Tosfos on Chullin 5b explains that Tzaddikim get a special protection from eating improper foods:

צדיקים עצמן לא כ"ש - תימה דהא אשכחן יהודה בן טבאי שהרג עד זומם בפ"ק דמכות (דף ה:) ור' ישמעאל שקרא והטה בפ"ק דשבת (דף יב:) ואור"י דדוקא במידי דאכילה אין הקב"ה מביא תקלה על ידן שגנאי הוא לצדיק שאוכל דבר איסור

What is it about improper foods that warrant such a unique protection? Why is the issur of eating such foods worse than, let's say, murder, of which there is no special protection?

  • 1
    THe logic seems to be rather simple: to be a Tzadik one should refrain from sinning; eating non-Kosher food causes sinning (unintentionally); G-d helps Tzaddikim not to sin unintentionally.
    – Al Berko
    Sep 17, 2019 at 20:13
  • @AlBerko but why specifically regarding the sin of eating non-Kosher food? There are surely other sins....
    – Bochur613
    Sep 17, 2019 at 20:14
  • It does not say "specifically", I'm sure it can refer to other unintentional sins, it just seems to be pretty common - like small bugs.
    – Al Berko
    Sep 17, 2019 at 20:16
  • Huh? דדוקא במידי דאכילה אין הקב"ה
    – Bochur613
    Sep 17, 2019 at 20:17
  • 2
    This might not be Tosfos' answer here, but in other locations, eating non-Kosher food is written as causing some (seemingly irreparable and unavoidable) 'Timtum Halev'. Hashem gives an extra protection to Tzadikim to avoid them even eating it accidentally. A search on Sefaria brings up several relevant sources, I don't have time to delve deeper, but feel free to peruse at your leisure: sefaria.org/… Sep 17, 2019 at 20:27

1 Answer 1


This question is addressed in Einei Shmuel, a commentary on Aggadic passages:

וכתבו התו' דהיינו דווקא במידי דאכילה ואמר מורי ז"ל הטעם דמה שמשמרין מאכילת איסור דווקא דהלא באמת שוגג אין כאן איסור כיון דלא ידע מהאיסור ול"ש בשוגג תקלה כיון דאינו עושה איסור כלל אמנם אם יאכל אדם סם המות אף דהאכילה היה בשוגג בוודאי יזיק לו ויימות ממנו וכ"כ באכילת איסור שמטמטם הלב והנפש והוא כסם המות להנפש לזאת אפי' בשוגג אף דלא יהיה עליו עונש מהאיסור אבל הנפש יזיק כסם המות ולכך מציל אותו השי"ת מזה עכד"ק

And Tosafot wrote that this is specifically by something of food. And my teacher of blessed memory said that the reason that they protect from forbidden foods specifically is that in truth there is no prohibition here since it was unintentional and he didn't know of the prohibition, and "ruin" is not applicable to an unintentional violation, since no prohibition was done at all. However, if a person eats poison, even if the eating was unintentional he will certainly get injured and die from it. The same is true by forbidden eating, for it sullies the heart and soul and is like poison for the soul. Therefore, even if done unintentionally and even though there is no punishment from the prohibition, but the soul is damaged like by poison. And therefore God saves him from this. End quote.

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