CHAPTER I.1. Three days before the feasts of the idolaters it is forbidden to deal with them, to lend articles to them, or to take a loan of articles from them; to make a loan of money to them, or to borrow money from them; to repay them, or to take payment from them. Rabbi Judah said, "it is allowed to take payment from them, since it is unsatisfactory to the idolater." The (Sages) answered him, "though it is unpleasant to him now, he rejoices afterwards."
2. R. Ishmael said, "three days before and three days after their feasts it is forbidden." But the Sages say, "before their feasts it is forbidden, after their feasts it is allowed."
3. "And these are the feasts of the idolaters,—the Kalends, and the Saturnalia, and the Quartesima, and the coronation day of their kings, and the day of their birth, and the day of their death." The words of R. Meier. But the Sages say, "every death anniversary in which there is burning
of incense, 1 there is in it the worship of idols. But if there be no burning of incense there is no worship of idols." "The day of shaving his beard and cutting his hair, the day of his disembarking from the sea, and the day of his release from prison, and the day when the heathen makes a feast for his son?" "It is not forbidden to deal with them save on this day of his feast, and with this man who keeps the feast only."
4. "The city in which there exists idolatry outside the city?" "It is allowed to deal with the idolaters." "If the idolatry be outside?" "Inside it is allowed." "How is it with going there?" "When the road directly leads to the place itself, it is forbidden; but if it be possible to go by it to another place, it is allowed."
5. "If in the city in which there exists idolatry there be shops, some decorated with idolatrous crowns, and some without decoration?" This was the case in Bethshan; and the Sages say, "the decorated ones are forbidden for dealing, and those not decorated are allowed."
6. These things are forbidden to be sold to idolaters,—fir-cones, and the best figs, with their clusters, and incense, and the white cock. R. Judah said, "it is allowable to sell a white cock amongst many others. But when a man has only one, he must cut its claw before he sell it, since the heathen do not offer that which is blemished in idol worship." And all other things for ordinary uses are allowed,—but if they be declared to be for idolatry, they are forbidden. R. Meier said, "even the fine dates, and the date sap, 2 and the Jericho dates, are forbidden for sale to idolaters."
7. Where they are accustomed to sell small cattle to idolaters, they may sell them. Where they are unaccustomed to sell them, they must not sell them. And everywhere they must not sell to them the large cattle, calves, ass foals, unblemished or blemished. R. Judah allowed the broken-boned; and Benbethira allowed even horses.
8. Men must not sell to them bears or lions, or anything
in which there is peril to the multitude. They must not build with them royal halls, 1 judgment seats, and stadiums, 2 and bemas. 3 But men may build with them altars and baths. When they reach to the arching in which they place their idol, it is forbidden to build farther.
9. And Israelites must not make decorations for idols, necklaces, and nose-rings, and rings. R. Eleazar said, "for pay it is allowed." Men must not sell to them what is fastened to the ground. But one may sell it after it is cut down. R. Judah said, "one may sell it to a heathen on condition that he cuts it down."
10. "Men must not let to them buildings 4 in the Land of Israel, and it is needless to say fields. But in Syria they may let to them buildings, but not fields. But out of the Land they may sell to them buildings, and may rent to them fields." The words of R. Meier. R. José said, "in the Land of Israel men may let to them buildings, but not fields. But in Syria they may sell buildings and rent fields to them, and out of the Land they may sell both." However, where they said to let, they did not say a dwelling-house; since an heathen can bring inside of it an idol, as it is said, "Thou shalt not bring in abomination into thy house." 5 And everywhere a man must not hire to an heathen his bath, because it is called by his name.
Footnotes204:1 Literally strange worship. It chiefly means the worship of the stars, and other heavenly bodies.
205:1 Jer. xxxiv. 5.
205:2 Or sugar cane.
206:1 For executions.
206:2 For races.
206:3 Where harangues were delivered involving life and death.
206:4 Nor graves.
206:5 Deut. vii. 26.
CHAPTER II.1. Israelites must not put cattle in the stables of idolaters, because of their evil habits. And a woman must not be alone with them, because of their evil habits. And no man should be alone with them, because they are apt to shed blood.
2. A daughter of Israel must not attend an idolatrous woman, because she helps the birth of a child for idolatry. But an idolatress may attend a daughter of Israel. A daughter
of Israel must not suckle a child of an idolatress; but an idolatress may suckle a child of a daughter of Israel, under her observation.
3. "Israelites may take from them medicine to cure property; but not to cure persons. And they are not to be shaved by them anywhere." The words of R. Meier. But the Sages say, "under public observation it is allowed, but not entirely alone."
4. These things of the idolaters are forbidden, and every use of them is strictly forbidden; wine, and vinegar of the heathen which was at first wine, and Hadrian's mixture 1 with its fragments, and hides of animals with their hearts 2 (torn out). Rabbi Simon the son of Gamaliel said "when the rent is round, it is forbidden, when lengthwise it is allowed." "The flesh brought in for idolatry is allowed; but that which is brought out is forbidden, because it is the sacrifice for the dead." The words of R. Akiba. It is forbidden to do business with those who go to worship the Penates; but with those who return from them it is allowed. "The skin bottles of the idolaters and their jugs into which Jewish wine is poured, are forbidden, and every use of them is strictly forbidden." The words of R. Meier. But the Sages say, "every use of them is not forbidden." "Grape stones and grape skins of the idolaters are forbidden, and every use of them is strictly forbidden." The words of R. Mair. But the Sages say, "when moist, they are forbidden; but when dry, they are allowed." "Fish brine and the cheese from Bethuniki, 3 a village of the idolaters, are forbidden and every use of them strictly forbidden." The words of R. Meier. But the Sages say, "every use of them is not forbidden." R. Judah related, that R. Ishmael asked R. Joshua, as they were journeying along the road—he said to him. "why do they forbid the cheese of idolaters?"
[paragraph continues] He replied to him, "because they cause it to ferment with the stomach of a carcase." R. Ishmael said to him, “and is not the stomach of a burnt-offering of more importance than the stomach of a carcase, and it was said, “the priest who was so minded supped the milk that was in it,” but the Sages did not agree with him, and they said, "the priests do not use it, and they are not guilty." He changed the conversation, and said to him, "because they ferment it with the stomach of a calf (devoted) to idolatry." He said to him, "if so, why do they not forbid it for every use?" He turned to another subject, and said to him, "brother Ishmael, how do you read, 'For thy love is better than wine,' 1 or 'For thy love is good'"? He replied to him, "For thy love is good." He said to him, "it is not so, since the next verse explains it, 'Because of the savour of thy good ointments.'"
5. These things of the idolaters are forbidden, but every use of them is not strictly forbidden; milk which an heathen milked, and an Israelite did not see it. "Their bread and oil?" "Rabbi and his colleagues allowed oil." But the cookery, and the gravy into which they are wont to put wine and vinegar, and shred thunny fish, and the sauce in which the fish chalbith is not swimming, and the herring, and the essence of assafœtida, and spiced salt, are forbidden; but every use of them is not strictly forbidden.
6. These things are allowed for eating—milk which an idolater milked, and an Israelite saw, and honey and honeycomb, even if they are dropping, as they do not contain the effect of liquor, 2 and gravy into which they are not wont to put wine and vinegar, and shred thunny fish, and sauce in which there is the fish chalbith, and the leaf of the assafœtida, and olives crushed into round cakes. R. José said, "the kernels detached from the olives are forbidden." The locusts which they bring from their baskets 3 are forbidden;
but those brought from their magazines are allowed. And even so is the decision for their heave-offerings.
Footnotes207:1 Hadrian's mixture was balls of clay saturated with wine and taken on military expeditions. When the soldiers wished to drink, they soaked them in water so that it had a taste of wine, and the mud settled at the bottom of the vessel.
207:2 The heart torn out of the animal when alive to be offered in idolatrous worship.
