MISHNAH. IF A WOMAN UNDERTAKES A NAZIRITE VOW AND THEN DRINKS WINE OR IS DEFILED BY A CORPSE,2 SHE IS TO RECEIVE FORTY [STRIPES]. IF HER HUSBAND DECLARES IT VOID WITHOUT HER BEING AWARE OF IT, AND SHE DRINKS WINE OR IS DEFILED BY A CORPSE, SHE DOES NOT RECEIVE THE FORTY [STRIPES]. R. JUDAH SAID: ALTHOUGH [IT MAY BE A FACT THAT] SHE DOES NOT RECEIVE THE FORTY [STRIPES]. SHE SHOULD RECEIVE THE STRIPES INFLICTED FOR DISOBEDIENCE.3
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: [In the verse,] Her husband hath made them void,' and the Lord will forgive her,4 Scripture is speaking of a woman whose husband has declared her [vow] void without her knowledge.5 [intimating] that she requires atonement and forgiveness. When R. Akiba reached this verse. he wept: 'For if one who intended to take swine's flesh and by chance takes lamb's flesh6 stands in need of atonement and forgiveness, how much more so does one who intended to take swine's flesh and actually took it, stand in need thereof'?7
A similar inference may be made [from the verse]. Though he know it not, yet is he guilty and shall bear his iniquity.8 If of one who intends to take lamb's flesh and by chance takes swine's flesh, for instance in the case of [one who ate] a slice of fat concerning which it was uncertain whether it was of the permitted or the forbidden kind,9 the text says, 'and shall bear his iniquity', how much more so [is this true] of one who intended to take swine's flesh and actually took it.
Isi b. Judah interpreted [the verse], Though he know it not, yet is he guilty and shall bear his iniquity, [as follows]. If of one who intends to take lamb's flesh and takes swine's flesh for instance in the case of [one who eats one of] two slices10 of fat one of which is forbidden fat and the other permitted fat, the text says, and shall bear his iniquity, how much more so [is this true] of one who intended to take swine's flesh and actually took it. For this let them grieve that are fain to grieve.
But what need is there for all these cases?11 — They are all necessary. For if we had only been told about the woman, [we might have thought] that atonement and forgiveness are necessary there,12 because from the very beginning her intention was to do that which is forbidden, whereas with the slice concerning which it is uncertain whether it is forbidden or permitted fat, where his intention was to do that which is permitted,13 [we might have thought] that atonement and forgiveness are not necessary. If, on the other hand, we had only been told about the latter, [we might have thought] that it is because there is a definite prohibition involved,14 whereas the woman whose husband has declared her [vow] void and whose act is [consequently] permitted, should not require atonement and forgiveness. Again, if we had only been told of these two cases, we might have thought that in these two cases atonement and forgiveness suffice, since the presence of something forbidden is not definite, whereas with two slices of which one is forbidden and one permitted fat, where the presence of something forbidden is definite, atonement and forgiveness do not suffice.15 We are therefore told that there is no difference.
Rabbah b. Bar Hana, quoting R. Johanan, said:16 The verse, For the ways of the Lord are right, and the just do walk in them,' but transgressors do stumble therein,17 may be illustrated by the following example. Two men roast their paschal lambs.18 One eats it with the intention of fulfilling the precept19 and the other eats it with the inten tion of having an ordinary meal. To the one who eats it to fulfil the precept [applies]. 'And the just do walk in them,' but to the one who eats it to have an ordinary meal [applies], 'but transgressors do stumble therein'. Resh Lakish remarked to him: Do you call such a man wicked? Granted that he has not fulfilled the precept in the best possible manner, he has at least carried out the passover rite. Rather should it be illustrated by two men, each of whom had his wife and his sister staying with him. One chances upon his wife and the other chances upon his sister. To the one who chances upon his wife [applies], 'And the just do walk in them', and to the one who chances upon his sister [applies], 'but transgressors do stumble therein'.
But are the cases comparable? We speak [in the verse] of one path, whereas here [in the example given] there are two paths.20 Rather is it illustrated by Lot when his two daughters were with him.21 To these [the daughters], whose intention it was to do right,22 [applies], 'the just do walk in them', whereas to him [Lot] whose intention it was to commit the transgression [applies], 'but transgressors do stumble therein'.
