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Pirkei Avot 1:18 – The World Stands on Three Things


Pirkei Avot 1:18

רַבָּן שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן גַּמְלִיאֵל אוֹמֵר, עַל שְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים הָעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד, עַל הַדִּין וְעַל הָאֱמֶת וְעַל הַשָּׁלוֹם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (זכריה ח) אֱמֶת וּמִשְׁפַּט שָׁלוֹם שִׁפְטוּ בְּשַׁעֲרֵיכֶם

Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel used to say: on three things does the world stand: On justice, on truth and on peace, as it is said: “execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates” (Zechariah 8:16).

In Mishnah 2 we read:

שִׁמְעוֹן הַצַּדִּיק הָיָה מִשְּׁיָרֵי כְנֶסֶת הַגְּדוֹלָה. הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, עַל שְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים הָעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד, עַל הַתּוֹרָה וְעַל הָעֲבוֹדָה וְעַל גְּמִילוּת חֲסָדִים

Shimon the Righteous was one of the last of the men of the great assembly. He used to say: the world stands upon three things: the Torah, the Temple service, and the practice of acts of piety.

Creating a just world is one of the responsibilities of all human beings, Jew, and non-Jew alike. Only by learning the Torah, the 613 for Jews and the 7 for Gentiles, is it possible to know what is righteous or unrighteous. Only in this way can we ourselves know how to make the choices between right and wrong, but also at the societal level, this is how judges can determine how to administer justice in a just manner.

The Torah is the basis for the world to come into being justice is the way the world can continue to exist.

The Temple service is not there today. But the Sages are teaching us that prayer took its place. When we pray to G-d in thanksgiving, praise or when we bring our needs to Him, we must do so in truth. That sounds logical and it is, yet sometimes our minds wander. That can happen, the important thing then is to realize before Whom you stand and refocus your thoughts on Him who is Truth.

When we give charity to those who need it, we automatically ensure peace. Peace and tranquility in the hat of those people. Which makes them less likely to be angry and irritable. It makes that there will be peace among people. In a family, in a street but also peace in society. People who are poor and don’t get help are more likely to turn to crime. Not because they want to, but because they see no other options.

Let us learn how G-d wants us to live and let us create a society that is just and peaceful.

By Angelique Sijbolts


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