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Rabbi Yosei ben Kisma said: Once I was on a journey and I encountered a man. We greeted one another. Then he said to me: ‘Rabbi, where are you from?’ I replied to him: ‘I come from a great city of sages and scribes.’ He then said: ‘Rabbi, if you are willing to dwell in our place, I will give you a thousand thousand gold dinars and gems and pearls.’ I replied to him: ‘Were you to give me all the world’s silver and gold and gems and pearls, I would not live save in a place of Torah. As David King of Israel wrote in the Book of Psalms: “Your Torah is better to me than thousands of gold and silver.” (119:72) Moreover, when we die it is neither silver nor gold nor gems nor pearls that accompany us, but Torah and good deeds only.

From “Chapters of the Fathers” In Gates of Prayer, Chaim Stern, ed. (New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1975), 28.