I am Rabbi Kaba, aka Red Pill Rabbi, studying the Bible and Jewish wisdom and sharing how modern men can use it to improve their lives.  This site is for adults who are not bothered by adult content.

While I intend to teach other Jews, You don’t have to be Jewish to benefit from our wisdom.  You don’t even have to believe in God.  Most of my work is about self improvement, relationships, and masculinity.

I try, with God’s help, to share brief insights from our daily Talmud study, the “Daf Yomi“, as well as longer essays on the Bible and Jewish holidays.


Daily dose of wisdom, Nazir 7: it feels like forever

Our sages analyze a new Mishnah:

One who said: I am hereby a Nazir once long term, or: I am hereby a Nazir once short term, or even: I am hereby a Nazir from now until the end of the world, in all these cases he is a Nazir for thirty days.

The Gemara explains that the reason someone saying “from now until the end of the world” only intends a default 30 day period is that for him the restrictions of being a Nazir make it feel like forever.

Time is relative, for some people sitting through a movie seems like a long time, while for others it flies by. It is important to gain awareness of what activities feel arduous and grueling for you, so you can approach these tasks with a proper attitude. For example, it may be wise to put on an educational podcast or class while washing your car or trimming your hedges.

Other people may have a wildly different experience of the same event. If you are trying to impress someone, be on the lookout for signs that they are suffering through your plans rather than enjoying them. Have a backup with a change of scenery prepared. Bringing people to multiple venues can keep things fresh and exciting.

Daily dose of wisdom, Nazir 6: part of a day

The Mishnah teaches that the default and shortest period of Nazirut is 30 days. The sages in the gemara debate if this means that the Nazir observes 29 days and then brings his offerings and gets his hair cut on day 30, or if he needs 30 days as a Nazir.

The Talmud cites a rule that someone who vowed two successive periods as a Nazir can take his haircut and bring his offerings on days 30 and 59. This would seem to prove the opinion that he only needs 29 actual days.

However, there is a concept that when counting days, a portion of the day counts as a full day. Therefore, day 30 could be considered both the last day of the first Nazirut and the first day of the second.

When you have a day, even half a day, or just a couple of hours, make good use of it. Time is the only resource that is not renewable. You can never get back a wasted afternoon or a morning spent sleeping in.

If you have a few minutes to spare, you can do some basic exercises to get your blood flowing, preparing yourself for whatever you need to do next. If you have half an hour, a power nap can recharge you for the remainder of the day.

Our sages would memorize teachings and recite and review them while doing other tasks or walking to their destination. When your personal growth is your focus, you don’t want to waste a second.

There is another implication of part of the day is like the whole day. If you have indeed wasted a day, and there is only a little time left, turn it around and make effective use of whatever minutes remain. Ending a bad day on a good note has powerful effects.

Daily dose of wisdom, Nazir 5: a permanent Nazir

Our sages compare a Nazir Shimshon, meaning like the ancient hero and judge Samson (Judges ch 13-16), to a Nazir Olam or permanent Nazir. A Nazir like Samson can never cut his hair but can touch dead bodies, as Samson himself fought and killed Philistines to defend his people.


A permanent Nazir is allowed to cut his hair when it become a burden, and then bring offerings at the Temple and resume his vow of Nazirut. Our sages debate if the eligibility to lighten the hair applies after 30 days or only after an entire year.

Even if he must wait a year to cut his hair, this “permanent” Nazir does not seem any different than someone who vows a regular Nazirut for a full year, then makes another year long vow after he concludes the first one. So why have a separate category for a permanent Nazir?

If you want to make a specific change for the rest of your life, this takes a much greater level of commitment than trying it out for a shorter period of time. Committing to a set of higher standards on a permanent basis can be daunting. Depending on where you are holding in life, it may be more appropriate to try out something new for just a week or a month.

Daily dose of wisdom, Nazir 4: self awareness and problem solving

The Talmud notes that a Nazir who becomes ritually contaminated and needs to start his Nazirut again may only reluctantly be continuing. The Gemara brings this amazing story about one such Nazir who had no reluctance:

Shimon HaTzaddik said: In all my days as a priest, I never ate the guilt-offering of a ritually impure Nazir, apart from that of one man who came from the South, who had beautiful eyes and a fine countenance, and his locks were arranged in curls. I said to him: My son, what did you see which would cause you to destroy this beautiful hair?

