Learning for Food

Rabbi once opened his storehouse in a year of scarcity, proclaiming: Let those enter who have studied the Scripture, or the Mishnah, or the Gemara, or the Halachah, or the Aggada; there is no admission, however, for the ignorant.R. Yonathan b. Amram pushed his way in and said, 'Master, give me food.' He said to him, 'My son, have you studied Torah?' He replied, 'No.' 'Have you learned the Mishnah?' 'No.' 'If so,' he said, 'then how can I give you food?' He said to him, 'Feed me as the dog and the raven are fed.'So he gave him some food. After he went away, Rabbi's conscience bothered him and he said: Woe is me that I have given my bread to a man without learning! R. Shimon son of Rabbi said to him: Perhaps it is Yonathan b. Amram your pupil, who all his life has made it a principle not to derive material benefit from the honor paid to the Torah. Inquiries were made and it was found that it was so; whereupon Rabbi said: All may now enter. (B. Baba Batra 8.)


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