207:3 A village where calves were offered in idolatry. Consequently the rennet was forbidden, and the cheese made from their rennet was also forbidden.
208:1 Sol. Song, i. 2. The question is, whether the friendship sprang from the wine or not, and his conclusion is that as the savour is connected with the oil, so is the friendship with the wine, and so is the cheese connected with idolatry.
208:2 i.e. for legal defilement.
208:3 The locusts might be mixed in the basket with wine or liquor, which would cause legal defilement.
CHAPTER III.1. "All images are forbidden, because they are worshipped once a year." The words of R. Meier. But the Sages say, "only those are forbidden which have in their hand a staff, or bird, or ball." R. Simon, the son of Gamaliel, said, "all images which have in their hand anything whatever."
2. "If one find the broken pieces of images?" "They are allowed (for useful purposes)." "If one find the figure of an hand, or the figure of a foot?" "They are forbidden, because such as they are worshipped."
3. "(If one find) vessels on which is the form of the sun-disc, the form of the moon, the form of a dragon?" "They are to be carried into the Salt Sea." 1 R. Simon, the son of Gamaliel, said, "when such forms are on precious (vessels) they are forbidden, when they are on insignificant (ones) they are allowed."
4. R. José said, "one must grind the image to powder and scatter it to the wind, or cast it into the sea." The Sages said to him, "then it will make dung," and it is said, "And there shall not cleave to thy hand aught of the accursed thing." 2
5. Proclus, the son of a philosopher, asked R. Gamaliel, in Acho, 3 as he was bathing in the bath of Venus, and said to him, "it is written in thy law, 'and there shall not cleave to thy hand aught of the accursed thing;' why dost thou bathe in the bath of Venus?" He said to him, "men do not give replies in the bath;" and when he came out he said to him, "I came not within its district; it came into my district." They did not say, "let us make a bath to the honour of Venus, but they said, let us make Venus an honour
to the bath." Another thing: "if they gave thee money wouldst thou enter naked before thy idol, or wouldst thou do aught disgraceful in its presence? yet if it stands on a canal every one dishonours it." It is not said, save for their heathen gods, "that which is customary from its being a god, is forbidden, that which is not customary from its being a god, is allowed."
6. Though idolaters worship the mountains and the hills, the mountains and the hills are allowed, but what is upon them is forbidden; as is said, "Thou shalt not covet the silver and the gold upon them to take them." 1 R. José, the Galilean, said, "their gods of the mountains, but not the mountains their gods; their gods of the hills, but not the hills their gods." "But why are the groves forbidden?" "Because they are prepared by man's hands, and every object of idolatry which is prepared by man's hands is forbidden." Said R. Akiba, "I will consider and decide before thee; every place in which you find a high mountain, and an elevated hill, and a flourishing tree, know that there is idolatry."
7. "He who had a house joined to an idol, and it fell down?" "It is forbidden to rebuild it." "What shall he do?" "He must first reduce the size of the house by four cubits, and then rebuild it." "If the house be in common between him and the idol?" "It is decided to leave the four cubits unoccupied, as its stones, wood, and dust cause defilement like a worm, 'Thou shalt utterly detest it.'" 2
8. There are three sorts of buildings. The house originally built for idolatry is forbidden. "If the idolater whitewashed, and painted, and repaired it for the idol?" "He must take down his repairs." "If he brought in and afterwards took out the idol?" "It is allowed."
9. There are three sorts of stones. The stone originally hewn for a pedestal to the idol is forbidden. "If the idolater whitewashed, and painted, and repaired it to honour an idol?" "He must take down his repairs." "If he placed his idol upon it, and afterwards took it away?" "It is allowed."
10. There are three sorts of groves. The tree originally
planted to honour an idol is forbidden. "If the idolater cut it, and hewed it, and made changes to honour an idol?" "He must take down his changes." "If he placed an idol beneath it and abused it?" "It is allowed."
11. "What is a grove?" "That in which there is an idol." R. Simon said, "everything that is worshipped, as it happened in Zidon at the tree where they worshipped, and they found beneath it a heap. Said R. Simon to them, ‘examine this heap.’ And they examined it and found in it an image.’ He said to them, 'as the object of service is the image, we shall allow the tree to you.'"
12. One must not sit in the shadow of an idolatrous grove, and though he sit, he is legally clean. And one must not pass underneath it; even if one pass he is defiled. "If it occupy the public thoroughfare and one pass beneath it?" "He is clean."
13. One may sow underneath it vegetables in winter, but not in summer. But lettuce 1 must not be sown either in summer or winter. R. José said, "not even vegetables in winter, since the leaves would fall upon then and serve them for dung."
14. "Has one taken wood from it?" "Its wood is forbidden for every use." "Has one heated an oven with it?" "If the oven be new it must be broken down, and if old it must be cooled down." "Has one baked bread in it?" "The use of the bread is forbidden." "Are the loaves mixed with other loaves, and these again with others?" "The use of all the loaves is forbidden." R. Eliezer said, "its value is to be cast into the Salt Sea." The Sages replied to him, "there is no redemption for idolatry." "Has one made out of such a tree a weaver's shuttle?" "Its use is forbidden." "Has one woven a garment with it?" "The use of the garment is forbidden." "Is the garment mixed with other garments, and these again with others?" "The use of all the garments is forbidden." Rabbi Eleazar said, "its value is to be cast into the Salt Sea." The Sages replied to him, "there is no redemption for idolatry."
15. "How is the tree to be desecrated?" "Has the idolater broken off dry bark, or green boughs; has he taken from it a staff, or a twig, or even a leaf—it is desecrated." "Has he trimmed it for the sake of the tree?" "It is forbidden." "Has he trimmed it, but not for the sake of the tree?" "It is allowed."
Footnotes209:1 The Salt Sea generally means in the Talmud the Dead Sea. It is now called by the Arabs Bahr-Lût, i.e. the Sea of Lot.
209:2 Deut. xiii. 17.
209:3 The modern Akka (Acre).
210:1 Deut. vii. 25.
210:2 Deut. vii. 26.
211:1 Lest the lettuce might derive profit from the shade of the idolatrous grove.
CHAPTER IV.1. Rabbi Ishmael said, "three stones 1 beside each other at the side of the image of Mercury are forbidden, but two are allowed." But the Sages say, "when they are within his view they are forbidden, but when they are not within his view they are allowed."
2. "Has one found money on his head, a garment, or implements which are not offerings?" "They are allowed." Festoons of grapes, wreaths of ears of corn, and wines, and oils, and fine flour, and everything similar offered on his altar are forbidden.
3. A garden or a bath for idolatry are permitted for use when they are gratuitous. But they are not to be used if a present for the worship of the idol be expected. If it be in partnership with others that are not so employed, it can be used, whether it be with the expectation of a present or gratuitous. The idol of idolaters is at once forbidden, but the idol of Israel is not forbidden until it be served.
4. An idolater may desecrate his own idol, or the idol of his companion. But Israel must not desecrate the idol of an idolater. In desecrating the idol he desecrates what appertains to it. "Has he desecrated what appertains to it?" "What appertains to it is allowed, but the idol itself is forbidden."
5. "How is it to be desecrated?" "He cuts off the lobe of its ear, the tip of its nose, the end of its finger—he deforms
even though he does not diminish it—it is desecrated." "He spits before it, he drags it, and throws dirt upon it?" "It is not desecrated." "Has he sold it or pledged it?" Rabbi says, "it is desecrated." But the Sages say, "it is not desecrated."
6. The idol, the service of which is abandoned in the time of peace, is allowed. "But if its service be abandoned in time of war?" "It is forbidden." 1 The royal pedestals 2 are forbidden, because they are erected at the time when kings are travelling.
