Pirkei Avot Lesson 3
Sandy Kress


Ethics of the Fathers – Lesson Plan – Session Three 

I. Re- Cap and Introduction

II. Verses to Consider and Discuss

A. Shemaya says: Love work; despise positions of power; and do not become overly familiar with government. 1:10


1. We get that work is important, but why love work? All work? Indeed, what does it mean to love work?

2. a. Why should we despise positions of power, and why should we not become overly familiar with government?

b. What if we could help make lives better for people by doing so? How might we still even then see and follow wise caution in this advice?

3. Why do you think the sage pairs love of work with cautions about getting too close to government?

B. Hillel says:  Be among the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving people and bringing them closer to Torah (Bible)? 1:12


1. Let’s review a little history of, and commentary on, Aaron, and ponder this question: Why and how should we be disciples of Aaron?

2. Why do you think Hillel advises both loving and pursuing peace?

3. Explain how and why Hillel moves from loving peace and pursuing peace to bringing them closer to Bible?

C. Hillel was accustomed to say: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me. And if I am (only) for myself, what am I? 1:14


1. On the surface, what do you think Hillel is teaching?

2. Twerski teaches that this is fundamentally about self-awareness at a deeper level. Can you see how that might be? Explain.

3. Others say it’s about self-discipline. Yet others, about being concerned for the spiritual welfare of others. Still others think it’s about the urgency of caring for our own soul. Do any of these ideas resonate with you? How?

III. Conclusion – what are our takeaways from study today?

Pirkei Avot Lesson 3

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