עֲשָׂרָה יוֹחֲסִין עָלוּ מִבָּבֶל, כַּהֲנֵי, לְוִיֵּי, יִשְׂרְאֵלֵי, חֲלָלֵי, גֵּרֵי, וַחֲרוּרֵי, מַמְזֵרֵי, נְתִינֵי, שְׁתוּקֵי, וַאֲסוּפֵי. כַּהֲנֵי, לְוִיֵּי וְיִשְׂרְאֵלֵי, מֻתָּרִים לָבֹא זֶה בָזֶה. לְוִיֵּי, יִשְׂרְאֵלֵי, חֲלָלֵי, גֵּרֵי וַחֲרוּרֵי, מֻתָּרִים לָבֹא זֶה בָזֶה. גֵּרֵי וַחֲרוּרֵי, מַמְזֵרֵי וּנְתִינֵי שְׁתוּקֵי וַאֲסוּפֵי, כֻּלָּם מֻתָּרִין לָבֹא זֶה בָזֶה: There were ten categories of lineage, with varying restrictions on marriage, among the Jews who ascended from Babylonia to Eretz Yisrael with Ezra before the building of the Second Temple. They are as follows: Priests; Levites; Israelites; priests disqualified due to flawed lineage [ḥalalim]; converts, and emancipated slaves; mamzerim; Gibeonites, i.e., the descendants of the Gibeonites who converted in the time of Joshua; children of unknown paternity [shetuki]; and foundlings. The mishna proceeds to detail their halakhot: With regard to priests, Levites, and Israelites, it is permitted for men and women in these categories to marry one another. With regard to Levites who are not priests, Israelites, ḥalalim, converts, and emancipated slaves, it is permitted for men and women in these categories to marry one another. With regard to converts, and emancipated slaves, mamzerim, and Gibeonites, children of unknown paternity [shetuki], and foundlings, it is permitted for all of the men and women in these categories to marry one another.
וְאֵלּוּ הֵם שְׁתוּקֵי, כֹּל שֶׁהוּא מַכִּיר אֶת אִמּוֹ וְאֵינוֹ מַכִּיר אֶת אָבִיו. אֲסוּפֵי, כֹּל שֶׁנֶּאֱסַף מִן הַשּׁוּק וְאֵינוֹ מַכִּיר לֹא אָבִיו וְלֹא אִמּוֹ. אַבָּא שָׁאוּל הָיָה קוֹרֵא לִשְׁתוּקֵי, בְּדוּקֵי: And these are the last two categories: A shetuki is any person who knows the identity of his mother but does not know the identity of his father. A foundling is anyone who was collected from the marketplace and doesn’t know the identity of his parents, neither that of his father nor that of his mother. These two categories are people whose status is uncertain; they may be mamzerim. Abba Shaul would call a shetuki by the label of beduki.
כָּל הָאֲסוּרִים לָבֹא בַקָּהָל, מֻתָּרִים לָבֹא זֶה בָזֶה. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹסֵר. רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר, וַדָּאָן בְּוַדָּאָן, מֻתָּר. וַדָּאָן בִּסְפֵקָן, (וּסְפֵקָן בְּוַדָּאָן), וּסְפֵקָן בִּסְפֵקָן, אָסוּר. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן הַסְּפֵקוֹת, שְׁתוּקִי, אֲסוּפִי וְכוּתִי: All those for whom it is prohibited to enter into the congregation, i.e., to marry a Jew of unflawed lineage, are permitted to marry into each other’s families. Rabbi Yehuda prohibits them from marrying anyone other than those who share their specific flaw. Rabbi Eliezer says: It is permitted for those with definite flaws to marry with those with definite flaws. For example, it is permitted for mamzerim and Gibeonites to marry each other. By contrast, it is prohibited for those with definite flaws, such as mamzerim, to marry with those whose flaws result from an uncertainty, such as a child of unknown paternity [shetuki] and a foundling; and it is prohibited for those whose flaws result from an uncertainty to marry with those with definite flaws; and it is prohibited for those whose flaws result from an uncertainty to marry with those whose flaws result from an uncertainty, such as a shetuki and a female shetuki. And these are the ones whose flaws result from an uncertainty: A shetuki, a foundling, and a Samaritan.
