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Avos 3:2-3

Avos 3:2

Rabbi Chanina the Deputy High Priest said that we should pray for the welfare of the government because if people weren’t afraid of it, they would eat one another alive. Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon said that if two people sit together without speaking words of Torah, it is considered a meeting of scornful people as per Psalms 1:1, “nor sat in the seat of the scornful.” If two people sit together and speak words of Torah, however, then God’s Presence rests between them as per Malachi 3:16, “Those who revered God spoke with one another, and God listened and heard. A book of remembrance was written before Him for those who revered God and reflected upon His Name.” This only tells us about two people; how do we know that if even one person occupies himself with Torah, God designates a reward for him? Eicha 3:28 says, “Let him sit alone and be silent because He (God) has laid it upon him (i.e., designated a reward for him).”

Avos 3:3

Rabbi Shimon said that if three people eat at the same table and do not discuss words of Torah, it is as if they had eaten from sacrifices to idols as per Isaiah 28:8, “All tables are full of vomit and filth without God.” However, if three ate at the same table and speak words of Torah, it is as if they had eaten from God’s table (i.e., the altar) as per Ezekiel 41:22, “He said to me, ‘This is the table that is before God.’”

Author: Rabbi Jack Abramowitz