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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”?
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?
Judging a Stranger Favorably at the Cemetery in Tzfat
I signal her for a ride but she seems to be ignoring me. What nerve! She is sitting comfortably in her nearly empty, air-conditioned car and is patently ignoring me.
A Tale of Two Butchers
Melbourne has often been named one of the most livable cities in the world. Lesser known, but most important, is that this “shtetl” is famous for its kindness—it’s hachnasat orchim—generously hosting and caring for its guests, and for the enormous compassion that the people have for each other.
The Gift That Keeps Giving: A Genuine Smile
It’s rare that if you smile at someone, they won’t smile back at you.
Ascribing Positive Motives Can Transform Your Relationships
Develop and embellish the bit of good you do observe. In other words, seek out any glimmer of positivity in the undesirable action and expand upon it.
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.
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