Thursday, May 24, 2007

On overdoing it

The Sages said: If a nazirite, who only denied himself wine, is need of expiation, all the more so one who has cut himself off from everything! Therefore, the Sages decreed that one should abstain only from those things banned by the Torah; he should not bind himself with vows and oaths regarding permitted activities. So said the Sages: Is it not enough for you that which the Torah forbade -- you have to enjoin yourself from other things? Those who constantly deny themselves are not on a good path, and the Sages forbade one from tormenting oneself with fasts. Regarding all these and similar things, Solomon decreed: Don't overdo goodness and don't act the wise man to excess, or you may be dumbfounded. (RaMBaM, Hilhot De’ot, 3:1)

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