1

People have varying character traits. Some people are angry by nature, forever bursting with rage, then there are others who are tranquil who never become angry, or who become angry [only] once in many years. [You will find] a man who is extremely haughty, and another who is extremely humble. Some are lustful, their souls never satisfied with their unbridled cravings, others possess a very pure heart, and have no desire even for little things which are required for physical well-being. Some people have a voracious hunger for wealth and are not satisfied with all the money in the world, as it is written, "The person who loves money will not be satisfied with money."1 Others have very modest desires, and are satisfied with little which does not even fill their needs, and [yet] make no effort to earn a livelihood. Some will afflict themselves with hunger and accumulate money this way, and [the little] they eat of their own [food] causes them distress. Others spend all their money [wastefully.] It is the same with all other character traits and concepts, as for example, the cheerful and the gloomy, the miser and the noble hearted, the cruel and the compassionate, the gentle and the hard-hearted and so on.

א

הָאֲנָשִׁים חֲלוּקִים הֵם בְּדֵעוֹתֵיהֶם (פֵּרוּשׁ בְּטִבְעֵיהֶם), יֵשׁ אָדָם שֶׁהוּא בַּעַל חֵמָה כּוֹעֵס תָּמִיד, וְיֵשׁ שֶׁדַּעְתּוֹ מְיֻשֶׁבֶת עָלָיו, וְאֵינוֹ כּוֹעֵס כְּלָל, אוֹ שֶׁהוּא כּוֹעֵס פַּעַם אַחַת בְּהַרְבֵּה שָׁנִים. יֵשׁ אָדָם שֶׁהוּא גְּבַהּ לֵב בְּיוֹתֵר, וְיֵשׁ שֶׁהוּא שְׁפַל רוּחַ בְּיוֹתֵר. יֵשׁ שֶׁהוּא בַּעַל תַּאֲוָה, שֶׁלֹא תִּשְׂבַּע נַפְשׁוֹ מֵהֲלֹךְ בְּתַאֲוָה, וְיֵשׁ שֶׁהוּא לֵב טָהוֹר מְאֹד, וְלֹא יִתְאַוֶּה אֲפִלּוּ לִדְבָרִים מְעַטִּים שֶׁהַגּוּף צָרִיךְ לָהֶם. יֵשׁ בַּעַל נֶפֶשׁ רְחָבָה, שֶׁלֹּא תִּשְׁבַּע נַפְשׁוֹ מִכָּל מָמוֹן שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם, כְּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אוֹהֵב כֶּסֶף לֹא יִשְׂבַּע כֶּסֶף, וְיֵשׁ ֹשֶהוּא מְקַצֵּר נַפְשׁוֹ, וְדַי לוֹ אֲפִלּוּ דָּבָר מוּעָט, שֶׁלֹּא יַסְפִּיק לוֹ וְלֹא יִרְדֹּף לְהַשִּׂיג דֵּי צָרְכּוֹ. יֵשׁ שֶׁהוּא מְסַגֵּף עַצְמוֹ בָּרַעַב. וְקוֹבֵץ עַל יָדוֹ, וּמַה שֶּׁהוּא אוֹכֵל מִשֶּׁלוֹ אוֹכְלוֹ בְּצַעַר. וְיֵשׁ שֶׁהוּא מְפַזֵר כָּל מָמוֹנוֹ, וְכֵן בְּכָל הַמִּדּוֹת וְהַדֵּעוֹת, כְּגוֹן מְהוֹלָל וְאוֹנֵן כִּילַי וְשׁוֹעַ אַכְזָר וְרַחְמָן רַךְ לֵבָב וְאַמִּיץ לֵבָב וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן.

2

The good and right path to follow is to accustom yourself to walk the middle course. You should desire only those things which are required for your physical well being, and without which it is impossible to live, as it is written, "The righteous person eats to satisfy his soul."2 You should be absorbed in your business affairs only to the extent that it enables you to acquire things that you need for your daily life, as it is written, "Better is the little of the righteous."3 Do not be overly tight-fisted, nor spend your money too freely, but rather give charity according to your ability and lend money wisely to whom ever needs it. Do not be too jubilant and jolly, nor too sad and gloomy. But be happy at all times, be contented and show a friendly face. And so too with most other character traits, anyone who follows the middle course is called a wise man.

ב

הַדֶּרֶךְ הַטּוֹב וְהַיָּשָׁר הוּא, שֶׁיַּרְגִּיל הָאָדָם אֵת עַצְמוֹ לָלֶכֶת בְּדֶּרֶךְ אֶמְצָעִי, לֹא יִתְאַוֶּה אֶלָּא לִדְבָרִים שֶׁהַגּוּף צָרִיךְ לָהֶן, וְאִי אֶפְשָׁר לִחְיֹת זוּלָתָן, כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר צַדִּיק אוֹכַל לַֹשֹבַע נַפְשׁוֹ. וְכֵן לֹא יְהֵא עָמֵל בַּעֲסָקָיו, אֶלָּא לְהַשִּׂיג דָּבָר שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לוֹ לְחַיֵּי שָׁעָה, כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר טוֹב מְעַט לַצַּדִּיק. וְלֹא יִקְפֹּץ יָדָיו בְּיוֹתֵר וְגַם לֹא יְפַזֵּר מָמוֹנוֹ אֶלָּא יִתֵּן צְדָקָה כְּפִי מַסַּת יָדוֹ וּמַלְוֶה כָּרָאוּי לְמִי שֶׁצָּרִיךְ. וְלֹא יְהֵא מְהוֹלָל וְשׂוֹחֵק, וְלֹא עָצֵב וְאוֹנֵן, אֶלָּא שָׂמֵחַ כָּל יָמָיו בְּנַחַת, בְּסֵבֶר פָּנִים יָפוֹת. וְכֵן בִּשְׁאָר רֹב הַמִּדּוֹת, מִי שֶׁהוֹלֵךְ בַּדֶּרֶךְ הָאֶמְצָעִי נִקְרָא חָכָם. (רמב"ם הלכת דעות פ"א)

3

Conceit is a very bad character trait and it is forbidden to act [haughtily] even to the slightest degree, but accustom yourself to be humble in spirit, as our Sages of blessed memory have decreed,4 "Be exceedingly humble in spirit."5 And how can you accustom yourself to be modest and humble? All your words should be spoken gently, hold your head down, your eyes should look downward, but your heart upward, and in your eyes, consider all men to be greater than you are. If he is a greater Torah scholar than you, then it is your duty to honor him. Likewise, if he is richer than you, you must also honor him, as we read [in the Talmud] "Rebbi was wont to honor the rich."6 Think of it this way: "Since Hashem, praised be He, gave him riches he is evidently worthy of it." If he ranks lower than you in wisdom or riches, consider that he is more righteous than you; because if he commits a sin it is considered an unintentional or accidental sin, whereas, when you commit a sin it is considered an intentional sin. If you keep this in mind at all times, you will never be arrogant and all will be well with you.