הַנּוֹשֵׂא אִשָּׁה כֹהֶנֶת צָרִיךְ לִבְדֹּק אַחֲרֶיהָ אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת שֶׁהֵן שְׁמֹנֶה, אִמָּהּ וְאֵם אִמָּהּ, וְאֵם אֲבִי אִמָּהּ וְאִמָּהּ, וְאֵם אָבִיהָ וְאִמָּהּ, וְאֵם אֲבִי אָבִיהָ וְאִמָּהּ. לְוִיָּה וְיִשְׂרְאֵלִית, מוֹסִיפִין עֲלֵיהֶן עוֹד אֶחָת: A priest who marries a woman who is the daughter of a priest must investigate with regard to her background, i.e., he must check previous generations of her family tree from both the maternal and paternal sides, for four mothers, which are eight. How so? He investigates the lineage of her mother, and the mother of her mother, and the mother of her mother’s father, and her mother, i.e., the mother of her mother’s fathers’ mother. And he also investigates the lineage of the mother of her father, and her mother, i.e., the mother of her father’s mother, and the mother of her father’s father, and her mother i.e., the mother of her father’s father’s mother. If he seeks to marry a Levite woman or an Israelite woman, he adds to these an investigation of mothers of one additional generation.
אֵין בּוֹדְקִין לֹא מִן הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וּלְמַעְלָה, וְלֹא מִן הַדּוּכָן וּלְמַעְלָה, וְלֹא מִן סַנְהֶדְרִין וּלְמָעְלָה. וְכֹל שֶׁהֻחְזְקוּ אֲבוֹתָיו מִשּׁוֹטְרֵי הָרַבִּים וְגַבָּאֵי צְדָקָה, מַשִּׂיאִין לַכְּהֻנָּה וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לִבְדֹּק אַחֲרֵיהֶן. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר, אַף מִי שֶׁהָיָה חָתוּם עֵד בָּעַרְכֵי הַיְשָׁנָה שֶׁל צִפּוֹרִי. רַבִּי חֲנִינָא בֶּן אַנְטִיגְנוֹס אוֹמֵר, אַף מִי שֶׁהָיָה מֻכְתָּב בְּאִסְטְרַטְיָא שֶׁל מֶלֶךְ: With regard to these investigations, one need not investigate from the altar and above. If his ancestors included a priest who served at the altar, one checks no further, as the court would have investigated his lineage before allowing him to participate in the Temple service. Nor do they check from the platform, used by Levites for singing in the Temple, and above, nor from the Sanhedrin and above, since only one whose lineage has been examined and who was found to be fit can be appointed to the Sanhedrin. And similarly, anyone whose ancestors held public posts, and anyone whose ancestors were charity collectors, may marry into the priesthood, and there is no need to investigate their lineage, since no one of flawed lineage would be appointed to those positions. Rabbi Yosei says: Even the descendants of one who had signed as a witness in the old court [ba’arki] of Tzippori do not need to have their lineage investigated. Rabbi Ḥanina ben Antigonus says: Even the descendants of one who was written in the army list [be’isteratya] of the Jewish king do not need to have their lineage investigated.
בַּת חָלָל זָכָר, פְּסוּלָה מִן הַכְּהֻנָּה לְעוֹלָם. יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנָּשָׂא חֲלָלָה, בִּתּוֹ כְשֵׁרָה לַכְּהֻנָּה. חָלָל שֶׁנָּשָׂא בַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, בִּתּוֹ פְסוּלָה לַכְּהֻנָּה. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, בַּת גֵּר זָכָר כְּבַת חָלָל זָכָר: The daughter of a male ḥalal is unfit to marry into the priesthood forever. In other words, all daughters of male descendants of a ḥalal are prohibited from marrying priests, as they have the status of ḥalalot. If there was an Israelite who married a ḥalala, his daughter is fit to marry into the priesthood, whereas if there was a ḥalal who married a Jewish woman, his daughter is unfit to marry into the priesthood. Rabbi Yehuda says: The daughter of a male convert is like the daughter of a male ḥalal, and she is also prohibited from marrying into the priesthood.
רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר בֶּן יַעֲקֹב אוֹמֵר, יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנָּשָׂא גִיּוֹרֶת, בִּתּוֹ כְשֵׁרָה לַכְּהֻנָּה. וְגֵר שֶׁנָּשָׂא בַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, בִּתּוֹ כְשֵׁרָה לַכְּהֻנָּה. אֲבָל גֵּר שֶׁנָּשָׂא גִיּוֹרֶת, בִּתּוֹ פְסוּלָה לַכְּהֻנָּה. אֶחָד גֵּר וְאֶחָד עֲבָדִים מְשֻׁחְרָרִים, אֲפִלּוּ עַד עֲשָׂרָה דוֹרוֹת, עַד שֶׁתְּהֵא אִמּוֹ מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר, אַף גֵּר שֶׁנָּשָׂא גִיּוֹרֶת, בִּתּוֹ כְשֵׁרָה לַכְּהֻנָּה: Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya’akov disagrees and says: If there was an Israelite who married a female convert, his daughter is fit to marry into the priesthood, and similarly if there was a convert who married a Jewish woman, his daughter is fit to marry into the priesthood. But if there was a male convert who married a female convert, his daughter is unfit to marry into the priesthood. With regard to both converts and emancipated Canaanite slaves, their daughters are unfit to marry into the priesthood even up to ten generations. This halakha applies to the offspring until his mother is born Jewish. Rabbi Yosei says: Even if there was a male convert who married a female convert, his daughter is fit to marry into the priesthood.
הָאוֹמֵר, בְּנִי זֶה מַמְזֵר, אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן. וַאֲפִלּוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם אוֹמְרִים עַל הָעֻבָּר שֶׁבְּמֵעֶיהָ מַמְזֵר הוּא, אֵינָם נֶאֱמָנִים. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, נֶאֱמָנִים: One who says: This son of mine is a mamzer, e.g., if he claims that the son was born to one forbidden to him by a prohibition that carries the punishment of karet, he is not deemed credible to render him a mamzer. And even if both of them, the father and the mother, admit that a fetus in her womb is a mamzer, they are not deemed credible. Rabbi Yehuda says: They are deemed credible.
מִי שֶׁנָּתַן רְשׁוּת לִשְׁלוּחוֹ לְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת בִּתּוֹ וְהָלַךְ הוּא וְקִדְּשָׁהּ, אִם שֶׁלּוֹ קָדְמוּ, קִדּוּשָׁיו קִדּוּשִׁין. וְאִם שֶׁל שְׁלוּחוֹ קָדְמוּ, קִדּוּשָׁיו קִדּוּשִׁין. וְאִם אֵינוֹ יָדוּעַ, שְׁנֵיהֶם נוֹתְנִים גֵּט. וְאִם רָצוּ, אֶחָד נוֹתֵן גֵּט וְאֶחָד כּוֹנֵס. וְכֵן הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁנָּתְנָה רְשׁוּת לִשְׁלוּחָהּ לְקַדְּשָׁהּ, וְהָלְכָה וְקִדְּשָׁהּ אֶת עַצְמָהּ, אִם שֶׁלָּהּ קָדְמוּ, קִדּוּשֶׁיהָ קִדּוּשִׁין. וְאִם שֶׁל שְׁלוּחָהּ קָדְמוּ, קִדּוּשָׁיו קִדּוּשִׁין. וְאִם אֵינוֹ יָדוּעַ, שְׁנֵיהֶם נוֹתְנִין לָהּ גֵּט. וְאִם רָצוּ, אֶחָד נוֹתֵן לָהּ גֵּט וְאֶחָד כּוֹנֵס: In a case of one who authorized his agent to betroth his daughter to a man that the agent would deem fit, and the father went and betrothed her to someone else, if his betrothal preceded that of the agent, his betrothal is a valid betrothal; and if the betrothal of his agent preceded his own, the betrothal of the agent is a valid betrothal. And if it is not known whose betrothal came first, both men who might have betrothed her give her a bill of divorce in order to render her permitted to marry someone else. And if they wish and agree between them, one gives a bill of divorce and the other marries her. And similarly, with regard to a woman who authorized her agent to betroth her and she then went and betrothed herself to someone else, if her own betrothal preceded that of the agent, her betrothal is a valid betrothal, and if that of her agent preceded hers, the agent’s betrothal is a valid betrothal. And if they do not know whose betrothal came first, both men who may have betrothed her give her a bill of divorce. And if they wish, one may give a bill of divorce and the other marries her.
