sahaduta deyudah nesiya
ha-tsava’at y’hudah ha-nasi
(THE TESTAMENT OF NASI YEHUDAH)
1. 1My brothers and sisters, you know of all the things which are now afflicting our land, and of the madness of the Son of Falsehood; 2his message of messianism will bring the ultimate retribution from Rome upon our people, and we will be driven out of our land, to mourn and weep in exile for generations to come. 3Heavy are the troubles which weigh on our shoulders, and with this burden I went to my prayers last night, 4and I was granted a heavenly vision, in which it was revealed to me that I am to die at the hands of those who follow the Son of Falsehood, and go the way of my ancestors.
5So I have called you together, to hear the words of my testimony, which shall be a memorial of my life, and a testament to the holiness of YHVH our God, our Father, the highest and only Lord.
6Therefore I tell you, that there fell upon me a deep sleep. I passed quickly as if through a dark tunnel towards a light, 7and on the other side I beheld a high mountain, and I was upon it. I entered into the first heaven, the outer darkness, where human souls are purified of their sins. 8An angel of YHVH showed me everything I had done in my life, passing speedily before me. For my errors I felt shame and repented, and for the good I had done I felt boundless joy and was rewarded with a sense of peace and elation. 9And behold, the heavens were opened, and another angel of God said to me, ‘Yudah, enter’.
10This angel ascended higher, taking me with it, into a second heaven far brighter and more brilliant, whose light and glow were endless. 11And I said to the angel, ‘Why is heaven like this?’ I entered a dominion of light, and I looked up and I saw four domains around the throne of God. One for the battalions of heaven (some of whom are born to earth, and some are born to other abodes); another for the archangels, another for the kheruvim, and another for the seraphim. 12And amidst them all I saw the holy Temple, and in the holy of holies a throne, from which emanated a wondrous light.
13And the angel said to me, ‘Do not marvel at this, for you shall see another heaven brighter than this, and without comparison; for when you have ascended to that place, you will be standing before YHVH of the Heavenly Battalions Himself.’
14But still I insisted, for I did not understand what my eyes beheld, so another angel of YHVH said to me, ‘Listen to me carefully, and I will explain to you concerning the heavens which have been shown to you. 15The lowest heaven contains the spirits of all the unrighteous deeds and of all the iniquities of humankind. For that reason it appears dimmer and gloomier to you, for the tunnel to it is a cold place of dark emptiness. 16When a soul leaves the mortal world, their souls are called there for purification from all their sins. Nothing unclean is able to approach the holiness of God’s glory. Those who have not made peace with their earthly lives, or conquered their anger or guilt, will find this crossing a time of trepidation.
17‘From there they go to the light of God’s glory and enter the second heaven. When a soul first enters, to some it will appear as an earthly garden, a paradise of unsurpassable beauty; to others it will have the semblance of a great city of light, each according to their own perception. But in time these things will fade and fall away. 18The soul that has been cleansed will rise with the battalions of angels, to dwell eternally in the holy light of YHVH’s presence forever. 19Here they return to their previous heavenly estate, and are granted all knowledge, the answers to all the mysteries and questions of life – all wisdom from the beginning to the end of all time. The beginning and the end are as one, for the passing of time has no meaning here.
20‘And the highest heaven of all is holy beyond all measure, for in it dwells the Great Glory, in the holy of holies, far above all holiness and light. 21In it are the greatest of the archangels, the four angels of the presence of YHVH, who minister and make propitiation to YHVH for all the sins of ignorance of the righteous; there they offer to YHVH a sweet-smelling savour, a reasonable and bloodless offering. 22Here dwell also the angels who bear our prayers to the Presence of YHVH. Here is the place in which hymns are eternally offered to God. 23Therefore, whenever YHVH looks upon us, all of us would be shaken; truly, the heavens, and the earth, and the abysses, are shaken at the presence of YHVH’s majesty; but human beings, not being aware of these things, go astray, and cause the Most High to weep, piercing his Presence with great sorrow.’
