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Hebrew tales; selected and translated from the writings of the ancient Hebrew sages

Hebrew tales; selected and translated from the writings of the ancient Hebrew sages (1917) , translated by Hyman Hurwitz Library of Jewish Classics





Hebrew Tales






Moses and the Lamb 15 The Value of a Good Wife 16 The Lord Helpeth Man and Beast 18

Conversation of a Philosopher with a Rabbi 20 The Princess and Rabbi Joshua 22 Mercy in Judgment 23

Blessings in Disguise 24

Intended Divorce and Reconciliation 26 The Heavenly Lamp 29 True Charity Knows no Law29 Scripture Impartiality 31 The Honor Due to Whatever is Truly Useful 32 To Insult Poverty or Natural Defect, no Venial Crime 33

Liberality Grounded on Religion not to be Conquered by Reverse Fortune 35 On Pretended Majorities 39

On the Mood of Mind that will Render the Consequences of Improper Actions the Atonement for Them 41 The Seven Ages 43 Incorruptible Treasures 46

Table Talk of the Sages of Israel 47 Destruction of Wickedness 48 The Meek and the Haughty 49

The Heathen and the Hebrew Sages 51 The Conquest of Meekness 52 True Charity 55

Filial Reverence 56 The Double Moral and Twofold Tale 57

I. II 82 On Vows in Cases Previously Binding on the Conscience Poverty no Proof of Divine Disfavor Scrupulous Honesty 85 The Fox and the Fish 86 The Climax of Benevolence 89 Rabbi Simeon and the Jewels 91 83 83 He who Wrongs the Dishonest under the Pretence of their Dishonesty Renders Himself an Accomplice 92 .Compassion Toward the Unhappy 59 62 The Legacy of Rabbi Johanan to his Disciples Milton's "Dark from Excess of Light" 64 The Wilful Drunkard 65 Do not Provoke those who Throw off Appearances of Justice The Traveller and the Date-tree of the Oasis The Aged Planter and Hadrian 71 70 68 The Same Things no Longer the Same under Altered Circumstances 73 The Preposterous Snake 76 The Doctrine of Resurrection Supported by that of Creation 78 The Sufferings of the Jews under Hadrian.79 Sufferings of the Jews under Hadrian.

Scrupulous Honesty 93 Reverence for Truth and Simplicity not to be Sacrificed to the Forms of Courtesy 94 The Twofold Charity of the Benevolent Physician 95 Folly of Idolatry 97 Abraham's Deliverance from the Fiery Furnace 99 No Loss of Dignity from any Innocent Means of Promoting Peace and Harmony 100 The Lawful Heir 103 The Fox and the Rift in the Garden-Wall Alexander and the Female Chief 109 Ambition Humbled and Reproved FACETIÆ PAGE Wit Like Salt 115 111 107 The Word "Us" 115 The Tailor and the Broken Mortar Witty Retort of a Hebrew Child 116 The Inhospitable Jester Taken in his Own Snare 117 The Enigma that Cost the Athenian his Mantle The Quadruple Tale 119 The Athenian and his One-Eyed Slave 122 The Scientific Carver 124 118 116 .

a notable contribution to English literature. with the possible exception of Emanuel Deutsch's memorable essay on "The Talmud" published ten decades later. It is original. and Elzevir or even from the bindery of East Aurora. Intrinsically. . Hyman Hurwitz's "Hebrew Tales" is. combined to make it the most popular repertory of Jewish lore and legend for more than a generation. in a certain sense. as the "Morals" of Seneca. Its elevated tone. and habent sua fata Judaei. Caxton. a noble message from Israel to the nations a human document as forceful and effective. has not been impaired by the publication of a host of similar works. large type. Polano. it represented the flowering of Hebrew literature in England. to Jew as well as Gentile. It may. It was neatly printed. or a Christian prelate. as the anthologies of Fuerstenthal. too. no other English work on a Jewish subject. Indeed. Levi. in The Quarterly Review was so favorably received. his version of the sayings of the ancient Jewish Sages would have issued from the press of Aldus.No Rule Without Exception 128 EDITOR'S PREFACE IN 1826 a little book appeared in London which immediately attracted attention. a few of which. and its unique value as a source-book of Rabbinic tradition. perhaps. simple dignity. moreover. or the "Thoughts" of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. and S. no less than its modest learning. Baring-Gould. in splendid. be inferred that if the author had been a pagan ruler. But Hyman Hurwitz was a Hebrew of the Hebrews. making it by far the most attractive output of the Jewish press of that period. are still highly prized by students. distinctive. and choice phrasing. and authoritative.

At an academy conducted by a Christian gentleman. as well as by all who knew him. over which institution for the education of the young he continued to preside for a period of twenty-two years. he was appointed to take charge of the religious training of several Jewish children. where that pious Talmudist had been residing for some time. the duties of his new appointment as Professor of Hebrew at London University College. and of a disposition whose reserve bordered on diffidence." in 1799. esteemed. He never courted the rich. and had the opportunity of applying himself to the study of science and the classics. Like so many of his compatriots. in the year 1770 the exact date can not be ascertained and died in London. This was a distinction which had never before been accorded to a Jew. In May. which was sufficiently restored to enable him to take up. benevolent without ostentation. and respected by the professors and students. he was compelled to retire. in order to earn his livelihood as a teacher of Hebrew. he early acquired a remarkable proficiency in Hebrew and Rabbinic studies. and that the choice was a judicious one is attested by the fact that he remained in office up to the time of his death. We are told by his biographer that he was beloved." soon gained him many friends. who aided him in the establishment of "The Highgate Academy. owing to his impaired health. "He was religious without bigotry. His assiduity. "mildness of disposition and suavity of manners.Regarding the author's life very little is known. 1821. and he ever shunned publicity. learned without egotism. When quite a young man he joined his father in England. a few years later. 1844. He was born in Poland." Though . and set about. nor condescended to flattery. to diligently study the English language. July 18.

not at any time active in congregational affairs, he was an honorary member of the vestry of the Great Synagogue. Hurwitz's literary activity extends over thirty-five years. His published writings do not cover a very wide range, but they bear ample testimony to his thoroughness and erudition. And whether he wrote Hebrew verse or English prose, on grammar or exegesis or apologetics, his graceful style made the perusal a pleasure, not a task. In addition to several treatises on the rudiments of the Hebrew language may be mentioned his Hebrew elegy on the death of Princess Charlotte done into English verse by his friend, Coleridge; the dirge chanted at the obsequies of George III. likewise rendered into English by a Christian friend, W. Smith; the metrical Hebrew version of the British anthem, "God Save the King"; his "Vindiciæ Hebraicæ" in which he blends "much erudition, elegance of style, and well-applied wit"; his "Letter to Isaac Lyon Goldsmith," in defence of the Jewish religion; and "An introductory lecture delivered at the University of London," November 11, 1828 which, no doubt, is the date of his induction into office. It is not generally known that he published a specimen of a new revised Hebrew text of the Bible, in 1835, and that he supervised the printing of the first Hebrew Bible in the United States, issued by William Fry, in Philadelphia, 1814. In this connection, it is interesting to note that a Hebrew hymn, composed by Hurwitz, and set to music by Louis Leo, was chanted, seven years after the author's death, at the consecration of Temple B'nai Jeshurun, in New York City. His fame, however, rests chiefly upon his delightfully written "Hebrew Tales," of which two editions were printed in London, in the year 1826, one in New York, in 1847, and another in Edinburgh,

in 1863. Four separate editions appeared in German, and one or two stories were published in French. Three tales were furnished for the collection by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who appears to have been somewhat of a Hebraist, since he figures as the translator of a dirge, from the Hebrew of Hurwitz, into English. Coleridge had already inserted them in The Friend, and they constitute the second, third, and fourth, in the present volume. That this admirable anthology had a distinct purpose to serve may be gleaned from the author's prefatory "Essay on the still-existing remains of the Hebrew Sages . . .," which had already appeared as a separate tract in the same year. It is unquestionably a "Tendenzschrift," apologetic and expostulatory in tone, designed to defend and expound the writings and traditions of the Rabbis, whose "instructive parables and tales . . . are so many miniature paintings of the habits, manners, and modes of thinking, of an ancient people at a remote period of antiquity" ("Essay," London ed., 1826, p. 81). Inasmuch as it is no longer necessary to assume this attitude in speaking of Jewish literature, the Essay is not reprinted in the present edition, the object of which is to make accessible, in convenient form, Hurwitz's classic "Tales." Since copies of the little book are not readily obtained, its republication is certainly justifiable. In order to give it unity of interest, the Editor has ventured to omit, beside the "Aphorisms and Apophthegms," printed at the end of the original edition, a number of items which can not properly be classified as "tales," together with the explanatory notes. However, no liberties were taken with the text, except to modernize the orthography of proper names, to abbreviate the chapter-headings

and the introductions to some of the stories. The references, which in no single instance are exact or complete, have been carefully verified and amplified by the Editor, and it is hoped that they may prove useful to students. GEORGE ALEXANDER KOHUT. New York. HEBREW TALES

Moses and the Lamb The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works. Psalm cxlv. 9. Our wise instructors relate, that while Moses was attending Jethro's flock in the wilderness, a lamb strayed from the herd. Moses endeavored to overtake it, but it ran much faster than he, till it came near a fountain, where it suddenly stopped, and took a draught of water. "Thou little dear innocent creature," said Moses, "I see now why thou didst run away. Had I known thy want, on my shoulders would I have carried thee to the fountain to assuage thy thirst. But, come, little innocent, I will make up for my ignorance. Thou art, no doubt, fatigued after so long a journey; thou shalt walk no further." He immediately took the little creature into his arms, and carried it back to the flock. The Almighty Father of Mercies He who diffused those precious drops of pity and kindness over the human heart, approved of the deed; and a heavenly voice was heard to exclaim, "Moses! Benevolent Moses! If a dumb animal thus excite thy compassion,

died. Towards evening. and placed food before him. his two sons. During his absence from his house. Such a treasure had the celebrated teacher. He sat during the whole of one Sabbath day in the public school. laid them upon the marriage-bed." she said. and now he demands them again: should I give them back again?" . "Where are my beloved sons. 'that. and instructed the people. § II. Rabbi Meir came home. henceforth thou shalt be the shepherd of my chosen flock. with thy permission. the Lord is good to all." She reached him a goblet." Exodus Rabba. His wife bore them to her bed-chamber. that they may drink of the cup of blessing?" "They will not be far off. found. Rabbi Meir. "A few days ago. he praised the Lord at the going out of the Sabbath. by thy example. that he might eat. and again asked. 10. and spread a white covering over their bodies. a person entrusted some jewels to my custody. and that his mercies are over all his works." was the answer. "I repeatedly looked round the school. Proverbs xxxi. then. my love!" he replied." he asked. both of them of uncommon beauty and enlightened in the law. and teach them. I would fain propose to thee one much more will the children of men! What wilt thou not do for thine own brethren! Come. "that I may give them my blessing?" "They are gone to the school. He was in a gladsome and genial mood. and when he had said grace after the meal." he replied." "Ask it. "and I did not see them there. "Where are my sons. drank. The Value of a Good Wife Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. she thus addressed him: "Rabbi.

They led him to the hut of their chief. "which my wife should not have thought it necessary to ask. golden figs. Psalm xxxvi. the Lord has taken away. Alexander. stepping to the bed."This is a question. the Lord gave. my sons! my sons!" thus loudly lamented the father: "My sons! the light of mine eyes. and. "Ah. 'He that has found a virtuous woman. and knew neither war nor conqueror. came to a people in Africa who dwelt in a remote and secluded corner." She then led him to their chamber. 6. and the light of my understanding. At length. and placed before him golden dates. The Lord Helpeth Man and Beast The Lord helpeth man and beast. she took her husband by the hand. What! wouldst thou hesitate or be reluctant to restore to every one his own?" "No.'" Yalkut to Proverbs. and on her tongue is the instruction of kindness. took the white covering from their bodies. and said. "Rabbi. § 964. and blessed be the name of the Lord!" "Blessed be the name of the Lord!" echoed Rabbi Meir. "I take it for . but ye were my teachers in the law!" The mother turned away. XXXI. and bread of gold." she replied. the Macedonian. "Do you eat gold in this country?" said Alexander. who received him hospitably. During his march to conquer the world. I was your father. has a greater treasure than costly pearls. and blessed be his name for thy sake. She openeth her mouth with wisdom. too! for well is it written. and wept bitterly. didst thou not teach me that we must not be reluctant to restore that which was entrusted to our keeping? See. "but yet I thought it best not to restore them without acquainting thee therewith. in peaceful huts." said Rabbi Meir.

" said Alexander. who was at the same time their supreme judge. two citizens entered." The defendant answered. "Think you my sentence unjust?" the chief asked him." "For the king's use!" exclaimed the chief. the treasure inclusively. and not for any treasure that might be concealed beneath it." "And how. and as I was making a deep drain through it." Alexander seemed surprised and perplexed. I found a treasure. "but I would become acquainted with your manners and customs." said Alexander. "would the case have been decided in your country?" "To confess the truth. no!" replied Alexander.granted." "So be it. and yet the former owner of the land will not receive it. "we should have taken both parties into custody. I sold him the land with all its contingent." At the close of this conversation. The plaintiff said. then." replied the chief. for I only bargained for the land. This is not mine." rejoined the chief. For what reason. as into their court of justice. as well as existing advantages. "does the sun shine on that country?" "Oh. "I bought of this man a piece of land." "Wonderful! But are there tame animals in the country. that live on the grass and green . recapitulated their words. art thou come amongst us?" "Your gold has not tempted me hither. let thy son marry thy daughter." The chief. "that thou wert able to find eatable food in thine own country. in order that the parties might see whether or not he understood them aright. as well as my fellow citizen. after some reflection. I believe?" "Yes. said: "Thou hast a son." addressing the other. yes!" "Does it rain there?" "Assuredly. "a daughter?" "Yes. Then. then." rejoined the other: "sojourn among us as long as it pleaseth thee. and have seized the treasure for the king's use. "I hope I have a conscience. "Oh. and bestow the treasure on the young couple for a marriage portion. friend. then. and consequently. "but it astonishes me." '"Well." "And thou.

9. since its inhabitants are unworthy of such blessings. Pesikta d. the sea. and disturb the laws appointed to nature by his own wisdom? If a man steals grain and sows it. R. Buber). § XXVII. "if the fools worshipped such things only as were of no further use than that to which their folly applied them. if the idols were always as worthless as the idolatry is contemptible. But they worship the sun. and what not. that he threatens and seems to hate the worshippers of false gods more than the false gods themselves?" "A certain king. the moon. Should the king show his anger on the prince. and on all occasions makes manifest his abhorrence of idolatry. Tanhuma. and the rain drop down on your own country." retorted the Rabbi. How comes it. "had a disobedient son. the rivers. IX. the host of heaven. then. 8c. should ruin his own works. because it was stolen? Oh. Emor. no! the wise Creator lets . Yerush.. § XXXIII. Would you that the Creator." replied the philosopher: "but if your God destroyed the objects of idolatry. air. that must. and of many kinds. Conversation of a Philosopher with a Rabbi "Your God in His Book calls himself a jealous God. K. 32a.herbs? " "Very many. Among other worthless tricks of various kinds." "Ay. for the sake of these fools." Tamid. fire." "Yea. then. who can endure no other God beside himself. 74b75a (ed. he would take away the temptation to it. be the cause. he had the baseness to give to his dogs his father's name and titles. Baba Mezia. II." replied the Rabbi. p. "said the chief: "for the sake of those innocent animals the All-gracious Being continues to let the sun shine. should the seed not shoot up out of the earth. Leviticus Rabba. Genesis Rabba. or the dogs?" "Well turned.

an Emperor's wine ought to be kept in more precious vessels. but even the favor of the Emperor Trajan. "that wine keeps best in plain and mean vessels. He was so dark that people often took him for a blacksmith. And what if the children of folly abuse it to evil? The day of reckoning is not far off. the next time she saw him. and unfit to drink." replied the Princess. It is even so with wisdom. Yet his great learning. Being often at court." 'Abodah Zarah. "Oh!" exclaimed the witty Rabbi. Joshua. but.nature run her own course. "How comes it. The Princess and Rabbi Joshua Rabbi Joshua. "this is the way that ordinary people do." "But." said she. "Why. "Very fine advice. "that such glorious wisdom is enclosed in so mean a vessel?" The Rabbi." said the Rabbi. to be sure. found it. in earthen vessels." continued the princess. for her course is his own appointment. 54b. ordered a quantity of wine to be emptied out of the earthen jars into gold and silver vessels. sour. the son of Hananiah. one of the Princesses rallied him on his want of beauty. no ways dismayed. "I know many persons who are both wise . in a very short time. wit. hast thou given me!" said the Princess. thinking him in earnest. to her great surprise. and so plain as almost to frighten children. requested her to tell him in what sort of vessels her father kept his wine." The Princess. was one of those men whose minds are far more beautiful than their bodies. and men will then learn that human actions likewise reappear in their consequences. indeed. and wisdom had procured him not only the love and respect of the people. by as certain a law as the green blade rises up out of the buried corn-seed. "do you know the wine is sour and spoiled?" "Thou art then convinced.

