1. By ten Sayings the world was created. And what is learned therefrom? for could it not have been created by one
Saying? But it was that vengeance might be taken on the wicked, who destroy the world that was created by ten Sayings; and to give a goodly reward to the righteous, who maintain the world that was created by ten Sayings.
2. Ten generations were there from Adam to Noach, to shew how great was His longsuffering; for all
the generations were provoking Him, till He brought the deluge upon them.
3. Ten generations were there from Noach to Abraham, to shew how great was His longsuffering; for all the generations were provoking Him, till Abraham our father came, and received the reward of them all.
4. With ten temptations was Abraham our father tempted,
and he withstood them all; to shew how great was the love of Abraham our father.
5. Ten miracles were wrought for our fathers in Egypt; and ten by the sea.
6. Ten plagues brought the Holy One, blessed is He, upon the Egyptians in Egypt; and ten by the Sea.
7. With ten temptations did our fathers tempt God in the wilderness, for it is said, And they have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice (Numb. xiv. 22).
8. Ten miracles were wrought in the Sanctuary. No
woman miscarried from the scent of the holy meat; and the holy meat never stank; and an uncleanness befel not the highpriest on the day of the Atonement; and a fly was not seen in the slaughterhouse; and a defect was not found in the sheaf; nor in the two loaves; nor in the shewbread; and
rains quenched not the pile; and the wind prevailed not against the pillar of smoke; they stood serried, and bowed down at ease; and serpent and scorpion harmed not in Jerusalem; and a man said not to his fellow, The place is too strait for me (Is. xlix. 20) to lodge in Jerusalem.
9. Ten things were created between the suns. The
mouth of the earth; and the mouth of the well; and the
mouth of the ass; and the bow (Gen. lx. 13); and the manna; and the rod (a rod of power given to Adam, passed down to Joseph and eventually to Pharaoh; Moses alone could read the letters on it); and the shamir-worm (a magical worm Moses used to engrave the tablets of the law and split stones); and the character; and the writing; and the tables. And some say, the spirits
also; and the sepulchre of Moses (Deut. xxxiv. 6); and the ram of Abraham our father (Gen. xxii. 13). And some say, tongs also, made with tongs.
10. Seven things are in a clod, and seven in a wise man. The wise man speaks not before one who is greater than he in wisdom; and does not interrupt the words of his companion; and is not hasty to reply; he asks according to canon, and answers to the point; and speaks on the first thing first, and on the last last; of what he has not heard he says, I have not heard; and he acknowledges the truth. And their opposites are in the clod.
11. Seven kinds of punishments come on account of seven main transgressions. When some men tithe, and some do not tithe, dearth from drought comes: some of them are hungry, and some of them are full. When they have not tithed at all, a dearth from tumult and from drought comes. And when they have not offered the dough-cake, a deadly dearth comes.
12. Pestilence comes into the world for the capital crimes mentioned in the Thorah, which are not brought before the tribunal; and for the seventh year fruits.
13. The sword comes upon the world for suppression of judgment; and for perversion of judgment; and for explaining Thorah not according to canon.
14. Noisome beasts come into the world for vain swearing; and for profanation of the NAME.
Captivity comes upon the world for strange worship; and for incest; and for shedding of blood; and for (not) giving release to the land.
15. At four seasons the pestilence waxes: in the fourth
(year); in the seventh; at the ending of the seventh; and at the ending of the Feast in every year. In the fourth (year), on account of the poor's tithe in the third; in the seventh, on account of the poor's tithe in the sixth; and at the ending of the seventh, on account of the seventh year fruits; and at the ending of the Feast in every year,, on account of the largesses of the poor.
16. There are four characters in men, He that saith,
Mine is mine, and thine is thine, is an indifferent character; but some say, It is the character of Sodom: (he that saith) Mine is thine, and thine is mine, is 'am ha-areç: Mine and thine are thine, pious: Thine and mine are mine, wicked.
