Thursday, 24 March 2011

Ethics of the Fathers

Pirkei Avot - Ethics of the Fathers is a collection of  short ethical statements - similar in someways to the book of proverbs. Anyway - its a gold mine of deep thought. We are currently studying bits of it ay my synagogue, and i thought i would share little bits of it here.

Avtalyon would say: Scholars, be careful with your words. For you may be exiled to a place inhabited by evil elements [who will distort your words to suit their negative purposes]. The disciples who come after you will then drink of these evil waters and be destroyed, and the Name of Heaven will be desecrated. (Pirkei Avot 1:11)

The art of all scholarly work is to try and diminish ambiguity - we study so that we can chip away at the edges of the unknown - with the wrong use of words however our attempts at doing so can result in far greater misunderstanding.

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