24In an instant, the Temple dissolved and became a great realm of light; the holy of holies dissolved, as well as the throne, and they became one light, incomparable to any light beheld by mortals. The angels became shining columns of light, and the Battalions became spirals of light.
25Amazed and in trembling awe at what I was seeing, yet not blinded by it all, I said to this angel, ‘I pray you, my lord, tell me your name, that I may know and report who it is who is showing me these things.’
26And it said, ‘I am the angel who intercedes for the nation of Israel, that He might not smite them utterly, because in these days every evil spirit gathers to attack her, that it might be otherwise, and thereby the reputation of YHVH be defamed. 27Many more among the nations hover like vultures, ready to devour what remains of her corpse. And I warn you now, that you will be counted among the slain, for Falsehood stands at your door, waiting to take your life. 28Go therefore, and give to the faithful a witness; teach them how to survive the trials to come, by being holy for YHVH. Instruct them how to turn their lives into a living testament for the sake of YHVH’s great Name’.
29And after these things I was awakened, and blest the Most High, and the angel that intercedes for the nation of Israel.
2. 1And therefore, my brothers and sisters, I give to you my witness and testimony before YHVH our God and Father. First, let me tell you of all the paths of unrighteousness, those ways that lay ahead of the unwary, ready to entrap them. These things you shall eschew, so that YHVH’s Name is not defamed. 2Let me tell you therefore of these treacherous paths, that you might avoid their dangers, and thus prepare yourselves to dwell in the presence of YHVH our God.
3Beware of deceit and envy, for envy has the potential to rule over ones whole mind, throwing it into a frenzy, so that the body is unable to eat or drink, or do any good thing. It even tempts us to destroy the very thing we envy; and so long as that envy flourishes, our spirit fades and withers. 4Envy makes the soul wild and destroys the body; it stirs up anger and war in the mind, and even spurs its victims to perform bloody deeds; it casts the mind into disarray, and does not allow prudence to act within us. 5Envy keeps us from our rightful sleep, and causes turmoil in the soul and trembling in the body. For even in sleep some malicious resentment, deluding us, gnaws at our very being, and with wicked intent disturbs the soul, and causes the body to be troubled, and wakes the mind, confused, from sleep.
6So let me tell you now, to prepare yourselves for the coming day of tribulation, make yourselves ready, and remove yourselves from envy. This comes through reverent awe of YHVH of the Heavenly Battalions. 7For if we flee to YHVH, the evil of envy will run away from us. Unable to pursue us, our minds will be unburdened. 8My brothers and sisters, love one another therefore with a good heart, knowing and realising the gifts which God our Father has given to each one; thus will envy withdraw from you, and will no longer have command over you. 9Thereafter you will find yourself in sympathy with those you once envied; you will find peace with them and love them, and your envy will be no more. 10In this way, your soul will be prepared all the more for the gifts which our Father in heaven has prepared especially for you.
11Beware therefore, my brothers and sisters, of envy, and conduct yourselves with an open, truthful and sincere heart that is without hypocrisy or guile.
3. 1My brothers and sisters, if someone prospers more than you, do not be annoyed, but pray for them, that they might have perfect prosperity. 2For greater treasure will you store up for yourselves in heaven by wishing prosperity on others, than by wishing them poverty. 3And if such people are further exalted, do not be jealous of them – remember that all flesh dies and their wealth is no longer of any use to them. Death makes the richest noble equal to the commonest beggar, who never had anything but copper to fill his begging bowl. 4Therefore offer praise and blessing to God our Provider, who gives good and profitable things to all of His sons and daughters while they work his will on earth; trust in the judgments of YHVH, and your mind will have rest and be at peace.
5And although a person might become rich by evil means, do not be jealous of them, nor fret over their success; for at the end of that person’s life, YHVH will weigh them in the balance, and He will not include their gold or silver, nor the weight of their earth-found reputations.
6The poor, if they are free from jealousy, shall always please YHVH in all things; YHVH will bless them beyond all others, for they do not enter into the same trials as those who are vain.
