17 Quotes from the Torah: Jewish Wisdom

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The Jewish prayers and texts have some wonderful gems in them, even for those who don’t believe in God.

As follows are some quotes that have particularly inspired or moved me; hopefully they’ll do the same for you.

Please feel free to add your own by commenting.

1) If I am not for myself who will be for me? Yet, if I am for myself only, what am I? And if not now, when?

2) Say little and do much, and receive all men with a cheerful face.

3) Initiate a greeting to everyone, and it is better to be a tail to a lion than a head of a fox.

4) Don’t try to appease your friend when he is angry, or try to comfort him when the dead lie before him.  Do not try to see your friend in the time of his disgrace.

5) We can not explain either the suffering of the righteous or the happiness of the wicked.

6) Be careful of politicians.  They are your friends when it is to their advantage, but abandon you in your time of need.

7) The more flesh you have, the more the worms will eat.  Let the honor of your friend be as important to you as your own.  Don’t get angry easily, and repent one day before you die.

8) The day is short, the job hard, and the workers lazy.  You don’t have to finish your tasks on Earth, but you can’t abandon them, either.

9) What is wealth? Being happy with what you have.

10) “Do not rejoice when your enemies fall, or let your heart feel joy when they stumble, lest the Lord see and turn His displeasure to you.”

11) Do not look at the flask, but what is inside it.  There is a fancy bottle with bad wine in it.

12) According to the effort is the reward.

13) Do not be scornful of anyone, or doubt that anything can happen, for there is no person without his hour, no thing without its place.

14) When you pray, don’t follow a set routine or text, but rather beseech for mercy and pity, as it is written, “For the Lord is gracious merciful, slow to anger, and great in love.”

15) I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, yet they are all the same when a time of disaster falls upon them.

16) Like birds caught in the snare, like fish in a trap, are we when bad luck falls upon us.

17) Even though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will not fear evil for You are with me.

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  1. “If I am not for myself who will be for me? Yet, if I am for myself only, what am I? And if not now, when?”

    Bad translation.

    If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
    When I am for myself, what am “I”?
    And if not now, when?

    There’s no “only” in the second line, and certainly no “yet”.

  2. Stumbled across your blog while searching through google. I read the beginning and its fantastic! I do not have time to finish it now, but I have bookmarked this site and will read the rest tonight. : )

    • that is great to hear, Pete. If there is any way I can make the blog better for you, please let me know, and hope you enjoy reading!

  3. Mohammed Hossain

    I love quotes and proverb’s of life, beauty, love and destination (death), does not matter from where.

  4. there are beautiful sayings from the great Rabbis of Israel Baal Shem Tov, and as well from the Rabbis of Chabad if you can find them, there are alot of great ones there. 

  5. The first quote is not from the torah, rather it is from the Talmud and is attributed to Rabbi Hillel. 

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