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The Systems of the Jewish Year

Devarim Nechmadim on Avos: Chapter Six (Shavuos)

By Rabbi Sender Haber

Our Chapter

“The Sages taught in the language of the Mishna”.

The sixth chapter is not really a part of Pirkei Avos. It is a Braisa entitled “The acquisition of Torah” that was appended by Rav Meir after the sealing of the Mishna.

The theme of this chapter is Torah study, which is our greatest tool in accessing G-d’s wisdom. Even greeting Elijah the prophet and hearing G-d’s word from his mouth is considered secondary to our personal study of Torah.

We acquire the Torah by studying it and making it ours. By acquiring it we become different people. We have opportunity to embody the Torah in our own actions and our own lives.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe points out that the very existence of the Sixth Chapter is an “Acquisition of Torah”. After an entire tractate about our heritage, this chapter is an affirmation by the following generation that we too can speak in the language of the Mishna, we too can acquire the Torah, and we too can and will pass it on to the next generation.

If we can study Torah properly and for the right purpose, then we too can be “Chachomim” (sages), tapped into the divine “Chochma”. Our Torah knowledge will be emanate from G-d and it will be a new chapter in the Torah that He bequeathed to all of us at Mount Sinai.

Like the history of the Jewish people, Pirkei Avos does not have a final chapter. It began with our forefathers, was defined as Sinai, and became our inheritance to receive, to cherish, and to teach to our children.

Devarim Nechmadim is a commentary on Pirkei Avos by Rav Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov. This essay is loosely based on his work as well as on the classes and writings of my father, Rav Yaacov Haber, Shlita.

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