RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
Chapter 3:2-4, 7
By: Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“Rabbi Chanina, deputy to the kohanim, would say: Pray for the integrity of the government; for were it not for the fear of its authority, a man would swallow his neighbor alive.”
Especially in exile, especially in a pagan, non-Torah, non-theocratic government! Just as recorded in the Tanak, so goes the king, so goes the people, EVERYTIME! Good kings brought revival, bad kings brought idolatry and ruin.
“Rabbi Chanina son of Tradyon would say: Two who sit and no words of Torah pass between them, this is a session of scorners, as is stated, "And in a session of scorners he did not sit" (Psalms 1:1). But two who sit and exchange words of Torah, the Divine Presence rests amongst them, as is stated, "Then the G-d-fearing conversed with one another, and G-d listened and heard; and it was inscribed before Him in a book of remembrance for those who fear G-d and give thought to His name" (Malachi 3:16). From this, I know only concerning two individuals; how do I know that even a single individual who sits and occupies himself with the Torah, G-d designates reward for him? From the verse, "He sits alone in meditative stillness; indeed, he receives [reward] for it" (Lamentations ).
Rabbi Shimon would say: Three who eat at one table and do not speak words of Torah, it is as if they have eaten of idolatrous sacrifices; as is stated, "Indeed, all tables are filled with vomit and filth, devoid of the Omnipresent" (Isaiah 28:8). But three who eat at one table and speak words of Torah, it is as if they have eaten at G-d's table, as is stated, "And he said to me: This is the table that is before G-d" (Ezekiel 41:22).
Rabbi Chalafta the son of Dosa of the
would say: Ten who sit together and occupy themselves with Torah, the Divine
Presence rests amongst them, as is stated: "The Almighty stands in the
congregation of G-d" (Psalms 82:1). And from where do we know that such is
also the case with five? From the verse, "He established his band on
earth" (Amos 9:6). And three? From the
verse, "He renders judgement in the midst of the tribunal" (Psalms
82:1). And two? From the verse, "Then the G-d-fearing conversed with one
another, and G-d listened and heard" (Malachi ). And from where do we know that such is
the case even with a single individual? From the verse, "Every place where
I have My name mentioned, I shall come to you and bless you" (Exodus ).” village
This one is pretty much self explanatory and has Scripture references to it. But allow me to add a verse from the Brit Chadasha. Rav Sha’ul said:
1Cor. 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
We should even seek God and the things of God even in our “down time” and casual encounters with others. All time is sacred and holy. God created it and should be acknowledged in it, whether we actually talk about God and Torah, or whether we are engaged in doing something the Torah commands or that is noble and holy, like complimenting or encouraging others. This too brings glory to God.
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr