All Israel have a portion in the world to come, for it is said, Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified (Sanhedrin xi. 1; Isaiah Ix. 21).
Wise men have taught in the Mishnah tongue; blessed is He that made choice of them and their Mishnah:
1. RABBI MEIR said, Whosoever is busied in Thorah for its own sake merits many things; and not only so, but he is worth the whole world: he is called friend, beloved: loves God, loves mankind: pleases God, pleases mankind. And it clothes him with meekness and fear, and fits him to become righteous, pious, upright and faithful: and removes him from sin, and brings him toward the side of merit. And they enjoy from him counsel, and sound wisdom, understanding, and strength, for it is said, Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength (Prov, viii. 14). And it gives him kingdom, and dominion, and faculty of judgment. And they reveal to him the secrets of Thorah; and he is made, as it were, a spring that ceases not, and as a river that flows on increasing. And he becomes modest, and long-suffering, and forgiving of insult. And it magnifies him and exalts him over all things.
2. Said Rabbi Jehoshua' ben Levi, Every day Bath Qol goes forth from Mount Choreb, and makes proclamation and says, Woe to the creatures for contempt of Thorah, for whosoever
does not occupy himself in Thorah is called "blameworthy," for it is said, As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion (Prov. xi. 22). And it saith, And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables (Ex. xxxii. 16); read not CHARUTH, graven, but CHERUTH, freedom, for thou wilt find no freeman but him who is occupied in learning of Thorah; and whosoever is occupied in learning of Thorah, behold he exalts himself, for it is said, And from Matthanah to Nachaliel: and from Nachaliel to Bamoth (Numb. xxi. 19).
3. He who learns from his companion one section, or one canon, or one verse, or one word, (or) even one letter, is bound to do him honour; for thus we find with David king of Israel, who learned not from Achithophel but two things only, that he called him his master, his guide, and his acquaintance,
for it is said, But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance (Ps. lv. 14). And is there not an argument from the greater to the less, that as David king of Israel, who learned not from Achithophel but two words only, called him his master, his guide, and his acquaintance, he who learns from his companion one section, or one canon, or one verse, or one word, or even one letter, is so many times the more bound to do him honour? And honour is nothing but Thorah, for it is said, The wise shall inherit honour (Prov. iii. 35). And the perfect shall inherit good (Prov. xxviii. 10). And good is nothing but Thorah, for it is said, For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my Thorah (Prov. iv. 2).
4. This is the path of Thorah: A morsel with salt (This is a Talmudic phrase for a poor man's fare--Berakoth 2 b), shalt thou eat; Thou shalt drink also water by measure (Ezek. iv. 11); and shalt sleep upon the ground, and live a life of painfulness, and in Thorah shalt thou labour. If thou doest thus, Happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee (Ps. cxxviii. 2): "happy shalt thou be" in this world; "and it shall be well with thee "in the world to come.
5. Seek not greatness for thyself, and desire not honour. Practise more than thou learnest. And lust not for the table of kings, for thy table is greater than their table, and thy crown greater than their crown, and faithful is thy task-master who will pay thee the wage of thy work.
6. Greater is Thorah than the priesthood, and than the kingdom; for the kingdom is acquired by thirty degrees, and the priesthood by four and twenty, and the Thorah is acquired by forty and eight things. And these are they, by learning, by a listening ear, by ordered speech, by discernment of heart, by dread, by fear, by meekness, by cheerfulness, by pureness, by attendance upon the wise, by discussion with associates, by the argumentation of disciples, by sedateness; by Scripture, by Mishnah; by little traffic, by little intercourse, by little luxury, by little sleep, by little converse, by little merriment; by long-suffering, by a good heart, by faith in the wise, by acceptance of chastisements; he that knows his place, and that rejoices in his portion, and that makes a fence to his
words, and does not claim merit to himself; he is loved, loves God, loves mankind, loves righteousnesses, loves uprightness, loves reproofs; and retires from honour, and puffs not up his heart with his learning, and is not forward in decision; bears the yoke with his associate, and inclines him to the scale of merit, and grounds him upon the truth, and grounds him upon peace; and settles his heart to his study; asks and answers, hears and adds thereto; he that learns in order to teach, and that learns in order to practise; that makes his master wiser, and that considers what he has heard, and that tells a thing in the name of him that said it. Lo, thou hast learned that whosoever tells a thing in the name of him that said it, brings redemption to the world, for it is said, And Esther told it to the king in the name of Mordekai (Esth. ii. 22).
