This week we read the Torah portion of Bamidbar – meaning “In the Wilderness.” It is always read prior to the festival of Shavuos, which is the time that we received the Torah.
Our Torah portion tells us that “These are the descendants of Aharon and Moshe on the day that Hashem spoke to Moshe at Mount Sinai.” Rashi cites the words “These are the descendants of Aharon and Moshe,” and makes the following comments. “(The Torah says ‘the descendants of Aharon and Moshe,’) yet only the sons of Aharon are mentioned. However, they are considered descendants of Moshe because he taught them Torah. This teaches us that whoever teaches Torah to the son of his fellow man is regarded as if he had begotten him.”
Everything in the Torah is precise. This is also true of analogies which the Torah makes use of. This is obviously true of the comparison between teaching Torah and fathering a child. However, it would seem that the two are not entirely alike. A person is only born once. From that point on the individual grows and develops. Therefore, it would seem that Rashi (and the Talmud) should have said that “this teaches us that whoever teaches Torah to the son of his fellow man Torah for the first time is regarded as if he had begotten him.” It is at that point that the individual is born. Afterwards he is just developing.
This can be understood with the help of a teaching of the Baal Shem Tov. He taught that creation was not a one-time event; rather it is an ongoing process. Hashem is creating and re-creating the world every moment. Based upon this teaching, the life-force of each of us is constantly being created.
We say in the Siddur “for they (meaning the words of Torah) are our life and the length of our days.” In other words, the life of each of us is dependent upon Torah.
What this means, is had one not taught “the son of his fellow man” Torah, he would have lacked the renewed life energy which he needed to receive at that moment in order to remain in existence. Hence, he actually “fathered,” brought about the creation of his fellow at that moment.
Wishing one and all a good Shabbos! May we all merit to receive the Torah in joy, and to internalize all of its holy teachings!
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn
Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 23, Page 8 – 16
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס
. Our Parshah, Bamidbar 3:1.
. The source of Rashi’s words is from the Talmud, Sanhedrin 19, b.
. See Shaar Hayichud Ve’emunah Chapter 1 where this is explained at length.
. See the blessing before Shema in the Evening Service.