orayta dišliháyya:morayn le’orha ligyorin
torat ha-shlichim: moreh la-dérekh l’gerim
(THE TEACHING OF THE EMISSARIES: A GUIDE TO THE WAY FOR GENTILE CONVERTS)
1. 1There are two ways, one of life and one of death, but there is a great difference between the two ways. 2Indeed, the way of life, then, is this: First, you shall love Adonai, the God who made you; 3and second, you shall love your neighbour as yourself. 4In other words, inasmuch as there are many things you would not wish to happen to you, in the same way, do not do such things to others.
5In order to live these sayings the teaching is this: Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you. 6For what credit is there if you love only those who love you? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 7But rather love those who hate you, and you shall have no enemies.
8If someone strikes you on your right cheek, present to them the other also, and you will be perfect! If someone forces you to go one mile for them, go with them two! If someone takes away your mantle, give them your tunic as well!
9Abstain from worldly and bodily desires. 10If someone takes something of yours from you, do not ask for it back, for indeed you are not able to do so. 11Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for it back; for our heavenly Father wishes to give these things freely of His gifts. 12Happy is the one who gives according to the commandment, for that one is blameless.
13 But those who receive alms, beware; for on the one hand, if one who is in need receives alms, that one is blameless; 14but on the other hand, those who are not in need of alms shall be brought to account – why they took alms and for what purpose. 15And being in custody, they shall be examined thoroughly concerning the things they have done, and they will not be released from there until they pay back the last quadrans. 16But also concerning this precept, it has been said: ‘Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give it’.
2. 1And of the Teaching, the second set of commandments is this: 2You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, and you shall not covet your neighbour’s possessions.
3You shall not engage in unlawful intercourse, you shall not use charms or spells, you shall not make or use magic potions; you shall not have sex with children, you shall not smother a child to death, nor abandon a newborn to die.
4You shall not swear false oaths, you shall not speak evil of others, and you shall not bear grudges.
5You shall not be indecisive, wavering to and fro in your decisions, nor two-faced, for to be two-faced is a snare of death. 6In short, do not let your speech be false, nor empty, but fulfilled by your deeds.
7You shall not be covetous, nor greedy, nor a hypocrite, nor bad-mannered, nor arrogant.
8 You shall not hatch evil plots against your neighbour.
9You shall not hate anyone; but some you shall reprove, and concerning others you shall pray, and some you shall love more than your own life.
3. 1My child, flee from every evil thing, and from everything like it.
2Be not prone to anger, for anger lies on the downward path to murder. Be neither jealous, nor quarrelsome, nor hot-headed, for out of all these things, murders are engendered.
3My child, be not a lustful person, for lust lies on the downward path to unlawful sex. Be neither a speaker of vulgarities, nor have a leering eye, for out of all these things, adulteries are engendered.
4My child, be not an observer of omens, since this lies on the downward path to idolatry. Be neither an enchanter, nor an astrologer, nor a fire-diviner, nor be willing to consult these people, for out of all these practices idolatry is engendered.
5My child, be not a lying fraud, since fraudulence lies on the downward path to theft. Neither be money-loving, nor hanker after self-glory, for out of all these things, thefts are engendered.
6My child, be not a grumbler, since it lies on the downward path to blasphemy. Be neither self-engrossed nor evil-minded, for out of all these blasphemies are engendered.
7Rather, be meek, since the meek shall inherit the Land.
8Become patient and merciful, genuine and tranquil and good, and always trembling in awe at the words which you have heard.
9You shall not exalt yourself, nor fill your soul with self-importance. Your soul shall not be joined with the proud and haughty, but rather you shall associate with the just and the lowly.
10Accept whatever happens to you in good spirit, knowing that nothing comes to pass except it be from God.
4. 1My child, remember night and day those who speak the word of God to you. 2You shall show respect for them as you would have shown respect for the Master. For wherever the Kingdom of God is spoken of, there is Adonai. 3And seek out day by day the presence of the pious, in order that you may dwell upon their words.
4Do not cause conflict, but rather reconcile those who are in dispute. 5You shall judge justly, and shall not take account of someone’s social status when reproving them for their transgressions.
6You shall not be undecided whether or not the Day of Adonai shall be.
7Do not become someone who, on the one hand, is eager to stretch forth your hands to receive, and on the other, is reticent and draws them back from giving. 8If you have anything, through your hands you shall give ransom for your sins. 9Do not hesitate to give, nor complain when you give; for you will realise who it is who will be repaying excellent recompense.
