Another mishnah from Hillel!
For each mishnah, the one who spoke is named. Why is it important to know who said something? I always felt this was how copyright laws came about — we must give credit to the one who first spoke. Amazing that it started in the Talmud.
Do not separate yourself from the community;
do not judge your fellow until you have reached his place;
and do not say, “When I have time I will study,”
for perhaps you will not have time. — Pirke Avot 2:5
Questions to ask:
- Hillel gave us so many important lessons and on first reading, they seem simple but we must continue to look deeper and then apply the lessons to our lives. Judaism believes being part of community is very important. What are the different communities that you belong to? How are they different and how are they the same?
- Why should we not separate ourselves from our community? What are the ways that people separate themselves?
- Last week we talked about judging others. It is something we do all the time but not always the right way. Now Hillel is telling us not to judge someone until we have been in their place. What does it mean to be in someone’s place? What if we have not been in their place — should we not judge them? Why or why not?
- Study is a very important value in Jewish life. We are to study every day of our lives. Many of us feel we have studied enough once we finish school. Why do we need to keep learning? What are ways that adults keep learning?
- What if you are busy — why can’t you study later? Why won’t you have time later?
- Why are these three thoughts put together here by Hillel? Try to imagine a person who leaves the community, judges others and never studies. What kind of person is that? Why would this person be a problem?
- How can we apply this mishnah to our lives every day?
Shalom …from the Shabbat Lady.
Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.