Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Talmudic Quote on Asceticism


Preface: A Nazirite vows to abstain from wine, among other things.

"Rabbi Elazar haKappar, son of Rebbe, said: The Torah says, 'A Nazirite must atone for his sin against the soul.' But against what soul did he sin? He pained himself by abstaining from wine.

"We see that a person who abstains from wine is called a 'sinner.' How much more so a person who pains himself by abstaining from anything else! We see that a person who fasts voluntarily is called a sinner."

(Talmud, Nedarim 10a)

Note: This should not be taken as a statement against people who feel a need to abstain from alcohol because of potential addiction. Rather, it is against unnecessary asceticism.

Have a great day,

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