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Pirkei Avot: Pursuing Peace
Video 3 of 13
Okay, hi. It's David Fohrman. I'm back again with you and I want to give you again a little introduction in this mini course. As I mentioned before briefly, I will be looking not just at the content of the first chapter of 'Pirkei Avot [00:00:22.28]' here, but I'm going to be looking at here is its structure. In very sophisticated documents, you will find often that the meaning of the document is not just in its content, but in its structure as well.
What that means is, as we look at a 'Mishnah [00:00:36.19]' - a given Mishnah, a given little section of text - it's going to be composed of probably several different aphorisms, or seven different components. You can almost envision those components as pieces of cartilage bone in the spine. And as with anything in the spine, it's not just the pieces of the bone, but it's how they are connected. What are the ligaments that connect the bones? What are the connector pieces? What does it look like as a whole, if you could diagram a structure? What would it look like visually? How is it that you would diagram it?
These are the kinds of questions that I want to ask, and I want to just jump in. I told you we were going to be looking at - we're actually going to be looking at the beginning of this first chapter of 'Pirkei Avot [00:01:21.06]', the end of the first chapter and then the middle of the first chapter. I think we will find some fascinating patters in there.
But we will jump into the beginning. What are the principles that the 'Mishnah [00:01:32.12]' begins to talk about? Where in the beginning? So, we have this 'Mishnah [00:01:34.15]' in the beginning and I'll quote the 'Mishnah' to you. But as you read it, I want you to think; first of all, it's going to talk about three different things. Are they related things, or are they unrelated things? Are they like - you know - apples, Cadillac and treadmills? They have nothing to do with each other? Or are they related? And if they are related, what does the structure actually look like? How would we diagram it? Okay, so let's jump on in here.
Okay, so here is the first Mishnah; it's actually the second 'Mishnah [00:02:01.06]' is 'Pirkei Avot'. It cuts right to the chase: "'Hebrew [00:02:02.29]'; the world stands on three things. 'Hebrew [00:02:08.09]', and those three things are the Torah on the one hand; 'Avoda [00:02:13.17]', service of God on the other; and 'Hebrew [00:02:15.04]', acts of kindness." These are the three things that the world stands on.
By the way, if you think about the world standing - you know, visually - what are the minimum amount of legs or pillars that require for anything to stand on them in the real world? The answer actually is three. Right? A tricycle is a stable unit for a six-year-old to drive; a bicycle - you got to balance, it won't balance on it's own. Three balances on it's own. Three points will define a plane, three points allow for something to be steady. And here too, the world stands on three ideas, three principles. And the three are: Torah, 'Avoda [00:02:53.04]' and 'Hebrew [00:02:53.09]' - Torah, service of God, and acts of kindness. And now I want to challenge you to think about this: are these again, you know - apples, Cadillac and treadmills? Nothing to do with each other, just three important things? Or, can you define a relationship between these three important things?
And if so, what would that relationship look like? How would you diagram it? Is this a circle? Is this like a flow chart? Is it at least a 'C'? Is it a triangle? Is it a - what exactly is this? How would you envision it in your mind's eye? What structure would you create for it that would help define how these ideas kind of relate to each other?
So, think about that, ponder that. Be curious as to what you come up with. When we come back in the next video, I will share with you what I came up with. See you then!
2. Pillars of the World
3. The Triangle
4. From Abstract to Concrete
5. A Tale of Two Triangles
7. The Puzzle of Aaron's Methodology
8. Truth, Balance and Integrity
9. Past-Focused Integrity; Future-Focused Integrity
10. Two Kinds of "Why"
11. A Closer Look at Aaron's Methodology
12. Of Everything, Ask What it is in its Essence
13. Judgments of Peace
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