JIB Awards and Pirkei Avos

The JIB (Jewish and Israeli Blogger) Award nominations are open. The awards bring an awareness of some of the great Jewish blogs out there. If there are any particular posts you like, you can nominate them for the Best Jewish Religious Post and the Best Torah Post Nominations.

We’re not such big fans of the word Best. Best implies comparison and in general comparisons are not proper from a Torah perspective with some limited exceptions like Kinas Soferim. The job of each Jew is to take their unique heredity, environment and circumstances and get as close to Hashem as possible. Comparisons have no role there except for each of us becoming a better Jew today than we were tomorrow.

The structure of awards are such that comparisons are inherent. In this particular case striving for “Best” will hopefully bring about some good and Beyond BT contributor Akiva is one of the organizers of the Awards and the Awards provide a means for Jews to unite around a common project. So, we’re throwing our hat in the ring and when the time comes we’ll softly encourage you to NOMINATE AND VOTE FOR BEYOND BT, for the good of the Klal of course.

It’s week one for Pirkei Avos and you can download an English translation here (Translation by Rabbi Dovid Rosenfeld from his commentary at http://torah.org/learning/pirkei-avos). For those who don’t like to download PDFs, here is Chapter One:

Chapter 1
1. “Moses received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it Joshua. Joshua transmitted it to the Elders, the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets transmitted it to the Men of the Great Assembly. They [the Men of the Great Assembly] said three things: Be deliberate in judgment, raise many students, and make a protective fence for the Torah.”
2. “Shimon the Righteous was of the last survivors of the Men of the Great Assembly. He used to say, the world is based upon three things: on Torah, on service [of G-d], and on acts of kindness.”
3. “Antignos of Socho received the transmission from Shimon the Righteous. He used to say, do not be as servants who serve the Master to receive reward. Rather, be as servants who serve the Master not to receive reward. And let the fear of heaven be upon you.”
4. “Yossi ben (son of) Yo’ezer of Ts’raidah and Yossi ben Yochanan of Jerusalem received the transmission from them. Yossi ben Yo’ezer used to say, let your house be a meeting place for the sages, cleave to the dust of their feet, and drink thirstily their words.”
5. “Yossi the son of Yochanan of Jerusalem said: Let your house be open wide, and let the poor be members of your household, and do not talk excessively with women. This was said regarding one’s own wife, certainly with another’s wife. Based on this the Sages have said, one who talks excessively with women causes evil to himself, wastes time from Torah study, and will eventually inherit Gehinnom (Hell).”
6. “Yehoshua the son of Perachia and Nittai of Arbel received the transmission from them (the Rabbis mentioned in Mishna 4). Yehoshua the son of Perachia said, make for yourself a Rabbi, acquire for yourself a friend, and judge everyone favorably.”
7. “Nittai of Arbel said, distance yourself from a bad neighbor, do not befriend a wicked person, and do not despair of punishment.”
8. “Yehuda the son of Tabbai and Shimon the son of Shatach received the transmission from them (the scholars mentioned in Mishna 6). Yehuda the son of Tabbai said, do not act as an adviser to judges. When the litigants are standing before you they should be in your eyes as guilty. When they are dismissed from before you they should be in your eyes as innocent, provided they have accepted the judgment.”
9. “Shimon the son of Shatach said, examine witnesses thoroughly, and be careful with your words, lest through them they learn to lie.”
10. “Shemaya and Avtalyon received the tradition from them (the scholars mentioned in mishna 8). Shemaya said, love work, despise high position, and do not become too close to the authorities.”
11. “Avtalyon said: ‘Sages, be careful with your words lest you deserve to be exiled and are exiled to a place of bad waters. The students who come after you will drink of these waters and die and God’s Name will be desecrated.’ “
12. “Hillel and Shammai received the transmission from them (the scholars mentioned in Mishna 10). Hillel said, be of the students of Aharon, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving people and bringing them closer to Torah.”
13. “He (Hillel) used to say, one who seeks a name loses his name, one who does not increase decreases, one who does not learn deserves death, and one who makes use of the crown [of Torah] will pass away.”
14. “He (Hillel) used to say, if I am not for me who is for me, if I am for myself what am I, and if not now when.”
15. “Shammai said, make your Torah study fixed, say little and do much, and receive everyone with a cheerful countenance.”
16. “Rabban Gamliel said, make for yourself a Rabbi, remove yourself from doubt, and do not give extra tithes due to estimation.”
17. “Shimon his [Rabban Gamliel’s] son said, all my life I have been raised among the Sages, and I have not found anything better for oneself than silence. Study is not the main thing but action. All who talk excessively bring about sin.”
18. “Rabbi Shimon the son of Gamliel said, on three things does the world endure – justice, truth and peace, as the verse says (Zechariah 8:16), ‘Truth and judgments of peace judge in your gates.’ ”

13 comments on “JIB Awards and Pirkei Avos

  1. It is so BT of us not to like the word “best.” Why can’t we be like those life-affirming Ivy League colleges and promote rabid competition for besterness, besticity and bestociousness?

