Sunday, April 15, 2007

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Pirkey Avot - Ethics of the Fathers

by Reb Nati at Mystical Paths

During the summer months it is customary to recite Pirkey Avot, The Ethics of Or Fathers (Orach Chaim 292:2). There are six chapters, one chapter per Shabbos afternoon, which we study until Rosh Hashanna. This practice begins during the Days of Omer, right after Pesach. Pirkey Avot contains moral teachings from our Tanaim and conceptionally is the receiving of rebuke from true Tzaddikim. Through these lessons a person can achieve great understanding and wisdom on how to serve Hashem properly. Such service brings the kindness of Hashem to be revealed and allows the glory of His Kingship to be elevated.

Introducing Pirkey Avot, we recite the Mishnah, "All Jews have a portion in the world to come", (Sanhedrin 90a). This is to teach us that the rebuke of a great Tzaddik is not intended to turn people away or to distance them from severing Hashem; but rather, to bring people closer to Him. The Tzaddikim are always seeking the good points that exist in every single Jew. They are the Tzaddikim and yet they call all Jews Tzaddikim. By elevating the Jewish people, they are able to guarantee them a portion in the world to come (Likutey Halakhot, Nezikin 4).

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