פרקי אבות | Pirqei Avot, with Ta’amei Miqra by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Many older Mishnaic manuscripts (such as some of those found in the Cairo Geniza) have a unique feature – they include Ta’amei Miqra (commonly known as cantillation marks or trop). Ta’amei Miqra are far more than just musical notation – they also code syntactic divisions, functioning almost like punctuation. Thus many earlier texts used Ta’amei Miqra to mark punctuation – and Mishnaic texts were no exception.

Pirqei Avot, the second-to-last Mishnaic tractate in Seder Neziqin, has had an important place in the heart of the Jewish people for centuries. Full of ancient pearls of wisdom – for instance, Hillel’s famous meditation ‘If I am not for me, who will be for me? And if I am for myself, who am I? And if not now, when?” – many communities recite one chapter every Shabbat during the counting of the Omer, and read from it on a regular basis.

Taking into account both of these, this text includes all of Pirqei Avot with full ta’amei miqra added (to coin a word, it’s fully מְטוֹעָם m’to’am). It could be recited at any time when Pirqei Avot would normally be read or studied, using a cantillation system or not. (The systems for Torah and for the Three Scrolls work the best, in the opinion of the m’ta’em.)

Some notes:

In locations where Pirqei Avot quotes from Miqra itself, the original cantillation marks are preserved. The exceptions are quotations from Psalms, Proverbs and Job. Although the m’ta’em has previously developed a method of reciting the cantillation for these poetic EMe”T books, it is often difficult to transition from one system to another – ask those who read Megilat Esther! Thus, those readings have been m’to’am a second time to follow the pattern of the twenty-one other books.

There are multiple vocalized versions of Pirqei Avot, differing in order, spelling, and vocalization. None of them were really satisfying to the m’ta’em. The text here is a combination of the lot, largely based on the Ashkenazi text, mostly using Mishnaic Hebrew vocalizations (lakh vs. lekha etc.), and treating של־ as an attached prefix according to the Yemenite records. It may occasionally feel a bit unfamiliar, but it is this m’ta’em’s attempt to create a text as grammatically accurate to the original as possible while preserving as much accessibility as possible.

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

פרק א
Chapter 1

כׇּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֕ל יֵ֥שׁ לָהֶ֛ם חֵ֖לֶק לְעוֹלָ֥ם הַבָּֽא׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר וְעַמֵּךְ֙ כֻּלָּ֣ם צַדִּיקִ֔ים לְעוֹלָ֖ם יִ֣ירְשׁוּ אָ֑רֶץ נֵ֧צֶר [מטעו] מַטָּעַ֛י מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה יָדַ֖י לְהִתְפָּאֵֽר׃
All Yisrael have a share in the World to Come, as it is said: ‘Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever; they are a plant of my own, the work of my hands, wherein I may glory.'[1]Isaiah 60:21.

מֹשֶׁה֩ קִבֵּ֨ל תּוֹרָ֤ה מִסִּינַי֙ וּמְסָרָ֣הּ לִיהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ וִיהוֹשֻׁ֧עַ לִזְקֵנִ֛ים וּזְקֵנִ֖ים לִנְבִיאִ֑ים וּנְבִיאִים֙ מְסָר֔וּהָ לְאַנְשֵׁ֥י כְנֶ֖סֶת הַגְּדוֹלָֽה׃ הֵ֥ם אָמְר֖וּ שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה דְבָרִ֑ים הֱי֨וּ מְתוּנִ֜ין בַּדִּ֗ין וְהַעֲמִ֨ידוּ֙ תַלְמִידִ֣ים הַרְבֵּ֔ה וַעֲשׂ֖וּ סְיָ֥ג לַתּוֹרָֽה׃
Mosheh received the Torah at Sinai and handed it down to Yehoshua; Yehoshua to the Zeqenim/Elders; the Zeqenim to the Nevi’im/Prophets; and the Nevi’im handed it down to the Anshei Keneset HaGedolah/Men of the Great Assembly. The latter said three things: “Be patient in the administration of justice; develop many students; and make a fence for the Torah.”

שִׁמְע֨וֹן הַצַּדִּ֜יק הָיָ֧ה מִשְּׁיָרֵ֛י כְנֶ֖סֶת הַגְּדוֹלָ֑ה ה֥וּא הָיָ֖ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ עַ֚ל שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה דְבָרִ֔ים הָעוֹלָ֖ם עוֹמֵ֑ד עַ֨ל הַתּוֹרָ֜ה וְעַ֧ל הָעֲבוֹדָ֛ה וְעַ֖ל גְּמִיל֥וּת חֲסָדִֽים׃
Shimon the Tsadik was one of the last survivors of the Great Assembly. He used to say: “The world is based on three principles: Torah/teaching, Avodah/worship, and Gemilut Ḥasadim/Acts of kindliness.”

אַנְטִ֗יגְנַס אִ֚ישׁ סוֹכ֔וֹ קִבֵּ֖ל מִשִּׁמְע֣וֹן הַצַּדִּ֑יק ה֥וּא הָיָ֖ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ אַל־תִּהְי֨וּ כַעֲבָדִ֜ים הַמְשַׁמְּשִׁ֣ים אֶת־הָרַ֗ב עַ֥ל מְנָת֙ לְקַבֵּ֣ל פְּרָ֔ס אֶלָּא֩ הֱי֨וּ כַעֲבָדִ֜ים הַמְשַׁמְּשִׁ֣ים־אֶת הָרַ֗ב עַ֥ל מְנָ֛ת שֶׁלֹּ֖א לְקַבֵּ֣ל פְּרָ֑ס וִיהֵ֛א מוֹרָ֥א שָׁמַ֖יִם עֲלֵיכֶֽם׃
Antigonus of Sokho received the oral tradition from Shimon the Tsadik. He used to say: “Be not like servants who serve the master for the sake of receiving a reward, but be like servants who serve the master without the expectation of receiving a reward; and let the fear of Heaven be upon you.”

יוֹסֵ֣ה בֶן־יוֹעֶ֗זֶר אִ֚ישׁ צְרֵדָ֔ה וְיוֹסֵ֧ה בֶן־יוֹחָנָ֛ן אִ֥ישׁ יְרוּשָׁלַ֖יִם קִבְּל֣וּ מִמֶּ֑נּוּ יוֹסֵה֙ בֶ֣ן יוֹעֶ֔זֶר אִ֥ישׁ צְרֵדָ֖ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ יְהִ֣י בֵיתָ֔ךְ בֵּ֥ית וַ֖עַד לַחֲכָמִ֑ים וֶהֱוֵ֣י מִתְאַבֵּ֗ק בַּעֲפַר֙ רַ֣גְלֵיהֶ֔ם וְשׁוֹתֶ֧ה בְצִמְאָ֛ה אֶ֖ת דִּבְרֵיהֶֽם׃ יוֹסֵ֧ה בֶן־יוֹחָנָ֛ן אִ֥ישׁ יְרוּשָׁלַ֖יִם אוֹמֵֽר׃ יְהִ֤י בֵיתָךְ֙ פָּת֣וּחַ לָרְוָחָ֔ה וְיִהְי֥וּ עֲנִיִּ֖ים בְּנֵ֣י בֵיתֶ֑ךָ וְאַל־תַּרְבֶּ֥ה שִׂיחָ֖ה עִם־הָאִשָּֽׁה׃ בְּאִשְׁתּ֖וֹ אָמָ֑רוּ קַ֣ל וָחֹ֔מֶר בְּאֵ֖שֶׁת חֲבֵרֽוֹ׃ מִכָּ֖ן אָמְר֣וּ חֲכָמִ֑ים כׇּ֣ל ׀ הַמַּרְבֶּ֣ה שִׂיחָ֗ה עִם־הָאִשָּׁה֙ כְשֶׁהִ֣יא נִדָּ֔ה גּוֹרֵ֨ם רָעָ֜ה עַל־עַצְמ֗וֹ וּבָטֵל֙ מִדִּבְרֵ֣י תוֹרָ֔ה וְסוֹפ֖וֹ יוֹרֵ֥שׁ לְגֵיהִנָּֽם׃
Yoséh ben Yo’ezer of Tseredah and Yoséh ben Yoḥanan of Yerushalayim received the oral tradition from the preceding. Yoséh ben Yo’ezer of Tseredah said: “Let your house be a meeting-place for scholars; sit at their feet in the dust, and drink in their words thirstingly.” Yoséh ben Yoḥanan of Yerushalayim said: “Let your house be wide open [to strangers]; treat the poor as members of your own family; and do not gossip with women.” This has been said even with regard to one’s own wife, how much more does it apply to another man’s wife. Hence the sages say: “Whoever gossips with women brings harm to himself, for he neglects the study of the Torah and will in the end inherit Gehinnom.”

יְהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ בֶּן־פְּרַחְיָ֗ה וּמַתַּי֙ הָאַ֣רְבְּלִ֔י קִבְּל֖וּ מֵהֶ֑ן יְהוֹשֻׁ֥עַ בֶּן־פְּרַחְיָ֖ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ עֲשֵׂה־לָךְ֙ רַ֔ב וּקְנֵ֥ה לָ֖ךְ חָבֵ֑ר וֶהֱוִ֨י דָ֧ן אֶת־כׇּל־הָאָדָ֛ן לְכַ֖ף זְכֽוּת׃ מַתַּ֥יי הָאַרְבְּלִ֖י אוֹמֵֽר׃ הַרְחַק֙ מִשָּׁכֵ֣ן רַ֔ע וְאַ֥ל תִּתְחַבַּ֖ר לָרָשָׁ֑ע וְאַ֥ל תִּתְיוֹאַ֖שׁ מִ֥ן הַפֻּרְעָנֽוּת׃
Yehoshua ben Peraḥyah and Mattai of Arbel received the oral tradition from the preceding. Yehoshua ben Peraḥyah said: “Provide yourself with a teacher; get yourself a companion; and judge all men favorably.” Mattai of Arbel said: “Keep aloof from a bad neighbor; do not associate with an evil man; and do not give up the belief in retribution.”

יְהוּדָ֤ה בֶן־טָבַי֙ וְשִׁמְע֣וֹן בֶּן־שָׁ֔טָח קִבְּל֖וּ מֵהֶ֑ן יְהוּדָ֥ה בֶן־טָבַ֖י אוֹמֵֽר׃ אַל־תַּ֥עַשׁ עַצְמָ֖ךְ כְּעַרְכֵ֣י דַּיָּנִ֑ים וּכְשֶׁיִּהְיוּ֩ בַעֲלֵ֨י הַדִּ֜ין עוֹמְדִ֣ין לְפָנֶ֗יךָ יִהְי֤וּ בְעֵינֶ֨יךָ֙ כָרְשָׁעִ֔ים וּכְשֶׁנִּפְטָרִ֣ים מִלְּפָנֶ֗יךָ יְה֤וּא בְעֵינֶ֨יךָ֙ כַצַּדִּיקִ֔ים שֶׁקִּבְּל֥וּ עֲלֵיהֶ֖ן אֶת־הַדִּֽין׃ שִׁמְע֥וֹן בֶּן־שָׁ֖טָח אוֹמֵֽר׃ הֱוִ֥י מַרְבֶּ֖ה לַחְק֣וֹר אֶת־הָעֵדִ֑ים וֶהְוִ֨י זָהִ֔יר בִּדְבָרֶ֗יךָ שֶׁמֵּא֙ מִתּוֹכָ֔ן יִלְמְד֖וּ לְשַׁקֵּֽר׃ שְׁמַ֤עְיָה֙ וְאַ֣בְטַלְי֔וֹן קִבְּל֖וּ מֵהֶ֑ן שְׁמַ֥עְיָ֖ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ אֱהֹ֤ב אֶת־הַמְּלָאכָה֙ וּשְׂנָ֣א אֶת־הָרַבָּנ֔וּת וְאַ֥ל תִּתְוַדַּ֖ע לָרְשֽׁוּת׃ אַ֥בְטַלְי֖וֹן אוֹמֵֽר׃ חֲכָמִ֖ים הִזָּהֲר֣וּ בְדִבְרֵיכֶ֑ם שֶׁמֵּ֤א תָח֨וּבוּ֙ חוֹבַ֣ת גָּל֔וּת וְתִגְל֞וּ לִמְק֣וֹם ׀ הַמַּ֣יִם הָרָעִ֗ים וְיִשְׁתּ֣וּ הַתַּלְמִידִים֮ הַבָּאִ֣ים אַחֲרֵ֒יכֶם֒ וְיָמ֕וּתוּ וְנִמְצָ֥א שֵׁם־שָׁמַ֖יִם מִתְחַלֵּֽל׃
Yehudah ben Tavai and Shimon ben Shataḥ received the oral tradition from the preceding. Yehudah ben Tavai said: “Do not [as a judge] play the part of a counselor; when the parties in a lawsuit are standing before you, regard them both as guilty; but when they go away from you, after having submitted to the judgment, regard them both as innocent.” Shimon ben Shataḥ said: “Examine the witnesses thoroughly; be careful with your words, lest through them they learn to tell lies. Shemayah and Avtalyon received the oral tradition from the preceding. Shemayah said: “Love work; hate the holding of public office; and do not be intimate with the ruling authorities.” Avtalyon said: “Scholars, be careful with your words! You may incur the penalty of exile and be banished to a place of evil waters [heretical teachings], and the disciples who follow you into exile are likely to drink of them and die [a spiritual death], with the result that the name of Heaven would be profaned.”

הִלֵּ֥ל וְשַׁמַּ֖אי קִבְּל֣וּ מֵהֶ֑ן הִלֵּ֖ל אוֹמֵֽר׃ הֱוִ֥י תַלְמִיד֖וֹ שֶׁ֣לְּאַהֲרֹ֑ן אוֹהֵ֨ב שָׁל֜וֹם וְרוֹדֵ֣ף שָׁל֗וֹם אוֹהֵ֧ב אֶת־הַבְּרִיּ֛וֹת וּמְקׇרְבָ֖ן לַתּוֹרָֽה׃ ה֖וּא הָיָ֥ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ נְגַ֤ד שְׁמָא֙ אָבַ֣ד שְׁמָ֔א וְדִילָ֤א מוֹסִיף֙ יֵס֔וּף וְדִילָ֥א יְלִ֖יף קְטָלָ֣ה חַיָּ֑ב לָ֨א יַעֲבֵ֤ד קְטָלָה֙ קׇטְלִ֔ין וּדְאִשְׁתַּמַּ֖שׁ בְּתָ֥גָא חָלַֽף׃ ה֖וּא הָיָ֥ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ אִ֥ם אֵ֨ין אֲנִ֤י לִי֙ מִ֣י לִ֔י וּכְשֶׁאֲנִ֥י לְעַצְמִ֖י מָ֣ה אָ֑נִי וְאִ֛ם לֹ֥א עַכְשָׁ֖יו אֶמָּתַֽי׃ שַׁמַּ֖אי אוֹמֵֽר׃ עֲשֵׂ֤ה תוֹרָתָךְ֙ קְבַ֔ע אֱמֹ֥ר מְעַ֖ט וַעֲשֵׂ֣ה הַרְבֵּ֑ה וֶהֱוִ֤י מְקַבֵּל֙ אֶת־כׇּל־הָאָדָ֔ם בְּסֵ֥בֶר פָּנִ֖ים יָפֽוֹת׃
Hillel and Shammai received the oral tradition from the preceding: Hillel said: “Be of the disciples of Aharon, loving peace and pursuing peace; be one who loves his fellow men and draws them near to the Torah.” He used to say: “He who seeks greater reputation loses his reputation; he who does not increase his knowledge decreases it; he who does not study deserves death; he who makes unworthy use of the crown [of (esoteric?) learning, lit. Keter] shall perish.” He used to say: “If I am not for myself, who is for me? If I care only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?” Shammai said: “Make your study of the Torah a regular habit; say little but do much; and receive all men cheerfully.”

רַבָּ֥ן גַּמְלִיאֵ֖ל אוֹמֵֽר׃ עֲשֵׂ֥ה לָ֖ךְ רַ֑ב וְהִסְתַּלֵּק֙ מִ֣ן הַסָּפֵ֔ק וְאַל־תַּרְבֶּ֥ה לְעַשֵּׂ֖ר עֲמָדֽוֹת׃ שִׁמְע֥וֹן בְּנ֖וֹ אוֹמֵֽר׃ כׇּל־יָמַ֞י גָּדַ֣לְתִּי ׀ בֵ֣ין הַחֲכָמִ֗ים וְלֹ֨א מָצָ֧אתִי לַגּ֛וּף ט֖וֹב אֶלָּ֣א שְׁתִיקָ֑ה וְלֹא֩ הַמִּדְרָ֨שׁ ה֤וּא הָעִקָּר֙ אֶלָּ֣א הַמַּעֲשֶׂ֔ה וְכׇל־הַמַּרְבֶּ֥ה דְבָרִ֖ים מֵבִ֥יא חֵֽטְא׃ רַבָּ֛ן שִׁמְע֥וֹן בֶּן־גַּמְלִיאֵ֖ל אוֹמֵֽר׃ עַ֚ל שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה דְבָרִ֔ים הָעוֹלָ֖ם קַיָּ֑ם עַ֨ל הַדִּ֜ין וְעַ֧ל הָאֱמֶ֛ת וְעַ֥ל הַשָּׁל֖וֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַֽר׃ אֱמֶת֙ וּמִשְׁפַּ֣ט שָׁל֔וֹם שִׁפְט֖וּ בְּשַׁעֲרֵיכֶֽם׃
Rabban Gamliel said: “Provide yourself with a teacher and avoid doubt; and do not make a habit of giving tithes by guesswork.” Shimon his son said: “All my life I have been brought up among the sages, and I have found nothing better for a person than silence; study is not the most important thing but practice; and whoever talks too much, brings about sin.” Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said: “The world is established on three principles: truth, justice, and peace, as it is said: ‘You shall administer truth, justice and peace within your gates.'[2]Zechariah 8:16.

רַ֛בִּי חֲנַנְיָ֥א בֶּן־עֲקַשְׁיָ֖א אוֹמֵֽר׃ רָצָ֗ה הַקָּדוֹשׁ֙ בָּר֣וּךְ ה֔וּא לְזַכּ֖וֹת אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל לְפִיכָ֕ךְ הִרְבָּ֥ה לָהֶ֖ם תּוֹרָ֥ה וּמִצְוֹֽת׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר יְהֹוָ֥ה חָפֵ֖ץ לְמַ֣עַן צִדְק֑וֹ יַגְדִּ֥יל תּוֹרָ֖ה וְיַאְדִּֽיר׃
Rebbi Ḥananya ben Aqashya said: “The blessed Holy One desired to purify Yisrael; hence he gave them a Torah rich in rules of conduct, as it is said: ‘YHVH was pleased, for the sake of [Yisrael’s] righteousness, to render the Torah great and glorious.'[3]Isaiah 42:21.

פרק ב
Chapter 2

כׇּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֕ל יֵ֥שׁ לָהֶ֛ם חֵ֖לֶק לְעוֹלָ֥ם הַבָּֽא׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר וְעַמֵּךְ֙ כֻּלָּ֣ם צַדִּיקִ֔ים לְעוֹלָ֖ם יִ֣ירְשׁוּ אָ֑רֶץ נֵ֧צֶר מטעו מַטָּעַ֛י מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה יָדַ֖י לְהִתְפָּאֵֽר׃
All Yisrael have a share in the World to Come, as it is said: ‘Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever; they are a plant of my own, the work of my hands, wherein I may glory.'[4]Isaiah 60:21.

רַ֖בִּי אוֹמֵֽר׃ אֵ֨יזוֹהִי דֶ֧רֶךְ יְשָׁרָ֛ה שֶׁיָּבֹ֥ר ל֖וֹ הָאָדָ֑ם כׇּל־שֶׁהִיא֙ תִפְאֶ֣רֶת לְעוֹשָׂ֔הּ וְתִפְאֶ֥רֶת ל֖וֹ מִ֥ן הָאָדָֽם׃ וֶהֱוֵ֧י זָהִ֛יר בְּמִצְוָ֥ה קַלָּ֖ה כְמִצְוָ֣ה חֲמוּרָ֑ה שֶׁאֵ֨ין אַתָּ֤ה יוֹדֵ֨עַ֙ מַתַּ֣ן שְׂכָרָ֔ן שֶׁ֖לַּמִּצְוֹֽת׃ וֶהֱוֵ֧י מְחַשֵּׁ֛ב הֶפְסֵ֥ד מִצְוָ֖ה כְנֶ֣גֶד שְׂכָרָ֑הּ וּשְׂכַ֥ר עֲבֵרָ֖ה כְנֶ֥גֶד הֶפְסֵדָהּ׃ וְהִשְׂתַּכֵּל֙ בִּשְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה דְבָרִ֔ים וְאֵ֨י אַתָּ֤ה בָא֙ לִידֵ֣י עֲבֵרָ֔ה דַּ֕ע מַ֖ה לְּמַ֣עְלָה מִמָּ֑ךְ עַ֨יִן רוֹאָ֜ה וְאֹ֧זֶן שׁוֹמַ֛עַת וְכׇל־מַעֲשֶׂ֖יךָ בְסֵ֥פֶר נִכְתָּבִֽים׃
Rebbi [Yehudah ha-Nasi] said: “Which is the right course that a man should choose for himself? One which is creditable to the person adopting it, and on account of which he gains respect, from men. Be careful to perform a minor mitsvah just as well as a major one, for you do not know the reward for each mitsvah. Balance the loss sustained by the performance of a mitsvah against the reward secured by its observance, and the profit of a sin against its injury. Consider three things and you will not come into the grip of sin — know what is above you: a seeing eye, a hearing ear, and a book in which all your deeds are recorded.”