10You shall not turn away someone who is in need; rather, you shall hold in common everything you have with your brother and sister, and do not say that what you have is your own. 11For if you are going to hold in common immortal things in the world to come, how much more so should you hold in common the things of this world!
12Do not withhold firm guidance from your son or your daughter; rather, teach them the reverent awe of God from their youth.
13Do not enjoin anything in your bitterness upon your manservant or maidservant, who hope in the same God as you do, in case they should no longer revere in awe the God who is over both of you; 14for God comes not to call people according to their social status, but rather those whose minds and souls God has prepared. 15And you servants, if your masters are just, be obedient to them, as you would be to the just commands of God.
16You shall hate all shows of religious pretense, and everything which is not pleasing to Adonai. 17Do not in any way forsake the commandments of Adonai; but rather preserve that which you have received, neither adding anything, nor taking anything away.
18When you gather together in assembly, you shall confess your transgressions in your heart to God, for you shall not draw near for your prayer with an bad conscience.
19This is the way of life!
5. 1But the way of death is this: First of all it is evil and full of accursedness: 2it is full of murders, adulteries, lusts, acts of unlawful sex, thefts; acts of idolatry, charms and spells, and magic potions; 3acts of plunder, false witness, hypocrisy, two-facedness, deceit and haughtiness; 4acts of malice, self-indulgence, greed, vulgar speech, jealousy, audacity, arrogance, and boastful pretension.
5The way of death is filled with persecutors of the good, haters of the truth, those who love lies, those who ignore the reward for righteousness, those who do not associate with good, nor with righteous judgment; 6it is filled with those who lie awake and contemplate not good things, but rather evil.
7The way of death is filled with those who are far from being meek and patient, those who love vain and frivolous things, those who pursue revenge, those who do not show any mercy to the poor, those who do not labour for the afflicted, and those who revile Him Who made them.
8The way of death is filled with murderers of children, destroyers of the handiworks of God, those who turn away those in want, and those who afflict the oppressed. 9It is filled with the greedy advocates of the rich, and the lawless judges of the poor – utter sinners!
10May you be saved, my child, from all these things.
6. 1 Beware, in case anyone should cause you to err from this Way of instruction, since what they teach you is not from God. 2For on the one hand, if you are able to bear the entire yoke of Adonai, you will be perfect; but if on the other hand, you are not able to do this, do what you are able to do.
3And concerning food that is fit according to Torah, bear what you are able; but as for that which has been sacrificed to idols, avoid it at all costs; for it is food offered in the service of dead gods.
7. 1And concerning ritual immersion for converts, immerse this way: having spoken all these things beforehand, in the name of Adonai immerse in living water. 2But if you have no living water, immerse in whatever other water is available; 3and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. 4But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head in the name of Adonai.
5When you prepare to enter the Covenant, prior to your immersion at that time, 6let the one overseeing the immersion fast; and also the one being immersed, along with any one else who is able to. 7However, at least order the one being immersed for conversion to fast during the one or two days beforehand.
8. 1But let not your personal fasts coincide with those of the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week. Rather, fast on the fourth day and on the day of Preparation.
2Do not pray like the hypocrites, but rather as the Master commanded in his teaching, like this:
3‘Our Father, who is in heaven, sanctified be your Name! 4May your kingdom be fulfilled. May your will be realised, 5just as it is in heaven, so also upon the earth. 6Our bread, which is from the earth, give us day by day. 7And forgive us our sins, just as we should forgive our debtors. 8And bring us not to trial, but deliver us from evil.’
9Pray this way each morning upon waking, once you have spoken the Great Commandment.
9. 1When you gather together for a meal in fellowship, give thanks in this way:
2First, with regard to the cup of wine, you may bless God in this way: ‘We give you thanks, O heavenly Father, 3for just as the vinedresser tends to the vine, and at harvest produces wine, so also tend and care for us, so that we too may become your bounty at the time of the Great Harvest. To You be glory forever.’
4And concerning the breaking of bread, you may bless God in this way: ‘We give you thanks, O Heavenly Father, 5for just as this broken bread was originally scattered over the hills as grain, and once gathered together, became one, in like fashion may your people be gathered together from the ends of the earth into the fullness of your kingdom. To You be glory forever.’
6And after being filled with the meal, you may give thanks and bless God in this way:
7‘We give you thanks, O Heavenly Father, for Your Holy Name, which you enshrine and tabernacle in our hearts. To You be glory forever.
8‘You, almighty Father, created all things for the sake of Your Name - both food and drink You have given to us for enjoyment, in order that we might give You thanks. 9Before all things we give You thanks, because You are mighty. To You be glory forever.
