Lesson 3: Finishing the First Mishnah

Course: Fathers 1 1
Lesson #3 of 3

Series: Chapters of the Fathers – Pirkei Avot

Teacher: Rabbi Elan Adler

71Views | Published: August 22, 2014 | Revised: April 17, 2021

Rabbi Adler explains the history of Oral Law and the three things that Judges (and we) should always remember regarding judgment, pupils and 'fences'.


Bob's Application:  I find the adding of a safety fence around the Torah to be a beautiful concept. Can you guess what it means to make a safety fence? Don't read further until you watch the lesson!


Follow this path.  What is the most obvious parallel in the NT to a safety fence in the Mishnah?  How about 1 Thess 5:22, "Abstain from all appearance of evil."  For getting close to evil is starting to look like evil even though it is not.   Do you agree with this parallel?  OK, if you do, then back up one verse in the NT to 1 Thes 5:21. "Hold fast to what is good".  That sounds very similar to the second saying on acquiring pupils, but is stated with the initiative placed firmly on the pupil to find good teaching, so that teachers will acquire such pupils.  Indeed, all of us pupils need to learn and hold fast to good instruction.  And stepping back one more phrase in the NT, we see a phrase that parallels the first saying on judgment, "But examine everything carefully." 

Did Paul know the Chapters of the Fathers? Of course he did, and probably had much of it memorized!  By studying Chapters of the Fathers we get to sit in and hear material that Paul was learning as a boy, material which later found its way into the New Testament. I find this journey incredibly exciting and I hope you do too!

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