7. The elders were asked in Rome, "If God has no pleasure in idolatry, why does He not destroy it?" They replied to the Romans, "If the idolaters were serving a thing which was not necessary to the world, He would destroy it, but they serve the sun disc, and the moon, and the stars, and the signs of the zodiac. Shall he destroy his world on account of the fools?" They replied to them, "If so He can destroy the object which is not wanted for the world, and leave that which the world wants." They replied to them, "even we should be strengthening the hands of the worshippers of such objects; they would say, there is a proof that they are gods, because they are not destroyed."
8. One may buy a wine-press pressed by an idolater, even though he take grapes with his hand and lay them on the heap of grapes, as it is not made the wine of idolatrous libation, till it runs into the vat. "Has it run into the vat?" "That which is in the vat is forbidden, but the remainder is allowed." One may tread with an idolater in the wine-press, but one must not gather grapes with him. One must not tread or gather grapes with an Israelite who works in a state of defilement. But one may carry with him empty barrels to the press and bring them away with him from the press. One must not knead nor prepare with the baker who works in (a state of) legal defilement, but one may carry the bread with him to the dealer in bread.
9. "If an idolater be found standing by the side of a wine vat, and if he have any loan upon it?" "It is forbidden." "If he have no loan on it?" "It is allowed." "Has he fallen into the vat and come out again, or measured it with a cane; has he driven away a hornet with a cane; or has he given a slap to the fermentation on the top of the barrel?" All these things once happened, and the (Sages) decided, "Let it be sold." But R. Simon "allowed it." He took the barrel, and flung it in a rage into the vat. This once happened and the Sages allowed it.
10. "Has one made the wine of an idolater without legal defilement, and left it in his possession in a house open to public concourse—in a city in which there are idolaters and Israelites?" "It is allowed." "In a city in which all are idolaters?" "It is forbidden till he leave a watchman, and it is not needful that the watchman sit and watch. Even though he goes in and out it is allowed." R. Simon, the son of Eleazar, said, "all possession of wine by idolaters is alike." "Has one made the wine of an heathen without legal defilement, and left it in his possession, and the idolater afterwards wrote to him, I have received from you the money for the wine?" "It is allowed." "But if the Israelite wish to withdraw it, and the idolater do not permit him, till he shall give him his money for it?" This once happened in Bethshan, and the Sages "forbade it."
Footnotes212:1 These stones must be arranged as two on the ground, and one over them, and not more than four ells distant from the image, to fulfil the conditions of being an idolatrous offering. If the stones did not fulfil these conditions, an Israelite might use them for building purposes.
213:1 If the idol be disregarded in time of peace, the heathen have ceased to esteem it as a god, and Israelites might use it for some purpose. But if the heathen neglected it during the confusion of war, there was no proof that they would not worship it at another time.
213:2 i.e. triumphal arches with statues upon them.
CHAPTER V.1. "Has an idolater hired an Israelite to make with him wine of idolatrous libation?" "His wages are forbidden." "But if he hired him to do with him another work, even though he say to him, 'carry for me a barrel of wine of libation from place to place?'" "His wages are allowed." "Has one hired an ass to bring on him wine of idolatrous libation?" "The hire is not allowed." "Has one hired out the ass for riding, even though the idolater put his wine flask upon hire?" The hire is allowed."
2. Wine of idolatrous libation which fell on grapes must be cleansed away, and they are allowed. But if the grapes be crushed, they are forbidden. "Has the idolatrous wine fallen on figs or on dates?" "If it convey to them a taste, they are forbidden." It happened once with Baithus, son of Zonan, that he brought dried figs in a boat, and a barrel of wine of idolatrous libation was broken, and it fell upon them, and he consulted the Sages and they allowed them. This is the rule, In every use where the taste is conveyed, it is forbidden. But where in its use no taste is conveyed, it is allowed. It is like vinegar which has fallen on peas.
3. "An idolater who was carrying with an Israelite pitchers of wine from place to place?" "If it be certain that the idolater is watched, it is allowed." "If the Israelite let him know that he is departing—if there be time to bore, to close, and to seal the pitcher?" R. Simon, son of Gamaliel, said, "it is not allowed if there be time to open, to cork, and to seal it again." "And an Israelite put his wine into a carriage, or into a boat, and he has gone a near cut—he entered the city and washed?" "It is allowed." "But if he let the idolater know that he is departing, if there be time to bore, and cork, and seal it again?" R. Simon, son of Gamaliel, said, "it is not allowed if there be time to open the barrel and cork and seal it again." "If he leave the idolater in the wine-shop, even though he go in and out?" "It is allowed." "But if he let the idolater know that he departs, if there be time to bore, and cork, and seal it again?" R. Simon ben Gamaliel said, "it is not allowed if there be time to open, and to cork, and to seal it again." "Did he dine with the idolater at table, and he left a flask on the table, and a flask on the sideboard, and he left them and went out?" "That one which is on the table is forbidden, but that one on the sideboard is allowed." "But if be said to him, 'you may mix and drink wine, even that one on the sideboard is forbidden.'" 1 "Open barrels are forbidden, also sealed ones, when there is time to open, and cork, and seal them up again."
4. If foreign banditti have entered into a city in time of peace, open barrels are forbidden—closed ones are allowed. If the banditti have entered in time of war, both are equally allowed, because there is no time for idolatrous libation.
5. When an idolater has sent to workmen of Israel a barrel of wine of idolatrous libation for wages, it is allowed to say, "give us its value." "But if it has come into their possession?" "It is forbidden."
6. "Has one sold wine to an idolater?" "If he agreed for the price before it is measured, its payment is allowed." "Has he measured it before he agreed for the price?" "Its payment is forbidden."
7. "Has one taken a funnel. and measured wine into the bottle of an idolater, and he then turned round and measured wine into the bottle of an Israelite?" "If the funnel retain a drop of the wine of the idolater, the wine is forbidden." "Has one poured the wine from vessel to vessel?" "That vessel from which he poured it is allowed, and that one into which he poured it is forbidden."
8. Wine of idolatrous libation is forbidden, and even a little of it renders forbidden—wine in wine, and water in water—how much soever they be, and wine in water, and water in wine, in giving a taste. This is the rule,—If both be of one sort, however little; if they be of different sorts, in giving a taste.
9. These things are forbidden, and even a little of them renders other things forbidden. Wine of idolatrous libation, and idols, and skins of beasts with the hearts torn out, and an ox that was stoned, 1 and an heifer that is beheaded, 2 and the birds from the leprosy, and the hair of the Nazarite, 3 and the first-born of the ass, and flesh in milk, and the scapegoat, and the profane animals 4 which were slaughtered in the Temple court. These are forbidden to be mixed with other things; and if so mixed, even a little of them renders other things forbidden.
10. "Wine of idolatrous libation which has fallen into a vat?" "All its use is forbidden." R. Simon ben Gamaliel said, "it may all be sold to heathens, excepting the value of the wine of idolatrous libation which is in it."
11. "A stone press which an idolater has prepared with pitch?" "It must be cleansed, and it is clean." "And if of wood?" Rabbi said, "it should be cleansed;" and the Sages said, "one must peel off the pitch; but if it be made of earthenware, even though one peel off the pitch, it is forbidden."
12. "If one buy culinary utensils from an idolater?" "That which it is usual to dip (in water), one must dip; to scour, one must scour; to whiten in the fire, one must whiten in fire. The spit and the fork, one must whiten in the fire; 1 and the knife must be rubbed down, and it is clean."
Footnotes215:1 Because the idolater might have made an idolatrous libation from both flasks.
216:1 Exod. xxi. 29.
216:2 Deut. xxi. 4.
216:3 Numb. vi. 18.
216:4 This refers to the killing or slaughtering of cattle and fowls for profane or domestic purposes. They were called profane to distinguish them from the holy sacrifices.
217:1 Numb. xxxi. 23.
CHAPTER I.1. Moses received the Oral Law from Sinai and delivered it to Joshua, and Joshua delivered it to the elders, and the elders to the prophets, and the prophets to the men of the great synagogue. 1 They said three things, "be deliberate in judgment, raise up many disciples, and make a fence for the law."
