Deuteronomy 30:9–20

This passage is God’s final comment on the covenant promise, as related by Moses before his death and imparted to the Israelites before their conquest of the Promised Land, the biblical Land of Israel. It repeats the language of the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4–9) and reminds the people that YHWH (“the Lord”) will reward their faithfulness and punish them if they worship other deities.

Pirke Avot (The Sayings of the Fathers), Chapter 2

The “Fathers” whose sayings are collected in this portion of the Talmud are rabbinical sages of the first and second centuries C.E. These maxims, and many others like them, were so popular they were often incorporated into the daily/Sabbath prayer book and read on Shabbat. Consider especially this section: 

Rabban Gamliel, son of Rabbi Jehudah ha-Nasi, said, . . . Do His will as if it were thy will, that He may do thy will as if it were His will. Annul thy will before His will, that He may annul the will of others before thy will.

Hillel said, separate not thyself from the congregation, and trust not in thyself until the day of thy death; and judge not thy friend until thou comest into his place … and say not when I have leisure I will study; perchance thou mayest not have leisure.

Rabbi Tarphon said, the day is short, and the task is great, and the workmen are sluggish, and the reward is much, and the Master of the house is urgent. He said, it is not for thee to finish the work, nor art thou free to desist therefrom; if thou hast learned much Torah, they give thee much reward; and faithful is the Master of thy work, who will pay thee the reward of thy work, and know that the recompense of the reward of the righteous is for the time to come.

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