Psalm xxv. Akiba All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth. 17. 7a. When." Ta'anit. that whilst the Egyptians were drowning in the Red Sea. This fully agrees with the character of God. most probably. who wishes not the destruction of the wicked. but God rebuked them. Mercy in Judgment A Parable of Rabbi Jochanan Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth. where he is represented as the God of mercy." replied the Sage. 10b. and ye wish to sing!" Megillah. 10. therefore. His whole . saying "What! the works of my hand are perishing. Compelled. as given in various parts of Scripture. Proverbs xxiv. to quit his native land. be still wiser were they less handsome. 50b. Rabbi Akiba wandered over barren wastes and dreary deserts. it ought to serve as a warning. but their repentance. "but they would. unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. the wickedness of men calls down just punishment upon their guilty heads." "True. Blessings in Disguise An Episode in the Life of R. but not as a matter of joy. by violent persecution.and handsome. the angels wished to chant the song of praise. Rabbi Jochanan relates. Nedarim. and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth.

He had scarcely read a chapter. when a violent storm extinguished the light. and the poor wanderer knew not where to shelter his head. then. a cock. Not one of the inhospitable inhabitants would accommodate him." exclaimed he. when a terrible lion came and devoured the ass. "What." He stretched himself on the bare earth. He was. and whatever He does is for the best. lighted his lamp. which served him instead of a watch. to have a few hours' sleep. he came at last near a village. will henceforth awaken me to the study of the law? But God is just. there dwelt also humanity and compassion. and began to read the Law. "What is to be done now?" exclaimed the lonely wanderer. when a fierce wolf came and killed the cock. "My lamp and my cock are gone my poor ass. to announce to him the rising dawn. if possible. and early in the . obliged to seek shelter in a neighboring wood. and an ass on which he rode. is gone all is gone! But. thinking where human beings dwelt. The sun was gradually sinking beneath the horizon. He had hardly closed his eyes. He was glad to find it inhabited. night was fast approaching." Scarcely had he finished the sentence." He seated himself beneath a tree. therefore. "My vigilant companion is gone! Who." said he. very hard. Fatigued and almost exhausted. but God is just. in order to study the law. He knows best what is good for us poor mortals. but he was mistaken. He asked for a night's lodging it was refused. "It is hard. and whatsoever He does is for the best. "What new misfortune is this?" ejaculated the astonished Akiba. which he used to light at night. whatever He does is for the best! " He passed a sleepless night. "must I not be permitted even to pursue my favorite study! But God is just. willing. too. "not to find a hospitable roof to protect me against the inclemency of the weather. praised be the Lord. or where to rest his weary limbs.equipage consisted of a lamp.

. With this view he brought her before Rabbi Simeon. killed its inhabitants. having been married above ten years without being blessed with offspring. then. be thy name. son of Yochai. The Rabbi. also. As soon as Akiba had sufficiently recovered from the amazement into which this wonderful occurrence had thrown him. endeavored at first to dissuade him from it. or any other beast of burden. however.morning went to the village to see whether he could procure a horse. Intended Divorce and Reconciliation Every wise woman buildeth her house. great God. by their inhospitality. 1. 60b. Seeing him. now I know by experience that poor mortal men are shortsighted and blind. often considering as evils what is intended for their preservation! But thou alone art just. and merciful! Had not the hard-hearted people driven me. and plundered their houses. by their noise. xiv. and kind. and have murdered me. from the village. to enable him to pursue his journey. that it was Thy mercy which deprived me of my two companions. &c. the robbers would have been drawn to the spot. that they might not. I should assuredly have shared their fate. give notice to the banditti where I was. and exclaimed: "Thou. A certain Israelite of Sidon. determined to be divorced from his wife. the God of Abraham. Isaac. for ever and ever! " Berakot. Had not the wind extinguished my lamp. who was unfavorable to divorces. he lifted up his voice. But what was his surprise not to find a single individual alive! It appears that a band of robbers had entered the village during the night. I perceive. and Jacob. Praised. Prov.

let your separation be like your union. we have lived together happily these many. and I will tell thee all. "be patient. my beloved. and on the morrow come to me. . than she ordered him to be carried to her father's house. since ye are resolved to be divorced. my dear husband. and begging him not to be alarmed. Finding himself in a strange place. didst thou not tell me last night. and having drunk rather freely. and coming from such authority. however. and I will comply with your wishes. with any degree of propriety. were ye not rejoiced? Did ye not make a feast and entertain your friends? Now." So reasonable a request. I might take out of thy house whatever I valued most? Now. Go home. During the hours of merriment. I give thee permission to take with thee out of my house. who had waited to see the issue of her stratagem. to which they invited their several friends. To convince thee. believe me. The lady no sooner perceived it. most of the guests fell asleep. told him that he was now in her father's house. The fumes of the wine having gradually evaporated. that I bear thee no ill-will. anything thou likest best. "Where am I? How came I here? What means all this?" His wife. he addressed him and his wife thus: "My children. "how should I come in thy father's house?" "Be patient. it is only for the want of children which makes me wish for a separation." rejoined the woman.disinclined to accept his advice. "In thy father's house!" exclaimed the still astonished husband. Recollect. They accordingly went home. the man awoke. the people were merry. prepared a sumptuous entertainment." replied the prudent woman. entertain your friends. thus addressed his wife: "My beloved. make a feast." "Be it so. when you were first joined in the holy bands of wedlock. the husband being elated with wine. and among them the master of the feast. could not. stepped from behind a curtain. he wondered and exclaimed. and to be put into a bed prepared for the purpose. The cup went round. be rejected. many years.

a light. but no rain came. True Charity Knows no Law Illustrated by a Tale of Rabbi Tanchuma And rend your hearts and not your garments. XXII.' Is it not better to extinguish an earthly light. Midrash Rabba to Canticles. The Rabbi then addressed them thus: "My children. when. the people fasted several days. Rabbi Tanhum was once asked. let . K. overcome by so much kindness.. 147a (ed. embraced her. than a heavenly light?" Shabbat. Buber)." said he. "True. I. and they lived thenceforth very happily together. in case it incommoded a sick person. "if you wish your fast to be acceptable to God. whether it was allowable to extinguish a candle on the Sabbath. was reconciled to her. nay. 13 In the days of Rabbi Tanchuma. Joel ii. "What a question you ask!" replied the Rabbi. 27. xx. nay. there is not a treasure in this world I esteem so much as I do thee. p. Prov. Pesikta de R. it is called 'a heavenly light. in consequence of a great drought." The husband. 30a. a fast had been proclaimed. so is the soul of man. 4.among all thy treasures there is not one I value so much as I do thee. you call a burning candle. The Heavenly Lamp The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord.

"Rabbi! Rabbi! what. the earth was fertilized. they perceived a man give some money to a poor woman who had formerly been his wife. the children of thy dearly beloved Abraham. § XXXIV. who are the works of thine own hands. and questioned him about his motive." The people opened their purses. but was then divorced from him. the people foolishly imagined that such interdiction extended even to acts of charity. we. "if the distress of this woman. and Jacob. called the supposed offender before him. The good Rabbi. no bounds. do we sit idle spectators." said the charitable Israelite. but greatly admired it. Genesis Rabba. with ignorant. what relief may we not expect from Thee. Isaac. Leviticus Rabba. "it is true. excited his compassion. and in order to impress on the minds of his hearers that true charity knows no limits. and here is a great sin committed?" They then told him what they had observed. and the distressed people relieved. and." The virtuous Rabbi not only did not blame this action. I gave this poor woman some money. who had no claim on the bounty of him that relieved her. no distinction. took care to incorporate this very deed in a prayer which he addressed to the Almighty: "Lord of all worlds. who wished to remove so destructive a prejudice from their be accompanied by acts of charity and good-will." exclaimed the pious Rabbi. there came plenty of rain. and distributed money to the poor and needy. as the traditional law interdicted every familiar intercourse between the parties after a separation had once taken place. I saw her great distress. While thus laudably employed. but vehement zeal. Now. exclaimed. § XXXIII. thou Father of Mercies!" God heard his prayers. and my heart was filled with compassion. "Master. .

" said a certain Roman matron to Rabbi Jose. Is it possible that Joseph." said the father. "Because. "hadst thou read the books. could have resisted the repeated solicitations and the alluring charms of his rich. powerful. and imitate the latter. why he did not attend the lectures of Rabbi Hisda." Shabbat. a poor and wretched slave.Scripture Impartiality Vindicated by Rabbi Jose "The author of the books you call holy. of which thou appearest to have some knowledge. "he occupies himself with that which is necessary for the preservation of human beings[1] and this you call worldly affairs! Trust me. and in the very prime of youth. § LXXXVII." continued the Rabbi." "What. "These persons. "he only treats of temporal and worldly concerns." replied the son. yet the divine Historian did not conceal their faults. that posterity might avoid the former. neither palliating their vices. but laid them open to the view of their descendants. "appears to me very partial in his accounts of past events: nay. this is among the most estimable of studies." replied Jose. some of them appear incredible." It is the peculiar characteristic of our holy books to represent the actions of our ancestors with faithfulness and impartiality. and enamoured mistress?" "Thou wouldst not have spoken thus. 82a. nor exaggerating their virtues. "were superior to Joseph in age and in dignity. Judah and Tamar." He then reminded her of the narratives of Reuben and Bilhah. The Honor Due to Whatever is Truly Useful Rabbi Huna once asked his son Raba. with due attention. . Genesis Rabba.

said to him. On his way. and why shouldst thou add insult to misfortune? Despise no creature. and alighting from the animal on which he rode. replied "I do not know. the son of Eleazar. returning from his master's residence to his native place. 4. The stranger saluted him by saying. threw himself at the stranger's feet. "Peace be upon thee. instead of returning the civility. The inhabitants being apprised of his arrival." Simeon. proud of his learning. noticed only the traveller's deformity. he overtook a singularly unshapely and misfeatured person. "go first to the Artist that made me. Despise not the poor. "Racca. but thou hadst better make these inquiries of the great Artist that made me. and provoked by the insult. came in crowds to meet him. was highly elated with the great knowledge he had acquired. "No.To Insult Poverty or Natural Defect. the most insignificant is the work of thy Maker. xvii.! what an ugly vessel thou hast produced!" Simeon continued his entreaties. and entreated him to pardon a fault committed in the wantonness of his heart. Great Artist. Despise not the deformed. Rabbi." said the stranger. exclaiming . the stranger persisted in his refusal. In the mean time they arrived at the Rabbi's native city. reproacheth his Maker.[2] are the inhabitants of thy town all as misshapen as thou art?" The stranger. Rabbi Simeon. their defects are not of their own seeking. and by way of joke. thou knowest not how soon it may be thine own lot. and which he most sincerely regretted. Prov. astonished at Simeon's want of manners. no Venial Crime Whoso mocketh the poor. and tell him." The Rabbi perceived his error. who was travelling to the same town.

Rabbi Eliezer. "O! may Israel not produce many like him!" He then related what had happened. Fortune. "And him ye honor with the name of Rabbi!" continued the poor man. Such a sudden reverse of fortune was enough . he is aware of it. than Abba Judan." Ta'anit. well-versed in the Law. The people pointed to Simeon. he justified that of the stranger. and his extensive fields and vineyards became the prey of his greedy and inexorable creditors. xviii. and not as stubborn as a cedar. however. who was then in very affluent circumstances. Rabbi Joshua. Of all his vast possessions. nor with more cheerfulness. for he is a great man. The learned Simeon thanked him. and Rabbi Akiba travelled about annually in the land of Israel. "He has done wrong. 16." said the people. none gave more liberally. A dreadful storm destroyed the fruits of his grounds. Liberality Grounded on Religion not to be Conquered by Reverse of Fortune Exemplified in Abba Judan A man's gift maketh room for him. Among their many and various contributors. by saying "That though a person ought ever to be as flexible as a reed. took a turn. to collect money for the poor. yet to insult poverty or natural defect is no venial crime. Rabbi! Welcome. 20a-b." The stranger then forgave him. Prov."Peace be upon thee. and one that we cannot expect to be readily pardoned. and whilst he held out his own conduct as a warning to the people. nothing was left him but one small plot of ground. our Instructor!" "Whom do ye call Rabbi?" asked the stranger. a raging pestilence swept away the greater part of his flocks and herds. and bringeth him before the great men. "do forgive him. and intimated that his long refusal had no other object than that of impressing the impropriety on the Rabbi's mind.

But now. notwithstanding his poverty." "Would to God it were in thy power but the Lord alone can heal the wounds which he inflicts. and by dint of great labor. "The Lord. suppose we sell half of it. The year passed on. to rest from the labors of the day. "gave and the Lord hath taken away. He . "What ails my beloved?" asked she tenderly." said he. Then did we taste those heavenly pleasures which are the lot of the good and charitable. "What was Abba Judan!" exclaimed he. we are ourselves poor and wretched. cheerful and contented. and was. and still greater frugality. "Dost thou not remember the days of our prosperity. as he was sitting at the door of his miserable hut. "and what is he now?" Pensive and depress any ordinary mind. when our corn fed the hungry our fleece clothed the naked and our oil and wine refreshed the drooping spirit of the afflicted? The orphans came round us and blessed us and the widow's heart sang for joy." He diligently applied to cultivate the only field he had left." rejoined his virtuous wife. he contrived to support himself and family decently. His wife perceived the sudden change. nor him who wants help. "art thou not well? tell me. alas! we cannot relieve the fatherless. patiently submitted to his lot. One evening." replied the distressed man. let his name be praised for ever. Seest thou not yonder good men coming to make the charitable collection? They will call but what have we to give them?" "Do not repine. dear husband. and he felt for the first time the pangs of poverty. and give the money for the use of the poor?" A beam of joy overspread the good man's countenance. "we have still one field left. he seated himself in the corner of his hut. It was then that his former greatness and his present deplorable condition at once rushed upon his mind. that I may administer to thy relief. But Abba Judan. on whose heart the Divine precepts of his holy religion had been early and deeply imprinted. he perceived the Rabbis coming at a distance.

he saw something glittering in the hollow which the foot had made." Whilst they were thus discoursing. removed from the wretched hovel in which he lived. the good man happened to pass that way. and beautiful gardens? they belong to Abba Judan. he dug the hole deeper.followed his wife's advice. and which his former distress had obliged him to sell. They accepted it. In endeavoring to relieve the animal from its perilous situation. said to him: "May the Lord restore thee to thy former prosperity!" Abba Judan resumed his former spirits. He took it home. he gave them the money. The wise men greeted him. they addressed themselves to some of the inhabitants of the village. come to my house and partake of it. and. found an immense treasure concealed in the very spot. The time arrived. charity. to make their collection. when the before-mentioned Rabbis came. and a blessing to the unfortunate. flourishing vineyards. the foot of the ox that drew the ploughshare sunk into the ground. sold half the field. as usual. into a very fine house." said he. "Masters. and asked him how he did. "the good and generous Abba Judan! who is like him in riches. He again became a father to the fatherless. As he was pursuing his work. "Abba Judan!" exclaimed they. Those fine buildings? they also belong to Abba Judan. Nor did he neglect the poor. and with it his wonted diligence. and the beast was maimed. to his great astonishment and no less joy. and how he was. I will . and goodness? See you yonder flocks and herds? they belong to Abba Judan. Those vast fields. and as they departed. He went to plough the small spot of ground still left him. "your prayers have produced plenty of fruit. and asked them whether they could tell them what had become of Abba Judan. and added greatly to them. repurchased the lands and possessions which his ancestors had left him. This excited his attention. and when the collectors called. Not finding their generous contributor in the place where he had resided the year before.