מִי שֶׁיָּצָא הוּא וְאִשְׁתּוֹ לִמְדִינַת הַיָּם וּבָא הוּא וְאִשְׁתּוֹ וּבָנָיו וְאָמַר, אִשָּׁה שֶׁיָּצָאת עִמִּי לִמְדִינַת הַיָּם הֲרֵי הִיא זוֹ וְאֵלּוּ בָנֶיהָ, אֵין צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה, לֹא עַל הָאִשָּׁה וְלֹא עַל הַבָּנִים. מֵתָה וְאֵלּוּ בָנֶיהָ, מֵבִיא רְאָיָה עַל הַבָּנִים וְאֵינוֹ מֵבִיא רְאָיָה עַל הָאִשָּׁה: With regard to one who went overseas with his wife, and returned with his wife and children, and said: This is the woman who went overseas with me and these are her children, he is not required to bring proof with regard to the lineage of the woman, since her lineage was already investigated at the time of their marriage, nor with regard to the lineage of the children. If he returned without the woman and said: My wife died and these are her children, he must bring proof that the children were born to his wife, but he does not need to bring proof with regard to the lineage of the woman.
אִשָּׁה נָשָׂאתִי בִּמְדִינַת הַיָּם, הֲרֵי הִיא זוֹ וְאֵלּוּ בָנֶיהָ, מֵבִיא רְאָיָה עַל הָאִשָּׁה וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה עַל הַבָּנִים. מֵתָה, וְאֵלּוּ בָנֶיהָ, צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה עַל הָאִשָּׁה וְעַל הַבָּנִים: If he left when he was unmarried and said upon his return: I married a woman overseas, and this is she, and these are her children, he must bring proof with regard to the lineage of the woman, but he is not required to bring proof with regard to the lineage of the children. If he said: I married a woman overseas and she died, and these are her children, he is required to bring proof with regard to both the lineage of the woman and the children.
לֹא יִתְיַחֵד אָדָם עִם שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים, אֲבָל אִשָּׁה אַחַת מִתְיַחֶדֶת עִם שְׁנֵי אֲנָשִׁים. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, אַף אִישׁ אֶחָד מִתְיַחֵד עִם שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים בִּזְמַן שֶׁאִשְׁתּוֹ עִמּוֹ וְיָשֵׁן עִמָּהֶם בְּפֻנְדְּקִי, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאִשְׁתּוֹ מְשַׁמַּרְתּוֹ. מִתְיַחֵד אָדָם עִם אִמּוֹ וְעִם בִּתּוֹ, וְיָשֵׁן עִמָּהֶם בְּקֵרוּב בָּשָׂר. וְאִם הִגְדִּילוּ, זוֹ יְשֵׁנָה בִכְסוּתָהּ וְזֶה יָשֵׁן בִּכְסוּתוֹ: A man may not be secluded with two women lest he sin with them, but one woman may be secluded with two men. Rabbi Shimon says: Even one man may be secluded with two women when his wife is with him, and in that situation he may even sleep in the same inn with two women, because his wife guards him from sinning with them. They further said that a man may be secluded with his mother, and with his daughter, and sleep alongside them with bodily contact without clothes, since there is no concern that they will engage in sexual intercourse. And when they, the son or daughter, have grown up, this one sleeps in her garment and that one sleeps in his garment, but they may share a bed.
לֹא יִלְמַד אָדָם רַוָּק סוֹפְרִים, וְלֹא תִלְמַד אִשָּׁה סוֹפְרִים. רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר, אַף מִי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ אִשָּׁה, לֹא יִלְמַד סוֹפְרִים: A bachelor may not act as a teacher of children, nor may a woman act as a teacher of children. Rabbi Elazar says: Even one who does not have a wife may not act as a teacher of children.
רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, לֹא יִרְעֶה רַוָּק בְּהֵמָה, וְלֹא יִישְׁנוּ שְׁנֵי רַוָּקִים בְּטַלִּית אֶחָת. וַחֲכָמִים מַתִּירִין. כָּל שֶׁעִסְקוֹ עִם הַנָּשִׁים, לֹא יִתְיַחֵד עִם הַנָּשִׁים. וְלֹא יְלַמֵּד אָדָם אֶת בְּנוֹ אֻמָּנוּת בֵּין הַנָּשִׁים. רַבִּי מֵאִיר אוֹמֵר, לְעוֹלָם יְלַמֵּד אָדָם אֶת בְּנוֹ אֻמָּנוּת נְקִיָּה וְקַלָּה, וְיִתְפַּלֵּל לְמִי שֶׁהָעשֶׁר וְהַנְּכָסִים שֶׁלּוֹ, שֶׁאֵין אֻמָּנוּת שֶׁאֵין בָּהּ עֲנִיּוּת וַעֲשִׁירוּת, שֶׁלֹּא עֲנִיּוּת מִן הָאֻמָּנוּת וְלֹא עֲשִׁירוּת מִן הָאֻמָּנוּת, אֶלָּא הַכֹּל לְפִי זְכוּתוֹ. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר אוֹמֵר, רָאִיתָ מִיָּמֶיךָ חַיָּה וָעוֹף שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהֶם אֻמָּנוּת, וְהֵן מִתְפַּרְנְסִין שֶׁלֹּא בְצַעַר. וַהֲלֹא לֹא נִבְרְאוּ אֶלָּא לְשַׁמְּשֵׁנִי, וַאֲנִי נִבְרֵאתִי לְשַׁמֵּשׁ אֶת קוֹנִי, אֵינוֹ דִין שֶׁאֶתְפַּרְנֵס שֶׁלֹּא בְצַעַר. אֶלָּא שֶׁהֲרֵעוֹתִי מַעֲשַׂי וְקִפַּחְתִּי אֶת פַּרְנָסָתִי. אַבָּא גֻרְיָן אִישׁ צַדְיָן אוֹמֵר מִשּׁוּם אַבָּא גֻרְיָא, לֹא יְלַמֵּד אָדָם אֶת בְּנוֹ, חַמָּר, גַּמָּל, סַפָּר, סַפָּן, רוֹעֶה, וְחֶנְוָנִי, שֶׁאֻמָּנוּתָן אֻמָּנוּת לִסְטִים. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר מִשְּׁמוֹ, הַחַמָּרִין, רֻבָּן רְשָׁעִים, וְהַגַּמָּלִין, רֻבָּן כְּשֵׁרִים. הַסַּפָּנִין, רֻבָּן חֲסִידִים. טוֹב שֶׁבָּרוֹפְאִים, לְגֵיהִנֹּם. וְהַכָּשֵׁר שֶׁבַּטַּבָּחִים, שֻׁתָּפוֹ שֶׁל עֲמָלֵק. רַבִּי נְהוֹרַאי אוֹמֵר, מַנִּיחַ אֲנִי כָּל אֻמָּנוּת שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם וְאֵינִי מְלַמֵּד אֶת בְּנִי אֶלָּא תוֹרָה, שֶׁאָדָם אוֹכֵל מִשְּׂכָרָהּ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְקֶרֶן קַיֶּמֶת לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. וּשְׁאָר כָּל אֻמָּנוּת אֵינָן כֵּן. כְּשֶׁאָדָם בָּא לִידֵי חֹלִי אוֹ לִידֵי זִקְנָה אוֹ לִידֵי יִסּוּרִין וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַעֲסֹק בִּמְלַאכְתּוֹ, הֲרֵי הוּא מֵת בְּרָעָב. אֲבָל הַתּוֹרָה אֵינָהּ כֵּן, אֶלָּא מְשַׁמַּרְתּוֹ מִכָּל רָע בְּנַעֲרוּתוֹ וְנוֹתֶנֶת לוֹ אַחֲרִית וְתִקְוָה בְזִקְנוּתוֹ. בְּנַעֲרוּתוֹ, מַה הוּא אוֹמֵר, (ישעיה מ) וְקֹוֵי ה' יַחֲלִיפוּ כֹחַ. בְּזִקְנוּתוֹ, מַהוּ אוֹמֵר, (תהלים צב) עוֹד יְנוּבוּן בְּשֵׂיבָה. וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר בְּאַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם, (בראשית כד) וְאַבְרָהָם זָקֵן, וַה' בֵּרַךְ אֶת אַבְרָהָם בַּכֹּל. מָצִינוּ שֶׁעָשָׂה אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ אֶת כָּל הַתּוֹרָה כֻּלָּהּ עַד שֶׁלֹּא נִתְּנָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, (שם כו) עֵקֶב אֲשֶׁר שָׁמַע אַבְרָהָם בְּקֹלִי וַיִּשְׁמֹר מִשְׁמַרְתִּי מִצְוֹתַי חֻקּוֹתַי וְתוֹרֹתָי: Rabbi Yehuda says: A bachelor may not herd cattle, nor may two bachelors sleep with one covering, lest they transgress the prohibition against homosexual intercourse, but the Rabbis permit it. Anyone who has professional dealings primarily with women may not be secluded with women. There is more of a concern that such a man might sin due to his familiarity with the women. And a person may not teach his son a trade that necessitates frequent interaction with women, for the same reason. With regard to teaching one’s son a trade, Rabbi