Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pleasure is desirable but governed by mitzvos

Copyrighted translation from Daas Torah

Shaloh (Asarah Mamaros): It says in Chullin (109b), "Yalsa the wife of Rav Nachman said to him, 'It is known that all that the Torah has prohibited there is something similar to it that has been permitted. For example, blood is prohibited while liver is permitted,… – I want to [know what it is like to] eat meat cooked in milk.' Rav Nachman had the cook prepare fried udder for her." It is puzzling why such a distinguished woman such as Yalsa was discussing such an apparently trivial topic with her husband. It is doubly puzzling why the gemora itself would mention such a discussion. …My father explained that this a very important issue. For every prohibited pleasure a person should be aware of the fact that it is pleasurable and yet avoid enjoying it only because G d has prohibited it. R Shimon ben Gamliel (Toras Cohanim Kedoshim): A person should not say it is impossible to eat pork but rather say that it is possible but what can I do since G d decreed me not to eat it. This is what Yalsa was saying when she stated that all that the Torah prohibited there was something similar that was permitted. Yalsa wanted to know what she was missing by observing the prohibition of meat and milk. By knowing what pleasure she was prohibited, she could have a genuine desire for the prohibited pleasure so that she could refrain from solely because of G d's command. Because the Torah prohibited eating meat and milk together she wanted to know what it tasted like so she could genuinely say that she wanted to eat meat and milk together but G-d had prohibited it. To this her husband answered that the taste was the same as fried udder. This explanation of my father is very sweet.


  1. "it is impossible to eat pork"
    Is this the correct translation of אי אפשי?

  2. Doesn't אי אפשי mean "I don't want"

  3. Shouldn't YALTA be transliterated either as "Yalta" or "Yolesa" (I.e., if the first syllable is a komatz, the lamed has a sheva na and the tav does not have a dagesh; if, however the first syllable is a pasach, it is short, the lamed as has sheva nach and the tav has a dagesh)


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