Seeing the multitudes, he went up on the mountain. When he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
“Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.”
He opened his mouth and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
אַשְׁרֵי הָעֲנָוִים כִּי־הֵמָּה יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ׃
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
The word for “earth” in Hebrew is “eretz”. It can mean “land” or “earth.” This phrase is found threaded throughout the Psalms and Tanakh. Psalms says,
“But the humble shall inherit the land, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
Psalm 37 continues,
“The righteous shall inherit the land, and live in it forever.”
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
“It was taught R. Gamaliel Beribbi said: And he shall give you mercy, and have compassion upon you, and multiply you: he who is merciful to others, mercy is shown to him by Heaven, while he who is not merciful to others, mercy is not shown to him by Heaven.”
Shabbat 151b, Soncino Press Edition
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
“Hillel said, “Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace, and pursuing peace, loving mankind, and bringing them near to the Torah.”
Pirkei Avot 1:12
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
“R. Abbahu said: A man should always strive to be rather of the persecuted than of the persecutors as there is none among the birds more persecuted than doves and pigeons, and yet Scripture made them [alone] eligible for the altar.”
Baba Kama 93a, Soncino Press Edition
Blessed are you when people reproach you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor, with what will it be salted? It is then good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men.
“The tzaddik is compared to salt, which preserves meat. This is because the tzaddik is the exemplar of one who guards his covenant, preserving his flesh from sin (Likutey Moharan 1, 4:10)”
Rebbe Nachman’s Torah, Parashat Korach, pg. 100
You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house.
Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
For most certainly, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not even one yud or one tiny pen stroke shall in any way pass away from the Torah, until all things are accomplished.
“When God gave the Torah to Israel, He inserted therein positive and negative commands and gave some commandments for a king, as it says: ‘Only he shall not multiply horses to himself… Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away; neither silver and gold’ (Deut 17:16-17). But Solomon arose and studied the reason of God’s decree, saying: ’Why did God command, “He shall not multiply wives to himself?’ Is it not ” That his heart turn not away “? Well, I will multiply and still my heart will not turn away. Our Sages said: t that time, the yud of the word yarbeh went up on high and prostrated itself before God and said: ’Master of the Universe! Have You not said that no letter shall ever be abolished from the Torah? Behold, Solomon has now arisen and abolished one. Who knows? Today he has abolished one letter, tomorrow he will abolish another until the whole Torah will be nullified? ‘ God replied: ‘ Solomon and a thousand like him will pass away, but the smallest tittle will not be erased from you.”
Shemot Rabbah 6:1, Soncino Press Edition
Whoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and teach others to do so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever shall do and teach them shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, there is no way you will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
You have heard that it was said to the ancient ones, You shall not murder, and whoever shall murder shall be in danger of the judgment.
But I tell you, that everyone who is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whoever shall say to his brother, You good-for-nothing! shall be in danger of the council; and whoever shall say, You fool! shall be in danger of the fire of Gehinnom.
If therefore you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you,
leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are with him in the way; lest perhaps the prosecutor deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison.
Most certainly I tell you, you shall by no means get out of there, until you have paid the last penny.
You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery,
but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
“R. Aha of the school of R. Josiah said: He who gazes at a woman eventually comes to sin, and he who looks even at a woman’s heel will beget degenerate children.”
Nedarim 20a, Babylonian Talmud, Soncino Press Edition
If your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehinnom.
If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off, and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehinnom.
It was also said, Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce,
but I tell you that whoever puts away his wife, except for the cause of sexual immorality, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries her when she is put away commits adultery.
Again you have heard that it was said to them of old time, You shall not make false vows, but shall perform to the Lord your vows,
but I tell you, dont swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God;
nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
Neither shall you swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.
But let your Yes be Yes and your No be No. Whatever is more than these is of the evil one.
“…your ‘yes’ should be just and your ’no’ should be just! Abaye said: That means that one must not speak one thing with the mouth and another with the heart.”
Baba Metzia 49a, Soncino Press Edition
You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.
But I tell you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.
“Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me…Do not say, “I will pay back evil. Wait for HaShem, and He will save you.”
Proverbs 24:29, 20:22
“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat. If he is thirsty, give him water to drink: for you will heap coals of fire on his head, and HaShem will reward you.”
If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also.
Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
Give to him who asks you, and do not turn away him who desires to borrow from you.
You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.
But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you,
The Talmud says,
“Reb Meir prayed that [the wicked that vexed him] should die. His wife Beruria said to him, “What makes you think a prayer like that is permissible?… Instead you should pray for them that they will repent, and then there will be no more wicked.”
A Chasidic story relates a teaching of R’ Mikhal,
“Rabbi Mikhal gave this command to his sons: “Pray for your enemies that all may be well with them. And should you think that this is not serving
G-d, rest assured that more than all prayers, this is, indeed the service of
Tales of the Hasidim, Early Masters, Martin Buber, Shocken Books, Pg 156
Isaiah speaks of Mashiach,
“I gave my back to the strikers, and my cheeks to those who plucked off the hair. I didn’t hide my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord HaShem will help me; therefore I have not been confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be disappointed.”
“Bless those who persecute you; bless, and don’t curse. . . Repay no one evil for evil. Respect what is honorable in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men. Don’t seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.” Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.
“R. Abbahu said: The day when rain fails is greater than [the day of] the Revival of the Dead,for the Revival of the Dead is for the righteous only whereas rain is both for the righteous and for the wicked.”
Ta’anit 7a, Soncino Press Edition
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
If you only greet your friends, what more do you do than others? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?