In this project, we all had to choose 5 songs that relate to 5 verses in chapter 2 of Pirkei Avot.
Here is my Project:
1) Shake It Off by Taylor Swift-Avot 2:11
Verse: Rabbi Joshua would say: An evil eye, the evil inclination, and the hatred of one’s fellows, drive a person from the world.
It mentions in this verse that an evil eye, evil inclination, and the hatred of one’s fellows, drive a person from the world. This means that one who has an “evil eye” is one who is constantly envying others for what they have. One who loses control over his “evil inclination” is one who follows all of his base instincts and has no control over himself. And if you let hatred come into your world it can drive you from it. The song Shake It Off says, “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, I shake it off, I shake it off”(swift) Taylor Swift is telling us that even if she gets hate, she will shake it off. There will always be haters and there will always be people trying to drive a person from the world with hate, but you still have to shake it off. Because by the end of the day, if you let it, people will hate.
Taylor Swift – Shake It off – Youtube. 18 Aug. 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfWlot6h_JM.
2) We Are the World by U.S.A. For Africa Avot 2:1
Verse: Rabbi [Judah HaNassi]* would say: Which is the right path for man to choose for himself? Whatever is harmonious for the one who does it, and harmonious for mankind (Avot 2:1).
This verse shows that we must make a choice, we must make a choice to save ourselves and the rest of humanity. And it’s true, that if we make the right choice we’ll make a better day, we will make a better world. So when asking the question “Which is the right path for man to choose for himself?” you know that the answer is whichever is fair for the people around you, and a path that can benefit you.
I chose the song “We Are The World” by U.S.A for Africa because of the crucial message behind it. In “We Are the World”, the artists call on the rest of the world to join forces and unite to help each other. The first verse references the Ethiopian famine when it talks about people dying and how people need to offer help to such victims. Verse 2:1 is saying that whatever choice we make must benefit mankind/the world. Meaning that we must think about making good choices for ourselves but as well as making the choice for mankind.
In the song, it says “There’s a choice we’re making We’re saving our own lives. It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me.” (U.S.A for Africa).
“U.S.A. For Africa – We Are the World (Official Video).” YouTube, 12 April 2010, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AjkUyX0rVw Accessed 11 May 2022.
3) Karma by Alicia Keys-Avot 2:3
Verse: 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 this verse, it signifies that because you hurt someone, you got hurt back, and if someone hurts you, they will get hurt as well. This is a song where Keys sings about her lover, who at first would always let her down and come home at late hours. Now, after the breakup, the guy is begging Alicia to get back together. In this song, it says “What goes around comes around What goes up must come down.” (keys) If someone is going to hurt you, you must know that with time they will get hurt as well. As the chapter says because you drowned others you will be drowned. It’s just like karma. In the end, everyone receives not only a punishment for their crimes but the exact punishment that fits their crimes. Because he said he drowned others, his punishment will be that he gets drowned. It’s like what Alicia Keys says, what goes around comes around, whatever bad or harmful thing you do to a person, it will come back around to haunt you.
Bibliography: Alicia Keys – Karma (Official Video) – Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUMC_raxpSc.
4) Fake Love- Drake
Verse: 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
The song that I have chosen for this verse has a very deep a meaningful connection to this verse. In the song Fake Love by Drake, it says, “That’s when they smile in my face Whole-time they wanna take my place Whole-time they wanna take my place Whole-time they wanna take my place, Yeah, I know they wanna take my place” this meaning that the whole time they are acting nice, its because they want something. “They wanna take my place” has a connection to the verse because it’s signifying how they want to take your place in this world and make it their own, they want to manipulate you and take advantage of you by using you only for their personal gain. One thing you can learn from this song is to choose your friends wisely, and if they appear to be fake, don’t stay in that type of friendship. The meaning behind the verse “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. In this verse, it is signifying that the government only befriends you for their personal needs, like when a politician is trying to get votes, they are acting nice to you so that they can get the votes. They are acting nice for their own personal gain when really those aren’t their5 true colours.
Bibliography: Fake Love – Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jz_01KVkOBI.
5)Stand By You by Rachel Platten
Verse: Rabbi Yossei would say: The property of your fellow should be as precious to you as your own. Perfect yourself for the study of Torah, for it is not an inheritance to you. And all your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven. Avot 2:12
In the first part of this verse, it tells us “the property of your fellow should be as precious to you as your own.” This verse reminds me of the saying, treat Yourself the Way You Want Others to Treat You. You should always treat your fellows with respect and loyalty, the same way you treat yourself. The song, Stand By You by Rachel Platten relates to this part of the verse on so many levels. This part of the song says, “And hey if your wings are broken Please take mine ’til yours can open too ‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you” this part of the song is showing us that when giving people all you have, it’s treating them the way you would want to be treated. You would want to be given everything and you should do the same for other people. The meaning of this actual verse simply goes as followed, when Rabbi Yossei says “The property of your fellow should be as precious to you as your own.” Meaning that if you see a house of your fellows burning you should do everything in your power to save it.
Bibliography: Stand by You-Rachel Platten Midi Request, https://freemidi.org/request-detail-3419.