ג

הַגַּאֲוָה הִיא מִדָּה רָעָה מְאֹד, וְאָסוּר לְאָדָם לִנְהֹג בָּהּ אֲפִלּוּ בְּמֻעָט, אֶלָּא יַרְגִּיל אֵת עַצְמוֹ לִהְיֹת שְׁפַל רוּחַ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁצִוּוּ חֲכָמֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה, מְאֹד מְאֹד הֱוֵי שְׁפַל רוּחַ, וְאֵיךְ תּרְגִּיל אֵת עַצְמְךָ לִהְיֹת עָנָיו וּשְׁפַל רוּחַ כָּל דְּבָרֶיךָ יִהְיוּ בְּנַחַת, רֹאשְׁךָ כָּפוּף עֵינֶיךָ יַבִּיטוּ לְמַטָּה וְלִבְּךָ לְמַעְלָה. וְכָל אָדָם יְהֵא חָשׁוּב בְּעֵינֶיךָ שֶׁהוּא גָּדוֹל מִמָךְ. אִם הוּא תַּלְמִיד חָכָם יוֹתֵר מִמְךָ, הֲרֵי אַתָּה מְחֻיָּב לְכַבְּדוֹ. וְכֵן אִם הוּא עָשִׁיר מִמְךָ, גַּם כֵּן אַתָּה מְחֻיָּב לְכַבְּדוֹ, כִּדְמָצִינוּ רַבִּי הָיָה מְכַבֵּד עֲשִׁירִים. וְתַחְשֹׁב בִּהְיוֹת כִּי הַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרַךְ נָתַן לוֹ עֹשֶׁר, מִסְּתָמָא רָאוּי הוּא לְכָךְ. וְאִם הוּא קָטָן מִמְךָ בְּחָכְמָה אוֹ בְּעֹשֶׁר, תַּחְשֹׁב כִּי הוּא יוֹתֵר צַדִּיק מִמְךָ, כִּי הוּא אִם עוֹבֵר אֵיזֶה עֲבֵרָה, נֶחְשָׁב כְּשׁוֹגֵג וְאָנוּס, וְאַתָה אִם עָבַרְתָּ עֲבֵרָה אַתָּה מֵזִיד. אִם כֹּה תַּחְשֹׁב תָּמִיד, לֹא תּוּכַל לְהִתְגָּאוֹת וְטוֹב לָךְ.

4

Anger is also a very evil trait, and it should be avoided it at all costs. You should train yourself not to become angry even if you have good reason to be angry. And when it is necessary to impress your authority on your children and your household, you may pretend to be angry in order to admonish them, while retaining your composure inwardly. [The Talmud relates] "Eliyahu said to Rabbi Yehudah, the brother of Rav Salla, the Pious: "Do not become angry, and you will not sin," (do not become angry, because anger will induce you to sin), "Do not become intoxicated, and you will not sin."7 Our Rabbis of blessed memory said furthermore,8 "If anyone becomes angry it is considered as though he worships idols, and the torments of Gehinnom will be inflicted on him as it is written, "Therefore, remove anger from your heart and put away evil from your body."9 The word "evil" connotes Gehinnom as it is written: "Indeed, even the wicked for the day of evil."10 The life of angry men is no life. Therefore, [our Sages] ordained that a man should distance himself from anger to the point that he can conduct himself with utter disregard even for things that evoke [justifiable] anger. This is the proper path [to follow] and it is the way of the righteous, [as stated in the Talmud]11 "They suffer insults but do not insult, they listen to abuse heaped on them but do not answer, they are motivated by love in whatever they do, and they rejoice [even when] suffering pain." Concerning them, the Biblical verse says: "But those who love Him are as the sun when it comes out in its might."12

ד

וְכֵן הַכַּעַס הִיא מִדָּה רָעָה מְאֹד וְרָאוּי לָאָדָם לְהִתְרַחֵק מִמֶּנָּהּ מְאֹד. וְיַרְגִיל אֵת עַצְמוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יִכְעַס אֲפִלּוּ עַל דָּבָר שֶׁרָאוּי לִכְעֹס. וְאִם צָרִיךְ לְהַטִיל אֵימָה עַל בָּנָיו וּבְנֵי בֵּיתוֹ יַרְאֶה עַצְמוֹ בִּפְנֵיהֶם שֶׁהוּא כּוֹעֵס כְּדֵי לְיַסְּרָם, וּתְהֵא דַּעְתוֹ מְיֻשֶׁבֶת בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין עַצְמוֹ. אָמַר לֵיה אֵלִיָּהוּ לְרַב יְהוּדָה אָחוּהּ דְּרַב סַלָא חֲסִידָא, לֹא תִרְתַּח וְלֹא תֶחְטֵי (לֹא תִּכְעַס, שֶׁמִּתּוֹךְ הַכַּעַס אַתָּה בָּא לִידֵי חֵטְא) לֹא תִרְוֵי (לֹא תִּשְׁתַּכֵּר בְּיַיִן) וְלֹא תֶחְטֵי. עוֹד אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה כָּל הַכּוֹעֵס כְּאִלּוּ עוֹבֵד עֲבוֹדַת אֱלִילִים, וְכָל מִינֵי גֵּיהִנָֹּם שׁוֹלְטִין בּוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְהָסֵר כַּעַס מִלִּבֶּךָ, וְהַעֲבֵר רָעָה מִבְּשָׂרֶךָ וְאֵין רָעָה אֶלָּא גֵּהִינָּם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְגַם רָשָׁע לְיוֹם רָעָה. בַּעֲלֵי כַּעַס אֵין חַיֵּיהֶם חַיִּים, לְפִיכָךְ צִוּוּ לְהִתְרַחֵק מִן הַכַּעַס, עַד שֶׁיַּנְהִיג עַצְמוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יַרְגִּישׁ אֲפִלּוּ לִדְבָרִים הַמַּכְעִיסִים. וְזוֹ הִיא דֶּרֶךְ הַטּוֹבָה וְדֶרֶךְ צַדִּיקִים, שֶׁהֵם עֲלוּבִין וְאֵינָם עוֹלְבִין, שׁוֹמְעִין חֶרְפָּתָם וְאֵינָן מְשִׁיבִין, עוֹשִׂין מֵאַהֲבָה וּשְׂמֵחִים בְּיִסּוּרִים, עֲלֵיהֶם הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר וְאוֹהֲבָיו כְּצֵאת הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ בִּגְבוּרָתוֹ.

