There are three whom the Holy One--blessed be He!--Himself proclaims
virtuous:--The unmarried man who lives in a city and does not sin; the
poor man who restores a lost thing which he has found to its owner; and
the rich man who pays the tithes of his increase unostentatiously. Rav
Saphra was a bachelor, and he dwelt in a large city. A disciple of the
wise once descanted upon the merits of a celibate life in the presence
of Rava and this Rav Saphra, and the face of the latter beamed with
delight. Remarking which, Rava said to him, "This does not refer to such
a bachelor as thou art, but to such as Rabbi Chanena and Rabbi Oshaia."
They were single men, who followed the trade of shoemakers, and dwelt in
a street mostly occupied by _meretrices_, for whom they made shoes; but
when they fitted these on, they never raised their eyes to look at their
faces. For this the women conceived such a respect for them, that when
they swore, they swore by the life of the holy Rabbis of the land of
THE TALMUD, _Psachim_, fol. 113, cols, 1, 2.