He said to me: I was a shepherd for my father in my town, and went to draw water from the spring, and I examined my reflection. My evil inclination quickly rose against me and sought to drive me from the world (he realized with his looks he could seduce many women).

I said to my evil inclination: Empty one! Why are you proud in a world that is not yours, as your end is to be maggots and worms. I swear by the Temple service that I will become a Nazir and shave you for the sake of Heaven.

I arose and kissed him on his head, and said to him: May there be more Nazirites like you in Israel (with noble intentions and without regretting their vow of even if they became impure).

This young man was not really aware of his physical endowments until he examined his reflection in a well. He realized that his flowing locks of hair was a big part of his attractive look. To resist using his appearance for evil, he committed to remove them. Since becoming a Nazir requires growing then cutting off hair, that vow was a good method to force him to cut off his hair.

Nowadays mirrors are common and even men use them to maintain appearances. However, many men are still unaware that they may have positive aspects, be they physical, intellectual, or spiritual. Sometimes a man doesn’t know what he is capable of until he is in a situation where he needs to rely on his strengths to succeed. It is important to work on knowing yourself and determining your personal assets and liabilities.

In addition, when you find something in yourself or your environment that is a source of temptation, it is important to work on removing it right away. This may require throwing alluring junk food in the trash, or setting up filters on your internet connection. It is vital to do something right away when you realize the problem, instead of simply ignoring the issue.

Daily dose of wisdom, Nazir 3: go all the way

The Talmud examine a man who vows: I am hereby a nazir and from grape seeds, or: I am hereby a nazir to refrain from grape skins, or: From shaving, or: From contacting impurity. In all theses cases he is a full nazir with all details of nazirut upon him.

We see that you need to know all the details of what is required of you before you commit to a course of action. Some of us would like to emulate certain successful men, but don’t realize that they are putting in massive amounts of work on their self education, networking, or training. You may want your figure to resemble a certain athlete, but this may only be possible by adopting a very strict diet and exercise routine that may be impossible for your personal situation.

To get all the way, you need to be willing to go all the way. You first need to know exactly what is required to get where you want to be in life.

A vow of Nazirut is all or nothing, if a person merely wanted to vow against shaving he could do so without mentioning Nazir at all. So too, if you identify specific elements of an approach to life that work for you, try to adopt and implement them.

Daily dose of wisdom, Nazir 2: peer pressure

The Bible in Numbers 6:1–21 explains that a man or woman can become a Nazir, a status that requires abstaining from wine and ritual impurity, growing out one’s hair then cutting it when the period is complete. We will see that the minimum time period is 30 days.

The Gemara explains that really tractate Nazir should follow tractate Sotah, but is learned after Nedarim since scripture links them, as Nazir is a specific form of a Neder or oath. The link between Nazir and Sotah is that people would vow to become a Nazir in response to seeing a Sotah. We will learn that a Sotah is a woman who went astray by going behind closed doors with another man. She must be tested in the Temple to determine if there was actually infidelity, and if she is guilty the test kills her.

But why is someone else’s wife going astray your problem and a reason to make a vow against drinking?

Human beings are blessed with free will but also bound by social pressure. If other people in your area are engaging in behaviors that undermine their marriage, simply witnessing this undermines your own marital stability. When you see how someone else’s relationship self destructed, you need to take preventative action for yourself.

If your society is breaking down so the point that married women are willing to go behind closed doors with other men (even without any physical contact) then you need to do something to protect your own life.

The first Mishnah teaches that someone can say “I will be like this” and become a Nazir. The sages in the Gemara explain that this rule applies when a Nazir was walking in front of the vower.

This is another example of the power of social pressure. A man may be thinking of becoming a Nazir but not be fully committed until he sees that someone else has already done it.

Often men are reluctant to try something new until they see that other men are doing it already. This is a reason to get a coach or tutor or offer to be an apprentice when learning a new sport or skill.

Daily dose of wisdom, Ketuvot 91: the man behind the door

The Talmud cites a shocking case where a man suspected of immorality with women was in the home of a married woman. When her husband arrived home, he hid behind the door. Peeking out, he saw that the husband was about to eat some cress that had been tasted by a venomous snake. This would endanger his life. The suspected adulterer yelled out to the husband and prevented him from being poisoned.

Our sages debate if this act to protect the husband proves that he did not sleep with the wife. At first glace it would seem that if the second man was trying to get with the married woman, he would be happy for the husband to eat the poison. Saving the husband shows he was not intimate with the wife.

