A Bissel Torah – 05/07/2020

We have been starting Shabbat together every week with a Kabbalat Shabbat service that can be found on our Facebook page, followed by a Pirkei Avot discussion. I hope you join us for the service, and then tune in for a discussion of one of the mishnayot of Pirkei Avot.

Pirkei Avot, the Teachings of Our Sages, is a collection that is found in the Mishnah. The teachings focus mostly on ethical principles, and they open a window for us into the different philosophies animating the rabbis that lived in the first two centuries of the Common Era. The Pirkei Avot starts with a Mishnah that describes the transmission of intellectual authority from Moses to the members of the Great Assembly. With this opening Mishnah, we are invited to participate in the transmission of our tradition, ready to add our opinions and our thinking to the thoughts of the sages. In the many years in which we have been discussing these passages, we have had hearty discussions, sometimes agreeing with mishnayot, sometimes disagreeing with them, all the time engaging and bringing our creativity to the interpretation of these passages. We are now on chapter 5, a chapter that organizes experiences through numbers. The first number is 10. We learned that the world was created with ten utterances, that there were ten generations between Adam and Noah, ten generations between Noah and Abraham, ten trials for Abraham, ten miracles and plagues in Egypt, and ten times when the Israelites tried God’s patience. Tomorrow we will study Mishnah 7, which text you will find below. I hope you will join us for Kabbalat Shabbat, and after it, around 6:45pm, you will join us for a discussion!

Pirkei Avot, 5:7
Ten miracles were performed for our ancestors in the (Jerusalem) Temple:
no woman miscarried from the smell of the sacrificial meat; the sacrificial meat never became putrid; no fly was ever seen in the slaughterhouse; the High Priest never became ritually impure on Yom Kippur; the rains never extinguished the fires of the woodpile; no wind dispersed the column of smoke; no defect was found in the omer, the two loaves, or the showbread; the people stood pressed together, yet knelt in ease; no scorpion or serpent ever injured anyone in Jerusalem; no one complained, “It is too crowded for me to lodge overnight in Jerusalem.”

Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89787639907?pwd=SkJxbUpzYlE0OUllaWVGRGV1UEVudz09
Meeting ID: 897 8763 9907
Password: 027012

Rabbi Lia Bass

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