central text of Rabbinic Judaism

The Talmud (תלמוד) is considered an authoritative record of rabbinic discussions on Jewish law, Jewish ethics, customs, legends and stories. It consists of the Mishnah, a record of oral traditions, and the Gemara, which comments upon, interprets and applies these oral traditions. A section of the Mishnah is followed by the Gemara on that section. There are two distinct Gemaras: the Yerushalmi and the Bavli, and two corresponding Talmuds: Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud) and the Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud); The word "Talmud", when used without qualification, usually refers to the Babylonian Talmud. Neither Gemara is complete.

An early printing of the Talmud with commentary by Rashi

See also: Pirkei Avot, a section of the Mishnah.


  • Whoever destroys a soul in Israel, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life in Israel, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.
    • Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5; Yerushalmi Talmud 4:9, Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 37a.
    • Variant: Whoever destroys a single life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed the whole world, and whoever saves a single life is considered by Scripture to have saved the whole world.
    • Quoted in Schindler's List as "Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire."
    • Quoted Qurʼan Chapter (5) sūrat l-māidah (The Table spread with Food) Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.
    • Parma Italy, mid-13th century codex; as cited in "The Origins of the Precept "Whoever Saves a Life Saves the World"", Philologos, Mosaic Magazine, Oct, 21 2016.



  • Even if all the seas would be ink, and the reeds that grow near swamps would be quills, and the heavens would be parchment upon which the words would be written, and all the people would be scribes, all of these would be insufficient to write the unquantifiable extent of governmental responsibility -- that is, all the considerations with which a government must concern itself and deal.
  • Teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.
    • 30a
  • What is hateful to thee, do not unto thy fellow; this is the whole law. All the rest is a commentary to this law; go and learn it.
    • 30a


  • My son, be careful to fulfill the words of the Sages [soferim] even more than the words of the Torah. For the words of the Torah include positive and negative commandments, and even with regard to the negative commandments, the violation of many of them is punishable only by lashes. Whereas with respect to the words of the Sages, anyone who transgresses the words of the Sages is liable to receive the death penalty.


  • A man should endeavor to be as pliant as a reed, and never unyielding like the cedar.
    • 20b


  • An adult man who engaged in intercourse with a minor girl less than three years old, or a minor boy less than nine years old who engaged in intercourse with an adult woman, or a woman who had her hymen ruptured by wood or any other foreign object, the marriage contract for each of these women is two hundred dinars.

Bava KammaEdit

  • If your friend calls you a donkey, prepare a saddle for your back.
  • In the case of a Jew and a gentile who approach the court for judgment in a legal dispute, if you can vindicate the Jew under Jewish law, vindicate him, and say to the gentile: This is our law. If he can be vindicated under gentile law, vindicate him, and say to the gentile: This is your law. And if it is not possible to vindicate him under either system of law, one approaches the case circuitously, seeking a justification to vindicate the Jew.

Bava MetziaEdit

  • A person should always divide his money into three; he should bury one-third in the ground, and invest one-third in business [bifrakmatya], and keep one-third in his possession.
  • One may decline the request of a lesser person, but one may not decline the request of a great person.

Bava BatraEdit

  • A legal decision depends not on the teacher's age, but on the force of his argument.
    • 142b


  • One who steals or robs, and likewise one who engages in intercourse with a married beautiful woman who was taken as a prisoner of war, and likewise all actions similar to these, if they are done by a gentile to another gentile, or by a gentile to a Jew, the action is prohibited; but if a Jew does so to a gentile, it is permitted?
  • Is there any action for which a Jew is not deemed liable, but a gentile is deemed liable for performing it? A Jew is not liable for engaging in anal intercourse with his wife.
  • A gentile who struck a Jew is liable to receive the death penalty, as it is stated when Moses saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew.
  • A gentile who engages in Torah study is liable to receive the death penalty.


  • The servant of a king is like a king.

Quotes aboutEdit

  • Maimonides, the great Jewish theologian and historian, who at one time was almost deified by his countrymen and afterward treated as a heretic, remarks, that the more absurd and void of sense the Talmud seems the more sublime is the secret meaning. This learned man has successfully demonstrated that the Chaldean Magic, the science of Moses and other learned thaumaturgists was wholly based on an extensive knowledge of the various and now forgotten branches of natural science. Thoroughly acquainted with all the resources of the vegetable, animal, and mineral kingdoms, experts in occult chemistry and physics, psychologists as well as physiologists, why wonder that the graduates or adepts instructed in the mysterious sanctuaries of the temples, could perform wonders, which even in our days of enlightenment would appear supernatural? It is an insult to human nature to brand magic and the occult science with the name of imposture. To believe that for so many thousands of years, one-half of mankind practiced deception and fraud on the other half, is equivalent to saying that the human race was composed only of knaves and incurable idiots. Where is the country in which magic was not practised? At what age was it wholly forgotten? p. 19
    • H. P. Blavatsky in Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology (1877)
  • I am one of the few Goyim who have ever actually tackled the Talmud. I suppose you now expect me to add that it is a profound and noble work, worthy of hard study by all other Goyim. Unhappily, my report must differ from this expectation. It seems to me, save for a few bright spots, to be quite indistinguishable from rubbish.
  • Capitalism was born from the money loan. Money lending contains the root idea of capitalism. Turn to the pages of the Talmud and you will find that the Jews made an art of lending money. They were taught early to look for their chief happiness in the possession of money. They fathomed all the secrets that lay hid in money. They became Lords of Money and Lords of the World.

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