    Best is not to talk too much to any person who is going to say the same amount of words, or more, no matter what you say, and you’ll never get to sleep. This may or may not apply to one’s spouse.

  2. Bob Miller, a bright linear blogger with the occasional good runaway metaphor (especially the synagogue cell phone symphony complete with time check systems) recently dished out the following mystical medicine via comment capsule of a different thread :

    “Are you objecting to the existence of challenges? If so, how would you make them go away? Don’t you think there are right and wrong ways to deal with challenges as they arise?”

    This piece of copy and pasted out of context comment has been brought to you in part by the “cast thy bread upon the water and after many (or a few) days it shall return” comeback foundation for the promoting of “for teshuva” artfully tart retorts and re- washed upon the shore slogans for spiritual giving.

    According to Rabbi Jaded “challenges” in this context refers to a genuine not understanding on Jaded’s end of how sage advice could be screaming male chauvinism in polite roundabout hebrew. A simple reading of the text clearly states and connotates this.16 different politically correct and marriage keeping intact re definings from various holy persons albeit comforting are not always readily available commodities to a given end reader.

    Rabbi Jaded has no answers for those series of linear questions in its original context.

    She’s also not sure where ure reading “against teshuva” on this forum.

  3. Rav S.R. Hirsch ZT”l said the verse was to discourage “idle talk and gossip” with women, not productive conversation. This is also good advice for bloggers and office workers of all genders.

  4. David Schalheim, thanx for the lost in translation correction yeah for some reason I read “listening” instead of “talking”. Maybe that “converse” definition was still preprogrammed in the neuronal circuitry system’s moldy backup files of jewish education gone by. In any case “conversing” would connotate both sides of a conversation or lack thereof being the topic of avoidance.
    Talking and listening.
    Not sure where you read “less talking AND more listening”.
    Anyway this sage advice is right in sync with males thanking G-d for not creating them as females.
    I know arguing about this stuff is basically juvenile jadedism but that still doesnt make it less male chauvinistic oriented.

  5. >>That Ethics of the Fathers verse five part about “less listening to the women”

    JT, that is not translation that fits the text. “Al Tarbeh sicha im haisha” means “do not coverse alot with a woman.” If anything–it encourages the man to do less talking and more listening!

  6. >>wife
    April 14th, 2007 23:47 3 Verse 5 has always bothered me.>>

    The key to understand this is to know what is meant by, “and do not talk *excessively* with women.”

    Clearly, to fulfill the emotional needs of one’s life partner and create a loving, lasting relationship is not excessive. Any Rav I’ve ever heard of has always counseled to speak more to one’s wife, never less.

    I would define “excessive” as the Chofetz Chaim’s example in Sefer Chofetz Chaim, where the husband unnecessarily relates the argument he had at shul or work to his wife, dragging her into the dispute and causing all kinds of lashon hara, machlokes, and ultimately a loss of respect in his wife’s eyes.

  7. That Ethics of the Fathers verse five part about “less listening to the women” is begging for some second guessing and wide eyed wondering. Those covert “its all about the male” oriented notions and overt chauvinistic connotations have always niggled at & reinvigorated my fading sense of feminism and the concept of Equal Opportunity Existing. I dont believe you can get any more brutal with those less than lovely suggestions for wifely loving/ marriaging and lofty living.I’m not sure why this sage is clearly promoting husband based narcissistic personality disorder & male chauvinistic tendencies with his sage suggestions of dont listen to your wife and the females that happen to chance upon your life.

    So does this suggestion come before or after the “love thy neighbor” commandment ?
    And what exactly are his sage suggestions for the wife and other women in his life ? Always or Never listen to your husband and or all men with sage advice/rules and suggestions in conjuction with all your wifely/motherly and womanly obligations or Hell will be preparing a special space for all wasted acts of care based altruism and selfless listening in vain …………

    So can we infer from this sage commandment using our lofty sense of binah that the same way men should cut down on and limit their listening time with wives / female friends and female rabbis ….. females should also cut down on and limit their listening time with their husbands/ male friends and male rabbis’s.
    Other than promoting feminism/male chauvinism and related activities ,i’m not so sure that this is the stuff merry marriages/meaningful relationships and friendships are made of.

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