Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Condensation of Ch. 3 of Rambam's "Eight Chapters"

This is part of my upcoming translation
of Rambam's "Eight Chapters", to be
published shortly by Judaica Press.

Interested in dedicating this work in
loving memory of someone or for other reasons?
Please contact me at feldman@torah.org


1. A “healthy” nephesh always does goodly, benevolent, and comely things, while an “unhealthy” one always does bad, harmful and disgraceful things. Now, just as someone whose senses are off kilter would confuse bitter with sweet and pleasant with unpleasant, and may even crave harmful things-- someone whose nephesh is off kilter would likewise confuse bad actions with good ones, and would pursue harmful goals.

2. So, just as you’d go to a doctor if you were ill who’d then tell you what to do, what to avoid, and what to take to be well, you should likewise go to a “doctor” of the nephesh when your nephesh is ill, who’d tell you what to do and what not to do to be well. Nonetheless if your nephesh is ill without your knowing, or if you know it’s ill but you refuse to submit to treatment, then like the patient who continues to do whatever he pleases rather than submit to treatment, you, too, will surely die.

3. Those who do realize their nephesh is ill but don’t submit to treatment will go about pursuing pleasure to no avail. They’d be wise to seek counsel from a sage rather than fumble about in the darkness.

(C) 2004 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman