This related M.Y. question explains the purpose of saying the introductory paragraph Kol Yisra'el prior to learning Pirkei Avot each week.

Why is Pirkei Avot, in particular, the only mishna that warrants any type of introductory paragraph before learning it. When I learn any other masechta, I do not recite any introductory paragraph.

Related (and perhaps, part of the answer) - Is this paragraph said only when learning Pirkei Avot on Shabbat, or even if one learns it any other day or time of the year?

1 Answer 1


During last Shabbat's Pirkei Avot shiur in my shul, my rav cited something from Knesset Yisra'el (B"N, this Shabbat, when I see him, I will ask him to locate the exact place, so I can edit it, here. If someone else finds it, feel free to edit.) that says that since Pirkei Avot is a unique tractate in that it focuses on ethics and proper moral behavior, someone studying it may realize his own shortcomings and think, "How can I ever achieve such lofty goals stated by these great rabbis?" Therefore, we recite the paragraph Kol Isra'el. It is reassurance that says, in a way, "Don't be scared. You have your place in the world to come already. You just have to refine yourself as best as you can so that you can get a better share."

He says that Knesset Yisra'el has a parable comparing this to an ill person who is about to have surgery. He is worried about all the things that could happen. Thus, the doctor / surgeon comes and says, "Don't worry. I'm doing the surgery, and I assure you that all will be well."

My rav pointed that this is in stark contrast to what doctors do today, when they warn you about all the things that could go wrong!

So, now, each Shabbat, enjoy your Pirkei Avot with less worry!

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