27 Jul Teaching Torah
We are told to teach our children, “Veshinantam levanecha,” in Devarim 6:7. The Gemara in Kiddushin 30b tells us that Rav Safra said in the name of Reb Yehoshua ben Chananya that the word “veshinantam” teaches us that we should read the word as “veshilashtam -” one has to teach and review and review it a third time. One should split the time of learning into three parts; one third should be spent learning Chumash, one third should be learning Mishnah, and the last third should be learning Gemara.
The question one can ask is based on the Gemara in Kiddushin 30a that says there is only a chiyuv for a father to teach his son Chumash, not Mishnayos and/or Gemara. How could the Gemara say that one should divide the learning into three parts, if the father is not required to teach his son Mishna and Gemara?
The Maharsha answers that there is a difference between learning with one’s son and grandson. A person is obligated to teach his son Torah, Mishna, and Gemara. As a grandfather, one is required to teach Chumash, and not Mishna and Gemara. The Makna agrees with the Maharsha’s position. The Rosh disagrees and holds that a father is only required to teach his son Chumash, not Mishna and Gemara. The Pnei Yehoshua says when the Torah says “veshinantam,” it is not referring to one’s biological son, whom one is required only to teach Chumash, but rather it is referring to one’s talmidim, who are considered like one’s children. One is required to teach Chumash, Mishna, and Gemara to these talmidim.
The Panim Yafos in Parshas Vayeira explains the posuk in Tehillim 92:13 that says, “A tzaddik will sprout like a tamar (a date) and like a cedar tree in Levanon yisgeh.” The Gemara in Bava Basra 80b says on the above posuk that like a date tree produces fruit; so too, a tzaddik that teaches produces talmidim. The drawback is that the tzaddik himself loses out in that he can’t grow and is similar to a cedar tree, which does not produce fruit. Yet, the cedar tree is very tall and this shows that a tzaddik has special Siyata Dishmaya that he gains from teaching as we see in Taanis 7a that the Rebbe gained the most from his talmidim. This explains the posuk in Yeshaya 42:22 that says, “Hashem chafetz (Hashem wanted) leman tzidko (because of his tzedaka) yagdil Torah… The Rebbe’s Torah becomes that much greater because of the tzedaka that the Rebbe gives up in his private gains in order to help his talmidim.
The Chasam Sofer in Avoda Zora 35b explains the Gemara that says that a Talmid Chacham is compared to a container of great smelling perfume. When the container is open, the smell wafts out and everything is wonderful. When the container is closed, no one gains from the fine smelling perfume. Not only that, a Rebbe who teaches his Talmidim gets the hidden mysteries of the Torah revealed to him, as it says in Shir Hashirim 1, “alamos aheivucha.” Hashem reveals to him all things that would usually be hidden from the Rebbe. We all are familiar with the story in Eiruvin 54b that Rav Preida had a talmid that needed the Gemara explained to him four hundred times. One time the talmid was distracted and Rav Preida patiently taught it to him another four hundred times. A bas kol came out giving Rav Preida a choice of either living another four hundred years or that he and his entire generation should be zocheh to Olam Haba. Rav Preida chose the second choice of Olam Haba. Hashem said that Rav Preida would receive both! We see that teaching talmidim is what makes a tzaddik greater that he was before.
May we be zocheh to learn and teach and emulate Hashem who is the Melamed Torah Le’Amo Yisroel!