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

Jerusalem

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GENESIS — 2:7 living

Harmful abstinence resembles the ways of the foolish gentiles who not only refrain from what is unessential but also deny themselves what is essential and chastise themselves, [often] in strange ways which the Eternal total rejects.  The Sages have said … Ta’anit 22b: “Into a living being” means that it is your duty to sustain the soul that I implanted within you.   PATH 97-98
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GENESIS — 3:6 saw 

Adam’s sin is due to enticement toward illusory pleasures… Understanding the evil of worldly pleasures will lead one to spurn them. … The enticement of the eyes, which are tempted by the appearance of things that seem good and pleasant, draws one’s nature to these pleasures to such an extent that one needs great strength and shrewdness in order to remove himself from their [influence]. It was this enticement that caused the first sin to be committed.  Yet, when a person discerns that this “good” is totally false, illusory, and without any permanenceand the evil in it is real or imminently about to emerge from it, then surely he will loath it and reject it total.  This, then, is the entire lesson that one must teach himself: to recognize the flimsy nature of these pleasures and their falseness until he instinctively comes to loathe them and will find no difficulty in casting them out.  PATH 102
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GENESIS — 3:19 sweat 

We must make an effort to earn a livelihood.  A person might have been able to sit idly [and wait] for the realization of what was ordained [as his] if not for the penalty imposed upon all men.  As a result, man is obligated to expend a minimum of effort in order to earn his livelihood, for thus has the Supreme King decreed.  It is like a tax, which must be paid by the whole of mankind and which cannot be evaded.  PATH 151 (Continued at Deuteronomy 14:29 actions PATH 151).
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GENESIS — 4:4 heed

We must embellish our performance of mitzvoth.  The Sages of blessed memory have cautioned us regarding the honor and esteem that must be accorded to a mitzvah, and they have said Shabbat 133b: “This is my G-d and I will adorn Him.”  Exodus 15:2 – adorn yourself before Him with mitzvoth: with beautiful tzitzis, beautiful tefillin, a beautiful Torah scroll, a beautiful lulav…”  Similarly, they said Baba Kama 9b “ [One should expend] up to one third [extra] for the embellishment of a mitzvah.  Up to this amount comes from his account [“He will receive his reward in the world-to-come” -- Rashi].  More than this is from the Eternal’s account [“He will be repaid in this world” –Rashi].” The wisdom derived from the lips of our Sages of blessed memory clearly informs us that merely performing a mitzvah [in a routine way] is unsatisfactory.  Rather, it must be honored and embellished.  Abel brought an offering from the firstborn of his sheep and from the fattest ones, while Cain’s [offering] was from the chaff of the produce of the ground, as expounded upon by our Sages of blessed memory Genesis Rabbah 22:5.  [The verse does not say that Cain’s offering was from the first ripened fruit, which were esteemed a special delicacy; Isaiah 28:4, Jeremiah 24:2]. And what was the outcome? “And the Eternal showed regard to Abel and his offering, but to Cain and his offering, He showed no regard.”  PATH 123-4
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GENESIS — 15:1 fear

We see how characteristic it is for the pious to express concern even regarding a mitzvah that has been fulfilled, saying, “Perhaps, Heaven forbid, something objectionable is intermingled in it.”  As for Abraham, after he had gone to the assistance of his nephew, Lot, who was in captivity, he became freighted and said that maybe his deeds were not completely pure.  This [derives] from what they of blessed memory explained Genesis Rabbah 44:4 about [this verse].  “Rabbi Levi said: Because Abraham became frightened, saying: ‘Among all the people that I have killed, might there not have been one righteous person or one G-d-fearing person?  [See also, 32:8 AMJV 62-3] Therefore he was told, ‘Abram, do not be afraid.’” In the Tanna D’Vei Eliyahu it says Eliyahu Rabbah 25: “Abram, do not be afraid’ [teaches us that] one only says ‘Do not be afraid’ to one who truly fears Heaven.  This is the true fear about which they said Berachot 33b: “The only thing the Holy One blessed be He has in His world is a storehouse that contains the fear of heaven.”  Only Moshe was able to attain it easily because of his great attachment to the Blessed One’s name.  For others, corporeality is unquestionably a great deterrent.  Nonetheless, every pious person should strive to attain as much as he is capable of attaining; and it says Psalms 34:10: “Fear the Eternal – you, His holy ones.”  PATH 172-3
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GENESIS — 18:6 hastened

