Lubavitcher Rebbe; adapted by Tal Zwecker
Chapter 4 Mishna 13 "Crowning Yourself"
The Mishna teaches "Rabbi Shimon says there are three crowns: the crown of
Torah, the crown of the Priesthood and the crown of Kingship or Royalty and
the crown of a Good Name surpasses them. (literally "rises on their
The Rebbe explains that each of these three crowns teaches us an important
lesson about how to serve Hashem.
The Crown of Torah: The crown of Torah is just lying around ready for any of
us to just pick up. In fact this very aspect is unique to the crown of
Torah. The other two crowns of Priesthood and Kingship cannot be earned,
they are passed down through one's family. You are either born a kohen or a
descendant of King David, or not. As for the crown of Torah however
Maimonides the Rambam taught in the laws of Talmud Torah "whosoever wishes
let him come and take it [the crown of Torah]." We must all strive to crown
ourselves by toiling and engaging in Torah study whenever there is
The Crown of Priesthood: This crown alludes to Aharon the high priest. The
lesson of this crown is that each and every Jew must look to Aharon haKohen
as an example to learn from. Aharon's way of serving Hashem was filled with
Ahavas Yisroel - love for his fellow Jews. As the Mishna in Avos (1:12)
teaches Aharon loved peace and chased after peace.
The Crown of Kingship / Royalty: This crown alludes to King David and his
offspring the anointed Moshiach. It's lesson is that it is incumbent upon
each Jew to strengthen his faith in the coming of Moshiach and to await his
immanent arrival may he come speedily.
We have therefore broken down the message of the three crowns to strengthen
ourselves in serving Hashem through: Torah study, Ahavs Yisroel - loving our
fellow Jews and faith in the arrival of Moshiach.
The Rebbe now addresses the obvious question that many commentators ask: Why
does the language of the Mishna convey that there are three crowns when
there are in reality four? Why is the fourth crown of Keser Shem Tov - a
good name not counted among the others?
The Rebbe explains once we are permeated with Torah knowledge through and
though, once all of our being is infused with love of our fellow Jews so
that in each action we can feel the closeness and peace of our hearts, once
we believe with all our heart and soul in Moshiach's coming and await the
redemption every moment then we can merit the fourth crown of Keser Shem
Tov - a good name. The fourth crown is not a crown on its own. It exists
only after acquiring the other three. This is the meaning of the Mishna's
language the crown of a Good Name "rises on their backs," it is only
possible to have this fourth crown "on the backs" through utilizing the
The Keser Shem Tov - is a crown that expresses one's good name, a quality
which is our identity to others and when interacting with them. The crowns
of Torah, Priesthood and Royalty can be personal, signifying our own
identity to ourselves. However in order to convey our identity to others we
need a "good name." This "good name" is acquired by interacting with our
fellow Jews, helping them by fulfilling the dictates of the other three
crowns and thereby acquiring this one as well.
Based on: Biurim Le-Pirkei Avos Chapter 4 Mishna 13 Avos D'Rabbi Nasan
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
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