2. Simon the Just was one of the last of the men of the great synagogue. He used to say that the world stood on three things—"on the law, the service, and the acts of the pious."
3. Antigonus of Soco received (the law) from Simon the Just. He used to say, "be not as servants, who serve their master for the sake of receiving a reward, but be like servants who serve their master without the view of receiving a reward; and let the fear of heaven be upon you."
4. José, son of Joezer of Zeredah, and José, son of Jochanan of Jerusalem, received (the oral law) from him. José, son of Joezer of Zeredah, said, "let thy house be a house of
assembly for the wise, and dust thyself with the dust of their feet, and drink their words in thirstiness."
5. José, son of Jochanan of Jerusalem, said, "let thy house be wide open, and let the poor be thy children. Discourse not much with women, not even with thy wife, much less with thy neighbour's wife." Hence the wise men say, "whoever converses much with women brings evil on himself, neglects the study of the law, and at last will inherit hell."
6. Joshua, son of Perechiah, and Natai the Arbelite received the oral law from them. Joshua, son of Perechiah, said, "get thyself a master, and obtain a companion, and judge all mankind with favour."
7. Natai the Arbelite said, "withdraw from an evil neighbour, and associate not with the wicked, neither flatter thyself to escape punishment."
8. Judah, son of Tabia, and Simon, son of Shetach, received it of them. Judah, son of Tabai, said, "consider not thyself as the arranger of the law, and when the parties are before thee in judgment, consider them as guilty; but when they are departed from thee, consider them as innocent, when they have acquiesced in the sentence."
9. Simon, son of Shetach, said, "be extremely careful in the examination of witnesses, and be cautious in thy words, lest they from thence should learn to utter a falsehood."
10. Shemaiah and Abtalyon 1 received it from them. Shemaiah said, "love thy business and hate dominion, and be unknown to government."
11. Abtalyon said, "ye Sages, be cautious of your words, lest ye be doomed to captivity, and carried captive to a place of bad waters, and the disciples who follow you should drink of them, by which means the name of God may be profaned."
12. Hillel and Shamai received it of them. Hillel said, "be thou of the disciples of Aaron, who loved peace, and pursued peace, so that thou love mankind, and allure them to the study of the law."
13. He used to say, "whoever aggrandises his name, destroys his name, and he who does not increase his knowledge in the law, shall be cut off, and he who does not study the law, is deserving of death, and he who serves himself with the crown of the law, will perish."
14. He also said, "if I perform not good works myself, who can do them for me?" and "when I consider myself, what am I?" and "if not now, when shall I?"
15. Shamai said, "let thy study of the law be fixed, say little and do much, and receive all men with an open, pleasant face."
16. Rabban Gamaliel said, "procure thyself an instructor, that thou mayest not be in doubt, and accustom not thyself to give tithes by conjecture."
17. Simon, his son, said, "I have all my life been brought up among wise men, and never found anything so good for the body as silence, neither is the study of the law the principal thing, but its practice," and "whoever multiplies words causes sin."
18. Rabban Simon, son of Gamaliel, said, "the duration of the world depends on three things, justice, truth, and peace, as is said, "judge truth, and justice, and peace in your gates."
Footnotes218:1 The men of the great synagogue were the "Scribes" who flourished from the return out of Babylon till the Græco-Syrian persecution, B.C. 220. Their object was to preserve the sacred text with scrupulous minuteness, and make a "fence" for the law. They added numberless directions for the better observance of the old precepts. The Scribes were succeeded by the "learners," the "repeaters," and the "master builders," who continued from B.C. 220 till A.D. 220. In their time fall the Maccabean revolution, the birth of Christ, the overthrow of the temple by Titus, the rebellion or Barchochba, the complete destruction of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the Jews.
219:1 Supposed by some to be the Sameas and Pollio of Josephus. Though others try to identify Sameas with Simon, son of Shetach.—Antiq. xiv. ix. 4, etc.
CHAPTER II.1. Rabbi Judah said, "which are the most eligible paths for man to choose? All such as are an ornament to those who tread therein; and get them honour from man. Be also as careful of the observance of a light precept, as of a weighty one; because thou knowest not the due reward of the precepts, and balance the loss sustained by the omission of a precept against its recompense, and the reward of sin against its loss of happiness. Consider also three things, and thou wilt not transgress. Understand what is above thee: an All-seeing Eye and an Hearing Ear; and that all thy actions are written in a Book."
2. Rabban Gamaliel, the son of Rabban Judah the
[paragraph continues] Prince, said, "that the study of the law and intercourse with the world are commendable together, as the joining of these two annihilates sin; and all the study of the law, that is not supported by business, will become of none effect, and will be the cause of sin; and whoever is engaged in the service of the congregation, ought to act for God's sake, then will the merit of their ancestors support them, and their charitable deeds exist to eternity; and I (God) shall account you deserving of a great recompense, as if ye had actually done it."
3. "Be ye warned of following princes, as they only bestow favours on men for their own interest. They show themselves as friends while men are useful to them; but they will not support a man in time of need."
4. He used to say, "do His will as if it were thine own will, that He may accomplish thy will as if it were His will; abolish thy will for the sake of His will, that He may abolish the will of others for the sake of thy will." Hillel said, "separate not thyself from the congregation, nor have confidence in thyself, until the day of thy death. Judge not thy neighbour till thou art in his situation, neither utter a sentence as if it were incomprehensible, that afterwards may be comprehended, nor say, when I shall have leisure I shall study; mayhap thou wilt not have leisure."
5. He also said, "a boor cannot be fearful of sin, nor can a rustic be a saint; the bashful will not become learned, nor the passionate man a teacher; neither will he, who is much engaged in traffic, become wise; and where there are no men, strive thou to be a man."
6. He having also seen a skull floating on the water, said, "because thou didst make others float, have they floated thee? and the end of those who made thee float will be that they will float."
7. He also said, "he who increases flesh, increases worms; he who increases riches, increases care; he who increases wives, increases witchcraft; he who increases female servants, increases lewdness; he who increases men servants, increases robbery; but he who increases his knowledge
of the law, increases life; he who increases his study in college, increases wisdom; he who increases counsel, increases prudence; he who increases justice, increases peace; if a man have gained a good name, he has gained it for himself; if he have gained the words of the law, he has gained for himself everlasting life in the world to come."
8. Rabbi Jochanan, son of Zaccai, received the oral law from Hillel and Shammai. He used to say, "if thou hast spent much time in the study of the law, yet pride not thyself thereon, because for that wast thou created." Rabbi Jochanan, son of Zaccai, had five disciples, and these are they,—Rabbi Eleazar, son of Hyrcanus, Rabbi Joshua, son of Chananya, Rabbi José the priest, Rabbi Simon, son of Nathanael, Rabbi Eleazar, son of Arach. He used thus to estimate their merits: "R. Eleazar, son of Hyrcanus, is as a well-plastered cistern which loses not a drop; Joshua, son of Chananya, happy are his parents; José the priest is a saint; Simon, son of Nathanael, fears sin; Eleazar, son of Arach, is a mighty spring." He used to say, "if all the Sages of Israel were in one scale of the balance, and R. Eleazar, son of Hyrcanus, in the other, he would outweigh them all." Abba Saul said in his name, "if all the Sages of Israel were in one scale, and even R. Eleazar, son of Hyrcanus, with them, and R. Eleazar, son of Arach in the other, he would outweigh them all."
