Chapter 3ג׳
1 א

בִּשְׁלשָׁה כְּתָרִים נִכְתְּרוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל. כֶּתֶר תּוֹרָה וְכֶתֶר כְּהֻנָּה וְכֶתֶר מַלְכוּת. כֶּתֶר כְּהֻנָּה זָכָה בּוֹ אַהֲרֹן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר כה יג) "וְהָיְתָה לּוֹ וּלְזַרְעוֹ אַחֲרָיו בְּרִית כְּהֻנַּת עוֹלָם". כֶּתֶר מַלְכוּת זָכָה בּוֹ דָּוִד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהילים פט לז) "זַרְעוֹ לְעוֹלָם יִהְיֶה וְכִסְאוֹ כַשֶּׁמֶשׁ נֶגְדִּי". כֶּתֶר תּוֹרָה הֲרֵי מֻנָּח וְעוֹמֵד וּמוּכָן לְכָל יִשְׂרָאֵל. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים לג ד) "תּוֹרָה צִוָּה לָנוּ משֶׁה מוֹרָשָׁה קְהִלַּת יַעֲקֹב". כָּל מִי שֶׁיִּרְצֶה יָבוֹא וְיִטּל. שֶׁמָּא תֹּאמַר שֶׁאוֹתָם הַכְּתָרִים גְּדוֹלִים מִכֶּתֶר תּוֹרָה. הֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר (משלי ח טו) "בִּי מְלָכִים יִמְלֹכוּ וְרוֹזְנִים יְחֹקְקוּ צֶדֶק" (משלי ח טז) "בִּי שָׂרִים יָשֹׂרוּ". הָא לָמַדְתָּ שֶׁכֶּתֶר תּוֹרָה גָּדוֹל מִשְּׁנֵיהֶם:

The people of Israel were crowned with three crowns: the crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood and the crown of sovereignty. The crown of priesthood was acquired by Aaron, even as it is said: "And it shall be unto him, and to his seed after him, the covenant of everlasting priesthood" (Num. 25.13); the crown of sovereignty was acquired by David, even as it is said: "His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me" (Psalms 89.37); but the crown of the Torah, behold it, there it lies ready within the grasp of all Israel, even as it is said: "Moses commanded us a Law, an inheritance of the congregation of Jacob" (Deut. 33.4), Whosoever wants it may come and take it. Peradventure, you will say that those other two crowns are greater than the crown of the Torah, behold, it is said: "By Me kings reign, and princes decree justice; by Me princes rule" (Prov. 8. 13–14), herefrom be instructed that the crown of the Torah is greater than both of the others.1Yoma, 72a; Gittin, 62a. G.

2 ב

אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים מַמְזֵר תַּלְמִיד חָכָם קוֹדֵם לְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל עַם הָאָרֶץ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי ג טו) "יְקָרָה הִיא מִפְּנִינִים". מִכֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁנִּכְנָס לִפְנַי וְלִפְנִים:

The sages said: "One born out of wedlock if he be a scholar, takes precedence over an ignorant high priest" (Horayot, 13b); even as it is said: "She is more precious than rubies" (Prov. 3.15),2The Hebrew word Peninim which is translated to mean rubies, was defined by the rabbis as being derived from the word Penim which means within, or innermost. G. meaning, more precious than a high priest who enters the innermost place of the Temple.

3 ג

אֵין לְךָ מִצְוָה בְּכָל הַמִּצְוֹת כֻּלָּן שֶׁהִיא שְׁקוּלָה כְּנֶגֶד תַּלְמוּד תּוֹרָה אֶלָּא תַּלְמוּד תּוֹרָה כְּנֶגֶד כָּל הַמִּצְוֹת כֻּלָּן שֶׁהַתַּלְמוּד מֵבִיא לִידֵי מַעֲשֶׂה. לְפִיכָךְ הַתַּלְמוּד קוֹדֵם לְמַעֲשֵׂה בְּכָל מָקוֹם:

You have not a single commandment among all the precepts to balance the one concerning the study of the Torah, but the precept to study the Torah stands out against all the rest of the commandments, because study leads to practice. Therefore, in every instance study precedes practice.5Pe’ah, 1. 1; Kiddushin, 40a; Megillah, 3b; Baba Kamma, 17b. C. G.

