The Mishnaic tractate of Avos (or Avot) – commonly referred to as “Ethics of the Fathers” – is a most atypical tractate, dealing with matters of ethics and good character traits rather than with topics of law. It is also the most widely studied and quoted tractate, occupying a place in Jewish life unparalleled by other texts of the era.
For the past few weeks, OU Torah has been featuring Three-Minute Avot, a new series from Rabbi Reuven Taragin. (Have you been following it? We hope so! You can learn quite a bit with a very small time commitment several times a week!) But have you ever asked yourself why we learn Pirkei Avos in the summer?
If this whets your appetite for Pirkei Avos, be sure to check out our other series on this most popular tractate, including Rabbi Yosef Grossman, who delivers shiurim on Avos as part of the OU’s Mishna Yomit; Rav Zev Leff, who has delivered shiurim on Avos at the OU Israel Center; and shiurim on Avos from Rabbi Moshe Elefant, maggid shiur of the OU’s Daf Yomi.
And by the way, despite the common English name “Ethics of the Fathers,” the title “Avos” may not refer to “fathers” at all! Find out more about that – and about the tractate in general – in this article.