רַבָּן֙ גַּמְלִיאֵ֧ל בְּנ֛וֹ שֶׁלְּרַ֥בִּי יְהוּדָ֖ה הַנָּשִׂ֥יא אוֹמֵֽר׃ יָפֶ֛ה תַלְמ֥וּד תּוֹרָ֖ה עִם־דֶּ֣רֶךְ אֶ֑רֶץ שֶׁיְּגִיעַ֥ת שְׁנֵיהֶ֖ם מְשַׁכְּחָ֥ת עָוֹֽן׃ וְכׇל־תּוֹרָ֕ה שֶׁאֵ֥ין עִמָּ֖הּ מְלָאכָ֑ה סוֹפָ֣הּ בְּטֵלָ֔ה לְגָרֵ֖ר עָוֹֽן׃ וְכׇ֨ל־הָעֲמֵלִ֜ים עִ֣ם הַצִּבּ֗וּר יְה֨וּא עֲמֵלִ֤ין עִמָּהֶן֙ לְשֵׁ֣ם שָׁמַ֔יִם שֶׁזְּכ֥וּת אֲבוֹתָ֖ם מְסַיַּעַתָּ֑ם וְצִדְקָתָ֖ם עוֹמֶ֥דֶת לְעַֽד׃ וְאַתֶּ֗ם מַעֲלִ֥ים עֲלֵיהֶ֖ם שָׂכָ֣ר הַרְבֵּ֑ה כְּאִ֖לּוּ עֲשִׂיתֶֽם׃ הֱו֨וֹן זְהִירִ֜ים בָּרְשׁ֗וּת שֶׁאֵ֤ין מְקׇרְבִין֙ לְאָדָ֔ם אֶ֖לָּא לְצֹרֶ֣ךְ עַצְמָ֑ן נִרְאִ֤ין כְּאוֹהֲבִין֙ בְּשָׁעַ֣ת הֲנָיָתָ֔ן אֵ֛ין עוֹמְדִ֥ין לְאָדָ֖ם בְּשָׁעַ֥ת דֹּחֲקֽוֹ׃ ה֖וּא הָיָ֥ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ עֲשֵׂ֤ה רְצוֹנוֹ֙ כִרְצוֹנָ֔ךְ שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂ֥ה רְצוֹנָ֖ךְ כִּרְצוֹנ֑וֹ בַּטֵּ֤ל רְצוֹנָךְ֙ מִפְּנֵ֣י רְצוֹנ֔וֹ שֶׁיְּבַטֵּ֛ל רְצ֥וֹן אֲחֵרִ֖ים מִפְּנֵ֥י רְצוֹנָֽךְ׃
Rabban Gamliel, the son of Rebbi Yehudah ha-Nasi, said: “It is well to combine Torah study with some worldly occupation, for the energy taken up by both of them keeps sin out of one’s mind; all Torah study which is not combined with some trade must at length fail and occasion sin. Let all who work for the community do so from a spiritual motive, for then the merit of their fathers will sustain them, and their righteousness will endure forever. ‘I credit you with great reward [God says] as if you accomplished it all.’ Be cautious of the ruling authorities, for they befriend a man only for their own interests; they appear as friends when it is to their own advantage, but they do not stand by a man when he is in distress.” He used to say: “Do [God’s] will as you would do your own will, so that he may do your will as if it were his; sacrifice your will for the sake of his will, so that he may undo the will of others before yours.”

הִלֵּ֖ל אוֹמֵֽר׃ אַל־תִּפְרֹ֖שׁ מִ֥ן הַצִּבּֽוּר׃ וְאַל־תַּאֲמִ֥ין בְּעַצְמָ֖ךְ עַד־י֥וֹם מוֹתָֽךְ׃ וְאַל־תָּדִ֥ין אֶת־חֲבֵרָ֖ךְ עַד־שֶׁתַּגִּ֥יעַ לִמְקוֹמֽוֹ׃ וְאַל־תֹּאמַר֙ דָּבָ֔ר שֶׁאֵ֥י אֶפְשָׁ֖ר ל֣וֹ לְהִשָּׁמַ֑ע שֶׁסּוֹפ֖וֹ לְהִשָּׁמֵֽעַ׃ וְאַל־תֹּאמַ֕ר כְּשֶׁאֶפָּנֶ֖ה אֶשְׁנֶ֑ה שֶׁמֵּ֖א לֹ֥א תִפָּנֶֽה׃ ה֖וּא הָיָ֥ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ אֵ֤ין בּוּר֙ יָרֵ֣א חֵ֔טְא וְלֹ֛א עַ֥ם הָאָ֖רֶץ חָסִ֑יד וְלֹ֤א הַבּוֹיְשָׁן֙ לָמֵ֔ד וְלֹ֥א הַקּוֹפְדָ֖ן מְלַמֵּֽד׃ וְלֹ֛א כׇל־הַמַּרְבֶּ֥ה בִסְחוֹרָ֖ה מַחְכִּֽים׃ וּבִמְק֖וֹם שֶׁאֵ֣ין אֲנָשִׁ֑ים הִשְׁתַּדֵּ֖ל לִהְי֥וֹת אִֽישׁ׃ אַ֨ף ה֤וּא רָאָה֙ גֻלְגֹּ֣לֶת אַחַ֔ת צָפָ֖ה עַל־פְּנֵ֣י הַמַּ֑יִם וְאָמַ֖ר לָֽהּ׃ עַ֕ל דְּאַטִ֖יפְתְּ אֲטִיפ֑וּךְ וְס֕וֹף מַטִּיפַ֖יִךְ יְטוּפֽוּן׃
Hillel said: “Do not keep aloof from the community; be not sure of yourself till the day of your death; do not judge your fellow man until you have been in his position; do not say anything which cannot be understood at once, in the hope that ultimately it will be understood; and do not say: ‘When I shall have leisure I shall study,’ for you may never have leisure.” He used to say: “An empty-headed man cannot be sin-fearing, nor can an ignorant person be pious; the bashful cannot learn, nor can the quick-tempered teach; nor can anyone who is engrossed in trade become a scholar; and in a place where there are no menschen, strive to be a mensch.” He saw a skull floating on the surface of the water. He said to it: “Because you drowned others, others have drowned you; and those who have drowned you shall themselves be drowned.”

ה֖וּא הָיָ֥ה אוֹמֵֽר׃
מַרְבֶּ֥ה בָשָׂ֖ר
מַרְבֶּ֣ה רִמָּ֑ה
מַרְבֶּ֥ה נְכָסִ֖ים
מַרְבֶּ֥ה דָיֽוֹן׃
 
מַרְבֶּ֤ה שְׁפָחוֹת֙
מַרְבֶּ֣ה זִמָּ֔ה
מַרְבֶּ֥ה עֲבָדִ֖ים
מַרְבֶּ֣ה גָזֵ֑ל
מַרְבֶּ֥ה נָשִׁ֖ים
מַרְבֶּ֥ה כְשָׁפִֽים׃
 
מַרְבֶּ֥ה תוֹרָ֖ה
מַרְבֶּ֣ה חַיִּ֑ים
מַרְבֶּ֥ה יְשִׁיבָ֖ה
מַרְבֶּ֥ה חׇכְמָֽה׃
 
מַרְבֶּ֥ה עֵצָ֖ה
מַרְבֶּ֣ה תְבוּנָ֑ה
מַרְבֶּ֥ה צְדָקָ֖ה
מַרְבֶּ֥ה שָׁלֽוֹם׃
 
קָנָה֙ שֵׁ֣ם ט֔וֹב
קָנָ֖ה לְעַצְמ֑וֹ
קָנָה֙ דִבְרֵ֣י תוֹרָ֔ה
קָנָ֛ה חַיֵּ֖י הָעוֹלָ֥ם הַבָּֽא׃
He used to say:
“The more flesh,
the more decay (lit. worms) [decomposition after death];
the more property,
the more anxiety;
 
the more wives,
the more witchcraft;
the more female servants,
the more lewdness;
the more male servants,
the more thievery;
 
but the more Torah study,
the more life;
the more schooling,
the more wisdom;
 
the more counsel,
the more understanding;
the more righteousness,
the more peace.
 
One who has acquired a good name,
has acquired it for himself;
one who has acquired for himself Torah
has acquired for himself the life of the World to Come.”

רַבָּן֙ יוֹחָנָ֣ן בֶּן־זַכַּא֔י קִבֵּ֖ל מֵהִ֣לֵּל וּמִשַּׁמַּא֑י ה֖וּא הָיָ֥ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ אִם־עֲשִׂ֨יתָ֙ תוֹרָ֣ה הַרְבֵּ֔ה אַל־תַּחֲזִ֥יק טוֹבָ֖ה לְעַצְמָ֑ךְ כִּ֛י לְכָ֖ךְ נוֹצַֽרְתָּ׃ חֲמִשָּׁ֤ה תַלְמִידִים֙ הָי֣וּ ל֔וֹ לְרַבָּ֕ן יוֹחָנָ֖ן בֶּן־זַכַּא֑י וְאֵ֖לּוּ הֵֽן׃ רַ֨בִּי אֱלִיעֶ֤זֶר בֶּן־הׇרְקָנוֹס֙ רַבִּי־יְהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ בֶּן־חֲנַנְיָ֔ה רַ֛בִּי יוֹסֵ֖ף הַכֹּהֵ֑ן וְרַ֗בִּי שִׁמְעוֹן֙ בֶּן־נְתַנְאֵ֔ל רַ֖בִּי אֶלְעָזָ֥ר בֶּן־עֲרָֽךְ׃ ה֥וּא הָיָ֖ה מוֹנֶ֥ה שְׁבָחָֽן׃ אֱלִיעֶזֶ֖ר בֶּן־הׇרְקָנ֑וֹס בּ֚וֹר ס֔וּד שֶׁאֵינ֥וּ מְאַבֵּ֖ד טִפָּֽה׃ יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ בֶּן־חֲנַנְיָ֑ה אַשְׁרֵ֖י יוֹלַדְתּֽוֹ׃ יוֹסֵ֤ף הַכֹּהֵן֙ חָסִ֔יד; שִׁמְע֧וֹן בֶּן־נְתַנְאֵ֛ל יָרֵ֖א חֵ֑טְא אֶלְעָזָר֙ בֶּן־עֲרָ֔ךְ מַעְיָ֖ן מִתְגַּבֵּֽר׃ ה֖וּא הָיָ֥ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ אִ֣ם יִהְיוּ֩ כׇ֨ל־חַכְמֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ בְּכַ֣ף מֹאזְנַ֔יִם וֶאֱלִיעֶ֥זֶר בֶּן־הׇרְקָנ֖וֹס בְּכַ֣ף שְׁנִיָּ֑ה מַכְרִ֥יעַ ה֖וּא אֶת־כֻּלָּֽם׃ אַ֥בָּא שָׁא֖וּל אוֹמֵ֥ר מִשְּׁמֽוֹ׃ אִ֣ם יִהְיוּ֩ כׇ֨ל־חַכְמֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ בְּכַ֣ף מֹאזְנַ֔יִם וֶאֱלִיעֶ֨זֶר בֶּן־הׇרְקָנ֜וֹס אַ֧ף עִמָּהֶ֛ן וְאֶלְעָזָ֥ר בֶּן־עֲרָ֖ךְ בְּכַ֣ף שְׁנִיָּ֑ה מַכְרִ֥יעַ ה֖וּא אֶת־כֻּלָּֽם׃ אָמַ֣ר לָהֶ֗ם צְא֧וּ וּרְא֧וּ אֵ֥י־זוֹ הִ֖יא דֶרֶ֣ךְ טוֹבָ֑ה שֶׁיִּדְבַּ֥ק בָּ֖הּ הָאָדָֽם׃ רַ֥בִּי אֱלִיעֶ֖זֶר אוֹמֵ֑ר עַ֖יִן טוֹבָֽה׃ רַ֥בִּי יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ אוֹמֵ֑ר חָבֵ֖ר טֽוֹב׃ רַ֥בִּי יוֹסֵ֖ף אוֹמֵ֑ר שָׁכֵ֖ן טֽוֹב׃ רַ֥בִּי שִׁמְע֖וֹן אוֹמֵ֑ר הָרוֹאֶ֖ה אֶת־הַנּוֹלָֽד׃ רַ֥בִּי אֶלְעָזָ֖ר אוֹמֵ֑ר לֵ֖ב טֽוֹב׃ אָמַ֣ר לָהֶ֗ם רוֹאֶ֨ה אֲנִ֧י אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֛י אֶלְעָזָ֥ר בֶּן־עֲרָ֖ךְ מִדִּבְרֵיכֶ֑ם שֶׁבִּכְלַ֥ל דְּבָרָ֖יו דִּבְרֵיכֶֽם׃
Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai received the oral tradition from Hillel and Shammai. He used to say: “If you have learnt much Torah, do not claim credit for yourself, because you were created for this purpose.” Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai had five pre-eminent disciples, namely: Rebbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, Rebbi Yehoshua bon Ḥananya, Rebbi Yoséh the Priest, Rebbi Shimon ben Netan’el, and Rebbi Elazar ben Arakh. He used to sum up their merits: “Eliezer ben Hyrcanus is a cemented cistern which loses not a drop [retentive memory]; Yehoshua ben Ḥananya— happy is his mother; Yoséh the Priest is most pious (Ḥasid); Shimon ben Netan’el is one who fears sin; Elazar ben Arakh is like a spring that ever gathers force [a creative mind].” He used to say: “If all the sages of Yisrael were in one scale of the balance, and Eliezer ben Hyrcanus in the other, he would outweigh them all.” Abba Shaul, however, quoted him otherwise: “If all the sages of Yisrael, including Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, were in one scale of the balance, and Elazar ben Arakh in the other, he would outweigh them all [originality surpasses retentiveness].” He [Yoḥanan ben Zakkai] said to them: “Go and see which is the best quality to which a man should cling.” Rebbi Eliezer said: “A good eye [generosity]”; Rebbi Yehoshua said: “A good friend [friendliness]”; Rebbi Yoséh said: “A good neighbor [goodwill]”; Rebbi Shimon said: “One who considers the probable consequences [foresight]”; Rebbi Elazar [ben Arakh] said: “A good heart/conscience [unselfishness].” Said he to them: “I prefer what Elazar ben Arakh has said to what you have said, because in his words yours are included.”

אָמַ֣ר לָהֶ֗ם צְא֧וּ וּרְא֧וּ אֵ֥י־זוֹ הִ֖יא דֶרֶ֣ךְ רָעָ֑ה שֶׁיִּתְרַחַ֥ק מִמֶּ֖נָּה הָאָדָֽם׃ רַ֥בִּי אֱלִיעֶ֖זֶר אוֹמֵ֑ר עַ֖יִן רָעָֽה׃ רַ֥בִּי יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ אוֹמֵ֑ר חָבֵ֖ר רַֽע׃ רַ֥בִּי יוֹסֵ֖ף אוֹמֵ֑ר שָׁכֵ֖ן רַֽע׃ רַ֥בִּי שִׁמְע֖וֹן אוֹמֵ֑ר הַלֹוֶה֙ וְאֵינ֣וּ מְשַׁלֵּ֔ם אֶחָ֤ד לֹוֶה֙ מִ֣ן הָאָדָ֔ם כְּלֹוֶ֥ה מִן־הַמָּק֖וֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַֽר׃ לֹוֶ֥ה רָשָׁ֖ע וְלֹ֣א יְשַׁלֵּ֑ם וְצַדִּ֖יק חוֹנֵ֥ן וְנוֹתֵֽן׃ רַ֥בִּי אֶלְעָזָ֖ר אוֹמֵ֑ר לֵ֖ב רַֽע׃ אָמַ֣ר לָהֶ֗ם רוֹאֶ֨ה אֲנִ֧י אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֛י אֶלְעָזָ֥ר בֶּן־עֲרָ֖ךְ מִדִּבְרֵיכֶ֑ם שֶׁבִּכְלַ֥ל דְּבָרָ֖יו דִּבְרֵיכֶֽם׃
He further said to them: “Go and see which is the worst quality a man should shun.” Rebbi Eliezer said: “An evil eye [the predatory gaze, rapacious and exploitative desire]”; Rebbi Yehoshua said: “A bad friend [hatefulness]”; Rebbi Yoséh said: A bad neighbor [untrustworthiness]”; Rebbi Shimon said: “One who borrows and does not repay. It is the same whether one borrows from man or from the Maqom, as it is said: ‘The wicked borrows and repays not, but the righteous deals graciously and gives.'[5]Psalm 37:21.” Rebbi Elazar [ben Arakh] said: “An evil heart/conscience [selfishness].” Said he to them: “I prefer what Elazar ben Arakh has said to what you have said, for in his words yours are included.”

הֵ֥ם אָמְר֖וּ שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה דְבָרִ֑ים רַ֥בִּי אֱלִיעֶ֖זֶר אוֹמֵֽר׃ יְהִ֥י כְב֖וֹד חֲבֵרָ֑ךְ חָבִ֥יב עָלֶ֖יךָ כְנַפְשָֽׁךְ׃ וְאַל־תְּהִ֥י נ֖וֹחַ לִכְעֹֽס׃ וְשׁ֛וּב י֥וֹם אֶחָ֖ד לִפְנֵ֥י מִיתָתָֽךְ׃ וֶהֱוֵ֤י מִתְחַמֵּם֙ כְּנֶגֶ֣ד אוּרָ֔ן שֶׁ֖לַּחֲכָמִ֑ים וֶהֱוֵ֨י זָהִ֜יר מִגַּחַלְתָּ֣ן ׀ שֶׁלֹּ֣א תִכָּוֶ֗ה שֶׁנְּשִׁיכָתָן֩ נְשִׁיכַ֨ת שׁוּעָ֜ל וַעֲקִיצָתָן֮ עֲקִיצַ֣ת עַקְרָב֒ וּלְחִישָׁתָן֙ לְחִישַׁ֣ת שָׂרָ֔ף וְכׇל־דִּבְרֵיהֶ֖ם כְּגַחֲלֵ֥י אֵֽשׁ׃ רַ֥בִּי יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ אוֹמֵֽר׃ עַ֨יִן רָעָ֜ה וְיֵ֣צֶר הָרַ֛ע וְשִׂנְאַ֖ת הַבְּרִ֑יּוֹת מוֹצִיאִ֛ין אֶת־הָאָדָ֖ם מִן־הָעוֹלָֽם׃ רַ֥בִּי יוֹסֵ֖ף אוֹמֵֽר׃ יְהִ֨י מְמ֧וֹן חֲבֵרָ֛ךְ חָבִ֥יב עָלֶ֖יךָ כְשֶׁלָּֽךְ׃ וְהַתְקֵ֥ן עַצְמָ֖ךְ לִלְמֹ֣ד תּוֹרָ֑ה שֶׁאֵינָ֥ה יְרֻשָּׁ֖ה לָֽךְ׃ וְכׇל־מַעֲשֶׂ֕יךָ יִהְי֖וּ לְשֵׁ֥ם שָׁמַֽיִם׃ רַ֥בִּי שִׁמְע֖וֹן אוֹמֵֽר׃ הֱוֵ֥י זָהִ֖יר בִּקְרִיאַ֥ת שְׁמַֽע׃ וּכְשֶׁאַתָּ֧ה מִתְפַּלֵּ֛ל אַל־תַּעַ֥שׁ תְּפִלָּתְךָ֖ קְבַ֑ע אֶלָּ֤א תַחֲנוּנִים֙ לִפְנֵ֣י הַמָּק֔וֹם בָּר֥וּךְ ה֖וּא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַֽר׃ כִּֽי־חַנּ֤וּן וְרַחוּם֙ ה֔וּא אֶ֤רֶךְ אַפַּ֙יִם֙ וְרַב־חֶ֔סֶד וְנִחָ֖ם עַל־הָרָעָֽה׃ וְאַל־תְּהִ֥י רָשָׁ֖ע בִּפְנֵ֥י עַצְמָֽךְ׃ רַ֥בִּי אֱלִיעֶ֖זֶר אוֹמֵֽר׃ הֱוֵ֥י שָׁקֵ֖ד לִלְמֹ֣ד תּוֹרָ֑ה וְדַ֕ע מַ֥ה שֶּׁתָּשִׁ֖יב לַאֲפִיקֽוֹרוֹס׃ וְדַ֗ע לִפְנֵ֤י מִי֙ אַתָּ֣ה עָמֵ֔ל וּמִ֥י הוּא֙ בַּ֣עַל מְלַאכְתָּ֔ךְ שֶׁיְּשַׁלֵּ֥ם לָ֖ךְ שְׂכַ֥ר פְּעֻלָּתָֽךְ׃
They each said three things. Rebbi Eliezer said: “Let your friend’s honor be as dear to you as your own; be not easily provoked to anger; repent one day before your death [every day, for you may die tomorrow].” He further said: “Warm yourself by the fire of the scholars, but beware of their glowing coals [treat them respectfully], lest you burn yourself; for the bite of scholars is as hurtful as that of a fox, their sting is as deadly as that of a scorpion, their hiss is like that of a serpent, and all their words are like coals of fire [and should be heeded].” Rebbi Yehoshua said: “The evil eye [the predatory gaze, rapacious and exploitative desire], the evil impulse and misanthropy shorten a man’s life.” Rebbi Yoséh said: “Let your friend’s property be as precious to you as your own; give yourself to studying the Torah, for it does not come to you by inheritance; and let all your deeds be done in the name of Heaven.” Rebbi Shimon said: “Be careful in reading the Shema and the Tefillah [the Amidah]; when you pray, do not regard your prayer as a perfunctory act, but as a plea for mercy and grace before the blessed Maqom, as it is said: ‘For he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in kindness, and relenting of evil.'[6]Joel 2:13. Do not be wicked in your own esteem.[7]Paltiel Birnbaum adds “lest you set yourself a low standard of conduct”

רַ֥בִּי טַרְפ֖וֹן אוֹמֵֽר׃ הַיּ֥וֹם קָצָ֖ר וְהַמְּלָאכָ֣ה מְרֻבָּ֑ה וְהַפּוֹעֲלִ֤ים עֲצֵלִים֙ וְהַשָּׂכָ֣ר הַרְבֵּ֔ה וּבַ֥עַל הַבַּ֖יִת דּוֹחֵֽק׃ ה֖וּא הָיָ֣ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ לֹ֥א עָלֶ֖יךָ הַמְּלָאכָ֣ה לִגְמֹ֑ר וְלֹ֕א אַתָּ֥ה בֶן־חוֹרִ֖ין לִבָּטֵ֥ל מִמֶּֽנָּה׃ אִ֤ם לָמַ֨דְתָּ֙ תוֹרָ֣ה הַרְבֵּ֔ה נוֹתְנִ֥ים לָ֖ךְ שָׂכָ֣ר הַרְבֵּ֑ה וְנֶאֱמָן֙ בַּ֣עַל מְלַאכְתָּ֔ךְ לְשַׁלֵּ֥ם לָ֖ךְ שְׂכַ֥ר פְּעֻלָּתָֽךְ׃ וְדַ֕ע מַתַּ֤ן שְׂכָרָן֙ שֶׁ֣לַּצַּדִּיקִ֔ים לֶעָתִ֖יד לָבֹֽא׃
Rebbi Elazar said: “Be eager to study the Torah; know what to answer an epikuros [determined skeptic]; know before whom you toil, who your Employer is, who will pay you the reward of your labor.” Rebbi Tarfon said: “The day [life] is short; the task is great; the workmen [human beings] are lazy; the reward is great, and the Master is insistent.” He used to say: “You are not called upon to complete the work [of Torah study], yet you are not free to evade it; if you have studied much Torah, much reward will be given you — your Employer can be trusted to pay you for your work; and know that the grant of reward to the righteous will be in the time to come.”

רַ֛בִּי חֲנַנְיָ֥א בֶּן־עֲקַשְׁיָ֖א אוֹמֵֽר׃ רָצָ֗ה הַקָּדוֹשׁ֙ בָּר֣וּךְ ה֔וּא לְזַכּ֖וֹת אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל לְפִיכָ֕ךְ הִרְבָּ֥ה לָהֶ֖ם תּוֹרָ֥ה וּמִצְוֹֽת׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר יְהֹוָ֥ה חָפֵ֖ץ לְמַ֣עַן צִדְק֑וֹ יַגְדִּ֥יל תּוֹרָ֖ה וְיַאְדִּֽיר׃
Rebbi Ḥananya ben Aqashya said: “The blessed Holy One desired to purify Yisrael; hence he gave them a Torah rich in rules of conduct, as it is said: ‘YHVH was pleased, for the sake of [Yisrael’s] righteousness, to render the Torah great and glorious.'[8]Isaiah 42:21.

