1 Leaving the Sea of Galil behind them, 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 took the talmidim up into the mountains, and others went also. Here there was a house providing warmth and shelter, so they tarried awhile, it being the time of preparation for sowing.

2 One cold night, 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 went out from the room where they sat at food to relieve a man guarding the donkeys, so he might come in and warm himself. Later, when the man returned to his charges, he found 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 shivering, for He had placed His cloak around a foal. The man said, “Aḏonai, why do You do this? But seeing You have done it, why does not our Father provide a mantle for His Bĕn?”

3 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “The little one is helpless in our hands, but We are not helpless in the Father’s hand. The foal has no choice but to remain in the stall, while I can choose to go or stay, to keep My covering or give it to another. If 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 voided the effects of our good deeds, what merit would they have?”

4 The man said, “I will pray Elohim to make me good even as You.” 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Pray that your deeds merit the reward of goodness.”

5 Another night, a journeyman came seeking shelter and warmth and was given hospitality. He said to those who made him welcome, “You are baruḵ indeed to live here in warmth and comfort, while I must ride the inhospitable roads for my master.”

6 The following morning, having been well provided with sustenance for the road, he said to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 ere he departed, “Aḏonai, I listened well to Your words last night. Since I am a poor man, suffering many hardships, and my life is difficult, am I then assured of better conditions in the life to come?”

7 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “By what standards do you think these things are judged? Using yours, the packhorse accompanying you would be more entitled to this assurance. For while you ate soup and slept in comfort and warmth, this uncomplaining beast whose lot is much harder than yours remained neglected in the cold.”

8 Towards the end of their stay, a learned man came to eat with them, one knowing all the Books of Wisdom and the Torah. While talking with the talmidim he said, “Because of my knowledge I am a man of no mean position, and many men are silent before me when weighty matters are under discussion.”

9 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, overhearing this, said, “Take no credit for yourself concerning your knowledge, but compare yourself to a borrower who has a debt to repay. Does the borrower receive credit for repaying what he has borrowed? Therefore, take no credit for the wisdom you dispense. And as to the acquisition of knowledge, is this not the end for which you were created?”

10 When this man had departed, 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said to His talmidim, “The Books of Wisdom should be the treasure of all men, for they contain the explanations and instructions of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄. When men say, ‘Woe, because I am smitten with calamity; why does Elohim let disaster strike in this manner, or why is my lot in life unlike that of others?’ be sure they have not unlocked the door of their treasure-house.

11 “By reading the Books of Wisdom you will be brought to an understanding of the nature and intention of Elohim, and life will then have meaning and purpose. Without them you can be likened to a man at sea in a fair wind but lacking sail and oars. Reading them, but lacking guidance or understanding, you could be likened to a man at sea with sail and oars, but without the ability to utilize them.”

12 A talmid, one who had been with Yoḥanan, asked, “Aḏonai, tell us which is true. Yoḥanan taught the Way of the Wilderness and said, ‘Be the best of men, and let Elohim take care of His Reign, for you are the rulers of Earth.’ Yet at other times he told us to await the coming of One who would deliver us from the evils of this world and show us the path of righteousness.”

13 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “If you knew a distinguished guest was coming, would you not make fitting preparations, doing all things to ensure an appropriate welcome? If a man has many servants, does he thrash his own grain?”

14 “The road indicated by Yoḥanan is not my road, but it leads to the same destination. I bring you the Way of the Stake, which is the stake of ḥai. Follow what I teach, and you will be with Me at the end. Choose your path, for no man can plow two furrows; neither can the hands of two men hold the reins.”

15 While 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 was still in the mountains preparing His talmidim for the task ahead, two wandering musicians came by, and one was always laughing, and the other always melancholy. 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said to them, “Many men have differing skills, and are you not skilled with the lute and lyre?” They said, “That is so.” 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Now, when the strings of your instruments are too taut, what happens?” They replied, “Then there is discord.” And 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Is it not even so if the strings are too slack?” They replied, “It is.”

16 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Sometimes the natures of men need slackening, for they are too taut, while sometimes they are too slack. Be like your instruments, always tuned to the right note, and let there be harmony between you.”

17 One of the talmidim said to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, “Aḏonai, You tell us many things, and I cannot retain all Your words. Surely some are better than others. Which should I store in my heart?”

18 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “A sovereign had two castles – one at each end of a wall guarding his reign- and he gave each of his two sons command over a castle. When word came that an enemy approached, he ordered his sons to collect all kinds of provender and store it. One son collected everything he could, but the other took only what he considered the best, leaving everything else. The enemy came, and both castles were besieged. The castle of one son fell when its supplies were exhausted, but the other held out by utilizing what the other had rejected. So it is with My words – even those which may seem of least value may one day prove their worth.”

