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When we read pirkei avos every shabbos afternoon between Pesach and Rosh Hashanna we first read before each perek the following mishna. "Every member of the nation of Israel has a share in the World to Come, as it is written 'For your nation has all righteous people; they will inherit the land forever. They are the stick of My saplings, My handiwork to glorify me." During a chavrusa yesterday we managed to figure out a possible reason for the above passage being at the start of each perek. Imagine learning something and not really realising or knowing why you are learning it, or you are learning it just because you have to thats what being jewish is all about! But what if what your learning is going to help you live life not only the way all of us realy want to - in a morally correct way - but the way G-d wants us to To as it says ''Glorify'' His Name. Before we discuss this passage lets see where Avos fits as part of the shisha Sidrei Mishna. Avos is a section of shas that doesnt deal with actual laws, it is found under the heading of Nezikin. Nezikin deals with criminal and civil law (dealing with damages) the word nezikin means damages. So why is Avos found here. Our sages say surely a person should have the correct morals in life before they can live correctly by Torah Law. It would be like recieving the ten commandments with the First one "I am Hashem Your G-D" missing! If we didnt Know who was telling us not to kill, steal etc. then how can we adhere to the law?? In the same way this is why Avos comes in here. Before a person can learn business, civil and criminal law he should first learn how to live his life in a morally correct way. So where does this passage come in? Hashem has put us here to live by his Torah to perform mitzvos... as we learn above we have to learn all the laws before being able to perform mitzvas correctly. Sometimes we need to be reminded of why we are learning! The above passage reminds us why we learn Pirkei Avos, whereas in the Talmud it is obvious why we learn (so we can perform and keep all 613 mitzvos) its not so obvious with pirkei avos. So we need to be reminded!! ''Every member of the nation of Israel has a share in the World to Come'' This is the ultimate goal for any Jew.. Olam Haba - The world to come what more motivation does a jew have to learn how to be morally correct than this?? "They are the stick of My saplings, My handiwork to glorify me." "They" are Us Jews! we are all planted with a Neshama inside us , this sapling is a piece of G-d within us all, we are all on this planet to Glorify His Name!! How are we supposed to Glorify his name?? The answer is simple, by learning Torah laws and living by the commandments we can Make Hashem's name great! But as we discussed before we can't live by Torah law unless we can behave properly in a way of life taught by the great sages who wrote Pirkei Avos. The reason for the opening passage at the beggining of each perek reminds us of this! Pirkei avos makes us ready to learn and adhere to the the laws laid down in the rest of Shas. Next time you see this passage remember that it is reminding you why you are learning Pirkei Avos!!

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