פרק ג
Chapter 3

כׇּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֕ל יֵ֥שׁ לָהֶ֛ם חֵ֖לֶק לְעוֹלָ֥ם הַבָּֽא׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר וְעַמֵּךְ֙ כֻּלָּ֣ם צַדִּיקִ֔ים לְעוֹלָ֖ם יִ֣ירְשׁוּ אָ֑רֶץ נֵ֧צֶר מטעו מַטָּעַ֛י מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה יָדַ֖י לְהִתְפָּאֵֽר׃
All Yisrael have a share in the World to Come, as it is said: ‘Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever; they are a plant of my own, the work of my hands, wherein I may glory.'[9]Isaiah 60:21.

עֲקַבְיָ֥ה בֶן־מַהֲלַלְאֵ֖ל אוֹמֵר׃ הִסְתַּכֵּ֖ל בִּשְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה דְבָרִ֑ים וְאֵ֧ין אַתָּ֛ה בָ֖א לִידֵ֥י עֲבֵרָֽה׃ דַּ֚ע מֵאַ֣יִן בָּ֔אתָ וּלְאָ֖ן אַתָּ֣ה הוֹלֵ֑ךְ וְלִפְנֵי־מִ֕י אַתָּ֧ה עָתִ֛יד לִתֵּ֥ן דִּ֖ין וְחֶשְׁבּֽוֹן׃ דַּ֚ע מֵאַ֣יִן בָּ֔אתָ מִלֵּחָ֖ה סְרוּחָֽה׃ וּלְאָ֖ן אַתָּ֣ה הוֹלֵ֑ךְ לְרִמָּ֖ה וּלְתוֹלֵעָֽה׃ וְלִפְנֵי־מִ֕י אַתָּ֧ה עָתִ֛יד לִתֵּ֥ן דִּ֖ין וְחֶשְׁבּ֑וֹן לִפְנֵ֤י מֶ֨לֶךְ֙ מַלְכֵ֣י הַמְּלָכִ֔ים הַקָּד֖וֹשׁ בָּר֥וּךְ הֽוּא׃
Aqavyah ben Mahalalel said: “Reflect on three things and you will not come into the grip of sin: know whence you came, whither you are going, and before whom you are destined to give a strict account. Whence you came — from a malodorous drop; whither you are going — to a place of dust, worms and moths; and before whom you are destined to give a strict account — before the supreme King of kings, the blessed Holy One.”

רַ֣בִּי חֲנִ֔ינָא סְגַ֥ן הַכֹּהֲנִ֖ים אוֹמֵֽר׃ הֱוֵ֣י מִתְפַּלֵּ֔ל בִּשְׁלוֹמָ֖הּ שֶׁ֥לַּמַּלְכ֑וּת שֶׁאִלּוּלֵי֙ מ֣וֹרָאָ֔הּ אִ֧ישׁ אֶת־רֵעֵ֛הוּ חַיִּ֖ים בָּלַֽעְנוּ׃
Rebbi Ḥanina, the deputy high-priest, said: “Pray for the welfare of the government, since were it not for the fear of it men would swallow each other alive.”

רַ֛בִּי חֲנַנְיָ֥ה בֶן־תַּרְדְּי֖וֹן אוֹמֵֽר׃ שְׁנַ֣יִם ׀ שֶׁהָ֣יוּ יוֹשְׁבִ֗ים וְאֵ֤ין בֵּינֵיהֶן֙ דִּבְרֵ֣י תוֹרָ֔ה הֲרֵ֥י זֶ֛ה מוֹשַׁ֥ב לֵצִ֖ים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֑ר וּבְמוֹשַׁ֥ב לֵצִ֖ים לֹ֥א יָשָֽׁב׃ אֲבָ֣ל ׀ שְׁנַ֣יִם שֶׁיּוֹשְׁבִ֗ים וַעֲסוּקִים֙ בְּדִבְרֵ֣י תוֹרָ֔ה שְׁכִינָ֥ה בֵינֵיהֶ֖ם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַֽר׃ אָ֧ז נִדְבְּר֛וּ יִרְאֵ֥י יְהֹוָ֖ה אִ֣ישׁ אֶל־רֵעֵ֑הוּ וַיַּקְשֵׁ֤ב יְהֹוָה֙ וַיִּשְׁמָ֔ע וַ֠יִּכָּתֵ֠ב סֵ֣פֶר זִכָּר֤וֹן לְפָנָיו֙ לְיִרְאֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֔ה וּלְחֹשְׁבֵ֖י שְׁמֽוֹ׃ אֵ֥ין לִ֖י אֶ֣לָּא שְׁנַ֑יִם מְנַ֩יִן֩ שֶׁאֲפִ֨לּוּ אֶחָ֜ד שֶׁיּוֹשֵׁ֣ב ׀ וְעוֹסֵ֣ק בַּתּוֹרָ֗ה שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ֩ בָּר֨וּךְ ה֧וּא קוֹבֵ֛עַ ל֥וֹ שָׂכָ֖ר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַֽר׃ יֵשֵׁ֤ב בָּדָד֙ וְיִדֹּ֔ם כִּ֥י נָטַ֖ל עָלָֽיו׃
Rebbi Ḥananya ben Tardyon said: “If two sit together and no words of Torah are spoken between them, they are a session of scoffers, of whom it is said: ‘[A good man] does not sit in the company of scoffers.'[10]Psalm 1:1. But when two sit together and interchange words of the Torah, the Shekhinah abides between them, as it is said: ‘Then those who revered YHVH spoke to each other, and YHVH listened and heard, and in his presence a record was written of those who revere YHVH and respect his name.'[11]Malachi 3:16. Now, this verse refers to two persons; whence do we know that even if one person engages in the study of the Torah, the blessed Holy One determines his reward? It is said: ‘Though he sits alone in thoughtful meditation, yet he receives’ [the reward].[12]Lamentations 3:28.

רַ֥בִּי שִׁמְע֖וֹן אוֹמֵֽר׃ שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה שֶׁאָכְל֗וּ עַ֚ל שֻׁלְחָ֣ן אֶחָ֔ד וְלֹ֛א אָמְר֥וּ עָלָ֖יו דִּבְרֵ֣י תוֹרָ֑ה הֲרֵ֨י אֵ֧לּוּ כְאוֹכְלֵ֛י זִבְחֵ֥י מֵתִ֖ים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַֽר׃ כִּ֚י כׇּל־שֻׁלְחָנ֔וֹת מָלְא֖וּ קִ֣יא צֹאָ֑ה בְּלִ֖י מָקֽוֹם׃ אֲבָל ׀ שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה שֶׁאָכְל֗וּ עַ֚ל שֻׁלְחָ֣ן אֶחָ֔ד וְאָמְר֥וּ עָלָ֖יו דִּבְרֵ֣י תוֹרָ֑ה כְּאִ֗לּוּ אָכְלוּ֙ מִשֻּׁ֣לְחָנ֔וֹ שֶׁ֥לְּהַקָּד֛וֹשׁ בָּר֥וּךְ ה֖וּא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַֽר׃ וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר אֵלַ֔י זֶ֚ה הַשֻּׁלְחָ֔ן אֲשֶׁ֖ר לִפְנֵ֥י יְהֹוָֽה׃
Rebbi Shimon said: “If three have eaten at a table and have held no conversation on Torah, it is as though they had eaten of sacrifices offered to the dead [idols], as it is said: ‘For all their tables are full of filth without the presence of Maqom.'[13]Isaiah 28:8. But if three have eaten at a table and have conversed on Torah, they are as though they had eaten from the table of the blessed Holy One, as it is said: ‘He said to me: This is the table which is in the presence of YHVH.'[14]Ezekiel 41:22.

רַ֛בִּי חֲנַנְיָ֥ה בֶן־חֲכִינַ֖י אוֹמֵֽר׃ הַנֵּע֤וֹר בַּלַּ֨יְלָה֙ וְהַמְהַלֵּ֣ךְ בַּדֶּ֔רֶךְ וּמַפְנֶ֥ה לִבּ֖וֹ לְבַטָּלָ֑ה הֲרֵ֥י זֶ֖ה מִתְחַיֵּ֥ב בְּנַפְשֽׁוֹ׃
Rebbi Ḥanina ben Ḥakinai said: “He who is awake at night, or travels alone on the road, and turns his mind to idle thoughts, commits a deadly transgression.”

רַ֛בִּי נְחוֹנְיָ֥ה בֶן־הַקָּנָ֖ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ כׇּל־הַמְקַבֵּ֥ל עָלָ֖יו עֹ֣ל תּוֹרָ֑ה מַעֲבִירִ֣ים מִמֶּ֗נּוּ עֹ֧ל מַלְכ֛וּת וְעֹ֖ל דֶּ֥רֶךְ אֶֽרֶץ׃ וְכׇל־הַפּוֹרֵ֥ק מִמֶּ֖נּוּ עֹ֣ל תּוֹרָ֑ה נוֹתְנִ֣ים עָלָ֗יו עֹ֧ל מַלְכ֛וּת וְעֹ֖ל דֶּ֥רֶךְ אֶֽרֶץ׃
Rebbi Neḥunya ben ha-Qanah said: “Whoever takes upon himself the yoke of the Torah will be relieved from the yoke of the government and the yoke of worldly affairs [the struggle for existence]; whoever divests himself of the yoke of the Torah will be burdened with the yoke of the government and the yoke of worldly affairs.”

רַ֥בִּי חֲלַפְתָּ֖א בֶן־דּ֑וֹסָא אִ֕ישׁ כְּפַ֥ר חֲנַנְיָ֖ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ עֲשָׂרָה֙ שֶׁ֣יּוֹשְׁבִ֔ין וַעֲסוּקִ֖ין בְּדִבְרֵ֥י תוֹרָ֑ה שְׁכִינָ֥ה בֵינֵיהֶ֖ם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַֽר׃ אֱלֹהִ֥ים נִצָּ֖ב בַּעֲדַ֥ת אֵֽל׃ וּמְנַ֨יִן אֲפִ֤לּוּ חֲמִשָּׁה֙ שֶׁנֶּ֣אֱמַ֔ר וַאֲגֻדָּת֖וֹ עַל־אֶ֣רֶץ יְסָדָ֑הּ וּמְנַ֨יִן אֲפִ֤לּוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה֙ שֶׁנֶּ֣אֱמַ֔ר בְּקֶ֥רֶב אֱלֹהִ֖ים יִשְׁפֹּֽט׃ וּמְנַ֨יִן אֲפִ֤לּוּ שְׁנַ֨יִם֙ שֶׁנֶּ֣אֱמַ֔ר אָ֧ז נִדְבְּר֛וּ יִרְאֵ֥י יְהֹוָ֖ה אִ֣ישׁ אֶל־רֵעֵ֑הוּ וַיַּקְשֵׁ֤ב יְהֹוָה֙ וַיִּשְׁמָ֔ע וַ֠יִּכָּתֵ֠ב סֵ֣פֶר זִכָּר֤וֹן לְפָנָיו֙ לְיִרְאֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֔ה וּלְחֹשְׁבֵ֖י שְׁמֽוֹ׃ וּמְנַ֕יִן אֲפִ֥לּוּ אֶחָ֖ד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֑ר בְּכׇל־הַמָּקוֹם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אַזְכִּ֣יר אֶת־שְׁמִ֔י אָב֥וֹא אֵלֶ֖יךָ וּבֵרַכְתִּֽיךָ׃
Rebbi Ḥalafta ben Dosa of Kfar Ḥananya said: “When ten people sit together and occupy themselves with the Torah, the Shekhinah abides among them, as it is said: ‘Elohim stands in the assembly of El.'[15]Psalm 82:1. Whence do we know that the same applies even to five? It is said: ‘He has founded his band upon the earth.'[16]Amos 9:6. Whence do we know that the same applies even to three? It is said: ‘In the midst of the judges he judges.'[17]Psalm 82:1. Whence do we know that the same applies even to two? It is said: ‘Then those who revered YHVH spoke to each other, and YHVH listened and heard.'[18]Malachi 3:16. Whence do we know that the same applies even to one? It is said: ‘In every place where I have my name mentioned I will come to you and bless you.'[19]Exodus 20:21.

רַ֨בִּי אֶלְעָזָ֧ר בֶּן־יְהוּדָ֛ה אִ֥ישׁ בַּרְתּ֖וּתָה אוֹמֵֽר׃ תֶּ֥ן לוֹ֙ מִשֶּׁלּ֔וֹ שֶׁאַ֥תְּ וְשֶׁלָּ֖ךְ שֶׁלּ֑וֹ וְכֵ֛ן ה֥וּא אוֹמֵ֖ר בְּדָוִֽד׃ כִּי־מִמְּךָ֣ הַכֹּ֔ל וּמִיָּדְךָ֖ נָתַ֥נּוּ לָֽךְ׃
Rebbi Elazar of Bartuta said: “Give to him [God] of his own, for you and yours are his. The same thought was expressed by David, who said: ‘For all things come from you, and we have given you only what is yours.'[20]I Chronicles 29:14.

רַ֥בִּי שִׁמְע֖וֹן אוֹמֵֽר׃ הַמְהַלֵּ֣ךְ בַּדֶּ֡רֶךְ וְ֠שׁוֹנֶה וּמַפְסִ֨יק מִשְׁנָת֜וֹ וְאוֹמֵ֗ר מַ֤ה נָּאֶה֙ אִילָ֣ן זֶ֔ה וּמַ֥ה נָּאֶ֖ה נִ֣יר זֶ֑ה מַעְלִ֧ין עָלָ֛יו כְּאִ֖לּוּ מִתְחַיֵּ֥ב בְּנַפְשֽׁוֹ׃
Rebbi Shimon said:[21]Others attribute to Rebbi Yaaqov “He who travels on the road while reviewing what he has learnt, and interrupts his study and says: ‘How fine is that tree, how fair is that field!’ Scripture regards him as if he committed a grave transgression [22]Paltiel Birnbaum provides the pshat explanation, “study is more important than the admiration of nature” however this teaching re: the praxis of mentally reviewing Torah may be understood differently. Both the tree and the field may signify the Torah (as conceived as the Tree of Life) and Shadai (as conceived as the fertile sadeh/field) respectively. Thus, I understand this teaching as a warning not to interrupt and replace the highly associative state of contemplative ruminations with that of any immanent phenomenal representation. –ANV.

רַ֥בִּי דּוֹסְתַּ֖אי בְּרַ֣בִּי יַנַּ֑אי מִשּׁ֛וּם רַ֥בִּי מֵאִ֖יר אוֹמֵֽר׃ כׇּל־הַשָּׁכַח֙ דָּבָ֣ר אֶחָ֔ד מִ֖מִּשְׁנָת֑וֹ מַעְלִ֧ין עָלָ֛יו כְּאִ֥לּוּ מִתְחַיֵּ֖ב בְּנַפְשׁ֥וֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַֽר׃ רַ֡ק הִשָּׁ֣מֶר לְךָ֩ וּשְׁמֹ֨ר נַפְשְׁךָ֜ מְאֹ֗ד פֶּן־תִּשְׁכַּ֨ח אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֜ים אֲשֶׁר־רָא֣וּ עֵינֶ֗יךָ יָכ֨וֹל אֲפִ֣לּוּ תׇקְפָה֮ עָלָ֣יו מִשְׁנָתוֹ֒ תַּלְמ֣וּד לוֹמַ֔ר וּפֶן־יָס֙וּרוּ֙ מִלְּבָ֣בְךָ֔ כֹּ֖ל יְמֵ֣י חַיֶּ֑יךָ הָ֚א אֵ֣ינוּ מִתְחַיֵּ֔ב עַ֛ד שֶׁיֵּשֵׁ֥ב וִיסִירֵ֖ם מִלִּבּֽוֹ׃
Rebbi Dostai ben Yannai said in the name of Rebbi Meir: “Whoever forgets anything of what he has learned, Scripture regards him as if he committed a grave transgression, for it is said: ‘Only take care, and watch yourself well that you do not forget the things which your eyes saw.'[23]Deuteronomy 4:9. Now, one might suppose that this applies even to a person who has forgotten because his study proved too hard for him; it is therefore explicitly added: ‘Lest they be removed from your heart/conscience all the days of your life.'[24]Deuteronomy 4:9. Thus, he incurs a grave sin only when he deliberately removes the lessons from his heart/conscience.”

רַ֛בִּי חֲנִ֥ינָא בֶן־דּ֖וֹסָא אוֹמֵֽר׃ כׇּל־שֶׁיִּרְאַ֤ת חֶטְאוֹ֙ קוֹדֶ֣מֶת לְחׇכְמָת֔וֹ חׇכְמָת֖וֹ מִתְקַיֶּ֑מֶת חׇכְמָת֤וֹ קוֹדֶ֨מֶת֙ לְיִרְאַ֣ת חֶטְא֔וֹ אֵ֥ין חׇכְמָת֖וֹ מִתְקַיֶּֽמֶת׃ ה֖וּא הָיָ֥ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ כׇּל־שֶׁמַּעֲשָׂיו֙ מְרֻבִּ֣ים מֵחׇכְמָת֔וֹ חׇכְמָת֖וֹ מִתְקַיֶּ֑מֶת חׇכְמָתוֹ֙ מְרֻבָּ֣ה מִמַּעֲשָׂ֔יו אֵ֥ין חׇכְמָת֖וֹ מִתְקַיֶּֽמֶת׃ ה֖וּא הָיָ֥ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ כׇּל־שֶׁר֤וּחַ הַבְּרִיּוֹת֙ נוֹחָ֣ה הֵימֶ֔נּוּ ר֥וּחַ הַמָּק֖וֹם נוֹחָ֣ה הֵימֶ֑נּוּ וְכׇ֨ל־שֶׁאֵין־ר֤וּחַ הַבְּרִיּוֹת֙ נוֹחָ֣ה הֵימֶ֔נּוּ אֵין־ר֥וּחַ הַמָּק֖וֹם נוֹחָ֥ה הֵימֶֽנּוּ׃
Rebbi Ḥanina ben Dosa said: “Anyone whose fear of sin precedes his wisdom [whose moral conduct means more to him than his learning], his wisdom shall endure; anyone whose wisdom precedes his fear of sin, his wisdom shall not endure [not being subjected to the moral demands of wisdom, he will give up wisdom so that it might not trouble his conscience].” He used to say: “Anyone whose deeds exceed his wisdom, his wisdom shall endure; anyone whose wisdom exceeds his deeds, his wisdom shall not endure.” He used to say: “Anyone who is liked by his fellow creatures is liked by HaMaqom; anyone who is not liked by his fellow creatures is not liked by HaMaqom.”

רַ֛בִּי דּ֥וֹסָא בֶן־הַרְכִינָ֖ס אוֹמֵֽר׃ שֵׁנָ֨ה שֶׁלְּשַׁחֲרִ֜ית וְיַ֣יִן שֶׁלְּצָהֳרַ֗יִם וְשִׂיחַ֧ת הַיְלָדִ֛ים וִישִׁיבַ֥ת בָּתֵּי־כְנֵסִיּ֖וֹת שֶׁלְּעַמֵּ֣י הָאָרֶ֑ץ מוֹצִיאִ֥ין אֶת־הָאָדָ֖ם מִן־הָעוֹלָֽם׃
Rebbi Dosa ben Harkinas said: “Morning sleep [late sleeping], wine drinking at noon, [frivolous] children’s conversation, and attending the meeting-places of the ignorant shorten a person’s life.”

רַ֛בִּי אֶלְעָזָ֥ר הַמּוֹדָעִ֖י אוֹמֵֽר׃ הַמְחַלֵּ֨ל אֶת־הַקׇּדָשִׁ֜ים וְהַמְבַזֶּ֣ה אֶת־הַמּוֹעֲד֗וֹת וְהַמְגַלֶּ֤ה פָנִים֙ בַּתּוֹרָ֔ה וְהַמֵּפֵ֤ר בְּרִיתוֹ֙ שֶׁלְּאַבְרָהָ֣ם אָבִ֔ינוּ וְהַמְּאַדִּ֖ים אֶת־פְּנֵ֣י חֲבֵר֑וֹ אַף־עַל־פִּ֞י שֶׁיֵּ֤שׁ בְּיָדוֹ֙ מַעֲשִׂ֣ים טוֹבִ֔ים אֵ֨ין ל֧וֹ חֵ֛לֶק לָעוֹלָ֖ם הַבָּֽא׃
Rebbi Elazar of Modiin said: “He who profanes sacred objects, slights the festivals, puts his fellow to shame in public, breaks the covenant of our father Avraham, or misinterprets the Torah — even though he has Torah and good deeds to his credit — has no share in the World to Come.”

רַ֥בִּי יִשְׁמָעֵ֖אל אוֹמֵֽר׃ הֱוֵ֕י קַ֥ל רֹ֖אשׁ וְנ֣וֹחַ תִּשְׁחֹ֑רֶת וֶהֱוֵ֕י מְקַבֵּ֥ל אֶת־כׇּל־הָאָדָ֖ם בְּשִׂמְחָֽה׃
Rebbi Yishmael said: “Be submissive to a superior and kindly to the young; and receive all men cheerfully.”

