The Books that Didn’t Make It, and the “Oral Book” That Did

(ו) אַל תֹּאמַר רַחוּם יהוה, וְכָל עֲוֹנוֹתַי יִמְחֶה.

(ז) אֶל סְלִיחָה אַל תִּבְטָח, לְהוֹסִיף עָוֹן עַל עָוֹן....

(ט) כִּי רַחֲמִים וְאַף עִמּוֹ, וְאֵל רְשָעִים יָנוּחַ רָגְזוֹ.

(6) Do not say: God is merciful and will wipe out all of my sins.

(7) Do not expect forgiveness when you sin on top of of sin...

(9) For mercy and anger are with God, and God's displeasure will rest upon the wicked.

(א) גְּדוֹל אֶחָיו וְתִפְאֶרֶת עַמּוֹ, שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יוֹחָנָן הַכֹּהֵן.
אֲשֶׁר בְּדוֹרוֹ נִפְקַד הַבָּיִת, וּבְיָמָיו חֻזַּק הֵיכָל.


(ה) מַה נֶהְדַּר בְּהַשְׁגִּיחוֹ מֵאֹהֶל, וּבְצֵאתוֹ מִבֵּית הַפָּרֹכֶת.

(ו) כְּכוֹכָב אוֹר מִבֵּין עָבִים, וּכְיָרֵחַ מָלֵא בִּימֵי מוֹעֵד.

(ז) כְּשֶׁמֶשׁ מְשַׁקֶּרֶת אֶל הֵיכַל הַמֶּלֶךְ, וּכְקֶשֶׁת נִרְאֲתָה בֶעָנָן.

(1) Great one of his brethren, and glory of his people, Was Simon, son of Johanan (H), the priest;

In whose generation the house was repaired (?); And in whose days the temple was fortified....

(5) How glorious was he when he looked forth from the tent; And when he went out from the house of the veil!

(6) As the morning star from amid thick clouds; And as the full moon in the days of (?) the solemn feast.

(7) And as the sun dawning upon (?) the temple of the King; And as rainbow seen in the cloud.

1 Maccabees 1:11-15

11 At that time there appeared from among Israel a group of traitors who had no regard for the Law and who had a bad influence on many of our people. They said, “Let's make a covenant with the Gentiles, for refusing to associate with them has brought us nothing but trouble.”… 14 They built in Jerusalem a gymnasium like those of the Gentiles. 15 They had surgery performed to hide their circumcision, they abandoned the holy covenant, started associating with Gentiles, and did all sorts of other evil things.

1 Maccabees 1:41-43

Antiochus now issued a law that all nations in his empire should abandon their own customs and become one people. All the Gentiles and even many of the People followed his law. They adopted the official pagan religion, offered sacrifices to idols, and no longer observed the Shabbat.

2 Maccabees 4:10-17

10 Just as soon as Jason took over the office of High Priest, he made the people of Jerusalem change to the Greek way of life. 11 He began by cancelling the favors that John had secured for the Jews from previous Syrian kings. (John was the father of Eupolemus who later went to Rome to make an alliance and to establish ties of friendship.) Jason also got rid of our Jewish customs and introduced new customs that were contrary to our Torah.
12 With great enthusiasm he built a gymnasium near the Temple mount and led our finest young men to adopt the Greek custom of participating in athletic events and wearing the Greek hat. 13 Because of Jason’s wickedness, who was not really/legally the High Priest, the people were Hellenizing and adopting foreign ways so quickly and so seriously 14 that even the sons of the priests lost interest in the Temple services and the sacrifices. As soon as they could, they would rush off to take part in throwing the discus and wrestling which is forbidden by our Law.
15 They did not care about anything their ancestors had valued; they cared only about Greek honors. 16 And this turned out to be the source of all their troubles, for the very people whose ways they admired and whose customs they tried to imitate became their enemies and oppressed them. 17 It is a serious thing to disregard God's Law, as you will see from the following events.


Eupolemos says that Moses was the first wise man and that he gave the alphabet to the Jews first; then the Phoenicians received it from the Jews, and the Greeks received it from the Phoenicians. Also, Moses was the first to write down laws, and he did so for the Jews.

הוֹי מַשְׁקֵה רֵעֵהוּ מְסַפֵּחַ

חֲמָתְךָ וְאַף שַׁכֵּר לְמַעַן הַבִּט עַל מוֹעֲדֵיהֶם:

- פִּשְׁרוֹ עַל הַכּוֹהֵן הָרָשָׁע אֲשֶׁר

רָדַף אַחַר מוֹרֶה הַצֶּדֶק לְבַלְּעוֹ בְּכַעַס

חֲמָתוֹ אַבֵּית גָּלוּתוֹ וּבְקֵץ מוֹעֵד מְנוּחַת

יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים הוֹפִיעַ אֲלֵיהֶם לְבַלְּעָם

וְלַכְשִׁילָם בְּיוֹם צוֹם שַׁבַּת מְנוּחָתָם

Pesher Habakkuk col 11:2-8

2/…"Woe to one who causes his neighbors to drink; who pours out his anger 3/ to make them drunk, so that he may look at their festival celebrations!" (Hab 2:15)

4/ Interpreted, this concerns the Wicked Priest who

5/ pursued the Teacher of Righteousness with his anger

6/ and fury to the house of his exile that he might confuse him. And at the time appointed

7/ for rest, for the Day of Atonement, he appeared before them to confuse them, and to cause them

8/ to stumble on the Day of Fasting, their Sabbath of repose.

2 Baruch 10:6-19

Blessed is he who was not born, or he who was born and died

But we the living, woe to us, because we have seen those afflictions of Zion and that which has befallen Jerusalem....

You farmers, sow not again, and you, O earth, why do you give the fruit of your harvest Keep within you the sweetness of sustenance

And you, vine, why do you still give your wine? For an offering will not be given again from you in Zion, and the first fruits will not again be offered....

And you, bridegrooms, do not enter and do not let the brides adorn themselves,

And you wives, do not pray to bear children for the barren will rejoice more.

And those who have no children will be glad, and those who have children will be sad.

You, priests, take the keys of the sanctuary and cast them to the highest heaven, and give them to the Lord and say, "Guard Your house Yourself, because, behold, we have been found to be false stewards...."

11. משחרב בית [האחרון] רבו פרושין בישראל שלא [היו אוכלין בשר ולא שותין] יין נטפל להם ר' יהושע אמר להם מפני מה [אין] אתם אוכלים בשר אמרו לו נאכל בשר שבכל יום היה [תמיד קרב לגבי מזבח ועכשיו בטל אמר להם לא נאכל ומפני מה אין אתם שותים יין אמרו לו יין נשתה שבכל יום היה מתנסך ע"ג המזבח ועכשיו בטל אמר להם לא נשתה אמר להם א"כ לחם לא נאכל שממנו היו מביאין שתי הלחם ולחם הפנים מים לא נשתה שמהן היו מנסכין מים בחג תאנים וענבים לא נאכל שמהן מביאין בכורים] בעצרת שתקו

12. אמר להם בני להתאבל יותר מדאי אי אפשר [ושלא להתאבל כלל אי אפשר] אלא כך אמרו חכמים סד אדם את ביתו בסיד ומשייר דבר מועט זכר לירושלים

13. עושה אדם [עסקי סעודה] ומשייר דבר מועט [זכר לירושלים]

14. עושה אשה כל תכשיטיה ומשיירה דבר מועט זכר לירושלים שנאמר (תהילים קל״ז:ה׳-ו׳) אם אשכחך ירושלים תשכח ימיני תדבק לשוני לחכי אם לא אזכרכי

15. וכל המתאבלים עליה בעוה"ז שמחים עמה לעוה"ב שנא' (ישעיהו ס״ו:י׳) שמחו את ירושלים וגילו בה כל אוהביה וגו'.

11. After the Temple was destroyed, ascetics (separatists) increased among Israel, who would not eat meat, nor would they drink wine.

R. Joshua dealt with them, saying, "My children, why do you not eat meat?" They said to him, "Should we eat meat!?Every day the Tamid sacrifice was offered on the altar, and now it is emptiness!"

He said to them, "And why do you not drink wine?"

They said to him, "Should we drink wine from which [the priest] used to pour a liquid offering on the altar, and now it is emptiness!?"

He said to them, "Then we should not eat bread, because of the two loaves and the showbread;

we should not drink water, because it was used for a liquid offering on Sukkot;

we should not eat figs or grapes, for they were brought as the first fruits on Shavuot."

They were silent.

12. He said to them, "Not to mourn at all is impossible, because the harsh decree has already been ordained; but to mourn too much is also impossible. Rather, the sages said that a person should plaster his entire house, but leave a small part [unplastered], as a memorial to Jerusalem.

13. A person should prepare a festive meal, but leave some small part [unprepared], as a memorial to Jerusalem.

14. A woman should prepare all of her adornments, but leave one small part [unadorned], as a memorial for Jerusalem, as it says 'If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning; may my tongue cleave to my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not raise Jerusalem above my greatest joy' (Ps 137:5-6).

