“Whoever makes selfish use of the crown of Torah shall perish.” ~ Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers

crown of Torah

The Ethics of the Fathers (“Pirkei Avot”) state that whoever makes selfish use of the crown of Torah shall perish. Kabbalah is the Sod or the esoteric interpretation/revelation of the Torah. “Avos 1:13:15-17: And he who exploits the crown (of Torah) shall fade away.

  • If he uses it for personal gain by foolishly taking material reward in this world he has bartered away the eternal for the temporal.”


“…Hillel used to say: He who makes [selfish] use of the crown [of Torah] shall perish. Hence you can learn that whoever derives personal benefit from [exploiting] the words of Torah is arranging for his life to end in this world.” Now let us look at the last part of our Mishnah. Literally translated, it reads, “…whoever derives a personal benefit (neheneh) from the words of the Torah, takes his life out of the world.”


Karen Berg, multi-millionaire leader of the Kabbalah Centre big business cult.

Now, to “use” the Torah, to exploit it for personal profit, is obviously a desecration. For it bespeaks an attitude of superiority to the Torah, a dominion over it that permits exploitation. The sacred Word of God is no longer a revered source of inspiration and guidance; it becomes a “thing” to be manipulated for selfish ends. There is corruption here, and it extends beyond the character of the exploiter and his relation to his Maker. The corrupting effect spreads to all those about who witness such callousness and cynicism. Our loyalty to Torah, our reverent study and observance, should inspire others to emulate our ways. But when people see or even suspect that our piety is motivated by self-interest, it will inspire no one. It will bring no one closer to Divinity…”

From “Ethics From Sinai: An eclectic wide-ranging commentary on Pirke Avoth” by Irving Bunim.


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