Pirkei Avot: In the Image Mishnah 1:3

Palmachim Beach, Israel, 2002 © Zion Ozeri

1) What feeling do you get from this photograph?

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

3) Does the text below change how you think of this image? In what ways does this photograph portray the fear of Heaven?

(ג) אַנְטִיגְנוֹס אִישׁ סוֹכוֹ קִבֵּל מִשִּׁמְעוֹן הַצַּדִּיק. הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, אַל תִּהְיוּ כַעֲבָדִים הַמְשַׁמְּשִׁין אֶת הָרַב עַל מְנָת לְקַבֵּל פְּרָס, אֶלָּא הֱווּ כַעֲבָדִים הַמְשַׁמְּשִׁין אֶת הָרַב שֶׁלֹּא עַל מְנָת לְקַבֵּל פְּרָס, וִיהִי מוֹרָא שָׁמַיִם עֲלֵיכֶם:

(3) Antigonus a man of Socho received [the oral tradition] from Shimon the Righteous. He used to say: do not be like servants who serve the master in the expectation of receiving a reward, but be like servants who serve the master without the expectation of receiving a reward, and let the fear of Heaven be upon you.


1) Can you think of times in your life when you have "served" in expectation of a reward, or times when you have worked without such an expectation? Which is experience is ultimately more fulfilling, and why?

2) How, if at all, does fear play a role in the work you decide to do? The word for "fear" in this text can also be translated as "awe." How might that change your understanding of the Mishnah?


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

1) What does it look like when you perform actions for reasons that feel right to you? What does the opposite look like?

2) Is there a moment or image that makes you feel fear or awe that inspires you to want to act?