Pirkei Avot - For Reading and Discussion

For discussion of post-biblical Hebrew texts and/or comparison to biblical Hebrew structure and lexis.
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Jason Hare
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Re: Pirkei Avot - For Reading and Discussion

Post by Jason Hare »

Thinking about the attempt to deemphasize the Temple priesthood, what about the verse right after this one?
שִׁמְעוֹן הַצַּדִּיק... הָיָה אוֹמֵר... הָעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד... עַל הָעֲבוֹדָה....
Simon the Just... used to say..., “The world stands... on the temple service....”
This comes from Pirkei Avot 1:2. Why would they not downplay the importance of the temple service (הָעֲבוֹדָה) in the world, if their goal were to take emphasis off of the priesthood and the temple?
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יוֹדֵ֣עַ צַ֭דִּיק נֶ֣פֶשׁ בְּהֶמְתּ֑וֹ וְֽרַחֲמֵ֥י רְ֝שָׁעִ֗ים אַכְזָרִֽי׃
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Jason Hare
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Re: Pirkei Avot - For Reading and Discussion

Post by Jason Hare »

Glenn Dean wrote: Fri Apr 14, 2023 11:32 am the first thing that came to mind was "is it possible the thinking was that the mountain was thought of as God?? In the same way the "burning bush" was God - so it was the Mountain that gave the commandments to Moses????
I’m not familiar with any verse saying that the burning bush was God, only that God appeared in the bush as a burning fire. It’s interesting that there was a fire in the bush but that the bush was “not consumed” (אֵינֶ֫נּוּ אֻכָּל) in Exodus 3:2, whereas God is called “a consuming fire” (אֵשׁ אֹכְלָה) in Deuteronomy 4:24. It is surprising that the consuming fire did not consume the bush.
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יוֹדֵ֣עַ צַ֭דִּיק נֶ֣פֶשׁ בְּהֶמְתּ֑וֹ וְֽרַחֲמֵ֥י רְ֝שָׁעִ֗ים אַכְזָרִֽי׃
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Glenn Dean
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Re: Pirkei Avot - For Reading and Discussion

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Jason Hare wrote: Fri Apr 14, 2023 6:57 pm Thinking about the attempt to deemphasize the Temple priesthood, what about the verse right after this one?
שִׁמְעוֹן הַצַּדִּיק... הָיָה אוֹמֵר... הָעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד... עַל הָעֲבוֹדָה....
Simon the Just... used to say..., “The world stands... on the temple service....”
This comes from Pirkei Avot 1:2. Why would they not downplay the importance of the temple service (הָעֲבוֹדָה) in the world, if their goal were to take emphasis off of the priesthood and the temple?
Nice! Yes, I agree, no way the priesthood could be diminished (by NOT being mentioned in verse 1) given verse 2 and 'Temple Service' being foundational.
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Jason Hare
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Re: Pirkei Avot - For Reading and Discussion

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Is there anything else that you noticed from the verse that you thought was significant?
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יוֹדֵ֣עַ צַ֭דִּיק נֶ֣פֶשׁ בְּהֶמְתּ֑וֹ וְֽרַחֲמֵ֥י רְ֝שָׁעִ֗ים אַכְזָרִֽי׃
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Glenn Dean
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Re: Pirkei Avot - For Reading and Discussion

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One other thing would be the "fence around the Torah", which to me means "don't change it, transmit it as it is". BUT yet verse 1:1 seems to be changing the Torah (namely it contradicts Deut 31:9). Also interesting it says to put a fence around the Torah, as if to diminish the rest of the Tanach - should we not put a fence around Psalms, Samuel, ....
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Re: Pirkei Avot - For Reading and Discussion

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Glenn Dean wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 11:11 am One other thing would be the "fence around the Torah", which to me means "don't change it, transmit it as it is". BUT yet verse 1:1 seems to be changing the Torah (namely it contradicts Deut 31:9). Also interesting it says to put a fence around the Torah, as if to diminish the rest of the Tanach - should we not put a fence around Psalms, Samuel, ....
Well, what it means is that you choose more stringency beyond the actual commandment in order to keep people far from transgression. If the commandment is to not boil a kid in its mother’s milk, then you make a fence around the commandment by prohibiting any mixing of meat with dairy products. The separation between meat and dairy is a fence around the actual commandment. The commandment is called דְּאוֹרָ֫יְתָא in Aramaic, meaning “of the Torah.” The fence is called דְּרַבָּנַן, meaning “of the rabbis.” There is more leniency with rabbinic prohibitions than with Torah injunctions, but both are treated very seriously.
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Glenn Dean
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Re: Pirkei Avot - For Reading and Discussion

Post by Glenn Dean »

thanxs - that's most likely what is meant by "fence". I've heard of that "fence" but in another light - "stay two steps away from sin" (so stay away from anything that even puts you "1 step away from sin". So, in some ways, you are to put a fence around those things that "are 1 step away from sin")
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Re: Pirkei Avot - For Reading and Discussion

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Glenn Dean wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 4:50 pm thanxs - that's most likely what is meant by "fence". I've heard of that "fence" but in another light - "stay two steps away from sin" (so stay away from anything that even puts you "1 step away from sin". So, in some ways, you are to put a fence around those things that "are 1 step away from sin")
That’s a good illustration of the principle.
Jason Hare
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יוֹדֵ֣עַ צַ֭דִּיק נֶ֣פֶשׁ בְּהֶמְתּ֑וֹ וְֽרַחֲמֵ֥י רְ֝שָׁעִ֗ים אַכְזָרִֽי׃
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Re: Pirkei Avot - For Reading and Discussion

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How about the next verse from the chapter?

Pirkei Avot 1:2
שִׁמְעוֹן הַצַּדִּיק הָיָה מִשְּׁיָרֵי כְנֶסֶת הַגְּדוֹלָה
 הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר
  עַל שְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים הָעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד
   עַל הַתּוֹרָה
   וְעַל הָעֲבוֹדָה
   וְעַל גְּמִילוּת חֲסָדִים׃
Any comments or thoughts about this passage, beyond what we mentioned above? Unfamiliar words? Anything unusual in the grammar? Differences between this and biblical Hebrew?
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יוֹדֵ֣עַ צַ֭דִּיק נֶ֣פֶשׁ בְּהֶמְתּ֑וֹ וְֽרַחֲמֵ֥י רְ֝שָׁעִ֗ים אַכְזָרִֽי׃
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Glenn Dean
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Re: Pirkei Avot - For Reading and Discussion

Post by Glenn Dean »

מִשְּׁיָרֵי - I thought this was from שַׂר (leader), but with the Yod isn't that "to sing". So how is the translation "last of the great assembly"????
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