Sharing the Torah by Yoni Chambre


              Every holiday is special, and each in a different way. Shavuot, more than any other holiday, is made special through Talmud Torah. It is therefore no coincidence that the Parsha right before Shavuot teaches many lessons about Talmud Torah.

              The opening Pasuk states that Hashem spoke to Moshe in the Wilderness of Sinai (1:1). The Midrash (Bamidbar Rabah 1:7) says that anyone who does not make himself open like the wilderness will be unable to study Torah. Sefer Matnat Kehuna states that above all things, this refers to humility. One who does not allow himself to learn from every person will not be able to fully understand the Torah. One should never refuse to listen to another speak because he or she considers that person to be lower than them. Similarly, he should never refuse to share his knowledge with another.

              Snobbery has no place in the Torah. One who is lucky enough to sit and learn all day should never refuse to teach one who is not that lucky. The relationship between Yissachar and Zevulun is very famous; Yissachar learned as Zevulun worked to support both of them. Obviously no member of Yissachar considered himself to be superior to a member of Zevulun because he studied; rather the Torah points out that the relationships between the two were so close that in the listing of the Tribes that  "&" separates them, as if they were one. Just as there was a mutual respect between them, so should there be between all people who are at different levels of ability in learning.

              Yissachar and Zevulun walked side by side in the desert in support of each other, and they walked beneath the banner of Yehuda who protected them both. Just as they received merit for each other's actions, so do those who protect Yeshiva students learning in Eretz Yisrael for the support they give to their learning. In an era where many people avoid serving the state for the sake of their learning, at all times credit should be given to those who are not as learned as they are but still very important to their learning.

              The experience of learning all night on Shavuot should be incredible. It should be productive and meaningful, and it should be shared by all.

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