Pirke Avot: Time­less Wis­dom for Mod­ern Life

William Berk­son; Men­achem Fisch, trans.
  • Review
By – February 23, 2012

Although Pirke Avot is found in every prayer book and has been trans­lat­ed count­less times, this new edi­tion dif­fers from the oth­ers in that William Berk­son intends for the read­er and schol­ar to use his edi­ton as a guide to the eth­i­cal chal­lenges we face today.

The book con­tains the full text of Pirke Avot in Eng­lish and Hebrew on fac­ing pages. Berkson’s com­men­tary explores the eth­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal, and reli­gious sig­nif­i­cance of the say­ings. Each chap­ter con­cludes with a sec­tion called Mod­ern Life, in which Berk­son brings insights from the ancient Greeks, the Enlight­en­ment, East­ern reli­gions, and mod­ern thinkers to bear on this clas­sic Jew­ish work.

Berkson’s new Pirke Avot is fas­ci­nat­ing and fun to read at the same time. It is per­fect for per­son­al use or as a way to encour­age fam­i­ly dis­cus­sions around the Shab­bat table. Index.

Mic­ah D. Halpern is a colum­nist and a social and polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor. He is the author of What You Need To Know About: Ter­ror, and main­tains The Mic­ah Report at www​.mic​ah​halpern​.com.

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