[by virtue of] law, and
[by virtue of] the truth, and
[by virtue of] peace . . .”
(Chapters of the Fathers [Pirkei Avot], Chapter 1, Mishnah 18)
Blessed is the
Elijah's Lesson - from Tikunei Zohar, Introduction II (tih koo NAY ZOH har)
Elijah - the prophet, although some say that this is a Rabbi Elijah from the era of the Mishnah.
opened [his lesson] and said - This entire lesson is in the Aramaic language rather than in Hebrew.
Master of the worlds! Who You are He Who is one . . . The translation of these opening words seems awkward, however this translation is faithful to the unusual structure of the original Aramaic text. It gives us an idea that,
"The Master of the worlds" is addressable. We pray directly to Him. However He is so "far" from our human consciousness and understanding that Elijah opens as though only speaking about the Almighty. Then Elijah addresses
Master of the worlds! - Worlds, plural – both spiritual realms and our physical, knowable world.
one but not in a numeric sense - 'One' in the sense of being alone and unique. There is none – and nothing – besides Him.
not in a numeric sense - Not for counting. Ordinarily, the number one means 'first', followed by a second. Even if a sum total is one, there remains the possibility of discovering a second. Not so with
Some wish to believe that G-d is the Prime Mover, but ask where
mysterious - the realm of the esoteric, the metaphysical.
No mind can comprehend You - Comprehension is beyond us, "More mysterious than the mysterious, loftier than the lofty." However, we can know
You have no specific place. You have neither a body nor anything resembling a body. Hasidism uses the analogy of the sun's relation to its light to explain how we can know
Justice - is a process.
Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel (died sometime around the year 164 ce) - He was the father of Rabbi Judah the Prince; see Historical Notes;
The world exists by virtue of three things - See below.
law, truth, and peace - a) Suspense of judgment until enough facts have been assembled.
b) An educated public willing to use critical thinking skills and to engage in intelligent discourse.
scale of justice, balancing pans —
Holy Covenant - The Priestly blessing:
May the L-rd bless you and guard you,
May the L-rd shine His countenance upon you and grant you grace,
May the L-rd lift up His countenance toward you and grant you peace.
Just measures - [need to find the verses about hin tzedek; not favoring the rich or the poor, etc.]
Blessed is the
Moses received the Torah at Mount Sinai. He established methods for accurately transmitting the Torah to all future generations. The Second Jewish Commonwealth began almost one thousand years after Moses received the Torah. Most of the events of the Bible happened during this
Ezra was foremost of the returning Sages. He wrote the last books of the Hebrew Bible, identified correct copies of the other books of the Hebrew Bible, and he closed the canon. Ezra died (313 bce) about the time when Alexander conquered Persia. (The Bible contains veiled prophecies about Alexander, his short life, and how four generals would divide the empire.)
Ezra and his Great Council of the Sages lived in the milieu of a world empire — first the Achaemenid Persian Empire, then successive Greek empires. The Great Council of the Sages specified three things to guide the Jewish people through this period and into the future:
The transmission and study of the Torah exist by virtue of these above three things. The world exists by virtue of corresponding values:
Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel of this mishnah (Chapter 1, Mishnah 18) – the last mishnah of this first chapter – is the father of "Rebbe" of the next mishnah, the first mishnah of the second chapter. "Rebbe" is Rabbi Judah the Prince, who finalized and published the entire composition called "The Mishnah."
Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel was a direct descendant of the great rabbi, Hillel the Elder. Each successive son had succeeded his father and was elevated to the position of President of the Sanhedrin – the Jewish Supreme Court and Supreme Academy of
Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, despite his eminence, may not have acted as president, though. Roman persecution of Jews had been diminishing during the reign of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius
Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel fathered Rabbi Judah the Prince around the year 131 ce.
Compare with Rabbi Nissen Mangel's English translation of Elijah's Lesson in Siddur Tehillat HaShem: Nusach Ha-Ari Zal
(Brooklyn, New York: Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, Inc., 1978) pp. 125-6.
Copyright © 1978 Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, Inc., All rights reserved.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 82-81508
296.4 -- dc20