In my Jewish studies class, we recently completed a project called “The Pirkei Avot Playlist Project”. Pirkei Avot is called “Ethics of our Father’s” in English. Pirkei Avot is basically a giant book of cryptic moral saying written by many different Rabbis and important Jewish figure over many many years. And, it is also a part of the Mishnah.
For this project, we chose five quotes from Pirkei Avot and chose 1 song that corresponds to each song. There obviously had to be a connection between the quote and the song. The connection could be similar lyrics, message, idea etc. Then, we had to write 5-10 sentences about the connection between the two. So, here is my project!
|Verse #||Verse meaning||Ideas, Lessons or Themes from the verse that I can connect to a song||Songs to connect|
|#6||You get what you deserve when you do something bad||Doing something bad comes back to you. Treat others the way you want to be treated.||Click HERE|
|#3||What does true friendship mean and make sure that your friends will stick with you when it is only beneficial to you.||D0n’t have fake friends because they will quietly slip out from under you when you need them the most.||Click HERE|
|#5||Even when nobody else is doing it, try to be the bigger person and do the right thing.||It is sometimes hard to be a good person but even good people are flawed and everybody makes mistakes. Even though people make mistakes, we can still try to learn how to be a better person and try our best.||Click HERE|
|#10||Treat others the way you would like to be treated.||Do unto others as you want done unto yourself.||Click HERE|
|#15||Life is short.||Life is short so live life to the fullest and make the best out of a bad situation.||Click HERE|
#3 Be careful with the government, for they befriend a person only for their own needs. They appear to be friends when it is beneficial to them, but they do not stand by a person at the time of his distress. (Avot 2:3)
#5 In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man. (Avot 2:5)
#6 He also saw a skull floating upon the water. Said he to it: Because you drowned others, you were drowned; and those who drowned you, will themselves be drowned (Avot 2:6)
#10 Rabbi Eliezer would say: The honor of your fellow should be as precious to you as your own (Avot 2:10)
#15 Rabbi Tarfon would say: The day is short. (Avot 2:15)
#6 “He also saw a skull floating upon the water. Said he to it: “Because you drowned others, you were drowned; and those who drowned you, will themselves be drowned” (Avot 2:6)
In my eyes, this quotes is about things always coming back to you. I see this quote to mean that someone innocent was drowned and then the person that drowned the innocent man was drowned by someone else and so on and so forth. This Passuk is basically say, what goes around, comes around/you get what you deserve. Those also happen to be some of the lyrics in the song I chose called “What You Deserve”. The lyrics are “I know all your secrets
I know all your lies
You should know
What goes around comes around
You get what you came for
This time you’ve gone too far
I think you should know what you’ve done
You got what you deserve” (Shea).
As you can probably already tell, these song lyrics have the same meaning as the words from the passuk. I think that “treat others the way you want to be treated” is a really important message. And I think that this Passuk and this song go very well together.
#5 “In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man” (Avot 2:5)
As soon as I read the lyrics to a song called “Good Person”, I knew it was perfect for the quote “In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man” (Avot 2:5). I believe this quote to mean that even if it is the hardest thing ever, you should still, always strive to be a good person. I know that this can be very hard but I still think that it is the right thing to do. The song lyrics say “Good person, how do you do it
Do you just wake up with a smile on your face
Good person, what does it look like
Seeing the world as a big happy place
I’m trying to turn the page
Do you think I have what it takes
Cause I’ve cheated and lied and made people cry
But I pray for the ones that I love every night
And I’ve shattered some hearts and my thoughts get dark
But I’d stop for a stranger who’s falling apart
Yeah I’m learning, good, good person
Do you ever lose it when somebody steals that one last parking spot
Good person, do you ever say no
Does the highroad get lonely, do you ever pull off “(Andress). I really connected to these lyrics when I heard them because I sometimes feel like it is hard to do the right thing even though I know that that is what I should do. I think that this quote and these song lyrics are really good together because the quote is saying a cryptic message and the song is saying what the quote means and asking how to be a good person like the quote said we should be.