19 The talmid then said, “Tell us where we may find 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 and Truth.” 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “You have the Qodesh Books and My words.”

20 Turning to the others, He said, “This man is like a beggar who all his life stood under a fig tree. More than anything else, he desired to be rich, but he remained always poor and dressed in rags. Like all men, he came to his hour, and those who buried him dug his grave at the place where he had spent his life. When the earth under the tree was opened up, it exposed a treasure of great prize: gold and jewels, right under the spot where he had been begging. How easy it would have been for that man to be rich!”

21 One of those to whom 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 spoke said, “Then all we have to do is to read and listen, assimilating the knowledge gained.”

22 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “There is danger even in this. Consider a snake catcher who, going among the rocks, sees a snake well worth catching, but in his haste grabs it by the tail instead of behind the head, so it turns and bites him, causing his death. Did he die because of his calling or because he grabbed the snake wrongly? Was he not wrong in his approach, rather than in what he did? It is even so with those who know the Qodesh Books from end to end but handle them wrongly.”

23 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Be humble in your knowledge and not puffed up; but beware the snare of false humility.”

24 One said to Him, “Aḏonai, what is false humility?” 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “A man was once told that if he could learn humility, he would become perfect, and, desiring perfection in himself above all else, he diligently studied everything relating to humility. Then there was nothing about it he did not know. However, one day a man said to him, ‘What has your humility gained for you? Where have you benefited?’ To which the supposedly humble man replied, ‘Stupid one, what is the matter with you? For can you not see that, having learned humility, I am now a perfect man?’ ”

25 About this time, 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 came upon two talmidim arguing as to which of His teachings should be retained in their hearts. 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Your argument can be likened to two wives – one old and one young. The old one kept pulling out the dark hairs on her husband’s head, while the young one kept pulling out the white hairs. So, he became bald, having no hair at all. Then both women said, ‘Behold, we have a baldheaded husband.’ ”

26 One day, a talmid who had been to buy provisions returned, saying, “I took down a diligently prepared book of sayings, delightful to the ear, but men took it from me and tore it apart. Surely the wrath of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 will strike them.”

27 Hearing this, 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 called the man to Him and said, “A girl once diligently collected colorful seeds and threaded them into a necklace. But when she put it on, a youth came along and pulled it, scattering the carefully gathered seeds. She ran to her father, expecting him to chase the youth and chastise him, but the father did nothing. Later that evening, he gave her a beautiful necklace of rare gems which he had bought earlier, intending to surprise her. Then she knew why he had not bothered with the youth or been concerned about the necklace of seeds.”

28 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said to those about Him, “Many things befall you, and life is difficult, but so life is meant to be. Only timber well-seasoned is fit for the carver’s hand.”

29 “A carpenter once sent his two sons to the forest to cut timber, and they came upon a mighty tree – one without branches, going straight up, with sound, well-grained wood. One son said, ‘This tree is too big, the task of cutting it too difficult. Let us find another which is easier to deal with.’ The other said, ‘No, let us take only the best.’ But the first one goes further into the forest and comes upon a tree partly rotten and soft. Now, he with the rotten timber returns first, while the other comes two days later.”

30 “If the carpenter be wise, he rejects the timber brought in first and chastises his son, rewarding the other when he returns. But if the carpenter be pleased with the first son’s early return, accepting the timber and building with it, placing it as a beam support, so the upright post breaks and the beam falls, killing a man, how shall the blame be apportioned? The easy way is rarely the best.”

31 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Fear not the hostility of men, nor the wiles of the world. Rise above your conditions. Be like the water lily, which rises out of the mud, up through the murky waters, into the sunlight above. Strive always to rise above your circumstances, for in striving you gain strength. The man whose path through life has been easy is never as good as one whose path has been difficult. Life has two purposes only: to test and teach; and for that, Earth is perfect.”

32 “Regard each other as brothers, cherishing in sickness and supporting in trouble. Never praise yourself; and if you have virtues, let others discover them. Be careful with whom you associate, for if a man enters a tannery, though he carry nothing away, a bad smell will accompany him.”

33 “No man is so important that he is above the need to work. If it becomes necessary to dress hides in the marketplace, then undertake it with a cheerful heart. Even the rich must do something, for idleness is the rust of time.”

34 “Judge no man otherwise than you would wish to be judged. Once, a young woman was carried off and placed in a whorehouse in another country. Her father sent two men to ransom her, and when they came to the whorehouse, one remained outside, while the other went in. When he who went in came out, he said to the other, ‘What do you think I was doing in there?’ The other replied, ‘Why, negotiating the woman’s ransom.’ Even so should you judge with the scales weighed down favorably.”

