TRACT DERECH ERETZ-RABBA AND ZUTA RABBA.
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
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
CHAPTERS III. TO VI.
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
CHAPTERS VII. TO IX.
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
CHAPTERS X. AND XI.
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
CHAPTERS I. TO IV.
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
CHAPTERS V. TO IX
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
THE CHAPTER ON PEACE.
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
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.
TRACT DERECH ERETZ–RABBA. (WORLDLY AFFAIRS.)
THE Sadducees, the common informers, the wicked, the hypocrites, the heretics, of them the Scripture says [Job, xiii. 16]: “For a hypocrite cannot come before him”; the terrifying, the overbearing, the haughty, the barefaced, those who develop only their muscular strength, of them the Scripture says [Psalms, xxxvii. 17]: “For the ovens of the wicked shall be broken; but the upholder of the righteous is the Lord.” Evil-thinkers, story-tellers, talebearers, smooth- tongued persons, of them the Scripture says [ibid. xxxv. 5]: “May their way be dark and slippery, and may the angel of the Lord pursue them.” Those who assault their neighbor in private and those who insult him in public, those who trifle with majorities, and those who cause quarrels, they will become as Korah and his society, of whom the Scripture says [Numb. xvi.
33]: “And the earth closed over them, and they disappeared from the midst of the congregation.” Those who forestall fruit, those who raise the prices, those who diminish the measure, those who accept payment in large-sized shekels, and those who live on usury, of them the Scripture says [Amos, viii. 7]: “Sworn hath the Lord by the excellency of Jacob. Surely I will not forget to eternity all their works.”
The following leave no inheritance to their children,
and if they do leave to their children, nothing of it comes to their grandchildren: viz., those who play at dice, and those who raise tender cattle (in Palestine); those who do business with the money obtained from the fruit of the Sabbatical year, and those who pay with coins (of doubtful genuineness) coming from the sea-countries, and a priest and a Levite who obtained advances on their shares (of heave-offering and tithes), and those who disgrace the Holy Name, of them the Scripture says [Ps. ix. 18]: “The wicked shall return into hell, all the nations that are forgetful of God.” And of them it is also written [Eccles. i. 15]: “What is crooked cannot be made straight.” Those who motion with their hands, stamp their feet, walk on their toes (to show pride), of them the Scripture says [Ps. xxxvi. 12]: “Let not come against me the foot of pride, and let not the hand of the wicked chase me off.” The conceited, the slanderers, those who indulge in obscene language, those who are wise in their own eyes, of them the Scripture says [Mal. iii. 19]: “For, behold, the day is coming which shall burn as an oven,” etc,
One who lets his young son marry an older woman, and one who marries off his daughter to an old man, and one who bestows favors upon those who are unworthy, concerning such Scripture says [Deut. xxix. 19]: “The Lord will not pardon him.” The collectors, the war-instigators, the publicans, of them Scripture says [Ezek. xxvii. 27]: “Thy wealth and thy warehouses, thy
commerce, thy mariners and thy pilots, thy caulkers and the conductors of thy commerce, and all thy men of war that were in thee, and in all thy assemblage which was in the midst of thee, fell into the heart of the seas on the day of thy downfall.” One who betrays his partner, one who does not return a thing found to its rightful owner, one who loans money to another in order to get possession of his house or fields in case of non-payment, and one who lives immorally with his wife, and one who maliciously
slanders his wife in order to divorce her, of them the Scripture says [Jer. xvii. 10]: “I the Lord search the heart, probe the veins.”
Those who are wronged and do not wrong, etc. [see Yomah, p. 33, l. 9]; those who consider themselves contemptible and despicable, those who overcome their passion, and are altogether modest, of them the Scripture says [Is. xlix. 8]: “Thus hath said the Lord, In the time of favor have I answered thee, and on the day of salvation have I helped thee, and I will preserve thee, and I will appoint thee as a people of my covenant to raise up the land, to divide out desolate heritages.” Trustworthy men, those who keep other people’s secrets, those who gladly return articles intrusted to their care, and found things to their rightful owners, of them Scripture says [Ps. ci. 6]: “My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may abide with me.” One who loves his wife as himself, who honors her more than himself, and one who leads his children on the right path, and one who marries off his son in due time to prevent him from sin, of them it is written [Job, v. 24]: “And thou shalt know that there is peace in thy tent; and thou wilt look over thy habitation, and shalt miss nothing. And thou shalt know that thy seed is numerous, and thy offspring as the herbage of the earth.”
One who loves his neighbors and is friendly to his relatives, and one who marries off his sister’s daughter, and one who loans even a small amount to a poor man in his need, 1 of them the Scripture says [Is. lviii. 9]: “Then shalt thou call, and the Lord will answer.”
return to their former sins, of them it is written [ibid. 8] Then shall break forth as the morning- dawn thy light.
Those who judge rightfully, those who reprove truthfully, those who propagate purity, and those who are pure of heart, of them it is written [Ps. lxxiii. 1]: “Truly, God is good to Israel, to such as are pure of heart.” Those who sigh, weep, and in their lamentations are hopeful of the redemption of Jerusalem, of them it is written [Is. lxi. 3]: “To grant unto the mourners of Zion, to give unto them ornament in the place of ashes.” Those who are merciful, feed the hungry, quench the thirst of the thirsty, clothe the naked, and distribute charity, of them the Scripture says [ibid. iii. 10]: “Say ye to the righteous that he hath done well.” The poor, the bashful, and those who are humble in spirit, and those who are submissive to youth, and those who carry out their promises, of them the Scripture says [Job, xxii. 23]: “And if thou decree a thing, it will be fulfilled unto thee, and upon thy ways the light will shine.” Those who exert themselves in the
study of the Law, and study it for the purpose of observing it, and those who search for the opportunity to do good, and those who frequent the temples, of them the Scripture says [Prov.
viii. 24]: “Happy is the man that hearkeneth unto me, watching day by day at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” Those who pursue righteousness, and seek peace for their nation, and those who participate in the affliction of the community, and those who stand by the community in case of distress, of them the Scripture says [Nahum, i. 7]: “The Lord is good, a stronghold on the day of distress.”
