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The Talmud: Selections, by H. Polano, [1876], at

Rewards and Punishments.

Samson sinned against the Lord through his eyes, as it is written, "I have seen a woman of the daughters of the Philistines. . . . This one take for me, for she pleaseth in my eyes" (Judges 14: 3). Therefore through his eyes was he punished, as it is written, "And the Philistines seized him, and put out his eyes."

Abshalom was proud of his hair. "And like Abshalom there was no man as handsome in all Israel, so that he was greatly praised; from the sole of his foot up to the crown of his head there was no blemish on him. And when he shaved off the hair of his head, and it was at the end of every year that he shaved it off, because it was too heavy do him so that he had to shave it off, he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels by the king's weight," Therefore by his hair was he hanged.

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Miriam waited for Moses one hour (when. he was in the box of bulrushes). Therefore the Israelites waited for Miriam seven days, when she became leprous. "And the people did not set forward until Miriam was brought in again."

Joseph buried his father. "And Joseph went up to bury his father." There was none greater among the children of Israel than Joseph. Moses excelled him afterwards, however; therefore we find, "And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him." But the world has seen none greater than Moses, therefore ‘tis written, "And He (God) buried him in the valley."


When trouble and sorrow become the portion of Israel, and the fainthearted separate from their people, two angels lay their hands upon the head of him who withdraws, saying, "This one shall not see the comfort of the congregation."

When trouble comes to the congregation it is not right for a man to say, "I will go home; I will eat and drink; and things shall be peaceful to me;" ‘tis of such a one that the holy book speaks, saying, "And behold these is gladness and joy; slaying of oxen, and killing of sheep; eating of flesh, and drinking of wine. 'Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we must die.' And it was revealed in my ears by the Lord of Hosts; surely the iniquity shall not be forgiven ye until ye die" (Isaiah 22: 13).

Our teacher, Moses, always bore his share in the troubles of the congregation, as it is written, "They took a stone and put it under him" (Exodus 17: 12). Could they not have given him a chair or a cushion? But then he said, "Since the Israelites are in trouble (during the war with Amalek) lo, I will bear my part with them, for he who bears his

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portion of the burden will live to enjoy the hour of consolation. Woe to the one who thinks, 'Ah, well, I will neglect my duty; who can know whether I bear my part or not;' even the stones of his house, aye, the limbs of the trees, shall testify against him, as it is written, 'For the stones will cry from the wall, and the limbs of the trees will testify."'

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