Wine and Self-Knowledge

Sefardi Beit Sefer

Chapter 5, Law 3
“When the wise man drinks wine, he drinks only enough to accompany (lit., ‘soak’) the food in his innards. Anyone who becomes drunk is a sinner, is disgraced, and loses his wisdom. And if he becomes inebriated before the unlearned, he has desecrated the Divine Name. It is forbidden to drink in the afternoon, even a small amount, except as part of a meal, as drink which accompanies a meal does not intoxicate. [Thus, scholars] are only careful [to refrain] from wine after the meal.”

The Rambam here is continuing to discuss the more proper behavior appropriate for the Torah scholar. In this law, he recommends that the scholar be careful to avoid inebriation, especially in the presence of the unlearned. This law thus parallels many of the other laws of this chapter — advising the scholar to refrain from types of behavior not strictly speaking…

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