Meir says: A person should always teach his son a clean and easy trade and pray for success to the One to Whom wealth and property belong, as ultimately there is no trade that does not include both poverty and wealth, since a person can become rich from any profession. Poverty does not come from a particular trade, nor does wealth come from a particular trade, but rather, all is in accordance with a person’s merit. Therefore, one should choose a clean and easy trade, and pray to God for success. Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: Have you ever seen a beast or a bird that has a trade? And yet they earn their livelihood without anguish. But all these were created only to serve me, and I, a human being, was created to serve the One Who formed me. Is it not right that I should earn my livelihood without anguish? But I, i.e., humanity, have committed evil actions and have lost my livelihood. This is why people must work to earn a living. Abba Guryan of Tzadyan says in the name of Abba Gurya: A person may not teach his son the trades of a donkey driver, a camel driver, a pot maker, a sailor, a shepherd, or a storekeeper. The reason for all these is the same, as their trades are the trades of robbers; all of these professions involve a measure of dishonesty and are likely to lead to robbery. Rabbi Yehuda says in Abba Gurya’s name: Most donkey drivers are wicked, since they engage in deceit, and most camel drivers, who traverse dangerous places such as deserts, are of fit character, as they pray to God to protect them on their journeys. Most sailors are pious, since the great danger of the seas instills in them the fear of Heaven. The best of doctors is to Gehenna, and even the fittest of butchers is a partner of Amalek. Rabbi Nehorai says: I set aside all the trades in the world, and I teach my son only Torah, as a person partakes of its reward in this world and the principal reward remains for him in the World-to-Come, which is not true of other professions, whose rewards are only in this world. Furthermore, if a person comes to be ill, or old, or undergoes suffering, and is unable to be involved in his trade, behold, he dies in hunger. But with regard to the Torah it is not so, since one can study it under all circumstances. Rather, it preserves him from all evil and sin in his youth, and provides him with a future and hope in his old age. The mishna explains: With regard to his youth, what does it say about a Torah scholar? “But they that wait for the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31). With regard to his old age, what does it say? “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age” (Psalms 92:15), and it likewise states with regard to Abraham our forefather: “And Abraham was old, well stricken in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things” (Genesis 24:1). We found that Abraham our forefather fulfilled the entire Torah before it was given, as it is stated: “Because that Abraham listened to My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws” (Genesis 26:5), which indicates that Abraham observed all the mitzvot of his own accord and was rewarded in his old age as a result.