He who passes seven nights in succession without dreaming deserves to be called wicked.
Berachoth, fol. 14, col. 1.
Gehinnorn has seven names:--Sheol (Jonah ii. 2), Avadon (Ps. lxxxviii. ii), Shachath (Ps. xvi. 2), Horrible pit (Ps. xi. 2), Miry clay (Ps. xl. 2), the Shadow of death (Ps. cvii. 14), the Subterranean land.
Eiruvin, fol. 19, col. 1.
A dog in a strange place does not bark for seven years.
Ibid., fol. 61, col. 1.
Seven things were formed before the creation of the world:--The Law, Repentance, Paradise, Gehenna, the Throne of Glory, the Temple, and the name of the Messiah.
P'sachim, fol. 54, col. 1.
The Midrash Valkut (p. 7) enumerates the same list almost word for word, and the Targum of Ben Uzziel develops the tradition still further, while the Targum Yerushalmi fixes the date of the origin of the seven prehistoric wonders at "two thousand years before the creation of the world."
Seven things are hid from the knowledge of a man:--The day of death, the day of resurrection, the depth of judgment (i. e., the future reward or punishment), what is in the heart of his fellow-man, what his reward will be, when the kingdom of David will be restored, and when the kingdom of Persia will fall.
P'sachim, fol. 54, col. 2.
Seven are excommunicated before heaven:--A Jew who has no wife, and even one who is married but has no male children; and he that has sons but does not train them up to study the law; he who does not wear phylacteries on his forehead and upon his arm and fringes upon his garment, and has no mezuzah on his doorpost; and he who goes barefooted.
Ibid., fol. 113, col. 2.
There are seven skies:--Villon, Raakia, Shechakim, Zevul, Mason, Maachon, and Aravoth.
Chaggigah, fol. 12, col. 2.
Seven days before the Day of Atonement they removed the high priest from his own residence to the chamber of the President, and appointed another priest as his deputy in case he should meet with such an accident as would in capacitate him from going through the service of the day Rabbi Yehudah says they also had to betroth him to an other woman lest his own wife should die meanwhile, for it is said, "And he shall make an atonement for himself and for his house,"--his house, that is, his wife. In reference to this precautionary rule it was observed, there might then be no end to the matter (Rashi), should this woman die also.
Yoma, fol. 2, col. 1.
They associated with the high priest the senior elders of the Sanhedrin, who read over to him the agenda of the day, and then said to him, "My lord high priest, read thou for thyself; perhaps thou hast forgotten it, or maybe thou hast not learned it at all." On the day before the Day of Atonement he was taken to the East Gate when they
caused oxen, rams, and lambs to pass before him, that he might become well-versed and expert in his official duties. During the whole of the seven (preparatory) days neither victuals nor drink were withheld from him, but toward dusk on the eve of the Day of Atonement they did not allow him to eat much, for much food induces sleep. Then the elders of the Sanhedrin surrendered him to the elders of the priesthood, and these conducted him to the hall of the house of Abtinas, and there they swore him in; and after bidding him good-bye, they went away. In administering the oath they said, "My lord high priest, we are ambassadors of the Sanhedrin; thou art our ambassador and the ambassador of the Sanhedrin as well. We adjure thee, by Him who causes His name to dwell in this house, that thou alter not anything that we have told thee!" Then they parted, both they and he weeping. He wept because they suspected he was a Sadducee, and they wept because the penalty for wrongly suspecting persons is scourging. If he was a learned man he preached (during the night); if not, learned men preached before him. If he was a ready reader, he read; if not, others read to him. What were the books read over to him? Job, Ezra, and the Chronicles. Zechariah the son of Kevootal says, "I have often read before him the Book of Daniel." If he became drowsy, the juniors of the priestly order fillipped their middle fingers before him, and said, "My lord high priest, stand up and cool thy feet upon the pavement." Thus they kept him engaged till the time of slaughtering (the sacrifices). Yoma, fol. 18, cols. 1, 2; fol. 19, col. 2.