On account of the following four things an eclipse of the sun occurs (see Succah, p. 40): When the head of a college (Ab Beth Din) died and was not properly lamented; when a betrothed damsel cried for help (Deut. xxii. 23-28) in town and no one offered help; male sodomy; and the shedding of the blood of two brothers at one and the same time (there is no explanation of this
in any of the commentaries, and it seems to us that there happened something like that in the author’s time which is unknown to us).
On account of the following four things the eclipse of both the sun and the moon occurs: Those who write defamatory reports about others, giving false testimony, raising tender cattle, and destroying fruit-bearing trees. On account of the following four things the personal property of citizens is seized by the government: For keeping paid notes (with the intention to demand another payment), for the practice of usury, for not exercising one’s power to prevent sin when he could do so, for subscribing publicly to charity and not paying the subscription.
On account of the following four things the estates of the citizen are destroyed: For robbing or withholding the wages of a wage-earner [Lev. xix. 13]; for removing the yoke from one’s own neck and placing it upon the neck of another, and for haughtiness above all.
R. Dusthai b. R. Jehudah said: Do provoke the wicked (see Megilla, p. 13), as it is written [Prov.
xxviii. 41: “They that forsake the law praise the wicked, but such as observe the law contend with them”; but lest one say, is it not written [Ps. xxxvii. 1]: “Do not fret thyself because of the evil-doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity”? say to him that this is the answer of him whose heart-beating prevents him from doing so (because of this passage), but the true interpretation of this passage is thus: “Do not fret thyself to be equal to the evil-doers, neither be thou envious to be like them of the workers of iniquity.”
There is no sitting above (in heaven), neither is there eating, drinking, sleep, multiplication, animosity, hatred, provocation, envy, nor stubbornness, weariness nor delay, and that is what David the King of Israel said [ibid. xviii. 12]: “He made darkness his hiding-place” (i.e., it is dark and hidden to all mortals). To what end did David
say this? To none other than to praise of the Holy One, blessed be He, who is “Yah,” rules on high, whose unity is one, whose name is one, and who rests in three hundred and ninety heavens, and on each His name and mode of pronunciation are marked; and in each of them there are servants, seraphim, ophanim (wheels, Ezek. I.), cherubim, galgalim, and a throne of
glory; and there is no wonder at that, for even as a mortal king has many palaces for the seasons of the year, so much the more the Everlasting, since all is His. And when Israel are doing His will, He rests in the seventh heaven, named Araboth, and does not keep distant from His world, as it is written [Numb. vii. 89]: “From between the two cherubim: and thus he spake unto him.” When offended He ascends to the highest heaven, and all cries and weeping are not listened to, and fasts are ordered, and they roll themselves in ashes, cover themselves with sacks, and shed tears (and all in vain, until He has mercy upon them).
Next: Chapter III.
BEN AZAI said: One who bears in mind the following four things, and never loses sight of them, will never sin namely, whence he came, and whither he goes, who is his judge, and what will become of him. Whence he came?,–from a place of darkness; and whither he goes?–to darkness. Whence he came?–from a dirty place; whither he goes?–to make unclean every one who will touch him. Whence he came?–from a fetid secretion, and from a place which is invisible to a human being; whither he goes?—to sheol and Gehenna, to be, burned in fire. And who is his Judge? Remember that his Judge is not of flesh and blood, but the Lord of all the creation, blessed be He, before whom there is no, iniquity, no oblivion, no consideration of person, no, bribery. And what will become of him?–worms and
maggot, as it is written [Job, xxv. 6]: “How much less the mortal, the mere worm? and the son of earth, the mere maggot?” R. Simeon said: A human being has worms in his body when alive– i.e., lice, and he is converted into a maggot after his death.
R. Eliezer b. Jacob said: Think of a big palace in the centre of which the vat of a tanner is placed: so is a handsome and respected man who lets an unbecoming word pass his lips. If a human being would issue from his body perfume (instead of excrement), how would he pride himself against all other creatures? (So, if this man allows his lips to pass only respectable words, he can pride himself.) When R. Eliezer was about to depart, his disciples paid him a visit and requested him to teach them only one more thing. And he said unto them: Go, and be careful, each of you, in honoring your neighbor; and when you are praying, remember before whom you stand and pray, and for the observation of these you will have a share in the world to come.
Next: Chapter IV.
BE always pleasant at your entering and at your leaving. Lessen your worldly business in order to study the law. It happened with R. Simeon b. Elazar, etc. (See Taanith, pp. 52 and 53, for the whole legend repeated here.) How shall one honor his master? (See Yomah, p. 52.) And so also we find with the three angels Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael, who came to Abraham our father. Gabriel’s errand was to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah; Raphael’s was to heal Abraham; and Michael’s, to inform Sarah. And when Abraham saw the angels, the Shekhina came and stood above him, and he addressed the angels, saying: “My masters, wait awhile, until I take leave of the Shekhina, for you also must respect her,” as it is written [Gen. xviii. 3]: “And
he said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy eyes, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant.” And after Abraham took leave of the Shekhina he returned, and bowed to them and brought them under the tree, as it is written [ibid. 4]: “Let a little water, etc., be fetched, and wash, etc.”; And then he said [ibid., ibid.]: “I will fetch a morsel of bread.” Lot, however, said [ibid. xix. 2]: “And tarry all night, and (then) wash your feet?” Some of the anonymous teachers observe that in this very point Lot showed his prudence. He reasoned: If the Sodomites will see them after they have washed their faces, hands, and feet (i.e., I give them shelter overnight), they will kill me, my wife, and my daughters; but let the Sodomites see them with the dust on their feet, they will then think that they have just arrived.
He who accompanies his master ought not to depart from him without permission. When two disciples go or sit together (they need not ask for permission from each other), they are both equal.
It is customary that when entering, the master of the house enters first and the guest after him, and when leaving the house the guest leaves first and the master after him. And he who departs from his comrade, whether his comrade is greater than he or he is greater than his,,, comrade, he must inform him of his leaving. And every one may learn this from the Lord, who said to Abraham, “I leave you,” as it is written [Gen. xviii. 33]: “And the Lord went away when he had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned unto his place” (from the wording, “and the Lord went away,” it is inferred that He informed him).
Next: Chapter V.