5

Always cultivate the virtue of silence, and engage in conversation only on matters pertaining to Torah study, or on matters concerning your personal needs; and even when [discussing] your personal needs you should not talk too much about them.13 Our Rabbis of blessed memory have already said, "Whoever talks excessively causes sin" and they said [in the same vein], "I have found nothing better for a person than silence."14 Rava said:15 "What is the meaning of the verse, "Death and life are controlled by the tongue." "He who seeks life [can achieve it] through his tongue,16 he who seeks death, [can achieve it] through his tongue."17

ה

לְעוֹלָם יַרְבֶּה אָדָם בִּשְׁתִיקָה, וְלֹא יְדַבֵּר אֶלָּא אוֹ בְּדִבְרֵי תּוֹרָה, אוֹ בִּדְבָרִים שֶׁהוּא צָרִיךְ לְחַיֵּי גּוּפוֹ. וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּמַה שֶּׁצָּרִיךְ לְצָרְכֵי גּוּפוֹ, לֹא יַרְבֶּה דְּבָרִים. וּכְבָר אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה כָּל הַמַרְבֶּה דְּבָרִים מֵבִיא חֵטְא. וְאָמְרוּ לֹא מָצָאתִי לַגּוּף טוֹב מִשְּׁתִיקָה. וְאָמַר רַבָּא מַאי דִּכְתִיב מָוֶת וְחַיִּים בְּיַד לָשׁוֹן. דְּבָעֵי חַיִים בְּלִֹשָנֵהּ (יעסוק בדברי תורה) דְּבָעֵי מָוֶת בְּלִיֹשָנֵהּ (יעסוק בדברי שטות).

6

You must neither be a jestor or a fool,18 neither should you be glum and melancholy, rather you should be happy. Thus said [our Rabbis,] of blessed memory, "Jesting and frivolity lead a man to immorality."19 You should also avoid greediness, eagerly rushing after wealth. Be not depressed, nor idle from work, but be benevolent in your outlook. Hold your business affairs to a minimum and be occupied with the study of Torah. Rejoice with your small share [of worldly goods]. Thus said [our Sages] of blessed memory,20 "Envy, lust and desire for glory remove a man from the world." So it is necessary that you stay away from these [bad traits].

ו

לֹא יְהֵא אָדָם בַּעַל שְׂחוֹק וּמַהֲתָלוֹת, וְלֹא עָצֵב וְאוֹנֵן אֶלָּא שָׂמֵחַ. כָּךְ אָמְרוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה שְׂחוֹק וְקַלּוּת רֹאשׁ, מַרְגִּילִין אֶת הָאָדָם לְעֶרְוָה, וְכֵן לֹא יְהֵא בַּעַל נֶפֶשׁ רְחָבָה, נִבְהָל לַהוֹן, וְלֹא עָצֵב וּבָטֵל מִמְלָאכָה, אֶלָּא בַּעַל עַיִן טוֹבָה, מְמַעֵט בְּעֵסֶק, וְעוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה. וְאוֹתוֹ הַמְּעַט שֶׁהוּא חֶלְקוֹ יִשְׂמַח בּוֹ. כָּךְ אָמְרוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה הַקִּנְאָה וְהַתַּאֲוָה וְהַכָּבוֹד. מוֹצִיאִין אֵת הָאָדָם מִן הָעוֹלָם וְצָרִיךְ הָאָדָם לְהִתְרַחֵק מֵהֵן (רמב"ם פ"ב).

7

Perhaps a person might say: "Since envy, lust and glory and the like, are bad character traits that remove a man from the world, I will completely abstain from them, and keep away from them entirely," to the point that he will not eat meat, nor drink wine, nor marry a woman, nor live in a comfortable dwelling, nor wear decent clothes, but he will put on a sackcloth, or something similar; this too is a bad way of life, and it is forbidden to follow it. Anyone who follows this life-style is called a sinner. For in regard to the nazir it is written,21 "To atone for him who sinned by the dead,"22 and [our Rabbis] of blessed memory said, "If a nazir who abstained only from drinking wine, needs an atonement, a person who abstains from everything, how much more so does he need [an atonement]."23 Therefore, our Rabbis of blessed memory ordained that you should abstain only from those things which the Torah prohibits, but do not prohibit to yourself, things which are permitted by means of vows and oaths. Thus said our Sages of blessed memory, "Is not what the Torah forbids enough for you that you have to prohibit to yourself things which are permissible?"24 And our Rabbis of blessed memory have forbidden us to inflict pain on ourselves with more fasting than is required. Concerning all these and similar matters, King Solomon, peace be upon him, said, "Do not be excessively righteous, nor overly wise, why destroy yourself."25 And he said [in the same vein],26 "Measure well the path of your foot then you will stay on a straight course."27

