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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Va'eschanan, Devarim 6:7. Ve'shinantam Le'vanecha.

The mitzva of Limud Hatorah is derived from here and from Vehaya Im Shamo’a’s ‘Velimadetem’ below in Devarim 11:19.

Reb Akiva Eiger in the teshuvos (starting at #29) discusses whether kesiva is ke'dibbur, whether writing has the same halachic status as speech, regarding Oaths, Counting the Omer, and other things. Reb Akiva Eiger holds that it is not ke’dibbur, and that you do not fulfill the mitzva of Talmud Torah by thinking the words of Torah.

He brings a contrary opinion from Teshuvos Shev Yakov, who holds that it is ke’dibbur. The Shev Yaakov brings proof to his opinion from the halacha that one who thinks in learning does not have to make a Birchas Hatorah, but one who writes Torah does have to make a bracha. The difference must be that thinking is not the same as speech, but writing is, and therefore requires birkas hatorah. But Reb Akiva Eiger shlogs op the raya. He explains that we learn the Mitzva of Talmud Torah from the words veshinantam and velimadetem; both of these words mean both to study and to teach. This is why we exclude thinking, hirhur, because you can’t teach anyone Torah by being meharher in learning. On the other hand, when you write, you certainly can teach others through your writing, and therefore it is included in the mitzvah of talmud Torah. Thus, the Shev Yakov’s raya is not good; The Shev Yaakov held that the Mitzva is dibbur, and the difference between thinking and writing is that thinking is not like dibbur, while writing is like dibbur. Reb Akiva Eiger explains that by Torah, there is no din of dibbur at all. The only din is that it has to be a limud which could be used to teach others. This is the only reason that we are mema’eit hirhur. But in the case of other dinim, like sefira or sh'vua, which do require dibbur, ke'siva would not be enough.

We see from here a very interesting thought; that limud hatorah has to have in it the ability to teach others. Limud which is not spread, or a lomeid who does not make an effort to teach others, is missing the ikkar of talmud Torah. If a person learns Torah, and has no influence on the people around him, there is something wrong with his Torah. If your children are not at least as great as you- relative to their capacity and the circumstances-- then it’s a raya that your own limud hatorah was flawed

☞Note, also, that R’ Akiva Eiger wrote the tshuva on the day he got married, as he says in the beginning of the tshuva

Rabbi Moshe Kletenick of Seattle once spoke at his nephew's bris, and said that he heard once that the Rambam in the Yad somewhere says that one brings his child to Hakhel “leiro’os bo,” to be seen with his child. He said over that this means that the parent brings the child to demonstrate that he is a shomer Torah, and he shows that by bringing a child that is being properly raised to do mitzvos.

Sanhedrin 99a: “kol halomeid Torah ve’eino melamda harei zeh bichlal ki dvar Hashem bazah.” One who learns Torah, and does not teach it to others, he is included in the phrase "the word of God he has disgraced."

So whenever we learn, we need to remember that we can't pat ourselves on the back and say that we're good boys, we've been mekayeim the mitzva of Talmud Torah. The Mitzva of Talmud Torah is far deeper and broader than learning alone. It includes learning, incorporating the mitzva so that it is a part of our mind and our emotions, bringing what we've learned to our real life, and teaching others what we've learned. We say this every day in Birchos Kri'as Shma: Lilmod, le'lameid, lishmor ve'la'asos.

In a guest post, Rabbi Doctor Psychrolutes marcidus brought an Reb Yosef Ber Soloveitchik's amazing diyuk that the Rambam is meramez exactly this thought in 1 Talmud Torah:1-4. See http://havolim.blogspot.com/2009/07/land-of-free-part-ii.html


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