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Questions tagged [pirke-avot-ethicsof]

The six chapters of Avot, a tractate of Mishnayot.

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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 midrashic source is: ...
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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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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 ...
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Discrepancies in the Forty-Eight Qualities of Torah

The "sixth chapter" of Avot lists forty-eight qualities with which Torah is acquired. גדולה תורה יותר מן הכהונה ומן המלכות, שהמלכות נקנית בשלשים מעלות, והכהנה בעשרים וארבע, והתורה נקנית בארבעים ...
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Why does the sixth Perek of Avos begin ברוך שבחר בהם ובמשנתם

שנו חכמים בלשון המשנה, ברוך שבחר בהם ובמשנתם Our Sages taught in the words of the Mishnah; blessed is He Who chose them and their Mishnayos In all standard Siddurim that I’ve seen, this phrase ...
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Who added the sixth chapter of Avot?

The tractate Avot consists of five chapters. At some point, a sixth chapter was "added". This sixth chapter is an adaptation from the eighth (or sixth, depending on edition) chapter of the 'minor' ...
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Can a woman engage in excessive conversation with a man?

chapter one of Pirkei Avot states “And do not engage in excessive conversation with a woman. This is said even regarding one's own wife--how much more so regarding the wife of another.” does this ...
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Where can I find an audio recording of Ethics of the Fathers 1:14 read in Hebrew?

Where can I find an audio recording of Ethics of the Fathers 1:14 read in Hebrew (closer to the form of Hebrew it was written in and not in Modern Hebrew, if possible)? PS: As am sure you can tell, ...
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Linking two sources on Ben Zoma and richness

I recently came across a report of Ben Zoma being rich, and it made me wonder whether there's any relationship between that and his famous definition of "richness" in Avot. A baraita quoted in the ...
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Pirkei Avot 2:1 - What does “major” vs. “minor” mean in terms of Rabbinical vs. Torah mitzvot?

Follow up to this M.Y. question. In summary, Pirkei Avot says that we should not compare "major" vs. "minor" mitzvoth for we don't know the reward given to mitzvoth. Frequently, we actually DO ...
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Connection between 48 ways to acquire Torah and Sefira

It seems to be assumed (and I'll give an example in a second) that there is some connection between the 48 ways to acquire Torah (see the so-called sixth chapter of Avot) and the time of the year when ...
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Can a male rabbi teach Torah lessons to a woman?

Assuming all laws of yichud are complied with, are there additional concerns arising from a male rabbi teaching Torah classes to a female student? Does the answer to 1 differ if they are both married,...
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Pirkei Avot 2:1 - What does “major” and “minor” mean in terms of mitzvot?

Avot 2:1 והוי זהיר במצווה קלה כבחמורה שאין אתה יודע מתן שכרן של מצוות והוי מחשב הפסד מצווה כנגד שכרה ושכר עבירה כנגד הפסדה Be as careful with a minor mitzvah as with a major one, for you do ...
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Vilna Gaon - Mitzvah Goreres Mitzvah

I once heard (I do not recall from who or where) that The Vilna Gaon once remarked that the way to determine if one's actions were in fact a good deed, one must look at the after effects. The Gr"a is ...
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How does one develop a Lev Tov

In Pirkei Avot 2:9 it's Rabbi Elazar Ben Arach who states that a Lev Tov (good heart) is the greatest good - the best "acquisition" - or best trait for a person to acquire, or which should be the goal ...
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Who is the author of the 5th parek of pirkei avot?

Most of pirkei avot is very specific about attribution of various ethical teachings, with the notable exception of the 5th parek, mishnayot 1-19, which are all anonymous. Is there a tradition of who ...
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Good v.s Bad Heart

In Pirkei Avot 2:9 it's Rabbi Elazar Ben Arach who states that a Lev Tov (good heart) is the greatest good - the best "acquisition" (or best trait for a person to acquire, or which should be the goal ...
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Does the rule in Pirkei Avot 3:2 apply to evil governments?

In Avot 3:2, Rav Chanania says that we should pray for the welfare of the government. For, if it weren't for the fact that people fear the government (afraid of breaking the law), people would swallow ...
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Why does אבות cite Gen. 9, not Gen. 1, for נברא בצלם?

Avos, chapter 3, reads in part: הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר חָבִיב אָדָם שֶׁנִּבְרָא בְצֶלֶם חִבָּה יְתֵרָה נוֹדַעַת לוֹ שֶׁנִּבְרָא בְצֶלֶם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כִּי בְּצֶלֶם א׳ עָשָׂה אֶת הָאָדָם Sefaria's ...
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What are the different “versions” of Pirkei Avot?

