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The Tractate A vot

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Chapter Summary

Avot, which has been traditionally translated 'fathers', is actually one of the sixty-three tractates of the Mishna. The name of the tractate is referred to in the Talmud as the source whose teachings are to be fulfilled in order to attain piety. The collection of maxims and teachings in Massekhet Avot is viewed as an important further development of Hebrew wisdom literature. The inclusion of Avot within the framework of the fourth Order has prompted Maimonides to describe and define this tractate as a sort of moral and spiritual guide for magistrates. Avot originally contained five chapters. A sixth chapter entitled Kinyan Tora, 'On the Acquisition of Tora', which consists of numerous teachings in praise of the Tora and those who study it, was added to the tractate later on. Tractate Avot presents a very special case for the textual criticism of the Mishna.

Keywords: Kinyan Tora; Mishna; tractate Avot

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