NEVER shall a man enter the house of his neighbor without permission, and this conduct may be learned,
from the Holy One, blessed be He, who stood at the gate of the garden, and called to Adam [Gen. iii. 9]: “And the Lord God called unto the man, and said unto him, Where art thou?” It happened with the four elders Rabban Gamaliel, R. Jehoshua, R. Elazar b. Azariah, and R. Aqiba, who went to the interior cities of Rome, in one of which there lived a friend of theirs, a philosopher–R. Jehoshua asked Rabban Gamaliel if he would like to go and see their friend the philosopher, and he answered he would not. On the next morning, however, he asked him again, and he said he would. They then went, and R. Jehoshua knocked at the door of the philosopher, and at once the philosopher concluded that this must be the manner of a wise man. When he
knocked again, the philosopher arose and washed his face, hands, and feet. When he knocked the third time, the philosopher opened the door, and saw that the sages of Israel were coming from both sides of the street; namely, Rabban Gamaliel being in. the centre, R. Jehoshua and R. Elazar b. Azariah to his right, and R. Aqiba to his left, and the philosopher was somewhat puzzled as to the manner of saluting them. He said within himself: “Whom of the sages shall I greet first? If I should greet R. Gamaliel first, I might thereby offend the other sages; and if I should address my greeting to all of them (without naming the head of them), I will offend R. Gamaliel.” He therefore concluded to address them thus: “Peace to you, sages of Israel, and to
R. Gamaliel first.”
Always consider strangers as burglars, and at the same time honor them as if each of them were
R. Gamaliel himself. It happened to R. Jehoshua that a man called at his house, and he gave him to eat and drink, and took him up to the roof to sleep there, and then removed the step-ladder leading to the roof. The man was a thief, and arose by night, and took things of value that Rabbi Jehoshua had on the roof and packed them up in his garment, and in the attempt to descend and carry off
the booty he fell down and almost broke his neck. When R. Jehoshua came in the morning and found him in that condition, he said to him: “You ignoramus, is this the way people like you do?” He answered: “Rabbi, I did not suspect that persons of your station would remove the ladder.” And he rejoined: “Did you not notice yesterday that I was cautious about you?” From that time on R. Jehoshua proclaimed that always should strangers be considered as burglars, and still one should honor them as he would R. Gamaliel.
Next: Chapter VI.
ONE who enters his neighbor’s house shall do what he is told by the host (provided it is legitimate). And it happened that guests came to the house of Simeon b. Antiptaris, and he invited them to eat and drink, and they vowed by the Torah that they would not do so.
Nevertheless, they afterwards ate and drank; but when they were about to depart, he punished them with stripes. When this came to the ears of R. Johanan b. Zakkai and the sages, they became angry, and said, “Who will go and inform him of our displeasure?” Said R. Jehoshua: “I will go and investigate.” When he came there he found him on the threshold of his house, and he greeted him, saying: “Peace to you, master”; and he answered, “Peace to you, my master and teacher.” Then Rabbi Jehoshua said: “I need shelter.” And he answered: “Take it here in peace.” They then occupied themselves with the study of the Law until evening. In the morning he told him: “Rabbi, I would like to take a bath.” And he rejoined: “Do as you please.” R. Jehoshua, however, was afraid that he would beat him. When he returned from the bath, they ate and drank. When he desired to leave, he said: “Who will accompany me?” And the host said: “I will.” R. Jehoshua then thought
to himself: “What information can I give to the sages who sent me here?” He then looked backward, and when he asked him: “Rabbi, what are you looking for?” he answered: “I would like to question you about one thing. Why did you beat others who came to your house with stripes, and you did not do so to me?” He rejoined: “You are my master. You are a great sage, and of course your manners are refined. The other men, however, that came to me, I told to eat and drink, and they vowed by the Torah that they would not, and afterwards they disregarded their vow; and I have heard from the sages that one who vows by the Torah and disregards his vows is to be punished with forty stripes.” He then answered: “Be thou blessed by Heaven, that thou hast done so. I swear by thy life that he who thus conducts himself deserves that thou give him forty stripes in thy name, and another forty in the name of the sages who sent me to investigate thy method.” R. Jehoshua then came back and informed the sages of what he had discovered in Simeon Antiptaris.
A man shall never be angry at his meals. It happened with Hillel the First that he invited a man to a meal. In the meantime a poor man came and stood at his door, and said to his wife: “I am to marry to-day, and I have nothing in my house.” His wife then took the meal she had prepared for the house, and gave it to him. She then kneaded a new dough, and cooked other dishes, and served them before her husband and the guest. Hillel said then to her: “My child, what is the reason of the delay?” And she related to him what happened. He then remarked: “My daughter, I have also judged you from the favorable side, because it is known to me that all that you do is for the sake of Heaven.”
Corner-tithe for the poor is not set aside in the cooking-pot, but in the dish. It happened with R. Jehoshua, etc. (See Erubin, pp. 120, 121, for the whole legend repeated here.)
Always shall a man try to agree with the majority of the people (this is explained in Khethuboth,
p. 16b, and will be translated there). For the first meal-benediction, the hard part and not the soft part of the bread is to be used. Never shall a man hold a slice of bread of the size of an egg and bite from it, and one who does so is called a glutton; and one shall not drain his cup of wine at a draught (see Pesachim, p. 171), and if he does so he is considered a glutton. But how shall he do? If he does it in two draughts, it is respectable; if in three. it is considered putting on airs.
One shall not begin to eat the heads, but the leaves of garlic or onions. If he does so, he also is called a glutton. One shall not drink two cups of wine before the after-meal benediction (and subsequently pronounce the benediction without a goblet, but he shall leave one goblet for the benediction. The commentaries explained this otherwise, the reason being that there should be no “pairs”–see Betzah, p. 49–but we cannot agree with them); if he do so, he can be taken for a glutton.
Next: Chapter VII.
WHEN two are sitting at the table, the elder one commences to eat first and the younger one after him; and if the younger commences first, he is a glutton. It happened that R. Aqiba prepared a meal for his disciples consisting of two dishes of meat, one half-roasted and the other one well cooked. The half-roasted was served first; the most sensible of them took the whole piece into his one hand and with his other hand he tried to break off some part of it, but could not, and he placed it back and ate bread alone. One of them, who was less sensible, took the whole piece and bit off a piece. Said R. Aqiba to him: “Not so, my son. Put thy foot on it in the dish, and then you will probably succeed better.” Finally, the
well-cooked meat was served, and they ate and were satisfied. Then said R. Aqiba to them: “My children, I did all that to see whether you had refined manners.”