"I will tell thee. They accepted it.make up the deficiency of last year's subscription." said a heathen once to Rabbi Joshua. Each extols him whom he wishes to adore. we have nothing but . where. the son of Karha. "permit me to ask thee a question: Hast thou any children?" "Alas!" exclaimed the heathen. III. yet we have placed thee at the very top of the list. each wishes to adore his god in his own way. convinced that the smallness of thy gift at that time arose from want of means not from want of inclination. From words they often come to blows. § IV. another Mars. and prayers are to commence. "though many exceeded thee in their donations. you ought to follow the majority. after entertaining them nobly.'" Yerushalmi Horayot." replied the heathen: "I have many sons. "thou remindest me of the greatest of my troubles. so that instead of having a comfortable meal.em On Pretended Majorities "It is declared in your law. "that in matters where unanimity cannot be obtained. another Neptune. what is the matter?" asked Joshua. generally speaking." said they to him. when he said: 'A man's gift maketh room for him and bringeth him before the great men. Deuteronomy Rabba." replied the Rabbi. but when meal-time arrives. they live pretty peaceably together." They followed him to his house. One invokes Jupiter. § V. and you allow that we heathen are more numerous than you are. he gave them a very handsome present for the poor. and taking out the subscription list of the preceding year "See. then why do you not follow our mode of worship?" "Before I answer thy interrogation. and insists on his superiority. It is to men like thou art that the wise king alluded." "Why. Leviticus Rabba. 48a.

"thy neighbors are. neither be weary of his correction. unable to use his hands. On the Mood of Mind that will Render the Consequences of Improper Actions the Atonement for Them My son. under the severest sufferings." said the Rabbi. "I might as well. good man. Under such circumstances. and to resign ourselves to the will of God. Prov. "unless they be childless: otherwise the same cause produces the same effect.confusion and quarrels." said the heathen. it behooves us to bear affliction with fortitude." "And why dost thou not endeavor to reconcile them?" asked Joshua. who corrects as a kind father does his children. and his feet were so sore that they were obliged to be immersed in a large basin . iii. It is related of this pious man[3] that he was blind and lame. his whole body was distempered." exclaimed Joshua. even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. despise not the chastening of the Lord. "thou callest this a majority whose worship thou fain wouldst recommend to us! Be advised by me. first reconcile the worshippers amongst themselves. not with a view of inflicting pain." "And yet. more fortunate?" "Not at all. § IV. 12. and which Rabbi Nahum confirmed by his own conduct." Leviticus Rabba." "I truly pity thee. perhaps. or to smoothen the turbulent waves of the ocean. Few men pass through life without meeting with many and various calamities. 11. For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth. but for the purpose of amendment. and before thou attemptest to reconcile others to such a mode of worship. at the end. This is what the royal moralist inculcated." replied the heathen. "attempt to reconcile fire and water.

and almost starved. one laden with various sorts of eatables." said the afflicted man. 'Oh! relieve my distress. Ye legs that did not quickly run to his assistance. my children. "Since thou art so good a man as to be worthy of the special protection of Providence. and the third with various sorts of sweetmeats. wished to remove him to another dwelling." said his disciples. accosted me. My conscience began to upbraid me. and became a complete ruin. so it happened.' As I said. and scarcely had I finished unloading the animals." They did so. 'Poor lamented man. Oh! may ye have no more your wonted use. may ye no more be able to perform your usual office. three asses. feel the affliction it would not relieve. to keep off the insects. look at the distress of the poor man. for I am confident the house will not give way as long as I remain in it. then. exclaimed: "Woe be to . but would not.of water. which did not feel compassion for the wretchedness and misery of that lifeless body. fearing lest it should tumble over their master's head. a poor man. "then remove me. The house he lived in was in so ruinous a state that his disciples. May this body. 'a little more promptness might have saved thee." The disciples. and exclaimed: 'Oh! ye eyes that could. "Remove the furniture first. and no sooner had they removed the patient. "I once went to pay a visit to my father-in-law. as a present. wretched. my inconsiderate delay has killed thee!' I then threw myself on his dead body. I took with me. Arriving not far from the place of my destination. but still more by their master's dreadful sufferings. too.' This took up some time.' 'Wait.' said I. This. "how comes it that thou art thus afflicted?" "I will tell you. when the poor man dropped down dead before me. moved by this sad recital. 'Master. is the cause of my misery. may ye be prived of the light of day. one with wine. 'until I have unloaded the asses.' answered I. Ye hands that would not reach him timely relief." replied their pious instructor.' cried he. when the house fell in.

without reflecting on the past. The Seven Ages There are few persons who have not read Shakspeare's beautiful description of the Seven Ages of Man. with numerous attendants about him all ready to serve him. but his sentiments are equally just. delights in dirt and filth. The second commences about the age of two or three years. 21a. the son of Eliezer) did the author of Ecclesiastes make use of the word vanity[4] in allusion to the seven stages of human life. His language may not appear so elegant as that of the inimitable bard. in the hope of enjoying. An ancient Hebrew sage has given us his thoughts on the same subject. or caring for the future. the thoughtless boy. in the next world. like an unclean animal. when the darling child is permitted to crawl on the ground and. jumps and skips about like a . and certainly more edifying. as an atonement for his former sins. Seven times in one verse (said Rabbi Simon. when the infant lies like a king on a soft couch. "were you not to see me in this condition." replied their heroic instructor. at the age of ten. Ta'anit. that bliss which is reserved for the good and the righteous. The first commences in the first year of human existence." Intimating that he willingly endured his present sufferings. and eager to testify their love and attachment by kisses and embraces. to see thee in a condition so deplorable!" "It would be much worse for me.

pp. becomes grave. begins to set off his person by dress. to toil and labor for a living. like the patient ass. like a young. 233-235. and the parallels cited by G. Midrash ha-Gadol to Genes. as vigilant and as fawning. too as the faithful dog. I. Ecclesiastes Rabba I. 2. full of vanity and pride. Kohut. cp. 60-61). He then. § Pikude. when the poor man. 2 (ed. as if surveying the place where all his vast schemes must terminate. and distrustful. prances and gallops about in search of a wife. I. At last comes the final stage. Behold him now in the parental state. unbroken horse. surrounded by helpless children craving his support. however reluctantly. Midrash Tanhuma. in Jellinek's Beth Hamidrash. 154155. A. The fourth stage begins about the age of twenty. also. Incorruptible Treasures . Yalkut to Eccles. is obliged. when the decrepit old man. and. guarding his little flock. and snatching at everything that comes in his way. when. in "Jewish Encyclopedia. pp. when the young man. and where ambition and vanity are finally humbled to the dust. 2. also Seder Yezirat ha-Velad. contented to enjoy the present moment. sedate.young kid on the enamelled green. Then comes the matrimonial state. in order to provide for his offspring. ii. like the unwieldy though sagacious elephant. Schechter. begins to hang down his head toward the ground. he is as bold. and looking to him for bread." I.

and to distribute them among the poor and needy. "Thy forefathers. but thou thou not only dost not add. What they amassed was for others. The only difference is this: they preserved earthly. but dost squander what they have left thee. in the purchase of corn and other necessaries of life. I. "took care to add to the treasures which their ancestors had left them. Yerushalmi Peah. grieved to see such vast sums of money expended. They preserved." Baba Batra. They placed theirs where any one might lay hold of them mine are preserved in a place where no human hand can touch them. The king's brothers. they treasured up things useful for this world my treasures will be useful in the next world. What they preserved yielded no fruit. Table Talk of the Sages of Israel . § IV." replied the virtuous and generous king. 23. touched by their affliction. heavenly treasures. but I have preserved lives. Prov. indeed. too. During the reign of king Monobaz. gold and silver. "I." "You are mistaken.In the way of righteousness there is life. and were in the utmost distress. who were not of a very generous disposition. 1. ordered his minister to expend the treasures which he and his ancestors had amassed. xii. and in the pathway thereof there is no death. there happened to be a most grievous famine. The king. as my ancestors did before me. what I amass is for my own use: in short. preserve treasures. 11a." said they. my dear brethren. reproached him with want of economy. that which I preserve will yield fruit in abundance. Tosefta Peah. The people had parted with their all. but I.

xxxviii.When the son of Gamaliel was married. handed it to Eliezer. and permit so great a man to wait on us?" "Why not?" replied Joshua. from following so glorious an example?" Kiddushin. and Zadoc were invited to the marriage feast. shall we hinder our kind host." "Indeed. "how long shall we be engaged in reciting the praises of created beings. . and in her tongue is the law of kindness. Gamaliel then handed it to Joshua. Why. no such thing." continued he. xxxi. then. "a man even greater than he did so long before him. Gamaliel. Rabbi Eliezer. waited himself on his guests. Why. who politely refused it. the clouds to accumulate. Sifre to Deuteronomy. even he waited upon his guests. pouring out a cup of wine. as it is written And he (Abraham) stood by them whilst they were eating. blessed be His name. then. Was not our father. Abraham. Joshua. friend Joshua?" said Eliezer. 32 b. nor viands to allay their hunger. 26. shall we prevent our kind host from imitating so excellent an example?" "I know. and. and daily prepares a magnificent table for His creatures. else he would neither have offered them water to wash their feet. Gamaliel. and neglect the glory of the Creator! Even He. "a being still greater than Abraham. who doth the same. and the rain to descend: He fertilizes the earth. He supposed them to be Arabian travellers. ch. causes the winds to blow. Destruction of Wickedness. because he knew them to be angels. "shall we sit. The latter accepted it. Perhaps you may think he did so." exclaimed Rabbi Zadoc. the Best Way of Destroying Wicked Men She openeth her mouth with wisdom. Prov. a very great man? yet. though one of the most distinguished men among the Israelites. "How is this.

Like the mild rays of the sun. 35. who took the greatest delight in doing him every mischief in their power. as it is written. The Meek and the Haughty. His wife heard him: "Dear husband. and thenceforth prayed that God might enlighten the minds of his troublesome neighbors. he prayed that God might destroy them. they warm and expand whatever comes within the circle of their influence. They sweetly allure the hearts of men. 10a. for their repentance." said she. then. though a man of great learning. The Contrast Exemplified in the Conduct of Shammai and Hillel Austerity of manners and harshness of disposition are the graceless offspring of pride and arrogance. humility and meekness are the lovely children of humanity and benevolence. Hillel. and the wicked will be no more. Shammai. not for their destruction. 'Let sin be consumed out of the earth. they obscure and deform the most shining talents and the greatest learning. throw a splendor on the most humble. whereas. Vexed with their outrageous conduct." The good Rabbi approved of the advice of his wife.Rabbi Meir had some very troublesome neighbors. and are the best ornaments of the truly great. was of a morose temper. . Like a chilling frost they repel and contract whatever comes near them. and reform their hearts. and.' (Psalm civ. but of sin. The truth of these maxims we find fully exemplified in the conduct of two Hebrew sages. who flourished in the time of Herod (misnamed) the Great. like a dark cloud. "would it not be better to pray for their reform? Recollect that king David did not pray for the destruction of sinners. Berakot. in addition to his great knowledge.) Pray.

" etc. 31a. with the staff he held in his hand. p. that a heathen passing a synagogue. he went to Shammai. whatever thou dislikest thyself. The amiable instructor complied with his request. in an eminent degree. As soon as the heathen heard this. and thus addressed him: "I wish to become a proselyte." The morose teacher. and told him "Remember. and thus addressed him: "Friend. and an ephod. recension B. It happened that a heathen came to the former. and a robe.possessed the virtues of humility and meekness. (Exod. and a broidered coat. This mild instructor of Israel received him courteously. and made the same request. XXVI (ed. do not unto thy neighbors.) The heathen asked for whom all these fine garments were intended. offended at so unreasonable a request. pushed the applicant away. This is the substance of the law. 53). Another Example. but on condition that I be made a highpriest. and a girdle. "Master. or. everything else is but its comment: now go and learn. The heathen went to Hillel. Abot de-Rabbi Natan." was the answer. hast thou ever known a king to be elected without being first instructed in the rules of government? Whoever wishes to be high-priest must . a mitre. the Heathen and the Hebrew Sages It happened at another time." The heathen thanked him. I wish to become a proselyte. while I stand upon one leg. 4. "For the high-priest. ch. and became a good and pious man. and said. and made the same application. Shabbat. heard the Sofer (clerk) read the following words: "And these are the garments which they shall make: a breast-plate." Shammai drove him away with contempt. Schechter. on condition that thou dost teach me the whole law. xxviii. He applied to Hillel.

when the grateful proselyte thus expressed himself: "Shammai's harshness almost drove me from the world.) In the course of time. if he had presumed to administer this sacred function. would have been punishable with death. "to any one who is not a descendant of Aaron. but. and learn. When they came to the 7th verse. the Wager Another example will still further prove the great meekness and patient forbearance of this truly great man. was. Come. Even David." The man then reasoned with himself "If thus the greatest of Israel is not thought worthy to fill this office. he went to the house of Hillel (who. A man laid once a wager with another. May all the blessings rest upon thy head." answered Hillel. "It applies. "And the Stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. thou worthy instructor of Israel! for it is thou who hast brought me under the wings of the Divine presence. which says. they all three happened to meet together. how should I. but Hillel's humility saved me. or. "Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests.first be made acquainted with the rules belonging to so dignified an office." Shabbat. by continuing to study the law." etc. became an adopted member of that nation to whom God said. (Exodus xix." He then taught him the 18th chapter of Numbers." the heathen asked who was meant by the stranger. the king of Israel. 31a. it must be recollected. then. The Conquest of Meekness.[5] In order to make sure of it. miserable stranger?" He gave up the desire of becoming a high-priest. The bet was four hundred zuz. that he would provoke Hillel to anger. . 6. a poor.

the most exalted of the Israelites). "I want to know." answered Hillel. because they have no experienced midwives. "Where is Hillel? where is Hillel?" The Sage again threw his mantle over his shoulders." said the man." . and with this view said to him. vociferating as before. "Where is Hillel? where is Hillel?" without giving him any title of distinction. "What dost thou want. truly." said Hillel." The man went away. my son?" "I want to know." said the man. "but fear thou wilt be angry. "they live in a marshy land. But." "An important question." "I fain would ask thee many more questions. "Art thou the Hillel who is styled the Prince of the Israelites?" Hillel answered in the affirmative. Hillel was in the act of dressing himself for the Sabbath. "if so. and said to him. "why the Africans have broad feet. and. and called out. "Because. "ask as many questions as it pleases thee." "Because. "I want to know. went away disappointed. may Israel not produce many persons like thee!" "And why?" asked the sweet-natured Hillel. put on his cloak. "why the Tarmudians have weak eyes. and I wilt answer them if I can." The man perceiving Hillel's mildness and good nature." rejoined the former. the sand flying in their eyes causes soreness." Hillel answered." said the man. "why the Babylonians have round heads. thought that the only chance left was. resolving to make another effort to provoke him. and." said the meek instructor of Israel." replied the stranger "because through thee I have lost four hundred zuz. he came again in an hour." "Fear nothing. and. then." said the man. with his usual mildness. and came again in an hour." The man. "Well. to insult him to his face. "Because they live in a sandy that time. in a very turbulent manner called out. "The reason is. asked him what was his pleasure. astonished at Hillel's unruffled temper and fearing to lose his money. without noticing the rudeness of the stranger. next to the king. "Where is Hillel? I want Hillel!" "What is thy pleasure now?" said the latter. mildly.