ז

שֶׁמָּא יֹאמַר הָאָדָם הוֹאִיל וְהַקִּנְאָה וְהַתַּאֲוָה וְהַכָּבוֹד וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶם, דֶּרֶךְ רָעָה הֵן, שֶׁמּוֹצִיאִין אֶת הָאָדָם מִן הָעוֹלָם, אֶפְרֹוֹשׁ מֵהֵן בְּיוֹתֵר, וְאֶתְרַחֵק לְצַּד הָאַחֲרוֹן, עַד שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכַל בָּשָׂר, וְלֹא יִשְׁתֶּה יַיִן, וְלֹא יִשָּׂא אִשָּׁה, וְלֹא יֵשֵׁב בְּדִירָה נָאָה, וְלֹא יִלְבַּשׁ מַלְבּוּשׁ נָאֶה, אֶלָּא יִלְבַּשׁ שַׂק וְכַדּוֹמֶה, גַּם זֹה דֶּרֶךְ רָעָה הִיא, וְאָסוּר הוּא לֵילֵךְ בָּהּ. הַמְהַלֵּךְ בְּדֶרֶךְ זוֹ נִקְרָא חוֹטֵא, שֶׁהֲרֵי כְּתִיב בַּנָזִיר, וְכִפֵּר עָלָיו מֵאֲשֶׁר חָטָא עַל הַנֶּפֶשׁ, וְאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה וּמָה אִם נָזִיר שֶׁלֹּא פֵּרַשׁ אֶת עַצְמוֹ אֶלָּא מִן הַיַּיִן צָרִיךְ כַּפָּרָה. הַמּוֹנֵעַ אֵת עַצְמוֹ מִכָּל דָּבָר וְדָבָר, עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה. לְפִיכָךְ צִוּוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה שֶׁלֹּא יִמָּנַע הָאָדָם, אֶלָּא מִן הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁהַתּוֹרָה אָסְרָה לָנוּ, וְלֹא יֶאֱסֹר עַל עַצְמוֹ בִּנְדָרִים וּבִשְׁבוּעוֹת דְּבָרִים הַמֻּתָּרִים. כָּךְ אָמְרוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה לֹא דַּיְּךָ מַה שֶּׁאָסְרָה תּוֹרָה, אֶלָּא שֶׁאַתָּה אוֹסֵר עָלֶיךָ דְבָרִים הַמֻּתָּרִים. וְאָסְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה לְסַגֵּף אֶת עַצְמוֹ בְּתַעֲנִית יוֹתֵר מִן הָרָאוּי. וְעַל כָּל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן, אָמַר שְׁלֹמֹה הַמֶּלֶךְ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם אַל תְּהִי צַדִּיק הַרְבֵּה, וְאַל תִּתְחַכַּם יוֹתֵר, לָמָּה תְּשׁוֹמֵם. וְאָמַר פַּלֵּס מַעְגַּל רַגְלֶךָ וְכָל דְּרָכֶיךָ יִכֹּנוּ.

8

We have mentioned before (Chapter 1: 3) the saying of Rabbi Yehudah ben Teima,28 "Be bold as a leopard…" [which teaches] not to be ashamed before people who deride you when you worship the Creator, blessed is He. Nevertheless, you should not answer them rudely,29 so that you will not acquire the habit of being impertinent even in situations not involved with the worship of God, blessed be His Name.

ח

כְּבָר כָּתַבְנוּ (בסִימָן א' סָעִיף ג') מַאֲמַר יְהוּדָה בֶּן תֵּימָא הֱוֵי עַז כַּנָּמֵר כו' שֶׁלֹּא יִתְבַּיֵּשׁ מִפְנֵי בְּנֵי אָדָם הַמַּלְעִיגִים עָלָיו בַּעֲבוֹדַת הַבּוֹרֵא יִתְבָּרַךְ שְׁמוֹ, אֲבָל מִכָּל מָקוֹם, לֹא יַעֲנֶה אוֹתָם דִּבְרֵי עַזּוּת, שֶׁלֹּא יִקְנֶה קִנְיָן בְּנַפְשׁוֹ לִהְיֹת עַז פָּנִים, אֲפִלּוּ שֶׁלֹּא בִּמְקוֹם עֲבוֹדָתוֹ יִתְבָּרַךְ שְׁמוֹ. (אוֹרַח חַיִּים סִימָן א').

9

Neither should you quarrel for [the right to perform] a mitzvah, such as to lead the congregation in prayer, or to be called up to the Torah, or the like. Just as we find it with the Show-bread,30 that although it was a mitzvah to eat of it, yet, we are told, "The modest used to give up their share while the gluttons used to grab and devour it."31

ט

וְכֵן אֵין לְהִתְקוֹטֵט בִּשְׁבִיל אֵיזֶה מִצְוָה כְּגוֹן, לְהִתְפַּלֵּל לִפְנֵי הַתֵּבָה, אוֹ לַעֲלֹת לַתּוֹרָה וְכַדּוֹמֶה, כִּדְמָצִינוּ בְּלֶחֶם הַפָּנִים, אַף שֶׁהוּא מִצְוָה לְאָכְלוֹ, שָׁנִינוּ הַצְּנוּעִים מוֹשְׁכִים יְדֵיהֶם וְהַגַּרְגְּרִין חוֹטְפִין וְאוֹכְלִין. (אוֹרַח חַיִּים סִימָן נ"ג)

10

It is human nature for man's actions to be influenced by his friends, colleagues and townspeople. Therefore, you should associate yourself with the righteous, and be in the company of wise men constantly, in order to learn from their deeds. Keep away from evil men who walk in darkness, in order not to learn from their behavior. King Solomon, peace be upon him, said,32 "Whoever walks with wise men will become wise, but the companion of fools will come to ruin." And it is written [in the same vein],33 "Fortunate is the man…"34 And if someone lives in a town whose customs are depraved and whose inhabitants do not walk on the right path, he should move to a city whose inhabitants are righteous and lead decent lives.

י

טֶבַע הָאָדָם הוּא, לִהְיוֹת נִמְשָׁךְ בְּמַעֲשָׂיו, אַחַר רֵעָיו וַחֲבֵרָיו וְאַנְשֵׁי מְקוֹמוֹ, לְפִיכָךְ צָרִיךְ הָאָדָם לְהִתְחַבֵּר לַצַּדִּיקִים, וְלֵישֵׁב אֵצֶל הַחֲכָמִים תָּמִיד, כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּלְמַד מִמַּעֲשֵׂיהֶם. וְיִתְרַחֵק מִן הָרְשָׁעִים הַהוֹלְכִים בַּחֹשֶׁךְ, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִלְמַד מִמַּעֲשֵׂיהֶם. אָמַר שְׁלֹמֹה הַמֶּלֶךְ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם הוֹלֵךְ אֶת חֲכָמִים יֶחְכַּם, וְרוֹעֶה כְּסִילִים יֵרוֹעַ. וְאוֹמֵר אַשְׁרֵי הָאִישׁ וְגוֹ'. וְאִם הוּא דָּר בְּעִיר שֶׁמַּנְהִיגֶיהָ רָעִים, וְאֵין אֲנָשֶׁיהָ, הוֹלְכִים בְּדֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה, יֵלֵךְ מִשָּׁם לָדוּר בְּעִיר שֶׁאֲנָשֶׁיהָ צַדִּיקִים וְנוֹהֲגִים בְּדֶרֶךְ טוֹבִים.

