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Part 1 - Chapter 2 - Note 9


The portions of the following texts that are the most relevant to the book appear in bold. Other portions that have relevance to the Brit Hadashah ("New Testament") appear in blue.


Tanach - Psalms (Tehillim) Chapter 34

1. A Psalm of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed.
2. I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
3. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it, and be glad.
4. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.
5. I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and saved me from all my fears.
6. They looked to him, and were radiant; and their faces shall not be ashamed.
7. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
8. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and saves them.
9. O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy is the man who trusts in him.
10. O fear the Lord, you his pious ones; for those who fear him have no want.
11. The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.
12. Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
13. Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good?
14. Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking guile.
15. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
16. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.
17. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off their remembrance from the earth.
18. The righteous cry, and the Lord hears, and saves them out of all their troubles.
19. The Lord is near to the broken hearted, and saves those of a contrite spirit.
20. Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord saves him out of them all.
21. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.
22. Evil shall slay the wicked; and those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
23. The Lord redeems the soul of his servants; and none of those who trust in him shall be condemned.


Tanach - Psalms (Tehillim) Chapter 73

1. A Psalm of Asaph. Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are of a clean heart.
2. (K) But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well near slipped.
3. For I was envious of the arrogant, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4. For there are no pangs in their death; their body is firm.
5. They are not in trouble like other men; nor are they plagued like other men.
6. Therefore arrogance is their necklace; violence covers them like a garment.
7. Their eyes stand out with fatness; they have more than heart could wish.
8. They scoff, and speak wickedly; concerning oppression they speak loftily.
9. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth.
10. (K) Therefore his people return here; and abundant waters are drained out by them.
11. And they say, How does God know? And is there knowledge in the most High?
12. Behold, these are the wicked, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.
13. Truly I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.
14. For all the day long have I been stricken, and chastened every morning.
15. If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of your children.
16. When I pondered how I might understand this, it was too wearisome for me;
17. Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.
18. Surely you set them in slippery places; you cast them down into ruin.
19. How are they brought into desolation in a moment, utterly consumed with terrors!
20. As a dream when one awakes; so, O Lord, when you awake, you shall despise their image.
21. When my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my insides.
22. I was foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before you.
23. Nevertheless I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.
24. You shall guide me with your counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory.
25. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is none on earth that I desire beside you.
26. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
27. For, behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you have destroyed all those who go astray from you.
28. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may declare all your works.


R. Safra on concluding his prayer added the following: May it be Thy will, O Lord our God, to establish peace

Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 17a

among the celestial family,1 and among the earthly family,2 and among the disciples who occupy themselves with Thy Torah whether for its own sake or for other motives; and may it please Thee that all who do so for other motives may come to study it for its own sake!

    R. Alexandri on concluding his prayer added the following: May it be Thy will, O Lord our God, to station us in an illumined corner and do not station us in a darkened corner, and let not our heart be sick nor our eyes darkened! According to some this was the prayer of R. Hamnuna, and R. Alexandri on concluding his prayer used to add the following: Sovereign of the Universe, it is known full well to Thee that our will is to perform Thy will, and what prevents us? The yeast in the dough 3 and the subjection to the foreign Powers. May it be Thy will to deliver us from their hand, so that we may return to perform the statutes of Thy will with a perfect heart!

    Raba on concluding his prayer added the following: My God, before I was formed I was not worthy [to be formed], and now that I have been formed I am as if I had not been formed. I am dust in my lifetime, all the more in my death. Behold I am before Thee like a vessel full of shame and confusion. May it be Thy will, O Lord my God, that I sin no more, and the sins I have committed before Thee wipe out in Thy great mercies, but not through evil chastisements and diseases! This was the confession of R. Hamnuna Zuti on the Day of Atonement. 4

    Mar the son of Rabina on concluding his prayer added the following: My God, keep my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking guile. May my soul be silent to them that curse me and may my soul be as the dust to all. Open Thou my heart in Thy law, and may my soul pursue Thy commandments, and deliver me from evil hap, from the evil impulse and from an evil woman and from all evils that threaten to come upon the world. As for all that design evil against me, speedily annul their counsel and frustrate their designs! 5 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before Thee, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer! 6

    When R. Shesheth kept a fast, on concluding his prayer he added the following: Sovereign of the Universe, Thou knowest full well that in the time when the Temple was standing, if a man sinned he used to bring a sacrifice, and though all that was offered of it was its fat and blood, atonement was made for him therewith. Now I have kept a fast and my fat and blood have diminished. May it be Thy will to account my fat and blood which have been diminished as if I had offered them before Thee on the altar, and do Thou favour me. 7

    When R. Johanan finished the Book of Job, 8 he used to say the following: The end of man is to die, and the end of a beast is to be slaughtered, and all are doomed to die. Happy he who was brought up in the Torah and whose labour was in the Torah and who has given pleasure to his Creator and who grew up with a good name and departed the world with a good name; and of him Solomon said: A good name is better than precious oil, and the day of death than the day of one's birth.9

    A favourite saying of R. Meir was: Study with all thy heart and with all thy soul to know My ways and to watch at the doors of My law. Keep My law in thy heart and let My fear be before thy eyes. Keep thy mouth from all sin and purify and sanctify thyself from all trespass and iniquity, and I will be with thee in every place.

    A favourite saying of the Rabbis of Jabneh was: I am God's creature and my fellow 10 is God's creature. My work is in the town and his work is in the country. I rise early for my work and he rises early for his work. Just as he does not presume to do my work, so I do not presume to do his work. Will you say, I do much 11 and he does little? We have learnt: 12 One may do much or one may do little; it is all one, provided he directs his heart to heaven.

    A favourite saying of Abaye was: A man should always be subtle in the fear of heaven. 13 A soft answer turneth away wrath, 14 and one should always strive to be on the best terms with his brethren and his relatives and with all men and even with the heathen in the street, in order that he may be beloved above and well-liked below and be acceptable to his fellow creatures. It was related of R. Johanan b. Zakkai that no man ever gave him greeting first, even a heathen in the street.

    A favourite saying of Raba was: The goal of wisdom is repentance and good deeds, so that a man should not study Torah and Mishnah and then despise 15 his father and mother and teacher and his superior in wisdom and rank, as it says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, a good understanding have all they that do thereafter. 16 It does not say, ‘that do’, 17 but ‘that do thereafter’, which implies, that do them for their own sake and not for other motives. 18 If one does them for other motives, it were better that he had not been created.

    A favourite saying of Rab was: [The future world is not like this world.] 19 In the future world there is no eating nor drinking nor propagation nor business nor jealousy nor hatred nor competition, but the righteous sit with their crowns on their heads feasting on the brightness of the divine presence, as it says, And they beheld God, and did eat and drink. 20

    [Our Rabbis taught]: 21 Greater is the promise made by the Holy One, blessed be He, to the women than to the men; for it says, Rise up, ye women that are at ease; ye confident daughters, give ear unto my speech. 22 Rab said to R. Hiyya: Whereby do women earn merit? By making their children go to the synagogue 23 to learn Scripture and their husbands to the Beth Hamidrash to learn Mishnah, and waiting for their husbands till they return from the Beth Hamidrash. When the Rabbis 24 took leave from the school of R. Ammi — some say, of R. Hanina — they said to him: May you see your requirements provided 25 in your lifetime, and may your latter end be for the future world and your hope for many generations; may your heart meditate understanding, your mouth speak wisdom and your tongue indite song; may your eyelids look straight before you, 26 may your eyes be enlightened by the light of the Torah and your face shine like the brightness of the firmament; may your lips utter knowledge, your reins rejoice in uprightness 27 and your steps run to hear the words of the Ancient of Days. When the Rabbis took leave from the school of R. Hisda — others Say, of R. Samuel b. Nahmani — they said to him: We are instructed, we are well laden28 etc. ‘We are instructed, we are well laden’. Rab and Samuel — according to others, R. Johanan and R. Eleazar — give different explanations of this. One Says: ‘We are instructed’ — in Torah, ‘and well laden’ — with precepts. The other says: ‘We are instructed’ — in Torah and precepts; ‘we are well laden’ — with chastisements.
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(1) The Guardian Angels of the various nations.
(2) From the context this would seem to refer to the nations of the earth. Rashi, however, takes it to mean the assembly of the wise men.
(3) I.e., the evil impulse, which causes a ferment in the heart.
(4) It occupies the same place in the present day liturgy. V. P.B. p. 263.
(5) MS.M adds: Pay them their recompense upon their heads; destroy them and humble them before me, and deliver me from all calamities which are threatening to issue and break forth upon the world!
(6) In the present day liturgy this prayer is also added (in a slightly altered form) at the end of every Amidah. V. P.B. p. 54. The last sentence is from Ps. XIX, 15.
(7) MS.M. adds: A certain disciple after he prayed used to say: ‘Close mine eyes from evil, and my ears from hearing idle words, and my heart from reflecting on unchaste thoughts, and my veins from thinking of transgression, and guide my feet to (walk in) Thy commandments and Thy righteous ways, and may Thy mercies be turned upon me to be of those spared and preserved for life in Jerusalem’!
(8) M. reads: R. Johanan said: When R. Meir finished etc.
(9) Eccl. VII, 1. R. Johanan was prompted to this reflection by the fact that Job departed with a good name.
(10) I.e., the ‘am ha-arez, or nonstudent.
(11) In the way of Torah.
(12) Men. 110a.
(13) I.e., in finding out new ways of fearing heaven.
(14) Prov. XV, I.
(15) Lit., ‘kick at’.
(16) Ps. CXI, 10.
(17) Another reading is, that learn them.
(18) I.e., to criticise and quarrel. V. Rashi and Tosaf. ad loc.
(19) These words are bracketed in the text.
(20) Ex. XXIV, 11 . These words are interpreted to mean that the vision of God seen by the young men was like food and drink to them.
(21) These words are missing in cur. edd., but occur in MS.M.
(22) Isa. XXXII, 9. The women are said to be ‘at ease’ and ‘confident’, which is more than is said of the men.
(23) Where children were usually taught.
(24) Who had left home to study with R. Ammi.
(25) Lit., ‘see your world’.
(26) The expression is taken from Prov. IV, 25. The meaning here seems to be, may you have a correct insight into the meaning of the Torah’.
(27) The reins were supposed to act as counsellors.
(28) Ps. CXLIV, 14. E.V. Our oxen are well laden.


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