"I have. who. Here." said Hillel. . It happened once that he sent this gift by his son. "because it will teach thee to be more prudent for the future. in addition to great learning and wisdom. take this purse with money to him. and not to make such foolish wagers. Among these. was blessed with great riches. "then. Accustomed to such good living I wonder how he can come out with the small. he made it a rule to give annually to a number of poor men a certain sum. allowance we make him. for the future. on his return. Independent of his general charity." replied the son. Besides." Shabbat."Thy money is not entirely lost. let his allowance be doubled. the unfortunate man has seen better days. it is much better that thou lose thy money. sufficient to maintain them comfortably. represented to his father that he was bestowing his charity on very unworthy objects. whom you think so poor. I dare say. 67b. and who does not blush to live on charity I have seen him and his family indulge themselves in great luxuries. "Why." Ketubot. of which no one knew how to make a better use than he. than Hillel should lose his patience. "seen that man. who. there was one to whom he used to give four hundred crowns on the day preceding the day of Atonement. with a smile." "Hast thou?" replied the benevolent chief. and. 31a. drinking the most costly wines. what is the matter?" asked Mar Ukba. True Charity An Anecdote of Mar Ukba Mak Ukba was one of those chiefs of Israel.

Informed that the son of Nethina had one like it. The case being urgent. dear mother. unfortunately. His mother was. offered him more money. the son of Nethina. 12. enough. EXOD. but the good man refused to take it. They gave him the sum they offered the second time. He consented to take the sum offered.' said the dutiful son. Ye shall fear every man his mother and his father. could I obtain the treasures of the world. as his father was asleep.' The priests waited till the father awoke.' Further: one of the precious stones attached to the highpriest's sacerdotal garments was once. xix. forego the large profit he could make. when Damah brought them the jewel. and. and the priests thinking that he only said so to obtain a larger price. insane. yet would this dutiful son not suffer an ill word to escape his lips. and told them that he must. Lev. all that he used to say on such occasions was. that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. and would frequently not only abuse him.Filial Reverence. the priests went to him. "Do you wish to know. and went into an adjoining room to fetch the jewel. 'I would not even for a moment disturb my father's rest. by some means or other. Exemplified in the Acts of Damah." said the great Rabbi Eliezer to his disciples (in answer to their inquiries. his foot resting on the chest wherein the gem was deposited. but even strike him in the presence of his companions. how far the honor of parents extends) "do you wish to know how to honor your parents? then go and take example of Damah. On entering he found his father asleep. 'I will not barter the satisfaction of having . 3. lost. the Son of Nethina Honor thy father and thy mother. for the present. xx. and offered him a very large price for it. 'Enough. 'No. he went back to the priests. Without disturbing his father.

1. "Some men. said. yet deserves to be punished. instead of making him a proper reply. such a man. Deuteronomy Rabba. For of what use is the best of food. 'Abodah Zarah 23b-24a. § I. 'where didst thou get this fine bird?' The brute. though he supports his parent. and would not suffer him to work. 2. Fearful lest his aged parent . as other dogs do. I. end. " Kiddushin 31a.' said the father. and left him with a blessing. they relate the following: "A certain person maintained his father.' This they did. The Manner no inessential part of the Deed. Yerushalmi Peah. 7. 'Old man! old man! eat away. Give me what you offered at first. from the Talmud 1. § XXIII. for gold. in acts of duty and benevolence. and I shall be satisfied. and yet inherit Gehinnom. One day. chew away. Notwithstanding his great poverty. The Double Moral and Twofold Tale.' Now. as he was pursuing his laborious occupation. word was brought him that the king's officers were at the door.done my duty. Kiddushin."[7] To illustrate the first part of this apophthegm. he maintained his aged father. I. and was accustomed to provide him with the most costly viands. urging the people to come and do the king's work. Know the Motive before thou judgest of the Act.[6] Others set them to grind at the mill. 'My son. they relate the following: "A certain individual obtained his living by grinding at the mill. Pesikta Rabbati. One day he placed before him a very fine capon." say the Talmudists. and inherit Gan-Eden. when it is thus mixed with gall?" To illustrate the second part of the preceding apophthegm. "give their indigent parents the finest capons to eat.

should be maltreated, he called him and said, 'Come, dear father, take my place at the mill, and let me appear as the master of the house. Should the tyrants insult, better be it that I should be insulted than my beloved father. Should they strike, I can bear the blows better than thou; and should they strip me of my clothes, let me rather go naked than my aged father.' Now, surely, this man, although he set his father to work at the mill, will inherit Paradise." Kiddushin, 31 a-b; Tosafot to l. c., Yerushalmi Peah, I, 1.

Compassion Toward the Unhappy: or, Rabbi Jose and His Repudiated Wife If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink; for, though thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, the Lord shall reward thee." Prov. xxv. 21, 22. Rabbi Jose, the Galilean, had the misfortune to be married to a perverse and quarrelsome woman, who not only did not pay him the respect due to his station, but would often insult him in the presence of his disciples. Seeing these repeated acts of aggression, they asked him why he did not divorce her, and thus get rid of so troublesome a companion. "Her dowry is large, and I am poor," replied their instructor; "and it would be unjust to send her away without restoring to her what she brought me." One day, the rich and learned Eliezer, the son of Azariah, paid our Rabbi a friendly visit. Rejoiced to see this great luminary of learning, and thinking himself highly honored by the company of so great a man, he pressed him to stay and dine with him. Rabbi Eliezer consented. The ill-natured woman, who delighted to vex her husband on all occasions, turned her back on his friend, and, by unbecoming

gestures, gave him to understand how little she cared either for him or his friends. Jose took no notice of her uncourteous behavior; and mildly asked her what she had for dinner. "Nothing," replied his bad-tempered wife; "nothing but a few vegetables"; though she had actually prepared some very fine chickens for herself. Rabbi Eliezer, who easily perceived that his friend was not blessed with the best-natured woman in the world, advised him to divorce her; and when Jose pleaded his poverty, he gave him a very large sum of money. The woman was accordingly divorced; and, after some time, married the beadle of the town. The man becoming blind, and unable to follow his usual occupation, was reduced to such poverty as to be constrained to beg his bread in the streets. His wife had the disagreeable task to lead him about from house to house, to excite the compassion of the well-disposed and charitable. In this degrading employment, she had sufficient pride left to avoid the house in which her former husband resided. The unfortunate man, though blind, was not unacquainted with the character of the inhabitants of the town. He had often heard of Jose's piety and charity, and asked his wife why she passed that good man's house. She frequently put him off with frivolous excuses; but the question being continually repeated, she at last told him the truth: and that a sense of shame prevented her from begging at the house of which she was formerly the mistress. The husband, being of a brutish disposition, thought this reason insufficient; insisted on being led thither; and when his wife obstinately refused it, he beat her most cruelly. She shrieked: her lamentable cries brought a great crowd about them. The wretched woman showed her wounds. The man justified himself by stating, that his wife injured him in his calling, and recited the great losses he experienced through her obstinacy. Amidst this uproar and confusion, Jose happened accidentally to pass. He inquired for the cause; and no sooner was he informed of

the real state of the affair, than he ordered the wants of those poor people to be immediately relieved, provided a house for them, and maintained them out of his own scanty income, for the rest of their lives. "Rabbi," said his disciples to him, "is not this the same woman that formerly made thy life so miserable?" "Yea," answered their pious instructor; "and for that very reason I am bound to relieve her; for thus it is written: 'Do not shut thine eyes against thine own flesh.'" Thus practically teaching, that a tender connection once formed, though afterward dissolved, is never wholly forgotten by a good man; and that past misconduct is not to be recollected by us against the unhappy in the hour of their affliction. Genesis Rabba, § XVII; Leviticus Rabba, § XXXIV; abbreviated in Yerushalmi Peah, XII, 1.

The Legacy of Rabbi Johanan to his Disciples The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Psal. cxi. 10. When Rabbi Johanan, the son of Zakkai, a man no less celebrated for his great learning than his piety, was taken ill, his disciples went to visit him. They found their venerable master in his dying moments; his eyes bedewed with tears. Having often heard him descant on the vanity of this world, the immortality of the soul, and the great rewards reserved for the good and virtuous in the next world, they were very much surprised to see him in tears, as if regretting to leave this world; and therefore ventured to ask him for an explanation. "Thou light of Israel, chief pillar of the nation, and strength of the law," said they, "why dost thou weep?" "Suppose," answered their pious instructor, "suppose I were to be

nor bribe him with money. who may doom me to everlasting punishment. who might indeed kill me. it is a death without further hope. fear. notwithstanding all which. here to-day. made of flesh and blood. although convinced of their master's piety. but could not deprive me of a future life. yet felt the truth of his observation. Now I am to be conducted before the awful majesty of the King of kings. Schechter. "fear God as much as one fears a mortal king. my children. and should he condemn me to death. how tremblingly alive men are for their reputation. nay. and weep." said their master. perhaps I might pacify him with words.conducted before the tribunal of some great king. who is. Abot de-Rabbi Natan. I should tremble. Recension A. but I know not by which of these I shall be conveyed. XXV (ed. whose punishment. and no more?" "O!" replied the dying sage." said his disciples. the other to hell. Neither is this all: but there are two roads before me. before the holy and blessed God. and entreated him to bestow his last blessing upon them. Whose just anger may be eternal. cannot last forever. and the purity of his past life. "is this all. . and liveth forever. whose anger. Have I not cause to weep?" The disciples. however severe. who after all is but flesh and blood. "O! may ye. 79). does he not endeavor to hide it from his fellow-creature? Would any one be guilty of a crime were he certain it would be known? And what can be hidden from the all-seeing eye of God!" Berakot." "Rabbi. however vehement. cannot be eternal. 28b. Nor can I pacify him with words. ch. p. or bribe him with money or valuable presents. to-morrow in the grave. "would it were even so! Consider. one leading to paradise. When a person commits a fault.

I should like to see him." replied Joshua. "suppose we try to look first at one of his ambassadors? " The emperor consented. xxiii. and I felt it not." The emperor insisted. 59b-60a. "that your God is everywhere. in answer to a demand of the Emperor Trajan "You teach. "but he cannot be seen. or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. shalt thou say." said Joshua. Prov. and stingeth like an adder. 31-35. when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again. "Copper vessels will render me the . "I cannot. The Rabbi took him in the open air at noon-day. says a learned Rabbi. Yea. first parts with his money. At the last it biteth like a serpent." said Joshua." said Trajan. and thine heart shall utter perverse things. when it giveth his color in the cup." Anticipated and applied by R. and bid him look at the sun in its meridian splendor. no mortal eye can behold his glory. when it moveth itself aright. they have beaten me. thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea. They have stricken me. then with his silver vessels. and boast that he resides among your nation. The Wilful Drunkard Look not thou upon the wine when it is red. Joshua." said the Emperor Trajan to Rabbi Joshua. "the light dazzles me. The drunkard. "to endure the light of one of his creatures.Milton's "Dark from Excess of Light. Thine eyes shall behold strange women. and canst thou expect to behold the resplendent glory of the Creator? Would not such a sight annihilate thee!" Hullin. and I was not sick. saying." "God's presence is indeed everywhere. "Well." "Thou art unable.

but certainly not in a state of inebriation. and placed him in a cave. "If we permit our parent to proceed much longer at this rate. They spoke to him. A certain man was so addicted to drinking. were lying near him. that he sold even his household furniture to satisfy his depraved appetite. "O! they will do equally well". could he but get drink. He continued to indulge himself as usual. On the next morning they hastened to the cave. at his mouth. Resolved to leave no method calculated to produce a reform untried.same service. weak for want of food. when." They employed the mildest means to dissuade him from a course so destructive and disgraceful. and would part even with these. and will not leave him even on the brink of the grave. he will leave us nothing wherewith to maintain him. they found him sitting apparently at ease. whilst a number of bottles. on awaking from his stupor. flattering themselves that. Like all vicious habits. that he would then abandon a habit attended with such pernicious consequences." He then exchanges the copper for earthen vessels. who had long observed their father's growing infirmity with the deepest sorrow. others still full. some empty. on entering the cave. Their astonishment may therefore be more easily conceived than described. saying. whilst in a state of intoxication. With this impression they left him. with a flask. said. nearly emptied of its contents. to the burying-ground. where the dead were usually deposited. was solely intended for his good. . would make him seriously reflect on his past life. and readily pardon them an act which. but could obtain no coherent answer. however irreverent. drunkenness clings to a man during his life. the melancholy scenes by which he would find himself surrounded. It was all in vain. His sons. expecting to find their parent. they carried him one day.

little dreaming of what was going forward. who are too strong to be compelled to the Reality . surrounded by the dead. that he may no longer be exposed to public scorn. but perceiving the king's officers at a distance. He no longer thought of the dead." This they did. but he is our father. § 960. Do not provoke those who throw off Appearances of Justice. § XII. even at the brink of the grave. "Alas! all our endeavors are vain the disease is incurable. and that confirmed vice will not quit its unfortunate possessor. and fearing detection. but the same light which exhibited his gloomy situation. he was at first greatly terrified and alarmed. as a place least likely to be searched. Overwhelmed with grief and disappointment. and assailed by their putrid smell. Yalkut to Proverbs. once contracted. he became as drunk as ever.It appears that some smugglers had the preceding night passed that way with a quantity of wine. but opening one bottle after the other. and went on: intending to fetch them away at a convenient opportunity. nor of the grave. convinced that ill habits. Let us take him home. In this situation his sons found him. In the mean time the old man slept very soundly. Leviticus Rabba. it is our duty to hide his infirmities. they exclaimed. and emptying them of their delicious contents. and finding himself in so melancholy a place. concealed the prohibited goods in the very cave. which they intended to introduce into the town. are seldom relinquished. Early next morning he awoke. supply him in a private chamber with as much as he can drink. discovered to him the rich store that was deposited near him. The sight of so unexpected a treasure filled him with joy.