Sacerdos nascitur, non fit,--a priest is born, not made, we may truly say, just altering one word of a well-known proverb. His father was a priest, and so were his forefathers as far back as the time of Aaron; his sons and his sons' sons after him will belong to the priestly order, and so the name was far too often only the badge for exclusive and hereditary privilege. This rule, that applies to the priests, holds good also with regard to the Levites. (Berachoth, fol. 29, col. 1.)
There was a town in the land of Israel called Gophnith, where there were eighty couples of brother priests who married eighty couples of sister priestesses in one night.
Berachoth, fol. 44. col. 1.
Flay a carcass and take thy fee, but say not it is humiliating because I am a priest, I am a great man.
P'sachim, fol. 113, col. 1.
Philo Judæus, De Sac. Honor. (p. 833), says, "The hides of the burnt-offerings proved a rich perquisite of the priesthood."
The number of high priests who officiated in succession during the 410 years of the continuance of the first Temple was only eighteen, but the number who held office during the 420 years of the second Temple amounted to more than three hundred, most of them having died within a year after their entrance upon the office. The reason assigned by the Talmud for the long lives of the former and the short lives of the latter is the text given in Prov. x. 27, "The fear of the Lord prolongeth days, but the years of the wicked shall be shortened."
Yoma, fol. 9, col. 1.
Before a priest could be admitted into active service in the Temple he had to undergo bodily inspection at the hands of the syndicate of the Sanhedrin. If they found the least defect in his body, even a mole with hair upon it, he was ordered to dress in black and be dismissed; but if he was perfectly free from blemish, he was arrayed in white, and at once introduced to his brother priests and official duties.
Ibid., fol. 19, col. 1.
The daughters of a male proselyte who has married the daughter of a female proselyte are eligible to marry priests.
Yevamoth, fol. 57, col. 1.
If thou seest an impudent priest, think not evil of him for it is said (Hosea iv. 4), "Thy people are as they that strive with the priest" (see chap. ii. p. 25, Note c.).
Kiddushin, fol. 70, col. 2.
So long as there is a diadem on the head of the priest, there is a crown on the head of every man. Remove the diadem from the head of the high priest and you take away the crown from the head of all the people. (This is a Talmudic comment on Ezek. xxi. 31; A. Ver., 26.)
Gittin, fol. 7, col.
A king shaved his head every day, a high priest did the same once a week, and an ordinary priest once a month.
Sanhedrin, fol. 22, col. 2.
When a priest performs the service of the Temple in a state of defilement, his brother priests are not required to lead him before the tribunal, but the juniors of the priestly order are to drag him out into the hall and brain him with clubs.
Sanhedrin, fol. 81, col. 2.
When kings were anointed, the holy oil was laid on the forehead in the form of a Coronet, and when, says Rabbi Mansi bar Gadda, priests were anointed, the operation was performed in the shape of the Greek letter K.
Horayoth, fol. 12, col. 1.
A learned man who is of illegitimate birth is preferable to an ignorant priest.
Ibid., fol. 13, col. 1.
A priest who makes no confession during service has no part in the priesthood. (He forfeits his emoluments.)
Menachoth, fol. 18, col. 2.
The bald-headed, the dwarfed, and the blear-eyed are ineligible for the priesthood.
Bechoroth, fol. 43, col. 2.
Rav Chisda says, "The portions that fall to the priests are not to be eaten except roasted and that with mustard," because Scripture says (Num. xviii. 8), "by reason of the anointing," i. e., by way of distinction, for only kings (who, of course, are anointed) eat roast meat with mustard.
Chullin, fol. 132, col. 2.
If a case of mistaken identity should occur between the child of a priestess and the child of her female slave, so that the one cannot be distinguished from the other, they both are to eat of the heave-offering and to receive one share from the threshing-floor. When grown up, each is to set the other free.
Gittin, fol. 42, col. 2.
