The Talmud, by Joseph Barclay, , at sacred-texts.com
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."
224:1 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.