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Insights

Essays and insights on the first chapter of Pirkei Avot -- Ethics of the Fathers.

Pirkei Avot, Chapter 1
A Growing Grown-Up
Do you ever feel that you still haven’t figured out what you’ll do “when you grow up”?
Five Steps to Sinai
Ethics 1:1
Humility. Devotion. Toil. Divine assistance. Practicality. The five steps necessary for anyone who wishes to approach the Torah.
Eating on the Job
Ethics 1:3
Using Torah law (to which, we are told, G-d conforms) as our criterion, what would G-d's obligations toward us be when we labor to fulfill the purpose towards which He placed us in the world?
Trust and Acceptance
Ethics 1:6
We can appreciate the connection between a mentor and a friend. But why is the lesson of judging people favorably taught in the same sentence?
Addition Through Subtraction
Ethics 1:14
In the immortal words of the famous first century sage Hillel: "If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?..." In other words: I need to look after myself; who else should? So where's the problem with selfishness? For that, we need to consider the rest of Hillel's statement...
Silence—Good or Bad?
Ethics 1:17
The ability to communicate is central to human function. Why then would the sages suggest that silence is a value worth pursuing? Isn't silence the absence of speech?
Ethics of the Fathers is a tractate of the Mishna that details the Torah's views on ethics and interpersonal relationships. Enjoy insights, audio classes and stories on these fascinating topics.