9. He also said to them, "go forth and consider which is the good path for man to cleave to?" To this R. Eleazar answered, "a good eye." R. Joshua said, "a good companion." R. José said, "a good neighbour." R. Simon said, "he who foresees the future." R. Eleazar said, "a good heart." He then said to them, "I prefer the words of R. Eleazar, son of Arach, above yours, as his words include yours." He also said to them, "go forth and consider which is the bad way that man should shun;" to which R. Eleazar said, "a bad eye." R. Joshua said, "a bad companion." R. José said, "a bad neighbour." R. Simon said, "he who borrows and pays not; for when one borrows from man, it is as if he borrows from God, as is said, 'The wicked borroweth and payeth not again; but the righteous
sheweth mercy and giveth.'" 1 R. Eleazar said, "a bad heart." He then said to them, "I prefer the words of R. Eleazar, son of Arach, above yours, as his words include yours."
10. They also said three things. R. Eleazar said, "let the honour of thy companion be as dear to thee as thine own; and be not easily moved to anger; and repent one day before thy death; and warm thyself by the fire of the Sages, and be careful that their coal does not burn thee, for their bite is as the bite of a fox, and their sting is as the sting of a scorpion, and their burn is the burn of a fiery serpent, and all their words are as fiery coals."
11. R. Joshua said, "the bad eye, the bad thought, and envy of companions, cause the death of man."
12. R. José said, "let thy companion's property be as dear to thee as thine own; and prepare thyself to study the law, as it cometh not to thee by inheritance; and let all thine actions be in the name of God."
13. R. Simon said, "be careful of reading the 'Hear,' 2 etc., and the other prayers; and when thou art praying consider not thy prayer as fixed, but as supplicating mercy in the presence of the Supreme, as is said, ‘For He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil;” 3 and be not impious in thine own sight."
14. R. Eleazar said, "be diligent to study the law, that thou mayest know how to confute the Epicurean; consider also in whose presence thou art labouring, for the Master of thy work is faithful to pay thee the reward of thy labour."
15. R. Tarphon said, "the day is short, the labour vast, but the labourers are slothful, though the reward is great, and the Master of the house presseth for despatch."
16. He used to say, "it is not incumbent upon thee to complete the work, neither art thou free to cease from it. If thou hast studied the law, great shall be thy reward; for the Master of thy work is faithful to pay the reward of thy labour; but know that the reward of the righteous is in the world to come."
Footnotes223:1 Ps. xxxvii. 21.
223:2 Deut. vi. 4, etc.
223:3 Joel ii. 13.
CHAPTER III.1. Akabia, son of Mahallalel, said, "ponder on three things, and thou wilt not be led to the commission of sin; consider from whence thou comest, and whither thou goest; and in whose presence thou must in futurity stand to account in judgment. From whence comest thou? from a foul drop. And whither goest thou? to a place of dust,—worms,—and reptiles; and in whose presence art thou in future to account in judgment? even before the King Who is King of kings, and the HOLY ONE, blessed be He."
2. Rabbi Chanina, suffragan of the priests, said, "pray for the peace of the kingdom, for, were it not for its fear, men would swallow each other alive." Rabbi Chanina, son of Theradion, said, “two who are sitting together and speak not of the law are an assembly of scorners; as is said, “Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” 1 But two who sit together, and speak of the law, the DIVINE PRESENCE (Shechinah) rests between them; as is said, "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the LORD hearkened and heard; and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord; and for them that thought upon His name." 2 This refers to two; but whence may we infer, that if but one sits engaged in the study of the law the Holy One, blessed be He, will appoint him a reward? Because it is said, "He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him." 3
3. Rabbi Simon said, "three who have eaten at one table and have not spoken of the law, are to be considered as if they had eaten of the sacrifices of the dead, for it is said, 'For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.' 4 But three who have eaten at one table and have spoken of the law, are considered as if they had eaten at GOD'S table, as is said, 'And he said unto me This is the table that is before the LORD.'" 5
4. R. Chanina, son of Chanina, said, "he who wakes in the night and travels in the road alone, and turns his heart to vanity, is guilty of the death of his own soul."
5. R. Nechunya, son of Hakana, said, "whoever lays on himself the yoke of the law is relieved. from the yoke of the kingdom and the yoke of the custom of the world, and whoever breaks off the yoke of the law, imposes on himself the yoke of the kingdom and the yoke of the custom of the world."
6. R. Chalaphta of the village of Chananya said, "ten men who assemble together and study the law, the Shechinah rests among them, as is said, 'God standeth in the congregation of the mighty.'" 1 And hence it is inferred that it is also so with five, because it is said, "and hath founded his troop in the earth." 2 And hence it is inferred that it is likewise so with three, because it is said, "He judgeth among the gods." 3 And hence it is inferred that it is also thus with two, because it is said, "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard, etc." 4 And hence it is inferred that it is likewise so with one, because it is said, "In all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee." 5
7. R. Eleazar of Barthota said, "give unto Him of His own, for thou and all that thou hast are His." And thus said David, "For all things come of Thee, and of thine own have we given Thee." 6 R. Simon said, "he who journeys on the road, meditating on the law, and ceases therefrom to admire this beautiful tree or that beautiful fallow ground, is considered in Scripture as endangering his life."
8. R. Dosthai the son of Jonai, in the name of R. Meier, said, "whoever forgetteth anything of what he had obtained by study, is considered in Scripture as having endangered his life; as is said, "Only take heed to thyself and guard thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen." 7 "Perhaps his study has been too powerful for him?" "But it is said, 'And lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life.'" 8 Hence he
endangers not his life, till he deliberately removes them from his heart."
9. Rabbi Chanina, son of Dose, said, "whosoever's fear of sin precedes his wisdom, his wisdom will remain; but whosoever's wisdom precedes his fear of sin, his wisdom will not remain." He used to say, "whosoever's good deeds exceed his wisdom, his wisdom will remain; but whosoever's wisdom exceeds his good deeds, his wisdom will not remain."
10. He also used to say, "with whomsoever the spirit of his companions is gratified, the Spirit of God is gratified; but with whomsoever the spirit of his companions is not gratified, the Spirit of God is not gratified." R. José, son of Harchinas, said, "that morning sleep, noontide wine, childish conversation, and the assembly of the ignorant, take man out of the world."
11. R. Eleazar Hamodai said, "he who profanes the holy offerings, despises the solemn feasts, puts his neighbour to shame in public, makes void the covenant of our father Abraham, and expounds the law contrary to its true sense, although he be well learned in the law and possessed of good deeds, yet has he no share in the world to come."
12. R. Ishmael said, "be humble to thy superior, and affable to thy inferior, and receive all mankind with joy."
13. R. Akiba said, "laughter and levity accustom mankind to lewdness, tradition is a fence to the law, tithes are a fence to riches, vows are a fence to abstinence, the fence to wisdom is silence."
14. He used to say, "man is beloved as he was created in the image of God, but an additional love was shown to him that he was created in the image of God, as is said, 'In the image of God he made man.' 1 Beloved are Israel in that they are called the children of God, but an additional love was shown to them in that they are called the children of God, as is said, 'Ye are the children of the Lord your God.' 2 Beloved are Israel, to whom was given the desirable vessel wherewith the world was created, but an additional love was shown unto them, that the desirable vessel wherewith
the world was created was given unto them, as is said, 'For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law?'" 1
15. "Everything is seen by God, though freedom of choice is given unto man; the world is judged in goodness, though all is according to the greatness of the work."
16. He used to say, "everything is given to man on pledge, and a net is spread over all living; the shop is open, and the merchant credits; the ledger is open, and the hand records, and whosoever chooses to borrow may come and borrow, as the collectors are daily coming round and getting payment of man, whether with his consent or without it, for they have good authority to support them, and the judgment is true justice, and all things are ready for the feast."
17. R. Eleazar, son of Azariah, said, "if there be no law, there is no morality, and if there be no morality, there is no law; if there be no wisdom, there is no reverence, and if there be no reverence, there is no wisdom; if there be no understanding, there is no knowledge, and if there be no knowledge, there is no understanding; if there be no meal, there can be no study of the law, and if there be no law, there will be no meal." He used to say, “to what may he be likened whose wisdom exceeds his good deeds? To a tree whose branches are many and his roots few, so that the wind comes and plucks it up and overturns it, as is said, "For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and he shall not see when good cometh, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness in a salt land and not inhabited." 2 But to what is he like whose good deeds exceed his wisdom? To a tree whose branches are few and its roots many, so that if all the winds in the world come and assail it, they cannot move it from its place, as is said, ‘For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” 3
18. R. Eleazar, son of Chisma, said, "sacrifices of doves and observance of times are important constitutions. Astronomy and geometry are the ornaments of wisdom."
