Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Bamidbar

Love Child

Volume 2 Issue 32

by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky

This week, Moshe is commanded to count each tribe and tally the numbers -- thus the name of the Sefer BaMidbar is appropriately translated as The Book of Numbers. In a separate counting, the tribe of Levi is also enumerated. However, before the Torah counts the members of the tribe of Levi it reckons a subdivision of that tribe, the four children of Ahron who were designated as Kohanim (priests).

The Torah mentions those children by name, Numbers 3: 1-3: "These are the offspring of Ahron and Moshe on the day that Hashem spoke to Moshe on Mount Sinai. These are the names of Ahron's children: Nadav, Avihu, Elozor and Isamar. These are the names of the children of Ahron who were Kohanim (priests), who were anointed to serve and minister."

An obvious question arises: the four children are also identified as sons of Moshe. They were not. In fact, Moshe's offspring are not mentioned in this section at all.

Moshe's mention as a forebearer of Ahron's children is in the context of a phrase that is seemingly out of place. "These are the offspring of Ahron and Moshe on the day that Hashem spoke to Moshe on Mount Sinai." What does speaking to Moshe at Sinai have to do with Moshe's relationship to his nephews?

The Talmud in Sanhedrin 19b derives from this verse that if one teaches someone else's children Torah it is as if he bore them. Thus, it is understandable that the Torah considers the children of Ahron, Moshe's offspring, "on the day that Hashem spoke to Moshe on Mount Sinai."

Yet it is troubling. Why is Moshe considered a parent because he taught Torah to his nephews? Is that the greatest reason for the adulation that is due Moshe? He led the Jews, his nephews included from, Egypt. He orchestrated the splitting of the sea, and he saved them from heavenly retribution time and time again. Why is he considered as a parent only in the role of an educator? Why can't Moshe be considered as a savior or a patron, "as if he bore them?"

Rav Lazer Gordon, the Telshe Rosh Yeshiva, had a man visit his Yeshiva to find a suitable match for his daughter. The man pointed to a boy who seemed very steeped in his studies and inquired about him. "Oh," said Reb Laizer. "He is my Yankele. He is one of the most brilliant students in Telshe."

The man assumed it was the Rav's son and gestured toward another student. "That is my Dovid'l. He has extremely fine character." The man was puzzled until he kept hearing from the Rav a description of each boy was preceded with the words, "my." "My Avrohom. My Meir. And My Chaim'l."

"Are all these students your family?" he asked.

Rav Lazer smiled, "everyone who is in my Yeshiva is a dear child. That is the only way I will have it."

The Torah is not telling those who are being taught Torah, "consider your teacher as if he were your father." There are many sorts of role models who may be considered as dear as a parent.

The Torah is telling a message to the teacher of Torah. It is impossible to mold a student and teach him the greatness of Torah unless you love him and treat him as if he were your child.

A teacher in our Yeshiva was asked, "Rabbi, how are your children?" In all sincerity he replied, "do you mean the ones I see at night or the ones who I see by day?"

Moshe is identified as a forebearer of Ahron's children in a very specific context: when he had to show supernatural love for them. When teaching them Torah.

If you don't love your student as your own child, you may have read to him. You may have lectured him. But you certainly did not teach him.

Dedicated by Berny and Tova Fuchs in memory of Chana Mindel Fuchs

Good Shabbos!

Copyright © 1997 by Rabbi M. Kamenetzky and Project Genesis, Inc.

If you enjoy the weekly Drasha, now you can receive the best of Drasha in book form!
Purchase Parsha Parables - from the Project Genesis bookstore - Genesis Judaica - at a very special price!

The author is the Associate Dean of the Yeshiva of South Shore.

Drasha is the e-mail edition of FaxHomily, a weekly torah facsimile on the weekly portion
which is sponsored by The Henry and Myrtle Hirsch Foundation


 


ARTICLES ON MIKETZ AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Straightening Out The Cause And The Effect
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

Just in Keitz
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

A Mysterious Ending
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

Looking for a Chavrusah?

What You See & What You Get
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Seeing the Plan to Fruition
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

Chanukah: A Postscript
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Into the Hands of the Few
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

Don't Forget the Butler
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Pharaoh Delivers A Not So Subtle Reminder: I Made You Who You Are
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5767

> Non Negotiable Part III
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

History Reenacted
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

To Fergin or Forget
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

ArtScroll

Our Noble Mission
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Under the Radar
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

Learning His Lesson
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

The Meaning of Miracles
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information