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Pirkei Avos with a Twist of Humor

by Joe Bobker

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1441,207,675 (3.5)19
Pirkei Avos with a Twist of Humor is a unique and whimsical journey through the impressive Sayings of Our Sages. Enjoy Joe Bobker's educational romp through Jewish ethics, heritage, law and lore, all stirred with a twist of humor and served with the intent of inspiring the reader to explore Judaism!

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I don't know all there is to know about the Talmud as when I was growing up in the early 1950's in Detroit off of Dexter and Davidson I was surronded by relatives from Poland,The Pale in Russia, Germany and Yiddish. Please forgive for saying so but when my Bubbi brought me to the Orthodox Temple the rituals and High Hebrew were a whole new world for me. The Pirkei Avos, often also called The Sayings of the Fathers, is a collection of rabbinical teachings and sayings from various sages, and is a part of the Mishna, one of the two books making up the Talmud, which is the record of Jewish oral law. Over the years my approach to interpreting the Pirkei Avos and othe parts of the Talmud were mostly self directed. The discussions in or out of Hebrew School tended to be fairly serious, since the Talmud is a pretty serious document and the book by Joe Bobker is like a breath of fresh air and a new way for Jews and non Jews to look at Judiac law and philosophy.

The book also has a great introduction and teaches the reader a little about the many sayings. But even with all the verbage the book never sets itself up as a scholary end all way of looking at this part of the oral interpretations of the Talmud.Joe Bobker writes in an statement labeled "Caution" that the book should be seen as merely an introduction to "Jewish law and lore," and that "the information contained in it may not always be entirely accurate". So don't use this book to study with use it to be basically amused, laugh at life, a nd yet it's also beautiful and has some wonderful things to teach whether Gentile or Jew.

Read this if you're interested in a easy discussion of Jewish ethics or if you like Jewish humor. This is a cute book, funny on a serious topic, meant to bring that topic down to earth a little and help people relate to it.
  Elliot1822 | Nov 22, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Pirkei Avos is the thirty-ninth tractate of sixty-three tractates of the Mishna, the Oral Law. The Mishna is the legal commentary on the Torah, the Five Books of Moses (the first five books of the Bible). Pirkei Avos is also known as The Chapters of Our Fathers and is the only portion of the Mishna that focuses on ethics. Once I understood that, not being Jewish, I was able to read the book in context.

Pirkei Avos With a Twist of Humor is a profoundly “Jewish” book that has lessons for everybody. It is a light-hearted approach to the serious subject of ethics which combines in-depth commentary on each of the sayings with a humorous story or joke. There are 294 notes at the end of the book, some of which are great lessons in and of themselves.

I enjoyed reading this book very much. Since I did not understand any of the Hebrew or Yiddish, it’s fortunate that Mr. Bobker translated most words and phrases. I gained respect for the ethical structure that the Jewish people use in their everyday lives. I enjoyed the subtleness of some of the discussions and was surprised at the variety of opposing opinions cited. There are many interpretations and many logical approaches to each of the sayings.

Mr. Bobker is extremely knowledgeable about the subject. He grouped the sayings by topic (Law and Order, Charity, etc.) which gives you a focused discussion on each topic.

The only downside to reading a book like this for a review and doing it in a timely manner is that the savoring of thoughts and theories and quotations will have to come later, as I dip into it; reading a page here and there. As Mr. Bobker says, “Go ahead! Open it at random: you will be pleasantly surprised.” ( )
  karenmarie | May 17, 2008 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Pirkei Avos (Avot), the "sayings of the fathers," is an important part of Jewish history and scholarship. It remains one of the more accessible areas of Talmud study, and quotations from Pirkei Avot can be found in the liturgy as well as other standard Jewish texts. Serious scholars would probably put this book aside as a "joke book" or an "amusing trifle" (as one of my fellow LT reviewers has called it), and certainly I don't think it's a comprehensive scholarly work (for that I might read the multivolume "Ethics from Sinai" instead). But Pirke Avos--with a Twist of Humor actually teaches a lot about the strong link between Jewish religion and Jewish culture. When one sees Bobker's jokes juxtaposed with sayings from the Talmud, it is not difficult to trace how canonical Jewish texts have influenced "modern" Jewish culture and humor.

It is refreshing to see a book like this that takes religious texts and their interpretation very seriously but is also able to connect these texts with the type of humor (for better or worse) that most people associate with "Jewishness" today. I hope there are future "volumes" in the series! ;)
  debweiss | May 16, 2008 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Not meant to be read cover-to-cover, Joe Bobker's compilation and commentary on the Pirkei Avos, part of the Mishna and a collection of sayings and aphorisms from Talmudic scholars, is an amusing little trifle. Each aphorism is followed by Bobker's commentary and then by a little joke; it's fun to dip in and out of this book, reading things here and there. I don't know quite what Bobker's qualifications are to engage in extended Talmudic commentary but it doesn't matter. This volume makes no pretenses to seriousness or erudition and is just a cute little volume with which to while away a little time. Good (and pious) times for all. ( )
  bostonbibliophile | May 11, 2008 |
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Pirkei Avos with a Twist of Humor is a unique and whimsical journey through the impressive Sayings of Our Sages. Enjoy Joe Bobker's educational romp through Jewish ethics, heritage, law and lore, all stirred with a twist of humor and served with the intent of inspiring the reader to explore Judaism!

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