Footnotes224:1 Ps. i. 1.
224:2 Mal. iii. 16.
224:3 Lam. iii. 28.
224:4 Isa. xxviii. 8.
224:5 Ezek. xli. 22.
225:1 Ps. lxxxii. 1.
225:2 Amos ix. 6.
225:3 Ps. lxxxii. i.
225:4 Mal. iii. 16.
225:5 Exod. xx. 24.
225:6 1 Chron. xxix. 14.
225:7 Deut. iv. 9.
225:8 Deut. iv. 9.
226:1 Gen. ix. 6.
226:2 Deut. xiv. i.
227:1 Prov. iv. 2.
227:2 Jer. xvii. 6.
227:3 Jer. xvii. 8.
CHAPTER IV.1. The son of Zoma said, "Who is wise? He who is willing to receive instruction from all men, as is said, 'Than all my teachers.' 1 Who is mighty? He who subdues his evil imagination, as is said, 'He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.' 2 Who is rich? He who rejoices in his lot, as is said, 'For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands, happy shalt thou be and it shall be well with thee;' 3 happy shalt thou be in this world, and it shall be well with thee in the world to come. Who is honourable? He who honours mankind, as is said, 'For them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.'" 4
2. Ben Asai said, "run to the performance of a slight precept as though it were a grave one, and flee from transgression, for the performance of a precept causes another precept, and transgression causes transgression, as the reward of a commandment is a commandment, and the reward of transgression is transgression."
3. He used to say "despise not all men, nor oppose all things, for there is no man who has not his hour, neither is there anything that has not its place."
4. Rabbi Levitas of Jabneh said, "be very humble of spirit, as all the hope of man is to be food for worms." Rabbi Johanan, son of Beroka, said, "whosoever profanes God's name in secret, will be punished publicly, whether it be, done ignorantly or presumptuously, it is all one in the profanation of God's name."
5. Rabbi Ishmael, his son, said, "he who learns that he may be able to teach others, will be enabled to study and to teach others; but he who studies in order to perform the precepts, will be enabled to study, teach, observe, and do the commandments." Rabbi Zadok said, "make not the study of the law subservient to thy aggrandizement, neither make a hatchet thereof to hew therewith." And
thus said Hillel, "whosoever receiveth any emolument from the words of the law deprives himself of life."
6. Rabbi José said, "he who honours the law, his person shall be honoured by mankind; and he who profanes the law, his person shall be dishonoured by mankind."
7. Rabbi Ishmael, his son, said, "he who avoids being a judge, delivers himself from enmity, robbery, and false swearing; but he who is arrogant in judging, is a proud wicked fool."
8. He used to say, "judge not alone, for none ought to judge alone save One; neither say, receive ye my opinion, for they are at liberty to accept it, but thou canst not compel them."
9. Rabbi Jonathan said, "whosoever performs the law in poverty, shall in the end perform it in riches; but he who neglects the law for riches, will in the end neglect it for poverty."
10. Rabbi Meier said, "diminish your worldly affairs and engage in the study of the law, and be humble in spirit before all men; and if thou neglect the law, there are many hindrances to oppose thee, but if thou hast laboured in the study of the law, there is much reward to be given thee."
11. Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Jacob, said, "he who performs but one precept gains for himself an advocate; 1 and he who commits a single sin, gains for himself an accuser; 2 repentance and good deeds are a shield before the divine punishment." Rabbi Johannan Hasandelar said, "every congregation formed for God will be permanent, but that which is not for God will not be permanent."
12. Rabbi Eliezer, son of Shamua, said, "let the honour of thy disciple be as dear to thee as thine own, and the honour of thy companion as the fear of thy master, and the fear of thy master as the fear of God."
13. Rabbi Judah said, "be careful in doctrine, for an error in doctrine is presumptuous sin." Rabbi Simon said,
[paragraph continues] "there are three crowns—the crown of the law, the crown of the priesthood, and the crown of monarchy, but the crown of a good name is better than all of them."
14. Rabbi Nehorai said, "flee to a place where the law is studied, and do not say that it will follow thee, for thy companions will establish it for thee, and lean not to thine own understanding."
15. Rabbi Janai said, "the prosperity of the wicked and the chastisements of the righteous are not in our hands." Rabbi Mathia, son of Charash, said, "be forward to greet all men, and be rather as the tail of the lion, than as the head of the foxes."
16. Rabbi Jacob said, "this world may be likened to a courtyard before the world to come, therefore prepare thyself in the hall, to enter into the dining-room."
17. He used to say, "one hour employed in repentance and good deeds in this world is better than the whole life in the world to come; and one hour's refreshment of spirit in the world to come, is better than the whole life in this world."
18. Rabbi Simon, son of Eleazar, said, "try not to pacify your neighbour in the moment of his anger, and do not console him while his dead lies before him; inquire not of him in the moment of his vowing, nor desire to see him in the time of his calamity."
19. The younger Samuel used to say, "rejoice not when thine enemy falls, and let not thy heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and it be evil in His sight, and He turn His wrath from him."
20. Elisha, son of Abuya, said, "he who teaches a child, is like to one who writes on clean paper; but he who teaches old people is like to one who writes on blotted paper." Rabbi José, the son of Judah, of a village near Babylon said, "to what may he who learns the law from little children be likened? To one who eats unripe grapes and drinks new wine." "And to what may he who learns the law from old men be likened? To one who eats ripe grapes and drinks old wine." Rabbi Meier said, "look not at the
flask, but that which is therein, for there are new flasks full of old wine, and old flasks which have not even new wine in them."
21. Rabbi Eleazer Hakapher said, "envy, lust, and ambition take men out of the world."
22. He used to say, "those who are born are doomed to die, the dead to live, and the quick to be judged, to make us know, understand, and be informed that He is God. He is the Former, Creator, Omniscient, Judge, Witness, and Claimant, and He will judge thee hereafter, blessed be He; for in His presence there is no unrighteousness, forgetfulness, respect of persons, or acceptance of a bribe, for everything is His. Know also that everything is done according to the account, and let not thine evil imagination persuade thee that the grave is a place of refuge for thee, for against thy will wast thou formed, and against thy will wast thou born, and against thy will dost thou live, and against thy will shalt thou die, and against thy will must thou hereafter render an account, and receive judgment in the presence of the King of kings, the Holy God, blessed be He."
Footnotes228:1 Ps. cxix. 99.
228:2 Prov. xvi. 32.
228:3 Ps. cxxviii. 2.
228:4 1 Sam. ii. 30.
229:1 The word in the original is the Greek παράκλητος. 1 John ii. 1.
229:2 The word used is the Greek, κατήγορος. Rev. xii. 10.
CHAPTER V.1. With ten expressions 1 the world was created. "But wherefore is this taught, since God could have created it with one expression?" "This is to punish the wicked, who destroy the world that was created with ten expressions, and to reward the righteous who establish the world created with ten expressions."
2. There were ten generations from Adam to Noah, to let us know that God is long-suffering, as all those generations provoked him before he brought the deluge upon them. There were ten generations from Noah to Abraham, to let us know that God is long-suffering, as all those generations
provoked him, until Abraham our father came and took the reward of them all.
3. Our father Abraham was proved with ten trials, and in all of them he stood firm; to let us know how great was the love of our father Abraham to God.
