Mishna, Pirkei Avot, 3:2
רבי חנינא סגן הכהנים אומר הוי מתפלל בשלומה של מלכות שאלמלא מוראה איש את רעהו חיים בלעו
Rabbi Chanina, the deputy Cohen Gadol, says “Pray for the welfare of the government, because if people did not fear it, a person would swallow their fellow alive.” [Translation by Uri L’Tzedek. Edited for gender neutrality]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. How does fear of the government maintain civil order?

2. Is fear necessary for a functioning society? Is there an alternative way to ensure that every citizen is protected?

3. What does this text presume about human nature? Do you agree?

Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)