Thoughts on Pirkei Avot

The Yoke of the World

Rabbi Nechunya ben Hakanah said: Whoever takes upon himself the yoke of Torah, from him will be taken away the yoke of government and the yoke of worldly care; but whoever throws off the yoke of Torah, upon him will be laid the yoke of government and the yoke of worldly care. (m.Avot 3:6)

$24 In A Day

Rabbi Chaninah ben Chachinai said: He who stays awake at night and goes on his way alone and turns his heart to idle thoughts is liable for his life. (m.Avot 3:5)

The Holy Altar of Table Fellowship

Rabbi Shimon said: If three have eaten at one table and have not spoken over it words of Torah, it is as though they had eaten of the sacrifices of the dead, for it is written (Isaiah 28:8) “All tables are covered with filthy vomit; no place is clean.” But if three have eaten at one table and have spoken over it words of Torah, it is as if they had eaten from the table of God, for it is written (Ezekiel 41:22) “He said to me, ‘This is the table that stands before the LORD.’ ” (m.Avot 3:4)

Echoes Of The Heart

Rabbi Chananiah ben Teradion said: If two sit together and no words of Torah are interchanged between them, theirs is the session of the scornful, as it is written (Psalm 1:1) “Nor sit in the seat of scoffers.” But when two sit together and words of Torah pass between them, the Divine Presence rests between them, as it is written (Malachi 3:16) “Then those who revered the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who revered the Lord and thought on his name.” (m.Avot 3:3)

Righteous Government

Rabbi Chanina, an assistant of the high priest said: Pray for the welfare of the government, since but for fear of it men would swallow each other alive. (m.Avot 3:2)

A Corpse With A Purpose?

Akavya ben Mahalalel said: Reflect upon three things and you will not come into the hands sin. Know from where you came and where you are going and before whom you are destined to give account and reckoning. (m.Avot 3:1)

Reward of the Righteous

[Rabbi Tarfon] used to say: If you have studied much in the Torah much reward will be given you, for faithful is your employer who shall pay you the reward of your labor. And know that the reward for the righteous shall be in the time to come. (m.Avot 2:21)

Avot 2:20 - Urgent Business

Rabbi Tarfon said: The day is short, the task is great, the laborers are lazy, the wage is abundant and the master is urgent. (m.Avot 2:20)

Avot 2:19 - Work That Brings Reward

Rabbi Elazar said … Know before whom you toil; and know that your employer can be relied upon to pay you the wage of your labor. (m.Avot 2:19)

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