Trajan. "The lion. to make it five cubits higher or lower than its former dimensions. made use of the well-known apologue of the Lion and the Crane. or. This threw the people into the greatest consternation. whose wisdom and eloquence were well known. seeing the people in such a ferment." said the orator. Under such circumstances. unwilling to revoke the grant. when one of his counsellors suggested to him a very easy method of getting rid of his embarrassment. rather than to provoke fresh insults by useless resistance. requested Rabbi Joshua. they represented to the Emperor the danger of permitting the Jews to assemble again in their former metropolis. and. the Israelites obtained his permission to rebuild the holy temple at Jerusalem." The emperor issued his order accordingly. it is generally clogged with so many hard conditions as to render their pretended generosity of no avail. They assembled tumultuously in the valley of Rimmon. to appease them. and you may be sure their strict adherence to the letter of the law will not permit them to avail themselves of your favor. prudence commands us to submit to our hard fate. being once more united. there were many who madly wanted to oppose the Emperor's orders by force of arms. "to build the intended temple on a different spot. A short time after Trajan had mounted the throne of the Roman Empire. The Samaritans no sooner heard of it than. and in addressing the multitude. while some expressed their disappointment in lamentation and tears." said this artful adviser. was at a loss how to proceed. they would soon shake off their allegiance. "Order them.When the ungenerous grant a favor. with their usual malignity. After many vain endeavors to disgorge it. The Rabbi obeyed their call. where. he caused a . The elders. "whilst devouring his prey. yet fearful of the consequences. accidentally got a bone in his throat.

" added the eloquent Joshua. to give him his blessing. The feathered physician put his long neck in the lion's throat. requested his friend. 'A reward. to have escaped so imminent a danger. "is easy enough. "You put me in mind. you are under foreign subjection. and extracted it. for him who should relieve his mighty majesty from the excruciating pain.great reward to be proclaimed among his numerous subjects. The application of this fable. recollect your past sufferings. § LXIV. and went home peaceably. and then demanded the promised reward. found himself very hungry. who. took hold of the bone with his long bill. and wise. and fatigued. At last. "of a certain man. he went his way. very powerful. end. at all events. The fatigued traveller seated himself in . Few animals ventured to undertake the operation. learned. if not convincing. Genesis Rabba. to the astonishment of all the by-standers. Remember. dear brethren. who was very rich. The Traveller and the Date-tree of the Oasis Rabbi Nahman. 'is it not sufficient reward for thee to have permitted thy ugly neck to escape my sacred and mighty jaws? and askest thou now for a still further reward?' The crane thought this argument. thirsty. contemptuously. Necessity obliged him to travel onward." The people were instructed. It was joyfully accepted. and think yourselves happy in the comparative ease you at present enjoy. by vain and useless resistance. having travelled in a desert nearly a whole day. till at last he came to a most enchanting spot. indeed!' said the lion. the crane offered his service. the mighty power of the Emperor. where grew a fine date-tree. watered by a small rivulet." said the latter. indeed. and was happy. Rabbi Isaac. do not provoke.

he thus addressed his benefactor: 'Tree! tree! what blessing can I give thee? Shall I wish thee towering branches." rejoined the hoary-headed man. that every one of thy suckers. if God . I am the Lord. "Hadst thou properly employed the morning of thy life." Ta'anit. wherever they be planted. what blessing can I give thee? Learned and wise. of riches. and let God do what he thinks best. thou art already. hope ever to enjoy the fruits of thy labor?" "Great king." replied the man." exclaimed Hadrian. xix. nor will I neglect the evening of my life. 5b-6a. good man?" asked the emperor. "thou needest not have worked so hard in the evening of thy days. The Aged Planter and Hadrian Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head." was the reply. and still plantest trees! Canst thou. plenty and exquisite fruit? thou art already blessed therewith. my friend. and thy children are many. a refreshing stream to moisten thy root? thou hast no lack of it. is. then." "I have well employed my early days. observed an old man digging a large trench in order to plant some fig trees. plucked some of its delicious fruit. and refreshed himself. and honor the face of the old man. The Emperor Hadrian passing near Tiberias in Galilee. "What. thou hast plenty. 32. I can. may flourish like thee. The only thing I can wish thee. only wish that all thy descendants may be blessed like thee. I do hope. "a hundred years old art thou. "A hundred years.' Now. and refreshing shade? thou hast them already. then. Grateful for the expected relief. beautiful foliage. "How old mayest thou be. Levit." said Hadrian.the shade of the tree. and fear thy God. therefore. "yes.

if ever thou livest to see the fruit of these trees.permit. "Is it possible that our great emperor should show so much honor to a miserable Jew!" "Why should I not honor him whom God has honored?" replied Hadrian. As soon as they were sufficiently ripe. standing near the gate. Seeing a man. and imitate his example. and to be filled with gold. good old man?" and with these words he left him." The emperor then very graciously dismissed the old man. Dost thou hear." replied the man." Hadrian. bent with age. if ever he should gather the fruit. if not. put them in a basket. said. and ordering the basket to be emptied of the fruit. who went home highly pleased and delighted. "Well. old man?" demanded Hadrian. I am that old man and this is the fruit of those very trees. gave it him as a present. Hadrian happened to look out of one of the windows of his palace. desired the old man to be seated. and shall I not do the same for my children?" Hadrian. accompanied by the full use of manly faculties and honest exertion. he ordered him to be admitted to his presence. to let you know. he gathered the most choice figs. The old man did live long enough to see the fruits of his industry. Some courtiers who witnessed this uncommon scene. and bore excellent fruit. pleased with the honest man's reply. The trees flourished. my children will. May it please you graciously to accept them as a humble tribute of gratitude for your majesty's great condescension. old man. "May it please your majesty. I may even eat the fruit of these very trees. when you desired him. and marched off toward the emperor's residence. Have not my forefathers planted trees for me. exclaimed. let me know it. gratified to see so extraordinary an instance of longevity. "What is thy pleasure. "Look at his age. . with a basket on his shoulders. "to recollect seeing once a very old man planting some trees.

and derided. and addressing her husband. he had his wish. 20. to ch. II. pelted. who was all the while considering how . he had brought a whole sack full. wished only to see the bottom of his bag. Among the neighbors whom curiosity had brought to his house. the people were all astonished. Section Kodoshim (to Leviticus xxix. who. The officer on duty reported it to the emperor. "the fool shall have his reward. arrived at the palacegate. 23). and throw it at his face. and after much fatigue. on his shoulders. His wife. that understanding his majesty was very fond of figs. and thou mayest be as rich as thy neighbor. there was a silly. Hadrian could not help smiling at the man's folly and impertinence: "Yes.Leviticus Rabba. The bag being empty. take some to him. Dejected and sorrowful. then let him depart. abused. Eccles. After much patience. took a large sack. said to him: "Thou son of a wretch. and still more pain. and let every one who enters the gate take one of the figs. The Same Things no Longer the Same under Altered Circumstances When the old man came home and exhibited the present he had received. filled with figs. covetous woman. Midrash Tanhuma. seeing so much treasure obtained for a few figs. instead of wishing for gold." The foolish husband. she therefore hastily ran home. Rabba. unable to bear the reproaches of his wife. and demanded admittance to the emperor. Being asked what he wanted." The order was punctually executed. The wretched man. till they are all gone. § XXV. the poor fellow was dismissed. Let him remain where he is. why tarriest thou here? Hearest thou not that Cæsar is very fond of figs? Go. he answered. he hastened towards his home. for which he expected a great reward." said he to the officer. imagined that the emperor must be very fond of that fruit.

I must have left my brains behind me. Deut. " Have patience. either from corrupt motives. as the lower orders submit to the direction of the higher orders of society. says Rabbi joshua ben levi. most impatiently expected her husband's return.e. everything goes on well.) The Preposterous Snake. My great luck was. and understanding.. and contemplating with inward delight how fine she should look how her neighbors would stare to see her dressed in silk and gold. that the figs were ripe. they are sure to fall together. and though she saw the bag empty. The prosperity of the state is the result. she hastily asked him what good luck he had had. "have patience. I have had both great and good luck. But when the higher orders. that I took to the emperor figs. or from want of firmness. and not peaches. and known among your tribes. As long. Without giving him the usual salutation. and God confirms. Had they been unripe. and hardly allowing him to take breath. the rulers) dispose of the expected treasure calculating how many fine caps. and the destruction of the state will be inevitable. A Talmudic Fable Take you wise men. gowns. 13. They (i. and I will tell thee. base and wretched woman. submit to or are swayed by the opinions of the lower orders." replied the enraged husband. and I will make them rulers over you. and cloaks she would purchase. He came at last. else I should have been stoned to death: and my good luck was. To illustrate this important truth. i. he related the following fable: ." (See the references quoted at the end of the last chapter. she imagined that his pockets at least were full.

The situation was not very pleasant. indeed!" rejoined the tail. observed thy unjust proceedings. Lead on. Its next exploit was to get entangled among briars and thorns. and thus addressed the head: "I have long. it still persisted in keeping the lead. and. In all our journeys. Here it would have ended its miserable career. Thou appearest everywhere foremost. but the body was so thickly covered with dirt and filth. I insist upon. wilt manage the body! Thou hast neither eyes. that it is even for thy advantage that I should direct and lead?" "For my advantage. with great indignation.THE SERPENT'S TAIL AND ITS HEAD. and will take the lead in my turn. and relieved it from its perilous situation. It marched on." The tail. to be apprised of it nor brains. They all pretend to rule for the benefit of their slaves. The tail struggled hard. to prevent it. Not contented. "be it so. crept into a fiery furnace. Perceivest thou not. Its first exploit was to drag the body into a miry ditch. as chance would have it. whereas I. but I will no longer submit to such a state of things. to see danger nor ears. must remain in the background. It soon . Is this just? Is it fair? Am I not a member of the same body? Why should not I have its management as well as thou?" "Thou!" exclaimed the head. it is thou that takest the lead. The serpent's tail had long followed the direction of the head. well!" replied the head. as hardly to be known to belong to the same creature. am obliged to follow behind. and by dint of great exertion got out again. "thou. had not the head hastened to its assistance. One day the tail began to be dissatisfied with this natural arrangement. rejoiced." "Well. the more it struggled the deeper the wounds. groped along. like a menial servant. the whole body was agitated. "This is the language of all and every usurper. silly tail. and all went on well. but I. like a miserable slave. The pain was intense. accordingly took the lead.

The Sufferings of the Jews Under Hadrian I . Alas! it was too late. and dismay. then. § I. The tail was already consumed." replied Gebiha. all was terror. The fire soon reached the vital parts of the body it was destroyed and the head was involved in the general ruin. who believe in a resurrection! See ye not that the living die? how. The head again hastened to afford its friendly aid. What caused the destruction of the head? Was it not because it suffered itself to be guided by the imbecile tail? Such will. and I became: I am not. if what never before existed. 91a. confusion. Deuteronomy Rabba. can ye believe that the dead shall live?" "Silly man. A freethinker said once to R. Gebiha. why may not that which once existed. then. The whole body was convulsed. "Ye fools. be the fate of the higher orders. assuredly. exist again?" Sanhedrin. Gebiha to a sceptic. exists. Greek words to the following purpose: "I was not.began to feel the dreadful effects of the destructive element. "thou believest in a creation well. should they suffer themselves to be swayed by popular prejudices. The Doctrine of Resurrection Supported by that of Creation there were discovered on the fragments of an ancient tombstone. but shall be." The same thought is expressed in the following reply of R.

as to fill their minds with despair. felt his oppressions. Hence the detestation in which his memory was held among the early Jewish writers many of whom. he ordered vast numbers to be publicly sold for slaves and so harassed and distressed the miserable few that were unhappy enough to escape his immediate vengeance. and Beth El. in the valley of Rimmon. most likely. came and presented themselves at the appointed time. confiding in the royal assurance. the legions were ordered to . Many.' As great numbers had concealed themselves in woods. and his name is never mentioned without maledictions. and inaccessible spots. at a stated period. The tyrant was at dinner. which city they valiantly defended for a considerable time. ordered it to be proclaimed that the emperor's anger was appeased. he said to his lieutenant: 'Mind. caves. and that whoever wished to avail himself of the royal clemency should appear before him.' The lieutenant obeyed. none ever acted with greater cruelty toward them. in order to draw them from their hiding-places. After causing the most dreadful slaughter among them. and exasperated at their heroic resistance during the siege of Bethar. Lekitaja [Lukyeh]. than the Emperor Hadrian. Provoked by their repeated endeavors to shake off the iron yoke which he and his predecessors had imposed upon them. Among many acts of his cruelty they relate the following: "He caused guards to be placed at the principal roads of Emmaus. Beholding the assembled multitude. I expect that before I finish this crust of bread.of all the tyrants that afflicted and persecuted the Jewish nation. nor made them drink deeper of the bitter cup of affliction. 'Now. he. and the thigh of this fowl. they are sure to be caught in another. not one of those wretches shall remain alive.' said he. 'if they escape from one place. he conceived a deadly hatred against them. in his pavilion. The most diabolical acts of tyranny are ascribed to him. and were eyewitnesses to the calamities of their brethren.

carried it home. 16. and took out the dead body. 'Go forth. and gave some to his companion. opened it. Hunger and want reduced them to such extremities. cried out. He rent his garments. said. who. and placed a sign on the grave. one said to the other. and see whether thou canst find anything to support life. 'In such and such a place. indeed. he returned to his hiding-place. but they were reserved for still greater calamities. almost perishing with hunger. he interred it. His companion seeing him come home empty-handed. 'Now let me go.' He went. He then went in search of food. to Lamentations I. Having satisfied the immediate cravings of nature. immediate destruction. At last he came to the spot where his companion had been before. but finding none. Those that remained concealed escaped. and in a fit of despair. that two of those unfortunate men.' The man went and found the murdered body of his father. I have fed on the mangled limbs of my own father!'" Ekah Rabbati. tore the hair of his head. I. 'Miserable and detested wretch that I am. he inquired of his companion where he got the body. ch. After bedewing it with tears. and they were massacred without remorse. describing the sign he found on the grave. . and lamenting his own hard fate. The man perceiving a grave. perhaps I may be more fortunate.fall upon the defenceless people. The man perceived too late that it was the body of his parent. greedily devoured it. and where he had buried his father. that they were obliged to feed on the putrid bodies of the slain. and their scanty stock of provision being exhausted. and wandered about for some time. ate part of it.' answered the latter. dressed it. The Midrash relates. being concealed in a cave.

" said the tyrant. "How dare a miserable Jew have the impertinence to salute the emperor?" exclaimed the tyrant. One person you doom to death for saluting you. Another Jew. and ordered his head to be struck off. absolve me from a vow I have made. and said. "Hadrian doth not want to be taught how to distress his enemies. ch. "Great king. thought it best not to notice the emperor. hearing of this act of cruelty and being obliged to pass the same way. "not to earn anything." replied the man. A Reply of Rabbi Yudan A certain person came to Rabbi Yudan. the Midrash relates the following: A poor Israelite happening to pass the emperor. thou hast vowed?" "I have vowed. The man answered that he was a poor Jew." "What is it." exclaimed the tyrant. "An unfortunate Jew.Sufferings of the Jews Under Hadrian II As a further specimen of Hadrian's cruelty. On Vows in Cases Previously Binding on the Conscience." said one of the courtiers. "Rabbi. and the other for not saluting you!" "Hold thy peace. But Hadrian perceiving him." Ekah Rabbati. III. "Who art thou?" demanded the emperor. 59. to Lamentations III." was the answer. and ordered his head to be struck off. called him. "your conduct appears to me very strange. and demanded who he was. greeted him with great humility and respect. "And dare a miserable Jew have the insolence to pass the emperor without saluting him. who happened to be present." "Not to earn anything!" exclaimed the Rabbi. then. "what person can be so .

