A couple of weeks ago we had unseasonably warm weather with temperatures near 80 degrees. It was really nice. I enjoyed taking my laptop to the patio table on our front porch to study Hebrew. Last week it was back to cooler temperatures, rain, and sweatshirts and jackets. I see that the temperatures are going to creep up to warmer temperatures this next week. That is the reality of Spring in Michigan: wildly changing weather.
This is from an email by Keren Hannah Pryor regarding our study of Pirkei Avot, an ancient Jewish book of ethics and wisdom. I love our study of this book!
Our family has been listening to Izzy Avraham’s talks each week on Youtube. I wanted to share this week’s talk about being a priest. I thought it was especially good, and it’s the direction we have been going as a family. This is very worth watching:
Ugh. We have all been feeling slightly under the weather–not really bad, but not particularly well either. I haven’t felt very motivated.
Last week in our Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) book we read that we should “judge everyone favorably.” In other words, we should give people the benefit of the doubt and not be hasty in our judgments. This made me think of an incident years ago in which someone told me they had seen the Sunday School Superintendent (or deacon, or director) return a bunch of beer cans. This person assumed that the superintendent had drank them all himself and was an alcoholic. I said, “But you don’t know if this person picked them up alongside the road, or was returning them for someone else, or had drank a beer now and then over years, or ….?” This is a case of jumping to a hasty conclusion without getting all the facts. We must give people the benefit of the doubt.
I am part of a group that is studying the book Pirkei Avot, which translates to English as Chapters of the Fathers. It is a compilation of the ethical teachings and maxims of the Rabbis from centuries ago. Because of its contents, it is also called Ethics of the Fathers. Our teacher is Keren Hannah Pryor of the Center for Judaic-Christian Studies sends an email every week with a portion from the book and her thoughts on it, and then a Facebook group discusses it. JJ and I also discuss the teachings in our homeschool.
A couple of weeks ago, our portion was the following:
Avot 1:5 Yossei ben Yochanan of Jerusalem says: Let your house be open wide; treat the poor as members of your household; and do not converse excessively with women. They said this even about one’s own wife; surely it applies to another’s wife. Consequently the Sages said: Anyone who converses excessively with a woman causes evil to himself, neglects Torah study, and eventually will inherit Gehinnom.
When we read the part about not conversing excessively with a woman, JJ’s eyes sparkled with mischief, as you can probably imagine. Before he could speak, I said “Wait a minute!” (while feeling a bit offended and hoping this would not lead to a put down of women….). When it comes to Hebraic/Jewish teachings, it seems to me that it’s not usually what it first appears to be. “So let’s keep reading and see what this REALLY means.”
Saturday I didn’t get to sleep until about 3 a.m. Last night, I didn’t sleep all that well either. EJ didn’t feel well–he thinks his pain meds were affecting him. JJ said he hardly sleep all night. We were all very tired this morning. EJ feel asleep in his chair this morning, and as soon as school was over, JJ and I took naps too.