“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” These well-known words of Rabbi Hillel are brief and packed with meaning, but they do not stand alone in our tradition. They come from a tractate of the Mishnah known as “Pirke Avot,” a brief book that has long had an importance to Jewish life far exceeding its size; for centuries it was the most widely read Jewish book. Written in Mishnaic Hebrew, it is at once accessible and enigmatic. This session of six meetings will cover the first of the five chapters of the tractate.
We will be guided principally by “Pirke Avot: A Modern Commentary on Jewish Ethics,” Leonard Kravitz and Kerry Olitzky, which you may wish to purchase for the course.
Another fine translation and commentary is Ethics of the Talmud: Sayings of the Fathers – Pirke Aboth by R.Travers Herford from 1962 is still available.
Email Jenny for the full Zoom details.