12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. 13 “But woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You keep locking people out of the kingdom of heaven! For you neither enter nor permit those trying to enter to go in. 14 “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You cross land and sea to make one convert, and when you get one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves! 15 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple is bound by nothing. But whoever swears by the gold of the temple is bound by the oath.’ 16 Blind fools! Which is greater, the gold or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 17 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing. But if anyone swears by the gift on it he is bound by the oath.’
Yoma 72bBabylonian Talmud
Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, as he has no heart?” (Proverbs 17:16)? This expresses the following sentiment: Woe to them, haters of Torah scholars, a euphemism for the Torah scholars themselves, who immerse themselves in Torah and have no fear of Heaven. They are fools; they try to acquire the wisdom of Torah, but since they have no fear of Heaven in their hearts they lack the ability to do so. Rabbi Yannai declared that the situation may be expressed by the following sentiment: Pity him who has no courtyard but senselessly makes a gate for his courtyard. Fear of Heaven is like the courtyard, and the study of Torah is the gate that provides entrance to the courtyard. The study of Torah is purposeful only if it leads to fear of Heaven. Rava said to the Sages in the study hall: I beg of you, do not inherit Gehenna twice. By studying Torah without the accompanying fear of Heaven, not only are you undeserving of the World-to-Come, but even in this world you experience Gehenna, as you spend all your time in study and fail to benefit from worldly pleasure.
Notes and References
"... The pride and relish with which Josephus regales his readers with tales of converts to Judaism, such as the royal house of Adiabene, is complemented by the welcoming attitude to proselytes common in the Talmud and early rabbinic literature.
40See also book XIII on John Hyrcanus's forcible conversion of the ldumaeans, and the amusing story in xvm.3 of Fulva and the fraudulent missionaries - though Suetonius puts the latter in a different light. See also Matthew 23:15."
Solomon, Norman Judaism and World Religion (pp. 233, 280) Palgrave Macmillan, 1991
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