7Prepare yourselves therefore, for the coming days, and put away all jealousy from your souls, and love one another with righteousness of heart.
4. 1Now I tell you my brothers and sisters, beware of hatred, for it threatens to stir up rebelliousness against the Torah of YHVH itself. It will not let us hear words of reason, which are the words of His commandments concerning the loving of one’s neighbour, and it causes us to rebel against God. 2If one of us falls and stumbles along the path of righteousness, hatred takes immediate delight in proclaiming it to all and sundry, and urges that the unfortunate should be judged for their mistake – that they should be punished and put to death. 3And if hatred dwells in the heart of a servant, it causes them to rise against their master, and conspire against him with every woe.
4Hatred also works alongside envy against those who prosper; so long as it hears of or sees their success, it remains listless. It invents every kind of fantasy against them, all the more to justify the workings of hatred.
5Just as love would bring even the Dead back to the way of life, and would save those who are condemned to die, so hatred has the power to turn the living to the way of death, and would not permit those who had committed grievous sins to live. 6For hatred works in evil ways towards our deaths, using the hastiness of the human spirit as a weapon against us; but love works alongside the Torah of YHVH, suffering many trials and hardships towards our daily salvation.
7Hatred therefore is evil, for it constantly sides with lies, speaking against the truth; and it makes small troubles seem bigger than they really are, causes light to appear as darkness, calls the sweet bitter, teaches slander, kindles anger, stirs up war, violence and covetousness; and it fills the heart with evils and devilish poison.
8Envy breeds jealousy, and jealousy breeds hatred. And though a person may previously have walked the way of life, they suddenly abandon all that is good, in order to wipe away that of which they would rather not be reminded – 9that there are things which God in His infinite wisdom has set in this world, things which were not given for us all to be or to attain; that there are things we do not understand, which we should neither hate nor fear, but which exist rather for the greater glory of God, for the manifestation of His infinite splendour. For oftentimes YHVH does great yet mysterious things simply to remind us of His power.
10These things I say to you from experience, my brothers and sisters, so that you might cast out all hatred from your souls, which is from beginning to end wholly evil, adhering steadfastly to the love of God. Righteousness casts out hatred; humility of spirit destroys jealousy and envy, realising that we are what we are solely because of YHVH.
11For those who are just and humble are ashamed to do what is unjust, being kindly admonished, not by another son of man, but rather by the conscience of their own heart, because it is the power of YHVH which guides their soul. 12They do not speak against holy men and women, because their reverent awe of God overcomes all hatred. For fearing that they might bring sorrow to YHVH their beloved, whom they adore, treasure and worship above all things, they will not do wrong to anyone, even in thought; 13for true repentance destroys ignorance, drives away the darkness, brings light to the eyes, gives knowledge to the soul, and leads the mind to daily salvation.
14Therefore my brothers and sisters, I exhort you, love one another, and put away hatred from your hearts; love one another in deed, and in word, and in the inclination of your soul – love one another from the depths of your heart.
15And if someone sins against you, cast out the poison of hatred and speak peaceably to them, and in your soul hold no thought of revenge; furthermore, if they repent and confess their sorrow for what they have done, you must forgive them.
16Therefore, if we are to survive the coming days, in order for the next dominion of this world to be richer, holier and more perfect than the former which is to be swept away, then there can be no place for hatred in our hearts, only trust in YHVH, humility and forgiveness. 17If there is none of this, then our next estate in this world will be more miserable and wretched than the one which is to be swept away.
5. 1And now I tell you, my brothers and sisters, that unless you keep yourselves from lies and anger, and adhere to the truth and its sister, patience, you will perish utterly in the trials to come. 2For anger is blindness, and does not allow one to see another person’s true face. Even though that person may be their father or mother, they behave towards them as enemies; even though they may be a brother or a sister, they do not know them; even though that person may be a man or woman of God, a prophet or prophetess of YHVH Most High, they disobey them; even though that person may be righteous of spirit, they have no regard for them; even though that person may be a true and close friend, they do not acknowledge them. 3For anger encompasses them roundabout with the net of deceit, and blinds their eyes to the truth, and darkens their heart and mind, and delivers to them its own false and peculiar visions. 4And what does anger use to cover that person’s eyes? It uses a hateful heart, in order to make them envious of their brothers and sisters.