11

It is a positive commandment to associate with Torah scholars so that we may learn from their deeds, as it is said, "And cling to Him."35 Is it possible for man to cling to the Divine Presence? Rather our Rabbis of blessed memory explain: "Cling to Torah scholars."36 Therefore, a man should make a serious effort to marry the daughter of a Torah scholar, and give his daughter in marriage to a Torah scholar, to eat and drink with Torah scholars, and do business with a Torah scholar, and to join hands with them in every possible form of association, for it is written, "And cling to Him." And thus mandated our Rabbis of blessed memory, and they said: "Sit in the dust of their feet and drink their words thirstily."37

יא

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לְהִדַּבֵּק בְּתַלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים כְּדֵי לִלְמֹד מִמַּעֲשֵׂיהֶם, כְּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וּבוֹ תדְבָּק. וְכִי אֶפְשָׁר לָאָדָם לְהִדָּבֵק בַּשְּׁכִינָה, אֶלָּא כָּךְ פֵּרְשׁוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה הִדַּבֵּק בְּתַלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים. לְפִיכָךְ צָרִיךְ הָאָדָם לְהִשְׁתַּדֵּל שֶׁיִּשָּׂא בַּת תַּלְמִיד חָכָם וְיַשִּׂיא בִּתּוֹ לְתַלְמִיד חָכָם. וְלֶאֱכֹל וְלִשְׁתּוֹת עִם תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים, וְלַעֲשׂוֹת פְּרַקְמַטְיָא לְתַלְמִיד חָכָם, וּלְהִתְחַבֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם בְּכָל מִינֵי חִבּוּר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וּלְדָבְקָה בּוֹ. וְכֵן צִוּוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה וְאָמְרוּ, וֶהֱוֵי מִתְאַבֵּק בַּעֲפַר רַגְלֵיהֶם וְשׁוֹתֶה בַּצָּמָא אֶת דִּבְרֵיהֶם.

12

It is incumbent upon every Jew to love every fellow Jew as he loves himself, as it is said: "Love your neighbor as [you love] yourself."38 Therefore, you should relate [his] virtues39 and treat his property with [the same] concern as you have for your own property, or for your own honor. The person who glorifies himself in his neighbor's shame, even though his neighbor is not present and the humiliation has not reached him, and even if he has not actually insulted him, but only compared his own good deeds and his own wisdom with the good deeds or wisdom of his neighbor, so that from his statement he will be rated an honorable man and his neighbor as a despicable person, [this person] has no share in the World to Come unless he repents with perfect repentance.

יב

מִצְוָה עַל כָּל אָדָם, לֶאֱהֹב אֶת כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד מִיִשְֹרָאֵל כְּגוּפוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ לְפִיכָךְ צָרִיךְ לְסַפֵּר בְּשִׁבְחוֹ (ועַיֵּן לקמן סִימָּן ל' סָעִיף ד), וְלָחוּס עַל מָמוֹנוֹ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁהוּא חָס עַל מָמוֹן שֶׁלּוֹ, וְרוֹצֶה בִּכְבוֹד עַצְמוֹ. וְהַמִּתְכַּבֵּד בִּקְלוֹן חֲבֵרוֹ, [אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין חֲבֵרוֹ עוֹמֵד שָׁם, וְלֹא הִגִּיעַ לוֹ בֹּשֶׁת, וְלֹא בִּיְשׁוֹ אֶלָּא עָרַךְ מַעֲשָׂיו הַטּוֹבִים וְחָכְמָתוֹ, לְמוּל מַעֲשֵׂה חֲבֵרוֹ, אוֹ חָכְמָתוֹ, כְּדֵי שֶׁיֵּרָאֶה מִכְּלָלוֹ, שֶׁהוּא מְכֻבָּד וַחֲבֵרוֹ בָּזוּי], אֵין לוֹ חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא [עַד שֶׁיָּשׁוּב בִּתְשׁוּבָה שְׁלֵמָה] (רמב"ם הל' תשובה פ"ד ה"ד).

13

Anyone who hates a fellow-Jew in his heart, transgresses a negative commandment, as it is said: "Do not hate your brother in your heart."40 (See Chapter 189: 5) If anyone has sinned against you, you should not hate him inwardly, and keep quite about it, as it is written concerning the wicked, "And Avshalom did not speak to Amnon either bad or good because Avshalom hated Amnon,"41 but it is your duty to let him know [what you think of him] and to say to him,42 "Why have you done this to me, why have you sinned against me in this matter?", for it is said: "You must admonish your neighbor."43 If the offender regrets it and asks you to forgive him, you should forgive him and not be harsh, for it is said:44 "And Avraham prayed to God."45 In Avos de Rabbi Nasan (end of Chapter 16) [it is stated] "What is meant by 'hatred of people'?" It conveys this thought: "A person should not think of saying "I will love the scholars but hate the students, I will love the students but hate the unlearned." Rather, you should love them all, but hate the heretics, and those who mislead and entice people, [to abandon the Torah and follow false doctrines], and also [hate] the informers. And thus David said,46 "Behold, those who hate You Hashem, I hate, and with those who rise up against You, I contend. With utmost hatred do I hate them, they have come to be my enemies." But didn't God say; "Love your neighbor as [you love] yourself, I am Hashem?" For what reason? Because I (God) have created him. And if he keeps the laws of your people you must love him, if not, you should not love him.

