Yomah 72 b
R. Johanan said: There were three crowns: that of the altar, that of the ark, and that of the table.
The one of the altar Aaron deserved and he received it. The one of the ark, David deserved and received. The one of the ark is still lying and whosoever wants to take it, may come and take it.14 Perhaps you might think it is of little account, therefore the text reads: By me kings reign.15
R. Johanan pointed out a contradiction. It is written: Zar [alien] and we read it: zir? i.e.,[crown] — If he deserves it, it becomes a wreath unto him; if not it remains alien to him.16 R. Johanan pointed out another contradiction. It is written: Make thee an ark of wood,17 and it is also written: And they shall make an ark of acacia wood?18 Hence one learns that the inhabitants of his city are obliged to do the work of the scholar for him.
Within and without shalt thou overlay it.19 Raba said: Any scholar whose inside is not like his outside, is no scholar.20 Abaye, or, as some say, Rabbah b. ‘Ulla said: He is called abominable, as it is said: How much less one that is abominable and impure, man who drinketh iniquity like water.21 R. Samuel b. Nahmani, in the name of R. Jonathan: What is the meaning of the scriptural statement: Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool, to buy wisdom, seeing he hath no understanding,22 i.e., woe unto the enemies of the scholars,23 who occupy themselves with the Torah, but have no fear of heaven! R. Jannai proclaimed: Woe unto him who has no court, but makes a gateway for his court!24 Raba said to the Sages: I beseech you, do not inherit a double Gehinnom!25
R. Joshua b. Levi said: What is the meaning of the Scriptural verse: And this is the law which Moses set [before the children of Israel]?26 — If he is meritorious it becomes for him a medicine of life, if not, a deadly poison. That is what Raba [meant when he] said: If he uses it the right way it is a medicine of life unto him; he who does not use it the right way, it is a deadly poison.
R. Samuel b. Nahmani said: R. Jonathan pointed out the following contradiction: it is written: The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart,27 but it is also written: The word of the Lord is tried?28 If he is meritorious, it rejoices him; if not, it tries him.29 Resh Lakish said: From the body of the same passage this can be derived: If he is meritorious, it tests him unto life; if not, it tests him unto death.30 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.31 R. Hanina said: This refers to one who studies the Torah in purity. What does that mean? — He marries a woman and afterwards studies the Torah.32
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.33 R. Hiyya b. Abba said: It [the Torah] may be entrusted to testify as to those who study it. ‘The work of the skillful workman34 . . . the work of the skillful embroiderer.35 R. Eleazar said: Those embroidered over what they had traced. It was taught in the name of R. Nehemiah: The embroiderer's is needle-work, therefore it has only one [visible] figure. The designer's is weaving work, therefore it has two different figures.36
R. Nahman b. Isaac said: A transgression performed with good intention is better than a precept performed with evil intention.13 But has not Rab Judah, citing Rab, said: A man should always occupy himself with the Torah and [its] precepts, even though it be for some ulterior motive,14 for the result will be that he will eventually do them without ulterior motive?15 — Read then: [A transgression performed with good intention is] as good as a precept performed for an ulterior motive, as it is written, Blessed above women shall Jael be, the wife of Heber the Kenite. Above women in the tent shall she be blessed,16 and by 'women in the tent', Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah are meant.17
R. Johanan said: That wicked wretch [Sisera] had sevenfold intercourse [with Jael] at that time, as it says, At her feet he sunk, he fell, he lay; etc.18 But she derived pleasure from his intercourse? — R. Johanan said:19 All the favours of the wicked are evil to the righteous, for it says, Take heed to thyself that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.20 Now [that he was not to speak] bad we can understand, but why was he not to speak good? Thus it may properly be inferred that the good of such a one is an evil.
The above text [states]: Rab Judah, citing Rab, said: A man should always occupy himself with the Torah and [its] precepts, even though it be for some ulterior motive, for the result will be that he will eventually do them without ulterior motive. For as reward for the forty-two sacrifices which the wicked Balak offered,21 he was privileged to be the progenitor of Ruth, for R. Jose son of
R. Hanina has said that Ruth was descended from22 Eglon, [the grandson of Balak,]23 king of Moab.
R. Hiyya b. Abba, citing R. Johanan. said: How do we know that the Holy One, blessed be He, does not withhold the reward even for a decorous expression? The elder daughter [of Lot] called her son Moab24 and so the All-Merciful One said [to Moses]:25 Be not at enmity with Moab, neither contend with them in battle.26 Only war was forbidden, but they might be harassed. The younger daughter, on the other hand, called [her son's] name Ben-Ammi27 and so it says, Harass them not, nor contend with them.28 They were not to be harassed at all.
MISHNAH 9. R. HANINA B. DOSA 58 SAID: ANYONE WHOSE FEAR OF SIN59 PRECEDES60 HIS WISDOM, HIS WISDOM IS ENDURING,61 BUT ANYONE WHOSE WISDOM PRECEDES HIS FEAR OF SIN, HIS WISDOM IS NOT ENDURING.62 HE [ALSO] USED TO SAY: ANYONE WHOSE DEEDS EXCEED HIS WISDOM, HIS WIS DOM IS ENDURING, BUT ANYONE WHOSE WISDOM EXCEEDS HIS DEEDS, HIS WISDOM IS NOT ENDURING.63
R. Isaac said: Since the destruction of the Temple, sexual pleasure has been taken [from those who practise it lawfully] and given to sinners, as it is written, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.