Pirkei Avot: In the Image Mishnah 3:2

Basic Training, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 2005 © Zion Ozeri

(ב) רַבִּי חֲנִינָא סְגַן הַכֹּהֲנִים אוֹמֵר, הֱוֵי מִתְפַּלֵּל בִּשְׁלוֹמָהּ שֶׁל מַלְכוּת, שֶׁאִלְמָלֵא מוֹרָאָהּ, אִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ חַיִּים בְּלָעוֹ...

(2) Rabbi Hanina, the vice-high priest said: pray for the welfare of the government, for were it not for the fear it inspires, every man would swallow his neighbor alive.

1) How do you interpret this photograph?
2) What do you think these cadets feel about the relation of their service to their country?
3) What other title and caption or midrash might you suggest for this image?


1) Rabbi Janania states that we can respond to our civic responsibilities religiously, praying for those in power. For you, does being a good citizen mean assuming religious responsibility? Why or why not?

2) Rabbi Chanania has a very specific reason in mind when he asks us to pray for the government. What do you think his reasoning might be? Do you share this idea?

3) Do you pray or perform acts of support for the government? How might this be exhibited in your life?


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

1) What aspects of government responsibilities do you believe are most important in your life, or in the life of the community? Why?

2) What would it look like to pray for or support the forces that maintain order and decency in your world?