But perhaps it was his intention also to do right? — [Do not think this for a moment, for]23 R. Johanan has said: The whole of the following verse indicates [Lot's] lustful character. And Lot lifted up24 is paralleled by, And his master's wife lifted up her eyes upon;25 'his eyes' is paralleled by, for she hath found grace in my eyes26 'and beheld' is paralleled by, And Shechem the son of Hamor beheld her;27 'all the kikar ['plain'] of the Jordan' by For on account of a harlot, a man is brought to a kikar ['loaf'] of bread,'28 and 'fat' it was well watered everywhere' by, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.29
But [Lot] was the victim of compulsion?30 — It had been taught on behalf of R. Jose son of R. Honi that the dot31 over the letter waw [_ 'and'] in the word U-bekumah ['and when she arose']32 occurring in [the story of] the elder daughter, is to signify that it was her lying down that he did not notice, but he did notice when she arose. But what could he have done, since it was all over? — The difference is that he should not have drunk wine the next evening.
Raba expounded as follows: What is the significance of the verse, A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city;
Nazir 23bAnd their contentions are like the bars of a castle?1 'A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city', refers to Lot who separated from Abraham,2 'And their contentions are like the bars of a castle', for he gave rise to contentions [between Israel and Ammon]3 for An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord.4
Raba and some say R. Isaac, expounded as follows: What is the significance of the verse, He that separateth himself seeketh his own desire and snarleth against all sound wisdom?5 'He that separateth himself seeketh his own desire' refers to Lot. 'And snarleth [yithgale'] against all sound wisdom', tells us that his disgrace was published [nithgaleh]6 in the Synagogues and Houses of Study, as we have learnt: An Ammonite and a Moabite7 are forbidden [in marriage] and the prohibition is perpetual.8
committed adultery and on his account many tens of thousands of Israel perished.12
R. Nahman b. Isaac said: A transgression performed with good intention is better than a precept performed with evil intention.13 But has not Rab Judah, citing Rab, said: A man should always occupy himself with the Torah and [its] precepts, even though it be for some ulterior motive,14 for the result will be that he will eventually do them without ulterior motive?15 — Read then: [A transgression performed with good intention is] as good as a precept performed for an ulterior motive, as it is written, Blessed above women shall Jael be, the wife of Heber the Kenite. Above women in the tent shall she be blessed,16 and by 'women in the tent', Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah are meant.17
R. Johanan said: That wicked wretch [Sisera] had sevenfold intercourse [with Jael] at that time, as it says, At her feet he sunk, he fell, he lay; etc.18 But she derived pleasure from his intercourse? — R. Johanan said:19 All the favours of the wicked are evil to the righteous, for it says, Take heed to thyself that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.20 Now [that he was not to speak] bad we can understand, but why was he not to speak good? Thus it may properly be inferred that the good of such a one is an evil.
The above text [states]: Rab Judah, citing Rab, said: A man should always occupy himself with the Torah and [its] precepts, even though it be for some ulterior motive, for the result will be that he will eventually do them without ulterior motive. For as reward for the forty-two sacrifices which the wicked Balak offered,21 he was privileged to be the progenitor of Ruth, for R. Jose son of
R. Hanina has said that Ruth was descended from22 Eglon, [the grandson of Balak,]23 king of Moab.
R. Hiyya b. Abba, citing R. Johanan. said: How do we know that the Holy One, blessed be He, does not withhold the reward even for a decorous expression? The elder daughter [of Lot] called her son Moab24 and so the All-Merciful One said [to Moses]:25 Be not at enmity with Moab, neither contend with them in battle.26 Only war was forbidden, but they might be harassed. The younger daughter, on the other hand, called [her son's] name Ben-Ammi27 and so it says, Harass them not, nor contend with them.28 They were not to be harassed at all.
R. Hiyya b. Abin said: R. Joshua b. Korha said: A man should always be as alert as possible to perform a precept, for as reward for anticipating the younger by one night, the elder daughter [of Lot]
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