There is the Pirkei Avot that contains 5 chapters that are part of the Mishnah in the order of Nezikin. This is the version that is typically studied on Shabbat afternoons between end of Pesach to just before Rosh Hashanna (the 6th chapter is from elsewhere.)

There is another version - Avot Derav Nattan, and a 3rd version that I know of Pirkei Derav Eliezer.

Are there any others?

I'd also like a brief description of what the differences in these versions are and why these different versions were created, if there was some motive historically or otherwise for these authors to create these. I'm assuming that from the name of the work (Avot or Pirkei) there might have been some motive they had to add or explain something that wasn't in the "original" Mishnaic version.

  • 2
    Why do you think these are different versions of the same thing?
    – Double AA
    Nov 1, 2016 at 15:34
  • May be that Avot deRabbi Nathan are very linked to mishna avot but avot deRabbi Eliezer are very different
    – kouty
    Nov 1, 2016 at 15:35
  • @kouty this is true, as Avot Derav Nattan frequently cites from the other one.
    – DanF
    Nov 1, 2016 at 15:48
  • @DoubleAA See ^^^. AdR"N frequently begins with the "standard" version but adds additional explanations. On the other hand, it contains many items that are not in the other version. I don't know much about Pirkei D'Rav Eliezer.
    – DanF
    Nov 1, 2016 at 15:50
  • 3
    You should note that the translation of the word Pirkei just means "chapters. Thus, Pirkei Derav Eliezer just means [assorted] chapters [authored] by Rav Eliezer. It does not have to necessarily be connected to the Pirkei Avot which are [assorted] chapters of the predecessors. Nov 1, 2016 at 17:49

1 Answer 1


(Leaving Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer to one side as I know little about it, but I believe, as other commenters have noted, that it is not related to Pirkei Avot.)

The first 5 chapters of Pirkei Avot are indeed, as you noted, identical to the mishnaic Masechet Avot.

Avot deRabbi Natan is essentially the tosefta to Masechet Avot, i.e. a collection of beratitot supplementing the misnayot, as we find for many (all?) other masechtot in Shas.

The one slight complication is that the version of Masechet Avot to which Avot deRabbi Natan is a supplement is not the final version we possess today, but a different (older?) version, in a different order to the one we now have and with some omissions, additions and changes.

Source: R. David Zvi Hoffman, HaMishnah HaRishonah uFelugta deTannai, in particular here.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .