Pirkei Avot- Ethics of the Fathers

Chapter 3

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9. Rabbi Jacob said: If a man is walking by the way and is studying and then interrupts his study and says: "How fine is this tree?" or "How fine is this ploughed field?" Scripture regards him as though he was liable for his life.

10. Rabbi Dostai ben Yannai said in the name of Rabbi Meir: He who forgets one word of his study, Scripture regards him as though he was liable for his life; for it is written (Deuteronomy 4:9) "But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as not to forget the things that your eyes have seen." Could this apply even if a man's study was too hard for him? Scripture says (ibid.): "Nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life." Thus a person is not guilty unless he deliberately puts those lessons away from his heart.

11. Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa said: He in whom the fear of sin takes precedence of wisdom, his wisdom will endure; but he in whom wisdom takes precedence of his fear of sin, his wisdom will not endure.

12. He used to say: He whose works exceed his wisdom, his wisdom endures; but he whose wisdom exceeds his works, his wisdom will not endure.

13. He used to say: He who in whom fellow people find no delight, in him the God finds no pleasure.

14. Rabbi Dosa ben Hyrcanus said: Sleeping away the morning, drinking at noonday, childish playing and sitting in the meetinghouses of the unlearned remove a man from this world.

15. Rabbi Elazar of Modiim said: If a man profanes things which are sacred, and offends the holidays and puts his fellow to shame publicly, and makes void the covenant of Abraham our father, and teaches meanings in the Torah which are not according to halakhah, even though he has a knowledge of the Torah and good works, he has no share in the world to come.

16. Rabbi Yishmael says: Be submissive to an elder and courteous to the young. Receive every man with good cheer.

17. Rabbi Akiva said: Jesting and frivolity lead a man towards promiscuity. Tradition is a safeguarding fence around the Torah. Tithes are a fence to wealth. Vows a fence to abstinence. Silence is a fence to wisdom.

18. Rabbi Akiva used to say: Beloved is the man that he was created in the image of God; an extra love is made known to him that he was created in God's image, as it says (Genesis 9:6) "for in His own image God made humankind." Beloved are the Jews that they are called sons to God; an extra love is made known to them that they are called sons to God, as it says (Deuteronomy 14:1) "You are children of the Lord your God." Beloved are the Jews that there has been given to them the precious instrument; an extra love is made known to them that they were given the precious instrument of the world's creation, as it says (Proverbs 4:2) "For I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching."

19. Rabbi Akiva said: All is foreseen, but freedom of choice is given. The world is judged in goodness, yet all is proportioned to one's work.

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