About This Text
Composed: Talmudic Israel, c.190 – c.230 CE
Pirkei Avot (literally “Chapters of the Fathers,” also known as “Ethics of our Fathers”) is a tractate in Seder Nezikin (“Order of Damages”) and the only tractate in the Mishnah with almost no laws, consisting instead of short statement of advice, ethics and wisdom. The first chapter outlines an order of the transmission of the Oral Torah, beginning with Moses at Mount Sinai and continuing through the prophets and sages. The next four chapters contain statements of rabbinic stages, largely in chronological order. The last chapter, not included in the original version of the Mishnah, focuses on the merits of Torah study.