5Anger is an evil thing when coupled with hatred, because it corrupts even the soul itself. And anger makes the body of an angry person its own, causing it to tremble to its very foundations; it gains mastery over their soul, and it bestows upon the body the unbridled potential to do all kinds of terrible things. And when the body does all these things, the soul justifies what it has done, since it can no longer see clearly.
6Moreover, if the body full of anger is the body of a man of strength, then how the consequences of his anger are multiplied indeed! And if that man has servants, wealth and power, his anger has infinite reach and the capacity to do his harm; his servants and wealth protect him from human retribution.
7But if the angry person is weak, their weakness compounds their anger and makes it all the more desperate; for anger always helps weakness to lose hope. This emotion goes hand in hand with cruelty and destruction.
8Understand therefore, the raw and naked power of anger, for it is in vain. Because first of all it provokes by word; then by deeds it strengthens the person who is angry, and disturbs the mind, and so stirs up hatred in their soul. 9Therefore, when anyone speaks against you, do not be moved to anger.
10If you fall into any loss or ruin, do not fret or worry yourselves; for this very emotion makes a person desire that which is perishable, in order that they may be assuaged of their worry. 11And if you suffer a loss, do not be annoyed; for from annoyance arises resentment, and from resentment, anger. Moreover, anger and resentment are a two-fold mischief, for they assist one another in order to corrupt the heart.
12Observe therefore, the commandments of YHVH, and keep his Torah of freedom; depart from anger, and hate resentment, so that YHVH may dwell among you always, and so guide you and preserve you. 13Speak truth each one with their neighbour, so that you will not fall into anger and confusion; but you will be at peace, having the God of peace in your soul, and no war will prevail over you. 14Love YHVH throughout your life, and one another with a true and tender heart.
6. 1And now, my brothers and sisters, I say to you, do not get drunk with wine, for wine is a cause of both war and confusion. Wine turns the mind away from the truth, inspires the passion of unbridled lust, and leads the eye into error. 2If a person drinks wine until they are drunk, it disturbs the mind with lewd thoughts, heats the body, and encourages them into actions of which they are not ashamed in their drunkenness. Such is the inebriated person, my brothers and sisters; for they who are drunk reverence no one and no authority, not even the holy commandments of God our Father.
3Those who are given to drinking wine should observe certain limits; a person may drink so long as they are able to preserve their modesty. 4But if they go beyond this limit, deceit attacks their mind, and it makes the drunkard talk obscenely, and transgress God’s law and not be ashamed – they even revel in their shame, and once sober think honourable the things they did while they were drunk.
5Observe therefore, my brothers and sisters, the right limit in wine and indeed other beverages; for if you drink wine in gladness, be modest and reverent of YHVH our God, who gave the blood of the grape so that we might praise and bless Him for the many gifts He has given us. 6But if in your gladness the love of God’s Torah departs, then shamelessness steals in. 7Better still, if you prefer to live entirely soberly, then do not touch wine or drink at all, lest you sin in the coarse words you speak; do not touch wine at all, lest in fights and slander, and in transgressing the guiding commandments of God, you perish before your time.
7. 1And now my brothers and sisters, I warn you not to love money. Beware of the love of money, and listen to what I have to say. For these things take you away from the Torah of God, and blind the inclination of the soul, and teach arrogance, and do not allow a person to have compassion upon their neighbour. 2Love of money robs the soul of all goodness, engenders greed and ruthlessness, and oppresses the mind with toils and troubles and burdens, and drives away sleep from the eyes, and robs the mind of all decency.
3Then the victim of this love hinders the offerings to God; and they do not remember the blessings and gifts of God; they do not listen to prophets when they speak, and resent all words of godliness spoken to them. 4For they are a slave to two contrary passions and cannot obey God, because their soul has been blinded and divided, and they walk in day as in the night.
