JBlog Carnival Updates, HH, KCC & JPIX

Friday, October 8, 2010

Proper Use of Strength, Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers

On Wednesday evening, after an inspiring morning in Matan, I traveled with neighbors to nearby Eli for a shiur by Miram Wolf, which was in memory of a friend's mother.  When Miriam had lived in Eli, she gave us classes in TaNaCh, Bible, and we were very excited to have the opportunity to hear her again.


This time she took a mishne from Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers, V, 20.

כ. יהודה בן תימא אומר:
הוי עז כנמר; וקל כנשר; ורץ כצבי; וגבור כארילעשות רצון אביך שבשמים.
הוא היה אומר:
עז פנים לגיהנם; ובושת פנים לגן עדן.
יהי רצון מלפניך ה' אלהינו ואלהי אבותינו שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו, ותן חלקנו בתורתך.
20. Judah the son of Teima would say: Be bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, fleeting as a deer and mighty as a lion to do the will of your Father in Heaven. He would also say: The brazen--to purgatory; the bashful*--to paradise.
May it be Your will, L-rd our G-d and G-d of our fathers, that the Holy Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days; and grant us our portion in Your Torah.

We spent the evening trying to define the terms.  The question concerned the word עז, oz, strength/daring which is used in contrasting positive and negative instructions.

We are told to be as עז, oz, strength/daring  as a leopard, but the phrase עז פנים oz-pannim, brazen is negative, leading to hell.  The opposite is ובושת פנים boshet-pannim which they translate as "bashful," which we translated/explained as "humble before G-d." And that is supposed to be the way to Heaven.

What is this עז oz?  What is the message here?

I'm a political commentator, observer of people and events.  I also believe very strongly in G-d and the Jewish religion.

I think that this mishne, law, summarizes very well what I've been trying to say on Shiloh Musings for a long time.

In order for us to be redeemed:
יהי רצון מלפניך ה' אלהינו ואלהי אבותינו שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו, ותן חלקנו בתורתך.
May it be Your will, L-rd our G-d and G-d of our fathers, that the Holy Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days; and grant us our portion in Your Torah.

In order for this to happen, we must stand up strong, fearless and daring, like a mother lion protecting her cubs, to defend our Land and our People and our rights.  But at the same time we must be humble before G-d and not rewrite His Laws, nor may we adopt foreign and perverse moralities and ideologies.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov!

5 comments:

yoni said...

one of your best posts ever. maybe you should talk less politics and more torah, i don't know. i have (believe it or not) no criticisms to make on this whatsoever. you surprise me. shabbat shalom and chodesh tov.

Batya said...

yoni, thanks
It's a compliment, right? More Torah? Interesting...

yoni said...

yes, it's a compliment. your political stuff is always interesting, too, though i can always argue the fine details. do what you like, it's a nice blog and i'm proud that a neighbor and friend of mine is doing it. when i disagree with something you're saying, it's a testimony to the fact that we aren't facists or totalitarians or whatever here, rather this is what we do- as jews.

Shy Guy said...

Thanks for a excellent to the point DT.

Batya said...

yoni, we are pretty tolerant, aren't we...

shy, I'm glad you like it. Thanks, Shabbat Shalom and Shavua Tov