Questions tagged [pirke-avot-ethicsof]

The six chapters of Avot, a tractate of Mishnayot.

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Why was Shimon Hatzadik so-called?

In Pirkei Avot 1:2, Shimon is called Hatzaddik (the righteous). I gathered a couple of questions about this fact: Why was [only] he called so and not other Rabbis? Was he called so by the Greeks (...
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Why the opening of Avot does not introduce the whole Mishnah?

“Moses received the Torah at Sinai and transmitted it to Joshua, Joshua to the elders, and the elders to the prophets, and the prophets to the Men of the Great Assembly. They said three things: Be ...
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Are the names of the zugot disclosed to us in other masechtot?

Am I correct in saying that the identities of the zugot are only revealed to us within masechet Pirkei Avot? Or are the names of the zugot also disclosed to us in other masechtot of the Mishnah? If so,...
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What are the limits of what we should try to learn?

In the Mishnah, Ben Zoma famously said: אֵיזֶהוּ חָכָם, הַלּוֹמֵד מִכָּל אָדָם -- Who is wise? He who learns from every man. [Avot 4:1] What does it mean? (1) That every individual who enters your ...
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Difference between Sefaria and Artscroll in enumerating Pirkei Avos

There seems to be a difference in the splitting of a Perek in Pirkei Avos. On sefaria the perek I am referring to is Perek 3 where the Perek in Sefaria groups certain Mishnayos in that Perek together ...
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Seeking advice from our Sages and Tanach about the dangers of 'national polarity'

Regardless of where you sit on the political divide regarding the situation in the United States it seems as if the country is being devoured by polarity. I am searching for advice from chazal ...
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Was there ever a Talmudic tractate on Avot?

Are there sources that we ever had such a tractate in either JT or BT? Were there debates and discussions over its propositions?
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Yose b. Yoezer and Yose b. Yohanan received from them. Who does “them” refer to?

Avot 1:2-4: שִׁמְעוֹן הַצַּדִּיק הָיָה מִשְּׁיָרֵי כְנֶסֶת הַגְּדוֹלָה....‏ אַנְטִיגְנוֹס אִישׁ סוֹכוֹ קִבֵּל מִשִּׁמְעוֹן הַצַּדִּיק...‏ יוֹסֵי בֶן יוֹעֶזֶר אִישׁ צְרֵדָה וְיוֹסֵי בֶן יוֹחָנָן אִישׁ ...
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Did the Tiferet Yisrael say that Jenner, Drake and Gutenberg believed in the Torah?

In Tiferet Yisrael (Boaz) to Avot 3, number 1, it says: ואנחנו רואים כמה מחסידיהן שמלבד שמכירין יוצר בראשית, ומאמינין בתה"ק שהיא אלהית, ועושין ג"ח גם לישראל, וכמה מהן שהיטיבו ביותר לכל באי ...
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Don't disparage the entirety of another person

Me'am Loez on Pirkei Avos 4:3 quotes a Sefer called Divrei Yechezkel to explain the words אל תהי בז לכל אדם as meaning "Don't disparage the entirety of a human being." Even if you see ...
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What does “נגללים” mean about the tablets?

The commentary of the Rav (R. Ovadya) to Avos chapter 5 "והלחות" reads: של סנפרינון היו ארכן ששה ורחבן ששה ועבין שלשה כאבן אחת שארכה ורחבה ועביה שוין ונחלקה לשנים ונגללים היו וחצובים מגלגל ...
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Not consoling mourners during shiva?

We read in pirkei avos (4:18) the following: רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר אוֹמֵר, אַל תְּרַצֶּה אֶת חֲבֵרְךָ בִשְׁעַת כַּעֲסוֹ, וְאַל תְּנַחֲמֶנּוּ בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁמֵּתוֹ מֻטָּל לְפָנָיו, וְאַל ...
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If Elozor ben Aruch's teaching includes all the others why is he not the בּוֹר סוּד? Avos 2(8 &9)

REFLECTIONS ON PIRKEI OVOS 2(8 & 9) Rabbi Yochanon ben Zakkai sums up his talmidim: רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר בֶּן הוֹרְקְנוֹס, בּוֹר סוּד שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְאַבֵּד טִפָּה וְרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲרָךְ, ...
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Which of the *Zugos* were in charge during the Chanukah story?

Pirkei Avos tells us of a chain of Torah leadership from Shimon HaTzadik (who lived in the times of Alexander the Great), to Antignos Ish Socho, to the pairs of leaders after that. On whose watch did ...
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Does Pirkei Avot establish we can find morality separately from the law? [duplicate]

One of the more notable things about Pirkei Avot is that it's empty of Halacha for the most part. It establishes a series of ethical ideals and opinions written by our sages but these ethics and ...
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Who were the zekeinim mentioned in Pirkei Avot?

In Pirkei Avot, in chapter one mishna 1 it says that Yehoshua passed on the Torah to the zekeinim. Who were they? For how long did they exist?
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Why are tractates in Shas apparently out of order?

