in the heavenly entourage [pamalia] of angels each of whom ministers to a specific nation (see Daniel 10), and whose infighting causes war on earth;
and in the earthly entourage, the Sages,
and among the disciples engaged in the study of Your Torah,
whether they engage in its study for its own sake or not for its own sake.
And all those engaged in Torah study not for its own sake,
may it be Your will that they will come to engage in its study for its own sake.
After his prayer, Rabbi Alexandri said the following:
May it be Your will, Lord our God,
that You station us in a lighted corner and not in a darkened corner,
and do not let our hearts become faint nor our eyes dim.
Some say that this was the prayer that Rav Hamnuna would recite, and that after Rabbi Alexandri prayed, he would say the following:
Master of the Universe, it is revealed and known before You
that our will is to perform Your will, and what prevents us?
On the one hand, the yeast in the dough, the evil inclination that is within every person;
and the subjugation to the kingdoms on the other.
May it be Your will
that You will deliver us from their hands, of both the evil inclination and the foreign kingdoms,
so that we may return to perform the edicts of Your will with a perfect heart.
After his prayer, Rava said the following:
My God, before I was created I was worthless,
and now that I have been created it is as if I had not been created, I am no more significant.
I am dust in life, all the more so in my death.
I am before You as a vessel filled with shame and humiliation.
Therefore, may it be Your will, Lord my God, that I will sin no more,
and that those transgressions that I have committed,
cleanse in Your abundant mercy;
but may this cleansing not be by means of suffering and serious illness, but rather in a manner I will be able to easily endure.
And this is the confession of Rav Hamnuna Zuti on Yom Kippur.
When Mar, son of Ravina, would conclude his prayer, he said the following:
My God, guard my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking deceit.
To those who curse me let my soul be silent
and may my soul be like dust to all.
Open my heart to Your Torah,
and may my soul pursue your mitzvot.
And save me from a bad mishap, from the evil inclination,
from a bad woman, and from all evils that suddenly come upon the world.
And all who plan evil against me,
swiftly thwart their counsel, and frustrate their plans.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart find favor before You,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
The Gemara recounts that when Rav Sheshet would sit in observance of a fast, after he prayed he said as follows:
Master of the Universe, it is revealed before You
that when the Temple is standing, one sins and offers a sacrifice.
And although only its fat and blood were offered from that sacrifice on the altar, his transgression is atoned for him.
And now, I sat in observance of a fast and my fat and blood diminished.
May it be Your will that my fat and blood that diminished be considered as if I offered a sacrifice before You on the altar,
and may I find favor in Your eyes.
Having cited statements that various Sages would recite after their prayers, the Gemara cites additional passages recited by the Sages on different occasions.
When Rabbi Yoḥanan would conclude study of the book of Job, he said the following:
A person will ultimately die and an animal will ultimately be slaughtered, and all are destined for death. Therefore, death itself is not a cause for great anguish.
Rather, happy is he who grew up in Torah, whose labor is in Torah,
who gives pleasure to his Creator,
who grew up with a good name and who took leave of the world with a good name.
Such a person lived his life fully, and about him, Solomon said:
“A good name is better than fine oil, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth” (Ecclesiastes 7:1); one who was faultless in life reaches the day of his death on a higher level than he was at the outset.
Rabbi Meir was wont to say the following idiom:
Study with all your heart and with all your soul to know My ways
and to be diligent at the doors of My Torah.
Keep My Torah in your heart,
and fear of Me should be before your eyes.
Guard your mouth from all transgression,
and purify and sanctify yourself from all fault and iniquity.
And if you do so, I, God, will be with you everywhere.
The Sages in Yavne were wont to say:
I who learn Torah am God’s creature and my counterpart who engages in other labor is God’s creature.
My work is in the city and his work is in the field.
I rise early for my work and he rises early for his work.
And just as he does not presume to perform my work, so I do not presume to perform his work.
Lest you say: I engage in Torah study a lot, while he only engages in Torah study a little, so I am better than he,
it has already been taught:
One who brings a substantial sacrifice and one who brings a meager sacrifice have equal merit,
as long as he directs his heart towards Heaven (Rav Hai Gaon, Arukh).
Abaye was wont to say:
One must always be shrewd and utilize every strategy in order to achieve fear of Heaven and performance of mitzvot.
One must fulfill the verse: “A soft answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1)
and take steps to increase peace with one’s brethren and with one’s relatives,
and with all people, even with a non-Jew in the marketplace, despite the fact that he is of no importance to him and does not know him at all (Me’iri),
so that he will be loved above in God’s eyes,
pleasant below in the eyes of the people,
and acceptable to all of God’s creatures.
Tangentially, the Gemara mentions that they said about Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai that no one ever preceded him in issuing a greeting, not even a non-Jew in the marketplace, as Rabban Yoḥanan would always greet him first.
Rava was wont to say:
The objective of Torah wisdom is to achieve repentance and good deeds;
that one should not read the Torah and study mishna and become arrogant
and spurn his father and his mother and his teacher
and one who is greater than he in wisdom or in the number of students who study before him,
as it is stated: “The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord, a good understanding have all who fulfill them” (Psalms 111:10).
It is not stated simply: All who fulfill, but rather: All who fulfill them, those who perform these actions as they ought to be performed, meaning those who do such deeds for their own sake, for the sake of the deeds themselves, not those who do them not for their own sake.
Rava continued: One who does them not for their own sake, it would have been preferable for him had he not been created.
Rav was wont to say:
The World-to-Come is not like this world.
In the World-to-Come there is no eating, no drinking,
no procreation, no business negotiations,
no jealousy, no hatred, and no competition.
Rather, the righteous sit with their crowns upon their heads, enjoying the splendor of the Divine Presence, as it is stated:
“And they beheld God, and they ate and drank” (Exodus 24:11), meaning that beholding God’s countenance is tantamount to eating and drinking.
The Gemara states: Greater is the promise for the future made by the Holy One, Blessed be He, to women than to men, as it is stated: “Rise up, women at ease; hear My voice, confident daughters, listen to what I say” (Isaiah 32:9). This promise of ease and confidence is not given to men.
Rav said to Rabbi Ḥiyya: By what virtue do women merit to receive this reward? Rabbi Ḥiyya answered: They merit this reward for bringing their children to read the Torah in the synagogue, and for sending their husbands to study mishna in the study hall, and for waiting for their husbands until they return from the study hall.
When the Sages who had been studying there took leave of the study hall of Rabbi Ami, and some say it was the study hall of Rabbi Ḥanina, they would say to him the following blessing:
May you see your world, may you benefit from all of the good in the world, in your lifetime,
and may your end be to life in the World-to-Come,
and may your hope be sustained for many generations.
May your heart meditate understanding,
your mouth speak wisdom, and your tongue whisper with praise.
May your eyelids look directly before you,
your eyes shine in the light of Torah,
and your face radiate like the brightness of the firmament.
May your lips express knowledge,
your kidneys rejoice in the upright,
and your feet run to hear the words of the Ancient of Days, God (see Daniel 7).
When the Sages took leave of the study hall of Rav Ḥisda, and some say it was the study hall of Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani, they would say to him the following, in accordance with the verse: “Our leaders are laden, there is no breach and no going forth and no outcry in our open places” (Psalms 144:14).
Our leaders are laden. Rav and Shmuel, and some say Rabbi Yoḥanan and Rabbi Elazar, disputed the proper understanding of this verse. One said: Our leaders in Torah are laden with mitzvot. And one said: Our leaders in Torah and mitzvot are laden with suffering.