Considerations by the Way
An ancient philosopher observes his students.
We shall not presume to anticipate the judgment of our fellow-citizens throughout the Union on these important letters, by interposing any comments of our own.—Four Letters on the Important Subject of Government, 1802.
(Fathers of the Synagogue)
AS to disciples, R. Gamaliel the elder compares them to the following four kinds of fish: an unclean, a clean fish, a fish found in the Jordan, and one found in the Ocean.
I. By an unclean fish is meant a disciple of poor intellect, who, notwithstanding his study of Scripture, Mishna, Halakhoth, and Agadoth, still remains poor-minded.
II. By a clean fish is meant a disciple of rich intellect, who studies Scripture, Mishna, Halakhoth, and Agadoth, and develops his mind.
III. By a fish from the Jordan is meant a scholar who has studied all the mentioned subjects, but has not acquired the faculty of answering questions put to him.
IV. And by a fish found in the Ocean is meant a scholar who studied all the above subjects and has the ability of answering the questions put to him.
—New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud, Vol. I (IX).