יג

כָּל הַשּׂוֹנֵא אֶחָד מִיִשְֹרָאֵל בְּלִבּוֹ, עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר לֹא תִּשְׂנָא אֵת אָחִיךָ בִּלְבָבֶךָ (עַיֵּן לְקַמָּן סִימָן קפ"ט סָעִיף ה'). וְאִם חָטָא אִישׁ כְּנֶגְדּוֹ, לֹא יִשְׂטְמֶנוּ וְיִשְׁתֹּק, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בָּרְשָׁעִים וְלֹא דִבֵּר אַבְשָׁלוֹם עִם אַמְנוֹן לְמֵרַע וְעַד טוֹב, כִּי שָׂנֵא אַבְשָׁלוֹם אֵת אַמְנוֹן, אֶלָּא מִצְוָה עָלָיו לְהוֹדִיעוֹ וְלוֹמַר: לָמָּה עָשִׂיתָ לִי כָּךְ וְכָךְ, וְלָמָּה חָטָאתָ לִי בְּדָבָר זֶה? שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר הוֹכֵחַ תּוֹכִיחַ אֵת עֲמִיתֶךָ. וְאִם חָזַר וּבִקֵּשׁ מִמֶּנּוּ לִמְחֹל לוֹ, צָרִיךְ לִמְחֹל לוֹ, וְלֹא יְהֵא אַכְזָרִי, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל אַבְרָהָם אֶל הָאֱלֹהִים (שירפא את אבימלך) (רמב"ם פ"ו), בְּאָבוֹת דְּרַבִּי נָתָן (סוֹף פֶּרֶק ט"ז) וְשִׂנְאַת הַבְּרִיּוֹת כֵּיצַד. מְלַמֵּד שֶׁלֹּא יְכַוֵּן אָדָם לוֹמַר: אֱהֹב אֵת הַחֲכָמִים, וּשְׂנָא אֵת הַתַּלְמִידִים, אֱהֹב אֵת הַתַּלְמִידִים, וּשְׂנָא אֵת עַמֵּי הָאָרֶץ, אֶלָא אֱהַב אֵת כֻּלָּם וּשְׂנָא אֶת הַאֶפִּיקוֹרְסִים, וְהַמְּסִיתִים וְהַמַּדִּיחִים וְכֵן הַמָּסוֹרוֹת. וְכֵן דָּוִד אָמַר מְשַׂנְאֶיךָ ה', אֶשְׂנָא וּבִתְקוֹמְמֶיךָ אֶתְקוֹטַט, תַּכְלִית שִׂנְאָה שְׂנֵאתִים, לְאוֹיְבִים הָיוּ לִי, הֲלֹא הוּא אוֹמֵר, וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ אֲנִי ה', מַה טַּעַם, כִּי אֲנִי בְּרָאתִיו. וְאִם עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה עַמְּךָ, אַתָּה אוֹהֲבוֹ. וְאִם לָאו אִי אַתָּה אוֹהֲבוֹ.

14

A person is forbidden to pray for judgment from Heaven against his fellow man who treated him wrongly. This applies only if [his grievance] can be settled in an earthly court. Anyone who prays for Divine punishment against his fellow man, will himself be punished first. There are some authorities who hold that even if his case cannot be settled in an earthly court, he is not permitted to pray for Divine judgment against him, unless he first lets him know [that he intends to do so].

יד

אָסוּר לְאָדָם לְבַקֵּשׁ דִּין מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם עַל חֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁעָשָׂה לוֹ רָעָה. וְדַוְקָא בִּדְאִית לֵיה דַּיָנָא בְּאַרְעָא. וְכָל הַצּוֹעֵק עַל חֲבֵרוֹ (שיענש מן השמים), הוּא נֶעֱנָשׁ תְּחִלָּה. וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים דַּאֲפִלּוּ לֵית לֵיה דַּיָנָא בְּאַרְעָא, אָסוּר לִצְעֹק עָלָיו, אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הוֹדִיעוֹ תְּחִלָּה (חו"מ סִימָן תכ"ב).

15

If you see someone committing a sin or following a wrongful course, it is a mitzvah to bring him back to the good path and make him aware that he is acting sinfully by committing his wrongful deeds, for it is said: "You must admonish your neighbor."47 And when you admonish someone, whether it concerns his personal relationships, or something that concerns his relationship with God, you should admonish him in privately48 speaking to him gently with soothing words, letting him know that you are speaking to him only for his own good, to help him merit the life of the World to Come. Anyone who has the opportunity to protest [against a sinful act] and does not speak out in protest, will be held responsible for that very sin, because he could have protested.

טו

הָרוֹאֶה אֵת חֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁחָטָא, אוֹ שֶׁהָלַךְ בְּדֶרֶךְ לֹא טוֹב מִצְוָה לְהַחְזִירוֹ לְמוּטָב, וּלְהוֹדִיעוֹ שֶׁהוּא חוֹטֵא בְּמַעֲשָׂיו הָרָעִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר הוֹכֵחַ תּוֹכִיחַ אֵת עֲמִיתֶךָ. וְהַמּוֹכִיחַ אֵת חֲבֵרוֹ, בֵּין בִּדְבָרִים שֶׁבֵּינוֹ לְבֵינוֹ בֵּין בִּדְבָרִים שֶׁבֵּינוֹ לְבֵין הַמָּקוֹם, צָרִיךְ לְהוֹכִיחוֹ בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין עַצְמוֹ, וִידַבֵּר לוֹ בְּנַחַת וּבְלָשׁוֹן רַכָּה, וְיוֹדִיעוֹ שֶׁאֵינוֹ אוֹמֵר לוֹ, אֶלָּא לְטוֹבָתוֹ, לְהָבִיאוֹ לְחַיֵּי עוֹלָם הַבָּא. וְכֹל שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר בְּיָדוֹ לִמְחֹת, וְאֵינוֹ מוֹחֶה, הוּא נִתְפָּס בְּעָוֹן זֶה, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהָיָה אֶפְשָׁר לוֹ לִמְחֹת (רמב"ם פ"ו).