4. Ten miracles were wrought for our fathers in Egypt, and ten at the Red Sea. Ten plagues did the blessed God send on the Egyptians in Egypt, and ten at the Red Sea. Ten times did our fathers tempt the blessed God in the wilderness, as is said, "And have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice." 1
5. Ten miracles were wrought for our fathers in the holy temple, no woman miscarried from the scent of the flesh of the sacrifices; nor did the flesh of the sacrifices ever stink; nor was a fly seen in the slaughter house; nor did legal uncleanness happen to the high priest on the day of atonement; nor did the rain extinguish the fire of the wood arranged on the altar; nor did the wind prevent the straight ascension of the pillar of smoke; nor was any defect found in the omer, the two loaves, and the show-bread; and though the people stood close together, yet when they worshipped there was room enough for all; nor did a serpent or scorpion injure a person in Jerusalem; nor did a man say to his neighbour, I have not room to lodge in Jerusalem.
6. Ten things were created on the eve of the Sabbath in the twilight, and these are they,—the mouth of the earth; the mouth of the well; the mouth of the ass; the rainbow; the manna; the rod of Moses; the shameer; 2 the letters; writing; and the tables of stone. And some say also the demons; and the grave of our lawgiver Moses; and the ram of our father Abraham; and some say the tongs, the model of tongs.
7. Seven things are to be met with in a rude person, and seven in a wise man. The wise man will not speak before one who excels him in wisdom and years; nor will he interrupt his companion in his discourse; nor is he in
haste to answer; he inquires according to the subject, and answers according to the decision; and he will answer the first proposition first, and the last proposition last; and what he has not heard he will acknowledge he has not heard it; and he confesses the truth. But the opposites of these are to be met with in a rude person.
8. Seven kinds of punishment are brought on the world for seven important sins; for when a part of the people give tithes and the others do not, a scarcity and a dearth ensue, so that some are filled and others suffer hunger; but when the whole agree not to give tithes, a famine of dearth and confusion ensues. If they offer not up the "cake," 1 confusion and fire ensue. Pestilence comes into the world for the commission of sins said to be punished with death in the law, but which are not recognised by our judges; and for not observing the law concerning the fruits of the Sabbatical year. The sword enters the world on account of the delay of justice and its perversion; and on account of those who explain the law contrary to its true sense.
9. Evil beasts come into the world on account of false swearing, and the profanation of God's name. Captivity enters the world on account of idolatry, immorality, bloodshed, and not suffering the land to rest on the Sabbatical year. At four seasons the pestilence is prevalent,—in the fourth year, the seventh, and the end of the seventh, and the end of the feast of tabernacles in every year. In the fourth year, for not giving the poor's tithe of the third year; in the seventh, for withholding the poor's tithe of the sixth year; and at the end of the seventh, on account of the fruits of the Sabbatical year; and at the end of the feast of tabernacles yearly, on account of robbing the poor of the gifts due to them.
10. There are four sorts of men:—He who says, that which is mine is mine, and that which is thine is thine, is a passable custom, and some say this was the custom of Sodom. He who says, what is thine is mine, and what is mine is thine, is the custom of the ignorant. He who says, what is mine is thine, and what is thine is also thine, is the
custom of the pious. He who says, what is mine is mine, and what is thine is mine, is the custom of the wicked.
11. There are four sorts of passionate men:—He who is easily provoked and easily pacified loses more than he gains; he whom it is difficult to provoke and difficult to pacify gains more than he loses; he whom it is difficult to provoke and easy to pacify is pious; but he who is easily provoked and with difficulty pacified is wicked.
12. There are four sorts of disciples:—He who is quick to hear and quick to forget loses more than he gains; he who is slow to hear and slow to forget gains more than he loses; he who is quick to hear and slow to forget is wise; he who is slow to hear and quick to forget has an evil portion.
13. There are four sorts in those who bestow charity:—He who is willing to give but does not wish that others should give, has an envious eye towards others; he who likes to see others give but will not give, has an evil eye towards himself; he who is willing to give and that others should also give, acts piously; he who will not give and likes not that others should give, acts wickedly.
14. There are four sorts in those who go to college:—He who goes but does not study, has only the reward of going; he who studies and does not go, has the reward of action; he who goes and studies, is pious; he who neither goes nor studies, is wicked.
15. There are four sorts in those who sit before the Sages:—Those who act as a sponge, a funnel, a strainer, and a sieve; as a sponge which sucks up all, as a funnel which receives at one end and lets out at the other, as a strainer which lets the wine pass through, but retains the lees, and as a sieve which lets the bran pass through but retains the fine flour.
16. Every affection that depends on some carnal cause, if that cause ceases the affection ceases, but that which does not depend on such a cause will never cease. Where do we meet with an affection dependent on a carnal cause? Such was the love of Ammon to Tamar; but that which does not depend on such a cause was the love of David and Jonathan.
17. Every dispute that is carried on for God's sake, will in the end be established; but that which is not for God's sake, will not be established. "What may be considered a dispute for God's sake?" "Such as the disputes of Hillel and Shaminai; but that which was not for God's sake was the contention of Korah and all his company."
18. He who by his conduct justifies the public, no sin will be caused through his means, and whosoever causes the public to sin is not suffered to repent. Moses acted justly and caused the public to obtain merit: the merit of the public was attributed to him, as is said, "He executed the justice of the Lord and his judgments with Israel." 1 Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, sinned, and caused Israel to sin: the sin of the public was attributed to him, as is said, "Because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin." 2
19. He who possesses these three virtues is of the disciples of our father Abraham, and he who is possessed of the three opposites is of the disciples of the wicked Balaam. The disciples of our father Abraham possess a benevolent eye, an humble spirit, and a contented mind. The disciples of Balaam have an evil eye, a haughty spirit, and a narrow mind. "What is the difference between the disciples of our father Abraham and the disciples of the wicked Balaam?" "The disciples of our father Abraham eat of the fruit of their good works in this world, and inherit the future one, for it is said, 'That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance, and I will fill their treasures.' 3 But the disciples of the wicked Balaam inherit hell and descend to the pit of destruction, as is said, 'But Thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction; bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days, but I will trust in Thee.'" 4
20. Judah, son of Tamai, said, "be bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a roe, and strong as a lion, to do the will of Thy Father, who is in heaven." He used to say, "the impudent are for hell and the modest for paradise.
[paragraph continues] May it be acceptable in Thy presence, O Lord our God! that Thy city may speedily be rebuilt in our days, and let our portion be in Thy law."
21. He also said, "at five years of age a child should study the Bible; at ten he should study the Mishna; at thirteen he should observe the precepts; at fifteen he should study the Gemara; at eighteen he should get married; at twenty he should study the law; at thirty he is arrived at full strength; at forty he is arrived at understanding; at fifty he is able to give counsel; at sixty he is accounted aged; at seventy he is hoary; at eighty he may still be accounted strong; at ninety he is only fit for the pit 1; at a hundred he is as if already dead and forgotten from the world."
22. The son of Bagbag said, "ponder the law again and again, for all things are in it; contemplate it always, and depart not from it, for there is nothing to be preferred to it"
23. The son of Haha said, "the reward is proportioned to the labour."
Footnotes231:1 The Rabbis reckon that the expression "God said" is used nine times in the first chapter of Genesis, and that the tenth expression is to be found in the first verse, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
232:1 Numb. xiv. 22.
232:2 The shameer is the worm which knows how to hew stones; and helped Solomon to build the temple.
233:1 Numb. xv. 20.
235:1 Deut. xxxiii. 21.
235:2 1 Kings xiv. 16.
235:3 Prov. viii. 21.
235:4 Ps. iv. 23.
236:1 Or perhaps "for meditation."
