Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pirkei Avot - Ethics of Our Fathers - Chapter 3, II

Pirkei Avot 3:14

רבי דוסא בן הרכינס אומר: שינה של שחרית, ויין של צהרים, ושיחת הילדים, וישיבת בתי כנסיות של עמי הארץ, מוציאין את האדם מן העולם

Rabbi Dosa ben Harkinas said, morning sleep, noonday wine, children's talk and frequenting the synagogues of the ignorant takes a man from the world of life

- 'Morning sleep' can refer to those who struggle to wake up, which results in being late to (or missing) shacharit or hours at work. That takes you away from your zecut to pray in a minyan (perhaps leading to more sins as is stipulated in Pirkei Avot 4:2, chet gorer chet), or can lead to trouble with your boss at work. It could also just simply be referring to a lazy person.

- In my opinion, 'noonday' wine means going out of your way to have wine (or other alcoholic beverages) during the day.

- I think 'children's talk' could refer to unnecessary talks with children or playing with them when there's other issues that need to be addressed. However, if this is a adult talking with kids for a positive benefit (be it helping with schoolwork, or teaching him the importance of good morals etc.), then there's surely no problem with it as it's something an adult should be doing.

- All these actions have something in common - they all take away from necessary daily tasks (work, study etc.) and are of little benefit to the person partaking in them. This mishna is warning us to not allow distractions to 'remove us' from far more important Torah & related goals.

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