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Bablyonian Talmud, Book 5: Tracts Aboth, Derech Eretz-Rabba, Eretz-Zuta, and Baba Kama (First Gate), tr. by Michael L. Rodkinson, [1918], at

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OF the Sadducees, common informers, the wicked, the hypocrites, the heretics, the Scripture says, etc. Of the terrifying, the overbearing, the haughty, the barefaced, and of those who develop only their muscular strength, the Scripture says, etc. Of evil-thinkers, story-tellers, tale-bearers, smooth-tongued persons, the Scripture says, etc. Who assaults his neighbor in private, and who insults him in public, etc. Who forestalls fruit, raises the prices, diminishes the measure, accepts payment in large-sized shekels only, and who lives on usury, The following leave no inheritance to their children, etc. The conceited, the slanderers, and those who indulge in obscene language, who are wise in their own eyes, etc. Who lets his young son marry an older woman, and who marries off his daughter to an old man, and who bestows favors upon those who are unworthy, etc. Who betrays his partner, does not return a lost thing to its rightful owner, loans money to another in order to get possession of his house and field, and who lives immorally with his wife, and maliciously slanders his wife, etc. Who are wronged and do not wrong, who consider themselves contemptible, and who overcome their passion, etc. Who loves his wife as himself, honors her more than himself, who leads his children on the right path, and who marries off his son in due time, etc. Who loves his neighbor, loans even a small amount to a poor man, etc. Who truthfully repent, who receive the repentant into their midst, who judge rightfully, reprove truthfully, propagate purity, are pure of heart, are merciful, distribute charity, exert themselves in the study of the Law. Search for an opportunity to do good, pursue righteousness, etc. On account of the following four things an eclipse of the sun occurs, etc. On account of the following four things an eclipse of both the sun and the moon occurs, etc. On account of the following four

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things the estates of the citizens are destroyed, etc. Do not fret thyself to be equal to the evil-doers. There is no sitting above, neither is there eating, etc., 1-6


ONE who bears in mind the following four things, etc., will never sin. Think of a big palace in the centre of which the vat of a tanner is placed. If a man allows his lips to pass only respectable words. Be careful, each of you, in honoring your neighbor. Be always pleasant at your entering and at your leaving. The angels, Abraham, and Lot. It is customary that, when entering, the master of the house enter first and the guest after him; the reverse when leaving. Never shall a man enter the house of his neighbor without permission. The philosopher, Rabban Gamaliel, and his comrades. Always consider strangers as burglars, and at the same time honor them as if each of them were R. Gamaliel himself. One who enters his neighbor's house shall do what he is told by the host (provided it is legitimate). The legend about Simon b. Antiptaris, his guests, and R. Jehoshua. A man shall never be angry at his meals. Always shall a man try to agree with the majority of the people. Hillel the Elder, his wife, and the poor man. One shall not begin to eat the heads, but the leaves, of garlic or onions, 6-12


WHEN two are sitting at the table, the elder one commences to eat first and the younger one after him. One shall not eat before the fourth hour. One who enters a house shall not ask for food, but shall wait until he is invited. One should not offer presents to his neighbor, knowing that he would not accept them. When one who does not intend to buy is in the market, he should not ask for the prices, for he misleads the sellers. One should not use a slice of bread to cover therewith a dish. Five things said Rabbi in regard to bread. One who comes to the table to take his meal shall not take his portion and give it to the waiter. Guests must not give anything to the son of the host, etc., 12-15


ONE who enters the bath-house may say, etc. How should one conduct himself before bathing? One who is not careful is an ass's equal; one who eats in the market is a dog's equal. One must not spit in the presence of his neighbor, even in a bath-house. One shall not greet his neighbor when he is washing himself. He who walks the road. A common informer is considered a murderer. He who hates his neighbor without cause is also considered such. One who sets a definite time for the redemption of Israel through Messiah will have no share in the world to come, 16-19

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WHAT are the qualities of sages? Their thought concerning this world. If you have sustained a loss of your property, remember that job, etc. When you hear others insult you, do not answer them. Love the Law; love all creatures and respect them. Love doubtfulness. Keep aloof from everything that. may bring to sin. Keep aloof from grumbling. Seven patriarchs are resting in glory. Let all thy ways be for the sake of Heaven. Do not discuss in the presence of one who is greater than you in wisdom. Accept the words of Law, even when you are in affliction. Be afraid of a light sin. Do not say, "I will flatter this man," etc. If thou hast done much good to some one, consider it as very little. If others have done thee much wrong, etc. Do not hate the one who reproves thee. Let it be thy habit to say, "I do not know," The commencement of making vows is the door to foolishness. Fifteen customs are ascribed to the sages. Be as the lower threshhold, upon which all persons tread. The society of scholars is always agreeable. What should one study more--Scripture, Mishnayoth, or Talmud? No pay shall be exacted for teaching. Do not complain of your being less wise than another. Do not complain that another one is beautiful and you are ugly. Let. your ears not listen to vain talk. Be not afraid of the court of justice on earth. If you perform all the commandments with joy, etc. All that is said above is a warning to you, 25-27


A SCHOLAR must not eat standing, etc., etc. By four things the scholar is recognized, etc. The beauty of wisdom is modesty. The beauty of noble performance is secrecy. Four things are derogatory to scholars, etc. When entering, the greater shall be first, etc. For saying benediction, the greater is first. The first step to sin is in one's thoughts. A scholar must be careful in his eating, drinking, washing, anointing, etc. After peace but not after war. Rather follow behind a lion than behind a woman. Who respects the sages?, etc. Keep aloof from anger. Love the poor in order that your children shall not come to poverty, etc. If you keep your mouth from slander, you will spend all the days of life in peace. When you see your neighbor has become poor, do not refuse to help him. If you lower yourself, the Lord will lift you up. This world resembles the eyeball of a Man, etc., 27-31


ALTHOUGH evil decrees are enacted, one after another, against Israel, still they endure forever. Seek peace at the place where you are, and if you do

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not find it, seek it in other places. All manner of lying is prohibited, except it be to make peace between one and his neighbor. Great is peace, in that the covenant of the priests was made with peace. When the Messiah shall come to Israel, he will begin with peace. Great is peace, in that all the benedictions and prayers conclude with peace. He who loves peace runs after peace, offers peace, and answers peace, the Holy One, etc., 31-33


xvii:1 Redactors note: for technical reasons, the Synopsis of Subjects for this volume has been moved from its original location in volume one. The page numbers (from volume I) have been retained, hence the gap in page numbers.

Next: Chapter II.