4 ד

הָיָה לְפָנָיו עֲשִׂיַּת מִצְוָה וְתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה. אִם אֶפְשָׁר לַמִּצְוָה לְהֵעָשׂוֹת עַל יְדֵי אֲחֵרִים לֹא יַפְסִיק תַּלְמוּדוֹ. וְאִם לָאו יַעֲשֶׂה הַמִּצְוָה וְיַחֲזֹר לְתַלְמוּדוֹ:

One confronted with both the performance of a commandment and the study of the Torah, if the commandment can be performed by proxy he should not interrupt his study; if not, he should perform the commandment and go back to his study.6Kiddushin, 40a. G.

5 ה

תְּחִלַּת דִּינוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם אֵינוֹ נִדּוֹן אֶלָּא עַל הַתַּלְמוּד וְאַחַר כָּךְ עַל שְׁאָר מַעֲשָׂיו. לְפִיכָךְ אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים לְעוֹלָם יַעֲסֹק אָדָם בַּתּוֹרָה בֵּין לִשְׁמָהּ בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא לִשְׁמָהּ שֶׁמִּתּוֹךְ שֶׁלֹּא לִשְׁמָהּ בָּא לִשְׁמָהּ:

The judgment of man in the world to come commences with no other than the question of the study of the Torah, whereafter concerning the rest of his deeds.7Ibid.; Sanhedrin, 7b. C. Therefore the wise men said: "Let man ever pursue the study of the Torah, whether for its own divine purpose, or not for its own divine purpose, because studying it for non-divine purpose he will attain its own divine purpose." (Pesahim, 50b; Sotah, 22a; Nazir, 23b).

6 ו

מִי שֶׁנְּשָׂאוֹ לִבּוֹ לְקַיֵּם מִצְוָה זוֹ כָּרָאוּי וְלִהְיוֹת מֻכְתָּר בְּכֶתֶר תּוֹרָה. לֹא יַסִּיחַ דַּעְתּוֹ לִדְבָרִים אֲחֵרִים. וְלֹא יָשִׂים עַל לִבּוֹ שֶׁיִּקְנֶה תּוֹרָה עִם הָעשֶׁר וְהַכָּבוֹד כְּאַחַת. (משנה אבות ו ד) "כָּךְ הִיא דַּרְכָּהּ שֶׁל תּוֹרָה. פַּת בַּמֶּלַח תֹּאכַל וּמַיִם בַּמְּשׂוּרָה תִּשְׁתֶּה וְעַל הָאָרֶץ תִּישַׁן וְחַיֵּי צַעַר תִּחְיֶה וּבַתּוֹרָה אַתָּה עָמֵל". וְלֹא עָלֶיךָ הַדָּבָר לִגְמֹר וְלֹא אַתָּה בֶּן חוֹרִין לִבָּטֵל מִמֶּנָּה. וְאִם הִרְבֵּיתָ תּוֹרָה הִרְבֵּיתָ שָׂכָר. וְהַשָּׂכָר לְפִי הַצַּעַר:

Whosoever is ambitious to establish this commandment properly and to become adorned with the crown of the Torah must not divert his thoughts to other matters, nor set his heart to acquire the knowledge of the Torah and wealth and honor simultaneously. The way leading to the knowledge of the Torah is such: "a morsel of bread with salt thou shalt eat, and water by measure thou shalt drink, upon the ground thou shalt sleep, and a burdensome life thou shalt live while thou toilest in the Torah." (Pirke Abot, 6.4; 21). Nevertheless, it is not obligatory upon thee to complete it, nor art thou free to exclude thyself from its study, for if thou hast increased thy study of the Torah thou also hast increased thy reward, as the reward is equal to the pain.