10 ‘Remember, Adonai, Your people, to save her from every evil, and to perfect her in Your love; to gather her together from the four corners of the earth, and to sanctify her in the holiness of Your kingdom. To You be glory forever. 11Praised be the God of David! Dwell among us, O Adonai! Amein!’
12And if you have any charismatic preachers present, let them give thanks and bless God as much as they wish.
10. 1My child, on the day you finally come to enter into the covenant as one of God’s people, you shall remember that you will be standing there in order to enter into a covenant with Adonai our God, a covenant which Adonai made and sealed with an oath; 2for God will confirm you on that day as one of His people, that He may be your God, likewise as He promised and as He swore to our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 3For thus said Adonai: “I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you who are standing here today in the presence of Adonai your God, but also with those who are not here today.”
4When you enter into the covenant, keep your heart and mind always set on your heavenly Father who made you, so that you remember to observe according to its edicts: 5that you shall keep the Sabbath, and on that day you will rest and desist from any kind of work. 6Even your manservants and maidservants shall rest, as also your oxen and your donkeys.
11. 1My child, before you enter the covenant, destroy all altars to false gods in your homes, and cast out all idols and graven images; 2when you enter the Covenant, you shall turn away from the worship of other gods; 3thereafter you shall not bow down to any false god; you shall not sacrifice to it or worship it; you shall not make any cast metal idols for yourselves, nor set up sacred stones nor worship them.
4My child, do not pray in any name other than in the name of Adonai; the names of other gods shall not be heard on your lips. 5You shall not use the name of Adonai who made you to swear false oaths.
6After you have entered the Covenant, remember that every first offspring that opens the womb belongs to Adonai; buy back the first offspring of all domestic animals that are not kosher, whether male or female; 7redeem the first-born child with silver drachmai to the weight of five shekels of silver; also the first-born son, if the first child is a girl. 8If there are no sons of Aaron among you, then give the money to the itinerant preachers who come along to you; if you have no itinerant preachers, then distribute the money among the poor. 9Do these things, and you will realise the true value of life, for everything belongs to Adonai, and proceeds from Him as a gift.
10You shall have reverence for God’s sanctuary. So when you pray, turn towards His holy city. 11Observe faithfully God’s commandments and laws, and you will be blameless.
12You are to keep the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days you are to eat unleavened bread; also keep the Festival of Weeks with the first-fruits of your wheat harvest; 13and celebrate the Festival of In-gathering when the year turns. 14Three times in the year, you shall rejoice in the festivals of Adonai, and give the God of all the world thanks for the bounty of His gifts. 15Do these things, and you will bear witness among the nations to the holy and mighty deeds of Adonai.
16You shall respect your father and your mother; you shall not commit murder, or adultery; you shall not steal, nor give false testimony against your neighbour; 17you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife; you shall not set your desire on your neighbour’s house or land, his manservants or maidservants, his oxen or donkeys, or anything that belongs to your neighbour. 18Do these things, and you will bear witness among the nations to the righteousness of Adonai.
19These are the terms of the covenant to which you shall cleave; these are the promises that you shall pledge to keep as a follower of the Way of Adonai, on the day you become a child of the Assembly of Israel.
12. 1Whosoever comes and teaches you all these things that have been previously mentioned, receive them. 2But if the teachers, having been influenced in another direction themselves, then teach another doctrine to the detriment of this one, do not listen to them. 3But if they teach in order to increase righteousness and the knowledge of Adonai, receive them as you would have the Master.
4And concerning community envoys, in accordance with the good news of the Kingdom of God, this is how you are to act: Let every community envoy who comes along to you be received as you would have received the Master. 5But he shall not remain more than one day – or two days, if there’s a need. But if he remains three days or more, he is a false messenger. 6And when the community envoy departs, let him take nothing but bread, enough to sustain him until he lodges again. If however he asks for money, he is a false messenger.
13. 1And concerning charismatic preachers, this is how you are to act: every preacher who speaks the word of Adonai, you shall neither put on trial nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but the sin of speaking falsely in God’s name shall not be forgiven. 2For not everyone who claims to speak the word of Adonai is a prophet; but only if they hold to the ways of Adonai. 3Therefore from their ways shall the false prophet and the true prophet be discerned.
4And itinerant preachers who order in God’s Name a table to be set, would not eat from it. If they do otherwise, then they are false prophets. 5And every preacher who teaches the truth, but does not do what they teach, is a false prophet.
6But every preacher, having been put to the test and proved true, might then go on to speak and do mysterious things – which in fact belong to the things of this world. 7However, they should not teach others to behave in the same way that they themselves do; but they shall not be judged unfairly by you, for with God they have their judgment; for the ancient prophets also behaved in a similar way.
