Tractate Avos – commonly known as Pirkei Avos in Hebrew or “Ethics of the Fathers” in English – contains many pertinent lessons for both educators and students of Torah:
- In the very first Mishna, the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah (Men of the Great Assembly) told teachers to take on many students;
- In the next Mishna, Shimon HaTzaddik (the Righteous) tells us that the study of Torah is one of the things that sustains the world;
- Yehoshua ben Perachia tells each one of us to acquire a teacher (1:6);
- The great sage Shammai teaches us that Torah study should be a daily fixture of our lives (1:15);
- Shammai’s counterpart, Hillel, teaches us that one who acquires words of Torah acquires for himself life in the Next World.
Rabbi Moshe Elefant is Chief Operating Officer of OU Kosher, the world’s largest not-for-profit kosher certification agency, certifying 400,000 products from nearly 6,000 production facilities in over 80 countries. Rabbi Elefant manages the day-to-day operations of OU Kosher and is a highly-sought after expert on all matters relating to kosher certification.
For those not in the field of kosher-food certification, however, Rabbi Elefant is perhaps best known as the maggid shiur of the OU’s Daf Yomi, with learners around the globe making OU Daf the most popular Daf Yomi shiur in the world. Rabbi Elefant also delivers the popular Daf Sugya shiur, delving deeper into topics discussed in the daily daf. Wherever he goes, Rabbi Elefant meets strangers who identify themselves as members of his student body, which numbers in the thousands.
Now, Rabbi Elefant launches a new series on OU Torah, bringing his unique pedagogic methodology to old students and new – beginners and scholars alike! Pirkei Avos with Rabbi Elefant will address some of the most basic and fundamental principles in Judaism, while Rabbi Elefant enlightens us as to deeper meanings and hidden truths.
The first shiur in this new series, Kol Yisroel, addresses the introductory phrase to the study of Avos, “All Israel has a place in the Next World.” Enjoy this introduction to the series, and check back ever week or so – on OU Torah and by using the OU Torah app for iOS – for more entries in this exciting new program!