35 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 taught His talmidim thus: “All things a man possesses, his talents and his skills, are gifts bestowed by the grace of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄. The inheritance received by anyone should be regarded as something received in trust, and it is true that if they deal with it wrongfully or selfishly, payment will be required. One of the greatest of life’s tests is the challenge of wealth or position, and few are those who successfully meet it. Therefore, do not envy those with wealth and position unless they deal with them wisely; otherwise, pity them, for they have failed to rise above their test.”

36 “A wayfarer once came to an inn and, finding no one there, went into the eating hall, where he found a table set with all good things – many kinds of food and drink. So, he sat down and helped himself, thinking, ‘No one else is here, so all this must be mine; and if mine, I can do with it as I please.’ However, when the innkeeper returned from where he had been, the wayfarer could not escape the accounting.”

37 “The rich are responsible for providing the needs of the poor, whether by work or food. This, above all, is the prime responsibility of wealth. And if a rich man says this he cannot do, then his riches witness against him. For if a poor man has a loaf of bread, he will share it with he who has none; and a beggar at the door of a poor man receives better treatment than he does at the doors of the rich, yet the rich have the most to give. And this is the sin of the wealthy.”

38 “Riches, of themselves, are not sinful; it is what they make of men that brings them into ill repute. If they were properly regarded as something permitting the possessor to study the Books of Wisdom and to redress the wrongs of the poor, then they would serve a good end. Let the rich ask themselves with sincerity, ‘Am I not wealthy because of my lack of charity and the exploitation of others? Is it not because I love myself more than my neighbors?’ ”

39 “It is dangerous to be near a man without wisdom. He is like a tree with many fine branches, but few roots; the winds of adversity blow, and he is uprooted. Choose your friends with great care, measuring them against the words of wisdom. The man who is himself a good friend will never lack friends, but those who think they have many friends have none. The loneliest person is one living for himself alone, but it is better to be lonely than to be in bad company.”

40 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “It is not unseemly to glory in your strength, but never become vain, for in strength you are not superior to the beasts. If the standard is to be the ability to bear a heavy burden, a donkey can carry more than any of you. An elephant is mightier than a score of men, while a camel has more stamina than any man. Strength and stamina are goodly things, seen in their right perspective, but they can be a heavy handicap on the path of spiritual development – particularly if they lead to arrogance and inconsideration for others. Strength, like riches and knowledge, is a goodly thing of itself if properly utilized; but for most the test is too great.”

41 Some talmidim came to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 and asked whether they should not withdraw into the wilderness, where they would dedicate their lives to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄.

42 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Of what use would My teachings be in the wilderness? Are you going to save rocks from sin, or convert camels? Will you enlighten the wind, or give wisdom to mirages? Where is the benefit if what you learn cannot be put into practice? Learning and good conduct must go hand in hand, and the greatest wisdom is that which teaches men to live in harmony. They who seek to escape the tests and trials of life are cowards. Are you going to withdraw from the conflict through lack of courage, standing silently by while the wicked swallow up the good?”

43 The talmidim said, “Aḏonai, are You bringing strife or shalom? Do you prepare us for battle? Are we to rally the people?”

44 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Do you still not understand? I am a Man of shalom, and I unsheathe only the sword of the Ruaḥ. This is not the easy way, for it is less difficult to change things with the sword than with soft words; and those who oppose us understand that better. But let only those who would use weapons with courage talk about soft words and shalom, otherwise better men will justifiably scorn them as cowards. Cowards talk about shalom, and brave men about war. But I tell you that when brave men talk shalom and cowards are sent to war, there will be no more strife, and a new day will dawn.”

45 A talmid named Maciah said to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, “Aḏonai, teach us how to love one another without malice or envy, with goodwill and forbearance.”

46 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “The first step is to love yourself less, and by doing this you will find more love to give. If any say, ‘I like being loved,’ that person is wrong, for rather you should say, ‘I like loving.’ Do not seek to take love, but to give it; for have I not said it is better to give than to receive?”

47 Another talmid who had believed in bodily resurrection said, “Aḏonai, what proof can be given that there is a life beyond the grave?”

48 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 answered, “There is proof to those worthy of it. But if it were a manifest certainty as a reward for a good life, how would the hypocrites and those who would do nothing without payment be discovered? If uncertainty and doubt were removed from life, then it would be of less value for its purpose. Things are as they are because so they must be. If you want proof, become worthy of it; you will not be denied it even here. But you must seek diligently. Nothing comes easily, and this least of all.”

49 Before they departed from that place, a talmid said to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, “Aḏonai, now that we go to take up our burdens, tell us how to avoid wrongdoing.”

50 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Were you able to avoid all wrongdoing and sins, such is the known frailty of men that I fear you would fall into another one – that of false pride. Look at the falsely pious ones who glory in their righteousness, and this is not the least of sins.”

51 Having taught in this manner and said these and many other things, 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 departed from that place on the mountainside and went down to carry the tidings concerning the coming Rule of Elohim to the people.