The deeds of the righteous are always carried out speedily. … Shlomo HaMelech [King Solomon], may peace be upon him, said Proverbs 22:29: “Have you seen a man who is quick in work? He will [ultimately] stand before kings; he will not have to] stand before those who are lowly.” And the Sages of blessed memory attributed to him [Shlomo HaMelech] this selfsame praise for his speedy work in building the Beis HaMikdash [Temple] without indolence or delay.   Through a homiletic interpretation Shir HaShirim Rabbah 1:2 they also attributed it to Moshe, may peace be upon him, for his speedy work with regard to the Mishkan [Tabernacle].   You will also find that all of the deeds of the righteous are always done speedily.   Regarding Avraham, it states [this verse and 18:7] … If you probe further, [you will see] that just as alacrity is influenced by the arousal from within, this arousal itself is influenced by alacrity.   For if one is enthusiastic in his performance of a mitzvah, he will find that when he quickens his external [physical] movement he will thereby cause his inner fervor to be aroused, and his yearning and desire will progressively intensify.   However, if he reacts with lethargy when moving his limbs, the inner drive of his spirit will also wither and be extinguished.   Experience will confirm this as true.   PATH 43-4
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GENESIS — 27:15 best

They [our Sages] said Shabbat 10a: “Rava put on expensive socks before praying, saying “Prepare yourself [adorn yourself – Rashi] before your G-d, O Israel” Amos 4:12.  Our Rabbis of blessed memory further said Genesis Rabbah 65:16, on [this verse] [that] “Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said: “I used to serve my father in soiled clothes, but Esav, when he served his father, served him only in clothes of royalty.” Now it this is the case regarding a creature of flesh and blood it must apply with far greater force to the King of all kings, the Holy One blessed be He; before Whom one should stand in prayer dressed in clothes of honor, and before Whom one should sit the way one sits before a great king.   PATH 126
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GENESIS — 31:40 sleep

A wageworker must be careful not to steal time from his employer … if for his own personal needs, a day laborer interrupts the work he is hired to do – he is a thief.  … Furthermore, even if one performs a mitzvah during his working hours, it will not be ascribed to him as an act of righteousness but rather, as a transgression.   For a transgression can never be a mitzvah.  This is explicitly stated in Scripture Isaiah 61:8: “I loathe burnt offering that are [derived from] stolen [money].”   Similarly, they of blessed memory have said Baba Kama 94a: “If a person has stolen a se’ah [a measure] of wheat, ground it, baked it, and recited the blessing over it [when separating challah], this is blasphemy but not a blessing, as it states Psalms 10:3: “The thief who blesses has blasphemed the Eternal.”   PATH 58-9
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GENESIS — 35:13 parted

Here I want to call attention to the distinction between one who has attained purity and one who has attained holiness: For one who has attained purity, his corporeal deeds serve only his essential needs, and he himself utilizes them only out of necessity.  In this manner, they gain release from the ingredient of evil that exists within all corporeality and they remain pure.   However, they have not yet entered the domain of the holy, for if one could manage without them he would then be better off.   One who has attained holiness, however, and who cleaves to his G-d constantly and whose soul walks about [immersed] in thought regarding those matters that are [of a] transcendent [nature] in his love for his Creator and is fear of Him, is considered as if he were walking about before the Eternal in the “Land of the Living” [the world-to-come] while still in this world. And this kind of person is likened to the Tabernacle, the Beis HaMikdash, and the altar, and this is related to what our Sages of blessed memory commented Bereishis Rabbah 92:6: “’God’s Presence left him’ [this verse] means that the Patriarchs themselves are the Divine Chariot.”   PATH 177-8
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