8But whoever says in God’s Name, ‘Give me money (or something else similar)’, you shall not listen to them. 9But if they tell you to give for the sake of others who are in need, let no one judge them.
14. 1So receive everyone who comes along in the name of Adonai; and thereafter, having put them to the test, you will know them as genuine, for you will have understanding of right and left.
2If those who come along are passersby, assist them as far as you are able; but they shall not remain with you more than two or three days, if need be. 3But if they want to settle among you, and are craftsmen, let them work for what they eat. 4But if they have no trade, then according to your ability, make contingency plans concerning how a Follower of the Way is to live among you, so as not to be idle. 5But if on the other hand, the settler does not wish to follow this course of action, they are opportunistic God-peddlers. Beware of such people!
6But every true preacher who wants to settle down among you is deserving of their food. 7In the same way, so also are true spiritual mentors, just like the labourer, deserving of their food.
15. 1Now, if you do not have any priests among you, 2then every first-fruit of the products of your wine-press and threshing-floor, of your oxen and of your sheep, you shall take and give to itinerant preachers. 3And if you have no itinerant preachers, give it to the poor. 4If you make a batch of dough, take the first-fruit and give also according to this teaching. 5So also when you open a jar of wine or of oil, take the first-fruit and give it to itinerant preachers, if you have no priests among you; 6and of money and clothing and every possession, take the first-fruit, as it may seem good to you, and give according to this teaching.
16. 1And according to the divinely instituted commandment of Adonai, observe the Sabbath. 2Gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanks after having confessed your transgressions in your heart to God, so that your offering may be pure. 3But let no one who is at odds with another come together with you, until they be reconciled, so that your offering may not be defiled. 4For this is that which was spoken of by Adonai:
5“In every place, offer up a pure offering to My Name; for I am a great King, says Adonai of the Heavenly Hosts, and my Name is wondrous among the nations.”
17. 1Appoint then for yourselves elders and prayer-leaders worthy of Adonai, men and women meek, and not lovers of money, and truthful and proved; 2for they also render to you their service free, just as itinerant preachers and spiritual mentors do. 3Therefore do not look down on them, for they themselves are your honoured ones, alongside itinerant preachers and spiritual mentors.
4And reprove one another, not in anger, but in peace, as you have it in the good news of the Kingdom of God. 5But to anyone that acts amiss against another, let no one speak, nor let them hear anything from you, until that person repents. 6But your prayers and alms and all your deeds so do, as you have it in the good news of the Kingdom of God.
18. 1Be watchful for your life’s sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins ungirded; but be ready, for you know not the day or hour in which the Day of Adonai will come.
2But gather yourselves together often, seeking the things which are befitting to your souls: for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if in those days you are not made perfect and whole.
3For in those days false prophets and corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; 4for when lawlessness increases, people will hate and persecute and betray one another.
5And then shall appear the Deceiver of the world as a man of God, and he shall perform signs and wonders, and many people will be delivered into his hands, and he shall do wicked and lawless things which have never been known since the beginning of the world. 6Then shall the creation of human beings come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; 7but those who endure in their faith however, shall be purified by the fire of the accursed trial itself and be saved.
19. 1But take heart and know this: that long after the great and terrible Day of Adonai has passed, that in the generations to come, when the kingdom of God is fulfilled, 2God will pour our His spirit on all people. Our sons and daughters will prophesy, our old men will dream dreams, and our young men will see visions. 3Everyone shall drink from their own well, and each one sit under their own fig tree, and eat from their own vine; 4and they shall dwell in safety, and none shall know or fear war anymore.
5And then the truthful signs will appear: first, a shofar will sound, then a banner will be raised for the nations, and finally the just will be gathered from the four corners of the earth. 6For so it has been said, ‘Adonai will come, and all His holy ones with Him.’ 7And then the whole world will see the glory of Adonai coming on the clouds of heaven.
© Shmu’eil ben Naftali,
(International Talmidi Version
First edition March 2003;
New translation Dec 2009)
Note: passages 10 & 11 were added to the Didache to restore its Jewishness, and re-establish its purpose as a manual for converts to Judaism; and passage 19 was added to restore the Yahwist positive outlook for the future of humanity. In the rest of the text, Jewish terms have replaced Christian ones, and where a verse describes an obvious misunderstanding of Jewish practise, it has been amended. In addition, occasional words have had to be inserted to make sense of the Greek text. Any questions or suggestions can be directed to: email@example.com