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Pirkei Avot 1:11 – Words According to His Will


Pirkei Avot 1:11

אַבְטַלְיוֹן אוֹמֵר, חֲכָמִים, הִזָּהֲרוּ בְדִבְרֵיכֶם, שֶׁמָּא תָחוּבוּ חוֹבַת גָּלוּת וְתִגְלוּ לִמְקוֹם מַיִם הָרָעִים, וְיִשְׁתּוּ הַתַּלְמִידִים הַבָּאִים אַחֲרֵיכֶם וְיָמוּתוּ, וְנִמְצָא שֵׁם שָׁמַיִם מִתְחַלֵּל

Abtalion used to say: Sages be careful with your words, lest you incur the penalty of exile, and be carried off to a place of evil waters, and the disciples who follow you drink and die, and thus the name of heaven becomes profaned.

The Torah is called the living water. It is the job of the Sages to give this water to their disciples and to the world. Living water of Torah will cleanse society of everything that is not in accordance with G-d’s will.

But you cannot cleanse anything with dirty water.

I was reminded of a little boy by the side of a pond. The water of the puddle was full of duckweed. When he stepped out of the water, his feet were covered in duckweed. He didn’t like that at all. For his age, he was very smart. He grabbed his small bucket, filled it with water and walked to his towel. Sitting on it, feet up and pouring the water from the bucket over them, he was disappointed: his feet remained dirty and covered in duckweed, which had been carried along in the water from the bucket. Luckily his mother had brought a bottle of water, with which she cleaned his feet and she dried his tears.

I realized that what applies to the Sages certainly applies to me personally. Where do I stand when I realize how great their wisdom and knowledge is, and that they are warned to be careful in their words of teaching. I try to do my bit to pass on the Noahide Message and I try in my way to make the world a better, habitable, G-d desired society.

I try, of course, to do what I write to the best of my ability. Using Jewish sources, checking with them when in doubt who can know and always incorporating the feedback I get as best I can.

Sometimes someone reads a blog, and that person apologizes for wanting to give feedback. Side said then that feedback is always appreciated. When the feedback is in line with Torah [because that is far from always the case] I am certainly grateful for it.

May G-d help me to write only right things to teach, to motivate and to make people grow spiritually. It is for this reason that I put בס “ד [1] above my writing these days. Because if He doesn’t help and if He doesn’t inspire, then the blogs would have no value.

“May the words of my mouth [and the silent contemplations of my heart] be pleasing to You, Eternal One, my rock solid support and my Redeemer.”[2]

By Angelique Sijbolts


[1] See the blog: What is the Meaning of BS”D – בס”ד?
[2] A sentence from morning prayer.

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