָׁמַעְתִּי עַל פְּלוֹנִי,116 אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא אֱמֶת וְאֵינָן דְּבָרִים שֶׁל גְּנַאי כְּלָל, וְגַם אוֹתוֹ פְּלוֹנִי לֹא מַכְחִישָׁם כְּלָלקלז – הֲרֵי זֶה מַחֲרִיב אֶת הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁמִּזֶּה יוּכַל לָבוֹא לִפְעָמִים לִידֵי שְׁפִיכַת דָּמִים, כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמְרוּ בְּמַעֲשֵׂה דּוֹאֵג עִם אֲחִימֶלֶךְקלח,117 (וּלְשׁוֹן הַכֶּסֶף מִשְׁנֶה118 כָּךְ הוּא, שֶׁרָכִיל הַיְנוּ: הָאוֹמֵר פְּלוֹנִי וּפְלוֹנִי אָמַר עָלֶיךָ כָּךְ וְכָךְ אוֹ עָשָׂה לְךָ כָּךְ וְכָךְ כו'. וְזֶה לְשׁוֹן הַסמ"ג שָׁם: אֵיזֶהוּ רָכִיל? הַמְגַלֶּה לַחֲבֵרוֹ דְּבָרִים שֶׁדִּבֵּר מִמֶּנּוּ אָדָם בַּסֵּתֶר, וְהֵבִיא רְאָיָה מֵהַמִּשְׁנָה פֶּרֶק ג' דְסַנְהֶדְרִין וְהַגְּמָרָא שָׁם דַּף ל"א, א'.119 וְכֵן מַשְׁמַע בְּעָרוּךְ סוֹף עֶרֶךְ לָשׁוֹן, וְזֶה לְשׁוֹנוֹ: "לֹא תֵלֵךְ רָכִיל" – תַּרְגּוּם יְרוּשַׁלְמִי "לִשָּׁנָא תְּלִיתָאִי". וְעַיֵּן פֶּרֶק ג' [דַּעֲרָכִין] דַּף ט"ו ע"ב120 בַּגְּמָרָא וּפרש"י120 ד"ה לִשָּׁנָא תְּלִיתָאִי,קלט וְהַתּוֹסָפוֹת שָׁם פֵּרְשׁוּ בְּעִנְיָן אַחֵר, וּבהראב"ד בְּהִלְכוֹת דֵּעוֹת רֵישׁ פֶּרֶק ז' מַשְׁמָע כְּפֵרוּשׁ רַשִׁ"י. וְכֵן מַשְׁמָע בְּמִדְרָשׁ רַבָּה רֵישׁ פָּרָשַׁת אֱמֹרקמ).122

וְהַמְקַבְּלוֹ123 נֶעֱנָשׁ יוֹתֵר מִן הָאוֹמְרוֹ, אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הוּא רוֹאֶה דְּבָרִים הַנִּכָּרִים.קמא,124

וּבִכְלַל לָאו זֶה הוּא לָשׁוֹן הָרָע,125 וְהוּא הַמְסַפֵּר בִּגְנוּת חֲבֵרוֹקמב אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאָמַר אֱמֶת.126 וַאֲפִלּוּ אָמַר: הֵיכָן מָצוּי אוּר תָּדִיר אִם לֹא בְּבֵית פְּלוֹנִי שֶׁמָּצוּי אֶצְלוֹ בָּשָׂר וְדָגִים – הֲרֵי זֶה לָשׁוֹן הָרָעקמג,127 אִם הוֹצִיאוֹ בְּדֶרֶךְ לָשׁוֹן הָרָע, שֶׁנִּתְכַּוֵּן לְגַנּוֹת שֶׁהוּא בְּזוֹלְלֵי בָּשָׂר לָמוֹ.128

אֲבָל הָאוֹמֵר שֶׁקֶר עַל חֲבֵרוֹ – נִקְרָא מוֹצִיא שֵׁם רַע.קמד,129 וְעַיֵּן פֶּרֶק ד' דִּכְתֻבּוֹת דַּף מ"ו ע"א:קמה,130

11 Whether one speaks lashon hara in the presence of [the person concerned] or in his absence, this is lashon hara. [Similarly, one commits this transgression if] he makes statements that — if spread from person to person — will harm someone physically or financially, or will cause him to suffer pain or fear, even though they are not uncomplimentary statements.

If such statements were made in the presence of three people, it [can be considered that] the matter was already taken notice of and has become known. [Hence,] if one of the three relates it a second time, this is not considered lashon hara,131 provided his intent was not to spread the report and publicize it further. If the person who [originally] made the statement warned [his listeners] not to repeat it, [spreading it further] is considered as lashon hara, even if the original speaker was addressing a number of people.

