Why We Sin – Commentary

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by Rabbi Binyamin Lehrfield Throughout Pirkei Avot, the Rabbis teach about the most appropriate ethical and moral ways to live life. These dictums and teachings form the moral bedrock of Jewish living. Chapter 4 Mishna 28 is no exception. Rabbi Eliezer HaKappar taught that jealousy, lust, and the pursuit of honor remove a person from this world. Rabbi Elazer HaKappar’s …

Rejoicing in the Death of the Wicked

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Rejoicing in the Death of the Wicked – Commentary by Rabbi Binyamin LehrfieldPurim is certainly one of the happiest holidays of the year. With the Megillah, costumes, Purim Seuda parties, sending food to friends, and supporting fellow Jews, it is easy to feel the joy of the holiday. It is certainly interesting to think about the reason one celebrates Purim. On …

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People

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One of the biggest and most challenging question that has plagued mankind for generations is, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Said differently, why do the righteous suffer while the wicked prosper? As it is truly one of the most essential questions that one comes across in life, it is no surprise to find it discussed in Pirkei …

The Crown of a Good Name – Commentary

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by Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein There is a wonderful story told about a very wealthy man who passed away and left two wills, one to be opened upon his death and the other to be opened after the period of Shloshim, the 30 days of mourning, had passed.  In the first will, he instructed his children to bury him with …

The Honor Roll – Commentary

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Kavod HaBriyot, or human dignity, is one of the most important and fundamental Jewish ideals. The Midrash in Bereishit Rabbah (24:7) describes that human dignity is of the highest importance because each time a person embarrasses his fellow, he also diminishes G-d himself, the creator of that human being. As the Torah teaches us in Bereishit (1:27), man is created …

Torah Above All Else

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For the first time in Pirkei Avot we are formally introduced to a teaching of the great sage Rabbi Meir. While in Chapter 3 Mishna 10 Rabbi Dostai quoted a teaching in the name of Rabbi Meir, Chapter 4 Mishna 12 is the first actual teaching that we hear from Rabbi Meir himself. Rabbi Meir, living as a member of …

Scandal in the Jewish World – Commentary

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by Rabbi Lehrfield Sadly it seems as if a month, or even at times a week, does not go by without a negative report in the media about someone that is Jewish. Scandals and embarrassing stories about the actions or statements of a handful of Jews not only make the local Jewish papers but often times get national attention as …

One Step At a Time

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The Maharal in the second chapter of his classic work Derech HaChaim writes that the first Mishna of each chapter of Pirkei Avot includes several important principles and themes that pertain to the rest of the chapter. It is therefore critical to dive deep to better understand the opening words and teachings of each chapter. The fourth chapter of Pirkei …