From the old clothes of the priests the wicks were made for the lamps in the Temple.
Shabbath, fol. 21, col. 1.
Scripture authority is given in proof that the very garments possessed the faculty of making atonement for sin every whit as effectually as animal sacrifices. We are taught that the priest's shirt atones for murder, his drawers atone for whoredom, his mitre for pride, his girdle for evil thoughts, his breastplate for injustice, his ephod for idolatry;
his overcoat atones for slander, and the golden plate on his forehead atones for impudence.
Zevachim, fol. 88, col. 2.
All this and a great deal more on the subject may be found in the Selichoth for Yom Kippur.
For seven years was the land of Israel strewn with brimstone and salt.
Yoma, fol. 54, col. 1.
"Then shall we raise against him seven shepherds" (Micah. v. 5). Who are these seven shepherds? David in the middle: Adam, Seth, and Methuselah on his right hand; Abraham, Jacob, and Moses on his left.
Succah, fol. 52, col. 2.
Who were the seven prophetesses? The answer is, Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Huldah, and Esther.
Meggillah, fol. 14, col. 2.
It is lawful to look into the face of a bride for seven days after her marriage, in order to enhance the affection with which she is regarded by her husband, and there is no Halachah (or law) like this.
Kethuboth, fol. 17, col. 1.
The Rabbis are especially careful to caution their daughters to guard against such habits as might lower them in the regard of their husbands, lest they should lose aught of that purifying and elevating power which they exercised as maidens. it is thus, for instance, Rav Chisda counsels his daughters: "Be ye modest before your husbands, and do not even eat before them. Eat not vegetables or dates in the evening, and touch not strong drink." (Shabbath, fol. 40, col. 2.)
Once upon a time a demon in the shape of a seven-headed dragon came forth against Rav Acha and threatened to harm him, but the Rabbi threw himself on his knees, and every time he fell down to pray he knocked off one of these heads, and thus eventually killed the dragon.
Kiddushin, fol. 29, col. 2.
On the seventh of the month Adar, Moses died, and on that day the manna ceased to come down from heaven.
Ibid., fol. 38, col. 1.
The seventh of Adar is still, and has long been, kept sacred as the day of the death of Moses our Rabbi--peace be with him!--and that on the authority of T. B. Kiddushin (as quoted above), and Soteh,
fol. 10, col. 2; but Josephus (Book iv. chap. 8, sec. 49) most distinctly affirms that Moses died "on the first day of the month," and the Midrash on Esther may be quoted in corroboration of this statement. The probability is that the Talmud is right on this matter, but it is altogether wrong in connecting with this event the stoppage of the manna (see Josh. v. 10, 12).
Seven years did the nations of the world cultivate their vineyards with no other manure than the blood of Israel. Rabbi Chiya, the son of Abin, says that Rabbi Yehoshua, the son of Korcha, said, 'An old man, an inhabitant of Jerusalem, related to me that Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, killed in this valley 211 myriads (about 2,110,000), and in Jerusalem he slaughtered upon one stone 94 myriads (940,000), so that the blood flowed until it reached the blood of Zechariah, in order that that might be fulfilled which is said (Hosea iv. 2), "And blood toucheth blood."
Gittin, fol. 57, col. 1.
The seventh of Adar, on which Moses died, was the same day of the same month on which he was born.
Soteh, fol. 16, col. 2.
A male hyæna after seven years becomes a bat; this after seven years, a vampire; this after other seven years, a nettle; this after seven years more, a thorn; and this again after seven years is turned into a demon. If a man does not devoutly bow during the repetition of the daily prayer which commences, "we reverently acknowledge," his spine after seven years becomes a serpent.
Bava Kama, fol. 6, col. 1.
