Who Gave the Rabbis the Right

Chapter 1, Mishna 1(a)

By Rabbi Dovid Rosenfeld

“Moses received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it Joshua. Joshua transmitted it to the Elders, the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets transmitted it to the Men of the Great Assembly. They [the Men of the Great Assembly] said three things: Be deliberate in judgment, raise many students, and make a protective fence for the Torah.”

This is the first mishna of Pirkei Avos, the great ethical work of the Sages of the Mishna. We will first provide a bit of background to Pirkei Avos and the Mishna in general, and we’ll then begin examining the text at hand.

The Mishna is an early rabbinic composition outlining all of Jewish law. It was edited and brought into its current form in the late 2nd Century C.E. It is a compilation of the teachings of the greatest scholars of the four…

View original post 1,369 more words