One shall not eat before the fourth hour, neither shall he take a bath prior to that hour. Hot water in large quantities is injurious to one’s body, but in small ones is beneficial. The same is the case with wine. Three things are equal one to the other: wisdom, fear of God, and modesty. One shall not rejoice among those who are weeping, neither shall he weep among those who rejoice; he shall not be awake among those who are asleep, nor shall he sleep among those who are awake; he shall not be standing among those who are seated, nor shall he be seated among those who are standing. This is the rule: One shall not have different manners from those of his friends and of people in general among whom he is.
Next: Chapter VIII.
ONE who enters a house shall not ask for food, but shall wait until invited. When the goblet is filled, he shall drink it slowly. What is meant by slowly? If it is a cold beverage–in four draughts; if a warm beverage–in three. Said R. Jehudah: This applies to the goblets of Galilee, but as regards the goblets of Judah, which were larger, he may drink it as slow as he pleases. One must not say to his friend: “Come and eat with me, as I did with you,” for it gives the impression that he wants to repay with interest. In Jerusalem, however, they invited each other in turn. One shall not send to his friend a barrel of wine with oil on the top thereof, because a serious accident may result from it. It actually happened that one invited his friends to his son’s wedding, and when going down to his cellar to get wine, he noticed that the barrel had oil (on the top, and thinking that it
was all filled with oil) he hanged himself for shame, and died. Hence the above warning is given.
One should not say to his neighbor, “Take oil from that jug and anoint thyself,” knowing that it is empty (even when knowing that the man has no habit of anointing himself), because he puts the man under obligation to him for nothing. The same holds good of food: one should not ask his neighbor to take a meal with him when he knows that he would not do so. One should also not offer presents to his neighbor, knowing that he would not accept them, for the same reason. One should not serve his neighbor with new wine, telling him that it is old wine, because it is equivalent to robbery (if he takes money from him, and even if he does not take money from him he deceives him). For the same reason, when one serves wine to ass-drivers, he shall not say: “Take it away from this one (whom he does not like), and give it to the other one.” When one is in the grain-market and has no intention of buying, he should not ask for the prices, for he misleads the sellers.
Next: Chapter IX.
ONE should not use a slice of bread to cover therewith a dish. One should not wipe the dish with a piece of bread and lay it on the table, for he disturbs the mind of his neighbor. For the same reason, one shall not bite off a piece of bread and place the remainder in the dish intended for another person. One should also not drink from a goblet and give the balance to another one to drink, for it may cause danger to life. It happened that R. Aqiba stopped at the inn of a certain person, who offered him a goblet, first tasting its contents, and R. Aqiba told him to drink the whole of it. He offered him another one, first having tasted it. R. Aqiba told him to drink it all, until Ben Azai said to him: “How long
wilt thou continue doing so?” It again happened that R. Aqiba was lodging with a certain person, and he placed a piece of bread underneath the dish to support it, and R. Aqiba took hold of it and swallowed it. Said the man to R. Aqiba: “Rabbi, had you no other bread to eat than that piece with which I supported the dish?” And he answered: “First, I thought that you could burn yourself with lukewarm water (i.e., you will understand a slight hint). Now I see that you cannot burn yourself even with boiling water.” One shall also not empty his cup and then place it on the table, but he shall keep it in his hand until taken away by the waiter.
Five things said Rabbi in regard to bread, namely: Raw meat must not be placed on bread, nor shall a cup or dish be placed on bread, nor shall bread be used to support a dish, nor shall it be thrown from place to place; nor shall one sit at the table when others are eating, for he disturbs their appetite. One who comes to the table to take his meal shall not take his portion and give it to the waiter, for the reason that some unforeseen thing may happen during the meal (and his portion may be needed); but he shall place it in front of him until the end of the meal, and then give it to him. Guests must not give anything to the son of the host, nor to his servant or messenger, without the permission of the host. It happened once with a man who invited three guests in years of famine, that he served them three eggs. The son of the host then came and stood in front of them, and the first guest took his portion and gave it to him, and so did the second and third. When the host returned, and found his son holding one in his mouth and one in each hand, he raised him full height and struck him to the ground, and he died. The mother, hearing of what happened when standing on the roof, was so shocked that she fell down dead.
When the father heard this, he also threw himself from the roof, and died. Then R. Elazar said: “Three human beings were killed on account of this.”
Next: Chapter X.
ONE who enters the bath-house may say: “Let it be thy will, God my Lord, that thou cause me to come in and go out in peace, that thou cause me to return to my place in peace, and save me from this and from similar peril in the world to come.”
How should one conduct himself before bathing? Thus: He shall first remove his shoes, take off his hat, remove his overcoat, take off his girdle, then take off his shirt, and after all the drawers. After bathing, when a towel is brought to him, he first wipes his head and then the other parts of his body. When the oil is brought to him, he shall first anoint his head and then other members
of his body, and then he shall put on first his drawers, then his shirt, the girdle, then he shall wrap himself in his mantle, and then he shall put on his hat, and then his shoes. And if he has his son, his slave, or bondsman, they shall do it for him. Always shall the right shoe be put on first, and then the left one; and when taking off the shoes, the left one shall be taken off first. One who enters a bath-house must not fatigue himself, nor excite himself, but let him be in every respect careful. Said R. Simeon b. Gamaliel: “One who is not careful is an ass’s equal; one who eats in the market is a dog’s equal”; and according to others, he is ineligible to be a witness. In the toilet-room the one who enters must not hurry the one who is sitting there, and the same is in a bath-house. One shall not bring oil into a bath-house in a glass vessel (for it may break and cause injury). One must not spit in the presence of his neighbor, even in a bath-house. The law relating to a bathhouse and toilet may be discussed in the respective places, but other things must not be discussed, not alone in the bathing-room but in the dressing-room, and even
when the majority of the persons were dressed as well, because when even a few are undressed all are considered undressed. One shall not greet his neighbor when he is washing himself; and if he does so, the other may answer him that it is a bath-house. According to others, he may answer the greeting, and there is nothing in it. One should not put his foot in a bath-tub when another one is sitting in it, for it is a disgrace for the one bathing.
