Sunday, July 3, 2011

I am a creature of God and so is my neighbour.

The sages of the academy in Jabnah expressed their regard for all human beings, learned and unlearned, in this manner:

"I am a creature of God and so is my neighbour. He may prefer to labour in the country; I prefer a calling in the city. I rise early for my personal benefit; he rises early to advance his own interests. As he does not seek to sup plant me, I should be careful to do naught to injure his business. Shall I imagine that I am nearer to God because my profession advances the cause of learning and his does not? No. Whether we accomplish much good or little good, the Almighty will reward us in accordance with our righteous intentions."

Abaygeh offered the following as his best advice:
". . . Let him be also affable and disposed to foster kindly feelings between all people; by so doing he will gain for himself the love both of the Creator and His creatures."

Rabba always said that the possession of wisdom and a knowledge of the law necessarily lead to penitence and good deeds. "For," said he, "it would be useless to acquire great learning and the mastery of Biblical and traditional law and act irreverently towards one's parents, or towards those superior on account of age or more extensive learning."

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do God's commands."

Rabba said, "Holy Writ does not tell us that to study God's commands shows a good understanding, but to do them. We must learn, however, before we can be able to perform; and he who acts contrary through life to the teachings of the Most High had better never have been born."

The Talmud: Selections, by H. Polano, [1876], at
Pages 250-251

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