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Jewish Words of Wisdom: Quotes from March

From the Week of 21 Adar II 5757/March 30, 1997

"Keep far from a false matter; and do not slay the innocent and righteous; for I will not justify the wicked." (Exodus 23:7)

"Do not steal, do not deceive, and do not lie to one another" (Leviticus 19:11)

"Teach your tongue to say, 'I do not know,' lest you be led to lie." (Talmud Bavli, Berakhot 4a as translated by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin in Jewish Wisdom)

"One should not promise to give a child something and then not give it to him, because as a result, the child will learn to lie." (Talmud Bavli, Sukkah 46a as translated by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin in Jewish Wisdom)

"And how do we know that a disciple, who sees his master making a mistake in the law, should not say, I will wait until he finishes, and then upset his decision, and build up [another decision] according to my own judgment, so that the decision will be called by my name? Because it is said: From a false matter keep far." (Talmud Bavli, Shevu'oth 31a Soncino Translation)

"How do we know that, if two come to court, one clothed in rags and the other in fine raiment worth a hundred manehs, they should say to him, ‘Either dress like him, or dress him like you’? Because it is said: From a false matter keep far. When they would come before Raba son of R. Huna, he would say to them, ‘Remove your fine shoes, and come down for your case.’" (Talmud Bavli, Shevu'oth 31a Soncino Translation)


From the Week of 14 Adar II 5757/March 23, 1997

"Do not go about as a talebearer amoung your people" (Leviticus 19:16)

"Do not accept a false report" (Exodus 23:1)

"The gossiper [speaker of lashon hara] stands in Syria and kills in Rome" (Talmud Yerushalami, Peah 1:1 as quoted in R. Joseph Telushkin's Jewish Wisdom)

"When someone makes and innocent statement without realizing the consequences of what he is saying, people tend to accept his word as fact." (Chofetz Chaim, A Lesson a Day)

"Evil talk (lashon hara) is so grievous a sin because it kills three people: the one who speaks evil, the one who listens to evil talk, and the one being slandered" (R. Abraham Twerski, Living Each Day)

"Have you heard something? Let it die with you. Be of good courage: it will not burst you." (Apocrypha, Ecclesiasticus 19:10 as quoted in R. Joseph Telushkin's Jewish Wisdom)


From the Week of 7 Adar II 5757/March 16, 1997

"Hillel says...'And do not judge your fellow until you are in his place'" (Mishnah, Avot 2:4, Jacob Neusner's New Translation)

"...R. Eliezer says, Let the respect owing to your fellow be as precious to you as the respect owing to you yourself. And don’t be easy to anger. (Mishnah, Avot 2:10, Jacob Neusner's New Translation)

"Joshua b. Perahiah says,..'And give everybody the benefit of the doubt.'" Mishnah, Avot 1:6, Jacob Neusner's New Translation)

"A Torah Sage should not shout or shreik while speaking, ..Instead, he should speak gently to all people." (Maimonides Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Deot 5:7)

"...he [a Torah scholar] should be...among those who accept humiliation but not among those who humiliate [others]." (Maimonides Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Deot 5:13)

"Whoever hates a [fellow] Jew in his heart transgresses a Torah prohibition as [Leviticus 19:17] states: 'Do not hate your brother in your heart.'" (Maimonides Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Deot 6:5)

"A person who rebukes a collegue...should speak to him patiently and gently, informing him that he is only making these statements for his colleague's own welfare, to allow him to merit the life of the world to come." (Maimonides Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Deot 6:7)

"Anyone who becomes angry is like one who worships idols...Whenever one becomes angry, if he is a wise man, his wisdom leaves him...Therefore, they [ie, the Sages] have directed that one distance himself from anger..." (Maimonides Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Deot 2:3)


From the Week of 30 Adar I 5757/March 9, 1997

"Love your neighbor as yourself [Leviticus 19:18] -- this is the greatest law in the Torah" (Rabbi Akiva, second centery C.E.)

"What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: this is the whole Torah. The rest is commenatry; now go and study" (Hillel, just before the beginning of the Common Era)

"He who strives to do good and kind deeds Attains life, success, and honor" (Proverb 21:21)

"It has been told, O man, what is good, and what the L-RD does require of you:
Only to do justice,
to love kindness [Heb. chesed],
and to walk humbly with your G-d."
(Micah 6:8)

"Thus said the L-RD: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom; let not the strong man glory in his strength; let not the rich man glory in his riches. But only in this should one glory: In his earnest devotion to Me. For I the L-RD act with kindness, justice, and equity in the world; for in these I delight. (Jeremiah 9:22-23)

"In the hour when an individual is brought before the heavenly court for judgement, the person is asked:
Did you conduct you [business] agffairs honestly?
Did you set aside regular time for Torah study?
Did you work at having children?
Did you look forward to the world's redemption?"
(Talmud Bavli, Shabbat 31a as quoted in Rabbi Joseph Telushkin's Jewish Wisdom)


From the Week of 23 Adar I 5757/March 2, 1997

"Do you not realize that if ink were poured out accidentally on a sheet of paper, it would be impossible that proper writing should result, or legible lines such as written with a pen?...Now, if we fint it impossible to reconcile ourselves to the idea that written forms can make themselves, how is it possible to say, when we see somthing more subtle in form [and] more difficult to create...that it was made without purpose, power and wisdom of a mighty designer?" (Bahya ibn Pakuda, Duties of the Heart as quoted in Rabbi Joseph Telushkin's Jewish Wisdom)

"In the final analysis, for the believer there are no questions, and for the non-believer there are no answers" (the Chaffetz Chiam as quoted in Rabbi Joseph Telushkin's Jewish Wisdom)


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This page was made by Gretchen A. Shapiro, © copyright 1997