Questions tagged [pirke-avot-ethicsof]

The six chapters of Avot, a tractate of Mishnayot.

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Do not separate yourself from the community: what exactly is the community?

Hillel teaches in Pirke Avot (2:4): do not separate yourself from the community. I'm not a historian, but I have the impression that at the time he was writing, towns tended to have one (Jewish) ...
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15 votes
6 answers
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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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What is learning torah lishma?

In pirkei avot chapter 6 Rebbi Meir lists various benefits that will happen to one who learns "torah lishma" such as "it is revealed to him the secrets of the Torah. He becomes like an increasingly ...
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13 votes
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What's up with Rabbi Shimon ben Nesanel in Avos 2:10?

In chapter 2 of Pirkei Avos (Ethics of Our Fathers) it says that: "Rabban Yochanan the son of Zakkai had five disciples" It goes on to list their names and qualities, and then it says that R' ...
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What are the "Mishnah" and "Gemara" referenced in Pirkei Avot 5?

At the end of Pirkei Avot 5, we have a statement (of either Ben Hei Hei or R. Yehuda ben Tema --- I have two siddurim with slightly different texts): He used to say: at five years of age, the study ...
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12 votes
3 answers
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Why does the Mishna not follow its own advice?

In Avot 5:7, the Mishna states that there are 7 characteristics of a Golem (boor) and 7 characteristics of a Chacham (wise person). It then goes on to list the 7 qualities of a wise man. One of the ...
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Why is it important that God created the first pair of tongs?

It says in Pirkei Avot 5:6 that God made the first pair of tongs immediately before creation. Could not one have made tongs out of bone or wood wrapped in leather or made with a metal, such as gold, ...
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What's the connection between Avraham and Bilaam?

In chapter 5 of Pirkei Avos, it states (from Chabad.org): יט. כל מי שיש בידו שלושה דברים הללו הוא מתלמידיו של אברהם אבינו. ושלושה דברים אחרים הוא מתלמידיו של בלעם הרשע. 19. Whoever possesses the ...
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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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How could Rebbi Zeira forcibly forget his learning?

In Bava Metzia 85a it says that ר' זירא כי סליק לארעא דישראל יתיב מאה תעניתא דלשתכח גמרא בבלאה מיניה Rebbi Zeira, when he left to the land of Israel, fasted 100 times to cause himself to forget ...
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315 views

How to go about finding a personal Rav

The mishna in Avot (1:6) tells us: יהושוע בן פרחיה וניתאי הארבלי קיבלו מהם. יהושוע בן פרחיה אומר, עשה לך רב, וקנה לך חבר; והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות When living in different areas I have gone ...
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Why honor someone who teaches one thing? Say dayo lihyos k'Achisofel!

In פרק קנין תורה (read as though it were the sixth chapter of Avos during the annual, repeated reading of Avos), we have: הלא דברים קל וחומר ומה דוד מלך ישראל שלא למד מאחיתופל אלא שני דברים בלבד קראו ...
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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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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 Start Pirkei Avos With Kol Yisroel?

Why do we start off saying Pirkei Avos by first saying the Mishna from Sanhedrin "Kol Yisroel"?
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What is the reason for the specific items listed in Pirkei Avot 5:6 being created just before Shabbat?

Pirkei Avot chapter 5, mishnah 6 says: Ten things were created at twilight of Shabbat eve. These are: the mouth of the earth [that swallowed Korach]; the mouth of [Miriam's] well; the mouth of [...
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8 votes
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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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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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8 votes
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Division of Mishnayos in Pirkei Avos / Meseches Avos

In the Siddur, Pirkei Avos has a different division (in each Perek the amount of Mishnayos) than in the Mishnayos Avos. Who determined the division of the Mishnayos in the Siddur?
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7 votes
1 answer
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6 chapters of Avos in 7 weeks

Some study pirke Avos weekly through the summer, from Pesach to Rosh Hashana. Others do so only for the six Shabasos between Pesach and Shavuos, one chapter a week. I've heard the latter custom ...
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7 votes
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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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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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7 votes
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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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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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7 votes
3 answers
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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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7 votes
1 answer
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An interpretation of Shimon's "silence" in Pirkei Avot

In Chapter 1 of Pirkei Avot it's written: "17. Shimon his son said: All my days have I grown up among the wise and I have not found anything better for a man than silence. Studying Torah is not the ...
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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 ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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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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2 answers
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Do you have to judge dead people favorably?

In Avot we learn that one should judge all people favorably ("והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות"). I would like to know if that includes the deceased. Meaning, can I look back on the life of a person who is ...
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7 votes
0 answers
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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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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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6 votes
2 answers
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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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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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6 votes
2 answers
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Pirkei Avos on shabbos during mincha?

It seems clear from the Rama, MB, and other sources (as well as from most printed siddurim) that Pirkei Avos is said in the synagogue at Shabbos Mincha as part of the tefillah in the summer months, ...
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1 answer
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What does מעלה עליו הכתוב mean in this Mishnah?

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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6 votes
2 answers
319 views

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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6 votes
0 answers
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Korach, Chukas, Balak - The mouth of the earth, well & donkey

I noticed something this week when reciting Pirkei Avos... In Perek 5, Mishna 6 - the mishna famously says: עֲשָׂרָה דְבָרִים נִבְרְאוּ בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת בֵּין הַשְּׁמָשׁוֹת, וְאֵלּוּ הֵן, פִּי ...
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Source in Arabic for "ושמע האמת ממי שאמרה"

Rambam says "ושמע האמת ממי שאמרה" ("Accept the truth from whomever says it") in Shmonah Perakim. Does anyone know what he said in the original Judeo Arabic?
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5 votes
2 answers
247 views

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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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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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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4 answers
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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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5 votes
1 answer
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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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1 answer
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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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Rashi on Tractate Avot

As mentioned here the commentary attributed to Rashi on Avot may not have been authored by him. This is stated by R. Yaakov Emden in the introduction to "Ets Avot". Which other sources state that ...
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3 answers
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Are seemingly hashkafik texts like Pirkei Avot and Rambam Hilchot Deot halachikly binding?

A surface read of Pirkei Avot and Hilchot De'ot would suggest that their contents appears to be primarily advice as to how one should proceed over and above the minimal halachik requirements. ...
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5 answers
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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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5 votes
2 answers
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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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5 votes
1 answer
357 views

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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0 answers
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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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