The Talmud, by Joseph Barclay, , at sacred-texts.com
The Oral LawIts TransmissionNames of the "Receivers"MaximsApothegmsWisdom of the Wise.
1. Moses received the Oral Law from Sinai and delivered it to Joshua, and Joshua delivered it to the elders, and the elders to the prophets, and the prophets to the men of the great synagogue. 1 They said three things, "be deliberate in judgment, raise up many disciples, and make a fence for the law."
2. Simon the Just was one of the last of the men of the great synagogue. He used to say that the world stood on three things"on the law, the service, and the acts of the pious."
3. Antigonus of Soco received (the law) from Simon the Just. He used to say, "be not as servants, who serve their master for the sake of receiving a reward, but be like servants who serve their master without the view of receiving a reward; and let the fear of heaven be upon you."
4. José, son of Joezer of Zeredah, and José, son of Jochanan of Jerusalem, received (the oral law) from him. José, son of Joezer of Zeredah, said, "let thy house be a house of
assembly for the wise, and dust thyself with the dust of their feet, and drink their words in thirstiness."
5. José, son of Jochanan of Jerusalem, said, "let thy house be wide open, and let the poor be thy children. Discourse not much with women, not even with thy wife, much less with thy neighbour's wife." Hence the wise men say, "whoever converses much with women brings evil on himself, neglects the study of the law, and at last will inherit hell."
6. Joshua, son of Perechiah, and Natai the Arbelite received the oral law from them. Joshua, son of Perechiah, said, "get thyself a master, and obtain a companion, and judge all mankind with favour."
7. Natai the Arbelite said, "withdraw from an evil neighbour, and associate not with the wicked, neither flatter thyself to escape punishment."
8. Judah, son of Tabia, and Simon, son of Shetach, received it of them. Judah, son of Tabai, said, "consider not thyself as the arranger of the law, and when the parties are before thee in judgment, consider them as guilty; but when they are departed from thee, consider them as innocent, when they have acquiesced in the sentence."
9. Simon, son of Shetach, said, "be extremely careful in the examination of witnesses, and be cautious in thy words, lest they from thence should learn to utter a falsehood."
10. Shemaiah and Abtalyon 1 received it from them. Shemaiah said, "love thy business and hate dominion, and be unknown to government."
11. Abtalyon said, "ye Sages, be cautious of your words, lest ye be doomed to captivity, and carried captive to a place of bad waters, and the disciples who follow you should drink of them, by which means the name of God may be profaned."
12. Hillel and Shamai received it of them. Hillel said, "be thou of the disciples of Aaron, who loved peace, and pursued peace, so that thou love mankind, and allure them to the study of the law."
13. He used to say, "whoever aggrandises his name, destroys his name, and he who does not increase his knowledge in the law, shall be cut off, and he who does not study the law, is deserving of death, and he who serves himself with the crown of the law, will perish."
14. He also said, "if I perform not good works myself, who can do them for me?" and "when I consider myself, what am I?" and "if not now, when shall I?"
15. Shamai said, "let thy study of the law be fixed, say little and do much, and receive all men with an open, pleasant face."
16. Rabban Gamaliel said, "procure thyself an instructor, that thou mayest not be in doubt, and accustom not thyself to give tithes by conjecture."
17. Simon, his son, said, "I have all my life been brought up among wise men, and never found anything so good for the body as silence, neither is the study of the law the principal thing, but its practice," and "whoever multiplies words causes sin."
18. Rabban Simon, son of Gamaliel, said, "the duration of the world depends on three things, justice, truth, and peace, as is said, "judge truth, and justice, and peace in your gates."
218:1 The men of the great synagogue were the "Scribes" who flourished from the return out of Babylon till the Græco-Syrian persecution, B.C. 220. Their object was to preserve the sacred text with scrupulous minuteness, and make a "fence" for the law. They added numberless directions for the better observance of the old precepts. The Scribes were succeeded by the "learners," the "repeaters," and the "master builders," who continued from B.C. 220 till A.D. 220. In their time fall the Maccabean revolution, the birth of Christ, the overthrow of the temple by Titus, the rebellion or Barchochba, the complete destruction of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the Jews.
219:1 Supposed by some to be the Sameas and Pollio of Josephus. Though others try to identify Sameas with Simon, son of Shetach.Antiq. xiv. ix. 4, etc.