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Sayings of the Jewish Fathers
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Pages (PDF): 28
Publication Date: 1897
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This short book is an 1897 translation of the Pirkei Avot (Chapters of the Fathers), which is a compilation of ethical teachings and sayings of the Rabbis of the Mishnaic period.
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Some passages of doubtful genuineness are printed in italics. Omissions of the manuscript of Chapters I-V are supplied in smaller type.
1. Moses received the Thorah from Sinai, and he delivered it to Jehoshua', and Jehoshua' to the elders, and the elders to the prophets, and the prophets delivered it to the men of the Great Synagogue. They said three things: Be deliberate in judgment; and raise up many disciples; and make a fence to the Thorah.
2. Shime'on ha-Çaddiq was of the remnants of the Great Synagogue. He used to say, On three things the world is stayed; on the Thorah, and on the Worship, and on the bestowal of Kindnesses.
3. Antigonus of Soko received from Shime'on ha-Çaddiq. He used to say, Be not as slaves that minister to the lord with a view to receive recompense; but be as slaves that minister to the lord without a view to receives recompense; and let the fear of Heaven be upon you.
4. Jose ben Jo'ezer of Çeredah and Jose ben Jochanan of Jerusalem received from them. Jose ben Jo'ezer of Çeredah said, Let thy house be a meeting-house for the wise; and powder thyself in the dust of their feet; and drink their words with thirstiness.
5. Jose ben Jochanan of Jerusalem said, Let thy house be opened wide; and let the needy be thy household; and prolong not converse with woman.
6. His own wife, they meant, much less his neighbour's wife.) Hence the wise have said, Each time that the man prolongs converse with the woman he causes evil to himself, and desists from words of Thorah, and in the end he inherits Gehinnom.
7. Jehoshua' ben Perachia and Matthai the Arbelite received from them. Jehoshua' ben Perachiah said, Make unto thyself a master; and possess thyself of an associate; and judge every man in the scale of merit.
8. Matthai the Arbelite said, Withdraw from an evil neighbour; and associate not with the wicked;. and grow not thoughtless of retribution.
9. Jehudah ben Tabai and Shime'on ben Shatach received from them. Jehudah ben Tabai said, Make not thyself as them that predispose the judges; and while the litigants stand before thee, let them be in thine eyes as guilty; and when dismissed from before thee let them be in thine eyes as righteous, because that they have received the doom upon them.
10. Shime'on ben Shatach said, Make full examination of the witnesses; but be guarded in thy words, perchance from them they may learn to lie.
11. Shema'iah and Abtalion received from them. Shema'iah said, Love work; and hate lordship; and make not thyself known to the government.
12. Abtalion said, Ye wise, be guarded in your words; perchance ye may incur the debt of exile, and be exiled to the place of evil waters; and the disciples that come after you may drink and die, and the Name of Heaven be profaned.
13. Hillel and Shammai received from them. Hillel said, Be of the disciples of Aharon; loving peace, and pursuing peace; loving mankind, and bringing them nigh to the Thorah.
14. He used to say, A name made great is a name destroyed; he who increases not decreases; and he who will not learn (or teach) deserves slaughter; and he who serves himself with the tiara perishes.
15. He used to say, If I am not for myself who is for me? and being for my own self what am I? If not now when?
16. Shammai said, Make thy Thorah an ordinance; say little and do much; and receive every man with a pleasant expression of countenance.
17. Rabban Gamliel said, Make to thyself a master, and be quit of doubt; and tithe not much by estimation.
18. Shime'on his son said, All my days I have grown up amongst the wise, and have not found aught good for a man but silence; not learning but doing is the groundwork; and whoso multiplies words occasions sin.
19. Rabban Shime'on ben Gamliel said, On three things the world stands; on Judgment, and on Truth, and on Peace.
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