Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Simeon ben Yohai, aka Simon ben Yohai or Rashbi or Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai

Galilean Rabbi, Disciple of Aqiba, Attributed with the authorship of The Zohar, the chief work of Kabbalah

"A liar's punishment is that he is not believed even when he tells the truth."

"The lips of a deceased scholar tingle pleasantly in the grave when a traditional statement is quoted in his name."

"To cause a man to sin is worse than to murder him."

"With one bond, I am bound to Him; in it as one, in it aflame. [at time of his passing]"

"A man, even if he was completely righteous all his life, may lose all his benefits, if he turns away from G-d in the end. But he who was wicked all his life, yet returns to G-d in the end-his wicked past will be forgotten."

"G-d gave Israel three wonderful presents, but each one was earned through pain and suffering: The Torah, the Holy Land, and the World to Come."

"Great is G-d's love for Israel, for He revealed Himself to them in a land of uncleanliness and idol worship (Egypt) in order to free them from there"

"He who lets arrogance get the better of him is like the heathen worshipping idols."

"If I were present at the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, I would have demanded two mouths: one for continuous study of the words of the Torah, and the other for eating."

"If the people of Israel would observe but two Sabbaths properly, G-d would redeem them immediately!"

"Man should rather jump into a fiery furnace than offend another in public."

"Once Rabbi Simeon was asked, "Why did the manna come down from heaven every day? Could not G-d rain down enough manna in one day to last them a whole year?" To which Rabbi Simeon replied: "A king had a beloved son. The king gave his son an allowance once a year, and only saw him one day in the year, when he came for his allowance. So the king began to give his son his allowance in small instalments every day, and the son came to see his -father daily. So it was also with the children of Israel. Every day the Jews would lift their eyes to G-d praying for food, so that His children would not die in the desert. If they would receive in one day enough food for a whole year, they would pray to G-d only once a year.""

"One of Rabbi Simeon's students once went abroad, and returned with great riches. The other students were filled with envy and also wanted to go abroad to make their fortunes. This made Rabbi Simeon sad, and he told them that they could have the choice of gold or the Torah. In fact, he took them to a valley, and prayed to G-d to fill it with gold. The next moment the valley was filled with gold. Rabbi Simeon then said, "Whoever wants it, may have as much as he likes; but know that whoever takes this gold, will lose his share in the World to Come." No one took any of it."

"One who enters his house suddenly, and especially one who enters somebody else's house without knocking, is disliked by G-d."

"The bread-loaf and the rod came down together from Heaven. Said G-d, If you keep the Torah, you will have bread to eat if not, you shall get the rod."

"There are three crowns: the crown of the Torah, and crown of priesthood, and the crown of royalty; but the crown of a good name excels above them all."

"To deceive anyone by words is worse than cheating him out of money."

"There were two brothers. One was saving every penny until, in time, he had quite a large fortune. The other thought, What's the use of saving pennies? So he spent everything, and remained always poor. So it is with learning. If one learns two or three things during the day, and two or three things at night, two or three chapters during the Sabbath, and the same during Rosh Chodesh, then in time he will be rich with knowledge. But the one who says, ?How much can I learn, I have so little time?? and wastes those precious minutes, will always be poor in knowledge."

"When the people of Israel are worthy, the rain comes down on the fields and trees and seeds, and the world is blessed. But if the people of Israel are not worthy, the rain falls into the oceans and rivers (bringing nothing but floods)."

"See how beloved Israel is to the Holy One, blessed be He, for wherever they went into exile, the Divine Presence (Shechinah) went with them: they were exiled to Egypt, and the Shechinah went with them; they were exiled to Babylon, and again the Shechinah went with them. And when Israel will be redeemed in the future, the Shechinah will be redeemed with them, as it is written, 'And G-d, thy G-d, will return (with) thy exile.'"

"The Sabbath said to G-d, Master of the World! Each day of the week has a campanion (Sunday has Monday, Tuesday-Wednesday, etc.), except for me, for I am the odd day of the week! Replied G-d, The People of Israel shall be your companion!"