רַ֥בִּי עֲקִ֖יבָא אוֹמֵֽר׃ שְׂח֖וֹק וְקַלּ֣וּת רֹ֑אשׁ מַרְגִּילִ֥ים אֶת־הָאָדָ֖ם לָעֶרְוָֽה׃ מַעַשְׂרוֹת֙ סְיָ֣ג לַתּוֹרָ֔ה נְדָרִ֕ים סְיָ֖ג לִפְרִישׁ֑וּת סְיָ֥ג לַחׇכְמָ֖ה שְׁתִיקָֽה׃ ה֖וּא הָיָ֥ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ חָבִ֥יב אָדָ֖ם שֶׁנִּבְרָ֣א בְצֶ֑לֶם חִבָּ֨ה יְתֵרָ֜ה נוֹדַ֣עַת ל֗וֹ שֶׁנִּבְרָא֙ בְצֶ֣לֶם אֱלֹהִ֔ים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר כִּ֚י בְּצֶ֣לֶם אֱלֹהִ֔ים עָשָׂ֖ה אֶת־הָאָדָֽם׃ חֲבִיבִ֥ין יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל שֶׁנִּקְרְא֣וּ בָנִ֑ים חִבָּ֨ה יְתֵרָ֜ה נוֹדַ֣עַת לָהֶ֗ם שֶׁנִּקְרְא֤וּ בָנִים֙ לַמָּק֔וֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר בָּנִ֣ים אַתֶּ֔ם לַיהֹוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃ חֲבִיבִין֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל שֶׁנִּתַּ֥ן לָהֶ֖ם כְּלִ֣י חֶמְדָּ֑ה חִבָּ֨ה יְתֵרָ֜ה נוֹדַ֣עַת לָהֶ֗ם שֶׁנִּתַּ֤ן לָהֶם֙ כְּלִ֣י חֶמְדָּ֔ה שֶׁבּ֖וֹ נִבְרָ֥א הָעוֹלָֽם׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר כִּ֕י לֶ֥קַח ט֖וֹב נָתַ֣תִּי לָכֶ֑ם תּוֹרָתִ֖י אַל־תַּעֲזֹֽבוּ׃ הַכֹּ֤ל צָפוּי֙ וְהָרְשׁ֣וּת נְתוּנָ֔ה וּבְט֥וּב הָעוֹלָ֖ם נִדּ֑וֹן וְהַכֹּ֛ל לְפִ֖י רֹ֥ב הַמַּעֲשֶֽׂה׃ ה֖וּא הָיָ֥ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ הַכֹּ֕ל נָת֖וּן בְּעֵרָב֑וֹן וּמְצוּדָ֥ה פְרוּשָׂ֖ה עַל־כׇּל־הַחַיִּֽים׃ הֶחָנ֤וּת פְּתוּחָה֙ וְהַחַנְוָנִ֣י מַקִּ֔יף הַפִּנְקֵ֥ס פְּתוּחָ֖ה וְהַיָּ֣ד כּוֹתֶ֑בֶת וְכׇ֨ל־הָרוֹצֶ֤ה לִלְווֹת֙ יָבֹ֣א וְיִלְוֶ֔ה וְהַגַּבָּאִ֞ים מַחֲזִירִ֣ים ׀ תָּמִ֣יד בְּכׇל־י֗וֹם וְנִפְרָעִ֤ין מִן־הָאָדָם֙ מִדַּעֲתּ֔וֹ וְשֶׁלֹּ֣א מִדַּעֲ֔תּוֹ וְיֵ֥שׁ לָהֶם֙ עַל־מַ֣ה שֶּׁיִּסְמֹ֔כוּ וְהַדִּ֨ין דִּ֧ין אֱמֶ֛ת וְהַכֹּ֥ל מְתֻקָּ֖ן לַסְּעוּדָֽה׃
Rebbi Akiva said: “Jesting and light-headedness lead a man on to lewdness. The Massorah [the tradition as to the correct text of the Scriptures] is a fence to the Torah [and preserves its integrity]; tithes form a fence to wealth; vows are a fence [a help] to self-restraint; a fence to wisdom is silence.” He used to say: “Beloved is mankind, for it was created b’tselem [in the image of the Divine]; it is by special divine love that humanity is informed that it was created b’tselem, as it is said: ‘For in the image of Elohim was Adam made.'[25]Genesis 9:6. Beloved are Yisrael, for they were called the children of Maqom; it is by special divine love that they are informed that they were called the children of Maqom, as it is said: ‘You are the children of YHVH your elo’ah.'[26]Deuteronomy 14:1. Beloved are Yisrael, for to them was given a precious instrument [the Torah]; it is by special divine love that they are informed that to them was given the precious instrument through which the world was created, as it is said: ‘For I give you good leqaḥ/doctrine; forsake not my Torah.'[27]Proverbs 4:2. Everything is foreseen, yet freewill is granted; the world is ruled with divine goodness, yet all is according to the productivity of labor. He used to say: “Everything is given on pledge, and a net is spread for all the living [none can escape divine justice]; the store is open, and the storekeeper allows credit; the ledger is open, and the hand writes; whoever wishes to borrow may come and borrow, but the collectors go around regularly every day and exact payment from man, whether or not he realizes [that he is punished for his sins]; they have good authority on which they can rely, since the judgment is just; and all is prepared for the banquet [the reward of the righteous is assured].”

רַ֛בִּי אֶלְעָזָ֥ר בֶּן־עֲזַרְיָ֖ה אוֹמֵֽר׃
אִ֚ם אֵ֣ין תּוֹרָ֔ה
אֵ֖ין דֶּ֣רֶךְ אֶרֶ֑ץ
אִ֚ם אֵ֣ין דֶּ֣רֶךְ אֶ֔רֶץ
אֵ֖ין תּוֹרָֽה׃
 
אִ֚ם אֵ֣ין חׇכְמָ֔ה
אֵ֖ין יִרְאָ֑ה
אִ֚ם אֵ֣ין יִרְאָ֔ה
אֵ֖ין חׇכְמָֽה׃
 
אִ֚ם אֵ֣ין דַּ֔עַת
אֵ֖ין בִּינָ֑ה
אִ֚ם אֵ֣ין בִּינָ֔ה
אֵ֖ין דַּֽעַת׃
 
אִ֚ם אֵ֣ין קֶ֔מַח
אֵ֖ין תּוֹרָ֑ה
אִ֚ם אֵ֣ין תּוֹרָ֔ה
אֵ֖ין קֶֽמַח׃
Rebbi Elazar ben Azaryah said:
“Where there is no Torah,
there is no proper conduct;
where there is no proper conduct,
there is no Torah.
 
Where there is no wisdom,
there is no reverence;
where there is no reverence,
there is no wisdom.
 
Where there is no knowledge,
there is no understanding;
where there is no understanding,
there is no knowledge.
 
Where there is no bread,
there is no Torah;
where there is no Torah,
there is no bread.”

ה֖וּא הָיָ֥ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ כׇּל־שֶׁחׇכְמָ֞תוֹ מְרֻבָּ֣ה מִמַּעֲשָׂ֗יו לְמַ֕ה ה֖וּא דּוֹמֶ֑ה לְאִילָ֞ן שֶׁנּוֹפ֣וֹ מְרֻבֶּה֮ וְשׇׁרָשָׁ֣יו מְעוּטִין֒ וְהָר֤וּח בָּאת֙ וְעוֹקְרַתּוֹ֙ וְהוֹפְכַ֥תּוֹ עַל־פָּנָ֖יו שֶׁנֶּאֱמַֽר׃ וְהָיָה֙ כְּעַרְעָ֣ר בָּעֲרָבָ֔ה וְלֹ֥א יִרְאֶ֖ה כִּֽי־יָ֣בוֹא ט֑וֹב וְשָׁכַ֤ן חֲרֵרִים֙ בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר אֶ֥רֶץ מְלֵחָ֖ה וְלֹ֥א תֵשֵֽׁב׃ וְכׇל־שֶׁמַּעֲשָׂ֞יו מְרֻבִּ֣ין מֵחׇכְמָת֗וֹ לְמַ֕ה ה֖וּא דּוֹמֶ֑ה לְאִילָ֞ן שֶׁנּוֹפ֣וֹ מְמוּעָט֮ וְשׇׁרָשָׁ֣יו מְרֻבִּין֒ שֶׁאֲפִ֤לּוּ כׇל־הָרוּחוֹת֙ שֶׁבָּעוֹלָ֔ם בָּאוֹת֙ וְנוֹשְׁב֣וֹת בּ֔וֹ אֵ֧ין מְזִיזִ֛ין אוֹת֥וֹ מִמְּקוֹמ֖וֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַֽר׃ וְהָיָ֞ה כְּעֵ֣ץ ׀ שָׁת֣וּל עַל־מַ֗יִם וְעַל־יוּבַל֙ יְשַׁלַּ֣ח שׇׁרָשָׁ֔יו וְלֹ֤א ירא יִרְאֶה֙ כִּי־יָ֣בֹא חֹ֔ם וְהָיָ֥ה עָלֵ֖הוּ רַעֲנָ֑ן וּבִשְׁנַ֤ת בַּצֹּ֙רֶת֙ לֹ֣א יִדְאָ֔ג וְלֹ֥א יָמִ֖ישׁ מֵעֲשׂ֥וֹת פֶּֽרִי׃
He used to say: “One whose wisdom exceeds his deeds, to what is he like? To a tree that has many branches and few roots, so that when the wind comes, it plucks it up and turns it over, as it is said: ‘And he shall be like a lonely tree in the desert, and shall not see the coming of good; he shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, a salt land and uninhabited.'[28]Jeremiah 17:6. But one whose deeds exceed his wisdom, to what is he like? To a tree that has few branches and many roots, so that even if all the winds in the world come and blow upon it, they cannot move it out of its place, as it is said: ‘And he shall be like a tree planted by waters, that spreads out its roots beside a stream; it sees not the coming of heat, and its leaves are ever green; in a year of drought it is not troubled, and ceases not to bear fruit.'[29]Jeremiah 17:8.

רַ֛בִּי אֱלִיעֶ֥זֶר בֶּן־חִ֖סְמָא אוֹמֵֽר׃ קִנִּין֙ וּפִתְחֵ֣י נִדָּ֔ה הֵ֥ן הֵ֖ן גּוּפֵ֣י הֲלָכ֑וֹת תְּקוּפוֹת֙ וְגֵמַ֣טְּרִי֔וֹת פַּרְפְּרָא֖וֹת לַחׇכְמָֽה׃
Rebbi Elazar ben Ḥisma said: “The laws concerning the sacrifices of birds and the purification of women are essential precepts; astronomy and geometry are the auxiliaries of wisdom.”

רַ֛בִּי חֲנַנְיָ֥א בֶּן־עֲקַשְׁיָ֖א אוֹמֵֽר׃ רָצָ֗ה הַקָּדוֹשׁ֙ בָּר֣וּךְ ה֔וּא לְזַכּ֖וֹת אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל לְפִיכָ֕ךְ הִרְבָּ֥ה לָהֶ֖ם תּוֹרָ֥ה וּמִצְוֹֽת׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר יְהֹוָ֥ה חָפֵ֖ץ לְמַ֣עַן צִדְק֑וֹ יַגְדִּ֥יל תּוֹרָ֖ה וְיַאְדִּֽיר׃
Rebbi Ḥananya ben Aqashya said: “The blessed Holy One desired to purify Yisrael; hence he gave them a Torah rich in rules of conduct, as it is said: ‘YHVH was pleased, for the sake of [Yisrael’s] righteousness, to render the Torah great and glorious.'[30]Isaiah 42:21.

פרק ד
Chapter 4

כׇּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֕ל יֵ֥שׁ לָהֶ֛ם חֵ֖לֶק לְעוֹלָ֥ם הַבָּֽא׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר וְעַמֵּךְ֙ כֻּלָּ֣ם צַדִּיקִ֔ים לְעוֹלָ֖ם יִ֣ירְשׁוּ אָ֑רֶץ נֵ֧צֶר מטעו מַטָּעַ֛י מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה יָדַ֖י לְהִתְפָּאֵֽר׃
All Yisrael have a share in the World to Come, as it is said: ‘Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever; they are a plant of my own, the work of my hands, wherein I may glory.'[31]Isaiah 60:21.

בֶּן־ז֖וֹמָא אוֹמֵֽר אֵיזֶה֤וּ חָכָם֙ הַלּוֹמֵ֣ד מִכׇּל־אָדָ֔ם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר מִכׇּ֥ל־מְלַמְּדַ֖י הִשְׂכַּֽלְתִּי׃ אֵיזֶה֤וּ גִבּוֹר֙ הַכּוֹבֵ֣שׁ אֶת־יִצְר֔וֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר ט֛וֹב אֶ֥רֶךְ אַפַּ֖יִם מִגִּבּ֑וֹר וּמֹשֵׁ֥ל בְּרוּח֖וֹ מִלֹּכֵ֥ד עִֽיר׃ אֵיזֶה֤וּ עָשִׁיר֙ הַשָּׂמֵ֣חַ בְּחֶלְק֔וֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר יְגִ֥יעַ כַּפֶּ֖יךָ כִ֣י תֹאכֵ֑ל אַשְׁרֶ֖יךָ וְט֥וֹב לָֽךְ׃ אַשְׁרֶ֖יךָ בָּעוֹלָ֣ם הַזֶּ֑ה וְט֥וֹב לָ֖ךְ לָעוֹלָ֥ם הַבָּֽא׃ אֵיזֶה֤וּ מְכֻבָּד֙ הַמְכַבֵּ֣ד אֶת־הַבְּרִיּ֔וֹת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר כִּֽי־מְכַבְּדַ֥י אֲכַבֵּ֖ד וּבֹזַ֥י יֵקָֽלּוּ׃
[Shimon] ben Zoma said: “Who is wise? He who learns from every man, as it is said: ‘From all my teachers I gained wisdom.'[32]Psalm 119:99. Who is strong? He who subdues his [evil] impulse, as it is said: ‘He who is slow to anger is better than a strong man; he who rules his spirit is better than one who conquers a city.'[33]Proverbs 16:32. Who is rich? He who is content with his lot, as it is said: ‘When you eat of the toil of your hands, happy shall you be, and it shall be well with you.'[34]Psalm 128:2. Happy shall you he in this world; and it shall be well with you in the World to Come. Who is honored? He who honors his fellow-men, as it is said: ‘Those who honor me [by honoring their fellow, created in the divine image] I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.'[35]1 Samuel 2:30.

בֶּן־עַזַּ֖אי אוֹמֵֽר׃ הֱוֵ֥י רָ֛ץ לְמִצְוָ֥ה קַלָּ֖ה כְבַחֲמוּרָ֑ה וּבוֹרֵ֖חַ מִן־הָעֲבֵרָֽה׃ שֶׁמִּצְוָה֙ גוֹרֶ֣רֶת מִצְוָ֔ה וַעֲבֵרָ֖ה גוֹרֶרֶ֣ת עֲבֵרָ֑ה שֶׁשְּׂכַ֤ר מִצְוָה֙ ׀ מִצְוָ֔ה וּשְׂכַ֥ר עֲבֵרָ֖ה ׀ עֲבֵרָֽה׃ ה֖וּא הָיָ֥ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ אַל־תְּהִ֤י בָז֙ לְכׇל־אָדָ֔ם וְאַל־תְּהִ֥י מַפְלִ֖יג לְכׇל־דָּבָ֑ר שֶׁאֵ֨ין לָ֤ךְ אָדָם֙ שֶׁאֵין־ל֣וֹ שָׁעָ֔ה וְאֵין־לָ֥ךְ דָּבָ֖ר שֶׁאֵין־ל֥וֹ מָקֽוֹם׃
[Shimon] ben Azzai said: “Run to perform even a minor mitsvah, and flee from transgression; for one good deed draws [in its train] another good deed, and one transgression leads to another; for the reward of a good deed is a good deed, and the reward of sin is sin [virtue is its own reward, and sin its own penalty]. He used to say: “Do not despise anyone, and do not consider anything as impossible; for there is not a person who has not his hour, and there is not a thing (davar) that has not its place (maqom).”

רַ֥בִּי לְוִיטָ֛ס אִ֥ישׁ יַבְנֶ֖ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ מְאֹ֧ד ׀ מְאֹ֛ד הֱוֵ֖י שְׁפַ֣ל ר֑וּחַ שֶׁתִּקְוַ֥ת אֱנ֖וֹשׁ רִמָּֽה׃
Rebbi Levitas of Yavneh said: “Be exceedingly humble, since the end of a human being is decay (lit. worms).”

רַ֛בִּי יוֹחָנָ֥ן בֶּן־בְּר֖וֹקָא אוֹמֵֽר׃ כׇּל־הַמְחַלֵּ֞ל שֵׁ֤ם שָׁמַיִם֙ בַּסֵּ֔תֶר נִפְרָעִ֥ים מִמֶּ֖נּוּ בַגָּל֑וּי אֶחָ֤ד שׁוֹגֵג֙ וְאֶחָ֣ד מֵזִ֔יד בְּחִלּ֖וּל הַשֵּֽׁם׃
Rebbi Yoḥanan ben Beroqah said: “Whoever profanes the Shem Shamayim (the Heavenly name) secretly is punished publicly, whether the profanation is committed intentionally or unintentionally.”

רַ֥בִּי יִשְׁמָעֵ֖אל אוֹמֵֽר׃ הַלָּמֵד֙ עַל־מְנָ֣ת לְלַמֵּ֔ד מַסְפִּיקִ֥ין בְּיָד֖וֹ לִלְמֹ֣ד וּלְלַמֵּ֑ד הַלָּמֵד֙ עַל־מְנָ֣ת לַעֲשׁ֔וֹת מַסְפִּיקִ֣ין בְּיָד֔וֹ לִלְמֹ֥ד וּלְלַמֵּ֖ד לִשְׁמ֥וֹר וְלַעֲשֽׁוֹת׃
Rebbi Yishmael said: “He who learns in order to teach will be granted adequate means to learn and to teach; but he who learns in order to practice will be granted adequate means to learn and to teach, to observe and to practice.”

רַ֥בִּי צָד֖וֹק אוֹמֵֽר׃ אַל־תַּעֲשֵׂ֥ם עֲטָרָ֖ה לְהִתְגַּדֵּ֣ל בָּהֶ֑ן וְלֹ֣א קָרְדֹּ֔ם לֹאכַ֖ל מֵהֶֽן׃ וְכָ֛ךְ הָיָ֥ה הִלֵּ֖ל אוֹמֵ֑ר וּדְאִשְׁתַּמַּ֖שׁ בְּתָ֥גָא חָלַֽף׃ הָ֚א כׇּל־הַנֵּא֔וֹת מִדִּבְרֵ֖י תוֹרָ֑ה נָטַ֥ל חַיָּ֖יו מִ֥ן הָעוֹלָֽם׃
Rebbi Tsadoq said: Do not keep aloof from the community; do not [as a judge] play the part of a counselor; do not make of the Torah a crown (atarah) wherewith to magnify yourself, nor a spade wherewith to dig. Hillel used to say: ‘He who makes unworthy use of the Keter/Crown [of the Torah] shall perish.’ Hence, whoever makes selfish use of the Torah takes his own life.”

רַ֥בִּי י֖וֹסֵא אוֹמֵֽר׃ כׇּל־הַ֤מְכַבֵּד֙ אֶת־הַתּוֹרָ֔ה גּוּפ֥וֹ מְכֻבָּ֖ד עַל־הַבְּרִיּ֑וֹת וְכׇל־הַ֤מְחַלֵּל֙ אֶת־הַתּוֹרָ֔ה גּוּפ֥וֹ מְחֻלָּ֖ל עַל־הַבְּרִיּֽוֹת׃ רַ֛בִּי יִשְׁמָעֵ֥אל בְּנ֖וֹ אוֹמֵֽר׃ הַחוֹסֵ֤ךְ עַצְמוֹ֙ מִן־הַדִּ֔ין פּוֹרֵ֧ק מִמֶּ֛נּוּ אֵיבָ֥ה וְגָזֵ֖ל וּשְׁבוּעַ֣ת שָׁ֑וְא וְהַגַּ֤ס לִבּוֹ֙ בַהוֹרָאָ֔ה שׁוֹטֶ֛ה רָשָׁ֖ע וְגַ֥ס רֽוּחַ׃ ה֖וּא הָיָ֥ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ אַל־תְּהִ֖י דָ֣ן יְחִידִ֑י שֶׁאֵין֙ דָּ֣ן יְחִידִ֔י אֶ֖לָּא אֶחָֽד׃ וְאַל־תֹּאמַ֕ר קַבְּל֖וּ דַעֲתִּ֑י שֶׁהֵ֣ן רַשָּׁאִ֔ין וְלֹ֖א אַתָּֽה׃
Rebbi Yoséh said: “Whoever honors the Torah will himself be honored by men; whoever dishonors the Torah will himself be dishonored by men.” Rebbi Yishmael his son said: “He who avoids entering into litigation [and seeks a friendly settlement] rids himself of hatred, robbery and perjury; he who proudly lays down decisions is foolish, wicked and arrogant.” He used to say: “Do not judge alone, for none may judge alone except One; do not say [to your co-judges]: ‘Accept my view,’ for they [who are in the majority] are entitled to say that, but not you.”

רַ֥בִּי יוֹנָתָ֖ן אוֹמֵֽר׃ כׇּל־הַ֨מְקַיֵּ֤ם אֶת־הַתּוֹרָה֙ מֵעֹ֔נִי סוֹפ֖וֹ לְקַיְּמָ֣הּ מֵעֹ֑שֶׁר וְכׇל־הַ֨מְבַטֵּ֤ל אֶת־הַתּוֹרָה֙ מֵעֹ֔שֶׁר סוֹפ֖וֹ לְבַטְּלָ֥הּ מֵעֹֽנִי׃
Rebbi Yonatan said: “Whoever fulfills the Torah despite poverty shall in the end fulfill it in the midst of wealth; whoever neglects the Torah in the midst of wealth shall in the end neglect it on account of poverty.”

רַ֥בִּי מֵאִ֖יר אוֹמֵֽר׃ הֱוֵ֛י מְמַעֵ֥ט בְּעֵ֖סֶק וַעֲסֹ֣ק בַּתּוֹרָ֑ה וּשְׁפַ֣ל ר֔וּחַ בִּפְנֵ֖י כׇל־הָאָדָֽם׃ וְאִ֤ם בָּטַ֨לְתָּ֙ מִן־הַתּוֹרָ֔ה יֶ֥שׁ ל֛וֹ בְטֵלִ֥ים הַרְבֵּ֖ה כְנֶגְדָּ֑ךְ וְאִ֤ם עָמַ֨לְתָּ֙ בַתּוֹרָ֔ה יֶ֥שׁ ל֛וֹ שָׂכָ֥ר הַרְבֵּ֖ה לִתֶּ֥ן לָֽךְ׃
Rebbi Meir said: “Do rather less business and occupy yourself with the Torah; be humble before all men; if you neglect the Torah, you will have many disturbing causes in your way but if you toil in the Torah, there will be abundant reward given to you.”

רַ֛בִּי אֱלִיעֶ֥זֶר בֶּן־יַעֲקֹ֖ב אוֹמֵֽר׃ הָעוֹשֶׂה֙ מִצְוָ֣ה אַחַ֔ת קָנָ֥ה ל֖וֹ פְרַקְלִ֣יט אֶחָ֑ד וְהָעוֹבֵר֙ עֲבֵרָ֣ה אַחַ֔ת קָנָ֥ה ל֖וֹ קַטֵּיג֥וֹר אֶחָֽד׃ תְּשׁוּבָ֖ה וּמַעֲשִׂ֣ים טוֹבִ֑ים כִּתְרִ֖יס לִפְנֵ֥י הַפֻּרְעָנֽוּת׃ 
Rebbi Eliezer ben Yaaqov said: “He who performs one mitsvah gains for himself one advocate; he who commits one transgression acquires for himself one accuser. Repentance and good deeds are as a shield against punishment.”[36]Cf. Shemot Rabbah 32.

רַ֛בִּי יוֹחָנָ֥ן הַסַּנְדְּלָּ֖ר אוֹמֵֽר׃ כׇּל־כְּנֵ֤סְיָה֙ שֶׁהִ֣יא לְשֵׁ֣ם שָׁמַ֔יִם סוֹפָ֖הּ לְהִתְקַיֵּ֑ם וְשֶׁאֵינָה֙ לְשֵׁ֣ם שָׁמַ֔יִם אֵ֥ין סוֹפָ֖הּ לְהִתְקַיֵּֽם׃
Rebbi Yoḥanan ha-Sandlar said: “Any assembly which is for the sake of Heaven [for the promotion of a noble purpose] will be of permanent value, but one which is not for the sake of Heaven will not be of permanent value.”

