A Page from Shay Lamora (100a)

And [the Rabbis] learned [that the irascible man is subject to hemorrhoids] from the verse which said: And the Lord will give you an angry heart, and failing of eyes, and fainting of soul. Deuteronomy 28.65 The intent of the verse is that when the trait of anger, which is the "angry heart", is in a man, he brings on himself "failing of eyes and fainting of soul," and these plagues are the outcome of the affliction of tehorim, [the word which replaces the word for hemorrhoids in Deuteronomy 28.27 in the massoretic text of the Bible, since the original word was not considered decent to use in public] which is the hemorrhoids we have mentioned.

Furthermore, our Masters said there in the Gemara Babylonian Talmud, Nedarim 22a: Rabbah the son of Rab Huna said: At the time of man's anger even the Shekhina is of no account before him (God forbid!) The meaning of the statement is that (God forbid!) he does not consider whether the Shekhina of him who is high and exalted is before him or not. As the verse said: The evil man in the height of his anger does not seek [God]; all his thoughts are: there is no God. Psalms 10.4

In the same place in the Talmud they tell a tale about two Jews from the country of Hozae [modern Khuzestan, the Elam of the Bible] who were making a journey to the Land of Israel. On their way they met Ulla [a famous Talmud teacher of the third century C.E.] One of those two Jews was angry at his companion, and on account of the greatness of the anger that was in him, he seized his sword and slit his throat from ear to ear. He turned his face to Ulla and said to him: "I did very well to remove him from the world because the entire way he was angry with me." Ulla stayed silent and did not answer a word, because he was fearful that he would get angry again, and do to him as he did to that Jew his companion whom he slaughtered. From this tale a person can draw a moral and know that the sin of bloodshed comes from the trait of anger (may it be far from us!)

And there occurred a certain awesome event which is mentioned by the author of the book Sefer Hasidim (peace be upon him!) [Sefer Hasidim is attributed to Rabbi Judah the Pious of Regensburg, died 1217.] There was a certain man who gave great honor to his child, more than normal. When the father of that child fell ill and was close to death, he called his wife and said to her: "Do me a favor. Call to me my dear son, that he may sit before me for an hour, because I want to unburden myself and tell him a couple of things." Immediately she ran and brought his son to him and he sat down before him. And he spoke and said: My son, be it known to you that I know there is no remedy [for my sickness …]

Notes

The word  favor may be seen five lines from the bottom, fourth word.

Translated from the Algerian Judeo-Arabic by Alan D. Corré. The interpretations of the Biblical verses differ from current translations; this is the normal latitude extended to the expositor. In any case the meaning of Psalms 10.4 is far from clear, the crux interpretionis being the Hebrew word 'af   which may mean "nose" in which case the verse would refer to the sin of pride (as in the colloquial English phrase "to have one's nose stuck in the air") or "anger" as the expositor here understands it. In the Anchor Bible, Father Dahood mangles this difficult verse with his customary verve in order to extract meaning from it.

The notion that disease has psychosomatic causes is frequent in rabbinic exegesis.


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Alan D. Corré
corre@uwm.edu