Tzemach Tzadik by Rabbi Leone di Modena Chapter 33 Intemperance


Back to chapter 32 about temperance

Translated by Ralph Anzarouth and an anonymous friend


The person who does not restrain his desires possesses the opposite trait to the self control described above [in the previous chapter]: he will give free rein to his every whim and he will obey every caprice of his heart.

This trait can be compared to the animal known as Liocorn, a creature which constantly longs for female company and whenever it sees one it runs to her and in this way it falls prey to the hunters.

King Solomon said in the book of Kohelet (2, 3): "I choose for myself to indulge in wine etc." (ibid. 2, 10) "And I did not prevent my eyes from watching whatever they desired, nor did I hold back from my heart any rejoicing etc." and from this he concludes (ibid. 2, 11) "And behold it is all vanity and frustration; and there is nothing worthwhile under the sun ".

Our Sages of blessed memory said that no man manages in fulfilling even half of his desires in this world: if he has one hundred he wants two hundred etc.

Varro said: "The lustful person will not lack blemish and numerous ills". Seneca said: "Nothing will last long for the lustful person". Socrates said: "The end of those who fulfill all their desires is shame and disgrace".

The whole book Tzemach Tzadik in Hebrew (printed in Rashi characters) can be downloaded in PDF format and read online at Chapter 33 about intemperance is found at pages 65.