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Pirkei Avot 2:12 – Eating for the Sake of Heaven?


Pirkei Avot 2:12

רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר, יְהִי מָמוֹן חֲבֵרְךָ חָבִיב עָלֶיךָ כְּשֶׁלָּךְ, … וְכָל מַעֲשֶׂיךָ יִהְיוּ לְשֵׁם שָׁמָיִם

Rabbi Yose said: Let the property of your fellow be as precious unto you as your own; … And let all your actions be for [the sake of] the name of heaven.

Of course, this involves not taking from others. It also implies that when you borrow something from someone else, you treat it with care and fix it if you break or damage it. It also indicates that if you notice someone stealing or destroying something from another, you should do everything in your power to stop it.

Everything a person does, including eating, drinking, and working, must be done with an eye toward heaven. Eating and drinking, for example, are done to maintain your body strong so that you can work and study. But also for the opportunity to say a brachot about food and drink.

Work because it contributes to a healthy society. That’s how you meet people. Every interaction with another human provides an opportunity to demonstrate how you should live by the 7 Noahide Commandments or to actively discuss them. Everything is being done to create a healthy, livable society for G-d’s creation. Anything you accomplish without being aware of heaven is a squandered opportunity, a blunder, a lost moment that will never be recovered..[1]

By Angelique Sijbolts


[1] See also Parshat Re’eh by Rabbi Tani Burton.

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