Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Avot & the Great Paradigm Shift - The Questions

Note: Below is the first half {Namely the questions} of my outline of a lecture I gave in Teaneck on Motsoai Shabboat P. Vo'eiro {1999}:

Following Passover, there is a custom to recite one or more chapters from Masechet Avot. During my classes on Avos given during this time period over the years, several points evolved into a new understanding regarding the history of this most popular Masechta. My thoughts emerged from the following questions with which I began my presentations. I pose these questions again to give a chance for you to ponder the issues. In future postings I will present my ideas on the subjects touched upon in these questions.


  1. What does the name Avot mean? If it means "ancestors", how is it that the first quoted Ancestor is from Anshei Kenesset haGedolo and does not include Avrohom, Moshe, etc.? It is obvious from the text, that all ancestors prior to Anshei Kenesses haGedolo are virtually ignored.
  2. What is meant by the Mishno stating: Moshe Kibel Torah Misinai when Hashem gave him the Torah? Furthermore, Bamidbor and Devorim came after Sinai? In other words what specific transmission took place At Sinai and NOT later?
  3. The Mishneh states Moshe.. umesoro LeeHoshua. Didn't Moshe give the Torah to ALL of Yisroel? As it says: Vezot Hatoroh _ Lifnei Benei Yisroel? And Tzivo Lonu Moshe, Morosho Kehilat Yaakov? IOW: what "Torah" was given to Yehoshua that was NOT given to all of Yisroel.
  4. What is the connection between Avot and Seder Nezikin?
  5. How did it come about that Avot is learned publicly?
  6. What is the significance of introducing each perek by the Mishno Col Yisroel Yesh Lohem_? What is the specific connection is there between this Mishnah from Sanhedrin and Avos. That is since it is NOT an intrinsic part of Avos, why is it added in the public learning of Avos?
  7. Why is it call PIRKEI Avot?

First Posted on the Avodah list:
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 10:17:27 -0500

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