Monday, January 26, 2009

Intent to sin - counted as sin?

Kiddushin(81b): Every time R. Hiyya b. Abba fell upon his face he used to say, ‘The Merciful save us from the Tempter.’ One day his wife heard him. ‘Let us see,’ she reflected, ‘it is so many years that he has held aloof from me: why then should he pray thus?’ One day, while he was studying in his garden, she adorned herself and repeatedly walked up and down before him. ‘Who are you?’ he demanded. ‘I am Harutha [a well known prostitute], and have returned to-day,’ she replied. He desired her. Said she to him, ‘Bring me that pomegranate from the uppermost bough.’ He jumped up, went, and brought it to her. When he re-entered his house, his wife was firing the oven, whereupon he ascended and sat in it [He tried killing himself]. ‘What means this?’ she demanded. He told her what had befallen. ‘It was I,’ she assured him; but he paid no heed to her until she gave him proof. ‘Nevertheless,’ said he, ‘my intention was evil.’That righteous man [R. Hiyya b. Ashi] fasted all his life, until he died thereof.

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