5My brothers and sisters, the love of money leads to idolatry; because, when led astray through money, people name as gods those who are not gods, and it causes those who have it to ignore the commandments of YHVH, and thereby fall into a maddening darkness. Obscene wealth hinders the kingdom of God, and is an injustice to the needs of the poor.
8. 1Now, observe the waters of a river, how when they flow together, they sweep along stones, trees, soil, and a myriad other things. But if those same waters are divided into many streams, the earth swallows them up, and they become of no consequence. 2So will you be also if you are divided, so heed well: do not be divided into two heads, for everything which YHVH the Creator made has but one head. 3“But a body has two shoulders, two hands, and two feet,” you say. Yes, but they all remain the members of one body.
9. 1And now, my brothers and sisters, I give you strong warning, as our prophets have done so in the past, that after the days of tribulation have come, the Holy City will be cleared of every one of its children, who will be forbidden to dwell there; a shadow will fall upon the Way, and our house will diminish.
2You will be scattered as captives among the Gentiles, and in the generations to come, some of you will not even know your own lands, tribe or tongue. Your enemies among the Gentiles will take you captive, and you will be treated badly among them. 3Like cattle you will be herded into the halls of those who molest the soul. You will be dealt such terrible infirmities and tribulations from their hands, that some of you will think it prudent to depart from the ways of your ancestors, and to forget them, instead walking the way of a foreign god. 4This foreign, unreliable and powerless god will not care that you have Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as your ancestors; once you have fallen under its cruel spell, its followers will cause the reputation, might, splendour and salvation of YHVH to be forgotten among you.
5But YHVH will not forget you. The Mighty One of Israel our father will remember you, as a mother does not forget the fruit of her own womb. 6YHVH, who built every room and courtyard within our souls, will place there a spark which will grow into a flame, and then into a burning fire, which your descendents will not be able to resist.
7In those days, your descendents will remember the path that YHVH has made. They will return to YHVH with a perfect heart, and walk in all His commandments. And He will have mercy upon them, for our God alone is truly merciful and compassionate.
8Then YHVH will call the lost and forgotten of Israel and Judah from among the Gentiles; he will shake them out like sand, and they will return to the land promised to their ancestors to be given to them forever.
10. 1Before you ask me what it is like for the sorrowful who enter heaven, I will tell you. They who died in grief will dwell in eternal joy; they who were poor for YHVH’s sake, will be made rich in knowledge and eternal wisdom; and they who are put to death for YHVH’s sake will sit, eternally blest, at His right hand. 2The hearts of Israel will run in joyfulness, and all the nations will come to His holy mountain, and glorify YHVH forever.
11. 1When YHVH looks upon the nations in the last days, His glory will shine forth as the sun on the earth, and will remove all darkness from under heaven. They will see the wicked things they have done to the people of His word, and repent of their sin. 2They will ask Jacob, God’s suffering servant, to forgive them; they will turn to Zion and call His people their friends, and there will be peace throughout the earth. They will bless the descendents of Jacob, and in turn they will receive eternal blessing.
3The heavens will give forth praise for His reign, and the Earth will be glad, and the clouds will rejoice; and the knowledge of YHVH will be poured forth upon the Earth, as the waters of the seas; and the angels of the glory of the Presence of YHVH will be glad in Him. 4And the heavens will be opened; the veil will be removed, and the earth be sanctified.
5And he will open the gates of paradise, and will remove the threatening sword against the children of Adam. And He will give the holy ones to eat from the tree of life; holiness will be upon them, and they will live forever.
6YHVH will rejoice in His children, and will be well-pleased in His beloved ones forever. Then will Abraham and Isaac and Jacob give forth praise, and be glad, and all the holy ones will clothe themselves in light forever.
12. 1There will be some among you who will ask me the reason for my passion for YHVH. I will tell you, my brothers and sisters. 2I was beset with hunger, and YHVH Himself nourished me; I was alone, and God comforted me; I was sick, and YHVH visited me; I was in bonds, and He released me; I was slandered, and He pleaded my cause; envied, and He lifted me up.