7 ז

שֶׁמָּא תֹּאמַר עַד שֶׁאֲקַבֵּץ מָמוֹן אֶחֱזֹר וְאֶקְרָא. עַד שֶׁאֶקְנֶה מַה שֶּׁאֲנִי צָרִיךְ וְאֶפָּנֶה מֵעֲסָקַי וְאֶחֱזֹר וְאֶקְרָא. אִם תַּעֲלֶה מַחֲשָׁבָה זוֹ עַל לִבְּךָ אֵין אַתָּה זוֹכֶה לְכִתְרָהּ שֶׁל תּוֹרָה לְעוֹלָם. אֶלָּא עֲשֵׂה תּוֹרָתְךָ קֶבַע וּמְלַאכְתְּךָ עַרְאַי (משנה אבות ב ד) "וְלֹא תֹּאמַר לִכְשֶׁאֶפָּנֶה אֶשְׁנֶה שֶׁמָּא לֹא תִּפָּנֶה":

Peradventure, one will say, I will interrupt my study of the Torah until I will accumulate wealth when I will again return to it, or until I will acquire sufficient substance to supply all my needs when I will retire and return back to it; if such a thought will penetrate thy heart you will never acquire the crown of the Torah. But make thy study of the Torah paramount and thy secular work incidental, and do not say, when I will be unoccupied then I will study, lest you will never be unoccupied.8Pir. Ab. 1.15; 2.5. G.

8 ח

כָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה (גמרא עירובין נה א) "לֹא בַשָּׁמַיִם הִיא וְלֹא מֵעֵבֶר לַיָּם הִיא". לֹא בַשָּׁמַיִם הִיא לֹא בְּגַסֵּי הָרוּחַ הִיא מְצוּיָה וְלֹא בִּמְהַלְּכֵי מֵעֵבֶר לַיָּם הִיא. לְפִיכָךְ אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים (משנה אבות ב ה) "לֹא כָּל הַמַּרְבֶּה בִּסְחוֹרָה מַחְכִּים". וְצִוּוּ חֲכָמִים הֱוֵי מְמַעֵט בְּעֵסֶק וַעֲסֹק בַּתּוֹרָה:

Holy Writ says: "It is not in heaven … neither is it beyond the sea" (Deut. 30.12–13) it is not in heaven, that is to say, the Torah is not found among the arrogant nor is it found among the travelers beyond the sea." (Erubin, 55a). The sages, therefore said: "Not he who engages himself over-much in commerce is wise." (Pirke Abot, 2.6). The sages, moreover, commanded: "Engage thyself but little in worldly pursuits and pursue the study of the Torah" (Pirke Abot, 4.12).

9 ט

דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה נִמְשְׁלוּ כַּמַּיִם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה נה א) "הוֹי כָּל צָמֵא לְכוּ לַמַּיִם". לוֹמַר לְךָ מַה מַּיִם אֵינָם מִתְכַּנְּסִין בִּמְקוֹם מִדְרוֹן אֶלָּא נִזְחָלִין מֵעָלָיו וּמִתְקַבְּצִים בִּמְקוֹם אַשְׁבּוֹרֶן כָּךְ דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה אֵינָם נִמְצָאִים בְּגַסֵּי הָרוּחַ וְלֹא בְּלֵב כָּל גְּבַהּ לֵב אֶלָּא בְּדַכָּא וּשְׁפַל רוּחַ שֶׁמִּתְאַבֵּק בַּעֲפַר רַגְלֵי הַחֲכָמִים וּמֵסִיר הַתַּאֲווֹת וְתַעֲנוּגֵי הַזְּמַן מִלִּבּוֹ וְעוֹשֶׂה מְלָאכָה בְּכָל יוֹם מְעַט כְּדֵי חַיָּיו אִם לֹא הָיָה לוֹ מַה יֹּאכַל וּשְׁאָר יוֹמוֹ וְלֵילוֹ עוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה:

The words of the Torah are likened unto water, even as it is said: "Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye for water" (Is. 55.1), which is to teach you, even as waters do not gather in steep places, but flow by gravity and gather in a well, so are the words of the Torah, they are not found among the high spirited nor in the heart of all haughty but in the humble and meek spirited who embraces the dust of the feet of the wise and removes the passions and the pleasures of the age from his heart and does a little work daily for his living, if he happens to be unprovided with food, and the rest of his days and his nights he pursues the study of the Torah.9Ta’anit, 7a; Erubin, 55a. C. G.

10 י

כָּל הַמֵּשִׂים עַל לִבּוֹ שֶׁיַּעֲסֹק בַּתּוֹרָה וְלֹא יַעֲשֶׂה מְלָאכָה וְיִתְפַּרְנֵס מִן הַצְּדָקָה הֲרֵי זֶה חִלֵּל אֶת הַשֵּׁם וּבִזָּה אֶת הַתּוֹרָה וְכִבָּה מֵאוֹר הַדָּת וְגָרַם רָעָה לְעַצְמוֹ וְנָטַל חַיָּיו מִן הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. לְפִי שֶׁאָסוּר לֵהָנוֹת מִדִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה. אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים (משנה אבות ד ה) "כָּל הַנֶּהֱנֶה מִדִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה נָטַל חַיָּיו מִן הָעוֹלָם". וְעוֹד צִוּוּ וְאָמְרוּ (משנה אבות ד ה) "אַל תַּעֲשֵׂם עֲטָרָה לְהִתְגַּדֵּל בָּהֶן וְלֹא קַרְדֹּם לַחְפֹּר בָּהֶן". וְעוֹד צִוּוּ וְאָמְרוּ (משנה אבות א י) "אֱהֹב אֶת הַמְּלָאכָה וּשְׂנָא אֶת הָרַבָּנוּת", (משנה אבות ב ב) "וְכָל תּוֹרָה שֶׁאֵין עִמָּהּ מְלָאכָה סוֹפָהּ בְּטֵלָה וְגוֹרֶרֶת עָוֹן". וְסוֹף אָדָם זֶה שֶׁיְּהֵא מְלַסְטֵם אֶת הַבְּרִיּוֹת:

Nevertheless, whosoever sets his heart to pursue the study of the Torah but do no secular work at all, and permits himself to be supported by charity, behold him, he blasphemed the Name, and degraded the Torah, and shadowed the light of religion, and caused evil to be brought upon himself, and deprived his own life from its share in the world to come; because it is forbidden to enjoy aught in this world in return of the study of the words of the Torah. The sages said: "Whosoever enjoys aught in return of the study of the words of the Torah takes his own life away from the world" (Pirke Abot, 4.7). They have, moreover, commanded and said: "Thou shalt not make them a garland by which to be considered great nor a spade to dig with them" (Ibid.). Again they have commanded and said: "Love manual labor and hate rank". (Pirke Abot, 1.10); whosoever studies the Torah and does not acquire at the same time a manual trade his knowledge of the Torah will be nullified and bring about sin" (Ibid. 2.2.). The end of this will be that he will rob people for his living.10The text is clear enough to absolve Maimonides from forbidding scholars to accept renumeration. It can not be construed to include priests, teachers, Rabbis and other scholars who render services to the public. He only includes such scholars as are doing nothing in return for gifts received by them. This would be enjoying fruit of the Torah in this world. Cairo strenously objects to this law, and supports his objections by authority from Yoma, 35a; Berakot, 17a; Ta’anit 25a; Ketubot, 105a; Gittin 67b; Baba Mezi’a, 84b; Sotah, 21a; Hullin, 134a; Nedarim, 62a. G.

11 יא

מַעֲלָה גְּדוֹלָה הִיא לְמִי שֶׁהוּא מִתְפַּרְנֵס מִמַּעֲשֵׂה יָדָיו. וּמִדַּת חֲסִידִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים הִיא. וּבָזֶה זוֹכֶה לְכָל כָּבוֹד וְטוֹבָה שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְלָעוֹלָם הַבָּא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהילים קכח ב) "יְגִיעַ כַּפֶּיךָ כִּי תֹאכֵל אַשְׁרֶיךָ וְטוֹב לָךְ" (משנה אבות ו ד) "אַשְׁרֶיךָ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְטוֹב לָךְ לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא" שֶׁכֻּלּוֹ טוֹב:

He who supports himself by the labor of his own hands attains a high degree. It is an ethical conduct of the pious man of yore. Therewith one acquires all honor and good that is in this world and in the world to come, even as it is said: "When thou eatest the labor of thy hands happy shalt thou be and the good shall be with thee" (Ps. 1.28); happy shalt thou be in this world, and the good shall be with thee in the world to come, which is entirely good.11Gittin, 67a; Berakot, 8a. G.