When is speaking in the presence of one’s fellowman132 or in the presence of three people considered lashon hara? When one says something reproachful or derogatory, or something that could cause injury or pain. If, however, one makes a statement that is plausibly without any negative intent — for example, “Where can fire be found if not in the house of So-and-so, where there is always meat?”133 — this is not considered lashon hara if the remark was made in his presence or in the presence of three people. In the latter case, the remark is considered as if made in the presence of the person concerned, because it is impossible that it will not reach his ears.

יא אֶחָד הַמְסַפֵּר בְּלָשׁוֹן הָרָע בִּפְנֵי חֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בְּפָנָיו, וְהַמְסַפֵּר דְּבָרִים שֶׁגּוֹרְמִים, אִם נִשְׁמְעוּ אִישׁ מִפִּי אִישׁ, לְהַזִּיק חֲבֵרוֹ בְּגוּפוֹ אוֹ בְּמָמוֹנוֹ, אוֹ לְצַעֲרוֹ, אוֹ לְהַפְחִידוֹ, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָן דְּבָרִים שֶׁל גְּנַאי עַל חֲבֵרוֹ – הֲרֵי זֶה לָשׁוֹן הָרָע.קמו

וְאִם נֶאֶמְרוּ דְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ בִּפְנֵי שְׁלֹשָׁה – כְּבָר נִשְׁמַע הַדָּבָר וְנוֹדַע. וְאִם סִפֵּר הַדָּבָר אֶחָד מִן הַשְּׁלֹשָׁה פַּעַם אַחֶרֶת – אֵין בּוֹ מִשּׁוּם לָשׁוֹן הָרָע.קמז,131 וְהוּא שֶׁלֹּא יִתְכַּוֵּן לְהַעֲבִיר הַקּוֹל וּלְגַלּוֹתוֹ יוֹתֵר.קמח וְאִם הָאוֹמֵר מַזְהִיר שֶׁלֹּא לְאָמְרוֹ, אֲפִלּוּ אָמַר בִּפְנֵי רַבִּים – יֵשׁ בּוֹ מִשּׁוּם לָשׁוֹן הָרָע.קמט בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁמְּסַפֵּר בִּפְנֵי חֲבֵרוֹ132 אוֹ בִּפְנֵי שְׁלֹשָׁה יֵשׁ בּוֹ מִשּׁוּם לָשׁוֹן הָרָע לְהָאוֹמֵר, כְּשֶׁאוֹמֵר דָּבָר שֶׁל קִנְטוּר וּגְנַאי, אוֹ דָּבָר שֶׁיָּכוֹל לִגְרֹם לוֹ נֶזֶק אוֹ צַעַר. אֲבָל דָּבָר שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹמַר שֶׁאֵין כַּוָּנָתוֹ לְלָשׁוֹן הָרָע, כְּגוֹן הֵיכָן מָצוּי אוּר בְּבֵית פְּלוֹנִי שֶׁמָּצוּי לוֹ בָּשָׂר133 – אֵין בּוֹ מִשּׁוּם לָשׁוֹן הָרָע אִם אוֹמֵר כֵּן בְּפָנָיו, וְכֵן אִם אָמַר בִּפְנֵי שְׁלֹשָׁה,קנ שֶׁהֲרֵי זֶה כְּאוֹמֵר בְּפָנָיו, שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁלֹּא יַגִּיעַ הַדָּבָר בְּאָזְנָיו:קנא

12 What is meant by “a trace of lashon hara”?134 Statements such as, “Who would ever have said about So-and-so that he would be in the state he’s in now?”135 Or, “Best to say nothing about so-and-so. I’d rather not say what happened and what took place,”136 and the like.137

Also counted as a trace of lashon hara is speaking favorably of a person138 in the presence of his enemies or in the presence of many people among whom it may be assumed that there is one of his enemies, for this will incite the enemy to speak of him derogatively. By contrast, it is permitted to speak favorably in the presence of his friends, as long as one is not overly elaborate in his praises, for relating and recounting his [positive] attributes [at length] will inevitably lead to [someone speaking about him] disparagingly.

Likewise [to be censured] is one who speaks lashon hara slyly, [pretending] to be speaking innocently as if he did not know that what he said was lashon hara or that So-and-so did what was described.

