IT is customary to travel from the holiday of Passover to the holiday of Shavuot with the companion of Pirkei Avot, “Ethics of the Fathers.” Each Sabbath afternoon one chapter is studied. Some continue studying the tractate through the summer season up to the New Year.
As an elementary school kid, you are drilled with the sayings from this book of wisdom and can recite many of them by heart. And many of them are incorporated into the art that adorns Jewish schools and classrooms. Indeed, these are teachings for the ages.
As you get older and read them with the perspective of some life experience, these pieces of wisdom are so rich with content, far deeper than advice dispensed as a practical guide for living a healthy, ethical, good life. Many of the life philosophies of famous rabbinic personalities, whose rulings and interpretations are analyzed at length in the Talmud, are crystallized in Ethics of the Fathers. There is so much food for thought here.