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Rabbi Yitzchok Etshalom
Talmud Torah 5:12

12. Just as the students are obligated in the honor of their teacher, similarly the teacher must honor his students and bring them close. This is what the sages said: Your student's honor should be as precious to you as your own (Avot 4:12). A person should be careful with his students and love them, for they are the children who bring pleasure in this world and in *Olam HaBa* (the World to Come).

Q1: Why does Rambam "equate" these two honors ("similarly...")?

HH: Since one learns from one's students, the students are, in a certain sense, one's teachers. So, the teacher-student relationship is partially symmetric.

Q2: "Bring them close" - to what/whom?

HH: The teacher brings the students close to him/herself, and thereby, to Torah.

Q3: Why does Rambam _seemingly_ repeat the idea in the last clause?

YE: In the first clause, Rambam is addressing the teacher - and in terms which are a mirror of the student->teacher relationship (honor). In the second, he speaks to the person (note that in the first clause he said: "the teacher must honor..." and in the second clause: " A person should be careful with his students...") - and points to the fatherly relationship as regards students.

Q4: If students are _the_ children - what about his own flesh-and-blood children?

HH: The teacher, like anybody else, is supposed to teach Torah to his flesh-and-blood children. So, his flesh-and-blood children are students of him, and, thereby, his children! {flesh-and-blood children} are a subset of {children under Rambam's definition} (if you like mathematical notation).

Rambam, Copyright (c) 1999 Project Genesis, Inc.



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