It is related of Benjamin the righteous, who was keeper of the poor-box, that a woman came to him at a period of famine and solicited food. "By the worship of God," he replied, "there is nothing in the box." She then exclaimed, "O Rabbi, if thou dost not feed me I and my seven children must needs starve." Upon which he relieved her from his own private purse. In course of time he fell ill and was nigh unto death. Then the ministering angels interceded with the Holy One--blessed be He!--and said, "Lord of the Universe, Thou hast said he that preserveth one single soul of Israel alive is as if he had preserved the life of the whole world; and shall Benjamin
the righteous, who preserved a poor woman and her seven children, die so prematurely?" Instantly the death-warrant which had gone forth was torn up, and twenty-two years were added to his life.
Bava Bathra, fol. 11, col. 1.
Seven prophets have prophesied to the nations of the world, and these were Balaam and his father, Job, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, Zophar the Naamathite, and Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite.
Ibid., fol. 15. col. 2.
There are seven who are not consumed by the worm in the grave, and these are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, and Benjamin the son of Jacob.
Ibid., fol. 17, col. 1.
Seven men form an unbroken series from the creation down to our own time. Methuselah saw Adam, Shem. saw Methuselah, Jacob saw Shem, Amram. saw Jacob, and Ahijah the Shilonite saw Amram, and Ahijah was seen by Elijah, who is alive to this day.
Ibid., fol. 121, col. 2.
Seven years' famine will not affect the artisan.
Sanhedrin, fol. 29, col. 1.
Seven years of pestilence will not cause a man to die before his time.
"And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were upon the earth' (Gen. vii. 10). Why this delay of seven days? Rav says they were the days of mourning for Methuselah; and this teaches us that mourning for the righteous will defer a coming calamity. Another explanation is, that the Holy One--blessed be He!--altered the course of nature during these seven days, so that the sun arose in the west and set in the east.
Ibid., fol. 108, col. 2.
The first step in transgression is evil thought, the second scoffing, the third pride, the fourth outrage, the fifth idleness, the sixth hatred, and the seventh an evil eye.
Derech Eretz Zuta, chap. 6.
Seven things cause affliction:--Slander, shedding of blood, perjury, adultery, pride, robbery, and envy.
Erchin, fol. 17, col. 2.
A ram has but one voice while alive but seven after be is dead. How so? His horns make two trumpets, his hip-bones two pipes, his skin can be extended into a drum, his larger intestines can yield strings for the lyre and the smaller chords for the harp.
Kinnim, chap. 3, mish. 6.
Rav Chisda said, The soul of a man mourns over him the first seven days after his decease; for it is said (Job XIV. 22), "And his soul shall mourn over him."
Shabbath, fol. 152, col. 2.
The Rabbis have taught that a man should not drink water on Wednesdays and Saturdays after night-fall, for if he does, his blood, because of risk, will be upon his own head. What risk? That from an evil spirit who on these evenings prowls abroad. But if the man be thirsty, what is he to do? Let him repeat over the water the seven voices ascribed to the Lord by David in Psalm xxix. 3-9, "The voice of the Lord is upon the waters," etc.
P'sachim, fol. 112, col. 1.
Seven precepts did Rabbi Akiva give to his son Rabbi Yehoshua:--(1.) My son, teach not in the highest place of the city; (2.) Dwell not in a city where the leading men are disciples of the wise; (3.) Enter not suddenly into thine own house, and of course not into thy neighbor's; (4.) Do not go about without shoes; (5.) Rise early and eat in summer time because of the heat, and in winter time because of the cold; (6.) Make thy Sabbath as a week-day rather than depend for support on other people; (7.) Strive to keep on close friendly terms with the man whom fortune favors (lit. on whom the present hour smiles). Rav Pappa adds, "This does not refer to buying or selling, but to partnership."
How is it proved that mourning should be kept up for seven days? It is written (Amos viii. 10), "I will turn your feasts into mourning," and these in many cases lasted seven days.
Moed Katon, fol. 20, col. 1,
Rav Chisda said there are seven kinds of gold:--Gold, good gold, the gold of Ophir, purified gold, beaten gold, shut-up gold, and gold of Parvain.
Yoma, fol. 44, col. 2.
