I just want to remind people who are studying Pirkei Avot between Chag HaMatzot and Shavuot that I have the full text of Pirkei Avot available online (along with a scarce bit of commentary) here:
Read the full text of Pirkei Avot (‘Ethics of the Fathers’) online
Today is eight days, which are one week and one day, of the Omer.
As many of you know, I’ve been going through a series of books called A Daily Dose of Torah for the past year or so. Here’s something I recently came across:
“Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato (in Mesillas Yesharim Chapter 1) explains that Hashem placed man in a world that is full of situations that can distance him from maintaining a close relationship with Hashem. Even things that seem to be good are tests for a person, to see if he will withstand temptation and use what seems to be an obstacle as a stepping-stone to come closer to Hashem”
(vol 14, p. 31).
It then sites the example from Proverbs 30:8 & 9, which states:
“Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD ?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”
The commentary notes that both poverty and wealth can be a test of one’s service of Hashem. This reminds me of a passage in Pirkei Avot (which we study from now until Shavuot – Pentecost), which says:
Rabbi Yonatan said: He who fulfills the Torah in poverty shall in the end fulfill it in wealth. He who disregards the Torah in wealth shall in the end disregard it in poverty. (Avot 4:11)
Also, Hillel (the grandfather of Paul’s teacher Gamliel) said, “Say not: When I have time I will study, because you may never have the time” (Avot 2:5).
The time to study and live Torah is now. The spirit of Elijah is calling us to return to Torah and live it, not merely theorize about it. If you haven’t cleared the leaven from your home, please do so today. We only have three days left of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and we must purge ourselves from both the physical and spiritual leaven in order to be obedient to Torah and our Messiah. Otherwise, we are denying the validity of Torah and Messiah in our lives and deceiving ourselves, being merely “hearers of the Word” rather than “doers of the Word.”