Ethics of the Sages

Ethics of the Sages : Pirke Avot-Annotated & Explained

4.21 (358 ratings by Goodreads)

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The clear and compelling wisdom of the rabbinic sages can become a companion for your own spiritual journey.

At the heart of Judaism is an ethical imperative to live life from your true self, as the image and likeness of God. To do this, you must see the greatness of God manifest in all things, and therefore engage each moment with grace, humility, and justice. This imperative flowers in the words of the early Rabbis (250 BCE-250 CE), who captured God's call to be holy in Pirke Avot, a collection of pithy sayings on how best to live an ethical life.

This engaging introduction to the wisdom sayings of the rabbinic sages puts you in direct conversation with them, allowing the sages to speak directly to you about what matters in life and how to live it with dignity. With fresh, contemporary translation and provocative commentary, Rabbi Rami Shapiro focuses on the central themes in this Jewish wisdom compendium--study, kindness, compassion. He clarifies the rabbinic proverbs and parables in order to expose the ethical principles at their root. By recalling the ancient voices of the rabbinic sages, he shows us the contemporary significance of their timeless wisdom and distills Pirke Avot not as a book about ethics but as a practical guide to living ethically today.

Now you can experience the wisdom of the early Rabbis even if you have no previous knowledge of Judaism or rabbinic literature. This SkyLight Illuminations edition presents the ethical teachings of the rabbinic sages, with insightful yet unobtrusive commentary that conveys Pirke Avot's core challenge of God to the Jewish people, and through them all humanity: We are to be holy as God is holy. We are to be, in a human way, what God is in a divine way.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 141 x 216 x 13mm | 240.4g
  • SkyLight Paths Publishing,US
  • Woodstock, United States
  • English
  • Annotated
  • Annotated
  • 1594732078
  • 9781594732072
  • 758,682

Review quote

Pirke Avot has always been my favorite book in the vast sea of rabbinic literature. It is a remarkable collection of relevant proverbs on how best to live an ethical, sensible, reasoned life. Rabbi Shapiro's comments help the reader to apply the ethical wisdom of the Rabbis to our own lives. The author writes: "When you realize God is all, you engage all as God. You meet each being as a manifestation of the One Being and treat all things with justice, compassion, and humility. This is the politics of Olam HaBa [the World to Come] that Pirke Avot promotes."

There are thousands of commentaries on Pirke Avot, so why another one? I have a strong predilection toward the writings of Rami Shapiro. See his other books also published by SkyLight Illuminations, and you will catch his particular style, theology and philosophy. He tends to mix some Eastern religious views into his writings, but nothing that would contradict Judaism--in fact it can only enhance what Judaism brings to the table. Those who reject the Buddhist view that God is everything may not be totally comfortable with his views, but we can all learn from his unusual perspective. What he brings to the book are ideas that a reader will not find in other commentaries, and therefore collectors of books on Pirke Avot (like me) must add this important addition to their library.

Rabbi Shapiro focuses on the central themes in Pirke Avot--study, kindness, compassion, showing us the contemporary significance of their timeless wisdom and distills this Jewish wisdom compendium not as a book about ethics but a practical guide to living ethically today. Once you have tasted this excellent book, you'll want to turn to Shapiro's other excellent books on Hasidic tales, the Hebrew prophets and others.--Dov Peretz Elkins "Jewish Media Review "
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About Rabbi Rami M Shapiro

Rami Shapiro, a renowned teacher of spirituality across faith traditions, is an award-winning storyteller, poet and essayist. He is author of The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Preparing to Practice, Recovery-The Sacred Art: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice and The Divine Feminine in Biblical Wisdom Literature: Selections Annotated & Explained (all SkyLight Paths), among other books.

Rami Shapiro is available to speak on the following topics: Writing-The Sacred Art: Beyond the Page to Spiritual PracticeStop Playing God: 12 Steps as Spiritual PracticeBiblical Wisdom for Post-biblical Times: An Exploration of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and JobThe Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Cultivating Compassion in Daily LifeHasidic Wisdom: An Exploration of Hasidic Storytelling, Theology and Contemplative PracticeSaints and Sages: Biblical Prophets, Ancient Rabbis and the Building of a Just World
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Rating details

358 ratings
4.21 out of 5 stars
5 49% (175)
4 31% (110)
3 13% (48)
2 6% (23)
1 1% (2)
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