The shut-up gold (1 Kings vi. 12) was of the purest and rarest quality, so that when it appeared in the market for sale, all shops in the locality were "shut up" for there could be no sale of any other gold before that. All gold-dealers "shut up" their shops in order to be present on so rare an occasion; and hence the name of this kind of gold--"shut-up gold."
Each day of the Feast of Tabernacles they walked round the altar once, and said, "O Lord, save us, we beseech Thee! O Lord, prosper us, we beseech Thee!" But on the last day they encompassed it seven times. On their departure they said, "Beauty belongeth to thee, O altar! Beauty belongeth to thee, O altar!"
Succah, fol. 45, col. 1.
It deserves to be noted here for the information of some of our readers that the words translated above, Save now, or Save, we beseech thee, are the original of our word Hosanna. The 25th and 26th verses of Psalm cxviii., which begin with this expression, were repeated at the Feast of Tabernacles; and hence the bundles of palm and willow branches (carried on this occasion), the prayers, and the festival itself, were so named, i. e. Hosanna.
The Tempter is known by seven distinctive epithets:--(1.) The Holy One--blessed be He!--calls him evil; as it is said, "For the imagination of man's heart is evil." (2.) Moses calls him uncircumcised; as it is said (Deut. x. 16), "Circumcise therefore the uncircumcised foreskin of your heart." (3.) David calls him unclean; as it is said (Ps. li. 10), "Create in me a clean heart, O God!" Consequently there must be an unclean one. (4.) Solomon calls him enemy; as it is said (Prov. XXV. 21, 22), "If thine enemy hunger, give him bread to eat; if he be thirsty, give him water to drink; for thus thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee" (i. e., oppose him with the law. The word rendered bread, is metaphorically taken for the law, Prov. ix. 5, so that give him water to drink means also the law, Isa. lv. 1--Rashi. And the Lord reward thee, read not reward, but cause him to make peace with thee, not to war against thee.) (5.) Isaiah calls him stumbling-block; as it is said (Isa. lvii. 14), "Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling-block out of the way of my people." (6.) Ezekiel calls him stone; as it is said
(Ezek. xxxvi. 26), "I will take away the heart of stone out of your flesh and I will give yon a heart of flesh." (7.) Joel calls him the hidden one; as it is said (Joel ii. 20), "I will remove far from you the hidden one," i. e., the tempter who remains hidden in the heart of man; "and I will drive him into a land barren and desolate," i. e., where the children of men do not usually dwell; "with his face toward the former sea," i. e., with his eyes set upon the first Temple, which he destroyed, slaying the disciples of the wise that were in it; "and his hinder part toward the latter sea," i. e., with his eyes set on the second Temple, which he destroyed, also slaying the disciples of the wise that were in it.
Succah, fol. 52, col. 1.
Once a Jewish mother with her seven sons suffered martyrdom at the hands of the Emperor. The sons, when ordered by the latter to do homage to the idols of the Empire, declined, and justified their disobedience by quoting each a simple text from the sacred Scriptures. When the seventh was brought forth, it is related that Cæsar, for appearance' sake, offered to spare him if only he would stoop and pick up a ring from the ground which had been dropped on purpose. "Alas for thee, O Cæsar!" answered the boy; "if thou art so zealous for thine honor, how much more zealous ought we to be for the honor of the Holy One--blessed be He!" On his being led away to the place of execution, the mother craved and obtained leave to give him a farewell kiss. "Go, my child," said she, "and say to Abraham, Thou didst build an altar for the sacrifice of one son, but I have erected altars for seven. sons." She then turned away and threw herself down, headlong from the roof and expired, when the echo of a voice was heard exclaiming (Ps. cxiii. 9), "The joyful mother of children" (or, the mother of the children rejoiceth).
Gittin, fol. 57, col. 2.
