The above is one evidence, among many, of the high esteem in
which learning and the office of a teacher are held among the
Jews. Education is one of the virtues--of which the following,
extracted from the Talmud, is a list--the interest of which the
Jew considers he enjoys in this world, while the capital remains
intact against the exigencies of the world to come. These
are:--The honoring of father and mother, acts of benevolence,
hospitality to strangers, visiting the sick, devotion in prayer,
promotion of peace between man and man, and study in general,
but the study of the law outweighs them all. (_Shabbath_, fol.
127, col. 1.) The study of the law, it is said, is of greater
merit to rescue one from accidental death, than building the
Temple, and greater than honoring father or mother.
(_Meggillah_, fol. 16, col 2.)
"Repent one day before thy death." In relation to which Rabbi Eliezer
was asked by his disciples, "How is a man to repent one day before his
death, since he does not know on what day he shall die?" "So much the
more reason is there," he replied, "that he should repent to-day, lest
he die to-morrow; and repent to-morrow, lest he die the day after: and
thus will all his days be penitential ones."
THE TALMUD, _Avoth d'Rab. Nathan_, chap. 15.