רַ֥בִּי אֶלְעָזָ֖ר אוֹמֵֽר׃ יְהִי֙ כְב֣וֹד תַּלְמִידָ֔ךְ חָבִ֧יב עָלֶ֛יךָ כִכְב֖וֹד חֲבֵרָ֑ךְ וּכְב֤וֹד חֲבֵרָךְ֙ כְּמוֹרָ֣א רַבָּ֔ךְ וּמוֹרָ֥א רַבָּ֖ךְ כְּמוֹרָ֥א שָׁמַֽיִם׃
Rebbi Elazar ben Shammua said: “Let the honor of your student be as dear to you as your own, and the honor of your colleague be like the reverence due to your teacher, and the reverence for your teacher be like the reverence for Heaven.”

רַ֥בִּי יְהוּדָ֖ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ הֱוֵ֥י זָהִ֖יר בַּתַּלְמ֑וּד שֶׁשִּׁגְגַ֥ת הַתַּלְמ֖וּד עוֹלָ֥ה זָדֽוֹן׃
Rebbi Yehudah said: “Be careful in teaching, for an error in teaching amounts to intentional transgression.”

רַ֥בִּי שִׁמְע֖וֹן אוֹמֵֽר׃ שְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה כְתָרִ֖ים הֵ֑ן כֶּ֨תֶר תּוֹרָ֜ה וְכֶ֣תֶר כְּהֻנָּ֗ה וְכֶ֧תֶר מַלְכ֧וּת וְכֶ֥תֶר שֵׁם־ט֖וֹב עַל־גַּבֵּיהֶֽן׃
Rebbi Shimon said: “There are three crowns: the crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood, and the crown of royalty; but the crown of a good name excels them all.”

רַ֥בִּי נְהוֹרַ֖אי אוֹמֵֽר׃ הֱוֵ֤י גוֹלֶה֙ לִמְק֣וֹם תּוֹרָ֔ה וְאַל־תֹּאמַ֕ר הִ֖יא תָּב֣וֹא אַחֲרַ֑י שֶׁחֲבֵרֶ֨יךָ֙ יְקַיְּמ֣וּהָ בְיָדֶ֔ךָ וְאֶל־בִּינָתְךָ֖ אַל־תִּשָּׁעֵֽן׃
Rebbi Nehorai said: “Go as a voluntary exile to a place of Torah, and do not say that the Torah will seek after you, for it is your fellow students who will make it your permanent possession; and do not rely on your own understanding.”

רַ֥בִּי יַנַּ֖אי אוֹמֵֽר׃ אֵ֣ין בְּיָדֵ֔ינוּ לֹ֖א מִשַּׁלְוַ֣ת הָרְשָׁעִ֑ים וְלֹ֛א מִיִּסּוּרֵ֖יהֶן שֶׁלַּצַּדִּיקִֽים׃
Rebbi Yannai said: “It is not in our power to explain why the wicked are at ease, or why the righteous suffer.”

רַ֛בִּי מַ֥תְיָא בֶן־חָרָ֖שׁ אוֹמֵֽר׃ הֱוֵ֥י מַקְדִ֖ים בִּשְׁל֣וֹם כׇּל־הָאָדָ֑ם וֶהֱוֵי֙ זָנָ֣ב לָאֲרָ֔יוֹת וְלֹ֖א רֹ֥אשׁ לַשּׁוּעָלִֽים׃
Rebbi Matyah ben Ḥarash said: “Meet every man with a friendly greeting; be the tail among lions rather than the head among foxes.”

רַ֥בִּי יַעֲקֹ֖ב אוֹמֵֽר׃ הָעוֹלָ֣ם הַזֶּ֗ה דוֹמֶה֙ לִפְר֣וֹזְד֔וֹר בִּפְנֵ֖י הָעוֹלָ֣ם הַבָּ֑א הַתְקֵ֤ן עַצְמָךְ֙ בִּפְר֣וֹזְד֔וֹר כְּדֵ֛י שֶׁתִּכָּנֵ֖ס לַטְרִקְלִֽין׃ ה֖וּא הָיָ֥ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ יָפָ֞ה שָׁעָ֨ה אַחַ֤ת בִּתְשׁוּבָה֙ וּבְמַעֲשִׂ֣ים טוֹבִ֔ים בָּעוֹלָ֖ם הַזֶּ֑ה מִכׇּל־חַיֵּ֖י הָעוֹלָ֥ם הַבָּֽא׃ יָפָ֞ה שָׁעָ֨ה אַחַ֤ת שֶׁלְּקוֹרַת־ר֨וּחַ֙ בָּעוֹלָ֣ם הַבָּ֔א מִכׇּל־חַיֵּ֖י הָעוֹלָ֥ם הַזֶּֽה׃
Rebbi Yaaqov said: “This world is like a vestibule before the World to Come; prepare yourself in the vestibule, so that you may enter the banquet hall.” He used to say: “One hour spent in repentance and good deeds in this world is better [more exhilarating] than the whole life of the World to Come; yet one hour of satisfaction in the World to Come is better than a whole life of this world.”

רַ֥בִּי שִׁמְע֖וֹן אוֹמֵֽר׃ אַל־תְּרַצֶּ֤ה אֶת־חֲבֵרָךְ֙ בְּשָׁעַ֣ת כַּעֲס֔וֹ וְאַל־תְּנַחֲמֶ֨נּוּ֙ בְּשָׁעָ֔ה שֶׁמֵּת֖וֹ מוּטָ֣ל לְפָנָ֑יו וְאַ֨ל־תִּשְׁאַ֤ל לוֹ֙ בְּשָׁעָ֣ה נִדְר֔וֹ וְאַל־תִּשְׁתַּדֵּ֥ל לִרְאוֹת֖וֹ בְּשָׁעָ֥ה קַלְקָלָֽתוֹ׃
Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar said: “Do not pacify your fellow in the hour of his anger; do not comfort him while his dead lies before him; do not question him at the time he makes a vow; and do not try to see him in the hour of his disgrace.”

שְׁמוּאֵ֥ל הַקָּטָ֖ן אוֹמֵֽר׃ בִּנְפֹ֤ל אוֹיִבְךָ֙ אַל־תִּשְׂמָ֔ח וּבִכָּשְׁל֖וֹ אַל־יָגֵ֣ל לִבֶּ֑ךָ פֶּן־יִרְאֶ֤ה יְהוָה֙ וְרַ֣ע בְּעֵינָ֔יו וְהֵשִׁ֥יב מֵעָלָ֖יו אַפּֽוֹ׃
Shmuel ha-Qatan said: “‘Rejoice not when your enemy falls, and let not your heart exult when he stumbles; lest YHVH see it and be displeased, and he divert his wrath from him [to you].'[37]Proverbs 24:17-18.

אֱלִישָׁ֥ע בֶּן־אֲבוּיָ֖ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ הַלּוֹמֵ֤ד יֶ֨לֶד֙ לְמַ֣ה ה֣וּא דּוֹמֶ֔ה לִדְי֥וֹ כְתוּבָ֛ה עַל־נְיָ֖ר חָדָ֑שׁ הַלּוֹמֵ֤ד זָקֵן֙ לְמַ֣ה ה֣וּא דּוֹמֶ֔ה לִדְ֕יוֹ כְתוּבָ֖ה עַל־נְיָ֥ר מָחֽוּק׃
Elisha ben Avuyah said: “If one learns when he is young, to what is it like? To ink written on new [fresh] paper. If one learns when he is old, to what is it like? To ink written on blotted paper.”

רַ֥בִּי יוֹסֵ֖י בֶּן־יְהוּדָ֑ה אִ֛ישׁ כְּפַ֥ר הַבַּבְלִ֖י אוֹמֵֽר׃ הַלּוֹמֵ֤ד מִן־הַקְּטַנִּים֙ לְמָ֣ה ה֣וּא דוֹמֶ֔ה לְאוֹכֵ֨ל עֲנָבִ֧ים קֵה֛וֹת וְשׁוֹתֶ֥ה יַ֖יִן מִגִּתּ֑וֹ הַלּוֹמֵ֤ד מִן־הַזְּקֵנִים֙ לְמָ֣ה ה֣וּא דוֹמֶ֔ה לְאוֹכֵ֨ל עֲנָבִ֧ים בְּשׁוּל֛וֹת וְשׁוֹתֶ֥ה יַ֖יִן יָשָֽׁן׃
Rebbi Yoséh ben Yehudah of Kfar ha-Bavli said: “He who learns from the young, to what is he like? To one who eats unripe grapes, or drinks [new] wine from his vat. He who learns from the old, to what is he like? To one who eats ripe grapes, or drinks old wine.”

רַ֖בִּי אוֹמֵֽר׃ אַל־תִּסְתַּכֵּל֙ בַּקַּ֣נְקַ֔ן אֶ֛לָּא בְמַ֖ה שֶּׁיֶּ֣שׁ בּ֑וֹ יֵ֨שׁ קַנְקַ֤ן חָדָשׁ֙ מָלֵ֣א יָשָׁ֔ן וְיָשָׁ֕ן שֶׁאֲפִ֥לּוּ חָדָ֖שׁ אֵ֥ין בּֽוֹ׃
Rebbi Yehudah haNasi said:[38]Others attribute to Rebbi Meir “Do not look at the flask but at what it contains: a new flask may be filled with old wine and an old flask may be empty even of new wine [a man’s age is not a reliable index to his learning].”

רַ֛בִּי אֶלְעָזָ֥ר‏ הַכַּפָּ֖ר אוֹמֵֽר׃ הַקִּנְאָה֙ וְהַתַּאֲוָ֧ה וְהַכָּב֛וֹד מוֹצִיאִ֥ין אֶת־הָאָדָ֖ם מִן־הָעוֹלָֽם׃ ה֖וּא הָיָ֥ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ הַיִּלּוֹדִ֤ים לָמוּת֙ וְהַמֵּתִ֣ים לִחְי֔וֹת וְהַחַיִּ֖ים לִדּוֹ֑ן לֵידַ֣ע ׀ וּלְהוֹדִ֣יעַ וּלְהִוָּדַ֗ע שֶׁה֤וּא הַיּוֹצֵר֙ וְה֣וּא הַבּוֹרֵ֔א ה֤וּא הַמֵּבִין֙ וְה֣וּא הַדַּיָּ֔ן ה֥וּא עֵד֙ ה֣וּא בַּ֣עַל דִּ֔ין וְה֖וּא עָתִ֥יד לָדֽוֹן׃ שֶׁאֵ֣ין לְפָנָיו֩ לֹ֨א עַוְלָ֜ה וְלֹ֣א שִׁכְחָ֗ה וְלֹא֙ מַשּׂ֣וֹא פָנִ֔ים וְלֹ֥א מַקַּ֖ח שֹׁחַ֑ד שֶׁהַכֹּ֖ל שֶׁלּֽוֹ׃ 
Rebbi Elazar ha-Kappar said: “Envy, lust and ambition shorten a man’s life.” He used to say: “Those who are born are destined to die; those who are dead are destined to be brought to life again; and the living are destined to be judged. [It is for you] to know, to proclaim, to be convinced that he is El, he the Maker, he the Creator, he the Discerner, he the Judge, he the Witness, he the Complainant; it is he who will judge. Blessed be the one in whose presence there is no wrongdoing, nor forgetting, nor partiality, nor taking of bribes.

וְדַ֕ע שֶׁהַכֹּ֖ל לְפִ֥י הַחֶשְׁבּֽוֹן׃ 
וְאַל־יַ֤בְטִיחָךְ֙ יִצְרָ֔ךְ שֶׁהַשְּׁא֥וֹל בֵּית־מָנ֖וֹס לָֽךְ׃
שֶׁעַ֨ל כׇּרְחָ֜ךְ אַתָּ֣ה נוֹצָ֗ר 
וְעַ֤ל כׇּרְחָךְ֙ אַתָּ֣ה נוֹלָ֔ד
וְעַ֨ל כׇּרְחָ֜ךְ אַתָּ֣ה חַ֗י
וְעַ֣ל כׇּרְחָךְ֮ אַתָּ֣ה מֵת֒
וְעַ֤ל כׇּרְחָךְ֙ אַתָּ֣ה עָתִ֔יד לִתֵּ֖ן דִּ֣ין וְחֶשְׁבּ֑וֹן 
לִפְנֵ֤י מֶ֨לֶךְ֙ מַלְכֵ֣י הַמְּלָכִ֔ים הַקָּד֕וֹשׁ בָּר֖וּךְ הֽוּא׃
Know that all is according to reckoning,
and let not your imagination persuade you that the grave is a place of refuge for you.
Perforce you were formed and
perforce you were born;
perforce you live,
perforce you shall die, and
perforce you shall have to give a strict account
before the supreme King of kings, the blessed Holy One.”

רַ֛בִּי חֲנַנְיָ֥א בֶּן־עֲקַשְׁיָ֖א אוֹמֵֽר׃ רָצָ֗ה הַקָּדוֹשׁ֙ בָּר֣וּךְ ה֔וּא לְזַכּ֖וֹת אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל לְפִיכָ֕ךְ הִרְבָּ֥ה לָהֶ֖ם תּוֹרָ֥ה וּמִצְוֹֽת׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר יְהֹוָ֥ה חָפֵ֖ץ לְמַ֣עַן צִדְק֑וֹ יַגְדִּ֥יל תּוֹרָ֖ה וְיַאְדִּֽיר׃
Rebbi Ḥananya ben Aqashya said: “The blessed Holy One desired to purify Yisrael; hence he gave them a Torah rich in rules of conduct, as it is said: ‘YHVH was pleased, for the sake of [Yisrael’s] righteousness, to render the Torah great and glorious.'[39]Isaiah 42:21.

פרק ה
Chapter 5

כׇּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֕ל יֵ֥שׁ לָהֶ֛ם חֵ֖לֶק לְעוֹלָ֥ם הַבָּֽא׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר וְעַמֵּךְ֙ כֻּלָּ֣ם צַדִּיקִ֔ים לְעוֹלָ֖ם יִ֣ירְשׁוּ אָ֑רֶץ נֵ֧צֶר מטעו מַטָּעַ֛י מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה יָדַ֖י לְהִתְפָּאֵֽר׃
All Yisrael have a share in the World to Come, as it is said: ‘Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever; they are a plant of my own, the work of my hands, wherein I may glory.'[40]Isaiah 60:21.

בַּעֲשָׂרָ֥ה מַאֲמָר֖וֹת נִבְרָ֣א הָעוֹלָ֑ם וּמַה֙ תַּלְמ֣וּד לוֹמַ֔ר וַהֲלֹ֨א מַאֲמָ֧ר אֶחָ֛ד הָיָ֥ה יָכ֖וֹל לְהִבָּרֽוֹת׃ אֶ֩לָּא֩ לְהִ֨פָּרַ֤ע מִן־הָרְשָׁעִים֙ שֶׁמְּאַבְּדִ֣ין אֶת־הָעוֹלָ֔ם שֶׁנִּבְרָ֖א בַעֲשָׂרָ֣ה מַאֲמָר֑וֹת וְלִתֵּן֙ שָׂ֣כָר ט֣וֹב לַצַּדִּיקִ֔ים שֶׁמְּקַיְּמִ֛ין אֶת־הָעוֹלָ֥ם שֶׁנִּבְרָ֖א בַעֲשָׂרָ֥ה מַאֲמָרֽוֹת׃
By ten divine utterances was the world created. Why does the Torah indicate this? Surely the world could have been created by one divine utterance. It means to emphasize that [severe] penalty will be exacted from the wicked who destroy the world which was created by [no less than] ten utterances, and that he will grant a rich reward to the righteous who maintain the world which was created by ten utterances.

עֲשָׂרָ֤ה דוֹרוֹת֙ מֵאָדָ֣ם וְעַד־נֹ֔חַ לְהוֹדִ֧יעַ כַּ֛מָּה אֶ֥רֶךְ אַפַּ֖יִם לְפָנָ֑יו שֶ֣כׇּל־הַדּוֹר֗וֹת הָי֤וּ מַכְעִיסִין֙ לְפָנָ֔יו עַ֕ד שֶׁהֵבִ֥יא עֲלֵיהֶ֖ם אֶת־מֵ֥י הַמַּבּֽוּל׃ עֲשָׂרָ֤ה דוֹרוֹת֙ מִנֹּ֨חַ֙ וְעַד־אַבְרָהָ֣ם אָבִ֔ינוּ לְהוֹדִ֧יעַ כַּ֛מָּה אֶ֥רֶךְ אַפַּ֖יִם לְפָנָ֑יו שֶ֣כׇּל־הַדּוֹר֗וֹת הָי֤וּ מַכְעִיסִין֙ לְפָנָ֔יו עַד־שֶׁבָּא֙ אַבְרָהָ֣ם אָבִ֔ינוּ וְקִבֵּ֥ל עָלָ֖יו שְׂכַ֥ר כֻּלָּֽם׃ עֲשָׂרָ֣ה נִסְיוֹנ֔וֹת נִתְנַסָּ֖ה אַבְרָהָ֖ם אָבִ֑ינוּ וְעָמַד֙ בְּכֻלָּ֔ם לְהוֹדִ֞יעַ כַּ֣מָּה ׀ הִ֣יא חִבָּת֗וֹ שֶׁ֛לְּאַבְרָהָ֥ם אָבִ֖ינוּ עָלָ֥יו הַשָּׁלֽוֹם׃
The ten generations from Adam to Noaḥ [are recorded in Genesis] to make known how great is divine patience; for all those generations continued provoking [God], until he [finally] brought upon them the waters of the flood. The ten generations from Noaḥ to Avraham [are recorded] to make known how great is divine patience; for all those generations continued provoking [God], until our father Avraham came and received the reward they should all have been given [had they not forfeited their share]. With ten trials was our father Avraham tried, and he stood firm in all of them; [this is recorded] to make known how great was the love of our father Avraham [towards God]. With ten trials was our father Avraham tried, and he stood firm in all of them; [this is recorded] to make known how great was the love of our father Avraham [towards God].

עֲשָׂרָה֙ נִסִּ֔ים נֶעֱשׂ֖וּ לַאֲבוֹתֵ֣ינוּ בְמִצְרַ֑יִם וַעֲשָׂרָ֖ה עַל־הַיָּֽם׃ עֶ֣שֶׂר מַכּ֗וֹת הֵבִיא֙ הַקָּד֣וֹשׁ בָּר֣וּךְ ה֔וּא עַל־הַמִּצְרִיִּ֖ים בְּמִצְרַ֑יִם וְעֶ֖שֶׂר עַל־הַיָּֽם׃ עֲשָׂרָ֖ה נִסְיוֹנ֑וֹת נִסּ֤וּ אֲבוֹתֵ֨ינוּ֙ אֶת־הַמָּק֣וֹם בָּר֣וּךְ ה֔וּא בַּמִּדְבָּ֖ר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַֽר׃ וַיְנַסּ֣וּ אֹתִ֗י זֶ֚ה עֶ֣שֶׂר פְּעָמִ֔ים וְלֹ֥א שָׁמְע֖וּ בְּקוֹלִֽי׃
Ten miracles were performed for our fathers in Mitsrayim, and ten at the Sea of Reeds [the plagues did no harm to the Yisraelim]. Ten plagues did the blessed Holy One bring upon the Mitsrim in Mitsrayim, and ten at the Sea. With ten trials did our fathers try the blessed Holy One in the Midbar/wilderness, as it is said: ‘They have put me to the test ten times now, and have not obeyed my voice.'[41]Numbers 14:22

עֲשָׂרָה֙ נִסִּ֔ים נֶעֱשׂ֖וּ לַאֲבוֹתֵ֑ינוּ בְּבֵ֖ית הַמִּקְדָּֽשׁ׃ לֹא֩ הִפִּילָ֨ה אִשָּׁ֤ה מֵרֵ֨יחַ֙ בְּשַׂ֣ר הַקֹּ֔דֶשׁ וְל֧֨א הִסְרִ֛יחַ בְּשַׂ֥ר הַקֹּ֖דֶשׁ מֵעוֹלָ֑ם וְלֹ֥א נִרְאָ֨ה זְב֜וּב בְּבֵ֣ית הַמִּטְבְּחַ֗יִם וְלֹא֩ אֵרַ֨ע קֶרִ֜י לְכֹהֵ֣ן גָּדוֹל֮ בְּי֣וֹם הַכִּפּוּרִ֒ים וְלֹא֞ כִבּ֨וּ גְשָׁמִ֤ים אֵשׁ֙ שֶׁלַעֲצֵ֣י הַמַּעֲרָכָ֔ה וְלֹא־נָצְחָ֥ה הָר֖וּחַ אֶת־עַמּ֥וּד הֶעָשָֽׁן׃ וְלֹא־נִמְצָ֥א פְס֖וּל בָּעֹ֑מֶר וּבִשְׁתֵּ֥י הַלֶּ֖חֶם וּבְלֶחֶ֥ם הַפָּנִֽים׃ עוֹמְדִ֤ים צְפוּפִים֙ וּמִשְׁתַּחֲוִ֣ים רְוָחִ֔ים וְלֹ֧א הִזִּ֛יק נָחָ֥שׁ וְעַקְרָ֖ב בִּירוּשָׁלַ֣יִם מֵעוֹלָ֑ם וְלֹ֥א אָמַ֨ר אָדָ֜ם לַחֲבֵ֗רוֹ צַ֨ר לִ֧י הַמָּק֛וֹם שֶׁאָלִ֖ין בִּירוּשָׁלַֽיִם׃
Ten miracles were done for our fathers in the Beit Hamiqdash: no woman miscarried from the scent of the sacrificial meat; the sacrificial meat never became putrid; no fly was seen in the slaughter-house; no unclean accident ever happened to the high priest on Yom Kippur; the rain never extinguished the fire of the wood-pile [on the altar, which was under the open sky]; the wind did not prevail against the column of smoke [from the altar-fire, so that the smoke was not blown downward]; no disqualifying defect was ever found in the Omer [of new barley, offered on the second day of Passover], or in the two loaves [baked of the First Fruits of the wheat-harvest and offered up on Shavuot], or in the Leḥem haPanim/bread of the Presence [which was changed weekly, on the Shabbat]; though the people stood closely pressed together, they found ample space to prostrate themselves [in the Temple courtyard]; never did a serpent or scorpion do injury in Yerushalayim; and no man ever said to his fellow: ‘I have not room to lodge overnight in Yerushalayim.’