The Sdarim of the Shas are (in general) by subject. That is, in each Order, there are discussions on a general topic and its ramifications. But in each one of them (I think) there is a tractate that ...
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Is declaring that you don’t want to do a sin “for now”, a chillul hashem?

If someone proposes doing a sinful act (e.g Avoda zara) and you respond by saying that you are not interested “for now”, is that considered a chillul hashem, as you may want to sin in the future? In ...
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Is “everything” really in the Torah?

The Mishnah says: הֲפֹךְ בָּהּ וַהֲפֹךְ בָּהּ, דְּכֹלָּא בָהּ Turn it and turn it [the Torah], for everything is contained in it. [Pirkei Avot 5:22] What does it mean? (1) That absolutely every bit ...
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קיים vs עומד in Avot 1:18

I occasionally see Pirke Avot 1:18 recited as saying that on three things העולם קיים, and occasionally as on three things העולם עומד. Is there a reason for the discrepancy between Kayam and Omeid?
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What does מעלה עליו הכתוב mean?

There are two consecutive Mishnayos in Pirkei Avos that use the phrase "מעלה עליו הכתוב", which loosely translates to 'scripture treats him as...' The first is: רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, ...
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What are the “major” and “minor” commandments?

The Mishna says: Be quick in performing a minor commandment as a major one. [Avot 4:2] But we do not rank the commandments. The Mishna also says: Be as scrupulous in observing a minor ...
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What is the mitzvah of tzedakah dependent on?

We learn in the Rambam commentary on Avos (3:19) that it is preferable to give a little bit of tzedakah to many people than a few large amounts to a few people. When does one fulfil the mitzvah of ...
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Why were masechtot of mishna without gemara included (or not) in Talmud Bavli and daf yomi?

I would like to better understand why certain tractates of mishna which don't have gemara were selected or not for inclusion in Talmud Bavli and/or daf yomi? Here is what I understand most tractates ...
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Mouth of the donkey (“פִי הָאָתוֹן”): how can the Rambam seem to contradict the mishnah in Pirkei Avos?

NOTE: I heard this question raised in R' Hershel Schachter's parsha shiur (YUTorah - Balak 5779 from 23:28-24:17) The Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim 2:42 writes: וכן ענין בלעם כולו 'בדרך' ודברי ה'אתון' ...
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While it says in Kiddushin 40b that torah is the more important than Mitzvot in Pirkei Avot it says otherwise?

It says in Kiddushin 40b נענה ר"ע ואמר תלמוד גדול נענו כולם ואמרו תלמוד גדול שהתלמוד מביא לידי מעשה (Rabbi Akiva answered and said: Study is greater. Everyone answered and said: Study is greater, as ...
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Kehuna 'acquired' by 24?

In the (abusely so-called) 6th pereq of avot, גדולה תורה יותר מן הכהונה ומן המלכות, שהמלכות נקנית ב30 מעלות, והכהונה ב24, והתורה נקנית ב48 דברים. ואלו הן בתלמוד בשמיעת האוזן וכולי While one must '...
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Are we supposed to know which transgressions are light or severe?

I remember learning that we cannot know which commandments are more important than which others -- God gave them all to us and we don't say that we prioritize some over others (aside from the special ...
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How the crown of a good name (כתר שם טוב) was Halachicly left out?

רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, שְׁלשָׁה כְתָרִים הֵם, כֶּתֶר תּוֹרָה וְכֶתֶר כְּהֻנָּה וְכֶתֶר מַלְכוּת, :וְכֶתֶר שֵׁם טוֹב עוֹלֶה עַל גַּבֵּיהֶן Rabbi Shimon said: There are three crowns: the ...
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Applying Precepts of Pirkei Avot 2:5 vs. Pirkei Avot 4:14

In Pirkei Avot 2:5, Hillel suggest, "In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man." One idea that I infer is that if you are in a place where there are no leaders, you should attempt to be ...
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Why is Malachi 3:4 added only after the amidah?

The paragraph יְהִי רָצון מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה' אֱלהֵינוּ וֵאלהֵי אֲבותֵינוּ. שֶׁיִּבָּנֶה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ. וְתֵן חֶלְקֵנוּ בְּתורָתֶךָ: וְשָׁם נַעֲבָדְךָ בְּיִרְאָה כִּימֵי ...
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Why does the Mishna say “שְׂנָא אֶת הָרַבָּנוּת”?

The Mishna says: Avot 1:10 וּשְׂנָא אֶת הָרַבָּנוּת I have been struggling with that one for a while. It has been translated variously as "despise lordliness", "despise positions of power", "hate ...
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Why is God not mentioned in the opening line of Pirkei Avot?