15. All who mourn for Jerusalem will merit to see her in her joy, as it says, 'Be happy in Jerusalem and rejoice in it, all who love her, exult in her exultation, all who mourn over her' (Isaiah 66:10)

(ג) הִלֵּל אוֹמֵר, מְלֹא הִין מַיִם שְׁאוּבִין פּוֹסְלִין אֶת הַמִּקְוֶה, אֶלָּא שֶׁאָדָם חַיָּב לוֹמַר בִּלְשׁוֹן רַבּוֹ. וְשַׁמַּאי אוֹמֵר, תִּשְׁעָה קַבִּין. וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים, לֹא כְדִבְרֵי זֶה וְלֹא כְדִבְרֵי זֶה, אֶלָּא עַד שֶׁבָּאוּ שְׁנֵי גַרְדִּיִּים מִשַּׁעַר הָאַשְׁפּוֹת שֶׁבִּירוּשָׁלַיִם וְהֵעִידוּ מִשּׁוּם שְׁמַעְיָה וְאַבְטַלְיוֹן, שְׁלֹשֶׁת לֻגִּין מַיִם שְׁאוּבִין פּוֹסְלִין אֶת הַמִּקְוֶה, וְקִיְּמוּ חֲכָמִים אֶת דִּבְרֵיהֶם:

(ד) וְלָמָּה מַזְכִּירִין אֶת דִּבְרֵי שַׁמַּאי וְהִלֵּל לְבַטָּלָה, לְלַמֵּד לַדּוֹרוֹת הַבָּאִים שֶׁלֹּא יְהֵא אָדָם עוֹמֵד עַל דְּבָרָיו, שֶׁהֲרֵי אֲבוֹת הָעוֹלָם לֹא עָמְדוּ עַל דִּבְרֵיהֶם:

(ה) וְלָמָּה מַזְכִּירִין דִּבְרֵי הַיָּחִיד בֵּין הַמְרֻבִּין, הוֹאִיל וְאֵין הֲלָכָה אֶלָּא כְדִבְרֵי הַמְרֻבִּין. שֶׁאִם יִרְאֶה בֵית דִּין אֶת דִּבְרֵי הַיָּחִיד וְיִסְמֹךְ עָלָיו, שֶׁאֵין בֵּית דִּין יָכוֹל לְבַטֵּל דִּבְרֵי בֵית דִּין חֲבֵרוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה גָדוֹל מִמֶּנּוּ בְחָכְמָה וּבְמִנְיָן. הָיָה גָדוֹל מִמֶּנּוּ בְחָכְמָה אֲבָל לֹא בְמִנְיָן, בְּמִנְיָן אֲבָל לֹא בְחָכְמָה, אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְבַטֵּל דְּבָרָיו, עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה גָדוֹל מִמֶּנּוּ בְחָכְמָה וּבְמִנְיָן:

(ו) אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוּדָה, אִם כֵּן לָמָּה מַזְכִּירִין דִּבְרֵי הַיָּחִיד בֵּין הַמְרֻבִּין לְבַטָּלָה. שֶׁאִם יֹאמַר הָאָדָם כָּךְ אֲנִי מְקֻבָּל, יֵאָמֵר לוֹ, כְּדִבְרֵי אִישׁ פְּלוֹנִי שָׁמָעְתָּ:

(3) Hillel says: “A hin full of drawn water renders the mikweh unfit.” (However, one must speak in the language of his teacher.) And Shammai says: “Nine kavs.” But the Sages say: “Neither according to the opinion of this one nor according to the opinion of this one;” But when two weavers from the dung-gate which is in Jerusalem came and testified in the name of Shemaiah and Avtalion, “Three logs of drawn water render the mikweh unfit,” the Sages confirmed their statement.

(4) And why do they record the opinions of Shammai and Hillel for naught? To teach the following generations that a man should not [always] persist in his opinion, for behold, the fathers of the world did not persist in their opinion.

(5) And why do they record the opinion of a single person among the many, when the halakhah must be according to the opinion of the many? So that if a court prefers the opinion of the single person it may depend on him. For no court may set aside the decision of another court unless it is greater than it in wisdom and in number. If it was greater than it in wisdom but not in number, in number but not in wisdom, it may not set aside its decision, unless it is greater than it in wisdom and in number.

(6) Rabbi Judah said: “If so, why do they record the opinion of a single person among the many to set it aside? So that if a man shall say, ‘Thus have I received the tradition’, it may be said to him, ‘According to the [refuted] opinion of that individual did you hear it.’”