See also139 the gloss of Hagahos Maimoniyos, loc. cit., sec. 3, [based on] Talmud Yerushalmi,140 [which makes a further point concerning lashon hara] — that it is permitted [concerning those who foment controversy]. This is also stated in Yalkut [Shimoni], Vol. 2, sec. 166. See also Magen Avraham [in sec. 156, which], based on Hagahos Smak,141 [qualifies that statement as applying only when reporting to a just king, as in the case of the prophet Nasan reporting to King David].142 See also what I have written in Hilchos Nizkei Mammon, subsection 7, and in the Shulchan Aruch [of R. Yosef Caro,] Choshen Mishpat 421:13, [which speak about the action to be taken in order to restrain informers and other people who are habitually violent], for that is the subject of the discussion in the Talmud Yerushalmi.

יב אֲבַק לָשׁוֹן הָרָע כֵּיצַד?קנב,134 מִי יֹאמַר לִפְלוֹנִי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה כְּמוֹ שֶׁהוּא עַתָּה,135 אוֹ שֶׁיֹּאמַר: שִׁתְקוּ מִפְּלוֹנִי אֵינִי רוֹצֶה לְהוֹדִיעַ מָה אֵרַע וּמֶה הָיָה,136 וְכַיּוֹצֵא בִּדְבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ.137 וְכָל הַמְסַפֵּר בְּטוֹבָתוֹ שֶׁל חֲבֵרוֹקנג בִּפְנֵי שׂוֹנְאָיו,קנד אוֹ בִּפְנֵי רַבִּים מֵהָעָם שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָחוּשׁ שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶם אֶחָד מִשּׂוֹנְאָיוקנה – הֲרֵי זֶה אֲבַק לָשׁוֹן הָרָע,138 שֶׁהוּא גּוֹרֵם שֶׁשּׂוֹנְאוֹ יְסַפֵּר בִּגְנוּתוֹ. אֲבָל בִּפְנֵי אוֹהֲבָיו מֻתָּר לְסַפֵּר בִּשְׁבָחָיו,קנו וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יַרְבֶּה יוֹתֵר מִדַּאי, מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁמְּסַפֵּר וּמוֹנֶה מִדּוֹתָיו אִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁלֹּא יָבוֹא לִידֵי גְּנוּת.קנז

וְכֵן הַמְסַפֵּר לָשׁוֹן הָרָע דֶּרֶךְ רַמָּאוּת, וְהוּא שֶׁמְּסַפֵּר לְתֻמּוֹ כְּאִלּוּ אֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁדָּבָר זֶה שֶׁדִּבֵּר לָשׁוֹן הָרָע הוּא אוֹ שֶׁזֶּה עָשָׂה פְּלוֹנִי.

וְעַיֵּן עוֹד139 מַה שֶּׁכָּתַב הַגָּהוֹת מַיְמוֹנִיּוֹת שָׁם סק"ג בַּיְרוּשַׁלְמִיקנח,140 מֻתָּרקנט כו', וְהוּא גַּם כֵּן בְּיַלְקוּט חֵלֶק ב רֶמֶז קס"ו. וְעַיֵּן מָגֵן אַבְרָהָם בְּשֵׁם הַגָּהַת סמ"ק.קס,141,142 וְעַיֵּן מַה שֶּׁכָּתַבְתִּי בְּהִלְכוֹת נִזְקֵי מָמוֹן סָעִיף זקסא וּבְשֻׁלְחָן עָרוּךְ חֹשֶׁן מִשְׁפָּט סִימָן תכ"א סוֹף סָעִיף י"גקסב דְּבִכְהַאי גַּוְנָא דְּהָתָם מַיְירֵי בַּיְּרוּשַׁלְמִי:

13 A guest is not permitted to praise his host as being generous,138 lest this bring him numerous guests who will consume everything he possesses. Concerning this it was said: “If one blesses his friend loudly early in the morning, it will be considered as a curse to him.” (Mishlei 27:14.) See also the interpretation of this verse in Avos deRabbi Nasan, end of ch. 11.143

יג אוֹרֵחַ אֵינוֹ רַשַּׁאי לְשַׁבֵּחַ אֶת בַּעַל הַבַּיִת שֶׁהוּא טוֹב עַיִן,קסג,138 שֶׁמָּא יִרְבּוּ עָלָיו אוֹרְחִים וְיֹאכְלוּ כָּל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ. וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר: "מְבָרֵךְ רֵעֵהוּ בְּקוֹל גָּדוֹל בַּבֹּקֶר הַשְׁכֵּים – קְלָלָה תֵּחָשֶׁב לוֹ" (בְּמִשְׁלֵי סִימָן כ"ז, י"ד). וְעַיֵּן עוֹד מִפָּסוּק זֶה בְּאָבוֹת דְּרַבִּי נָתָן סוֹף פֶּרֶק י"א:קסד,143