"[8] "And do you. as I often heard you declare. "call this a merit? I should rather call it a demerit. in other words. think you the king would be angry if any of his subjects. nay. and that in the moment of anger he were to order him into confinement. that we may have the merit of relieving them. "is. . replied Akiba. there to be kept without food. V. then why does he not maintain them. For. and thereby be saved from the torments of Gehinnom. "that the king's displeasure were to fall on one of his own sons." Yerushalmi Nedarim. a crime." resumed the general.". "Oh! I see thou wishest to gamble again! No. A Conversation between Turnus Rufus and Rabbi Akiba Turnus Rufus once put the following question to Rabbi Akiba: "If it be true. that your God is the friend of the poor. rather.foolish as to make such a vow!" "I only meant. would not the king have just reason to be displeased with any one who should dare to supply the prisoner with either?" "Suppose." said the Rabbi. suppose a king were angry with one of his slaves." rejoined the man. it is even the will of God that we should relieve the poor: for thus he has declared by his prophet Isaiah. 5. of such a vow I cannot absolve thee. 'O break thy bread to the hungry. and ordered him into prison. Poverty no Proof of Divine Disfavor." "And from this vow thou wouldst be absolved?" said the Rabbi. out of loyalty to the father. were to relieve the distress of the son? Would he not rather reward them for it? Besides. "not to earn anything by playing at dice. no. there to be kept without either meat or drink. for which you well deserve the punishment of Gehinnom. why does he suffer them to languish in poverty?" "The reason. or.

which they probably intended to sell the first market-day: these they gave their kind host. the son of Yair." said he. take some refreshment. Phinehas waited several days. and administering to their comfort." replied they. Early the next morning. "you are come for the barley. 10a. he ordered the barley to be sown." "Yes.and bring the distressed poor into thy house." Baba Batra. They had with them a few measures of barley. As soon as Phinehas saw them. we were so delighted with thy hospitality. but finding they did not return. Scrupulous Honesty. and the produce to be taken care of. Exemplified in the Hospitable Rabbi Phinehas Among the various virtues that adorned the ancient Hebrews." He then led them to the barn. the produce of that which they had left behind. therefore. hospitality was not the least. be a merit in relieving them. delivered to them about 500 measures. . More than a year elapsed before the travellers returned. But in their hurry they forgot the barley. and to their great surprise and joy. thanking him for his hospitality." said the good Phinehas. To this they willingly consented. It happened that two travellers came to the residence of Rabbi Phinehas. "when we were last here. But never mind the barley. he knew them again. that we never thought of the deposit till we were too far off to return. They took pleasure in entertaining strangers. "your barley is as good as ever. we suppose it is spoiled. to save for them till their departure.' There must. The Rabbi bid them enter. and hardly worth taking away." "You are mistaken. "I suppose. and proceeded on their journey. they took leave of the Rabbi. and stay with him over night. Rabbi.

A Fable of Rabbi Akiba it was the lot of Rabbi Akiba to live in most calamitous times. that no circumstance whatever can justify an Israelite to forsake his religion. and the study of the law. . and with this view forbade them its free exercise. who. being also persuaded that the calamities which the nation then experienced were to be attributed to their iniquities and that their only chance of deliverance was in strictly adhering to the laws of God. attributing the heroic resistance which the people had made to their arms. "Akiba. and to teach the law publicly. ventured. or had been carried in captivity to grace the triumph of the conqueror. to the spirit of their religion. but then desolated country. represented to him the imprudence of thus acting contrary to the Roman edicts. art thou not afraid of this nation?" (alluding to the Romans). The Fox and the Fish. as he was thus laudably engaged. fearing lest the knowledge of the law should be totally lost. and said to him. said to him. Akiba observed the deplorable condition of his brethren. the flower of the nation had either perished during the war. Pappos. a man well-known for his learning. the son of Judah. to instruct the people in their religious duties. by intimating that there are times when prudence requires us to yield to circumstances. whose opinion was. Jerusalem was in ruins. Thus wishing to deter him from so dangerous an employment. One day. Akiba. § III. and the miserable remnant that was permitted to remain in their once happy.Deuteronomy Rabba. and the obstinacy with which they had defended their country. and. notwithstanding the Roman decrees. groaned under the iron yoke of the Romans. "Pappos. art thou the man of whom it is said. wished totally to abolish it.

' we experience so much distress and oppression. in the same manner as our ancestors did before us.he is wise? Surely thy words show that thou art a fool. and so contrary to our habits?" "It is even so with us. "to flee from our enemies. once took a walk by the side of a river. "Fox! fox! art thou he who is considered as the most sagacious of animals! surely thy counsel proves thee a very great fool. The Climax of Benevolence. what think you will be our lot should we entirely abandon it?" Berakot. the Golden Ladder of Charity. 61b. which often sacrifices permanent good to momentary advantages. commonly called expedience. I can tell you an easy way how to secure your safety. and length of days. From Maimonides. said to him. he told them the following fable: The fox. Come along with me on dry land. what security can we expect to find on an element so repugnant to our nature. even in our own native element. we are beset with so many dangers. "if that be all.[9] "if. even by partially following that law. and said. 'It is thy life. where we may dwell together in tranquillity." replied the fish." And in order to expose to his audience the folly of that policy. or. 2. may I be so bold as to ask why you are so much agitated?" "We are endeavoring. Curious to know the cause of so much confusion he addressed himself to them. 108b." The fish perceiving the treachery of their insidious adviser. and observed the fish hurrying to and fro. Yebamot. IX." continued the pious Rabbi." "Oh! oh!" said the cunning fox. Midrash to Proverbs. of which it is said. and avoid the many nets and snares which they have prepared for us. after the Talmud . said he. in the greatest agitation and alarm. If. "Friends.

This is the gift of the hand. and even unsolicited. to give cheerfully and proportionately. The fifth is. so that the poor might take it unperceived. but to put it in the poor man's hand: thereby exciting in him the painful emotion of shame. proportionately. but not proportionately to the distress of the sufferer. and from which the most respectable poor families were maintained with equal secrecy. The third is. who used to convey their charitable gifts into poor people's dwellings. is to know the objects of our bounty. but not until we are solicited. The fourth is. who used to tie up money in the hindcorners of their cloaks. as was done by our charitable forefathers during the existence of the temple. The sixth. to bestow charity in such a way that the benefactor may not know the relieved objects. namely. to give cheerfully. and know their benefactor. but remain unknown to them. which rises still higher. The first and lowest degree is. The seventh is still more meritorious. nor they the name of their benefactor. but not of the heart.[10] . Such was the conduct of those of our ancestors. to give charity in such a way that the distressed may receive the bounty. The second is. Such was the conduct of some of our ancestors. taking care that their own persons and names should remain unknown.There are eight degrees or steps in the duty of charity. to give but with reluctance or regret. wherein the good deposited secretly whatever generous hearts suggested. For there was in that holy building a place called the Chamber of Silence or Inostentation. to give cheerfully. without their being known to him.

Rabbi Simeon and the Jewels Rabbi Simeon. . Yerushalmi. and not be forced to the dreadful alternative of holding up his hand for charity. "the blessing of God maketh rich. namely. "Rabbi! Rabbi!" exclaimed they. when it says. or by putting him in the way of business. Maimonides." Levit. and fallen in decay with thee." The diamonds were accordingly returned. though he be a stranger or a sojourner. the eighth and the most meritorious of all. Yad ha-Hazakah. or by teaching him a trade." said the virtuous Rabbi: "he sold me a camel not precious stones. X. that he may live with thee. on removing the saddle. 5. "Jewish Encyclopedia. § III. the son of Shetah. or a loan of money. is to anticipate charity. "Take the diamonds back to the man of whom I purchased the animal. Deuteronomy Rabba." III. to assist the reduced brother.Lastly. either by a considerable gift." intimating that it was a Godsend. "And if thy brother be waxen poor. 670a. discovered a band of diamonds concealed under it. And to this Scripture alludes. This is the highest step and the summit of charity's Golden Ladder. to the no small surprise of the proper owner: but the Rabbi preserved the much more valuable jewels Honesty and Integrity. Baba Mezi'a II. 35. cf. Kohler. Mattenot 'Aniyyim. once bought a camel of an Ishmaelite: his disciples took it home. so that he may earn an honest livelihood. then thou shalt relieve him: yea. xxv. by preventing poverty. 7-13. and.

Rabbi Huna Reproved Rabbi Huna dealt in wine." asked the sages in their turn. and learned. partakes of their plunder?" Intimating that we must act honestly. He repaired his past errors. powerful. who. and that they generally take much more than their due?" "True. "imagine that the Divine Judge chastises without a cause?" "Well. and thanked the wise men for the moral lesson they gave him. "My friends. you had better tell me. After expressing their sorrow at his heavy loss. they begged him to examine and review his general conduct. Rabbi Jehudah and some of the wise men went to condole with him. "do you then suspect me of having committed any sin deserving of so severe a punishment?" "And do you. "if you know anything wrong of me. then. "but do you forget what the proverb says. in fact. was not ashamed to acknowledge his fault." said Huna. although rich. 5b. "but what crime is there in that? Know ye not that gardeners are not very honest." His learned friends then told him they had been informed. He that steals from the dishonest. "It is very true." rejoined the Rabbi.He Who Wrongs the Dishonest under the Pretence of their Dishonesty. was a very pious man. Huna. He had the misfortune to have four hundred barrels of his wine spoiled and unfit for sale. Scrupulous Honesty Exemplified in the Conduct of Rabbi Saphra . then. that he neglected to give his gardeners the branches of the vines (then considered as their legal dues). or." said the wise men. Berakot." said Huna. Renders Himself an Accomplice. even toward those who injure us. of which he kept a large store.

then. Venice. and betrayed some confusion. The disciples. my conscience will not permit me to take advantage of thy ignorance. to take the sum thou didst first offer." The man was disconcerted.Rabbi Saphra wished to dispose of one of his estates.. "made up my mind before thou earnest. 1546. was refused. who witnessed what passed. "I only came to take a walk. supposing that the Rabbi came purposely to meet him." said Saphra. the Rabbi. resolved in his mind to accept the sum offered. As they went along. for which he asked a certain price. who." Baba Batra. 88a. . asked their master why he acted thus. being in want of money. they met. have me guilty of a falsehood?" said the pious Rabbi. a learned man. came and proposed to give him the sum first demanded. thanked him for his condescension. ch. "Nay. being much less than the real value of the estate." said he. Reverence for Truth and Simplicity not to be Sacrificed to the Forms of Courtesy A Lesson of Rabbi Saphra It happened that Rabbi Saphra took a walk with his disciples. Rashi to Makkot." "My children. which. "Do not thank me. "I have." said the virtuous instructor. Isaac Aboab. and I shall be satisfied. c. "it becomes not a son of Israel to assume a merit not due to him. "but thou mightest have been silent. In the interim. at some distance from the town. "Would you. Sheiltet deRab Ahai Gaon. Makkot. p. desirous of possessing the estate. § 46. Menorat Ha-Maor. But the good Saphra refused to take it. An individual who had an inclination to purchase it. nor to cause. Some time after. I. 14a). the individual who had made the offer." rejoined his disciples. § 36 (ed. made him an offer. 1. 24a. give it me. part II. and ignorant of the Rabbi's determination.

The offer was readily accepted. sent to him two of his disciples. into which the patients threw such sums as they thought proper. Abaye.either by words or their absence. when they departed. "No. and asked him how much he thought it worth. "Dost thou not think it worth more?" asked the men . taking with them a piece of tapestry. since they were destined to cure the diseases of the mind. and waiting till their kind host had arrived. Abba Umana mentioned a certain sum. as for his medical skill. They remained till the next morning. who were slightly indisposed. and was particularly attentive to learned men. he had a box fixed in his ante-chamber. gave them some medicine. and wishing to know whether everything reported of that benevolent man was true. considering them as a sort of fellow-laborers. "this is the very sum I gave for one much . Unwilling to deter people from profiting by his medical knowledge. This they carried to the market-place.) The Twofold Charity of the Benevolent Physician. Abba Umana Abba Umana." (See the references in the last chapter. and requested them to stay in his house over night. pretended to offer it for sale. yet not wishing to put anyone to the blush for the smallness of the fee they might be able to give. a Jewish physician. a false impression upon the mind of a neighbor. His fame spread far and wide. The physician received them kindly. was as much celebrated for his piety and humanity." answered the physician. whose functions were still more important than his own. heard of it. from whom he never would accept the least reward for his professional services. who was then the chief of the Academy. which had served as a covering to the couch on which they had slept. He made no distinction between rich and poor.

and say "Now. that he never accepted any remuneration from the poor. left him with admiration and thanks. but a manufacturer of idols. and increased. Folly of Idolatry A Traditional Tale Respecting Abraham Terah." "Why. by his skill and assiduity. "Old man. Abraham obeyed reluctantly. the father of Abraham. pointing to an idol to which he took a fancy. Being obliged. . by their report. hadst thou not a very bad opinion of us?" "Certainly not. and even provided them with everything that could. who had just entered the place of sale. and since I was satisfied in my mind that no ill use would be made of it. "What is the price of that god?" asked an old man." The disciples complied with his wishes. to go out on particular business. "ye know that a son of Israel must not impute evil intentions to anyone. restored them to health. Now tell us truly. which he used to expose for public sale. says tradition. his well-earned fame. Sell it. nor judge ill of a neighbor by a single action. et seq. "may I be permitted to ask thine age?" "Threescore years." said Abraham. good man. we beseech thee. 21b. But the most noble trait in this good man's character it. go and purchase bread and meat." rejoined the disciples." Ta'anit. contribute to their comfort. and when he had. was not only an idolater." replied the pious man. he would give them money. "this is thine own: we took it from thy house. after missing it. my children. these are the best and only medicines you require. during their illness. and distribute the money among the poor. let it even be so. one day. he desired Abraham to superintend for him." replied the age-stricken idolater.

nor stir." rejoined Abraham. nor move?" "And yet. "do I then not know that they can neither eat. She placed it before them. had not tasted food for a long time. Abraham! What profane wretch has dared to use our gods in this manner?" exclaimed the infatuated and indignant Terah. all excepting the largest. in a vehement rage. "Here." "Place it before them thyself. In the mean time Abraham took a hammer. and went away. Abraham. greedily stretched forth their hands. Superstition is ever both deaf and blind. Place it before them. "thou payest them divine honors adorest them and wouldest have me worship them!" It was in vain Abraham thus reasoned with his idolatrous parent. took the hammer. foolish woman!" said Abraham. "Why should I conceal anything from my father. "I have brought an offering to the gods. as may well be supposed. "During thine absence there came a woman with yonder offering for the gods. who. "What is all this. "and thou wouldest worship a thing that has been fashioned by the hands of my father's slaves within the last four-and-twenty hours? Strange! that a man of sixty should be willing to bow down his gray head to a creature of a day!" The man was overwhelmed with shame. and punished them for their want of respect. carrying in her hand a large dish with flour." She did so. broke the idols in pieces." "Dost thou mock me? Wilt thou deceive thy aged father?" exclaimed Terah. and began to eat. and bid them be propitious to me. His unnatural father delivered him over to the cruel tribunal of the ." said she." replied the pious son. "thou wilt soon see how greedily they will devour it. Terah returned. After this there came a sedate and grave matron. in whose hands he placed the instrument of destruction."Threescore years!" exclaimed Abraham. he rose. and with the utmost surprise and consternation beheldthe havoc among his favorite gods. Enraged at their boldness. before the old god had given them permission. The younger gods.

nor the wind." said the impatient king. "Great king." rejoined Abraham." said the tyrant. then." said Nimrod. possess great power. The power they possess is derived from a Being. . and Abraham became the father of the faithful. then. "I cannot worship the fire. thou shalt speedily be made sensible of its mighty force." He ordered Abraham to be thrown into a fiery furnace. great king. But a more merciful Father the gracious and blessed Father of us all protected him against the threatened danger. II. nor the water." "I see." "Be not angry. Tanna debe Eliyahu." said the father of the faithful. "we shall never have done with this prattler. nor the clouds. The Creator of heaven and earth. "if power is to be the object of adoration. to worship the fire.equally idolatrous Nimrod." said Abraham. which by its greater force scatters the clouds." "Worship the water. "would it not be better to worship water? It is mightier than fire. "it would be more reasonable to worship the clouds." "Well. then. and drives them before it. "worship the clouds. nor any of the things thou callest gods. 25." said Nimrod. having the power to extinguish it. Genesis Rabba. "since thou refusest to adore the fire. not only most powerful. which. then. him alone will I worship. by the tyrant. Worship the wind. since they carry the waters." continued Abraham. "Methinks." "Nay. But God delivered him from the raging flames. and throw them down upon the earth." "Well. the preference ought to be given to the wind. was urged. but full of mercy and love. § XXXVIII. by thine own confession. and made him a source of blessing to many nations. Abraham's Deliverance from the Fiery Furnace Abraham being brought before Nimrod. and we will pardon thy former profanations.