עֲשָׂרָה֙ דְבָרִ֔ים נִבְרְא֛וּ בְעֶ֥רֶב שַׁבָּ֖ת בֵּ֣ין הַשְּׁמָשׁ֑וֹת וְאֵ֖לּו הֵֽן׃ פִּ֣י ׀ הָאָ֗רֶץ וּפִ֤י הַבְּאֵר֙ וּפִ֣י הָאָת֔וֹן וְהַקֶּ֖שֶׁת וְהַמָּ֑ן וְהַמַּטֶּ֧ה וְהַשָּׁמִ֛יר וְהַכְּתָ֥ב וְהַמִּכְתָּ֖ב וְהַלּוּחֽוֹת׃ וְיֵ֧שׁ אוֹמְרִ֛ים אַ֖ף הַמַּזִּיקִ֑ין וּקְבוּרָתוֹ֙ שֶׁ֣לְּמֹשֶׁ֔ה וְאֵיל֖וֹ שֶׁלְּאַבְרָהָ֥ם אָבִֽינוּ׃ וְיֵ֖שׁ אוֹמְרִ֑ים אַ֥ף צְבַ֖ת בִּצְבַ֥ת עֲשׁוּיָֽה׃
Ten things were created on the eve of the Shabbat at twilight: the mouth of the earth [which engulfed Qoraḥ]; the mouth of the well [which supplied the Yisraelites with water in the Midbar] (Exodus 17:6); the mouth of the donkey [which spoke to Bil’am] (Numbers 22:28); the rainbow [given as a sign after the Flood] (Genesis 9:13-14); the manna [dropped from Heaven in the Midbar]; the rod [of Mosheh] (Exodus 4:17); the shamir [employed for splitting stones at the building of the Temple] (Sotah 48b); the script on the two tablets of the Decalogue, the tools for writing, and the shape of the written characters; the engraving instrument; and the tablets of stone (Exodus 32:15-16). Some include also the sheydim (animistic spirits), the grave of Mosheh (Deuteronomy 34:16); and the ram of our father Avraham [offered in place of Yitsḥaq] (Genesis 22:13); others include also the original tongs, for tongs can be made only by means of tongs.

שִׁבְעָ֥ה דְבָרִ֖ים בַּגֹּלֶ֑ם וְשִׁבְעָ֖ה בֶחָכָֽם׃ הֶחָכָ֨ם אֵינ֧וּ מְדַבֵּ֛ר לִפְנֵי־מִ֥י שֶׁה֖וּא גָּד֣וֹל מִמֶּ֑נּוּ וְאֵינ֤וּ נִכְנָס֙ לְת֣וֹךְ דִּבְרֵ֣י חֲבֵר֔וֹ וְאֵינ֥וּ נִבְהָ֖ל לְהָשִֽׁיב׃ שׁוֹאֵ֥ל כָּעִנְיָ֖ן וּמֵשִׁ֣יב כַּהֲלָכָ֑ה וְאוֹמֵ֤ר עַל־רִאשׁוֹן֙ ׀ רִאשׁ֔וֹן וְעַל־אַחֲר֖וֹן ׀ אַחֲרֽוֹן׃ וְעַל־מַה֙ שֶּׁלֹּ֣א שָׁמַ֔ע אוֹמֵ֕ר לֹ֖א שָׁמַ֑עְתִּי וּמוֹדֶ֣ה עַל־הָאֱמֶ֔ת וְחִלּוּפֵיהֶ֖ן בַּגֹּלֶֽם׃
There are seven characteristics of an unrefined person (lit. golem), and seven of a wise man. The wise man does not speak in the presence of one who is greater than he in wisdom; he does not interrupt the speech of his companion; he is not hasty to answer; he questions and answers properly, to the point; he speaks on the first point first, and on the last point last; regarding that which he has not learnt he says: ‘I have not learnt’; and he acknowledges the truth. The opposites of these traits are to be found in an unrefined person.

שִׁבְעָ֤ה מִינֵי֙ פֻרְעָ֣נִיּ֔וֹת בָּאִ֖ין לָעוֹלָ֑ם עַל־שִׁבְעָ֖ה גוּפֵ֥י עֲבֵרָֽה׃ מִקְצָתָ֤ן מְעַשְּׂרִין֙ וּמִקְצָתָן֙ אֵינָ֣ן מְעַשְּׂרִ֔ין רָעָ֖ב שֶׁלַּבַּצֹּ֣רֶת בָּ֑א מִקְצָתָ֥ן רְעֵבִ֖ים וּמִקְצָתָ֥ן שְׂבֵעִֽים׃ גָּמְר֖וּ שֶׁלֹּ֣א לְעַשֵּׂ֑ר רָ֚עָב שֶׁ֣לִּמְהוּמָ֔ה וְשֶׁ֥לַּבַּצֹּ֖רֶת בָּֽא׃ שֶׁלֹּ֥א לִטּ֖וֹל אֶ֣ת־הַחַלָּ֑ה רָעָ֥ב שֶׁלְּכַלָּיָ֖ה בָֽא׃ דֶּ֗בֶר בָּ֚א לָעוֹלָ֔ם עַ֤ל הַמִּיתוֹת֙ הָאֲמוּר֣וֹת בַּתּוֹרָ֔ה שֶׁלֹּ֥א נִמְסְר֖וּ לְבֵ֣ית דִּ֑ין וְעַ֥ל פֵּר֖וֹת שְׁבִיעִֽית׃ חֶ֗רֶב בָּאָה֙ לָעוֹלָ֔ם עַל־עִנּ֥וּי הַדִּ֖ין וְעַל־עִוּ֣וּת הַדִּ֑ין וְעַ֛ל הַמּוֹרִ֥ים בַּתּוֹרָ֖ה שֶׁלֹּ֥א כַהֲלָכָֽה׃ חַיָּ֥ה רָעָ֖ה בָאָ֣ה לָעוֹלָ֑ם עַ֚ל שְׁבוּעַ֣ת שָׁ֔וְא וְעַ֕ל חִלּ֖וּל הַשֵּֽׁם׃ גָּל֖וּת בָּאָ֣ה לָעוֹלָ֑ם עַ֣ל־עוֹבְדֵ֣י ׀ עֲבוֹדָ֣ה זָרָ֗ה וְעַל־גִּלּ֤וּי עֲרָיוֹת֙ וְעַל־שְׁפִיכ֣וּת דָּמִ֔ים וְעַ֥ל הַשְׁמָטַ֖ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃
Seven kinds of punishment come to the world for seven capital transgressions. When some people give tithes and others do not, there comes a famine from lack of rain; then some go hungry and others have plenty. If all have decided not to give tithes, there comes a famine from panic of war and drought; if they have further resolved not to set apart the dough-cake [for the priest], there comes a famine of extermination. Pestilence comes to the world to inflict those death penalties mentioned in the Torah, the execution of which is not within the function of a human tribunal, and for making forbidden use of the harvest of the Shemitah year. The sword comes to the world for the suppression [or delay] of justice, and for the perversion of justice, and on account of those who misinterpret the Torah. Dangerous wild creatures come to the world on account of perjury, and for the shaming of the divine name. Exile comes to the world on account of idolatry, incest, bloodshed, and for not allowing the soil to rest in the Shemitah year.

בְּאַרְבָּעָ֥ה פְרָקִ֖ים הַדֶּ֣בֶר מִתְרַבֶּ֑ה בָּרְבִיעִ֤ית וּבַשְּׁבִיעִית֙ וּבְמוֹצָאֵ֣י שְׁבִיעִ֔ית וּבְמוֹצָאֵ֥י הֶחָ֖ג שֶׁבְּכׇל־שָׁנָ֥ה וְשָׁנָֽה׃ בָּרְבִיעִית מִפְּנֵ֨י מַעְשַׂ֤ר עׇ֨נִי֙ שֶׁבַּ֣שְּׁלִישִׁ֔ית בַּשְּׁבִיעִ֕ית מִפְּנֵ֛י מַעְשַׂ֥ר עׇ֖נִי שֶׁבַּשִּׁשִּׁ֑ית וּבְמוֹצָאֵ֤י שְׁבִיעִית֙ מִפְּנֵי֙ פֵר֣וֹת שְׁבִיעִ֔ית וּבְמוֹצָאֵ֤י הֶחָג֙ שֶׁבְּכׇל־שָׁנָ֣ה וְשָׁנָ֔ה מִפְּנֵ֥י גֶ֖זֶל מַתְּנ֥וֹת עֲנִיִּֽים׃
At four periods pestilence increases: in the fourth year, in the seventh [Shemitah] year, in the year following the Shemitah year, and at the conclusion of Sukkot in every year. In the fourth year, for having failed to give the tithe to the poor which was due in the third year; in the seventh year, for having failed to give the tithe to the poor which was due in the sixth year; in the year following the Shemitah year, for having made forbidden use of the harvest of the Shemitah year; at the conclusion of the Sukkot in every year, for having robbed the gifts assigned to the poor [in the course of the whole agricultural year].

אַרְבַּ֥ע מִדּ֖וֹת בָּאָדָֽם׃ הָאוֹמֵ֞ר שֶׁלִּ֤י שֶׁלִּי֙ וְשֶׁלָּ֣ךְ שֶׁלָּ֔ךְ ז֖וֹ מִדָּ֣ה בֵינוֹנִ֑ית וְיֵ֧שׁ אוֹמְרִ֛ים זוֹ֖ מִדַּ֥ת סְדֽוֹם׃ שֶׁלִּ֥י שֶׁלָּ֖ךְ וְשֶׁלָּ֣ךְ שֶׁלִּ֑י עַ֖ם הָאָֽרֶץ׃ שֶׁלִּ֥י שֶׁלָּ֖ךְ וְשֶׁלָּ֣ךְ שֶׁלָּ֑ךְ חָ֖סִֽיד׃ שֶׁלָּ֥ךְ שֶׁלִּ֖י וְשֶׁלִּ֣י שֶׁלִּ֑י רָ֖שָֽׁע׃
There are four characters among men: He who says: ‘What is mine is mine, and what is yours is yours’ is the average type, though some say this is a Sodom-type; he who says: ‘What is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine’ is ignorant; he who says: ‘What is mine is yours, and what is yours is yours’ is a ḥasid; he who says: ‘What is yours is mine, and what is mine is mine’ is wicked.

אַרְבַּ֥ע מִדּ֖וֹת בַּדֵּעוֹת׃ נ֤וֹחַ לִכְעֹס֙ וְנ֣וֹחַ לִרְצ֔וֹת יָצָ֥א שְׂכָר֖וֹ בְהֶפְסֵד֑וֹ קָשֶׁ֤ה לִכְעֹס֙ וְקָשֶׁ֣ה לִרְצ֔וֹת יָצָ֥א הֶפְסֵ֖דוֹ בִשְׂכָרֽוֹ׃ קָשֶׁ֨ה לִכְעֹ֜ס וְנ֣וֹחַ לִרְצ֗וֹת חָסִ֕יד נ֧וֹחַ לִכְעֹ֛ס וְקָשֶׁ֥ה לִרְצ֖וֹת רָשָֽׁע׃
There are four kinds of dispositions: Easy to become angry and easy to be pacified, his loss is compensated by his gain; hard to become angry and hard to be pacified, his gain is offset by his loss; hard to become angry and easy to be pacified is a Ḥasid; easy to become angry and hard to be pacified is wicked.

אַרְבַּ֥ע מִדּ֖וֹת בַּתַּלְמִידִֽים׃ מַהֵ֤ר לִשְׁמ֨וֹעַ֙ וּמַהֵ֣ר לְאַבֵּ֔ד יָצָ֥א שְׂכָר֖וֹ בְהֶפְסֵד֑וֹ קָשֶׁ֤ה לִשְׁמ֨וֹעַ֙ וְקָשֶׁ֣ה לְאַבֵּ֔ד יָצָ֥א הֶפְסֵ֖דוֹ בִשְׂכָרֽוֹ׃ מַהֵ֤ר לִשְׁמ֨וֹעַ֙ וְקָשֶׁ֣ה לְאַבֵּ֔ד חָ֖כָ֑ם קָשֶׁ֨ה לִשְׁמ֜וֹעַ וּמַהֵ֣ר לְאַבֵּ֗ד זֶ֛ה חֵ֖לֶק רָֽע׃
There are four types of students: Quick to learn and quick to forget, his gain is offset by his loss; slow to learn and slow to forget, his loss is compensated by his gain; quick to learn and slow to forget is the best quality; slow to learn and quick to forget is the worst quality.

אַרְבַּ֥ע מִדּ֖וֹת בְּנוֹתְנֵ֥י צְדָקָֽה׃ רוֹצֶה֙ שֶׁיִּתֵּ֔ן וְלֹ֥א יִתְּנ֖וּ אֲחֵרִ֑ים עֵינ֥וֹ רָעָ֖ה בְשֶׁ֣לַּאֲחֵרִֽים׃ יִּתְּנ֣וּ אֲחֵרִ֔ים וְה֥וּא לֹ֖א יִתֵּ֑ן עֵינ֥וֹ רָעָ֖ה בְשֶׁלּֽוֹ׃ יִּתֵּן֙ וְיִתְּנ֣וּ אֲחֵרִ֔ים חָ֖סִ֑יד לֹ֤א יִתֵּן֙ וְלֹ֣א יִתְּנ֣וּ אֲחֵרִ֔ים רָ֖שָֽׁע׃
There are four types of donors to charity: He who desires to give that others should not give begrudges the privilege of others; he who desires that others should give but will not give himself is greedy; he who gives and wishes others to give is a Ḥasid; he who will not give and does not wish others to give is wicked.

אַרְבַּ֣ע מִדּ֔וֹת בְּהוֹלְכֵ֖י לְבֵ֥ית הַמִּדְרָֽשׁ׃ הוֹלֵ֣ךְ ׀ וְאֵינ֣וֹ עוֹשֶׂ֗ה שְׂכַר֙ הֲלִיכָ֣ה בְיָד֔וֹ עוֹשֶׂ֨ה וְאֵינ֧וֺ הוֹלֵ֛ךְ שְׂכַ֥ר מַעֲשֶׂ֖ה בְיָד֑וֹ הוֹלֵ֤ךְ וְעוֹשֶׂה֙ חָסִ֔יד לֹא־הוֹלֵ֥ךְ וְלֹא־עוֹשֶׂ֖ה רָשָׁ֑ע׃
There are four types of those who attend school: He who attends and does not practice [the teachings of the school] secures the reward for attending; he who practices [leads a good life] but does not attend [to acquire knowledge] secures the reward for practicing; he who attends and practices is a Ḥasid; he who neither attends nor practices is wicked.

אַרְבַּ֣ע מִדּ֔וֹת בְּיוֹשְׁבִ֖ים לִפְנֵ֣י חֲכָמִ֑ים סְפ֥וֹג וּמַשְׁפֵּ֖ךְ וּמְשַׁמֶּ֥רֶת וְנָפָֽה׃ סְפוֹג֙ שֶׁה֣וּא סוֹפֵ֣ג אֶת־הַכֹּ֔ל מַשְׁפֵּ֛ךְ שֶׁמַּכְנִ֥יס בָּז֖וֹ וּמוֹצִ֣יא בָ֑זוֹ מְ֠שַׁמֶּ֠רֶת שֶׁ֨מּוֹצִיאָ֤ה אֶת־הַיַּ֨יִן֙ וְקוֹלֶ֣טֶת אֶת־הַשְּׁמָרִ֔ים וְנָפָ֛ה שֶׁמּוֹצִיאָ֥ה אֶת־הַקֶּ֖מַח וְקוֹלֶ֥טֶת אֶת־הַסֹּֽלֶת׃
There are four types of those who sit before scholars: A sponge, a funnel, a strainer, and a sieve. A sponge absorbs all; a funnel receives at one end and lets out at the other; a strainer lets out the wine and retains the dregs; a sieve lets out the flour dust and retains the fine flour.

כׇּל־אַהֲבָ֗ה שֶׁהִיא֙ תְּלוּיָ֣ה בְדָבָ֔ר בָּטֵ֥ל דָּבָ֖ר וּבְטֵלָ֣ה אַהֲבָ֑ה וְשֶׁאֵינָהּ֙ תְּלוּיָ֣ה בְדָבָ֔ר אֵינָ֥ה בְטֵלָ֖ה לְעוֹלָֽם׃ אֵ֨י־ז֨וֹ הִ֤יא אַהֲבָה֙ התְּלוּיָ֣ה בְדָבָ֔ר ז֥וֹ אַהֲבַ֖ת אַמְנ֥וֹן וְתָמָ֑ר וְשֶׁאֵינָה֙ תְלוּיָ֣ה בְדָבָ֔ר ז֥וֹ אַהֲבַ֖ת דָּוִ֥ד וִיהוֹנָתָֽן׃
All love which depends on sensual attraction will pass away as soon as the sensual attraction disappears; but if it is not dependent on sensual attraction, it will never pass away. Which love was dependent on sensual attraction? The love of Amnon and Tamar. And which depended on nothing selfish? The love of David and Yonatan.

כׇּ֣ל מַחֲלֹ֗וקֶת שֶׁהִיא֙ לְשֵׁ֣ם שָׁמַ֔יִם סוֹפָ֖הּ לְהִתְקַיֵּ֑ם וְשֶׁאֵינָה֙ לְשֵׁ֣ם שָׁמַ֔יִם אֵ֥ין סוֹפָ֖הּ לְהִתְקַיֵּֽם׃ אֵיז֣וֹ ׀ הִ֣יא מַחֲלֹ֗וקֶת שֶׁהִיא֙ לְשֵׁ֣ם שָׁמַ֔יִם ז֥וֹ מַחֲלֹ֖וקֶת הִלֵּ֣ל וְשַׁמַּ֑אי וְשֶׁאֵינָה֙ לְשֵׁ֣ם שָׁמַ֔יִם זוֹ֛ מַחֲל֥וֹקֶת קֹ֖רַח וְכׇל־עֲדָתֽוֹ׃
Any controversy which is in the name of Heaven [from sincere motive] is destined to result in something permanent; any controversy which is not in the name of Heaven will never result in anything permanent. Which controversy was in the name of Heaven? The controversy between Hillel and Shammai. And which was not in the name of Heaven? The controversy of Qoraḥ and all his company.

כׇּל־הַ֤מְזַכֶּה֙ אֶת־הָ֣רַבִּ֔ים אֵין־חֵ֥טְא בָּ֖א עַ֣ל יָד֑וֹ וְכׇל־הַ֤מַּחֲטִיא֙ אֶת־הָ֣רַבִּ֔ים אֵין־מַסְפִּיקִ֥ין בְּיָד֖וֹ לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת תְּשׁוּבָֽה׃ מֹשֶׁ֤ה זָכָה֙ וְזִכָּ֣ה אֶת־הָרַבִּ֔ים וּזְכ֥וּת הָרַבִּ֖ים תָּל֣וּי בּ֑וֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר צִדְקַ֤ת יְהֹוָה֙ עָשָׂ֔ה וּמִשְׁפָּטָ֖יו עִם־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ יָֽרׇבְעָ֤ם חָטָא֙ וְהֶחֱטִ֣יא אֶת־הָרַבִּ֔ים וְחֵ֥טְא הָרַבִּ֖ים תָּל֣וּי בּ֑וֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר עַל־חַטֹּ֤אות יָֽרׇבְעָם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר חָטָ֔א וַאֲשֶׁ֥ר הֶחֱטִ֖יא אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
Whoever leads the people to righteousness, no transgression shall occur through him; whoever leads the people to sin shall not be enabled to repent. Mosheh was righteous and led the people to righteousness, hence the merit of the people is attributed to him, as it is said: ‘He performed the justice of YHVH, and his ordinances with Yisrael.'[42]Deuteronomy 33:21. Yarov’am, the son of Nebat, sinned and caused others to sin, hence the sin of the people is attributed to him, as it is said: ‘For the sins of Yarov’am which he sinned and caused Yisrael to sin.'[43]I Kings 15:30.

כׇּל־מִ֣י ׀ שֶׁיֵּ֣שׁ בְּיָד֗וֹ שְׁלשָׁ֤ה דְבָרִים֙ הַלָּ֔לוּ מִתַּלְמִידָ֖יו שֶׁלְּאַבְרָהָ֣ם אָבִ֑ינוּ וּשְׁלשָׁ֤ה דְבָרִים֙ אֲחֵרִ֔ים מִתַּ֣לְמִידָ֔יו שֶׁלְּבִּלְעָ֖ם הָרָֽשָׁע׃ עַ֨יִן טוֹבָ֜ה וְר֤וּחַ נְמוּכָה֙ וְנֶ֣פֶשׁ שְׁפָלָ֔ה מִתַּלְמִידָ֖יו שֶׁלְּאַבְרָהָ֣ם אָבִ֑ינוּ עַ֨יִן רָעָ֜ה וְר֤וּחַ גְּבוֹהָה֙ וְנֶ֣פֶשׁ רְחָבָ֔ה מִתַּ֣לְמִידָ֔יו שֶׁלְּבִּלְעָ֖ם הָרָֽשָׁע׃ מַ֚ה בֵּ֣ין תַּלְמִידָ֔יו שֶׁלְּאַבְרָהָ֖ם אָבִ֑ינוּ לְתַלְמִידָ֖יו שֶׁלְּבִלְעָ֥ם הָרָֽשָׁע׃ תַּלְמִידָ֣יו ׀ שֶׁלְּאַבְרָהָ֣ם אָבִ֗ינוּ אוֹכְלִין֙ בָּעוֹלָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה וְנוֹחֲלִ֖ין בָּעוֹלָ֣ם הַבָּ֑א שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר לְהַנְחִיל֙ אֹהֲבַ֣י יֵ֔שׁ וְאֹצְרֹֽתֵיהֶ֖ם אֲמַלֵּֽא׃ אֲבָל֙ תַּלְמִידָ֔יו שֶׁלְּבִלְעָ֖ם הָרָ֑שָׁע יוֹרְשִׁין֙ גֵּיהִנֹּ֔ם וְיוֹרְדִ֖ין לִבְאֵ֥ר שַֽׁחַת׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר וְאַתָּ֤ה אֱלֹהִים֙ תּוֹרִדֵ֔ם לִבְאֵ֖ר שַׁחַ֑ת אַנְשֵׁ֨י דָמִ֤ים וּמִרְמָה֙ לֹא־יֶחֱצ֣וּ יְמֵיהֶ֔ם וַאֲנִ֖י אֶבְטַ֥ח בָּֽךְ׃
Whoever possesses the following three qualities is of the disciples of our father Avraham; whoever possesses the opposite three qualities is of the disciples of the wicked Bil’am. Those who belong to the disciples of our father Avraham possess a good eye [generous nature], a humble spirit, and a modest desire. Those who belong to the disciples of the wicked Bil’am possess an evil eye [an exploitative and predatory gaze], a haughty spirit, and an excessive desire [for wealth]. What is the difference between the disciples of our father Avraham and the disciples of the wicked Bil’am? The disciples of our father Avraham enjoy this world and inherit the World to Come, as it is said: ‘Endowing my friends with wealth, I fill their treasures.'[44]Proverbs 8:21. But the disciples of the wicked Bil’am inherit Gehinnom and descend into the nethermost pit, as it is said: ‘You, Elohim, will bring them down into the nethermost pit; men of blood and fraud shall not live out half their days; as for me, I trust in you.'[45]Psalm 55:24.