14 Any statement that a person makes to a friend should not be relayed further unless [the speaker] tells him to do so.144

יד כָּל הָאוֹמֵר דָּבָר לַחֲבֵרוֹ הוּא בְּ"בַל יֹאמַר", עַד שֶׁיֹּאמַר לוֹ "לֵךְ אֱמֹר":קסה,144

15 It is forbidden to count Jews even if one’s intention is merely to make a lottery for a particular sum or number.145 This is forbidden even for the sake of a mitzvah.146 Instead, they should stick out their fingers and one should count their fingers.147

At the end of Koheles148 it is written: “[G‑d] will bring to judgment every [deed] that is hidden.” This includes even killing a louse in the presence of a friend.149

טו אָסוּר לִמְנוֹת אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲפִלּוּ אֵינוֹ מִתְכַּוֵּין רַק לְהָטִיל גּוֹרָל עַל אֵיזֶה סְכוּם וּמִסְפָּר,145 וַאֲפִלּוּ לִדְבַר מִצְוָה,146 אֶלָּא מוֹצִיאִים אֶצְבְּעוֹתֵיהֶם וּמוֹנִים הָאֶצְבָּעוֹת.קסו,147

כְּתִיב:קסז "יָבִא בְּמִשְׁפָּט עַל כָּל נֶעְלָם" בְּסוֹף קֹהֶלֶת,148 לְרַבּוֹת אֲפִלּוּ הַהוֹרֵג כִּנָּה בִּפְנֵי חֲבֵרוֹ:קסח,149

16 A person who engages in inconsequential discussion150 — childish and frivolous talk — violates a positive commandment, as it is written,151 “And you shall speak of them.” [Implied is that one should speak only] “of them,” [i.e., of Torah matters,] and not of other matters.152

Even if one has established fixed times for Torah study, during the remainder of the day he should occupy himself only with necessary matters, not with childish and lightheaded conversation. Instead, [if free time avails itself,] he should return to his studies. Establishing fixed times for Torah study [does not release one from the obligation to study throughout the day, but] is a stringency, so that one will not be drawn to spend his entire day on his business affairs, as explained in subsection1 above.

טז הַשָּׂח שִׂיחַת חֻלִּין,קסט,150 וְהוּא שִׂיחַת הַיַלְדוּת וְקַלּוּת רֹאשׁקע – עוֹבֵר בְּעֲשֵׂה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:קעא,151 "וְדִבַּרְתָּ בָּם", "בָּם" – וְלֹא בִּדְבָרִים אֲחֵרִים.קעב,152 וְאַף אִם קָבַע עִתִּים לַתּוֹרָה – לֹא יַעֲסֹק בִּשְׁאָר הַיּוֹם אֶלָּא בִּדְבָרִים שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶם צֹרֶךְ,קעג אֲבָל לֹא בְּשִׂיחַת הַיַלְדוּת וְקַלּוּת רֹאשׁ, אֶלָּא יַחֲזֹר לְלִמּוּדוֹ. וּקְבִיעַת הָעֵת אֵינָהּ אֶלָּא לְהַחְמִיר, שֶׁלֹּא יִמְשֹׁךְ כָּל הַיּוֹם בְּדֶרֶךְ אֶרֶץ כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר לְעֵיל סְעִיף א':

17 Those who are eager hasten to [perform] mitzvos early.153 However, one is not required to hurry any earlier than dawn.154

יז זְרִיזִים מַקְדִּימִים לְמִצְווֹת,153 וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לְהַקְדִּים יוֹתֵר מֵעַמּוּד הַשַּׁחַר:קעד,154

18 Whoever speaks flatteringly about a transgression because of his fear of the transgressor, and is not concerned over the fear of G‑d, is liable for severe punishment.155 Nevertheless, if one fears that the transgressor will kill him, it is permitted say, “You did well,” even if it is a severe transgression. The prohibition applies only when there is no danger. See Sefer Yere’im, sec. 55; Kad HaKemach, sec. 8; Reishis Chochmah, Shaar HaKedushah, ch. 12.

