Pirkei Avot: In the Image Mishnah 1:14

Justice, Tzfat, Israel, 2008 © Zion Ozeri

(יד) הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, אִם אֵין אֲנִי לִי, מִי לִי. וּכְשֶׁאֲנִי לְעַצְמִי, מָה אֲנִי. וְאִם לֹא עַכְשָׁיו, אֵימָתָי:

(14) He (Hillel) [also] used to say: If I am not for myself, who is for me? But if I am for my own self [only], what am I? And if not now, when?

1) How do you interpret this photograph?

2) The words on the banner mean "social justice." Why is social justice important?

3) How does the vantage point contribute to the photograph?

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


This Mishnah is one of a series that quotes Hillel, one of the most famous rabbis of the Talmud. He is known for being a kind and thoughtful person.

1) Hillel asks three questions. How would you answer these questions?

2) How do you think about the balance between focusing on your own needs and paying attention to the needs of others? How do you decide which is more urgent?

3) What do you think are the most urgent social justice needs right now? Are they issues that effect you personally, or are they more relevant in the lives of others?


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

1) What do the most urgent social justice needs look like in our world today?

2) How do you balance between your needs and the needs of the world around you?