"I have been. The brute insisted on her spitting in the preacher's face. and pursue it. see "Jewish Encyclopedia.Genesis Rabba. who was so delighted with his discourse. 86. but was greatly disappointed. as the sole condition of being readmitted into the house. "Well." I. much less to so learned a man. A charitable neighbor offered . mildly. on the eve of the Sabbath. "Where hast thou been?" exclaimed he. Among his numerous audience. astonished at so unreasonable a demand. since the Rabbi has pleased thee so much. for parallels. Rabbi Meir and the Unhoused Wife Seek peace. and her husband standing at the door in very illhumor. 14. there was a woman. pp. "to hear our learned Rabbi preach. then. she was constrained to remain in the street. she went toward home to enjoy the repast which was generally prepared for the honor of the day." "Was it?" rejoined the husband." replied the woman. on arriving near her house. that she remained until he had concluded. Instructed and pleased. 88. thought at first her husband was joking. Psalm xxxiv. but she was soon convinced that it was no jest. or. No Loss of Dignity from any Innocent Means of Promoting Peace and Harmony. and began to congratulate herself on his returning good humor." The woman. § XXXVIII. and as she was too pious to offer such an indignity to any person. to find the lights extinguished. who affected to be something of a wit. I vow that thou shalt not enter this house until thou hast spit in his face. as a reward for the entertainment he has afforded thee. and a delightful discourse it was. Rabbi Meir was accustomed to preach publicly for the edification of the people. in a tone that at once indicated that he was not much pleased with her absence.

and shall I consider anything as an indignity that can effect so desirable an object? Learn. "I am but a poor ignorant creature. I have spit in it seven times now let us be reconciled. Pretending to have pain in his eyes. who still persisted in his first demand.her an asylum. go home. who immediately sent for the woman. § IX. that no act is disgraceful that tends to promote the happiness and peace of mankind. and a report of the transaction was communicated to Rabbi Meir. Meir thus addressed her: "Good woman. observing that this was the way to make the people despise the law and its professors. asked her. "Master. endeavoring in vain to mollify her husband. § IX. complied. She came: the good Rabbi desired her to be seated. There she remained some time." rejoined the Rabbi. who had watched their master's conduct." said the woman. which was gladly accepted." The woman." said their pious instructor. nay. . who believed there was some virtue in that operation. how should I know how to cure thine eyes?" "Well. "My children. blessed be He. and tell thy husband 'It was thy desire that I should spit in the Rabbi's face once I have done so. It is vice and wickedness only that can degrade us. Numbers Rabba. after some hesitation. As soon as it was done. permitted His holy name to be obliterated. whether she knew any remedy for it.'" Meir's disciples. well. "think ye that your master ought to be more punctilious about his honor than his Creator? Even He." Leviticus Rabba. ventured to expostulate with him on thus permitting a woman to offer him such an indignity. the Adorable. The affair made some noise in the town. I have done more. then. without taking the least notice of what had transpired. he.[11] in order to promote peace between man and wife. "do as I bid thee spit seven times in mine eyes it may produce some good.

made him read the will. he made his will. and whose memory he still revered. No sooner was the master dead. the father was suddenly taken ill. than the slave. As soon as the first transports of grief were over." spake the pious instructor. acquainted him with the cause of his affliction. He rent his clothes strewed ashes on his head and lamented the loss of a parent whom he tenderly loved. ventured to express his thoughts that his father." "By this will!" exclaimed . who dwelt at a considerable distance from Jerusalem. after his father's demise. or imagined he saw. a man eminent for his piety and wisdom. and in the bitterness of distress. "Say nothing against thy father. "thy father was both a wise man. young man. and showed him the will. on condition that he should permit his son to select out of that property any single thing he might choose. his expectations disappointed and his worldly prospects blighted. showed neither good sense nor affection for his only child. and the days allotted for mourning had passed. informed the son of what had taken place. During his absence. had an only son. In this state of mind. hastened to Jerusalem. by which he left all his property to a slave whom he named. he went to his instructor. Born in affluence. elated with the prospect of so much wealth. by making such a strange disposition of his property. and grown up under the expectation of receiving. he saw. The young Israelite was plunged into the deepest sorrow by this unexpected intelligence. those possessions to which he was so justly entitled. the most convincing proof of which he gave by this very will. Seeing his end approaching. whom he sent to the Holy City for education. and an affectionate parent. the young man began seriously to consider the situation in which he was left.The Lawful Heir A rich Israelite.

has by this very will secured the property to thee. "How is this! Truly I do not understand thee. The slave. loving parent. he thought within himself. thou wilt. and to avoid detection." "Thy father has done neither. thought he. then. "but like a just. I must die. then. as indeed he has done. my honored master. in the utmost astonishment. my son is too far off to take immediate possession of my estate. of course. "I see that wisdom resides only with the aged.the young man. "by this will! Surely. "what benefit is all this to me? Will this restore me the property of which I have been so unjustly deprived?" "Ah!" replied the good man. I can see neither wisdom in bestowing his property on a slave." "Well!" exclaimed the young man. be entitled . 'Behold. and thus deprive him even of the melancholy consolation of mourning for me." said the friendly instructor. would not fail to give the speeedy information. and that he must go in the way in which all mortals must sooner or later go. "listen. To insure the second. than they will plunder my property." rejoined the learned instructor. thou art not in earnest. rather impatiently. young man. from choosing that very slave as thy portion. whose apparent interest it would be to take care of it. nor affection in depriving his only son of his legal rights. he made it a condition that thou shouldest be allowed to select something out of that property. if thou hast sense enough to avail thyself of it." "Listen. my slaves will no sooner be certain of my death. and by possessing him. will conceal my death from my beloved child.' To prevent the first." "How! how!" exclaimed the young man. he bequeathed his property to a slave. When he saw his end approaching. and thou wilt have reason to admire thy father's prudence. Knowest thou not that whatever a slave possesses belongs to his lawful master? And has not thy father left thee the power of selecting out of his property any one thing thou mightest choose? What hinders thee. in order to secure his apparent legal claim.

but it was too small for his big body." says he. § Lek Leka. 13-15. naked shall he return to go as he came. which the royal philosopher stated as the result of his own experience. and took possession of his father's estates. and there is nothing in his hand. v. "once came near a very fine garden. and shall take nothing of his labor. Unable to penetrate. which he may carry away in his hand. Eccles." The young Israelite. namely. he gave the slave his freedom. Such a beautiful sight. The Fox and the Rift in the Garden-wall: A Talmudic Fable There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun. admiring his father's wisdom. This. . no doubt. He fasted three days. convinced. Midrash the whole property. no less than his master's sagacity. that wisdom resides with the aged. After which. He fain would taste the forbidden fruit. As he came forth from his mother's womb. and became sufficiently reduced to crawl through the small aperture. He went about in search of an entrance and at last found an opening in the wall. was thy father's intention. together with a handsome present. These facts. where he beheld lofty trees laden with fruit that charmed the eye. chose the slave as his portion. the learned Gene Ba illustrated by the following apologue: "The fox. excited in him the desire of possession. added to his natural greediness. and understanding in length of days. but a high wall stood between him and the object of his wishes. at the same time. riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son. took the hint. he had recourse to his usual cunning.

but to his great consternation he found his endeavors vain. he should pay dearly for the enjoyed pleasure. and feasting on its most rare and delicious fruit.Having effected an entrance. . He had. that the same space would no more admit him.' He did so with great reluctance. He staid for some time and glutted his appetite. he.' said he to himself. V. He therefore retired to the place where he had entered. and attempted to get out. that it was possible he might be observed. when a thought struck him. a Moral Tale in Honor of Women Beware how thou addest what may subtract of what thou already hast. and call me to account. 'Suppose the master of the garden were now to come. made his escape. in that case. and. and. As soon as he was out of danger. and. thy fruits are delicious and exquisite but of what benefit art thou to me? What have I now for all my labor and cunning? Am I not as lean as I was before?'" It is even so with man. save the fruits of his righteousness. by indulgence. of all his toils and labor. he carelessly roved about in this delightful region. Alexander and the Female Chief. after suffering hunger for three days. Naked comes he into the world naked must he go out of it. with difficulty. he took a farewell view of the garden. and thus addressed it: 'Garden! garden! thou art indeed charming and delightful. grown so fat and plump. the scene of his delight and trouble. 15. 'I am in a fine predicament. Ecclesiastes Rabba to Eccles. making free with its exquisite produce. what would become of me! I see my only chance of escape is to fast and half-starve myself. he can carry nothing with him.

"to fight and to conquer. "Thou canst not go thither. and was as restless and as ambitious as ever. whose mad ambition knew no bounds. You know I am accustomed to conquer difficulties. xxv. and after respectfully saluting Alexander. then direct." said the sages." replied the philosophers." said the headstrong chief. "get some Libyan asses. and after traversing barren wastes and dreary deserts. and which cannot be passed. stepped boldly forward. Prov." "Well." Alexander took their advice. when thy neighbor hath put thee to shame. Alexander. to know how to proceed.Go not forth hastily to strive. after having subdued numerous nations." "I do not ask you." "Great king!" exclaimed the prudent heroine. "there are the dark mountains. "I am come. My desire is. commenced his march. which intervene. arrived at length in a well-cultivated country. He communicated his design to some Hebrew philosophers. then. lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof. which was chiefly inhabited and governed by women. 8. bind them with pliable ropes. desolated the fairest part of the globe. Alexander was on the point of assailing their chief town. and follow. inquired what might have brought him to their secluded country. and whose thirst of dominion torrents of human blood could not assuage. "what! art thou come to fight with females! Are then the men all . he took it in his head to penetrate into the interior of Africa. was far from being contented with his vast dominions. the Macedonian. the ends of which keep in thine own hand. He still sighed for new conquests. who then were in his camp. when a female distinguished from the rest of her companions by her lofty stature and noble mien. and covered the earth with mourning. "whether the thing be possible or not. Returning from his Indian expedition." replied the impetuous chief. that are accustomed to walk in the dark.

will this tend to thy glory? Will it not. and we should prevail. Ambition Humbled and Reproved or Alexander and the Human Skull Hell and destruction are never full. Buber. Pesikta de-R. with what shame and disgrace will it not sully thy renown! Will it not then be said the great warrior. and learned wisdom from women. pp. whose waters glided peaceably along their shelving banks. § VI. and turn thy mighty arms against more worthy enemies. the mighty Alexander has killed a few helpless women? But should fortune turn against thee. after having conquered so many nations. Now." Alexander. and only requested permission to place the following inscription on the gates of the chief city: I. Alexander came at last to a small rivulet. has at last been subdued ignominiously subdued. the conqueror of the world. so the eyes of man are never satisfied. struck by her intrepidity. K. Its smooth unruffled surface was the image of contentment. § XXVII. IX (ed. Pursuing his journey through dreary deserts and uncultivated ground. Alexander. held out his hand to her in token of peace. the madman. by the hands of women? Leave us. 20.[12] Tamid. that thou comest to show thy valor against women? Trust me. then. Midrash Tanhuma. § Emor. Leviticus Rabba. Besides. it becomes a wise man well to calculate the consequences of an enterprise before he undertakes it. in the undisturbed possession of our own country. and seemed in its silence to . grant thou conquerest us. the thought of conquering us is more easy than the deed. xxvii. after all. 74a-b)..dead. 32a. and still more by the justness of her observations. Prov. be said. have at last come to this country.

To a contemplative mind. which he found of a very fine flavor. and. with his usual impetuosity. to be brought to him. and partake of nature's bounty" and to complain that such offers should be made in vain." said he. He then ordered some salt fish. whose eye was familiarized with rapine and slaughter. he marched. and whose ears were accustomed to the clash of arms to the groans of the wounded and the dying? Onward. Seeing all his attempts fruitless. and very refreshing." "I am the Lord the Lord of the earth. demanded admittance. took a draught of water. and said: "You know I am a great king a person who ." Following the course of the river. we know of no conquerors save such as conquer their passions: None but the just can enter here. he at length arrived at the gates of Paradise. "this gate is the Lord's. These he dipped in the stream. "Thou canst not be admitted here!" exclaimed a voice from within. whose breast was filled with schemes of ambition and conquest. in order to take off the briny taste. All was still: not a sound was heard save those soft murmuring tones which seemed to whisper into the ear of the weary traveller "Come." was the answer. "this river. such a scene might have suggested a thousand delightful reflections.say this is the abode of tranquillity and peace. and was very much surprised to find them emit a very fine fragrance. "Here." Alexander endeavored in vain to enter the abode of the blessed. with which he was well provided. overcome by fatigue and hunger. He seated himself on one of the banks of the river. Yet. neither entreaties nor menaces availed. The gates were shut. must flow from some very rich and happy country. therefore." rejoined the impatient chief "I am Alexander the Conqueror! Will you not admit me?" "No. which possesses such uncommon qualities. he addressed himself to the guardian of Paradise. But what charms could it have for the soul of an Alexander. He knocked. he was soon obliged to stop. "Surely. Let us march thither.

received the homage of nations. it yet possesses some extraordinary qualities. "Strange!" exclaimed Alexander. It may cure the maladies of thy distempered soul. madman!" said the guardian of Paradise. "Great king!" said a learned man. But what was his confusion and surprise to find. that I may show an astonished and admiring world that I have been where no mortal has ever been before me. "that so small a portion of matter should outweigh so large a mass of gold! Is there nothing that will counterpoise it?" "Yes. More gold was added. A pair of scales was brought. Since you will not admit me. The skull was placed in one." Alexander took it with avidity. he threw it on the ground. that it was nothing but the fragment of a human skull. a quantity of gold in the other. Now go thy ways. "the mighty gift that they bestow on kings and heroes? Is this the fruit of so much toil. on examining the received present. the more gold there was put in the one scale the lower sunk that which contained the skull. still the skull preponderated. One glance at it may teach thee more wisdom than thou hast hitherto derived from all thy former instructors. if thou wilt order it to be weighed against gold or silver. astonished. "here is something for thee. "do not despise this gift. "And is this!" exclaimed Alexander." Alexander ordered it to be done. covered the skull with it. . who happened to be present. "Can you explain this strange phenomenon?" "Great king. when immediately down went the gold. "a very little matter will do it. give me at least something. and repaired to his tent. to the astonishment of the beholders. when." answered the philosophers. In short. Despicable as it appears in thine eyes. "this fragment is the socket of the human eye." They then took some earth. "This is very extraordinary! " said Alexander. of which thou mayest soon be convinced. danger. the skull over-balanced the gold. and the opposite scale ascended." "Here." said the sages. and care?" Enraged and disappointed.

