Jewish Philosophy

Judaic Studies


Jewish Philosophy



Orchos Tzaddikim, The Ways of the Righteous


Course Description:

Jewish Philosophy class meets once per week. Its main purpose is to awaken an awareness of self-improvement in students, and to instill a striving within each student to work on one’s middos, character traits. The sefer Orchos Tzaddikim, The Ways of the Righteous, is used as a tool to highlight certain character traits, while the rest will be summarized outside of the text. It is split into 28 chapters. Certain key paragraphs of each chapter will be read in the text. The students will take notes as well as discuss the various points. Each chapter focuses entirely on one middah.


Course Objectives:

  • To awaken an awareness of self-improvement in students

  • To instill a striving within each student to work on her middos

  • To serve as a forum in which each student will feel comfortable expressing herself and listening to her peers

  • To use the text as a springboard for many meaningful discussions in which many important religious ethics questions will be answered

Scope and Sequence:

  • Chapter 1:  Shaar HaGa’ava/ Haughtiness

  1. Good pride vs. bad pride

  2. Confidence vs. arrogance

  3. What ga’ava leads to

  4. How to uproot ga’ava


  • Chapter 2:  Shaar Ha’anava/Humbleness

  1. 7 ways to recognize a humble person

  2. A humble person’s relationship with Hashem

  3. What anava leads to

  4. People in Tanach who displayed anava


  • Chapter 3:  Shaar Habusha/Shame

  1. 4 levels of Busha in regard to sinning

  2. Feeling shame after sinning

  3. Abusing busha; embarrassing someone

  4. Good shame vs. bad shame

  • Chapter 4:  Shaar Ha’azus/Impudence

  1. What azus leads to

  2. How Hashem views & judges an “az panim”

  3. When to use azus for the good


  • Chapter 5:  Shaar Ha’ahava/Love

  1. Highest level in serving Hashem

  2. 6 types of corrupt love

  3. Mitzvah of Loving fellow Jew

  4. People in Tanach who displayed ahavas Hashem

  5. Shir HaShirim as a mashal

  • Chapter 6:  Shaar Ha’sinah/Hatred

  1. What sinah causes

  2. Sinas chinam: baseless hatred

  3. 2 types of sinah

  4. People in Tanach who displayed sinah

  5. Mitzvah to hate sheker/falsehood



Attendance and participation: 15%

Assignments and homework: 25%

  • Nightly reading will be given as homework.

  • Periodic written homework will be given as a review of material covered in class.

  • Writing assignments will be given quarterly.

Tests and quizzes: 30%

  • Quizzes will be given half way through each unit.

  • Tests will be given at the end of each unit.


Midterm or final: 30%


The entire Sefer Orchos Tzadikim will be learned with the following timeline:

Sept- Oct: the first 4 chapters (Conceit, Humbleness, Shame, Impudence)

Nov- Dec: the next 6 chapters (Love, Hatred, Mercy, Cruelty, Happiness, Worry)

Jan: 3 chapters (Regret, Anger, Desire)

Feb-March: the next 7 chapters (Jealousy, Alacrity, Laziness, Generosity, Stinginess, Memory, Forgetting)

April –May: the next 6 chapters (Silence, Lies, Truth, Flattery, Slander, and Repentance)

June: the final 2 chapters (Torah, Fear of Heaven)