יְהוּדָ֥ה בֶן־תֵּימָ֖א אוֹמֵֽר׃ הֱוֵ֣י ׀ עַ֣ז כַּנָּ֗מֵר וְקַ֤ל כַּנֶּ֨שֶׁר֙ וְרָ֣ץ כַּצְּבִ֔י וְגִבּ֖וֹר כָּאֲרִ֑י לַעֲשׁ֛וֹת רְצ֖וֹן אָבִ֥יךָ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמָֽיִם׃ ה֥וּא הָיָ֖ה אוֹמֵֽר׃ עַ֥ז פָּ֖נִים לְגֵיהִנָּ֑ם וּבֹ֥שֶׁת פָּנִ֖ים לְגַ֥ן עֵֽדֶן׃ יְהִ֣י ׀ רָצ֣וֹן מִלְּפָנֶ֗יךָ יהו֤ה אֱלֹהֵ֨ינוּ֙ וֵאלֹהֵ֣י אֲבוֹתֵ֔ינוּ שֶׁתִּבְנֶ֥ה עִירָ֖ךְ בִּמְהֵרָ֣ה בְיָמֵ֑ינוּ וְתֵ֥ן חֶלְקֵ֖נוּ בְתוֹרָתֶֽךָ׃
Yehudah ben Tema said: “Be bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer, and strong as a lion, to do the will of your Father who is in Heaven.” He used to say: “The impudent is destined for Gehinnom, but the shamefaced is destined for Gan Aden. May it be your will, YHVH our elo’ah and elo’ah of our ancestors, that the Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days, and grant us a share in your Torah.”

ה֥וּא הָיָ֖ה אוֹמֵֽר׃
בֶּ֥ן חָמֵ֨שׁ שָׁנִ֜ים לַמִּקְרָ֗א
בֶּ֚ן עֶ֣שֶׂר לַמִּשְׁנָ֔ה
 
בֶּן־שְׁלֹ֥שׁ עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה לַמִּצְו֑וֹת
בֶּ֨ן חֲמֵ֤שׁ עֶשְׂרֵה֙ לַתַּלְמ֔וּד
 
בֶּן־שְׁמוֹנֶ֥ה עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה לַחֻפָּֽה׃
בֶּן־עֶשְׂרִ֨ים לִרְדּ֜וֹף
 
בֶּן־שְׁלֹשִׁ֣ים לַכֹּ֗חַ
בֶּ֨ן אַרְבָּעִ֤ים לַבִּינָה֙
 
בֶּן־חֲמִשִּׁ֣ים לָעֵצָ֔ה
בֶּ֛ן שִׁשִּׁ֥ים לַזִּקְנָ֖ה
 
בֶּן־שִׁבְעִ֣ים לַשֵּׂבָ֑ה
בֶּ֨ן שְׁמוֹנִ֤ים לַגְּבוּרָה֙
 
בֶּן־תִּשְׁעִ֣ים לָשׁ֔וּחַ
בֶּ֥ן מֵאָה֙ כְאִ֣לּוּ מֵ֔ת
וְעָבַ֥ר וּבָטֵ֖ל מִן־הָעוֹלָֽם׃
He used to say:
“At five years the age is reached for the study of the Miqra (Scripture),
at ten for the study of Mishnah,
 
at thirteen for the fulfillment of the commandments,
at fifteen for the study of Talmud,
 
at eighteen for marriage,
at twenty for seeking a livelihood,
 
at thirty for full strength,
at forty for understanding,
 
at fifty for giving counsel;
at sixty a man attains old age,
 
at seventy white old age,
at eighty rare old age;
 
at ninety he is bending over the grave;
at a hundred he is as if he were already dead
and had passed away from the world.”

בֶּ֛ן בַּג־בַּ֖ג אוֹמֵֽר׃ הֲפֹךְ־בָּ֥הּ וְהַפֵּךְ־בָּ֖הּ דְּכֹ֣לָּא בָ֑הּ וּבָ֣הּ תֶּחֱזֵ֗י וְסִ֨יב וּבְלֵ֤ה בָהּ֙ וּמֶנַּהּ֙ לָ֣א תְז֔וּעַ שֶׁאֵ֧ין לָ֛ךְ מִדָּ֥ה טוֹבָ֖ה הֵימֶֽנָּה׃
ben Bag-Bag said: “Study the Torah again and again, for everything is contained in it; constantly examine it, grow old and gray over it, and swerve not from it, for there is nothing more excellent than it.”

בֶּ֛ן הֵא־הֵ֖א אוֹמֵ֑ר לְפ֥וּם צַ֖עֲרָא אַֽגְרָא:
ben He-He said: According to the effort is the reward.

רַ֛בִּי חֲנַנְיָ֥א בֶּן־עֲקַשְׁיָ֖א אוֹמֵֽר׃ רָצָ֗ה הַקָּדוֹשׁ֙ בָּר֣וּךְ ה֔וּא לְזַכּ֖וֹת אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל לְפִיכָ֕ךְ הִרְבָּ֥ה לָהֶ֖ם תּוֹרָ֥ה וּמִצְוֹֽת׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר יְהֹוָ֥ה חָפֵ֖ץ לְמַ֣עַן צִדְק֑וֹ יַגְדִּ֥יל תּוֹרָ֖ה וְיַאְדִּֽיר׃
Rebbi Ḥananya ben Aqashya said: “The blessed Holy One desired to purify Yisrael; hence he gave them a Torah rich in rules of conduct, as it is said: ‘YHVH was pleased, for the sake of [Yisrael’s] righteousness, to render the Torah great and glorious.'[46]Isaiah 42:21.

פרק ו
Chapter 6

כׇּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֕ל יֵ֥שׁ לָהֶ֛ם חֵ֖לֶק לְעוֹלָ֥ם הַבָּֽא׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר וְעַמֵּךְ֙ כֻּלָּ֣ם צַדִּיקִ֔ים לְעוֹלָ֖ם יִ֣ירְשׁוּ אָ֑רֶץ נֵ֧צֶר מטעו מַטָּעַ֛י מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה יָדַ֖י לְהִתְפָּאֵֽר׃
All Yisrael have a share in the World to Come, as it is said: ‘Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever; they are a plant of my own, the work of my hands, wherein I may glory.'[47]Isaiah 60:21.

שָׁ֥נוּ חֲכָמִ֖ים בִּלְשׁ֣וֹן הַמִּשְׁנֶ֑ה בָּר֕וּךְ שֶׁבָּחַ֥ר בָּהֶ֖ם וּבְמִשְׁנָתָֽם׃
The sages taught [also the following] in the style of the Mishnah; blessed be he who was pleased with them and their teaching.

רַ֥בִּי מֵאִ֖יר אוֹמֵֽר׃ כׇּל־הָעוֹסֵ֤ק בַּתּוֹרָה֙ לִשְׁמָ֔הּ זוֹכֶ֥ה לִדְבָרִ֖ים הַרְבֵּ֑ה וְלֹ֣א ע֗וֹד אֶ֚לָּא שֶׁכׇּל־הָעוֹלָ֣ם כֻּלּ֔וֹ כְּדַ֖אי ה֥וּא לֽוֹ׃ נִקְרָ֣א ׀ רֵ֣עַ ׀ אָה֣וּב ׀ אוֹהֵ֣ב אֶת־הַמָּקוֹם֩ אוֹהֵ֨ב את־הַבְּרִיּ֜וֹת מְשַׂמֵּ֨חַ֙ אֶת־הַ֣מָּק֔וֹם מְשַׂמֵּ֖חַ אֶת־הַבְּרִיּ֑וֹת וּמַלְבַּשְׁתּ֣וֹ ׀ עֲנָוָ֣ה וְיִרְאָ֗ה וּמַכְשַׁרְתּ֞וֹ לִהְי֨וֹת צַדִּ֤יק חָסִיד֙ יָשָׁ֣ר וְנֶאֱמָ֔ן וּמְרַחַקְתּוֹ֙ מִן־הַחֵ֔טְא וּמְקָרַבְתּ֖וֹ לִידֵ֥י זְכֽוּת׃ וְנֶהֱנִין֙ מִמֶּ֔נּוּ עֵצָ֥ה וְתוּשִׁיָּ֖ה בִּינָה וּגְבוּרָ֑ה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר לִי֙ עֵצָ֣ה וְתוּשִׁיָּ֔ה אֲנִ֥י בִינָ֖ה לִ֥י גְבוּרָֽה׃ וְנוֹתֶ֣נֶת ל֗וֹ מַלְכ֤וּת וּמֶמְשָׁלָה֙ וְחִקּ֣וּר דִּ֔ין וּמְגַלִּ֥ין ל֖וֹ רָזֵ֣י תוֹרָ֑ה וְנַעֲשֶׂה֙ כְּמַעְיָ֣ן הַמִּתְגַּבֵּ֔ר וּכְנָ֖הָר שֶׁאֵינ֥וֹ פּוֹסֵֽק׃ וְהֹוֶ֤ה צָנוּע֙ וְאֶ֣רֶךְ ר֔וּחַ וּמוֹחֵ֖ל עַל־עֶלְבּוֹנ֑וֹ וּמְגַדַּלְתּוֹ֙ וּמְרוֹמַמְתּ֔וֹ עַ֖ל כׇּל־הַמַּעֲשִֽׂים׃
Rebbi Meir said: “Whoever occupies himself with the study of the Torah for its own sake merits many things; nay more, the whole world is worthwhile for his sake. He is called friend, beloved; he loves the Maqom and he loves mankind; he pleases the Maqom and he pleases mankind. The Torah invests him with humility and reverence; it enables him to become righteous, a Ḥasid, upright and faithful; it keeps him far from sin, and draws him near to virtue. Men are benefited by him with counsel and sound wisdom, understanding and strength, as it is said: ‘Mine are counsel and sound wisdom; mine are reason and might.'[48]Proverbs 8:14. It gives him rule and dominion [personality that commands obedience] and judging ability. To him the secrets of the Torah are revealed; he is made like a never-failing fountain, and like a stream that ever gathers force. He becomes modest, patient, and forgiving of insults. The Torah makes him great and raises him above all creatures.”

אָמַ֛ר רַ֥בִּי יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ בֶּ֥ן לֵֽוִי׃ בְּכׇל־י֣וֹם וָיוֹם֩ בַּת־ק֨וֹל יוֹצֵ֤את מֵהַר־חוֹרֵב֙ וּמַכְרֶ֣זֶת וְאוֹמֶ֔רֶת א֧וֹי לָהֶ֛ם לַבְּרִ֥יּוֹת מֵעֶלְבּוֹנָ֖הּ שֶׁלְּתּוֹרָ֑ה שֶׁכׇּל־מִ֤י שֶׁאֵינוֹ֙ עוֹסֵ֣ק בַּתּוֹרָ֔ה נִקְרָ֖א נָזֽוּף׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר נֶ֥זֶם זָהָ֖ב בְּאַ֣ף חֲזִ֑יר אִשָּׁ֣ה יָפָ֔ה וְסָ֖רַת טָֽעַם׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר וְהַ֨לֻּחֹ֔ת מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים הֵ֑מָּה וְהַמִּכְתָּ֗ב מִכְתַּ֤ב אֱלֹהִים֙ ה֔וּא חָר֖וּת עַל־הַלֻּחֹֽת׃ אַל־תִּקְרָא֙ חָר֔וּת אֶ֖לָּא חֵר֑וּת שֶׁאֵ֣ין לָךְ֩ בֶּ֨ן חוֹרִ֧ין אֶ֛לָּא מִ֥י שֶׁעוֹסֵ֖ק בְּתַלְמ֥וּד תּוֹרָֽה׃ וְכׇל־מִ֥י שֶׁעוֹסֵ֖ק בְּתַלְמ֖וּד תּוֹרָ֑ה הֲרֵי־זֶ֥ה מִתְעַלֶּ֖ה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַֽר׃ וּמִמַּתָּנָ֖ה נַחֲלִיאֵ֑ל וּמִנַּחֲלִיאֵ֖ל בָּמֽוֹת׃
Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: “Every day a heavenly voice resounds from Mount Ḥorev, proclaiming these words: ‘Woe to the people for their disregard of the Torah!’ For whoever does not occupy himself with the Torah is considered rebuked, as it is said. ‘Like a golden ring in the snout of a swine is a fair woman lacking in taste:'[49]Proverbs 11:22. The Torah says: ‘The tablets were the work of Elohim, and the writing was the writing of Elohim, engraved upon the tablets.'[50]Exodus 32:16. Read not here ḥarut [meaning ‘engraved’] but ḥerut [which means ‘freedom’], for none can be considered liberated except those who occupy themselves with the study of the Torah. Anyone who occupies himself with the study of the Torah shall be exalted, as it is said: ‘Through the [Torah] gift one attains the heritage of El; by the heritage of El [one is raised] to the heights.'[51]Numbers 21:19.

הַלוֹמֵ֣ד מֵחֲבֵרוֹ֩ פֶּ֨רֶק אֶחָ֜ד א֣וֹ ׀ הֲלָכָ֣ה אֶחָ֗ת א֨וֹ פָּס֤וּק אֶחָד֙ א֣וֹ־דִבּ֣וּר אֶחָ֔ד א֥וֹ אֲפִ֖ילוּ א֣וֹת אֶחָ֑ת צָרִ֥יךְ לִנְהָג־בּ֖וֹ כָּבֽוֹד׃ שֶׁכֵּ֨ן מָצִ֤ינוּ בְּדָוִד֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל שֶׁלֹּ֨א לָמַ֧ד מֵאֲחִית֛וֹפֶל אֶלָּא־שְׁנֵ֥י דְבָרִ֖ים בִּלְבָ֑ד קְרָא֨וֹ רַבּ֤וֹ אַלּוּפוֹ֙ וּמְיֻדָּע֔וֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר וְאַתָּ֧ה אֱנ֛וֹשׁ כְּעֶרְכִּ֥י אַלּוּפִ֖י וּמְיֻדָּעִֽי׃ וַהֲלֹ֤א דְבָרִים֙ קַ֣ל וָח֔וֹמֶר וּמַ֤ה דָוִד֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל שֶׁלֹּ֨א לָמַ֧ד מֵאֲחִית֛וֹפֶל אֶלָּא־שְׁנֵ֥י דְבָרִ֖ים בִּלְבָ֑ד קְרָא֕וֹ רַבּ֥וֹ אַלּוּפ֖וֹ וּמְיֻדָּעֽוֹ׃ הַלוֹמֵ֣ד מֵחֲבֵרוֹ֩ פֶּ֨רֶק אֶחָ֜ד א֣וֹ ׀ הֲלָכָ֣ה אֶחָ֗ת א֨וֹ פָּס֤וּק אֶחָד֙ א֣וֹ־דִבּ֣וּר אֶחָ֔ד א֥וֹ אֲפִ֖ילוּ א֣וֹת אֶחָ֑ת עַ֥ל אַחַת֙ כַּמָּ֣ה וְכַמָּ֔ה שֶׁצָּרִ֥יךְ לִנְהָג־בּ֖וֹ כָּבֽוֹד׃ וְאֵ֥ין כָּב֖וֹד אֶ֣לָּא תוֹרָ֑ה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֞ר כָּב֤וֹד חֲכָמִים֙ יִנְחָ֔לוּ וּתְמִימִ֥ים יִנְחֲל֖וּ טֽוֹב׃ וְאֵ֥ין ט֖וֹב אֶ֣לָּא תוֹרָ֑ה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֞ר כִּ֨י לֶ֤קַח טוֹב֙ נָתַ֣תִּי לָכֶ֔ם תּוֹרָתִ֖י אַֽל תַּעֲזֹֽבוּ׃
“He who learns from his fellow man a single section, a single rule, a single verse, a single expression, or even a single letter, ought to treat him with respect; for so we find with David, king of Yisrael, who learnt only two things from Aḥitophel, and yet regarded him as his master, guide and intimate friend, as it is said: ‘You were my equal, my teacher and intimate friend.'[52]Psalm 55:14. This certainly presents an argument from minor to major: if David, king of Yisrael, who learnt only two things from Aḥitophel, regarded him as his master, guide and intimate friend, how much more ought one who learns from his companion a section, rule, verse, expression, or even a single letter, to treat him with respect. Honor implies Torah, as it is said: ‘The wise shall inherit honor; men of integrity shall attain good fortune.'[53]Proverbs 3:35; Proverbs 28:10. Good implies Torah, as it is said: ‘I give you good doctrine; forsake not my Torah.'[54]Proverbs 4:2.

כַּ֛ךְ הִ֥יא דַּרְכָּ֖הּ שֶׁלְּתּוֹרָֽה׃ פַּ֤ת בַּמֶּ֨לַח֙ תֹּאכֵ֔ל וּמַ֥יִם בַּמְּשׂוּרָ֖ה תִּשְׁתֶּ֑ה וְעַ֣ל ׀ הָאָ֣רֶץ תִּישָׁ֗ן וְחַיֵּ֤י צַ֨עַר֙ תִּחְיֶ֔ה וּבַתּוֹרָ֖ה אַתָּ֥ה עָמֵֽל׃ אִ֤ם אַתָּה֙ עֹשֶׂ֣ה כֵּ֔ן אַשְׁרֶ֖יךָ וְט֣וֹב לָ֑ךְ אַשְׁרֶ֨יךָ֙ בָּעוֹלָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה וְט֥וֹב לָ֖ךְ לָעוֹלָ֥ם הַבָּֽא׃
“This is the way of Torah study: eat bread with salt, drink water by measure, sleep on the bare ground, and live a life of hardship while you toil in the Torah [study of the Torah is expected even if one is extremely poor]. If you do this, ‘happy shall you be and it shall be well with you’;[55]Psalm 128:2. happy shall you be in this world, and it shall be well with you in the World to Come.”

אַל־תְּבַקֵּ֥שׁ גְּדֻלָּ֖ה לְעַצְמָ֑ךְ וְאַ֤ל־תַּחְמוֹד֙ כָּב֔וֹד יוֹתֵ֥ר מִלִּמּוּדָ֖ךְ עֲשֵֽׂה׃ וְאַל־תִּתְאַוֶּ֥ה לְשֻׁלְחָנָ֖ם שֶׁלְּשָׂרִ֑ים שֶׁשֻּׁלְחָנָךְ֙ גָּד֣וֹל מִשֻּׁלְחָנָ֔ם וְכִתְרָ֖ךָ גָּד֥וֹל מִכִּתְרָֽם׃ וְנֶאֱמָ֥ן ה֖וּא בַּ֣עַל מְלַאכְתָּ֑ךְ שֶׁיְּשַׁלֶּ֥ם לָ֖ךְ שְׂכַ֣ר פְּעֻלָּתָֽךְ׃
“Do not seek greatness for yourself and do not crave honor; let your deeds exceed your learning; do not desire the table of kings, for your table is greater than theirs, your crown is more glorious than theirs; your Employer can be trusted to pay you for your work.”

גְּדוֹלָ֣ה תּוֹרָ֔ה יוֹתֵ֥ר מִן־הַכְּהוּנָּ֖ה וּמִן־הַמַּלְכ֑וּת שֶׁהַמַּלְכ֤וּת נִקְנֵית֙ בִּשְׁלֹשִׁ֣ים מַעֲל֔וֹת וְהַכְּהֻנָּה֙ בְּעֶשְׂרִ֣ים וְאַרְבַּ֔ע וְהַתּוֹרָ֧ה נִקְנֵ֛ית בְּאַרְבָּעִ֥ים וּשְׁמוֹנֶ֖ה דְבָרִֽים׃ וְאֵלוּ־הֵ֕ן בְּתַלְמוּד֙ בִּשְׁמִיעַ֣ת הָאֹ֔זֶן בַּעֲרִיכַ֥ת־שְׂפָתָ֖יִם בְּבִינַת־הַלֵּֽב׃ בְּאֵימָ֛ה בְּיִרְאָ֥ה בַּעֲנָוָ֖ה בְּשִׂמְחָ֥ה בְּטׇהֳרָֽה׃ בְּשִׁמּ֣וּשׁ חֲכָמִ֔ים בְּדִקְדּ֥וּק חֲבֵרִ֖ים בְּפִלְפּ֥וּל הַתַּלְמִידִֽים׃ בְּיִשּׁ֥וּב בְּמִקְרָ֖א בְּמִשְׁנָֽה׃ בְּמִע֣וּט סְחוֹרָ֔ה בְּמִע֥וּט דֶּרֶךְ־אֶ֖רֶץ בְּמִע֣וּט תַּעֲנ֑וּג בְּמִע֣וּט שֵׁנָ֔ה בְּמִע֥וּט שִׂיחָ֖ה בְּמִע֥וּט שְׂחֽוֹק׃ בְּאֶ֥רֶךְ אַפַּ֖יִם בְּלֵ֣ב ט֑וֹב בֶּאֱמוּנַ֥ת חֲכָמִ֖ים בְּקַבָּלַ֣ת הַיִּסּוֹרִֽין׃ הַמַּכִּ֥יר אֶת־מְקוֹמ֖וֹ וְהַשָּׂמֵ֣חַ בְּחֶלְק֑וֹ וְהָעוֹשֶׂה֙ סְיָ֣ג לִדְבָרָ֔יו וְאֵינ֛וֹ מַחֲזִ֥יק טוֹבָ֖ה לְעַצְמֽוֹ׃ אָה֕וּב אוֹהֵ֥ב אֶת־הַמָּק֖וֹם אוֹהֵ֣ב אֶת־הַבְּרִ֑יּוֹת אוֹהֵ֨ב אֶת־הַצְּדָק֜וֹת אוֹהֵ֣ב אֶת־הַמֵּישָׁרִ֗ים אוֹהֵ֤ב אֶת־הַתּוֹכָחוֹת֙ וּמִתְרַחֵ֣ק מִן־הַכָּב֔וֹד וְלֹ֨א מֵגִ֤יס לִבּוֹ֙ בְּתַלְמוּד֔וֹ וְאֵינ֥וֹ שָׂמֵ֖חַ בְּהוֹרָאָֽה׃ נוֹשֵׂ֤א בְעֹל֙ עִם־חֲבֵר֔וֹ וּמַכְרִיע֖וֹ לְכַ֣ף זְכ֑וּת וּמַעֲמִיד֤וֹ עַל־הָאֱמֶת֙ וּמַעֲמִיד֣וֹ עַל־הַשָּׁלוֹם וּמִתְיַ֥שֵּׁב לִבּ֖וֹ בְּתַלְמוּדֽוֹ׃ שׁוֹאֵ֥ל וּמֵשִׁ֖יב שׁוֹמֵ֥עַ וּמוֹסִֽיף׃ הַלּוֹמֵד֙ עַל־מְנָ֣ת לְלַמֵּ֔ד וְהַלּוֹמֵ֖ד עַל־מְנָ֣ת לַעֲשׂ֑וֹת הַמַּחְכִּ֣ים אֶת־רַבּ֔וֹ וְהַמְכַוֵּ֖ן אֶת־שְׁמוּעָתֽוֹ׃ וְהָאוֹמֵ֥ר דָּבָ֖ר בְּשֵׁ֣ם אוֹמְר֑וֹ הָא־לָמַ֞דְתָּ כׇּל־הָאוֹמֵ֤ר דָּבָר֙ בְּשֵׁ֣ם אוֹמְר֔וֹ מֵבִ֥יא גְאֻלָּ֖ה לָעוֹלָֽם׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר וַתֹּ֧אמֶר אֶסְתֵּ֛ר לַמֶּ֖לֶךְ בְּשֵׁ֥ם מָרְדֳּכָֽי
“The Torah is greater than priesthood or royalty; for royalty is acquired by virtue of thirty qualifications, and priesthood by twenty-four, while the Torah is acquired by forty-eight, namely: study, attentive listening, ordered speech [audible rehearsing], mental alertness, intuitive insight, awe [in the student’s attitude towards his master], reverence [for God], humility, cheerfulness, attendance on scholars, close association with colleagues, discussion with students, sedateness, knowledge of Scriptures and Mishnah, moderation in business, moderation in worldly interests, moderation in pleasure, moderation in sleep, moderation in conversation, moderation in merriment, patience, a good heart [un-selfishness], intellectual honesty, uncomplaining acceptance of chastisement, knowing one’s place, being content with one’s lot, setting a limit to one’s words, claiming no credit for oneself, being beloved, loving the Maqom, loving mankind, loving righteousness, loving equity, loving reproof, shunning honors, taking no pride in one’s learning, not delighting in dictating decisions, bearing the yoke with one’s colleague, judging him favorably, directing him to truth and peace, being composed in one’s study, asking and answering, listening and adding to one’s knowledge, learning in order to teach, learning in order to practice, making his teacher wiser, noting with precision what one has learnt, and reporting a thing in the name of the person who said it. You may infer that whoever reports a thing in the name of the person who said it brings deliverance into the world, for it is said: ‘And Esther told the king in the name of Mordecai.'[56]Esther 2:21

