Mishna, Pirkei Avot 4:1


משנה, פרקי אבות ד:א

Original Text:

בן זומא אומר, איזה הוא חכם--הלמד מכל אדם, שנאמר "מכל מלמדיי, השכלתי" (תהילים קיט,צט). איזה הוא גיבור--הכובש את יצרו, שנאמר "טוב ארך אפיים, מגיבור" (משלי טז,לב). איזה הוא עשיר--השמח בחלקו, שנאמר "יגיע כפיך, כי תאכל; אשריך, וטוב לך" (תהילים קכח,ב): "אשריך", בעולם הזה; "וטוב לך", לעולם הבא. איזה הוא מכובד--המכבד את הברייות, שנאמר "כי מכבדיי אכבד ובוזיי ייקלו" (שמואל א ב,ל).


Ben Zoma said: Who is one that is wise? One who learns from every person, as it is said: From all my teachers have I gained understanding.(Psalm 119:99) Who is mighty? One who conquers their impulse to evil, as it is written, "One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and one who rules over their spirit than one who conquers a city" (Proverbs 16:32) Who is rich? One who is happy with their portion, as it says (Psalms, 128:2),"If you eat of toil of your hands, fortunate are you, and good is to you"; "fortunate are you" in this world, "and good is to you" in the World to Come. Who is honored? One who honors the creations, as it says, "Those who honor Me I will honor, but those who scorn Me will be despised" (I Samuel 2:30)
[AJWS translation]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. How can we learn from every person?
2. How can we control our impules to do evil?
3. How can we become happy with our portion?
4. How can we honor all of God's creations?

Time Period:
Related Texts:
Related Sourcesheets:Building Community Through Service, Education - Staff Conference 2010, Intention and Action: A Text Study on Responding to Global Hunger, Lessons of Leadership, HLDP Study -- Tochecha

Comments on this Text

"Who is mighty" could also be translated as "who is a hero".

1) When you hear the word ‘hero,’ what traits come to mind?
2) Do you agree with this sentiment? What constitutes a hero in your mind?
3) When you think of your heroes, do they overcome temptation? Or is there something else that makes them heroic?
4) Based on this definition, are you a hero?