Next: Chapter XI.
HE who walks the road, etc. (See the whole Boraitha in Yomah, pages 27, 28, paragraph: “We have learned according to R. Shila”). One who, soon after returning from the road, takes a bath, gets intoxicated, sleeps on the bare floor, and indulges in congressu feminæ, his blood is on his head (it is equivalent to suicide). 1 He who sells his books, or his daughter, etc. (See Megilla, p. 73.) R. Itzhak says: “A common informer is considered a murderer, as it is written [Lev. xix.
16]: ‘Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale-bearer among thy people.'” R. Eliezer said: “He who hates his neighbor without cause is also considered such, as it is written [Deut. xix. ii]: ‘But if any man be an enemy to his neighbor,’ etc. (i.e., if he is so, he is capable of doing what is further written in the verse).” Ben Azai says: “He who hates his wife is also considered such, as it is written [ibid. xxii. 13 and 14] (i.e., if he hates her he will finally lay an accusation against her, etc., and he will hire witnesses to accuse her with a view to take her life).” R. Jose says: “One who sets a definite time for the redemption of Israel through Messiah will have no share in the world to come. And the same applies to one who hates the scholars and their disciples. The same applies to a
false prophet and a slanderer.” R. Meir says: “One who has a house of learning in his town, and is able to go there but does not do so, is not worthy of living, as it is written [Numb. xv. 31]: ‘Because the word of the Lord hath he despised;’ etc.” Haughtiness is equivalent to idolatry, as it is written [Deut. vii. 26]: “And thou shalt not bring an abomination with thy house;” and it is also written [Prov. xvi. 5]: “An abomination of the Lord is every one that is proud of heart.” Since the abomination mentioned in Deuteronomy is idolatry, and the same expression is used in Proverbs, hence we learn that haughtiness is equivalent to idolatry. 1
Next: Chapter I.
TRACT DERECH ERETZ-ZUTA.
THE qualities of the sages are: Modesty, meekness, eagerness, courage, bearing wrongs done to them, and being endeared to every one; submission to the members of their household, fear of sin, and judging every one according to his deeds.
Their thought concerning this world is: All that is in this world is of no importance to me, for this world is not mine. They are occupied in teaching others, and no one can see in their teaching anything wrong. Their questions are to the point and their answers are according to the Law.
One shall always be like an air-bag which is open to receive the air, and as a deep excavation which preserves the water therein contained, and as a glazed jug that preserves the wine therein; as a sponge that absorbs everything. Be as the lower threshold that all tread upon, and as a nail in the wall that is within the reach of every one to hang his clothes on.
If you have sustained a loss of your property, remember that job lost his property, children, and health. Be careful about all that you see with your eyes, for the principal deception is by the eye. Be careful with your teeth (with your meals), that you should not eat too much. Do not discuss with the Sadducees, that you shall not fall into the Gehenna. When you hear others insult you, do not answer them. If people are praising you for having done a great thing, you shall nevertheless consider it of no importance.
[paragraph continues] An ordinary man shall be considered to your eyes great, if you have insulted him, until you shall have asked him to forgive you. This passage may also be so rendered: If others say something bad about thee, though it be of a serious nature, treat it as insignificant. But, on the other hand, if thou say something bad about others, though it be insignificant, thou shouldst regard it as serious and have no rest until thou beg pardon. Your behavior shall not be bad, for this is no praise for the Torah (which you possess, but let your behavior be good, for this is a praise for the Torah).
Love the Law, and respect it; love all creatures, and respect them. Subject your will to the will of others, as was done by Leah for Rachel and by David for Saul. But ignore your will, and even the will of others, for the will of Heaven, as we find by Jacob that he did not kiss Joseph (because he was engaged in prayer). Love doubtfulness (i.e., everything shall be doubtful to you until you convince yourself of it), and hate the expression: “And what of it?” (i.e., even of the most unimportant things you should not express yourself thus). Keep aloof from everything that
may bring to sin, and from the abominable, and from what is equal to it, that you should not be suspected by others of transgression. Do not slander your neighbor, because he who does so has no remedy. Keep aloof from grumbling, for by grumbling you may come to growl at others, and it will be added to your transgressions. With seven patriarchs covenants were made, and they are: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Pinchas, and David–Abraham [Gen. xv. 18], Isaac [ibid. xvii. 21], Jacob [Lev. xxvi. 421, Moses [Ex. xxxiv. 271, Aaron [Numb. xviii. 19], Pinchas [ibid. xxv. 12], David [Ps. lxxxix. 41. Seven patriarchs are resting in glory, and worm and maggot do not affect their earthly remains, and they are: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Amram their father, and, according to others, also David, as it is written [ibid. xvi. 9]: “Therefore is rejoiced my heart,
and my spirit is glad; also my flesh shall rest in safety.” Nine entered the Garden of Eden when they were still alive, and they are: Enoch (Chanoch) the son of Jared, Elijah Messiah, Eliezer the bondsman of Abraham, Hirom the king of Zor, Ebed-melech the Cushi [Jer. xxxviii. 7], and Jabetz the son of R. Jehudah the Prince, Bothiah the daughter of Pharaoh and Serech the daughter of Ascher, and, according to others, also R. Jehoshua b. Levi.
Next: Chapter II.
LET all thy ways be for the sake of Heaven. Love Heaven, and fear it. Tremble at, and at the same time rejoice Over, all commandments. Sit before the elders, and let thy cars be attentive to their words. Incline thine ears to the words of thy comrade. Be not hasty in answering, and consider everything from the right point, and answer to the first question first, and to the last, last; and always confess the truth. Do not discuss in the presence of one who is greater than you in wisdom. If somebody wants to teach you something, do not say that you have heard it already. If you are questioned on the most unimportant matter, and you do not know it, be not ashamed to say, “I do not know.” If somebody taught you something and you did not listen to it, be not ashamed to say, “Repeat it again”; and say not that you have not listened to it, but that you did not understand it. Do everything for the sake of the Creator, and talk of thy deeds in the same sense (according to Elias Wilna). Do not make thy merits as a crown to be glorified by it, and not as a hatchet to cleave with it, nor a spade to dig with it. Accept the words of Law, even when you are in affliction. Do not seek to wrong him who wronged you. Let thy accounts always be correct, and thy conduct excellent. Keep thy promise. Love the Law, righteousness, rebukes, straightforwardness.
