Pirkei Avot, Day 19

As we transition out of Tisha B’Av, a day of mourning and reflecting on the ways in which we may have fallen ourselves, it’s important to remind ourselves of the things in life that may ground us. And how many of us don’t need some grounding right now.

Firstly, protect another’s possessions as if they were your own. In other words, look outside your own circumstances and realize that all of our circumstances are connected. How you choose to participate in the well being of others will affect your own life. Choose carefully. And let me go further by saying that possessions include how others are treated, their obstacles, their challenges, their defeats. Protect others as you would protect yourself or your own family.

The other grounding message within this Mishna is the notion that you think for yourself. You explore, you seek, you find data, you find the wisdom on your own. You can certainly take others wisdom into account but don’t rely on it simply because it was said. Your wisdom is yours and it comes from exploration and discovery. Otherwise we’d all be living a life we never actually experienced. It’s okay to hear someone’s truth and not take it on as your own. Remember that when you are speaking your truth as well. No one is required to take your truth on as their own.

Two things:

1) Can you think of some truths that you inherited? Maybe from your parents, teachers, or leaders? Look at them through the lens of your own wisdom and see if your perspective changes.

2) Please do something for someone today. Anything. Make it unexpected. It’ll be good for both of you!

Love you all!

Rabbi Gabi

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