יח כָּל הַמַּחֲנִיף בִּדְבַר עֲבֵרָהקעה מֵחֲמַת יִרְאָתוֹ מִפְּנֵי בַּעַל עֲבֵרָה וְאֵינוֹ חוֹשֵׁשׁ עַל יִרְאַת הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא – עָנְשׁוֹ גָּדוֹל.155 אַךְ אִם מִתְיָרֵא שֶׁלֹּא יַהַרְגֶנּוּ – מֻתָּר לוֹמַר לוֹ "יָפֶה עָשִׂיתָ" אֲפִלּוּ עָבַר עֲבֵרָה גְּדוֹלָה. וְלֹא אָסְרוּ לַחֲנֹף אֶלָּא שֶׁלֹּא בִּמְקוֹם סַכָּנָה.קעו וְעַיֵּן בְּסֵפֶר יְרֵאִים סִימָן נ"הקעז וּבְכַד הַקֶּמַח אוֹת ח' וּבְרֵאשִׁית חָכְמָה שַׁעַר הַקְּדֻּשָּׁה פֶּרֶק י"ב:

19 One may not stand in a dangerous place156 and say that a miracle will be performed on his behalf, for perhaps a miracle will not be performed for him. And if a miracle is performed on his behalf, his merits will be reduced. One of the Sages would refrain from crossing [a river] in a ferry together with utterly wicked people lest judgment be executed against them and he would be ensnared with them. Another one of the Sages would seek to cross [a river] on a ferry that carried both Jews and non-Jews, for he would say that Satan does not have dominion over two nations [simultaneously]. See Magen Avraham at the end of this section.

יט אַל יַעֲמֹד אָדָם בִּמְקוֹם סַכָּנָהקעח,156 וְיֹאמַר שֶׁעוֹשִׂין לוֹ נֵס, שֶׁמָּא אֵין עוֹשִׂין לוֹ נֵס. וְאִם עוֹשִׂין לוֹ נֵס – מְנַכִּין לוֹ מִזְּכֻיּוֹתָיו. וְיֵשׁ מֵהַחֲכָמִים שֶׁהָיָה נִמְנָע לַעֲבֹר בִּסְפִינָה שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ רְשָׁעִים גְּמוּרִים, שֶׁמָּא נִפְקַד דִּין עֲלֵיהֶם וְיִתָּפֵס עִמָּהֶם. וְיֵשׁ מֵהַחֲכָמִים שֶׁהָיָה מַחֲזִיר לַעֲבֹר בִּסְפִינָה שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ יְהוּדִים וְאֵינָם יְהוּדִים, אָמַר שֶׁהַשָּׂטָן אֵינוֹ שׁוֹלֵט בִּשְׁתֵּי אֻמּוֹת. וְעַיֵּן מָגֵן אַבְרָהָם סוֹף סִימָן זֶה:

20 The Sages157 gave this advice to anyone who let blood and does not have the financial means to fortify himself. He should take a dinar coin that is not readily acceptable as currency158 and go to a grocery and ask to taste wine to see if it is worth buying.159 When he would come to buy it, the storekeeper would not accept the dinar. He should then go to another storekeeper and repeat the same thing, until he has tasted a revi’is.160 Though there is no such serious concern with regard to the bloodletting practiced today, we can extrapolate from this with regard to [cures for] other illnesses.

כ כָּל מִי שֶׁהִקִּיז דָּם וְאֵין לוֹ בְּמַה לְהַבְרוֹת נַפְשׁוֹ – נָתְנוּ לוֹ חֲכָמִים157 עֵצָה שֶׁיִּטֹּל בְּיָדוֹ דִּינָר רַע158 וְיֵלֵךְ אֵצֶל הַחֶנְוָנִי וְיִטְעֹם יַיִן אִם טוֹב הוּא לִקְנוֹתוֹ,159 וְאַחַר כָּךְ כְּשֶׁיִּרְצֶה לִקְנוֹת לֹא יִקַּח הַחֶנְוָנִי אֶת הַדִּינָר, וְיֵלֵךְ לוֹ אֵצֶל חֶנְוָנִי אַחֵר וְיַעֲשֶׂה כֵּן עַד שֶׁיִּטְעֹם רְבִיעִית.קעט,160 וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁבַּהַקָּזָה שֶׁלָּנוּ אֵין חֲשָׁשׁ כָּל כָּךְ, מִכָּל מָקוֹם יֵשׁ לִלְמֹד מִזֶּה לִשְׁאָר חֹלִי:קפ

21 With regard to the words of Torah, “Answer a fool according to his foolishness, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” With regard to worldly matters, “Do not answer a fool according to his foolishness, lest you come to resemble him” (Mishlei 26[:4-5]).161

כא בְּדִבְרֵי תּוֹרָה – "עֲנֵה כְסִיל כְּאִוַּלְתּוֹ, פֶּן יִהְיֶה חָכָם בְּעֵינָיו".קפא אֲבָל בְּדִבְרֵי הָעוֹלָם – "אַל תַּעַן כְּסִיל כְּאִוַּלְתּוֹ, פֶּן תִּשְׁוֶה לּוֹ" (בְּמִשְׁלֵי סִימָן כ"וקפב):161