3For YHVH does not abandon his sons and daughters, neither in their darkness, nor in their bonds, nor in their tribulations, nor in their necessities. 4For God is not put to shame as human beings are, nor, as this son of man was, is He afraid, nor as one that is earth-born is He weak or does He take fright. 5But in all these situations He gives us the strength of His protection, and in various ways He comforts us all.
13. 1And now, my brothers and sisters, I ask of you: love YHVH your God with all your heart, and walk in simplicity according to His Torah. 2And teach your children to read, that they may have understanding all their life, by never passing a day without studying the Torah of YHVH. For everyone knows that those who live the Torah of YHVH will be honoured, and will not be a stranger wherever they go. 3Yes, many friends will they gain, more than their parents’ generation, and many will desire to hear God’s teaching from their mouth.
4Be honest, each one to their neighbour, and keep the Torah of YHVH and his commandments. Give these things as an inheritance, and for an everlasting possession to your children, and your children’s children, for thus did Abraham and Moses before us.
5Do good things, my brothers and sisters, upon the earth where you are scattered, that you may bring fame and good reputation to YHVH your Father. Do this, and you will have treasure waiting for you in heaven. 6And sow good things in your souls, that you may reap them in your lifetime; and whatever takes longer in the ripening, will be harvested by your children, and your children’s children. 7However, if you only sow evil things, you will only succeed in reaping trouble and affliction for yourselves, and whatever takes longer in the ripening from this bitter harvest will be passed on to your children, and your children’s children to harvest in sorrow.
8Sun and moon do not change their order; likewise, do not change the teaching of YHVH either. The nations long ago abandoned the way of the One who created them; they changed His teaching, and in so doing went after and obeyed sticks and stones, trees and rocks, beasts and creatures that crawl upon the earth. 9But do not do this – it must not be thus amongst you; God is not a man, nor a son of man; He is not to be found as a created or begotten thing.
10Instead, you will see all these things; and in the dome of the sky, and in the soil of the earth, in the waters of the seas, and of the waters beneath the earth, in the basin of the sea, and in all plants and created beasts, you will recognise that it was YHVH alone who made all these things.
11Observe therefore, my brothers and sisters, all the Torah of YHVH, not playing the busybody with the business of your neighbour; for there is hope for all those who hold fast to God’s ways. 12Have compassion on the poor and the weak – not only towards human beings, but towards animals too. For we have been given the faculty of reason, and can distinguish between good and evil; 13but the lower animals, in God’s righteous wisdom, were not given this faculty, so whatever they do cannot be titled either good or evil.
14. 1Love YHVH, the God of heaven and earth, and keep His righteous commandments, following the examples of good and holy men and women. They are closer to the first heart that God placed within them, so stay close to them. 2Set your mind towards good; for those who set the mind towards righteousness, see all things in their proper perspective.
3If you also walk in the commandments of YHVH, my brothers and sisters, He will exalt you, and will bless you with good things forever and ever. 4And if anyone seeks to do evil to you, do good to them, and pray for them, and you will be redeemed by YHVH from all evil.
5For the good person does not have a frowning eye; for they show mercy to all, even though others have shown ill-will to them; by doing good they overcome evil, being shielded by God; and they love the righteous and the unrighteous as their own soul. 6If anyone is glorified, they do not envy them; if anyone is enriched, they are not jealous; on the poor they have mercy, on the weak they have compassion; and to God they sing praises.
7Therefore I say to you, if a person keeps themselves from evil things, then even among their enemies they will be counted wise, and a strange country will be counted as a fatherland, and in the midst of foes they will find a friend. 8Whosoever teaches good and noble things and does them, will be enthroned with kings and queens, and their kingdom will have no end.