[paragraph continues] Do not run after honor. Be not proud when rendering a decision: Consider that all of which thou art possessed to-day may not be thine to-morrow; and if thou art not certain, as to property already in thy possession, that it will remain with thee, what is the use of thy striving to possess what belongs to others? Remember what the prophet says [Habakkuk, ii. 6]: “Woe to him that increaseth what is not his! for how long? and to him that loadeth himself with a burden of guilt!” Let it be thy habit to finish everything in a good manner. Let thy tongue be always soft. Be a good merchant, pay well, and strive always to do good. Be afraid of a light sin, for this may bring you to a grave sin. Respect all kind of men. Do not say, I will flatter this man, that he may give me food; that man, to give me beverages; that man, to cover me: for it is better that thou shouldst bear thine own shame than to be ashamed of others who will do so unto thee. Take care that thy teeth shall not shame thee, and thou shalt not be disgraced by thy mouth, and not cursed by thy tongue, and not put to shame by thy lips. Take care that thou shouldst not need to bow to some one on account of thine own words. If thou wishest to become attached to thy neighbor through bonds of love, always consider what good thou art able to do unto him. If it be thy wish to be kept away from sin, always look to the result of it. If thou art craving for merits, consider carefully their details. If thou hast done much good to some one consider it as very little; and thou must also not say that thou hast done it from what belongs to thee, because there is One who has done that unto thee, and thou art obliged to thank Heaven for it. If, however, some one has done thee some good, consider it as if he has done much. Do not say that Heaven has done good to me because of my good deeds; on the contrary, be afraid that it was done unto thee because of thine unworthy deeds [Deut. vii. 10]: “And repayeth those that hate him to their face, to destroy them.” If,
however, thou hast done any wrong, consider it much, and say: “Woe is me that I have sinned,” or, “Woe is me that I was the cause of the wrong.” If others have done thee much wrong, it shall be considered in thine eyes as little, and say: “This is only a part of the retribution that I deserve.”
DELIBERATE before a word passes thy lips, and be thoughtful how thou shouldst act in worldly affairs. See always that thy steps shall be rewarded. justify the judgment that was imposed upon thee and free thyself from anger. judge favorably thy neighbor, and see that thy verdict shall not make him guilty (if his guilt is not fully established). Be content with thy share, and adorn thyself with the little thou dost possess. Do not hate the one who reproves thee. Thy share wilt be blessed forever if thine eye will always be: good, and thy soul always satisfied. Let it be thy habit to say, “I do not know” (of a thing that thou art doubtful about), for thou mayest be caught lying. If thou neglect one command, thou wilt finally be negligent of other commandments. The same is if thou hast overlooked the words of the Law willingly: finally thou wilt be overlooked, willingly or unwillingly. If thou hast taken away others’ property, thine will be taken away.
The commencement of making vows is the door to foolishness. Frivolity with women is the beginning of adultery. If thou hast guaranteed for some one, remember that it must be paid by thyself. If thou hast borrowed money, know that thou hast borrowed it to be repaid in time. If thou hast loaned money to somebody, be prepared to have difficulty in collecting it. Remember the time thou hast to repay, and settle thy accounts.
The following fifteen customs are ascribed to the sages: He is pleasant in entering, and so also when leaving; is
prudent in his fear for Heaven; versed in wisdom; wise in his ways, has a good conception, a retentive memory, is clear in his answers, questions to the point, and answers according to the Law; he learns something new from every chapter taught to him; he is going to the wise; he learns for the purpose of teaching it and performing it.
Be as the lower threshold, upon which all persons tread, and still it lasts even when the whole building is demolished.
Next: Chapter IV.
SCHOLARS always are agreeable in society, but not so ordinary people. He who occupies himself only with study of the Scripture pursues the right course, yet the sages do not think so; with Mishnayoth, it is a course to be rewarded; but he who occupies himself with the study of the Talmud pursues a course than which there is no better. Still, it is advisable that one shall occupy himself with the study of Mishnayoth more than with that of the Talmud. Do not exact pay for thy teaching. Moreover, take no compensation whatever for it, for the Omnipotent has given His teaching to thee gratuitously; for the one who asks for reward destroys the whole world (because there are many who cannot afford to pay and will remain ignorant). And do not say: “I have no money to live on, and therefore I must take reward for my teaching.” Remember all money is the Lord’s, as it is written [Haggai, ii. 8]: “Mine is the silver, and mine is the gold, saith the Lord of hosts” (and He will supply you with money).
If you have done charity, be sure that you will be favored with money; and if it has been your good lot to acquire money, do charity with it so long as it is in your power. Give it to those who need it in this world, in order that you may get the world to come; for if you do not use it for charitable purposes, it will disappear suddenly,
as it is written [Prov. xxiii. 5]: “When thou lettest merely thy eyes fly over it, it is no more.” Do not complain of your being less wise than another, for you have not served (the sages) as much as he did. Neither shall you complain that the other one is rich and you are not, for it is not every man who is favored with two tables (of this and of the world to come). Do not complain that another one is beautiful and you are ugly, for at the time of death a man becomes a carcass; moreover, a carcass of any animal may be sold or presented to somebody, while no one cares even to look at a human carcass. Do not say: “That man is righteous, while I am not”; for both of you will have to account. Do not say: “That man is powerful, while I am weak”; for there is no power aside from the Torah, as it is written [Ps. ciii. 20]: “Bless the Lord, ye his angels, mighty in strength, that execute his word, hearkening unto the voice of his word.” Bear always in mind the following: Know whence you come, whither you go, and before whom you will have to render an account, and do not turn your eyes on money which is not yours; for they close the gates of heaven against. prayer. Let your ears not listen to vain talk, for they are most likely to get burned. Do not slander, for the mouth will be first on the day of judgment to give account.
