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ORḤOT ẒADDIḲIM:

Book on ethics written in Germany in the fifteenth century, entitled "Sefer ha-Middot" by the author, but called "Orḥot Ẓaddiḳim" by a later copyist. Under this title a Judæo-German translation, from which the last chapter and some other passages were omitted, was printed at Isny in 1542, although the Hebrew original did not appear until some years later (Prague, 1581). Subsequently, however, the book was frequently printed in both languages. The author of the work is unknown, although Güdemann ("Gesch." iii. 223) advances the very plausible hypothesis that he was Lipmann Mühlhausen. The "Orḥot Ẓaddiḳim," which was designed to be a very popular code of ethics, contains the following maxims among others:

  • "It is evil pride to despise others, and to regard one's own opinion as the best, since such an attitude bars progress, while egotism increases bitterness toward others and decreases thine own capability of improvement" (ch. i.).
  • "Be just and modest in association with others, and practise humility even toward the members of the household, toward the poor, and toward dependents. The more property thou hast, the greater should be thy humility, and thy honor and beneficence toward mankind" (ch. ii.).
  • "Be kind to thy non-Jewish slaves; make not their burdens heavy, nor treat them scornfully with contemptuous words or blows" (ch. viii.).
  • "Forget not the good qualities thou lackest, and note thy faults; but forget the good that thou hast done, and the injuries thou hast received" (ch. xx.).
  • "Abash not him who hath a bodily blemish, or in whose family there is some stain. If one hath done evil and repented, name not his deed in his presence, even in jest, nor refer to a quarrel which has been ended, lest the dead embers be rekindled" (ch. xxi.).

In ch. xxvii. the author bitterly attacks the pilpul, reproves his countrymen who engage in this quibbling study of the Talmud, and reproaches those who neglect the study of the Bible and of all sciences.

Bibliography:
  • Zunz, Z. G. p. 129;
  • Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, p. 51, No. 989;
  • Güdemann, Gesch. iii. 223 et seq.;
  • Winter and Wünsche, Die Jüdische Litteratur, iii. 639-641.
S. J. Z. L.
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