| Parshah |

Linked In

We are all talmidim of Moshe Rabbeinu


“These are the descendants of Aharon and Moshe on the day that Hashem spoke to Moshe at Har Sinai.” (Bamidbar 3:1)


"These are the descendants of Aharon and Moshe,” says the pasuk — yet the next pasuk mentions only the sons of Aharon, not Moshe. From here we learn that teaching

someone Torah is like fathering him. And what better time to introduce such a thought than the day of Matan Torah? (Rav Moshe Twersky Hy”d, Vayigdal Moshe)

“Shimon’s rosh yeshivah was niftar today.” My husband put his tallis bag on the table.

I froze, about to pour him coffee, my hand trembling on the kettle. “Baruch Dayan HaEmes. How’s Shimon?”

“I just spoke with him. It’s not a shock, but it’s still so painful. He got a psak that he should tear kri’ah.”

“That makes sense,” I nodded. “He feels as close as a child.”

My nephew Shimon had a beautiful connection to his rosh yeshivah and during this period of the rosh yeshivah’s illness, we’d all been davening for his refuah. Now we were all left with a gaping hole.

The Gra explains that this comparison to fathering a child is not merely an allegorical expression — it’s literal. Just as there’s a birthing process on the physical plane, so too there is a spiritual birth process. The Mishnah (Bava Metzia 33a) says that returning a lost object to your rebbi takes precedence over returning a lost object to your father, because a father brings you to Olam Hazeh while your rebbi brings you to Olam Haba. Your existence in Olam Hazeh is due to your parents, but your existence in Olam Haba is only possible through the one who teaches you Torah.

A few years passed. Right before Pesach, my nephew celebrated the birth of his first son. The bris was to be on Pesach and as I finished up my last-minute cleaning, I wondered what the name would be. My nephew had lost a grandfather he was very close to, and his wife had as well. But what about Shimon’s rosh yeshivah?

I needn’t have worried.

When Hashem cursed Adam Harishon with the curse of death, there were no exceptions for any of humanity. Everyone will die. Yet there is an escape hatch — the ability to produce progeny allows us to achieve continuity even after death.

All of human existence is one chain of life — from parent to child.

And the “birth process” of teaching talmidim is also an unbroken chain of life in the spiritual realm, connecting us to Moshe Rabbeinu on Har Sinai. A part of the spiritual life energy of each rebbi is passed on to his talmidim, ensuring the chain never breaks.

The Midrash (Tikkunei Zohar 114a) says the influence of Moshe Rabbeinu is in every generation. We are all talmidim of Moshe Rabbeinu. The Torah that was transmitted at Har Sinai will never end, because the link from rebbi to talmid perpetuates it as one continuum of spiritual vitality. This glorious, existential connection of spiritual life energy is what gives us eternity through Torah.

Entering the shul, I realized that I’d never been to a Pesach bris before. But the warmth and simchah felt by all of us there more than compensated for the lack of the usual rugelach and knishes.

During the seudah, my nephew spoke. Upon conclusion of his devar Torah, he began to speak about the baby’s name.

The baby’s first name, Shmuel, was after his wife’s grandfather ztz”l. His second name, Yaakov, was after my nephew’s grandfather, my beloved father ztz”l. And the two names together, Shmuel Yaakov, was the name of my nephew’s rosh yeshivah.

I looked at the precious little boy, peacefully sleeping, oblivious to the full circle of chinuch that had closed with his naming. So tiny, yet such potential for greatness. The next shining link had been formed.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 742)

Oops! We could not locate your form.