Why is God not mentioned in the opening line of Pirkei Avot? Moses received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it to Joshua; Joshua to the Elders; the Elders to the Prophets; and the Prophets ...
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Acquiring Torah without Subvocalization

The Mishnah in Avos (6.6) tells of difference ways to acquire Torah. Here is Rashi’s commentary on one of the items, translated by Sefaria.org. בַּעֲרִיכַת שְׂפָתַיִם. שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְגַמְגֵּם בְּדִבְרֵי ...
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Our relation relationship with Hashem

Avos states, "Do not be as servants who are serving the master in order to receive a reward, rather be as servants who are serving the master not in order to receive a reward." Yet, Mesillas Yesharim ...
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Pirkei Avos- how does a sieve retain the fine flour?

Regarding the following mishna in Pirkei Avos: משנה אבות ה׳:ט״ו ארבע מדות ביושבים לפני חכמים: ספוג , ומשפך, משמרת, ונפה. ספוג, שהוא סופג את הכל. משפך, שמכניס בזו ומוציא בזו. משמרת, שמוציאה ...
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Do nochrim have free choice in the 7 Laws?

There is a teaching that Jews have bechira chofshis, and only as regards their performance of mitzvot. (I don't have a source for the first claim offhand; please help. The source for the second claim ...
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How are we supposed to interpret “Derech eretz kadma l'Torah”?

I'm having a lot of trouble understanding how we should interpret the pseudo-midrash "דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה", ~~ "Derech eretz should come before Torah." The actual text of the ...
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Shammai - receive everyone with a pleasant countenance

in Pirkei Avot chapter 1, Shammai says "receive every person with a pleasant countenance". Why then did Shammai drive away the 3 gentiles (Shab.31a) who were interested in converting to Judaism? ...
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Why does Hillel's teachings change to Aramaic in Ethics of the Fathers?

In Ethics of the Fathers chapter 1 (Mishna 11-13) three sayings are said in Hillel's name. Two are in Hebrew while one (Mishna 12) is in Aramaic. The rest of the chapter is all in Hebrew. Why the ...
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How does “tongs, made with tongs” fit in with the rest of the group?

Mishna Avos 5:6 - משנה אבות פרק ה משנה ו. עֲשָׂרָה דְבָרִים נִבְרְאוּ בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת בֵּין הַשְּׁמָשׁוֹת, וְאֵלּוּ הֵן, פִּי הָאָרֶץ, וּפִי הַבְּאֵר, וּפִי הָאָתוֹן, וְהַקֶּשֶׁת, וְהַמָּן, ...
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Why do we prepend Shanu Raboseinu to the sixth Perek of Avos and not other Perakim appended from Braisos?

The sixth Perek of Avos begins שנו רבותינו בלשון המשנה ברוך שבחר בהם ובמשנותם The Rabbis taught in the language of the Mishnah. Blessed is He Who chose them and their teachings. Here I ask ...
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pursue shalom versus distance from wicked

In chapter 1 of Pirkei Avot, Hillel says "be like the disciples of Aharon, love peace, pursue peace, love others and bring them closer to torah". On the other hand, a few mishnas earlier: "distance ...
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Is serving Hashem in order to receive reward in Olam Habah ideal?

משנה אבות פרק א משנה ג אַל תִּהְיוּ כַעֲבָדִים הַמְשַׁמְּשִׁין אֶת הָרַב עַל מְנָת לְקַבֵּל פְּרָס, אֶלָּא הֱווּ כַעֲבָדִים הַמְשַׁמְּשִׁין אֶת הָרַב שֶׁלֹּא עַל מְנָת לְקַבֵּל פְּרָס, וִיהִי ...
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What is the difference between Mitzvah Goreres Mitzvah and Schar Mitzvah Mitzvah?

The Mishnah in Avos (4:2) says: בן עזאי אומר הוי רץ למצוה קלה ובורח מן העבירה שמצוה גוררת מצוה ועברה גוררת עברה ששכר מצוה מצוה ושכר עברה עברה Ben Azai says, “Run toward a light mitzvah and ...
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Pirkei Avos cycle reason

I looked around the site for this question, and couldn't find it, so apologies if it's a dupe. Many communities we have the Minhag to say or learn Pirkei Avos on Shabbos afternoon from Pesach to Rosh ...
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Avos vs. the Hagada on plague counts

My son asks: The Hagada mentions, toward the end of Magid, three opinions on how many plagues the Egyptians suffered in Egypt and on the Red Sea: R' Yose Haglili: 10 and 50 R' Eliezzer: 40 and 200 R'...
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5 “parts” of the nefesh- What is the Rambam's source?

In his introduction to Avos (Shmomneh P'rakim), the Rambam delineates 5 "parts" of the human nefesh. Is this something that he came to on his own or does he have a source for this? I know that the ...
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Answer to question in first chapter of Tanya

In the first chapter of the Tanya the Alter Rebbe points out a seeming contradiction between a Gemara in Niddah and a Mishna in Avot, concerning the question if one should see oneself as a Rasha or ...
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277 views

Is there a “most trusted” translation for the Pirkei Avot - ethics of our fathers?

I always seem to have this issue when choosing Jewish texts. I never know if certain books are more trusted than others. I was curious if there was a version of the Pirkei Avot that is considered the ...