Pirkei Avot- Ethics of the Fathers

Chapter 4

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11. Rabbi Yonatan said: He who fulfills the Torah in poverty shall in the end fulfill it in wealth. He who disregards the Torah in wealth shall in the end disregard it in poverty.

12. Rabbi Meir said: Engage little in business but occupy yourself with Torah. Be humble in spirit before all men. If you neglect Torah many causes for neglecting it will present themselves to you; but if you labor in Torah then God has abundant reward to give you.

13. Rabbi Eliezer ben Jacob used to say: He who performs one commandment acquires for himself one advocate, while he who commits one transgression has gotten for himself one accuser. Penitence and good deeds are as a shield against punishment.

14. Rabbi Yochanan the sandal-maker said: Every assembly that is for a hallowed purpose shall in the end be established. But any assembly that is not for a hallowed purpose shall not ultimately be established.

15. Rabbi Elazar ben Shammua used to say: Let the honor of your student be as precious to you as your own; and the honor of your colleague as the respect due your teacher; and the respect towards your teacher as your reverence for God.

16. Rabbi Judah used to say: Be careful in teaching, for error in teaching amounts to deliberate sin. 

17. Rabbi Shimon used to say: There are three crowns--the crown of the Torah, the crown of the priesthood, and the crown of kingship, but the crown of a good name surpasses them all.

18. Rabbi Nehorai said: Go as a voluntary exile to a place of Torah, and do not say that the Torah will follow you, for it is your companions who will make it your permanent possession. Do not rely upon your own understanding.

19. Rabbi Yannai used to say: It is not in our power to explain the well-being of the wicked or the sorrows of the righteous.

20. Rabbi Matyah ben Cheresh used to say: Be first in greeting every man. Be a tail among lions rather than a head to foxes.

21. Rabbi Jacob used to say: This world is like a hallway to the future world. Prepare yourself in the hallway that you may enter into the banquet hall.

22. He also would say: Better is one hour of penitence and good deeds in this world than all the life of the world to come. Better is one hour of spiritual repose in the world to come than all the life of this world.

23. Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar used to say: Do not appease your fellow in the time of his anger, nor comfort him while his dead lies before him. Do not question him in the time of his vow. Do not try to see him in the time of his disgrace.

24. Samuel the Younger used to say (Proverbs 24:17-18) "Do not rejoice when your enemies fall, and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble, or else the Lord will see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from them."

25. Elisha ben Avuyah used to say: He who learns as a child, what is he like? He is like ink written on new paper. He who learns as an old man, what is he like? He is like ink written on blotting paper.

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