Sign up to TorahFax


Wednesday, Nissan 25, 5781 (10th day of the Omer)/ April 7, 2021


This week’s Parsha is Shemini– the third Parsha in the third Book of the Torah - Leviticus. 


This Shabbat, which is the first Shabbat after Pesach, we begin studying Pirkei Avot- Chapters of our Fathers, where many wonderful sayings and lessons of the Talmudic sages are recorded. 


Pirkei Avot begins; "Moshe received the Torah from Mount Sinai and transmitted it to Joshua; Joshua [transmitted it] to the Elders; the Elders to the Prophets; and the Prophets transmitted it to the Men of the Great Assembly..."


Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi, compiler of Pirkei Avot, starts the Pirkei Avot by telling us the importance of the Torah teachings, for they were transmitted to us generation to generation all the way back to Moshe at Mount Sinai.  The link of transmission of the Torah has never been broken for over 3000 years!


The following episode is told about an elderly rabbi who was traveling with his grandson to Israel. The reverence and respect the grandson exhibited for his grandfather was very evident in the lad's conduct.  He listened attentively to every word his grandfather said and without hesitation obeyed whatever his grandfather asked him to do.  The other passengers were amazed at the young boy's behavior.


At last, one of the passengers said to the rabbi, "I couldn't help but observe the great respect and reverence your grandchild has for you.  I also have children and grandchildren, but they think that they are smarter than I am and have little to learn from me.” 


“How were you able to accomplish what I could not?"


"Do you believe the story of creation as recorded in the Torah?" asked the rabbi.  The man answered that he did not. 


The rabbi replied, "There you have the answer to your question.  Your children and grandchildren were taught that they evolved from apes, while my grandson believes in the Torah story of creation that we come from Adam & Eve.


“Your children, who think they have evolved from an ape, are two generations further from the ape than you, thus they consider themselves smarter and more intelligent than you… But, my grandson believes that I am two generations closer to Adam, who was created by G-d Al-mighty Himself. Therefore, he considers memore intelligent and has much to learn from me!"


Pirkei Avot begins with the origin of the Torah and how it was transmitted through the generations.  Knowing that the teachings of the Pirkei Avot come from our Talmudic sages who were closer to the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and knowing that the chain of transmission of the Torah was never broken, gives these teachings great validity and holiness.