Jewish Ethics Pirkei Avot Essay

625 words - 3 pages

Benny Silver
Spring 2014
Rabbi Becher 3rd period Tues+Thur

Pirkei Avot
Pirkei Avot also known as Milei Dchasidut is commonly found in most prayer books and is incorporated because of its ethical content. Many people have the custom of reading it on Shabbat afternoons between Pesach and Shavout as a way to prepare mentally and spiritually for the giving of the Torah. A modern approach to this idea was also given in class and that was to prepare us for the summer and whatever challenges may lie ahead.

The first Mishnah establishes the chain of authority and tradition back to Moshe at Har Sinai. This is done in order to show the reader that in fact there is a legitimate tradition of this oral law passed down from generation to generation and not just some made up information. I think this is an important ...view middle of the document...

Then the Mishnah continues and goes on to say on the seventh day “ he called to Moshe from the midst of the cloud”. However this seems very problematic to me, as Moshe was not standing alone but rather with all of Am Israel. I believe this was done to single out Moshe and was an indirect way of honoring Moshe in front of all of his people. Another question that arises was why did Moshe have to wait six days before he was able to receive the Torah? This was done so that Moshe would be well prepared and 100% mentally ready to receive the Torah with awe fear and trepidation, as it says in Tehillim Serve Hashem with awe and rejoice with trembling. (Tehillim 2:11).

Mishnah 1:6 – “ Assume for yourself a master (rabbi)”-“Acquire for yourself a friend”
One question that immediately popped into my head while reading this Mishnah is the fact that it asks you to assume yourself a rabbi, but acquire a friend? Why is it here that the Mishnah seems like it is stressing more on the fact that you should get yourself a friend rather than a rabbi? I believe the answer in this relies on your relationship with each of them. With regards to a Rabbi, yes he is a prominent educated figure in the community but how close of a connection can you actually have with him, as he is most likely more spiritually advanced then you are.
However, this is not the case with a friend as we have many friends who are on the same level as us. Here the Mishnah is telling us to acquire a friend on the same level as us so we can push each other to grow and together become better Jews. However it is important that the Mishnah included both of these figures because I believe you need both of these people to succeed. The rabbi plays an important role and can act kind of as an advisor and stand from the sidelines and give you tips. However the friend is right their with you throughout the journey trying to make it work.

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