(Pirkay Avot, Chapt. 1)
1. [27:15] Moshe asks God to appoint a new leader for the Israelites, who would lead after Moshe dies. In addressing God, Moshe calls Him “God of the spirits of all flesh”. What is the meaning of this description of God, and why specifically at this point does Moshe use this description?
2. [Pirkay Avot 1:1] “Moshe received the Torah at Sinai, and passed it to Yehoshua, and Yehoshua passed it…” Why doesn’t the Mishna say that Yehoshua received it from Moshe, and the elders received it from Jehoshua etc.?
3. [Pirkej Awot 1:6] “… and judge each according to his merits.” This statement is usually understood in this way that when there is doubt concerning someone’s actions, then you have to assume that this person has acted accordingly. Rabbi Nachman understands, however, that sentence in such a way that if you suspect that someone committed an unworthy act, you should look deeper into this man and find the spark of Holiness and goodness that is deeply hidden. Does the first opinion not agree with the opinion of R. Nachman? Does R. Nachman not agree with the first opinion?
4. [Pirkay Avot 1:6] “…judge every person to the side of merit.” If we are doubtful about whether a person did the right thing or not, we should assume that the person did the right thing. It would be more truthful to leave open the possibility that the person did not do the right thing. Why are we advised to judge every person in a positive way?
5. [Pirkay Avot 1:6-7] “Distance yourself from a bad neighbour.” [1:12] “Be one of the students of Aaron–love peace, pursue peace, love people and draw them close to Torah”. Isn’t there a contradiction here? If one should distance oneself from bad neighbours, how can one draw them close to Torah?
“Search for God when He can be found (Yeshaya 55:6)”—the initiative for the search rests entirely with man…The path to God is not a highway, but rather a narrow winding and challenging road.
–R. Y. D. Soloveitchik, 1903-1993, USA.
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Rivkah Rochel bat Ya’akov haLevi and Chaya Kornberg, and Yechiel Eliezer ben Yitzchok Meir and Rochel Laya Kornberg
And this study page is also dedicated to the memory cof Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker