Pirkei Avot: In the Image Mishnah 1:10

Gathering Wood for Taboun, Rehovot, Israel, 1984 © Zion Ozeri

(י) שְׁמַעְיָה וְאַבְטַלְיוֹן קִבְּלוּ מֵהֶם. שְׁמַעְיָה אוֹמֵר, אֱהֹב אֶת הַמְּלָאכָה, וּשְׂנָא אֶת הָרַבָּנוּת, וְאַל תִּתְוַדַּע לָרָשׁוּת:

(10) Shemaiah and Avtalion received [the oral tradition] from them. Shemaiah used to say: love work, hate acting the superior, and do not attempt to draw near to the ruling authority.

1) How do you interpret this photograph?

2) From what we can see in this photograph, what can we learn about the relationship between this woman and her physical surroundings?

3) How do you think this woman feels about her work?

4) What other title and caption or midrash might you suggest for this image?


Shemaiah and Avtalion were one of the pairs, or zugot, of wise people who were responsible for passing down traditions from the prophets to the sages of the Mishnah. In this passage, they offer three pieces of advice.

1) How do you think these three ideas are related to one another?

2) Think about work that you have done in your own life. How do you feel about it? What made it hard or easy? What factors make you like or dislike the work that you are doing?


Help build a digital scrapbook by adding your own image or Midrash, with a caption, here, in response to these questions:

1) What kinds of work in your life do you love to do?

2) How does work enrich people's lives?