However, it could be that the relationship is exciting to him precisely because it is illicit. If the husband died then it would no longer be as exciting and novel. However, our sages conclude that if he tells the husband about the poison then he didn’t actually commit adultery.

People tend to operate in their own best interest and also tend to think one step at a time. Therefore, if the suspected adulterer had done the deed, his first thought would be to remove the husband from the picture.

It requires practice to consider alternate explanations for human behaviors that go beyond simple self interest. One of the great benefits of studying the Talmud is that out sages show us how to be analytical and see the bigger picture.

Daily dose of wisdom, Nedarim 90: embarrassment vs gain

The Talmud cites an amazing Mishnah that certain claims made by a woman in court would always be believed. These claims required the woman to get divorced from her husband.

Originally our sages thought women would never make up such stories. After all, it is embarrassing to state those claims in public and some may cause people to doubt the parentage of her children. Therefore, since she was willing to bring shame upon herself and family, such claims should be trusted.

It turned out that a few women would actually exploit the default belief in their story, when they wanted to collect their marriage contract from their first husband and marry someone else. Therefore, our sages changed the system. Now the women would not be trusted without corroboration even when their claims were embarrassing.

When you need to evaluate what another person is saying, do think about if the information they are sharing is potentially damaging to their own reputation. That is evidence that it is indeed truthful.

However, you also need to step back and look at the bigger picture. Some people will be willing to say things that make themselves look bad to win financial gain, or to also make someone else look worse. Certain personalities are happy to go down with the ship if they sink other people as well.

Daily dose of wisdom, Nedarim 89: plan for married life

As we wrap up Nedarim, our sages analyze an unmarried woman who vowed to become a Nazir when she got married, or the case of a married woman who vowed to do so when her marriage ends. In such cases, Rabbi Akiva says the husband can only annul when the vow was made during the marriage.

Rabbi Akiva learns from scripture that the husband’s power of annulment is only active during the marriage. If a yet to be married woman made a vow that was triggered by marriage, he cannot undo that. She may have made grand plans prior to marriage, and he is now powerless to stop them.

This is a reminder that a couple intending to marry needs to work out in advance their expectations for married life. If the wife intends to stay home while the husband works, fine, but they should discuss what his responsibility will be towards upkeep and childcare, and if she will do anything on the side to bring in money.

Of course the couple can and should reassess how things are working out. The idea is to have a general picture of how life is going to work before actually starting a life together.

Some young people enter a marriage thinking their dreams will become reality, and unrealistic expectations create a nightmare.

Daily dose of wisdom, Nedarim 88: the generous father in law

The Talmud examines this scenario:

A man vowed that his son-in-law can have no benefit from him. Now he wishes to give his daughter money. He cannot do this directly, as anything acquired by a married woman belongs to her husband, but he can say to her: This money is hereby given to you as a gift, on condition that your husband has no rights to it, only that which you pick up and place in your mouth.

As we learned in Ketuvot, the default situation in a Jewish marriage is that whatever resources come to a married couple legally belong to the husband, who has a corollary responsibility to use everything for the good of the family. Jewish law requires that the husband feed and clothe his wife appropriately and put a roof over her head. This law applies even when the whole financial burden is upon him, and all she adds to the household balance sheet is a few balls of yarn.

So in theory this woman is already being taken care of, but her father wants to give her more. Now, he could have given her a kind of dowry that is her personal items to use. There is also a certain type of dowry that a husband can make use of or invest but must return the full value of if the marriage ends.

What this case describes is something more extreme. Here, the wife’s father wants nothing to do with her husband and has vowed that he get no benefit from him. So he doesn’t even want to give extra dowry since the husband will have title to it.

However, he still cannot give his daughter an independent source of wealth, only money for food. Since she is already getting food from her husband, she can sell what she gets from her husband and have some extra spending money.

The general idea here is that our sages wanted a method for a father in law to benefit his daughter without also benefiting a son in law that he hates. However, they did this in a way that does not allow the father in law to undermine the husband’s role as the primary provider.

Married people need to have proper respect for in laws but also an understanding that their goals and interests may not align with our own. Parents and in laws may be generous but their gifts may come with certain expectations or conditions.

It may be healthier for everyone involved for the married couple to work on becoming financially independent so they are able to say no to a gift from the older generation that causes a burden on their own relationship.