9If therefore, you have a good mind and a compassionate heart, then selfish people will be enlightened by your example, and the profligate will reverence you and turn to good. 10The covetous will not only cease from their inordinate desire, but even give the objects of their covetousness to those who have not. 11If you act justly and mercifully, evil will flee away from you. For where there is reverence for good works and light in the mind, even darkness flees away from that mind. 12For example, if anyone does violence to a holy person, they will repent of it; for the holy person is merciful to their reviler, and holds their peace.
13The intent of a good person is not towards evil, for the angel of peace guides their soul. And they do not gaze upon corruptible things, nor gather together riches through desire for pleasure. 14They do not delight in vain things, they do not deliberately aggrieve their neighbour, and they do not surround themselves with obscene luxuries, for YHVH is their portion and their blessing. The good person does not receive glory from others, for it is YHVH who lights up their soul.
15The good mind does not have two tongues, that of blessing and cursing, of deceit and honour, of hypocrisy and truth, of causing sorrow and joy, of bringing quiet and confusion; but rather it has one disposition, incorrupt and pure, towards all. It has no double sight, nor double hearing; for in everything which they do, or speak or see, they know that YHVH looks with kindness on their soul.
15. 1And now, my brothers and sisters, make your hearts good before YHVH, the greatest good, and make your ways straight before your fellow human beings, and you will find honour before YHVH and humanity. 2Do not set down in account the evil done to you, bearing grudges and vengeance in your heart against your brothers and sisters. For this breaks unity, and divides all kindred, and troubles the soul.
3Walk with an honest, true and sincere heart in reverent awe of YHVH, and expend your labour on good works, and on study and on your congregations. If you work that which is good, both human beings and angels will bless you. 4And God will be glorified even among the nations through you, just as a person who has trained a child well is kept in kindly remembrance.
16. 1Have also compassion in your hearts, because even as you do to your neighbour, even so will YHVH do to you in the same measure. 2Even to those who misrepresent your words, who slander your reputation as bad when it is good, who cast you out and malign you – have mercy upon them, even as your Father in heaven has mercy on them. Tell them your cause without malice, and justice will be done – it is YHVH’s will.
3For if we have no compassion, we will become a people consumed with vengeance and anger. It will eat us up, and destroy our good name among the nations. 4But compassion brings the support even of those who once opposed us, and will melt even the hearts of the stern, and move the arm of the mighty to our aid. 5Compassion will bring the rich to the cause of the poor, and the strong to the side of the weak. It will move the powerful to help those without a voice, and the great to make known the cause of the least.
17. 1Do not shy away from hard work to be done; offer your labours as a sacred gift, a sweet-smelling savour to YHVH. For YHVH will bless you with the first-fruits of the Land, even as He blessed all the holy ones from the beginning of time. 2For no other portion is given to you than that of the fatness of the Land, whose fruits are raised by hard work.
3Work gives worth to the soul, and satisfaction to the goal of the mind. If work is hard, and you have a just hirer, then take pride in what you do. 4If your work is the lowest of all tasks set, remember this – that without you, all the other tasks higher up would be all the more difficult.
5And consider the Creator, who made all things. With what great power did He embark upon His mighty works, and with what labour did He manifest His glory! And He takes care and pride in all the works of His hands, from the mightiest of mountains, to the smallest crawling thing. 6So therefore, do not belittle the smallness of your work, for in the fullness of things, the work of your hands is no less important than that of the greatest king.
18. 1This is my witness to the holiness of YHVH’s Name, so that His power might be remembered throughout every generation. I have said all these things so that the Kingdom of God may be fed and grow; for each life should add to the sum of all knowledge and sanctity.
2When you come to place me in my tomb, let no one bury me in costly apparel; death comes to us all, therefore let me be buried no differently to the poorest of the poor.
3Deliver my body from the hands of the Falsehood who has slain me, and prepare me for my rest the same day. Pray for my soul, that I may more speedily reach the second heaven.
4From this day until my death, I will pray for you and care for you, that you my brothers and sisters, might be protected from persecution and suffering.
5Peace be with you all. Your brother Yudah, servant of YHVH Most High.
© Shmu’el ben Naftali beit Parzal
(International Talmidi Version,
Original Edition March 1992