16

This applies only in a case when you [have reason to] believe that the sinner will listen to you,49 but when you know [for sure] that he will not pay attention to your words, then you are forbidden to admonish him. For Rabbi Ila'a said in the name of Rabbi Elazar ben Rabbi Shimon,50 "Just as it is a mitzvah for a person to say something that will be heeded, so it is a mitzvah to refrain from saying something that will not be heeded." Rabbi Abba says, "It is his duty" [to refrain from saying anything that will not be taken under consideration]. for it is said:51 "Do not admonish a scorner lest he hate you; reprove a wise man and he will love you."

טז

בְּמֶה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁהוּא מְדַמֶּה שֶׁיִּשְׁמַע לוֹ. אֲבָל אִם יוֹדֵעַ בּוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יִשְׁמַע לוֹ, אָסוּר לְהוֹכִיחוֹ, דְּאָמַר רַבִּי אִילְעָא מִשּׁוּם רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בְּרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן, כְּשֵׁם שֶׁמִּצְוָה עַל אָדָם לוֹמַר דָּבָר הַנִּשְׁמָע כָּךְ מִצְוָה עַל אָדָם, שֶׁלֹּא לוֹמַר דָּבָר שֶׁאֵינוֹ נִשְׁמָע. רַבִּי אַבָּא אוֹמֵר חוֹבָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אַל תּוֹכַח לֵץ פֶּן יִשְׂנָאֶךָ, הוֹכַח לֶחָכָם וְיֶאֶהָבֶךָ. (יבמות דף ס"ה ע"ב) (אוֹרַח חַיִּים סִימָן תר"ח)

17

It is forbidden to humiliate anyone either by word or by deed, especially in public. And our Rabbis of blessed memory said,52 "A person who humiliates someone in public will have no share in the World to Come." Our Rabbis of blessed memory said furthermore,53 "It is better for a man to throw himself into a fiery furnace than to put his fellow man to shame," for it is said:54 "When she was being taken out [to be executed] she sent word to her father-in-law, saying: "By the man who is the owner of these articles I am pregnant." She did not say to him openly [that it was of him that she conceived] she merely hinted, [thinking] if he admits it, fine, if not, I will not expose him publicly." Therefore, you should be very careful not to humiliate anyone in public, whether he is a minor or an adult, nor to call anyone by a name of which he is ashamed, and do not relate in his presence anything of which he is ashamed. And if anyone sinned against you and it is necessary for you to admonish him [for it], do not humiliate him, for it is said:55 "Do not sin through him."56 This law applies only to a case where he [sinned] against his fellow man, but if he [sinned] against God, and does not retract [and repent] when you admonish him privately, you may disgrace him publicly, and publicize his transgression, and you may revile him to his face, you may insult him and curse him until he returns to the good [path], as all the prophets in Israel have done. Regarding such a person [the law prohibiting] the making of disparaging remarks does not apply for it is said:57 "Do not speak slightingly to one another,"58 and the Rabbis of blessed memory explain, that the word amiso [to your fellow man], applies to those who are of one mind with you in their observance of the Torah and the mitzvos. The Torah forbids you to abuse them verbally, but you are not [prohibited from verbally abusing] those persons who violate [the Torah] and do not repent [even] after they have been admonished privately, and with gentle words.

יז

אָסוּר לְאָדָם לְבַיֵּשׁ אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ, בֵּין בְּדִבּור בֵּין בְּמַעֲשֶׂה, וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן בָּרַבִּים. וְאָמְרוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה הַמַּלְבִּין פְּנֵי חֲבֵרוֹ בָּרַבִּים, אֵין לוֹ חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. עוֹד אָמְרוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה נֹחַ לָאָדָם לְהַפִּיל אֵת עַצְמוֹ לְכִבְשַׁן הָאֵשׁ, וְאַל יַלְבִּין פְּנֵי חֲבֵרוֹ בָּרַבִּים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר הִיא מוּצֵאת. וְהִיא שָׁלְחָה אֶל חָמִיהָ לֵאמֹר, לְאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר אֵלֶּה לוֹ, אָנֹכִי הָרָה. וְלֹא אָמְרָה לוֹ בְּפֵרוּשׁ אֶלָּא בְּרֶמֶז. אִם יוֹדֶה יוֹדֶה, וְאִם לָאו, לֹא תפַרְסְמוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ צָרִיךְ הָאָדָם לְהִזָּהֵר מְאֹד, שֶׁלֹּא לְבַיֵּשׁ אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ בָּרַבִּים, בֵּין קָטֹן בֵּין גָּדוֹל, וְלֹא יִקְרָא אוֹתוֹ בְּשֵּׁם שֶׁהוּא בּוֹשׁ, וְלֹא יְסַפֵּר לְפָנָיו דָּבָר שֶׁהוּא בּוֹשׁ מִמֶּנּוּ. וְאִם חָטָא כְּנֶגְדּוֹ וְהוּא צָרִיךְ לְהוֹכִיחוֹ, לֹא יַכְלִימֶנּוּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְלֹא תִשָּׂא עָלָיו חֵטְא. בְּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בִּדְבָרִים שֶׁבֵּין אָדָם לַחֲבֵרוֹ. אֲבָל בְּדִבְרֵי שָׁמַיִם, אִם לֹא חָזַר כְּשֶׁהוֹכִיחוֹ בַּסֵּתֶר, מַכְלִימִין אוֹתוֹ בָּרַבִּים, וּמְפַרְסְמִים חֶטְאוֹ, וּמְחָרְפִים אוֹתוֹ בְּפָנָיו, וּמְבַזִּין וּמְקַלְּלִין אוֹתוֹ, עַד שֶׁיַּחְזֹר לַמּוּטָב, כְּמוֹ שֶׁעָשׂוּ, כָּל הַנְּבִיאִים בְּיִשְֹרָאֵל, וְאֵין בּוֹ מִשּׁוּם אוֹנָאַת דְּבָרִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְלֹא תוֹנוּ. אִישׁ אֵת עֲמִיתוֹ וּפֵרְשׁוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה עֲמִיתוֹ, עַם שֶׁאִתְּךָ בְּתוֹרָה וּבְמִצְווֹת הִזְהִירָה הַתּוֹרָה עַל אוֹנָאָתוֹ, וְלֹא עַל הָעוֹבֵר עֲלֵיהֶן, וְלֹא חָזַר בּוֹ, לְאַחַר שֶׁהוֹכִיחוּהוּ בְּסֵתֶר וּבְלָשׁוֹן רַכָּה.

