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.”
My son hasn’t been the easiest person to live with in the last couple weeks. He is more argumentative (and insulting) than normal when he doesn’t get his way. I suspect he is trying to establish his independence and he thinks he is scoring a win when his skillful words hurt, but he doesn’t yet realize how damaging his words can be.
I’m continuing to ponder the ways that we see others and ourselves. These are all thoughts that I have worked through over the years as I have wrestled with how to see myself and others–especially difficult people.
In the last few days, I have been thinking about being nearsighted and farsighted in how we see others and ourselves. Continue reading →
EJ and JJ are having a good time up north. They are hunting on a 100+ acre property that is owned by his friend’s uncle. They are nice and comfy in a heated deer blind. JJ took this picture with his cell phone this morning: