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The Talmud, by Joseph Barclay, [1878], at

p. 228


1. The son of Zoma said, "Who is wise? He who is willing to receive instruction from all men, as is said, 'Than all my teachers.' 1 Who is mighty? He who subdues his evil imagination, as is said, 'He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.' 2 Who is rich? He who rejoices in his lot, as is said, 'For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands, happy shalt thou be and it shall be well with thee;' 3 happy shalt thou be in this world, and it shall be well with thee in the world to come. Who is honourable? He who honours mankind, as is said, 'For them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.'" 4

2. Ben Asai said, "run to the performance of a slight precept as though it were a grave one, and flee from transgression, for the performance of a precept causes another precept, and transgression causes transgression, as the reward of a commandment is a commandment, and the reward of transgression is transgression."

3. He used to say "despise not all men, nor oppose all things, for there is no man who has not his hour, neither is there anything that has not its place."

4. Rabbi Levitas of Jabneh said, "be very humble of spirit, as all the hope of man is to be food for worms." Rabbi Johanan, son of Beroka, said, "whosoever profanes God's name in secret, will be punished publicly, whether it be, done ignorantly or presumptuously, it is all one in the profanation of God's name."

5. Rabbi Ishmael, his son, said, "he who learns that he may be able to teach others, will be enabled to study and to teach others; but he who studies in order to perform the precepts, will be enabled to study, teach, observe, and do the commandments." Rabbi Zadok said, "make not the study of the law subservient to thy aggrandizement, neither make a hatchet thereof to hew therewith." And

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thus said Hillel, "whosoever receiveth any emolument from the words of the law deprives himself of life."

6. Rabbi José said, "he who honours the law, his person shall be honoured by mankind; and he who profanes the law, his person shall be dishonoured by mankind."

7. Rabbi Ishmael, his son, said, "he who avoids being a judge, delivers himself from enmity, robbery, and false swearing; but he who is arrogant in judging, is a proud wicked fool."

8. He used to say, "judge not alone, for none ought to judge alone save One; neither say, receive ye my opinion, for they are at liberty to accept it, but thou canst not compel them."

9. Rabbi Jonathan said, "whosoever performs the law in poverty, shall in the end perform it in riches; but he who neglects the law for riches, will in the end neglect it for poverty."

10. Rabbi Meier said, "diminish your worldly affairs and engage in the study of the law, and be humble in spirit before all men; and if thou neglect the law, there are many hindrances to oppose thee, but if thou hast laboured in the study of the law, there is much reward to be given thee."

11. Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Jacob, said, "he who performs but one precept gains for himself an advocate; 1 and he who commits a single sin, gains for himself an accuser; 2 repentance and good deeds are a shield before the divine punishment." Rabbi Johannan Hasandelar said, "every congregation formed for God will be permanent, but that which is not for God will not be permanent."

12. Rabbi Eliezer, son of Shamua, said, "let the honour of thy disciple be as dear to thee as thine own, and the honour of thy companion as the fear of thy master, and the fear of thy master as the fear of God."

13. Rabbi Judah said, "be careful in doctrine, for an error in doctrine is presumptuous sin." Rabbi Simon said,

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[paragraph continues] "there are three crowns—the crown of the law, the crown of the priesthood, and the crown of monarchy, but the crown of a good name is better than all of them."

14. Rabbi Nehorai said, "flee to a place where the law is studied, and do not say that it will follow thee, for thy companions will establish it for thee, and lean not to thine own understanding."

15. Rabbi Janai said, "the prosperity of the wicked and the chastisements of the righteous are not in our hands." Rabbi Mathia, son of Charash, said, "be forward to greet all men, and be rather as the tail of the lion, than as the head of the foxes."

16. Rabbi Jacob said, "this world may be likened to a courtyard before the world to come, therefore prepare thyself in the hall, to enter into the dining-room."

17. He used to say, "one hour employed in repentance and good deeds in this world is better than the whole life in the world to come; and one hour's refreshment of spirit in the world to come, is better than the whole life in this world."

18. Rabbi Simon, son of Eleazar, said, "try not to pacify your neighbour in the moment of his anger, and do not console him while his dead lies before him; inquire not of him in the moment of his vowing, nor desire to see him in the time of his calamity."

19. The younger Samuel used to say, "rejoice not when thine enemy falls, and let not thy heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and it be evil in His sight, and He turn His wrath from him."

20. Elisha, son of Abuya, said, "he who teaches a child, is like to one who writes on clean paper; but he who teaches old people is like to one who writes on blotted paper." Rabbi José, the son of Judah, of a village near Babylon said, "to what may he who learns the law from little children be likened? To one who eats unripe grapes and drinks new wine." "And to what may he who learns the law from old men be likened? To one who eats ripe grapes and drinks old wine." Rabbi Meier said, "look not at the

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flask, but that which is therein, for there are new flasks full of old wine, and old flasks which have not even new wine in them."

21. Rabbi Eleazer Hakapher said, "envy, lust, and ambition take men out of the world."

22. He used to say, "those who are born are doomed to die, the dead to live, and the quick to be judged, to make us know, understand, and be informed that He is God. He is the Former, Creator, Omniscient, Judge, Witness, and Claimant, and He will judge thee hereafter, blessed be He; for in His presence there is no unrighteousness, forgetfulness, respect of persons, or acceptance of a bribe, for everything is His. Know also that everything is done according to the account, and let not thine evil imagination persuade thee that the grave is a place of refuge for thee, for against thy will wast thou formed, and against thy will wast thou born, and against thy will dost thou live, and against thy will shalt thou die, and against thy will must thou hereafter render an account, and receive judgment in the presence of the King of kings, the Holy God, blessed be He."


228:1 Ps. cxix. 99.

228:2 Prov. xvi. 32.

228:3 Ps. cxxviii. 2.

228:4 1 Sam. ii. 30.

229:1 The word in the original is the Greek παράκλητος. 1 John ii. 1.

229:2 The word used is the Greek, κατήγορος. Rev. xii. 10.

Next: Chapter V