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Insights

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

The Ethics of Envy
Ethics 4:1
Call it the green-eyed monster. Call it spite, pettiness, insecurity. It's not a very satisfying way to live. How does one rid oneself of envy?
How Strong Are You?
Ethics 4:1
The message is clear: dealing with and changing negative behavior is extremely difficult. But why does discipline and self-control need so much strength?
The Joy in the Struggle
Ethics 4:1
As I sank into the driver’s seat on my commute home, I began my daily personal prayer to G‑d, and opened, rather ungratefully, with my list of grievances about how I had survived yet another stressful day . . .
Pack Lighter and Take What Truly Matters
Will the collection that I’ve amassed in the chamber warrant my entry into the banquet hall? Am I living my life as though I’m a traveler passing through?
My Spiritual Photo Album
Ethics 4:2
I’m building my spiritual photo album. Hopefully, all the pictures will be high resolution, and all graced with genuine smiles. But perhaps I’m missing out on something . . .
Avot with Commentary
Ethics 4:2
Ben Azzai would say: Run to pursue a minor mitzvah, and flee from a transgression. For a mitzvah brings another mitzvah, and a transgression brings another transgression...
On the Essence of Pleasure
Ethics 4:17
The world, the sages tell us, is made of pleasure. Pleasure condenses and contracts and becomes Wisdom. Wisdom condenses further and becomes Understanding...
What My 8-Year-Old Taught Me About Happiness
As children, we sometimes make the mistake of thinking that we have to be our parents.
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.