Be not possessed of slander or other bad things, or of robbery, for all the members of thy body will testify against thee on the day of judgment. Let thy feet not hasten thee to evil-doing, because it is likely that the angel of death will get there sooner, and wait for thee. Be not afraid of the court of justice on earth, where only witnesses may be bought, but fear the Court above, because thou art certain that there will be witnesses who will testify against thee. And not only this, but your own deeds proclaim thy accusation from time to time.
If you have performed all my commandments with joy, my attendants will come to meet you, and even I my
self will say to you: “Let thy coming be in peace.” Your eyes that never looked at property not belonging to you shall have light in darkness, as it is written [Is. lviii. 10]: “Then shall shine forth in the darkness thy light, and thy obscurity be as the noonday.” Your ears that have not listened to vain talk shall hear of peace in the world to come, as it is written [ibid. xxx. 21]: “And thy ears shall hear the world behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Your mouth that has not slandered will be coveted by those who were used to slander. Your mouth that has studied the Torah will be a blessing to those who wish to be blessed. Your hands that have kept away from robbery, what can do unto you those who do injustice? Your hands that you have not withdrawn from doing charity, what can do to you those mighty men? Your feet that have not carried you to sin, what can the angel of death do unto you?
All that is said above is a warning to you, and you may do as you please, but do not say that you were not warned.
Next: Chapter V.
A SCHOLAR must not eat standingly, nor lick his fingers, nor yawn in presence of others. Talk little, laugh little, sleep little, indulge little in pleasure, say little “yea” and little “nay.” One has always to know with whom he is sitting, near whom he is standing, with whom he is eating, with whom he is conversing, for whom he signs contracts and notes of debt. By four things the scholar is recognized: his pocket, his goblet, his anger, and his dress; and, some say, even his talk. The beauty of the Law is wisdom; the beauty of wisdom is modesty; the beauty of modesty is the fear of Heaven; the beauty of the fear of Heaven is noble performance; the beauty
of noble performance is secrecy (i.e., not publicly, for the purpose of being praised). One shall not be awake, etc. (see above).
Next: Chapter VI.
FOUR things are derogatory to scholars: to walk alone in the dark (and arouse suspicion); to be perfumed; to be the last in entering a prayer-house, and to hold much discourse at a meeting of dunces.
When entering, the greater shall be first; when leaving, the smaller shall be first. When ascending steps, the greater shall be first; when descending, the smaller shall be the first. At a public meeting, the greater shall have the preference. When entering a prison, the smaller shall do so first. For saying benedictions, the greater is first. The one entering the house must always greet first the one who is in the house. One must not lean at meals (as was the custom in the Orient) when a greater man than he is at the table. One shall not drink in public unless he turns away his face from the bystanders. The first step to sin is in one’s thoughts, the second is scorn, the third is haughtiness, the fourth is cruelty, the fifth is idleness, the sixth is causeless hatred, and the seventh is an evil eye; and these were meant by Solomon [Prov. xxvi. 25]: “For there are seven abominations in his heart.”
Next: Chapter VII.
SEVEN things mark the clod, etc. (See Aboth, Chap. V., Mishna J.) A scholar must be careful in his eating, drinking, washing, anointing, in wearing the sandals, in his walking, dressing, in the use of his voice, in the act of spitting, and also with all his good deeds. As a bride, who so long as she is in her father’s house pursues
privacy and modesty, and when she is given away in marriage announces publicly, saying: “All those who can come to testify against me, let them come and do so,” so a scholar must pursue privacy in his deeds but publicity in his ways; namely, he must run after truth but not after falsehood, after honesty but not after robbery, after modesty but not after haughtiness, after peace but not after war, after the advice of the old but not after that of the young. He shall rather follow behind a lion than behind a woman.
Who respects the sages? he who gives food, drink, dress, shoes, goes out to meet and accompanies when leaving, without distinction between rabbi or disciple. And who shows them disrespect? he who occupies the seat of his master even during his absence, or substitutes him (without permission) in lecturing, or contradicts him.
Next: Chapter IX.
R. Eliezer the Kapar said: Keep aloof from anger, for by being angry at others you will add to your transgression. Love your admonisher, for by doing so you, will add wisdom to your ability; and rather shun the one who honors you, that your wisdom be not lessened. Love the prayer- house, in order that you shall be rewarded daily; and the house of learning, in order that your children shall come to study. Love the poor, in order that your children shall not come to poverty. Love modesty, that you may enjoy longevity; love the pious, in order that you may be saved from the black angel. Be careful in the reading of Shema, and prayer in general, in order that you be saved from Gehenna. Your house shall be wide open, in order that you shall never lack food.’ Be careful that the doors of your house shall not be closed when you take your meals, that you may not be punished
therefor with poverty. Be careful about the honor of your wife. Be glad of your chastisement, for this probably saves you from Gehenna. Be joyful at your table when the hungry derive benefit from it, in order that you enjoy longevity and have a share in the world to come. Be also joyful when giving charity from your house, in order that you may pacify the anger of death, as it is written [Prov. xxi. 14]: “A gift in secret pacifieth anger, and a bribe in the bosom, strong fury.” If you have troubled your feet for the poor or for the sake of a merit, the following passages may be applied to you [Deut. xxviii . 6]: “Blessed shalt thou be at thy coming in, and blessed shalt thou be at thy coming out.” If you keep your mouth from slander, you will spend all the days of life in peace. One who is audacious towards one who is greater than he will finally be punished with a plague. If you run to do honor to a sage, you will be rewarded with enviable children; and for running to do honor to the poor, you will be rewarded with sons of learning and a law- abiding record in Israel. Dost thou see a sage die, do not turn away from him until after burial, that thou, too, mayest receive respect and attention when it will be thy time to die. When you see your neighbor has be come poor and his power is on the decline, do not refuse to help him, as it is written [Eccl. viii. 5]: “Whoso keepeth the commandment will experience no evil thing.” If you have loaned him something when he was in need, the following passage will be fulfilled on you [Is. lviii. 9]: “Then shalt thou call, and the Lord will answer.” If you lower yourself, the Lord will lift you up; but if you assume superiority over your fellowmen, the Lord will lower you. If others quarrel with thee, whether in a house of learning or at an ordinary meeting-place, do not leave until peace is restored, and they shall praise thee in thy absence as Pinchas b.
