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Pirkei Avot: 2:2: Ben Porat Yosef Print E-mail
Written by Machberes Avodas Hashem   

Pirkei AvosRabban Gamliel, the son of Rabbi Judah haNassi, says: Torah study is good together with an occupation, for the exertion of them both makes sin forgotten. All Torah study that is not joined with work will cease in the end, and leads to sin. All who would exert themselves for the community should exert themselves for the sake of Heaven, for then the merit of the community's forefathers aids them and their righteousness endures forever. Nevertheless, as for you, I will bestow upon you as great a reward as if you had accomplished it all on your own (Avot 2:2).


An aspect of the excellence of the early Sages was that while they were engaged in mundane work with their physical limbs, their minds and souls were simultaneously attached to God and His Torah. This explains the Talmudic teaching that, “the early generations made the study of Torah their main concern (Berachot 35b)," even while occupied with work, their minds were fastened on the Torah and in attachment to God.

This also explains the saying in Avot, “Torah study is good together with an occupation.” Not only should your mind be free from worldly concerns while you are engaged in Torah and prayer, but even when you are occupied with worldly matters, your mind and soul should be involved in Torah and attachment.

This is suggested in the verse, “The secret things belong unto God, our Lord; but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children (Deuteronomy 29:28),” when we are occupied with material concerns, such as providing sustenance for ourselves and our children, the activity should be limited to what is revealed, namely, the overt physical limbs, our secret things, however, the mind and soul, must remain even then attached to God. (Ben Porat Yosef, Introduction)

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