CHAPTER VI.1. The Sages studied in the language of the Mishna; blessed be He who made choice of them and their learning. R. Meier said, "he who is engaged in the study of the law for its own sake merits many things, and not only so, but the whole world is under the greatest obligation to him; he is called a dear friend, dear to God and dear to mankind; he rejoices God and rejoices His creatures. It clothes him with meekness and the fear of God, and directs him to become just, pious, righteous, and faithful; it removes him from sin, and brings him near to merit, and the world is benefited by his counsel, sound wisdom, understanding, and strength; as is said, "Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength." 2 It also bestows on him empire, dominion, and perception in judgment. It reveals the secrets of the law to him, and he shall be an increasing fountain, and a never-failing river; and it will cause him to
be modest, slow to anger, and ready to pardon an injury done to him; and it will magnify and exalt him above all things."
2. R. Joshua, son of Levi, said, "every day a Divine voice (bath kol) proceeds from Mount Horeb, which proclaims and says, 'Woe be to those who contemn the law; for whoever is not engaged in the study of the law maybe considered as excommunicate;' for it is said, 'as a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion;' 1 and it is said, 'And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.' 2 Read not graven but freedom; for who are counted free but those engaged in the study of the law; and whoever is engaged in the study of the law is exalted; as it is said, 'And from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth.'" 3
3. He who learns from his companion one chapter, sentence, verse, or expression, ought to behave towards him with respect; for thus we find by David, King of Israel, who having learned only two things from Ahitophel, called him his teacher, guide, and acquaintance, as is said, "But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance." 4 Hence it may be deduced that if David, King of Israel, who having learned only two things from Ahitophel, called him his "teacher, guide, and acquaintance," how much more ought he who learns from his companion a single chapter, sentence, verse, or expression, to show him the utmost respect? And there is no glory but the knowledge of the law; as is said, "The wise shall inherit glory;" 5 and the perfect shall inherit the good; but nothing is really good but the law, as is said, "For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law." 6
4. Thus is the law to be observed: Thou shalt eat bread and salt, and water by measure shalt thou drink; on the earth shalt thou sleep, and a life of trouble shalt thou live; and thou shalt labour in the study of the law. If thou doest thus, thou shalt be happy, and it shall be well with
thee; thou shalt be happy in this world, and it shall be well with thee in the world to come.
5. Seek not grandeur for thyself, neither covet more honour than thy learning merits. Crave not after the tables of kings; for thy table is greater than their table, and thy crown is greater than their crown; and the Master who employs thee is faithful to pay thee the reward of thy labour.
6. The law is more excellent than the priesthood and royalty; for royalty is acquired by thirty properties, and the priesthood by twenty-four; but the law is acquired by forty-eight things, and these are they,—with study, attention, eloquence; an understanding heart, an intelligent heart; with dread and meekness, fear and joy; with attendance on the Sages, the acuteness of companions, and disputations of the disciples; with sedateness, the study of the Bible, and the Mishna; in purity, in taking little sleep, in using little discourse, in being little engaged in traffic, in taking little sport, in enjoying little delight and little worldly manners; in being slow to anger, in having a good heart, in having faith in the Sages, and in bearing chastisements; in being sensible of his situation, and rejoicing in his portion; in being circumspect in his language, in not pretending to preeminence, in sincerely loving God, and loving His creatures; in loving admonition, and that which is right; in avoiding honour, and in not priding himself on his acquired knowledge; not rejoicing in pronouncing sentence, in bearing the burden equally with his companion, and inclining him to merit, and confirming him in the truth and in peace; is sedate in his study, inquires according to the subject, and answers according to the constitution; is attentive to study, and extends it; learns it with a view to the teaching of others, and also with a view to perform the precepts; increases his teacher's knowledge, and is attentive to his instruction, and reports everything in the name of the person who said it; hence it is inferred that whoever reports anything in the name of the person who said it, procures redemption for the world, as is said, "And Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai's name." 1
7. Great is the law, which bestows life on the doers of it, both in this world and in the world to come; as is said, "For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh." 1 And it is said, "It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones." 2 And it is said, "She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her; and happy is every one that retaineth her." 3 And it is said, "For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck." 4 And it is said, "She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee." 5 And it is said, "Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honour." 6 And it is said, "For length of days and long life, and peace shall they add to thee." 7
8. Rabbi Simeon, son of Judah, in the name of Rabbi Simeon, son of Jochai, said, “beauty, strength, riches, honour, wisdom, age, hoariness, and many children, are suitable for the righteous, and suitable for the world; as is said, “The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” 8 And it is said, "Children's children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children are their fathers." 9 And it is said, "Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign on Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem; and before his ancients gloriously." 10
9. Rabbi Simeon, son of Manasya, said, "those seven qualities which the Sages counted as proper for the righteous, were all established in the Rabbi (Judah) and his children." Rabbi José, son of Kishma, said, “I was once travelling along the road and met a certain person, who saluted me with peace, and I returned his salutation. He then said to me, "Rabbi, whence art thou?" I answered him, "from a great city abounding in sages and scribes:" said he to me, "if thou be willing to dwell with us in our city, then will I give thee a thousand thousand golden dinars, and precious stones and
pearls." To this I answered, "if thou wouldest give me all the silver and gold, and precious stones and pearls in the world, I would only dwell in a place where the law is studied; because at the time of man's departure from this world he is not accompanied either with silver and gold, and precious stones and pearls, but with the law and good deeds alone, as is said, 'When thou goest it shall lead thee: when thou sleepest it shall keep thee: and when thou awakest it shall talk with thee.'" 1 "When thou goest it shall lead thee," that is in this world. "When thou sleepest it shall keep thee," in the grave; "and when thou awakest it shall talk with thee," in the world to come. And thus it is written in the book of Psalms by the hand of David, king of Israel, "The law of thy mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver." 2 And it is said, "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of Hosts." 3
10. Five possessions hath the Holy One, blessed be He, obtained in this world, and these are they,—the law is one possession; heaven and earth another; Abraham another; Israel another; and the holy Temple another. Now whence is it to be proved that the law is one possession? Because it is written, "The LORD possessed me in the beginning of His way before His works of old." 4 And whence is it proved that heaven and earth is another possession? Because it is said, "Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool; where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?" 5 And it is said, "O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy riches." 6 Whence is it proved that Abraham is one possession? Because it is written, "And he blessed him, and said blessed be Abraham of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth." 7 Whence is it proved that Israel is one possession? Because it is written, "Till thy people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased." 8 And it is said, "But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the
excellent, in whom is all my delight." 1 Whence can it be proved that the holy temple is one possession? Because it is said, "The sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established." 2 And it is said, "And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain which his right hand hath purchased." 3 Everything which God created, he created but for his glory; as is said, "Every one that is called by my name; for I have created . him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him." 4 And the Lord will reign for ever and ever. R. Chanina, son of Akasea, said, "the Holy One, Blessed be He, wished to purify Israel, wherefore He magnified for them the Law and the Commandments, as is said, "The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law and make it honourable." 5
Footnotes236:2 Prov. viii. 14.
237:1 Prov. xi. 22.
237:2 Ex. xxxii. 16.
237:3 Num. xxi. 19.
237:4 Ps. lv. 13.
237:5 Prov. iii. 35.
237:6 Prov. iv. 2.
238:1 Esther ii. 22.
239:1 Prov. iv. 22.
239:2 Prov. iii. 8.
239:3 Prov. iii. 18.
239:4 Prov. i. 9.
239:5 Prov. iv. 9.
239:6 Prov. iii. 16.
239:7 Prov. iii. 2.
239:8 Prov. xvi. 31.
239:9 Prov. xvii. 6.
239:10 Isaiah xxiv. 23.
240:1 Prov. vi. 22.
240:2 Ps. cxix. 72.
240:3 Hag. ii. 8.
240:4 Prov. viii. 22.
240:5 Isaiah lxvi. 1.
240:6 Ps. civ. 24.
240:7 Gen. xiv. 19.
240:8 Exod. xv. 16.
241:1 Ps. xvi. 3.
241:2 Exod. xv. 17.
241:3 Ps. lxxviii. 54.
241:4 Is. xliii. 7.
241:5 Is. xlii. 21.