The story of this martyrdom is narrated at much greater length in, the Books of Maccabees (Book iii. chap. 7, Book iv. chaps. 8-18). In a Latin version the names are given, that of the mother Solomona, and her sons respectively Maccabeus, Aber, Machir, Judas, Achaz, Areth, while the hero of our Talmudic reference, the seventh and last, is styled Jacob. Josephus, Ant., Book xii. chap. 6, sec. 4, may also be referred to for further and varying details.
The land of Israel was not destroyed till the seven courts of judgment had fallen into idolatry, and these are they:--Jeroboam, the son of Nebat; Baasha, the son of Ahijah; Ahab, the son of Omri; Jehu, the son of Nimshi; Pekah, the son of Remaliah; Menahem, the son of Gadi; and Hoshea, the son of Elah; as it is written (Jer. xv. g), "She that hath borne seven languisheth: she hath given up the ghost; her sun is gone down while it is yet day she hath been ashamed and confounded."
Gittin, fol. 88, col. 1.
"He stood and measured the earth; he beheld and freed the Gentiles (A. V., he drove asunder the nations, Hab. iii. 6); he beheld that the seven precepts which the children of Noah accepted were not observed; he stood up and set their property free for the service of Israel."
Bava Kama, fol. 38, col. 1.
This is one of the weightier expositions met with from time to time in the Talmud, in which one recognizes a more than ordinarily deep and earnest feeling on the part of the commentator. The interpreter expresses himself as a man instinct with the exclusive Hebrew spirit, and as such claims his title to the whole inheritance. It is a claim abstractly defensible, and the just assertion of it is the basis of all rights over others. The only question here is whether the Jew alone is invested with the privilege. There can be little doubt that the principle on which he claims enfeoffment in the estate is a sound one, that the earth belongs in no case to the sons of Belial, only to the sons of God.
Seven things distinguish an ill-bred man and seven a wise man:--The wise man (1.) does not talk before his superior in wisdom and years; (2.) he does not interrupt another when speaking; (3.) he is not hasty to make reply; (4.) his questions are to the point, and his answers are according to the Halachah; (5.) his subjects of discourse are orderly arranged, the first subject first and the last last; (6.) if he has not heard of a thing, he says, I have not heard it; and (7.) he confesseth the truth. The characteristics of the ill-bred man are just the contrary of these.
Avoth, chap. 5, mish. 10.
If a man does not work during the six days of the week, he may be obliged to work all the seven.
Avoth d'Rab. Nathan, chap. ii.
Seven have no portion in the world to come:--A notary, a schoolmaster, the best of physicians, a judge who dispenses justice in his own native town, a wizard, a congregational reader (or law-officer), and a butcher.
Avoth d'Rab. Nathan, chap. 37.
Seven attributes avail before the Throne of Glory, and these are:--Wisdom, righteousness, judgment, grace, mercy, truth, and peace.
Ibid., chap. 36.
There are seven points in which a righteous man excels another:--(1.) The wife of the one is more comely than the other's; (2.) so are the children of the one as com pared with those of the other; (3.) if the two partake of one dish, each enjoys the taste according to his doings; (4.) if the two dye in one vat, by one the article is dyed properly, by the other not; (5, etc.) the one excels the other in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and stature, as it is said (Prov. xii. 26), "The righteous is more excellent than his neighbor."
Ibid., chap. 37.
Seven patriarchs were covenant-makers:--Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Phinehas, and David.
Derech Eretz Zuta, chap. 1.
Seven liquids are comprehended under the generic term drink (Lev. xi. 34):--Dew, water, wine, oil, blood, milk, and honey.
Machshirin, chap. 6, mish 6.
For tertian fever take seven small grapes from seven different vines; seven threads from seven different pieces of cloth; seven nails from seven different bridges; seven handfuls of ashes from seven different fireplaces seven bits of pitch from seven ships, one piece from each seven scrapings of dust from as many separate doorways; seven cummin seeds; seven hairs from the lower jaw of a dog and tie them upon the throat with a paprus fibre.
Shabbath, fol. 66, col. 2.