17. There are four characters in dispositions. Easily provoked, and easily pacified, his gain is cancelled by his loss: hard to provoke and hard to pacify, his loss is cancelled by his gain: hard to provoke, and easily pacified, pious: easily provoked, and hard to pacify, wicked.
18. There are four characters in scholars. Quick to hear and quick to forget, his gain is cancelled by his loss: slow to hear and slow to forget, his loss is cancelled by his gain: quick to hear, and slow to forget, is wise: slow to hear, and quick to forget, this is an evil lot.
19. There are four characters in almsgivers. He who is
willing to give, but not that others should give, his eye is evil towards the things of others: that others should give, and he should not give, his eye is evil towards his own: he who would give and let others give, is pious: he who will not give nor let others give, is wicked.
20. There are four characters in college-goers. He that goes and does not practise, the reward of going is in his hand: he that practises and does not go, the reward of practice is in his hand: he that goes and practises is pious: he that goes not and does not practise is wicked.
21. There are four characters in those who sit under the wise; a sponge; a funnel; a strainer; and a bolt-sieve. A
sponge, which sucks up all; a funnel, which lets in here and lets out there; a strainer, which lets out the wine and keeps back the dregs; a bolt-sieve, which lets out the pollard and keeps back the flour.
22. All love which depends on some thing, when the thing ceases, the love ceases; and such as does not depend on anything, ceases not for ever.
23. What love is that which depends on some thing? the love of Amnon and Thamar; And that which does not depend on anything? this is the love of David and Jonathan.
24. Whatsoever gainsaying is for the name of Heaven will in the end be established; and that which is not for the name of Heaven will not in the end be established.
25. What gainsaying is that which is for the name of Heaven? the gainsaying of Shammai and Hillel. And that
which is not for the name of Heaven? this is the gainsaying of Qorach.
26. Whosoever makes the many righteous, sin prevails not over him; and whosoever makes the many to sin, they grant him not the faculty to repent.
27. Moses was righteous, and made the many righteous, and the righteousness of the many was laid upon him, for it is said, He executed the justice of the Lord and His judgments, WITH Israel (Deut. xxxiii. 21).
Jerobe'am sinned, and caused the many to sin, (and) the sin of the many was laid upon him, for it is said, Because of the sins of Jerobe'am who sinned, and made Israel to sin (I Kings xiv. 16, &c.).
28. In whomsoever are three things, he is a disciple of Abraham; and three (other) things, a disciple of Bile'am.
29. A good eye, and a lowly soul, and a humble spirit (belong to) the disciple of Abraham: an evil eye, and a
swelling soul, and a haughty spirit, to the disciple of Bile'am. And what difference is between the disciples of Abraham and the disciples of Bile'am? The disciples of Bile'am, go down to Gehinnom, for it is said, But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction (Ps. lv. 24), but the disciples of Abraham inherit the Garden of 'Eden, for it is said, That I may cause those that love me to inherit SUBSTANCE; and I will fill their treasures (Prov. viii. 21).
30. R. Jehudah ben Thema said, Be bold as a leopard, and swift as an eagle, and fleet as a hart, and strong as a lion, to do the will of thy Father which is in Heaven.
31. He used to say, The bold of face to Gehinnom; and the shamefaced to the garden of 'Eden. May it be well-pleasing in thy sight, Lord, our God, and the God of our fathers, that thy city may be built in our days; and give us our portion in thy Thorah.
32. Ben Bag-bag said, Turn it, and again turn it; for the all is therein, and thy all is therein: and swerve not therefrom, for thou canst have no greater excellency than this.
33. Ben He-he said, According to the toil is the reward.
He used to say, At five years old, Scripture: at ten years, Mishnah: at thirteen, the Commandments: at fifteen, Thalmud: at eighteen, the bridal: at twenty, pursuits: at thirty, strength: at forty, discernment: at fifty, counsel: at sixty, age: at seventy, hoariness: at eighty, power: at ninety, decrepitude: at a hundred, it is as though he were dead, and gone, and had ceased from the world.