Social Links Search User Login Menu

"For Instruction shall come forth from Zion, The word of the L-rd from Jerusalem." -- Isaiah 2:3


Navigate the Excerpts Browser

Before accessing the excerpts, please review a word about copyright.

Are you more of an "I'll dive right in and figure it out" person, or a "Show Me How This Thing Works" person?  If the former, go right ahead and try the excerpts browers on the right side of this page and/or scroll through the excerpts that start below the following information -- although we still suggest reading the information first.  If you are the latter, click here for a video demonstrating the Excerpts Browser. Either way (or both), enjoy! 

This page is recommended for searches limited to specific Torah books, weekly portions (parshiot), chapters, verses, and/or sources (authors). For keyword and/or for exact phrase (including verse and source) searches of the entire excerpts database, we recommend using the Search Engine page.  For broadest results, use both pages and alternative search strategies. 

This page displays the full text of all or "sorted" (filtered) excerpts in the database.  Use the "Torah Verses" and/or "Excerpt Sources" browsers at the right to locate the excerpts associated with your desired Torah book, portion, chapter. verse, or author.  Or, simply scroll through the excerpts, using the "boxes" at the bottom of any page displaying excerpts to "jump" ahead or back. 

Also note that immediately below the chapter, verse, and keyword of each excerpt is a highlighted line comprised of multiple links.  Clicking on any of the links will limit (filter) the excerpts display to the selected category.  

Transcription of excerpts is incomplete.  For current status, please see "Transcribed Sources" on the Search Engine page.  To assist with completion, please see "Contributors" page. 

GENESIS — 1:28 fertile

The Jewish people have been called the people of the book, but we are surely the people of the family.  One of the first mitzvoth in the Bible is that of “be fruitful and multiply,” thus clearly indicating the value placed upon having a family.  We began centuries ago as one family with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and have grown enormously over the centuries.  Through the many difficult and trying times during our history, strong family ties and a proliferation of children have always been important strategies for Jewish survival.  There are three partners in humans – the Holy Ones, the father, and the mother.  Kiddushin 30b.  ISAACS 123.

GENESIS — 18:1 appeared

For Jewish people, bikkur cholim (Hebrew for “visiting the sick”) is one important way of serving one’s fellow human being. Visiting the sick is much more than simply a social act that is to be commended.   In Judaism, it has the status of a mitzvah, a religious duty, and is counted in the Talmud among the mitzvoth to which no limit has been prescribed….a person is rewarded both in this world and in the world to come. Shabbat 127a.   … Ben Sira (7:35) counsels: Do not hesitate to visit a person who is sick.” … Jewish tradition also teaches that it is important to allow others to help us when we are sick. Nedarim 39b-40a.  One should know when to give and when and how to receive, and that in receiving, one is also giving. ISAACS 42-3

GENESIS — 18:33 departed

Never leave on trip unannounced: Announcing one’s departure shows honor to the other person.  One should not leave his teacher or friend without informing him or her of one’s departure.  All can learn such good manners from the All Present, Who said, as it were, to Abraham, “I am not leaving,” as it is stated [this verse].   Derech Eretz Rabbah 5:1 DERECH 548 and   ISAACS 96

GENESIS — 21:33 tamarisk

In a beautiful legend [Midrash Psalms 37] related to Abraham, we are again reminded of the virtues of hospitality.   In [this verse], Abraham plants an eishel (tamarisk tree) in Beer Sheba, and there he calls on the name of Eternal everlasting G-d.   The rabbis interpreted the Hebrew word eishel as an acronym, represented eating, drinking, and escorting, thus suggesting that the virtue of hospitality is analogous to a fruit-bearing tree, for by means of hospitality, Abraham planted a tree for himself in heaven that would produce for him fruits of reward. ISAACS 96

GENESIS — 27:13 me

Avoid Causing a Quarrel between Parents.   If your mother tells you, “Son, please do this,” and then your father angrily exclaims, “What is that you have done? Who told you to do that?” do not rely, “It was mother who asked me to do it,” for then you would be to blame if your father became enraged at your mother and cursed her, and it is counted as if you had cursed her.  … When Jacob demurred [to Rebekah’s request], fearing that his father might realize the deception, Rebekah replied [this verse].   She meant to say, “Don’t tell your father that I ordered you to bring the delicacies, lest he become angry and curse me, which would be counted as if you had cursed me. But if he does, let any curse be on me, my son.”   (citing Sefer Chasidim, 336).   ISAACS 134

EXODUS — 6:13 Pharaoh

Who is honored? One who honors his fellow human beings (Ethics of the Fathers 4:1). … Marks of distinction (in Hebrew, kavod) accorded to individuals are represented in Talmudic literature as tokens of self-respect or honor of self. The Hebrew term kavod has been used to refer to the splendor of G-d, who is sometimes referred to as Hakavod -- The Glorious One. G-d imparts His glory and splendor to those who revere Him, especially the prophets and the righteous. Just as G-d bestows His kavod, so Jews are bidden to show honor to worthy people. It is natural for people to seek honor from their fellow human beings. However, the rabbis consistently warn that honor cannot be acquired by the one who pursues it. In fact the more one chases after honor, the more honor will allude that person. Only if one seeks to avoid honor will it pursue him. ... There is an obligation to honor any king. This obligation is derived from [this verse]. Rashi, commenting on this verse, explains that G-d commanded Moses and Aaron to honor Pharaoh.

EXODUS — 20:9 falsely

What can words do that are unethical? The power of a person to do harm through communication is so great that it even appears as one of the Ten Commandments: The ninth commandment states: "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." That is to say, when one is giving testimony against one's neighbor, one ought to be extremely cautious in giving such testimony. Even if the greatest saint and scholar revealed that one's neighbor had committed a crime, one should not testify unless he or she actually witnesses the crime.

EXODUS — 20:9 work

It is a person's duty to work, and Judaism has always stressed the importance of the work ethic and being a productive worker. A person who works is enabled to be self-supporting. The rabbis have taught that, in addition to teaching his son Torah, a father must also teach him a trade or profession (Talmud Kiddushin 29a). Study, the rabbis insisted, cannot be complete when divorced from the world of active work. The Bible has always exalted work and the worker. G-d is pictured in the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis as a laborer, and in creating the first human, G-d told Adam to work the soil. Just as the Torah was given to people as a covenant, as it is written in [this verse] "Six days shall you labor and do all of your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your G-d". (Avot de Rabbi Natan, Chapter 11).

EXODUS — 20:12 honor

The mitzvah of honoring parents is one of the few religious obligations in the Torah with a promise attached to it. Placing it in the Torah in this way stresses its importance: "Honor your mother and father, so that your days may be long on the land that G-d gives you." According to the Mishnah, honoring parents is one of the few religious obligations for which one is rewarded in this world and in the world to come (Talmud Peah 1:1). In order to help us understand what "honoring one's parents" means in everyday life, the rabbis have taught that honoring them includes providing them with food, drink, and clothing, as well as guiding their footsteps as they grow older. The Book of Leviticus [19:3] also states the children are to "revere" their parents. Some said that it literally means to stand in awe of them. Others suggested that it means that we should respect them because we are afraid of them. According to another interpretation in the Talmud (Kiddushin 31b), to revere one's parents means that a child should not sit in their chair, speak in their place, or contradict what they say. Clearly, we see from this statement the great respect that was expected to be given to parents by their children. [Author continues with twenty-six statements from Jewish sources providing examples of honoring parents].

Torah Verses

Excerpt Sources

Complete List of Source Books
Back To Top