Midrash quotations

Midrash Tanhuma

Wisdom is granted by G-d to him who already posses knowledge, not to the ignorant.

The following tend to make a man prematurely old: Fear, war, trouble from his children, or a shrew of a wife.

Give me the admonition of the old in preference to the flattery of the young.

Slander no one, whether brother or not thy brother, whether a Jew or not a Jew.

Have no undue passion for tyrants, and you will not become a tyrant over those who deserve compassion.

Palestine is destined to be the centre of the globe.

G-d gave the Torah to Israel, but all nations are to benefit by it.


Genesis Rabba

The progeny of man is reckoned from his father's and not from his mother's family.

Even flies, parasites and microbes have their purpose to fulfil, there is nothing superfluous in creation.

Man in celibacy is in sublime ignorance of what is meant by the words "good," "help," "joy," "blessing," "peace," and "expiation of sin." He is, in fact, not entitled to the dignified name of man.

Woman attains discretion at an earlier age than man.

"Dust thou art and unto dust shalt though return." The grave is the only thing that man has honestly acquired and can honestly claim.

G-d will wipe away tears from of all faces (Isa xxv. 8) This means from the face of non Jews as well as Jews.

The wicked make no resistance, but abandon themselves to their evil inclination.

There is not an evil that fails to bring benefit to someone.

Once a man, twice a child.

If a man calls you an ass, the best way is to take no notice of it; but if you are called so by two or more persons, take the bit into your own mouth.

All members of a man's body were given him for use, yet some he has no power of restraint. His eyes sometimes see what he would rather not see, his ears often hear against his will, and his nose smells occasionally what he would rather dispense with.

The fact that we awake from sleep is some evidence for the resurrection.

Man in distress pledges himself to good deeds; man in prosperity forgets his good resolutions.

The heathen stands by his god. (Gen xli. 1) The Jewish G-d stands by his people. (Gen xxviii. 13)

Slander is compared to an arrow, not to any other handy weapon, such as a sword etc., because like an arrow it kills at a distance. It can be uttered in Rome and have its baneful effect in Syria.

Exodus Rabba

The kingdom of Greece was a terror to the world, but Mattathias the priest, with faith and not with weapons, boldly met the terror and defeated it.

Honour the physician so long as you do not need his skill.

"I am the first and I am the last, and besides me there is no G-d" (Isa. xliii. 6) I am the first, I have no father; I am the last, I have no brother. Beside me there is no G-d; I have no son.

Poverty is man's greatest affliction.

The poor are styled as "G-d's own."

Israel is the most arrogant among nations, like the dog amongst the beasts and the cock amongst the fowls.


Leveticus Rabba

G-d pairs -- in marriages -- and appoints all destinies.

Man is the last in creation and the first in responsibility.

If speech is silver, then silence is gold.

When the poor stand at your door, remember that their Maker stands at their right hand. (Ps cix.), and consider it a high privilege for you to help them.


Numbers Rabba

The Israelites were the first to introduce national flags.

Israel is compared to sand (Gen. xxii.), Just as sand, if it gets into food, destroys the teeth, so if you touch Israel you will bring down calamity upon you (Jer. ii.).  Just as sand going through fire becomes converted from a dull substance to a clear glass, so Israel going through the fire of persecution comes out brighter and clearer.  Moreover, other nations are compared to lime (Isa. xxxiii.) and Israel to sand.  As one cannot build with lime unless it is mixed with sand, so the nations cannot exist or flourish without Israel in the midst of them.

When a king dies, long live the king.  When a wise man dies it is not always an easy matter to replace him.

"The Lord preserveth the strangers."  The proselytes who embrace Judaism are kept steadfast in their faith by G-d himself, and are in every respect like a Jew born.

Of the many that go to sea, most return, only a small percentage are lost.  Also of those who plunge into the sea of matrimony most are happy, and only a small number are misalliances.

Where wine goes in, intellect comes out, as well as secrets.

If you have not acquired knowledge, what clan you claim to be possessed of?  If you have knowledge, what do you lack.

He who refuses to accept an apology from one who has offended him is wicked.

Deutronomy Rabba

In vain have you acquired knowledge if you do not impart it to others.

Marriage conventions and agreements are not to be arranged without the consent of both parties to the contract, and the man is to pay the costs.

If you are anxious not to forget the subject you study, then it is necessary to pass what you read through your lips, not merely read the subject up.  If you do not utter the words you read you will forget them.