12 יב

אֵין דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה מִתְקַיְּמִין בְּמִי שֶׁמַּרְפֶּה עַצְמוֹ עֲלֵיהֶן. וְלֹא בְּאֵלּוּ שֶׁלּוֹמְדִין מִתּוֹךְ עִדּוּן וּמִתּוֹךְ אֲכִילָה וּשְׁתִיָּה. אֶלָּא בְּמִי שֶׁמֵּמִית עַצְמוֹ עֲלֵיהֶן וּמְצַעֵר גּוּפוֹ תָּמִיד וְלֹא יִתֵּן שֵׁנָה לְעֵינָיו וּלְעַפְעַפָּיו תְּנוּמָה. אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים דֶּרֶךְ רֶמֶז (במדבר יט יד) "זֹאת הַתּוֹרָה אָדָם כִּי יָמוּת בְּאֹהֶל" אֵין הַתּוֹרָה מִתְקַיֶּמֶת אֶלָּא בְּמִי שֶׁמֵּמִית עַצְמוֹ בְּאָהֳלֵי הַחֲכָמִים. וְכֵן אָמַר שְׁלֹמֹה בְּחָכְמָתוֹ (משלי כד י) "הִתְרַפִּיתָ בְּיוֹם צָרָה צַר כֹּחֶכָה". וְעוֹד אָמַר (קהלת ב ט) "אַף חָכְמָתִי עָמְדָה לִּי" חָכְמָה שֶׁלָּמַדְתִּי בְּאַף הִיא עָמְדָה לִי. אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים בְּרִית כְּרוּתָה שֶׁכָּל הַיָּגֵעַ בְּתוֹרָתוֹ בְּבֵית הַמִּדְרָשׁ לֹא בִּמְהֵרָה הוּא מְשַׁכֵּחַ. וְכָל הַיָּגֵעַ בְּתַלְמוּדוֹ בְּצִנְעָה מַחְכִּים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי יא ב) "וְאֶת צְנוּעִים חָכְמָה". וְכָל הַמַּשְׁמִיעַ קוֹלוֹ בִּשְׁעַת תַּלְמוּדוֹ תַּלְמוּדוֹ מִתְקַיֵּם בְּיָדוֹ. אֲבָל הַקּוֹרֵא בְּלַחַשׁ בִּמְהֵרָה הוּא שׁוֹכֵחַ:

The words of the Torah do not remain permanently with one who is indolent in acquiring them, nor with such who study the Torah in an environment of luxury and amidst eating and drinking, but with one who sacrifices his life for them and constantly suffers his body and does not yield sleep to his eyes nor dozing to his eyelids. Said the wise men symbolically: "This is the Law, when a man dieth in a tent" (Num. 19.14); the Torah does not remain with any save with him who sacrifices his life in the tents of the wise. And so did Solomon in his wisdom say: "If thou fall in the day of adversity thy strength is small indeed" (Prov. 24.10); and he, moreover, said: "Also my wisdom stood me in stead12The word Aph in the Hebrew text is usually translated to mean “also”, also means wrath or trouble. G. (Ecc. 2.9); only the wisdom which I studied in trouble stood me in stead" (Shabbat, 83a). The sages said: "There is an established covenant that he who endures hardship in studying the Torah in the Beth Hamedrash will not easily forget it; but he who endures the hardship of his studies privately by himself becomes wise, even as it is said: "But with the lowly is wisdom" (Prov. 11.2). He who during his study reads the words audibly, his study remains with him; but he who whispers out his words speedily forgets them.13Ketubot, 111b; Berakot, 65a; Menahot, 54a; Yer. Berakot, 41. C. G.