I. Neither gold nor silver." "But. is yet unbounded in its desire. archly. leave some for my host. "here is a Pruta[14] bring me something for it. by way of joke." rejoined the stranger. leave. and giving half of it to the stranger." said an Athenian once to a little Hebrew boy. FACETIÆ[13] Wit Like Salt: A Little Goes a Great Way "There. bring me of what I may eat. The Word "Us" Includes the Hearer as Well as the Speaker An Athenian once said to a Hebrew lad. leave some behind. and take some home? Verily of this thou mayest eat. But when it once is laid in the grave and covered with a little earth. "No. 32b. "what else couldst thou mean by saying bring Us? Does not that . is some money.which. the more it craves. and to do as we are desired. my lad." exclaimed the Athenian." The witty boy went and brought him salt. shrewdly. "Salt." [Ekah Rabbati. "didst thou not say. The more it has. "I did not tell thee to bring salt!" "Nay. rather surprised. "but our custom is to speak what we mean. though small in compass. 1." answered the boy. of which I may eat enough." The boy went and purchased the fruit. "Is it customary here. for a messenger to take half of what he fetches?" said the Athenian. and carry some home to my family. my boy. "I did not desire thee to take half the fruit?" "Oh!" replied the boy. "Here." replied the boy. nor any other earthly possession can ever satisfy it. and still have plenty to carry home. kept the other half for himself." Tamid. bring us some figs and grapes. there is an end to its lust and ambition.

"Master. be so kind and put a patch upon this mortar. "as soon as thou wilt make me a few threads of this material" giving him a handful of sand. and addressing himself to the master. found a broken iron mortar. "Tell me first which of these eggs came from white.word include the Hearer as well as the Speaker?" The Athenian smiled. he entered a tailor's shop. and more experienced. An Athenian." said the Hebrew. 1." Ekah Rabbati I. 1. also 'Abodah Zarah." said the stranger. I. Witty Retort of a Hebrew Child "Fetch me some cheese and eggs. Ekah Rabbati. . 1. going along the streets of Jerusalem. 17b. cp. The Inhospitable Jester Taken in His Own Snare He who intends to circumvent others teaches cunninger men a lesson to his own damage. my boy. The Tailor and the Broken Mortar Answer a fool according to his folly. I. "tell me which of these cheeses were made of the milk of white goats. Wishing to exhibit his wit. said. "Now. 5." said an Athenian once to a little boy: the boy did as he was desired. and which of the milk of black goats!" "Thou art older than I. and was contented. xxvi." replied the shrewd little Hebrew. and which from black hens. Prov." "I will. Ekah Rabbati.

The master of the house. they must not entertain a stranger. than he shut the street door upon the Athenian. being rather merry with wine. the stranger entered into a conversation with the pupils. Ekah Rabbati. told him that. "What." "Agreed. The master being absent. by a recent law. that he who attempts to circumvent another has no right to complain of being himself circumvented. some of the boys said to him: "Come." Remember. as I am only a stranger. which thou didst intend to do unto me. 1. two pour out." replied the Hebrew. to which they returned suitable answers. where there were a number of boys." They then proposed the following enigma: "Nine go out.An inhabitant of Jerusalem coming to Athens on some particular business. and proposed many questions. eight come in. entered the house of a merchant. and I shall know how to imitate you. with a view of procuring a lodging. shall forfeit his cloak. "make you the proposition. "do you shut me out of my house?" "Thou hast no reason to complain. "what sort of stride is in fashion among you? Show me." said the Athenian. "I only do that to thee." said the pupils." rejoined the Hebrew. Our traveller no sooner perceived it. "Since thou art the oldest." "No. one . I." The Athenian made one long stride." cried the latter. "it is but fair that thou shouldest have the priority. As he was on the point of departing. which brought him to the middle of his shop the next brought him to its threshold and the third carried him into the street. let us make an agreement that whoever is unable to make a reply to a question proposed. unless he first made three large strides toward the street. and wishing to have a little sport. The Enigma that Cost the Athenian His Mantle An Athenian went once into a Hebrew school. "said the Athenian. "How shall I know.

" The stranger then related to him the real facts. . Ekah Rabbati. the Athenian acknowledged he could not tell the meaning. and four and twenty wait upon him. and redeemed his cloak. The Quadruple Tale "No person. returned. you strip him of his clothes. 1." After several fruitless endeavors. except two little boys. "do not be vexed: I will tell thee the interpretation." said the Rabbi. a little girl. when a stranger comes among you. and a widow. and was under the necessity of giving up his cloak." He then related the following tales: 1." said the Athenian. "Perhaps. I. he met the master of the school. "there was a cause for it.drinks." said Rabbi Joshua." The Athenian thanked him. The nine that go out embrace the period of man's embryo life: The eight that come in are the eight days of circumcision: The two that pour out are the two living fountains which God has provided for the nourishment of infants: The one that drinks is the child that sucks: The twenty-four waiters are the four and twenty months allowed for between its birth and its weaning. "what a shocking custom is this of yours. Is this your hospitality?" He then told him how the pupils had deprived him of his cloak." said the Rabbi. "Rabbi. The Wise Child More than the mile-stone must be consulted in deciding which is the shortest way. Departing from thence. "ever conquered me (in wit). "Well.

and still more his good sense. unless thou wouldst trespass on other people's ground. which of the two led to the town. "Both. I inquired of a little boy. master. but had not far advanced. "I did not misdirect thee." replied the boy. 2. I came near a well." replied he. The Little Girl kind and witty Another time. and may. but it is. who happened to be there. 3. "but that to the right is short and long that on the left is long and short. on account of the many obstructions. I met another little boy carrying a covered dish. and went on. but still the longest. nevertheless. Not knowing which to take. Unable to proceed. I asked for a draught. indeed.Once on my travels. "I told thee what is true. This road is the nearest. and asked the little fellow how he could be so cruel as to misdirect a stranger. I came near a town where the road separated to right and left. Being very thirsty. which I could hardly suppose from so good a man." I took that on the right. Impertinent Curiosity Repressed Arriving in the city. being the public road. "My mother would not have covered it. during my travels. child?" demanded I. The other road is. be passed without encroaching on other people's property." I admired his wit. the shortest. more distant. I returned. when my progress was stopped by a number of hedges and gardens. "What hast thou in that dish. where a little girl was drawing water. . therefore. and canst not comprehend the meaning of a child? It is even as I said. had she been willing that its contents should be known." replied the little wit! and went on. But art thou a wise man among Israel.

"Because I am not hungry. with a significant smile. The next day I did the same." said she. May the Lord continue to bless thee. Being very hungry.She handed me the pitcher. that indicated the most kindly feelings. I laid down the spoon. thou hast not imitated that of the faithful Eliezer. and the good girl gave some to the poor animal. "why eatest thou bread? Do people eat that by way of dessert? But. whom thou didst." "Rabbi. "Drink. 4." I quenched my thirst. "If so. I ate the whole. if I have imitated the example of Rebekah." said the little girl (with a smile. which she placed before me. yesterday and . and made my repast on bread. "I can perhaps guess thy motive. "Why eatest thou not of what has been prepared for thee?" asked my hostess. "and when thou hast done."[15] Kind maiden. but finding the food so very salty." rejoined she. As I departed. Ignorant of what had been done. that it was impossible to eat it. She prepared something for my dinner. I will draw some for the beast on which thou ridest. wishing to make me sensible of the impropriety of my conduct. and that the reply was a mere play of wit) "Rabbi. I began to eat. The third day. Innocence. and Good Nature. I said. so overseasoned the dish she had prepared for me." answered I. thought the Rabbi. my hostess." continued she. thou possessest already more valuable ornaments than the most faithful servant can bestow Wit. "Daughter of Israel! thou hast imitated the virtuous example of our good mother Rebekah. without leaving the customary remnant for the servants. Great Learning no Excuse for Want of Good Manners I happened once to take up my lodging at the abode of a widow. Thou leavest this for the poor servants.

my purchase improves. nay. loquacious fool!" exclaimed the Athenian. I. "I see." said he. and at last acquired sufficient wisdom to purchase a blind slave!" "Be comforted. when thou canst scarcely see what is before thee?" "I am not mad. "trust me. he began to examine his purchase more closely. Rabbi?" I was humbled. he went to the market-place and purchased one. like myself. 1. is blind of one eye: she is big with two young." said the master. deprive of their due! Is it not so. "yet it is as I said. he can see much better than persons with two. VI. Ekah Rabbati. "Master. "Thou blockhead.the day before. 'Erubin. though he is blind of one eye. Here have I studied three years and a half.53b. and found to his surprise that the purchased servant was blind of one eye. and finding he made no great progress in his studies. who is some distance before us. the traveller is accompanied by a she-ass. the blind slave addressed his master. The Athenian and His One-Eyed Slave An Athenian went to study at Jerusalem. moreover. When they had advanced a little way. I . we shall overtake a traveller." "Thou art mad. he resolved to return." said he to himself "see the charming fruits of thy application. "let us quicken our pace. "Nor I. "yet I know he is just four miles distant from us." The Athenian departed with his servant. After remaining there three years and a half." "Cease thy prattle." replied the slave. and acknowledged my fault." replied the servant. and carries two flasks. Being in want of a servant to accompny him on his journey. the other wine. Having paid the money. one containing vinegar. who." said the person that sold the slave. Derek 'Erez Rabba. slave! How shouldest thou know what passes at so great a distance." "I can see no traveller. ch.

and thou wilt see I have told thee nothing but the truth. and thenceforth treated him with great respect. begged him to take care of his property until the arrival of his son. not to deliver it to him. he called the master of the house." replied the slave. Ekah Rabbati. The Scientific Carver A Jerusalemite went once on particular business. Sanhedrin. and found some of them appeared spongy while others were full of small bubbles." The Athenian admired the sagacity of his servant. Further. and soon overtook the traveller. to a certain place in the country." said the slave. After the lapse of a . I observed the impressions which the liquid had made on the sand." They journeyed on. caused by fermentation. and observing the almost imperceptible impression of the ass's hoofs. when the Athenian. I knew she must be with young. "I will tell thee. but he is mad in the bargain. A little further on we passed a sandy road." "Well. and he begged him to explain how he could know all this without seeing either the animal or its conductor. "have a little patience.thought him blind only. master. where he was suddenly taken ill. unless he first performed three clever things as a proof of his wisdom. "I looked at the road. I. for beyond that the impression could not have been visible. found everything as his servant had told him. master. and for fear of imposition. Seeing himself on the point of death. to his utmost astonishment. a. and by the impression which the animal left on the sand where she rested. I concluded that she must be four miles distant. 104b. and thence judged of the nature of the liquid. I saw the grass eaten away on one side of the path. and not on the other. and hence judged she must be blind of one eye.

"How much for that wood?" asked the stranger. but said nothing. two daughters. "go and carry it to that man's house" (mentioning the name of the person of whom he was in quest). "What is all this?" said the master of the house. Dinner was prepared. and insisted on his staying with him till the next day." The latter begged at first to be excused. as the people refused to give him the desired information. informed the master who he was. and the servant brought a dish containing five chickens." In the mean time the stranger arrived." said the Hebrew. but ignorant of the particular street in which he lived." thought the master within himself. he contrived this stratagem in order to discover it. "but the person behind me has. adding. consisting of the master. another between the two daughters. a very fine capon was . he espied a person with a heavy load of wood on his shoulders. While thus embarrassed and perplexed how to proceed. "I will follow thee. "I have not ordered any wood. two sons. The offer was thankfully accepted. "Thou art a clever fellow. the third between the two sons. "Now. Arriving at the house." The man did as he was desired. and the stranger." "True. "A very strange way of carving. he in vain endeavored to find it out. the carrier put down his load." said the host. Knowing the name of the person with whom his father usually resided. bade him enter. and the remaining two he took for his own share. this! My visitor must needs be a great glutton.considerable time. The afternoon and evening were passed in various amusements. The company. and when supper-time arrived." said the host to his visitor. "be so kind and carve. his wife. which was placed upon the table. the cloth laid." said the carrier. as no one would acquaint him with the place of his abode. indeed. the son arrived at the place. but at last complied. were seated. and executed the office in the following manner: One of the chickens he divided between the master and his wife. "Thou shalt have it. The man mentioned a certain sum.

but this is still more extraordinary." said the master. were therefore their proper portion. five chickens were placed before me. not appear quite so strange." replied the visitor. and kept the whole remainder to himself. I therefore took that part which most ." said the kind host to his visitor." Our visitor took the capon before him. thou. I therefore gave them wings. and intend to return in a boat. To thy wife I gave the inward part as a sign of her fruitfulness. perhaps. the legs. "Upon my word. I was compelled to take the remaining chickens to myself. cut off its head." "Thou art an excellent arithmetician. and my conduct may. and I know thou wishest to see them well settled. To make up the last number. thy two daughters and a chicken made another three. these were to be divided among seven persons. I thought it best to do it arithmetically. and one chicken made up the number three. to the two sons a leg each. which are the supporters of the animal. "this is too bad. for two chickens and thy humble servant made again three. thy wife. Thy daughters are marriageable. but a bad carver." said the master. is this the way they carve at Jerusalem?" "Have patience until I explain myself. the inward part he gave to the mistress of the house. As for myself I came in a boat. "Thou hast performed the honors of the table so well this day." The stranger continued: "In my carving in the evening. I proceeded according to the nature of things. "At dinner. I thought thy manner of carving at dinner very strange. Now. to the two daughters he gave each a wing. thy two sons and a chicken made again three. Thy two sons are the two pillars of thy house. The head being the principal part of the body. since thou art the head of the family. Thus have I solved this difficult problem. "but proceed. As I could not perform the operation with mathematical exactness. "that I must request thee to carve again. and placed it before the master.placed upon the table. I therefore gave it thee. Pray. that they may the sooner fly abroad.

The cup is small the receiver large and your wine so delicious!" Pesahim. happened to be on medicinal subjects. friend Simeon. "the wise men have not so defined their rule as to admit of no exception: and in this instance." said his kind host.resembles it." "Very well done. Another was poured out it shared the same fate. handed it to him. "Brother Eliezer. and drank it off at a draught. of which the young man spoke so lightly. "I am satisfied thou art the true son of my departed friend. I." answered the corpulent Eliezer. there are no less than three." said Simeon." added he. and. jocosely. once paid a friendly visit to Rabbi Simeon. "rememberest thou not what the wise men have said on this subject?" "I well remember. Hisda's Discourse. jestingly. The learned Simeon received him most cordially. filling a cup with wine. . No Rule Without Exception Rabbi Eliezer. 1.' But. 86b. who was as much distinguished by the greatness of his mind as by the extraordinary size of his body." Ekah Rabbati. "the saying of our instructors 'that people ought not to take a cup at one draught. Here is thy property: now go and prosper. Eliezer took it.

this also. He was surnamed Gamzu. making together seven. i. how comes it that thy time-serving policy did not protect thee? To which Pappos replied: "Happy art thou. The Talmudists tell us. whatever happened to him. . what has brought thee hither?" as much as to say. by the order of the Emperor Hadrian. the origin of charity-boxes." Thus retracting his former opinion. Eccles. publicly executed under the greatest torments. 2. it becomes our bounden duty cheerfully to lay down our lives for its preservation. being the fourth part of a shekel. The word occurs twice in the plural. Hell. This truly great man was not permitted to exert his pious endeavors long. which signifies. it so happened that Pappos was thrown in the same dungeon. this is also for some good purpose. probably. When Akiba beheld him. Hell. that after he had been some time imprisoned. and three times in the singular. Hence. value about nine pence. which the Rabbi considered as equivalent to four. Akiba. at last. who sufferest for the law woe to me. He was thrown into prison. A Hebrew coin. he asked him. when our religion is in danger. who suffer for vain things. because. Paradise. "Pappos. and acknowledging that. and.A term of reproach. he used to say.

See Numbers v. at all events. see the article "Athenians in Talmud and Midrash. Indicating that he had not offered her gifts." in "Jewish Encyclopedia. pp. For the entire contents of this section. 265-266. of less value than a farthing. and the sources there cited. 23. . " II. given us a very instructive lesson. A small coin. Whether the Talmudists have taken this from the well-known story of the Amazonian Queen. I cannot tell: but they have.