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 ...
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What are the 10 utterances in Pirkei Avot 5:1

Pirkei Avot (Chapters of the Fathers) 5:1 says that the world was created with 10 "utterances" (מאמרות). Both Rash"I and Rav Ovadiah Mibartenura explain the term מאמרות to mean that it refers to the ...
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Maaser Kesafim and Al Tarbeh

There are a variety of opinions regarding the halachic status of the obligation of Maaser Kesafim. It is at least a minhag (possibly Minhag Yisroel) which may have the force of a neder for those ...
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Kaddish DeRabonon after Pirkei Oveis in minyan

In our shul after Mincha on Shabbos we usually read Pirkei Oveis while there is minyan. But we do not read Kaddish DeRabonon after it, even if someone recited last line("Rabbi Chananya Ben Akashya...")...
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Pirkei Avot 5:17 - Did they mean Bet Hillel and Bet Shamai?

In Pirkei Avot 5:17, when citing an example of a controversy that is for the sake of Heaven, the Mishnah uses the terms "Hillel and Shamai". Many translations that I have seen - including Aish.com and ...
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Pirkei Avot 5:17 - Defining controversies for the sake of Heaven

Pirkei Avot 5:17, gives examples of an argument for the sake of heaven which is Shamai and Hillel. One not for the sake of Heaven is Korach and his congregants. Perhaps I am picking on the grammar, ...
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Jewish-specific books that respond to atheism

Aside from there being (relatively) few online debates by eminent Jewish scholars with atheists, what would be considered recommended reading for a religious Jew who is interested in learning how to ...
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The 5th Commandment - Who should be financially supported first - children or parents?

During a recent Pirkei Avot shi'ur in my synagogue, our rabbi discussed two concepts. Jewish Virtual Library citing of Talmud, Tractate Kiddushin 31B Our Rabbis taught: What is "revere" and what ...
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Rabbi “shopping”

Is there any explicit halachah against going to different rabbanim to find the most lenient one for a specific shaylah? I know it says in pirkei avos "asei l'cho rav", but what if you don't have a ...
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Do the forty-eight qualities with which Torah is acquired correspond to the days of the counting of the omer?

Pirkei Avot 6:6 includes a list of forty-eight (48) qualities with which Torah is acquired: Study, listening, verbalizing, comprehension of the heart, awe, fear, humility, joy, purity, serving the ...
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Is one suppose to engaged or married eighteen years old?

It says in Avos (5:21), "At eighteen years old לַחֻפָּה." What does לַחֻפָּה mean? Most people translate it to mean for the [marriage] canopy, [enter] the marriage canopy or enters the wedding canopy....
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Change in meaning of the word “midah”

In the Torah, the word מדה means "measurement". Example: Exodus 26:2 (Sefaria translation) אֹ֣רֶךְ ׀ הַיְרִיעָ֣ה הָֽאַחַ֗ת שְׁמֹנֶ֤ה וְעֶשְׂרִים֙ בָּֽאַמָּ֔ה וְרֹ֙חַב֙ אַרְבַּ֣ע בָּאַמָּ֔ה ...
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For what purpose do you need a Rav?

The Mishnah in Avos (Perek 1 Mishnah 6) teaches: יהושוע בן פרחיה וניתאי הארבלי קיבלו מהם. יהושוע בן פרחיה אומר, עשה לך רב, וקנה לך חבר; והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות A person should "make for ...
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What does Avot 6:6 mean when it invokes redemption?

The last element of the list of forty-eight habits of Torah-acquisitive people in Avot 6:6 is, unlike the previous forty-seven, presented with a statement about its particular positive consequences: ...
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Commentary on Pirkei Avot often credited to Rashi in English?

Does anybody know where I can find Pirkei Avot with (the commentaries often credit to) Rashi in English? I searched all over the Internet and I couldn't find it.
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What does R. Yehudah mean in Avot 2:1 when he states that we do not know the reward of mitzvot?

Pirkei Avot 2:1 (excerpt): רַבִּי אוֹמֵר... וֶהֱוֵי זָהִיר בְּמִצְוָה קַלָּה כְּבַחֲמוּרָה, שֶׁאֵין אַתָּה יוֹדֵעַ מַתַּן שְׂכָרָן שֶׁל מִצְוֹת. My translation: Rabbi [Yehuda haNasi] said: ......
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Getting married at 18

The Mishna in Avos says that one should get married at 18 , is there a reason for this particular age ?
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Seeking a recommendation of a version of Pirkei Avot accessible to a novice

One of my non-Jewish co-workers has been fascinated with Jewish ethics, and I assume that while searching on the web, he discovered "Ethics of the Fathers". He's read a few adages and has discussed ...