#100 Intro to Jewish Ethics & Virtues – Derekh Eretz

#100 Introduction to Jewish Ethics & Virtues – Derekh Eretz

Ethics-cloudThis lesson will introduce you to the Jewish idea of “Derekh Eretz” which means the “Right Path.” Judaism encourages people to live and behave with honesty, kindness, and acceptance – three of the many Jewish Virtues in our tradition. Other virtues you will study are “welcoming the stranger, truthfulness, and being grateful for what you have and who you are. In the next several lessons, you will learn more about Jewish Ethics and Virtues and how to live like a mensch in the way of Derekh Eretz, the right path.

#1 KNOW THIS:  Useful Vocabulary

Derekh Eretz: Hebrew for “The Right Path.” A person that has Derekh Eretz has good manners and is kind and helpful.

Ethics: Ethics is two things. First, ethics refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Ethics, for example, refers to those standards that impose the reasonable obligations to refrain from stealing, murder, assault, slander, and fraud. Ethical standards also include those that support virtues of honesty, compassion, and loyalty. And, ethical standards include standards relating to rights, such as the right to life, the right to freedom from injury, and the right to privacy. Such standards are adequate standards of ethics because they are supported by consistent and well-founded reasons. – Read More

Virtues: Positive Traits that lead to good individual behavior and makes the world a better place. An example is “helping the poor.”


The great Rabbi Hillel once said,

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”
– Ethics of the Elders 1:14

#3. WATCH. Honoring your Parents

#4 Tamid’s top 7 examples of how to be a mensch (a good person)?

1. Welcome the stranger
2. Being Truthful
3. Acting with Humility
4. Keeping Peace in the Home
5. Caring for your body
6. Living with Joy and Happiness
7. Honor your Parents

#5: WATCH : Being Grateful for what you have – Gratitude!

#6 DO THIS: Make your own page of Talmud

page of talmudThe Talmud is a collection of Jewish books that have stories, tales, and teachings about Jewish Virtues. Each page in the Talmud has a theme and captures a conversation about how different people interpret and react to the theme of the page. On the left is a real page of Talmud




1. How would you define the word, “Ethics”
2. What is your definition of “Virtues”
3. How would you explain this phrase from Rabbi Hillel: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And fi not now, when? ”
4. What are some Jewish virtues that are important to you?

Need some help?

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Also, at the end of the session, remember to review your responses in your Tamid Workbook so you can get credit for this lesson. Behatzlacha (Hebrew for good luck)!

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