Parshas Ki Seitzei
During the frightening antics of battle, a warrior’s moral defenses become weakened. He is now more susceptible to temptation. Seeing women of beauty, the soldier may conjure an irresistible urge to live with them. The Torah recognizing this drowning desire actually permits the soldier to marry the captives.
This is not the only instance of an overwhelming temptation. The Psalmist says “the Evil one, eyes the righteous, and attempts to kill him, but Hashem won’t leave him in his control” this means, when man’s evil inclination increases, G-d assists him to overcome this passion. Why does Hashem sometimes “permit” the sin and on other occasions help us resist temptation?
Hashem lets man field his own way, hence the divine method depends on the development of the inclination. If the temptation is of human origin, as is the case with war and battle, Hashem’s says I will not aid to suppress the craving, but since it is unconquerable, I will permit the forbidden. However where the lust is the work of the evil inclination, Hashem says if you do all you can, I will help you defeat the weakness even if it requires supernatural means.
The Torah recognizes exceptional circumstances; however barring the exceptional, man can exercise self control.
Life takes precedence over the laws of Yom Kippur. In a case where an expectant mother whose unborn child smells food and the resulting desire to taste that food is not satisfied, the lives of both mother and child are in danger. Therefore she must be given to eat from that food until she recovers.
The Sages nevertheless attempted to satisfy the hunger of such a woman without violating the ban of eating on Yom Kippur. Two incidents are recounted by the Talmud:
When such a case came before Rebbi (Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi 135-219) he instructed: whisper to the expectant mother that “Today is Yom Kippur.” This was done and the unborn child’s hunger ceased. Rebbi then quoted Jeremiah regarding that child: “Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you…” That child grew up to be the great sage Rabbi Yochanan.
When such a case came before Rabbi Chanina (2nd Century), he gave the same instruction: whisper to the expectant mother that “Today is Yom Kippur” but the fetus did not respond until his mother was actually fed. Rabbi Chanina quoted the words of Psalmist in regard to this child: “Evil ones are strangers to Hashem from the womb” The child turned out to be the wicked Shabsai, he cornered the market on a basic commodity, and then charged poor people exorbitant prices for the food.
One should not sit outside on Shabbos with the intention of tanning, one may sit outside with no intention to tan.