excerpts from Pirkei Avos.

These quotes convey a valuable sense of a heart of justice, humility, hospitality, and sincerity. From the Mishnah, the first major written collection of Pharisaic/Rabbinic teaching and law.

“Do not be as slaves, who serve their master for the sake of reward. Rather, be as slaves who serve their master not for the sake of reward. And the fear of Heaven should be upon you.”
“Let your home be a meeting place for the wise; dust yourself in the soil of their feet, and drink thirstily of their words.”
“Love work, loath mastery over others, and avoid intimacy with the government.”
“Be meticulous with the reading of the Shma and with prayer. When you pray, do not make your prayers routine, but [an entreaty of] mercy and a supplication before the Almighty, as is stated ‘For He is benevolent and merciful, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, and relenting of the evil decree.’ (Joel 2:13). And do not be wicked in your own eyes.”
“Give Him what is His, for you, and whatever is yours, are His. As David says: ‘For everything comes from You, and from Your own hand we give to You.'”
“One whose deeds exceed his wisdom, his wisdom endures. But one whose wisdom exceeds his deeds, his wisdom does not endure.”
“Be very, very humble, for the hope of mortal man is worms.”
“One who learns Torah in order to teach, is given the opportunity to learn and teach. One who learns in order to do, is given the opportunity to learn, teach, observe and do.”
“Be first to greet every man. Be a tail to lions, rather than a head to foxes.”
“Delve and delve into it, for all is in it; see with it; grow old and worn in it; do not budge from it, for there is nothing better.”
“Whoever studies Torah for Torah’s sake alone, merits many things; not only that, but [the creation of] the entire world is worthwhile for him alone. He is called friend, beloved, lover of G-d, lover of humanity, rejoicer of G-d, rejoicer of humanity. The Torah enclothes him with humility and awe; makes him fit to be righteous, pious, correct and faithful; distances him from sin and brings him close to merit. From him, people enjoy counsel and wisdom, understanding and power, as is stated (Proverbs 8:14): ‘Mine are counsel and wisdom, I am understanding, mine is power.’ The Torah grants him sovereignty, dominion, and jurisprudence. The Torah’s secrets are revealed to him, and he becomes as an ever-increasing wellspring and as an unceasing river. He becomes modest, patient and forgiving of insults. The Torah uplifts him and makes him greater than all creations.”
“One who learns from his fellow a single chapter, or a single law, or a single verse, or a single word, or even a single letter, he must treat him with respect. For so we find with David, king of Israel, who did not learn anything from Achitofel except for two things alone, yet he called him his ‘master,’ his ‘guide’ and his ‘intimate,’ as is stated (Psalms 55:14), ‘And you are a man of my worth, my guide and intimate friend.’ Surely we can infer a fortiori: if David, king of Israel, who learned nothing from Achitofel except for two things alone, nevertheless referred to him as his master, guide and intimate, it certainly goes without saying that one who learns from his fellow a single chapter, a law, a verse, a saying, or even a single letter, is obligated to revere him. And there is no reverence but Torah, as is stated (Proverbs 3:35; 28:10), ‘The sages shall inherit honor’ ‘and the integral shall inherit good’; and there is no good but Torah, as is stated (ibid. 4:2), ‘I have given you a good purchase; My Torah, do not forsake it.'”
“Do not seek greatness for yourself, and do not lust for honor. More than you study, do. Desire not the table of kings, for your table is greater than theirs, and your crown is greater than theirs, and faithful is your Employer to pay you the rewards of your work.”
“Everything that G-d created in His world, He did not create but for His glory. As is stated (Isaiah 43:7): ‘All that is called by My name and for My glory, I created it, formed it, also I made it.’ And it says (Exodus 15:1): ‘G-d shall reign forever and ever.'”


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