#3 “Be careful with the government, for they befriend a person only for their own needs. They appear to be friends when it is beneficial to them, but they do not stand by a person at the time of his distress. (Avot 2:3)”
When I saw this quote, I immediately knew what it meant. It is fairly obvious to be honest. It means that sometimes, when a friend seems like a great person and seems super genuine, they might not be and they might only be your friend for their own benefit. For instance, if you are super rich, popular or have special connections, people might want to be your friend and it MIGHT only be for their own benefit. So, you are there for them when they need it but when you need them, they aren’t there because it doesn’t benefit them. The song I chose is called “nothing, Nowhere, fake friend”. Some of the lyrics are “I had your back, you turned yours on me I was so blind, now It’s easy to see Think we’re slipping Ice is real thin thin Where the hell have you been I don’t need a fake friend Keep your distance Losing you’s a win win Always gotta pretend I don’t need a fake friend Hello, hello, hello Pick, up, pick up the phone Think we’re slipping Ice is real thinn thinn Where the hell have you been I don’t need a fake friend stuck in the past or living for now what is the difference
if you ain’t around and around and around I had your back, you turned yours on me I was so blind, now It’s easy to see” (Mulherin). These lyrics are talking about a fake friend and saying that the friend wasn’t there when they really needed it, which was my previous point. I think that the song and the quote are super connected and I am glad I found this song!
#10 “Rabbi Eliezer would say: The honor of your fellow should be as precious to you as your own (Avot 2:10)”
The meaning of this verse is: treat others the way you want to be treated. Verse #6 has a similar meaning but this verse is saying that you should care about others (and their honour) the same amount that you would care about yourself (and your honour). I think that it is really important to be cautious and conscious about how we treat people because it is likely that it will be coming right back at us. Just because something (honour, in this case) doesn’t belong to you, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t respect it and protect it as if it is our own. The song I chose is called “Do unto others”. It is sung by a group called the Nelons. They are a Chrisitan choir that sings songs from their bible which they got parts of, from Judaism. So, the song they are singing is about treating others the way you want to be treated. The lyrics are “Brothers & sisters what the Bible says is true, you must do unto others as you’d have them do to you.
You’ve got to just do unto others, we’re all sisters & brothers, do unto others as you’d have them do to you.
Well a man can go to college & still be a worthless fool, what good is a head full of knowledge if you don’t know the golden rule.
When someone’s wagon gets stuck in the mud, help push them to the barn or some
day when your wagon gets stuck,you’ll be there til the judgment morning.
When you climb up to success,don’t snub the people on the ground cause brother
when your luck gets turned you meet the same people coming down.
Oh, when someone tells you gossip,keep it locked up on the shelf, cause you can’t
sling mud at people & expect to keep clean yourself.” (Nelons).
I think that the lyrics in this song, and the quote are connected because they speak about the same, very important lesson that is ingrained in our head, and society.
#15 “Rabbi Tarfon would say: The day is short. (Avot 2:15)”
Most people have heard the term “Life is short so live life to the fullest”. I agree with this quote because you never know when you won’t have the chance to do anything anymore. So, you should do something when you get the chance because you might not get the chance again. This specific quote, is saying that the day (and life) is short and not long enough to study Torah. I think that this quote is important because we should remind ourselves to seize opportunities when we get the chance. I think it is also important to remind our family and friends how important they are to us and how much we love and appreciate them. I recently reminded myself of this when I lost my uncle because I realized I will never be able to tell him how much I love him in person again. Living life to the fullest is a really fun and important thing and we should strive to do it every day. The song I chose is called “Live more” and some of the lyrics are ‘I wanna live more work less
Have no stress
Have a good time
I wanna live more worry less
Live life to the fullest
Don’t worry about the bills that are due
I’m not scared of breaking the rules
Don’t sit there crying the blues
Do the things that you wanna do” (Bank). These lyrics are saying a similar message to the quote. I think this because the quote is saying how short life is and we don’t have enough time for anything, and the lyrics are saying that we should live life to the fullest of its potential because we don’t know how much time we really have. I agree with this quote and I think we should remind ourselves of this everyday.
Unknown, Unknown. “Ethics of the Fathers: Chapter Two – Chabad.org.” Ethics of the Fathers: Chapter Two, Chabad.org, www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2011/jewish/Chapter-Two.htm.
Ingrid Andress – Good Person (Official Music Video), Youtube, 15 Apr. 2022, www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJqvQxxas-c.
Live Life to the Fullest, Youtube, 13 June 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ8GCO7zlTo.
What You Deserve, Youtube 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax7iQrEd4C0
The Nelons – Do Unto Others (Live), Youtube, 17 Mar. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6MCu2R9SX4.
Nothing,Nowhere. – Fake Friend (Official Visualizer), Unknown, 7 Dec. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwsXff4Vl-0. Accessed 10 May 2022.
I really enjoyed doing this project!
Thank you for reading!