גְּדוֹלָ֖ה תוֹרָ֑ה שֶׁהִ֨יא נוֹתֶ֤נֶת חַיִּים֙ לְעֹשֶׂ֔יהָ בָּעוֹלָ֥ם הַזֶּ֖ה וּבָעוֹלָ֥ם הַבָּֽא׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר כִּי־חַיִּ֥ים הֵ֖ם לְמֹצְאֵיהֶ֑ם וּלְכׇל בְּשָׂר֖וֹ מַרְפֵּֽא׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר רִפְא֖וּת תְּהִ֣י לְשָׁרֶּ֑ךָ וְשִׁקּ֖וּי לְעַצְמוֹתֶֽיךָ׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר עֵץ־חַיִּ֥ים הִ֖יא לַמַּחֲזִיקִ֣ים בָּ֑הּ וְֽתֹמְכֶ֖יהָ מְאֻשָּֽׁר׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר כִּ֣י ׀ לִוְיַ֣ת חֵ֗ן הֵ֕ם לְרֹאשֶׁ֑ךָ וַעֲנָקִ֖ים לְגַרְגְּרֹתֶֽךָ׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר תִּתֵּ֥ן לְרֹאשְׁךָ֖ לִוְיַת־חֵ֑ן עֲטֶ֖רֶת תִּפְאֶ֣רֶת תְּמַגְּנֶֽךָּ׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר כִּי־בִ֖י יִרְבּ֣וּ יָמֶ֑יךָ וְיוֹסִ֨יפוּ֙ לְּךָ֔ שְׁנ֖וֹת חַיִּֽים׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר אֹ֥רֶךְ יָמִ֖ים בִּֽימִינָ֑הּ בִּשְׂמֹאולָ֔הּ עֹ֖שֶׁר וְכָבֽוֹד׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר כִּ֛י אֹ֥רֶךְ יָמִ֖ים וּשְׁנ֣וֹת חַיִּ֑ים וְשָׁל֕וֹם יוֹסִ֖יפוּ לָֽךְ׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר דְּרָכֶ֖יהָ דַרְכֵי־נֹ֑עַם וְֽכׇל־נְתִ֖יבוֹתֶ֣יהָ שָׁלֽוֹם׃
Great is Torah, for it gives to those who fulfill it life in this world and in the World to Come, as it is said: ‘For they are life to those who find them, health to all their flesh.'[57]Proverbs 4:22. ‘It shall be health to your body, marrow to your bones.'[58]Proverbs 3:8. ‘It is a tree of life to those who take hold of it; happy are those who support it.'[59]Proverbs 3:18. ‘They shall be a graceful garland for your head, a necklace around your neck.'[60]Proverbs 1:9. ‘It shall place on your head a graceful garland; a crown of glory shall it bestow on you.'[61]Proverbs 4:9. ‘By me your days shall be multiplied, the years of your life shall be increased.'[62]Proverbs 9:11. ‘Long life is in its right hand; in its left hand are riches and honor.'[63]Proverbs 3:16. ‘Length of days, years of life and peace, shall they add to you.'[64]Proverbs 3:2. ‘Its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace.'[65]Proverbs 3:17.

רַ֥בִּי שִׁמְע֖וֹן בֶּן־יְהוּדָ֑ה מִשּׁ֛וּם רַ֥בִּי שִׁמְע֖וֹן בֶּן־יוֹחָאִ֥י אוֹמֵֽר׃ הַנּ֤וֹי וְהַכֹּ֨חַ֙ וְהָע֣וֹשֶׁר וְהַכָּב֔וֹד וְהַחׇכְמָ֥ה וְהַזִּקְנָ֖ה וְהַשֵּׂיבָ֣ה וְהַבָּנִ֑ים נָאֶ֥ה לַצַּדִּיקִ֖ים וְנָאֶ֥ה לָעוֹלָֽם׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר עֲטֶ֥רֶת תִּפְאֶ֖רֶת שֵׂיבָ֑ה בְּדֶ֣רֶךְ צְדָקָ֔ה תִּ֖מָּצֵֽא׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר תִּפְאֶ֥רֶת בַּחוּרִ֖ים כֹּחָ֑ם וַהֲדַ֥ר זְקֵנִ֖ים שֵׂיבָֽה׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר עֲטֶ֥רֶת חֲכָמִ֖ים עׇשְׁרָֽם׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר עֲטֶ֥רֶת זְקֵנִ֖ים בְּנֵ֣י בָנִ֑ים וְתִפְאֶ֥רֶת בָּנִ֖ים אֲבוֹתָֽם׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר וְחָֽפְרָה֙ הַלְּבָנָ֔ה וּבוֹשָׁ֖ה הַחַמָּ֑ה כִּֽי־מָלַ֞ךְ יהו֣ה צְבָא֗וֹת בְּהַ֤ר צִיּוֹן֙ וּבִיר֣וּשָׁלַ֔‍ִם וְנֶ֥גֶד זְקֵנָ֖יו כָּבֽוֹד׃ רַ֛בִּי שִׁמְע֥וֹן בֶּן־מְנַסְיָ֖א אוֹמֵֽר׃ אֵ֚לּוּ שֶׁ֣בַע מִדּ֔וֹת שֶׁמָּ֥נוּ חֲכָמִ֖ים לַצַּדִּיקִ֑ים כֻּלָּם נִתְקַיְּמ֕וּ בְּרַ֖בִּי וּבְבָנָֽיו׃
Rebbi Shimon ben Yehudah said in the name of Rebbi Shimon ben Yohai: “Beauty and strength, wealth and honor, wisdom and age, gray hair and children are comely to the righteous and comely to the world, as it is said: ‘Gray hair is a crown of glory, to be found in the path of righteousness.'[66]Proverbs 16:31. ‘The glory of the young men is their strength, and the beauty of old men is gray hair.'[67]Proverbs 20:29. ‘The crown of the wise is their riches.'[68]Proverbs 14:24. ‘Grandchildren are the crown of old men, and fathers are the pride of their children.'[69]Proverbs 17:6. And it says: ‘The moon shall be confounded and the sun ashamed; for YHVH of hosts will be King on Har Tsiyon and in Yerushalayim, and there shall be kavod before the elders of his people.'[70]Isaiah 24:23.” Rebbi Shimon ben Menasya said: “These seven qualities, which the sages have enumerated as becoming to the righteous, were all realized in Rebbi Yehudah ha-Nasi and his sons.”

אָמַ֛ר רַ֥בִּי יוֹסֵ֖י בֶּ֥ן קִֽסְמָא׃ פַּ֨עַם אַחַ֜ת הָיִ֤יתִי מְהַלֵּךְ֙ בַּדֶּ֔רֶךְ וּפָּ֥גַע בִּ֖י אָדָ֣ם אֶחָ֑ד וְנָתַ֤ן לִי֙ שָׁל֔וֹם וְהֶחֱזַרְתִּ֥י ל֖וֹ שָׁלֽוֹם׃ אָמַר־לִי֙ רַ֔בִּי מֵאֵ֥יזֶה מָק֖וֹם אָ֑תָּה אָמַ֣רְתִּי ל֔וֹ מֵעִ֧יר גְּדוֹלָ֛ה שֶׁלְּחֲכָמִ֥ים וְשֶׁלְּסוֹפְרִ֖ים אָֽנִי׃ אָמַ֣ר לִ֔י רַ֧בִּי רְצוֹנָ֛ךְ שֶׁתָּד֥וּר עִמָּ֖נוּ בִּמְקוֹמֵ֑נוּ וַאֲנִ֣י ׀ אֶתֵּ֣ן לָ֗ךְ אֶ֤לֶף אֲלָפִים֙ דִּנְרֵ֣י זָהָ֔ב וַאֲבָנִ֥ים טוֹב֖וֹת וּמַרְגָּלִיּֽוֹת׃ אָמַ֣רְתִּי ל֗וֹ אִ֣ם אַתָּה֩ נוֹתֵ֨ן לִ֜י כׇּל־כֶּ֤סֶף וְזָהָב֙ וַאֲבָנִ֣ים טוֹב֔וֹת וּמַרְגָּלִיּ֖וֹת שֶׁבָּעוֹלָ֑ם אֵינִ֧י דָ֛ר אֶ֖לָּא בִּמְק֥וֹם תּוֹרָֽה׃ וְכֵ֨ן כָּת֜וּב בְּסֵ֤פֶר תְּהִלִּים֙ עַל־יְדֵ֣י דָוִ֔ד מֶ֖לֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל טוֹב־לִי֙ תוֹרַ֣ת פִּ֔יךָ מֵאַלְפֵ֖י זָהָ֥ב וָכָֽסֶף׃
Rebbi Yoséh ben Qisma said: “I was once travelling on the road when a man met me and greeted me, and I returned his greeting. He said to me: ‘Rebbi, from what place are you?’ I said to him: ‘I come from a great city of sages and scholars.’ He said to me: ‘Rebbi, are you willing to live with us in our place? I will give you a million golden dinars, and precious stones and pearls.’ I told him: ‘Were you to give me all the silver and gold and precious stones and pearls in the world, I would not live anywhere except in a place of Torah.’ In a like manner, it is written in the Book of Psalms by David, king of Yisrael: ‘Your own teaching means more to me than thousands in gold and silver.'[71]Psalm 113:72.

וְלֹא־ע֣וֹד ׀ אֶ֣לָּא ׀ שֶׁבִּשְׁעַ֣ת ׀ פְּטִירָת֣וֹ שֶׁלְּאָדָ֡ם אֵין֩ מְלַוִין־ל֨וֹ לְאָדָ֜ם לֹ֥א כֶ֨סֶף֙ וְלֹ֣א זָהָ֔ב וְלֹ֛א אֲבָנִ֥ים טוֹב֖וֹת וּמַרְגָּלִ֑יּוֹת אֶ֧לָּא תּוֹרָ֛ה וּמַעֲשִׂ֥ים טוֹבִ֖ים בִּלְבָֽד׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר בְּהִתְהַלֶּכְךָ֣ ׀ תַּנְחֶ֣ה אֹתָ֗ךְ בְּֽשׇׁכְבְּךָ֕ תִּשְׁמֹ֖ר עָלֶ֑יךָ וַ֣הֲקִיצ֔וֹתָ הִ֖יא תְשִׂיחֶֽךָ׃ בְּהִתְהַלֶּכְךָ֞ תַּנְחֶ֤ה אֹתָךְ֙ בָּעוֹלָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה בְּֽשׇׁכְבְּךָ֛ תִּשְׁמֹ֥ר עָלֶ֖יךָ בַּקָּ֑בֶר וַהֲקִיצ֤וֹתָ הִיא֙ תְשִׂיחֶ֔ךָ לָעוֹלָ֖ם הַבָּֽא׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר לִ֥י הַכֶּ֖סֶף וְלִ֣י הַזָּהָ֑ב נְאֻ֖ם יהו֥ה צְבָאֽוֹת׃
“Furthermore, when a man dies, neither silver nor gold nor precious stones nor pearls accompany him, but Torah and good deeds alone, as it is said: ‘When you walk, it shall guide you; when you lie down, it shall watch over you; and when you awake, it shall talk with you.'[72]Proverbs 6:22. When you walk, it shall guide you in this world; when you lie down, it shall watch over you in the grave; and when you awake, it shall talk with you in the World to Come. It says also: ‘Mine is the silver and mine is the gold, says YHVH Tseva’ot.'[73]Haggai 2:8.

חֲמִשָּׁה֙ קִנְיָנִ֔ים קָנָ֥ה ל֖וֹ הַקָּד֣וֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ־הֽוּא בְעוֹלָ֕מוֹ וְאֵ֖לּוּ הֵֽן׃ תּוֹרָה֙ קִנְיָ֣ן אֶחָ֔ד שָׁמַ֥יִם וָאָ֖רֶץ קִנְיָ֣ן אֶחָ֑ד אַבְרָהָ֞ם קִנְיָ֣ן אֶחָ֗ד יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ קִנְיָ֣ן אֶחָ֔ד בֵּ֥ית הַמִּקְדָּ֖שׁ קִנְיָ֥ן אֶחָֽד׃ תּוֹרָ֑ה מִנַּ֖יִן דִּכְתִֽיב׃ יְהוָ֤ה קָנָ֨נִי֙ רֵאשִׁ֣ית דַּרְכּ֔וֹ קֶ֥דֶם מִפְעָלָ֖יו מֵאָֽז׃ שָׁמַ֥יִם וָאָ֖רֶץ קִנְיָ֣ן אֶחָ֑ד מִנַּ֖יִן דִּכְתִֽיב׃ כֹּ֚ה אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם כִּסְאִ֔י וְהָאָ֖רֶץ הֲדֹ֣ם רַגְלָ֑י אֵי־זֶ֥ה בַ֙יִת֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תִּבְנוּ־לִ֔י וְאֵי־זֶ֥ה מָק֖וֹם מְנוּחָתִֽי׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר מָ֥ה רַבּ֖וּ מַעֲשֶׂ֣יךָ יְהוָ֑ה כֻּלָּ֤ם בְּחׇכְמָה֙ עָשִׂ֔יתָ מָלְאָ֥ה הָאָ֖רֶץ קִנְיָנֶֽךָ׃ אַבְרָהָ֖ם קִנְיָ֣ן אֶחָ֑ד מִנַּ֖יִן דִּכְתִֽיב׃ וַֽיְבָרְכֵ֖הוּ וַיֹּאמַ֑ר בָּר֤וּךְ אַבְרָם֙ לְאֵ֣ל עֶלְי֔וֹן קֹנֵ֖ה שָׁמַ֥יִם וָאָֽרֶץ׃ יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל קִנְיָ֣ן אֶחָ֑ד מִנַּ֖יִן דִּכְתִֽיב׃ עַד־יַעֲבֹ֤ר עַמְּךָ֙ יְהֹוָ֔ה עַֽד־יַעֲבֹ֖ר עַם־ז֥וּ קָנִֽיתָ׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר לִקְדוֹשִׁ֛ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר בָּאָ֖רֶץ הֵ֑מָּה וְאַדִּירֵ֖י כׇּל־חֶפְצִי־בָֽם׃ בֵּ֥ית הַמִּקְדָּ֖שׁ קִנְיָ֣ן אֶחָ֑ד מִנַּ֖יִן דִּכְתִֽיב׃ מָכ֧וֹן לְשִׁבְתְּךָ֛ פָּעַ֖לְתָּ יְהֹוָ֑ה מִקְּדָ֕שׁ אֲדֹנָ֖י כּוֹנְנ֥וּ יָדֶֽיךָ׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר וַיְבִיאֵ֖ם אֶל־גְּב֣וּל קׇדְשׁ֑וֹ הַ֣ר זֶ֔ה קָנְתָ֖ה יְמִינֽוֹ׃
Five possessions has the blessed Holy One specifically declared his own in his world, namely: the Torah, Heaven and Earth, Avraham, Yisrael, and the Beit Hamiqdash. How do we know this about the Torah? Because it is written: ‘YHVH possessed me first of his creation, first of all his works in days of old.'[74]Proverbs 8:22. How do we know this about heaven and earth? Because it is written: ‘Thus says YHVH: The Heaven is my throne, and the Earth is my footstool; what manner of house would you build for me, what manner of place as my residence?'[75]Isaiah 66:1. It says also: ‘How manifold are thy works, YHVH! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your possessions.'[76]Psalm 104:24. How do we know this about Avraham? Because it is written: ‘And he blessed him and said: Blessed be Avram of El Elyon, Possessor of Heaven and Earth.'[77]Genesis 14:19. How do we know this about Yisrael? Because it is written: ‘Until thy people pass over, YHVH; until the people whom you possess pass over.'[78]Exodus 15:16. It says also: ‘As for the holy people who are on earth, they are the nobles in whom is all my delight.'[79]Psalm 16:3. How do we know this about the Beit Hamiqdash? Because it is written: ‘The place of your abode which you, YHVH, have made; the Beit Hamiqdash, YHVH, which your hands have established.'[80]Exodus 15:17. It says also: ‘And he brought them to the region of his Beit Hamiqdash, to the mountain which his might had acquired.'[81]Psalm 78:54.

כׇּל־מַ֣ה שֶּׁבָּרָ֔א הַקָּד֥וֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ־ה֖וּא בְּעוֹלָמ֑וֹ לֹ֥א בְרָא֖וֹ אֶ֥לָּא לִכְבוֹדֽוֹ׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר כֹּ֚ל הַנִּקְרָ֣א בִשְׁמִ֔י וְלִכְבוֹדִ֖י בְּרָאתִ֑יו יְצַרְתִּ֖יו אַף־עֲשִׂיתִֽיו׃ וְאוֹמֵ֕ר יְהֹוָ֥ה ׀ יִמְלֹ֖ךְ לְעֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד׃
Whatever the blessed Holy One created in his world, he created only for his kavod/spiritual resplendence, as it is said: ‘Everything that is called by my name, it is for my kavod that I have created it; I have formed it, I have made it.'[82]Isaiah 13:7. It says also: ‘YHVH shall reign in the Cosmos forever.'[83]Exodus 15:18.

רַ֛בִּי חֲנַנְיָ֥א בֶּן־עֲקַשְׁיָ֖א אוֹמֵֽר׃ רָצָ֗ה הַקָּדוֹשׁ֙ בָּר֣וּךְ ה֔וּא לְזַכּ֖וֹת אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל לְפִיכָ֕ךְ הִרְבָּ֥ה לָהֶ֖ם תּוֹרָ֥ה וּמִצְוֹֽת׃ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַ֕ר יְהֹוָ֥ה חָפֵ֖ץ לְמַ֣עַן צִדְק֑וֹ יַגְדִּ֥יל תּוֹרָ֖ה וְיַאְדִּֽיר׃
Rebbi Ḥananya ben Aqashya said: “The blessed Holy One desired to purify Yisrael; hence he gave them a Torah rich in rules of conduct, as it is said: ‘YHVH was pleased, for the sake of [Yisrael’s] righteousness, to render the Torah great and glorious.'[84]Isaiah 42:21.

I have adapted the English translation of Pirqei Avot by Paltiel Birnbaum, as published in his Ha-Siddur Ha-Shalem (1949), mostly to re-Hebraize names, but also to edit and replace some of the commentary that he left in brackets. I’ve also made numerous other small changes. –Aharon Varady

Source

Notes   [ + ]

  1, 4, 9, 31, 40, 47. Isaiah 60:21.
  2. Zechariah 8:16.
  3, 8, 30, 39, 46, 84. Isaiah 42:21.
  5. Psalm 37:21.
  6. Joel 2:13.
  7. Paltiel Birnbaum adds “lest you set yourself a low standard of conduct”
  10. Psalm 1:1.
  11, 18. Malachi 3:16.
  12. Lamentations 3:28.
  13. Isaiah 28:8.
  14. Ezekiel 41:22.
  15, 17. Psalm 82:1.
  16. Amos 9:6.
  19. Exodus 20:21.
  20. I Chronicles 29:14.
  21. Others attribute to Rebbi Yaaqov
  22. Paltiel Birnbaum provides the pshat explanation, “study is more important than the admiration of nature” however this teaching re: the praxis of mentally reviewing Torah may be understood differently. Both the tree and the field may signify the Torah (as conceived as the Tree of Life) and Shadai (as conceived as the fertile sadeh/field) respectively. Thus, I understand this teaching as a warning not to interrupt and replace the highly associative state of contemplative ruminations with that of any immanent phenomenal representation. –ANV
  23, 24. Deuteronomy 4:9.
  25. Genesis 9:6.
  26. Deuteronomy 14:1.
  27, 54. Proverbs 4:2.
  28. Jeremiah 17:6.
  29. Jeremiah 17:8.
  32. Psalm 119:99.
  33. Proverbs 16:32.
  34, 55. Psalm 128:2.
  35. 1 Samuel 2:30.
  36. Cf. Shemot Rabbah 32.
  37. Proverbs 24:17-18.
  38. Others attribute to Rebbi Meir
  41. Numbers 14:22
  42. Deuteronomy 33:21.
  43. I Kings 15:30.
  44. Proverbs 8:21.
  45. Psalm 55:24.
  48. Proverbs 8:14.
  49. Proverbs 11:22.
  50. Exodus 32:16.
  51. Numbers 21:19.
  52. Psalm 55:14.
  53. Proverbs 3:35; Proverbs 28:10.
  56. Esther 2:21
  57. Proverbs 4:22.
  58. Proverbs 3:8.
  59. Proverbs 3:18.
  60. Proverbs 1:9.
  61. Proverbs 4:9.
  62. Proverbs 9:11.
  63. Proverbs 3:16.
  64. Proverbs 3:2.
  65. Proverbs 3:17.
  66. Proverbs 16:31.
  67. Proverbs 20:29.
  68. Proverbs 14:24.
  69. Proverbs 17:6.
  70. Isaiah 24:23.
  71. Psalm 113:72.
  72. Proverbs 6:22.
  73. Haggai 2:8.
  74. Proverbs 8:22.
  75. Isaiah 66:1.
  76. Psalm 104:24.
  77. Genesis 14:19.
  78. Exodus 15:16.
  79. Psalm 16:3.
  80. Exodus 15:17.
  81. Psalm 78:54.
  82. Isaiah 13:7.
  83. Exodus 15:18.

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