Monday, February 25, 2008

The Scourge of Poverty

A man had vowed not to marry a woman because she was ugly. She was taken to the house of Rabbi Yishmael and made to look beautiful. Rabbi Yishmael asked the man if she was the woman he had vowed not to marry and he said no, and the vow was annulled. At that hour Rabbi Yishmael wept and said "the daughters of Israel are beautiful but poverty makes them ugly". And when Rabbi Yishmael died the daughters of Israel mourned him and recited the verse "O daughters of Israel, weep for Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and finery, who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold" (2 Samuel 1:24). Nedarim 66b.

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