13 יג

אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמִּצְוָה לִלְמֹד בַּיּוֹם וּבַלַּיְלָה אֵין אָדָם לָמֵד רֹב חָכְמָתוֹ אֶלָּא בַּלַּיְלָה. לְפִיכָךְ מִי שֶׁרָצָה לִזְכּוֹת בְּכֶתֶר הַתּוֹרָה יִזָּהֵר בְּכָל לֵילוֹתָיו וְלֹא יְאַבֵּד אֲפִלּוּ אֶחָד מֵהֶן בְּשֵׁנָה וַאֲכִילָה וּשְׁתִיָּה וְשִׂיחָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן אֶלָּא בְּתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה וְדִבְרֵי חָכְמָה. אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים אֵין רִנָּה שֶׁל תּוֹרָה אֶלָּא בַּלַּיְלָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (איכה ב יט) "קוּמִי רֹנִּי בַלַּיְלָה". וְכָל הָעוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה בַּלַּיְלָה חוּט שֶׁל חֶסֶד נִמְשָׁךְ עָלָיו בַּיּוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהילים מב ט) "יוֹמָם יְצַוֶּה ה' חַסְדּוֹ וּבַלַּיְלָה שִׁירֹה עִמִּי תְּפִלָּה לְאֵל חַיָּי". וְכָל בַּיִת שֶׁאֵין נִשְׁמָעִים בּוֹ דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה בַּלַּיְלָה אֵשׁ אוֹכַלְתּוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (איוב כ כו) "כָּל חשֶׁךְ טָמוּן לִצְפּוּנָיו תְּאָכְלֵהוּ אֵשׁ לֹא נֻפָּח". כִּי דְבַר ה' בָּזָה זֶה שֶׁלֹּא הִשְׁגִּיחַ עַל דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה כָּל עִקָּר. וְכֵן כָּל שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר לוֹ לַעֲסֹק בַּתּוֹרָה וְאֵינוֹ עוֹסֵק אוֹ שֶׁקָּרָא וְשָׁנָה וּפֵרַשׁ לְהַבְלֵי עוֹלָם וְהֵנִיחַ תַּלְמוּדוֹ וּזְנָחוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה בִּכְלַל בּוֹזֶה דְּבַר ה'. אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים כָּל הַמְבַטֵּל אֶת הַתּוֹרָה מֵעשֶׁר סוֹפוֹ לְבַטְּלָהּ מֵעֹנִי וְכָל הַמְקַיֵּם אֶת הַתּוֹרָה מֵעֹנִי סוֹפוֹ לְקַיְּמָהּ מֵעשֶׁר. וְעִנְיָן זֶה מְפֹרָשׁ הוּא בַּתּוֹרָה, הֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר (דברים כח מז) "תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר לֹא עָבַדְתָּ אֶת ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּשִׂמְחָה וּבְטוּב לֵבָב מֵרֹב כּל" (דברים כח מח) "וְעָבַדְתָּ אֶת אֹיְבֶיךָ". וְאוֹמֵר (דברים ח ב) "לְמַעַן עַנֹּתְךָ" (דברים ח טז) "לְהֵיטִבְךָ בְּאַחֲרִיתֶךָ":

Although it is mandatory to study by day and by night, no man acquires most of his wisdom at any but during night-time. Therefore, whosoever desires to attain the crown of the Torah should take care of all of his nights, not to spend even one of them in sleeping, eating, drinking, conversation, or in like matters, but in study of the Torah and in matters of wisdom. The sages said: "The voice of the Torah cannot be heard save at night, as it is said 'Arise and speak loud in the night'" (Midrash Raba, Song of Songs, 5.11; Erubin, 65a; Lam. 2.19. Whosoever pursues the study of the Torah by night has a thread of God's lovingkindness drawn upon himself by day, as it is said: "By day the Lord will command His lovingkindness and in the night His song shall be with a prayer unto the God of my life" (Abodah Zarah, 3b; Ps. 42.9). Any house wherein the words of the Torah are not heard by night, fire consumes it, even as it is said: "All darkness is laid up for his treasures, a fire not blown by man shall consume him" (Sanhedrin, 92; Job. 20. 26). "Because he had despised the word of the Lord, is one who hath not at all observed the words of the Torah" (Num. 15. 31; Sanhedrin, 99a). Likewise, he who has the means to pursue the Torah and does not pursue it, or he who studied and became proficient in the Torah but separated himself from it for the sake of the vanities of the world and abandoned his studies and deserted them is included among those who "had despised the word of the Lord." The sages said: "he who abandons the Torah because of wealth will end up by abandoning it because of poverty, but whosoever continues to study the Torah in poverty will in the end continue its study in wealth" (Pirke Abot, 4.11.). This subject is, moreover, defined in the Torah, for, it says: "Because thou didst not serve the Lord thy God with joyfulness and with greatness of heart by reason of the abundance of all things: therefore shalt thou serve thine enemy" (Deut. 28.47–48); and it is furthermore said: "That He might afflict thee to do thee good at thy latter end" (Deut. 8.16).14Hagigah, 9. C.