Orchot Tzaddikim

Orchot Tzaddikim (Hebrew: ארחות צדיקים) is a book on Jewish ethics written in Germany in the 15th 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 book

Most of the book is not original writing; it is following the order of "The Improvement of the Moral Qualities" by Solomon ibn Gabirol, adding paragraphs from many of maimonides' works, and ideas from the famous ethical writings "Shaarei Tshuva" (by Rabbenu Yona of Gerona) and "Chovos Halvavos".

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 practice 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 servants; 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 method of study, reproves his countrymen who engage in this method of Talmud study, and reproaches those who neglect the study of the Bible and of all sciences.

Jewish Encyclopedia 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.

External links

This article incorporates text from the 1901–1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, a publication now in the public domain.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Musar literature — Part of a series of articles on Jews and Judaism …   Wikipedia

  • Rabbinic literature — See also: Rabbinic Judaism and Oral Torah Part of a series of articles on Jews and Judaism …   Wikipedia

  • Yeshiva — This article is about the Jewish educational system. For the private university, see Yeshiva University. Part of a series of articles on Jews and Judaism …   Wikipedia

  • Jewish ethics — stands at the intersection of Judaism and the Western philosophical tradition of ethics. Like other types of religious ethics, the diverse literature of Jewish ethics primarily aims to answer a broad range of moral questions and, hence, may be… …   Wikipedia

  • Musar movement — Part of a series on …   Wikipedia

  • Outline of Judaism — Main article: Judaism The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Judaism: Judaism – religion, philosophy, and way of life of the Jewish people,[1] based on the ancient Mosaic Law. Contents 1 History and branches 2 …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.