18

If someone sinned against you, and you do not want to admonish him, or even mention it to him at all, and you forgive him wholeheartedly, and you do not hate him and do not admonish him; this is the practice of the pious, for the Torah's only concern is to banish hatred.

יח

מִי שֶׁחָטָא חֲבֵרוֹ כְּנֶגְדּוֹ, וְלֹא רָצָה לְהוֹכִיחוֹ, וְלֹא לְדַבֵּר לוֹ כְּלוּם וּמָחַל לוֹ בְּלִבּוֹ, וְלֹא שְׂטָמוֹ וְלֹא הוֹכִיחוֹ, הֲרֵי זֶה מִדַּת חֲסִידוּת. לֹא הִקְפִּידָה הַתּוֹרָה אֶלָּא עַל הַמַּשְׂטֵמָה.

19

You should be very careful [in the way you treat] orphans and widows, to speak only kindly to them, to treat them respectfully, not to hurt them even with words,59 because their souls are very depressed and their spirits are low, even if they are wealthy. Even [regarding] the widow and the orphans of a king, we are warned [in the Torah], for it is said: "Do not mistreat a widow or an orphan."60 A covenant was made [with widows and orphans] by Him Whose Word called the world into being, that whenever they cry because of an injustice that was done to them, their [cries] will be answered, for it is said: "For if he cries out to Me I will hear his cry."61 This applies only where someone hurts them for his own benefit. But if a teacher afflicts them in order to teach them Torah or a trade, or to lead them on a straight path, this is permitted. Nevertheless, [the teacher] should be careful to guide them gently and with great compassion, for it is said: "For God will plead their cause."62 [In all of these laws, it makes no difference] whether he is an orphan from his father or an orphan from his mother. And for how long are they considered orphans in this regard? Until they are able to take care of all their needs by themselves as all other adults.

יט

חַיָּב אָדָם לְהִזָּהֵר בִּיתוֹמִים וְאַלְמָנוֹת, שֶׁלֹּא יְדַבֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם אֶלָּא רַכּוֹת, וְיִנְהַג בָּהֶן מִנְהָג כָּבוֹד. וְלֹא יַכְאִיבֵם אֲפִלּוּ בִּדְבָרִים, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנַּפְשָׁן שְׁפֵלָה מְאֹד, וְרוּחָן נְמוּכָה, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן בַּעֲלֵי מָמוֹן. אֲפִלּוּ אַלְמָנָתוֹ שֶׁל מֶלֶךְ, וִיתוֹמָיו מֻזְהָרִים אָנוּ עֲלֵיהֶן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כָּל אַלְמָנָה וְיָתוֹם לֹא תעַנּוּן. בְּרִית כָּרַת לָהֶם מִי שֶׁאָמַר וְהָיָה הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁכָּל זְמַן שֶׁהֵן צוֹעֲקִין, מֵחֲמַת הֶחָמָס שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה לָהֶם הֵם נַעֲנִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כִּי אִם צָעֹק יִצְעַק אֵלַי, שָׁמֹעַ אֶשְׁמַע צַעֲקָתוֹ. בְּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים שֶׁעִנָּה אוֹתָן לְצֹרֶךְ עַצְמוֹ. אֲבָל עִנָּה אוֹתָם הָרַב, כְּדֵי לְלַמְּדָם תּוֹרָה אוֹ אֻמָּנוּת, אוֹ לְהוֹלִיכָן בְּדֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר. וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם יַשְׁגִּיחַ לְנַהֲלֵם בְּנַחַת וּבְרַחֲמִים גְּדוֹלִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כִּי ה' יָרִיב רִיבָם אֶחָד יָתוֹם מֵאָב וְאֶחָד יָתוֹם מֵאֵם, וְעַד אֵימָתַי נִקְרָאִים יְתוֹמִים לְעִנְיָן זֶה. עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ יְכוֹלִים לַעֲשׂוֹת כָּל צָרְכֵיהֶם בְּעַצְמָם, כִּשְׁאָר כָּל הַגְּדוֹלִים.

20

A person should be careful not to do anything which might cause [people] to suspect that he committed a sin, (even though he is not [actually] committing a sin), as we find63 that the kohein who removed the coins from the chamber64 did not enter [the chamber] in a garment that was fashioned in a way that something could be hidden in it, for a person must answer for his actions to his fellow man as he must answer to the Almighty, blessed is He, as it is said: "You will be innocent before God and Israel"65 And it is also said: "And find favor and good understanding in the eyes of God and man."66

כ

צָרִיךְ הָאָדָם לִזָּהֵר, שֶׁלֹּא לַעֲשׂוֹת אֵיזֶה דָּבָר, שֶׁיְכוֹלִין לַחְשֹׁד אוֹתוֹ שֶׁעָשָׂה דְּבַר עֲבֵרָה, (אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ עוֹשֶׂה) כִּדְמָצִינוּ שֶׁהַכֹּהֵן הַתּוֹרֵם אֶת הַלִּשְׁכָּה לֹא הָיָה נִכְנַס בְּבֶגֶד הֶעָשׂוּי. בְּעִנְיָן שֶׁיְכוֹלִין לְהַטְמִין בּוֹ אֵיזֶה דָּבָר, לְפִי שֶׁצָּרִיךְ הָאָדָם לָצֵאת יְדֵי הַבְּרִיּוֹת כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁהוּא צָרִיךְ לָצֵאת יְדֵי הַמָּקוֹם בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וִהְיִיתֶם נְקִיִּים מֵה' וּמִיִשְֹרָאֵל. וְאוֹמֵר וּמְצָא חֵן וְשֵׂכֶל טוֹב בְּעֵינֵי אֱלֹהִים וְאָדָם.

21

It is the practice of pious people, not to accept gifts, but to trust that Hashem, will take care of their needs, as it is said, "But he that hates gifts will live.67

כא

מִדַּת חֲסִידוּת שֶׁלֹּא לְקַבֵּל מַתָּנָה, רַק לִבְטֹחַ בַּה' שֶׁיִּתֵּן לוֹ דֵּי מַחְסוֹרוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְשׂוֹנֵא מַתָּנוֹת יִחְיֶה.