Elazar. Great is peace, that even when it reigns among idolaters nothing can be done to them, as it is written [Hosea, iv. 17]: “Ephraim
is bound (bound together) to idols; let him alone.” But if they quarrel among themselves, it is said of them [ibid. X. 2]: “Their heart is divided; now shall they bear their guilt.” Hence that house in which there is strife will be destroyed, and the sages say that even a prayer-house in which there is strife will be demolished. The same is it with two chiefs of the court who live in one town and quarrel with each other, they will finally die. Abba Saul said: Strife between
courts is a destruction of the world. Abba Issi b. Johanan said in the name of Samuel the Little: This world resembles the eyeball of a man. The white is the ocean that surrounds the whole land; the black is the world; the circle in the black is Jerusalem, and the image (the pupil) in the circle is the Temple, which will be rebuilt in the near future. Amen.
Next: The Chapter on Peace
R. Jehoshua b. Levi said: Great is peace, for it is as the leaven to dough. If the Holy One had not given peace to the world, sword and beast would devour up the whole world, as it is written [Lev. xxvi. 6]: “And I will give peace in the land.”
It is written [Eccl. i. 4]: “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh, but the earth endureth for ever.” King Solomon meant to say thus: Although one generation passes away and another one comes, one kingdom disappears and another one appears; and although evil decrees one after another are enacted against Israel, still they endure forever. The Lord does not abandon them, and they are never abandoned. They are never annihilated, neither do they decrease, as it is written [Mal. iii. 6]: “For I the Lord have not changed: and ye sons of Jacob, ye have not ceased to be” (i.e., as I
have never changed and will never change, so ye sons of Jacob have never ceased and will never cease to be). But [Deut. iv. 4]: “Ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive, every one of you, this day.” R. Jehoshua said: Great is peace, for at the time Israel arose and said [Exod.
xxiv. 7]: “All that the Lord hath spoken will we do and obey,” the Holy One was pleased to give unto them His Torah and blessed them with peace, as it is written [Ps. xxix. 11]: “The Lord will bless his people with peace.” Hezekiah said: Great is peace, for at every commandment in the Torah it is written “if,” as, for instance, Exod. xxiii. 4, “If thou meet,” etc., which means, if such a thing occurs to you, you must do the commandment; but concerning peace, it is different, there it is written [Ps. xxxiv. 15]: “Seek peace, and pursue it,” which means, seek peace at the place where you are, and if you do not find it, seek it in other places. Great is peace: about all the journeys of Israel it is written, “And they removed . . . and . . . encamped,” which means they removed in strife and encamped in strife, but when they came to Sinai there was no more strife, and they encamped in peace, as it is written [Exod. xix. 2]: “And Israel encamped opposite the Mount” (i.e., all Israel were united). The Holy One, blessed be He, then said: “Because Israel hates discord and loves peace, and all are united, this is a favorable time that I should give them my Torah.” Adoniah the son of David was killed because he was quarrelsome, and it is permitted to support the accusation of a quarrelsome man, as Nathan the prophet did when Bath- Sheba accused Adoniah [I Kings, i. 14]: “I myself will come in after thee, and confirm thy words.” And Rabbi said: All manner of lying is prohibited, except it be to make peace between one and his neighbor. Bar Kappara said: Great is Peace, as among the angels there is no animosity, no jealousy, no hatred, no commanding, no quarrelling, because the Holy One, blessed be He, has made peace among them,
as it is written [Job, xxv. 2]: “Dominion and dread are with him: he maketh peace in his high places.” “Dominion” is the angel Michael and “Dread” is Gabriel, one of whom is of fire and the other one of water, and still they do not oppose each other, for the Holy One, blessed be He, has made peace between them.
R. Jehoshua said: Great is peace, in that the covenant of the priests was made with peace, as it is written [Numb. xxv. 12]: “I give unto him my covenant of peace.” The name of the Holy One, blessed be He, is also “peace” (Shalom), as it is written [Judges, vi. 24]: “And called it Adonay- shalom.” R. Jose the Galilean said: The name of the Messiah is also “peace” (Shalom), as it is written [Is. ix. 5]: “The prince of peace.” Said R. Jehoshua: Israel is also called “peace,” as it is written [Zech. viii. 12]: “For the seed shall be undisturbed, the vine shall give its fruit,” which is to be interpreted thus: “The vine will give its fruit to the seed of peace” (Israel). R. Jose the Galilean said: When the Messiah shall come to Israel, he will begin with peace, as it is written [Is. lii. 7]: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger of good tidings, that publisheth peace, that announceth tidings of happiness, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth.” He also said: Great is peace, because even wars are waged for the sake of peace, as it is written [Deut. xx. 10]: “When thou comest nigh unto a city to make war against it, then summon it with the word of peace.” R. Jehoshua said: In the future the Holy One, blessed be He, will uphold the righteous with peace, as it is written [Is. xxvi. 3]: “The confiding mind wilt thou keep in perfect peace; because he trusteth in thee.” Again he said: Great is peace, because it accompanies the living as well as the dead–the living, as it is written [Exod. iv. 18]: “And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace”; the dead, as it is written [Gen. xv. 15]: “But thou shalt come to thy fathers in peace,”
[paragraph continues] R. Jehoshua of Sachnin said in the name of R. Levi: Great is peace, in that all the benedictions and prayers conclude with “peace.” The reading of Shema we conclude with “peace,” “and spread the tent of thy peace”; the blessing of the priests concludes with peace, “and give thee peace”; and the eighteen benedictions conclude: “Blessed be thou, master of peace.”
Said R. Jehoshua b. Levi: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel, You have caused me to destroy my house and to exile my children, now pray for peace and I will forgive you, as it is written [Ps. cxxii. 6]: “Pray ye for the peace of Jerusalem.” Therefore he who loves peace, runs after peace, offers peace, and answers peace, the Holy One, blessed be He, will make him inherit the life of this world and the life of the world to come, as it is written [Ps. xxxvii. 11]: “But the meek shall inherit the land, and shall delight themselves because of the abundance of peace.”
END OF TRACT DERECH ERETZ–RABBA AND ZUTA.
Next: Advertisement at end of Volume