7. Great is Thorah, which gives life to those who practise it in this world and in the world to come, for it is said, For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh (Prov. iv. 22); and it saith, It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones (Prov. iii. 8); and it saith, She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her (Prov. iii. 18); and it saith, For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck (Prov. i. 9); and it saith, She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee (Prov. iv. 9); and it saith, For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased (Prov. ix. 11); and it saith, Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour (Prov. iii. 16): and it saith, For length of days, and years of life, and peace, shall they add to thee (Prov. iii. 2).
8. Rabbi Shime'on ben Jehudah, in the name of Rabbi Shime'on ben Jochai, said, Comeliness, and strength, and wealth, and honour, and wisdom, and age, and hoariness, and sons, are comely to the righteous, and comely to the world, for it is said, The hoary head is a crown of glory; it is found in the way of righteousness (Prov. xvi. 31); and it saith, The glory of young men is their strength: and the
beauty of old men is the grey head (Prov. xx. 29); and it saith, Sons' sons are the crown of old men; and the glory of sons are their fathers (Prov. xvii. 6); and it saith, Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously (Is. xxiv. 23).
Rabbi Shime'on ben Manasia said, These (?) seven qualities which the wise have reckoned to the righteous were all of them confirmed in Rabbi and his sons.
9. Said Rabbi Jose ben Qisma, Once I was walking by the way, and there met me a man, and be gave me "Peace"; and I returned him "Peace." He said to me, Rabbi, from what place art thou? I said to him, From a great city of wise men, and doctors, am I. He said to me, Rabbi, should it be thy pleasure to dwell with us in our place, I will give thee a thousand thousand dinars of gold, and goodly stones, and pearls. I said to him, If thou shouldest give me all the silver, and gold, and goodly stones, and pearls that are in the world, I would not dwell but in a place of Thorah; and thus it is written in the book of Psalms, by the hands of David, king of Israel, The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver (Ps. cxix. 72). Moreover in the hour of a man's decease not silver, nor gold, nor goodly stones, and pearls accompany the man, but Thorah and good works alone, for it 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 (Prov. vi. 22). "When thou goest, it shall lead thee," 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 it saith, The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts (Hang. ii. 8).
10. Five, possessions possessed the Holy One, blessed is He,
in his world, and these are they: THORAH, one possession; HEAVEN AND EARTH, one possession; Abraham, one possession; ISRAEL, one possession; THE SANCTUARY, one possession. Thorah, whence? because it is written, The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old (Prov. viii. 22); Heaven and Earth, whence? because it is written, 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 (Is. lxvi. 1)? and it saith, O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy possessions (Ps. civ. 24); Abraham, whence? because it is written, And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth (Gen. xiv. 19); Israel, whence? because it is written, Till thy people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over, which thou hast possessed (Ex. xv. 16); and it saith, To the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight (Ps. xvi. 3); The Sanctuary, whence? because it is written, The place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, the sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established (Ex. xv. 17); and it saith, And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right-hand had possessed (Ps. lxxviii. 54).
11. Whatsoever the Holy One, blessed is He, created in his world, he created not but for his glory, for it 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 (Is. xliii. 7); and it saith, The Lord shall reign for ever and ever (Ex. xv. 18).
Rabbi Chanania ben 'Aqashia said, The Holy One, blessed is He, was pleased to give merit to Israel: therefore he multiplied unto them Thorah and precepts, for it is said, The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable (Is. xlii. 21).