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The Talmud (התלמוד) is considered an authoritative record of rabbinic discussions on Jewish law, Jewish ethics, customs, legends and stories. It consists of the Mishnah, a record of oral traditions, and the Gemara, which comments upon, interprets and applies these oral traditions. A section of the Mishnah is followed by the Gemara on that section. There are two distinct Gemaras: the Yerushalmi and the Bavli, and two corresponding Talmuds: Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud) and the Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud); The word "Talmud", when used without qualification, usually refers to the Babylonian Talmud. Neither Gemara is complete.

See also: Pirkei Avot, a section of the Mishnah.


  • Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.

- Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:8 (37a)

  • If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?

- Rabbi Hillel (Avot 1:14)

  • Repent one day before your death. (Avot 2:10)
  • Say little and do much. (Avot 1:15)
  • Assume for yourself a master, acquire for yourself a friend, and judge every man to the side of merit. (Avot 1:6)
  • In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man. (Avot 2:5)
  • Let your home be a meeting place for the wise; dust yourself in the soil of their feet, and drink thirstily of their words. (Avot 1:4)
  • Make that His will should be your will, so that He should make your will to be as His will. Nullify your will before His will, so that He should nullify the will of others before your will. (Avot 2:4)
  • Rabbi Eliezer would say: The honor of your fellow should be as precious to you as your own, and do not be easy to anger. (Avot 2:7)
  • Rabbi Joshua would say: An evil eye, the evil inclination, and the hatred of one's fellows, drive a person from the world. (Avot 2:11)
  • Rabbi Tarfon would say: The day is short, the work is much, the workers are lazy, the reward is great, and the Master is pressing. He would also say: It is not incumbent upon you to finish the task, but neither are you free to absolve yourself from it. (Avot 2:15-16)
  • He [Hillel] would also say: One who increases flesh, increases worms; one who increases possessions, increases worry; one who increases wives, increases witchcraft; one who increases maidservants, increases promiscuity; one who increases man-servants, increases thievery; one who increases Torah, increases life; one who increases study, increases wisdom; one who increases counsel, increases understanding; one who increases charity, increases peace. One who acquires a good name, acquired it for himself; one who acquires the words of Torah, has acquired life in the World to Come. (Avot 2:7)


  • A legal decision depends not on the teacher's age, but on the force of his argument.
  • For we are like olives: only when we are crushed do we yield what is best in us.
  • A man should endeavor to be as pliant as a reed, yet as hard as cedar-wood.
  • A quotation at the right moment is like bread to the famished.
  • Ambition destroys its possessor.
  • Be of an exceedingly humble spirit, for the end of man is the worm.
  • Beware of the ruling powers! for they do not befriend a person except for their own needs: they when it is to their advantage, but they do not stand by a man when he is hard-pressed.
  • Breed not a savage dog, nor permit a loose stairway.
  • Deeds of kindness are equal in weight to all the commandments.
  • Despise no man and consider nothing impossible, for there is no man who does not have his hour and there is no thing that does not have its place.
  • Do not appease thy fellow in his hour of anger; do not comfort him while the dead is still laid do not question him in the hour of his vow; and do not strive to see him in his hour of misfortune.
  • Do not attempt to confute a lion after he's dead.
  • Don't use the conduct of a fool as a precedent.
  • Doubt cannot override a certainty.
  • Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, "Grow, grow."
  • Examine the contents, not the bottle.
  • For the unlearned, old age is winter; for the learned it is the season of the harvest.
  • He that gives should never remember. He that receives should never forget.
  • He who carries out one good deed acquires one advocate in his own behalf, and he who commits one transgression acquires one accuser against himself. Repentance and good works are like a shield against calamity.
  • He who loves money will not be satisfied with money.
  • He who promises runs in debt.
  • He whose wisdom exceeds his works, to what may he be likened? To a tree whose branches are numerous but whose roots are few. The wind comes along and uproots it and sweeps it down.
  • Hire yourself out to work, which is beneath you, rather than become dependent on others.
  • If one man says to thee, "Thou art a donkey", pay no heed. If two speak thus, purchase a saddle.
  • If one profanes the name of heaven in secret he shall be punished in broad daylight: unwittingly is all one in profaning the name.
  • If silence be good for the wise, how much better for fools.
  • Into the well which supplies thee with water, cast no stones.
  • Keep far way from an evil neighbor, do not associate with the wicked, and do not shrug off all thought of calamity.
  • Let your left hand turn away what your right hands attracts.
  • Life is so short we must move very slowly.
  • Loving kindness is greater than laws; and the charities of life are more than all ceremonies.
  • Make thy study of the word of The Eternal a fixed practice; say little and do much; and receive all countenance.
  • Man has three friends on whose company he relies. First, wealth— which goes with him only while good fortune lasts. Second, his relatives— they go only as far as the grave and leave him there. The third friend, his good deeds, go with him beyond the grave.
  • Mark well three things and thou wilt not fall into the clutches of sin: Know what is above thee— an eye that sees, an ear that hears, and all thine actions recorded in the book.
  • More people die from over-eating than from undernourishment.
  • Never expose yourself unnecessarily to danger; a miracle may not save you...and if it does, it will be deducted from your share of luck or merit.
  • No labor, however humble, is dishonoring.
  • Only a fraction of a man's virtues should be enumerated in his presence.
  • Power buries those who wield it.
  • Rather be the tail of a lion than the head of a fox.
  • Richer is one hour of repentance and good works in this world than all of life of the world to come; and richer is one hour's calm of spirit in the world to come than all of life of this world.
  • Sheep follow sheep.
  • Sin is sweet in the beginning, but bitter in the end.
  • The burden is equal to the horse's strength.
  • The deeper the sorrow the less tongue it hath.
  • The Divine Spirit does not reside in any except the joyful heart.
  • The doctrines of religion are resolved into carefulness; carefulness into vigorousness; vigorousness into guiltlessness; guiltlessness into abstemiousness; abstemiousness into cleanliness; cleanliness into godliness.
  • The end result of wisdom is... good deeds.
  • The highest form of wisdom is kindness.
  • The myrtle that grows among thorns is a myrtle still.
  • The sun sets without thy assistance.
  • These things are good in little measure and evil in large; yeast, salt, and hesitation.
  • Thy friend has a friend, and thy friend's friend has a friend; be discreet.
  • Trust not your own powers till the day of your death.
  • When choosing a wife look down the social scale; when selecting a friend, look upwards.
  • When you teach your son, you teach your son's son.
  • When you add to the truth,you subtract from it.
  • Who can protest an injustice but does not is an accomplice to the act.
  • Who is mighty? One who subdues his urges.
  • Who is wise? One who sees the future.
  • Who is wealthy? One who is satisfied with his lot.
  • Who is a wise man? He who learns of all men.
  • You can educate a fool, but you cannot make him think.

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