- Series: SkyLight Illuminations
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: SkyLight Paths; 1 edition (October 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1594732078
- ISBN-13: 978-1594732072
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ethics of the Sages: Pirke Avot―Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Illuminations) 1st Edition
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Pirke Avot has always been my favorite book in the vast sea of rabbinic literature. It is a remarkable collection of relevant proverbs on how best to live an ethical, sensible, reasoned life. Rabbi Shapiro's comments help the reader to apply the ethical wisdom of the Rabbis to our own lives. The author writes: "When you realize God is all, you engage all as God. You meet each being as a manifestation of the One Being and treat all things with justice, compassion, and humility. This is the politics of Olam HaBa [the World to Come] that Pirke Avot promotes."
There are thousands of commentaries on Pirke Avot, so why another one? I have a strong predilection toward the writings of Rami Shapiro. See his other books also published by SkyLight Illuminations, and you will catch his particular style, theology and philosophy. He tends to mix some Eastern religious views into his writings, but nothing that would contradict Judaism―in fact it can only enhance what Judaism brings to the table. Those who reject the Buddhist view that God is everything may not be totally comfortable with his views, but we can all learn from his unusual perspective. What he brings to the book are ideas that a reader will not find in other commentaries, and therefore collectors of books on Pirke Avot (like me) must add this important addition to their library.
Rabbi Shapiro focuses on the central themes in Pirke Avot―study, kindness, compassion, showing us the contemporary significance of their timeless wisdom and distills this Jewish wisdom compendium not as a book about ethics but a practical guide to living ethically today. Once you have tasted this excellent book, you'll want to turn to Shapiro’s other excellent books on Hasidic tales, the Hebrew prophets and others.(Dov Peretz Elkins Jewish Media Review)
About the Author
Rami Shapiro, a renowned teacher of spirituality across faith traditions, is an award-winning storyteller, poet and essayist. He is author of The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Preparing to Practice, Recovery―The Sacred Art: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice and The Divine Feminine in Biblical Wisdom Literature: Selections Annotated & Explained (all SkyLight Paths), among other books.
Rami Shapiro is available to speak on the following topics:
- Writing―The Sacred Art: Beyond the Page to Spiritual Practice
- Stop Playing God: 12 Steps as Spiritual Practice
- Biblical Wisdom for Post-biblical Times: An Exploration of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job
- The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Cultivating Compassion in Daily Life
- Hasidic Wisdom: An Exploration of Hasidic Storytelling, Theology and Contemplative Practice
- Saints and Sages: Biblical Prophets, Ancient Rabbis and the Building of a Just World
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ETHICS OF THE SAGES is actually Rami's second encounter with the Pirke Avot. An earlier book, WISDOM OF THE JEWISH SAGES, is also an interpretative rendering, but unlike the newer work which aims for a crisper translation with the interpretation on a facing page, WISDOM reads Rami's interpretations directly into the text. WISDOM is still a valuable book though, and it gains from being read side-by-side with ETHICS.
In ETHICS, Rami's singular emphasis on principle over practice coupled with uncompromising non-dualism -- used to such great effect in HASIDIC TALES, THE HEBREW PROPHETS, and THE DIVINE FEMININE -- reaches a new height with this clear and compelling post-modern midrash on a classic ethical tractate.