Wisdom From The Talmud - Lesson 2
Sandy Kress

Wisdom From The Talmud - Lesson 2 Plan

On Love - part 2

I. Re-cap and Introduction

II. Gems of Wisdom

Wisdom From The Talmud - 2
Part A


Ilfa pointed out a contradiction between two verses: It says, Abundant in Kindness” and then it says, and in Truth.” How can this be? {How can God be kind and at the same time rigorously adhere to the truth?} {He reconciled the two:} At first {He judges with} the Attribute of Truth, but in the end, with Kindness.

R. Huna noted a similar contradiction: It says, God is just in all His ways,” indicating that God’s judgment is based on strict justice, – but the verse concludes, and kind in all His deeds,” implying that He judges mercifully (Psalms 145:17). How can God be just and kind at the same time? – At first He rules in justice, but in the end {when He sees that the world cannot exist under strict justice (Rashi)} He rules with kindness.

Rosh Hashanah 17b

Wisdom From The Talmud - 2
Questions On Part A

 1.         How can God be both just and kind? How can we be?    

2.         What obstacles do we have to overcome to be both?

3.    Can we be both at the same time? Illustrate.

Wisdom From The Talmud - 2
Part B


R’ Elazar said: Greater is one who performs charity (tzedakah) than one who offers any of the sacrifices, for it says, Doing what is right (tzedakah) or just is preferable to God than an offering.” Proverbs 21:3

R’ Elazar also said: Acts of kindness are greater than charity, for it says, Sow charity for yourselves, and you will reap according to kindness.” Hosea 10:12

R’ Elazar said furthermore: If a person does charity and justice, it is as if he had filled the whole world with kindness, for it says, If a person loves righteousness and justice, then the kindness of God fills the earth.” Psalms 33:5 

Sukkah 49b

Wisdom From The Talmud - 2
Questions On Part B

1. How could charity be considered more important than prayer or other offerings to God?

2. In what ways might acts of kindness be considered more important than charity?

3. Can you think of ways in which we can blend righteousness, kindness, and charity in our actions?

Wisdom From The Talmud - 2
Part C


Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha (the High Priest) said: Once, on Yom Kippur, I entered the innermost part of the Sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, to offer incense and saw Akatriel Y-h, the Lord of Hosts, seated on a high and exalted throne. 

He said to me: Yishmael, My son, bless Me.”

I said to Him: May it be Your will that Your mercy overcome Your anger, and that Your mercy should dominate all Your other attributes, so that You conduct Yourself with Your children with mercy, and deal with them beyond the letter of the law.” 

And God nodded to me with His head and accepted the blessing. 

This event teaches us that you should not take the blessing of an ordinary person lightly.

Berachot 7a

Wisdom From The Talmud - 2
Questions On Part C

1. What do you make of the fact that God asked the Priest to bless Him?

2. And what do you make of the blessing he made? Why do you think God accepted it (rather than perhaps being offended)?

3. How do you understand the stated lesson?

Wisdom From The Talmud - 2
Part D


Now Hannah was praying in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice could not be heard.

So Eli (the priest) thought she was drunk. Eli said to her, ‘How long will you be drunk? Put away your wine.’

And Hannah replied, ‘Oh no, my lord! I am a woman sorrowful in spirit. I have drunk no wine or any other strong drink, but rather have been pouring out my soul before God. Do not take your maidservant for a worthless woman; I have only been speaking all this time out of my great anguish and distress.’

Then go in peace,’ said Eli. ‘And may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him.’” 

I Samuel 1:13-17; Berachot 31a-b

Wisdom From The Talmud - 2
Questions On Part D

1. Why might Eli have thought Hannah drunk? Why do you think he chastised her?

2. What was Hannah’s response?  What does it teach us?

3. Why are we taught that Eli tells her to go in peace and wishes for God to grant her what she’s asked?

Wisdom From The Talmud - 2
Part E


There were some robbers in the neighborhood of Rabbi Meir who caused him a great deal of trouble. Rabbi Meir prayed that they should die. 

His wife Beruriah said to him: What do you have in mind with this prayer? Why do you pray they should die? Is it because it says, ‘May chataim disappear?’ It does not say chotim, sinners; it says chataim, sins!” 

And what’s more,” she said, look at the end of the verse. There it says, ‘and the wicked will be no more.’ Once the sins will disappear, there will be no more wicked men! Rather pray for them that they should repent, and there will be no more wicked men.”

Rabbi Meir did pray for them, and they repented. 

Berachot 10a

Wisdom From The Talmud - 2
Questions On Part E

1. Upon what sort of teaching might the Rabbi have thought the robbers should die?

2. Explain how his wife’s use of Hebrew gets her to a different and better wisdom?

3. How does this wisdom align with other teaching you’ve experienced?

Wisdom From The Talmud - 2

Wrap-up and Take-aways.

Wisdom From The Talmud - Lesson 2

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