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In the gmara kidushin 81b according to the translation http://www.dafyomi.co.il/kidushin/points/kd-ps-081.htm the following story happened

(h)Whenever R. Chiya bar Ashi would fall on his face in supplication, he would ask Hash-m to save him from the Yetzer Ra. Once, his wife heard this. She was surprised, for he had separated from her a long time ago due to old age. (i)One day while he was learning outside, she disguised herself and passed in front of him repeatedly. He asked who she was. She said that she was Charusa (the town harlot). He asked to sin with her. (j)When he returned home, he wanted to kill himself. His wife convinced him that it was her. Still he fasted the rest of his life, for he had intended to sin.

What was the motivation of Rav Chiya to seperate from his wife and praying every day to be saved from the yetzer hara instead of living a healthy marriage?

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Rashi there says that he separated from her because they were too old to have marital relations.

דפריש מינאי - מחמת זקנה ומה ירא מיצר הרע:

"That he separated from me" - because of old age. So why is he afraid of the yetzer hara?

That is, if he had a yetzer hara to sin, he would not have separated from her. Nevertheless, as we see from how the story unfolds, he had such a yetzer hara anyway.

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    I understood it differently. Rashi explained that his wife thought that he seperated from her because of his age but after his prayers she understood that it was not the case. So what was his ultimate reason ? – David Michael Gang May 26 '17 at 13:55
  • Do you have a problem with my reading, or do you just prefer yours which has your problem over mine which doesn't? – DonielF May 26 '17 at 14:10
  • It is from the continuation of the story. Obviously he was not too old for having relations. – David Michael Gang May 26 '17 at 14:17
  • Or he just had a strong yetzer. – DonielF May 26 '17 at 14:30
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    I looked at Shabbat in the shotenstein Gmore. Essentially Rashi can be understood in two ways. One is like i understood and this is how the maharsha understands it.Your explanation is how the igros moshe understood it. The igros moshe explains that he was to old to have relations because otherwise he would transgress the Ona. But this was given a weak yezer hara. With a strong Yezer Hara he was capable. He wasnot too old. This is in even haezer 4th part siman 65 ot jud. – David Michael Gang May 27 '17 at 19:41

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