> Weekly Torah Portion > Beginner > Rabbi Avraham Twerski's Insights on the Torah

Teachers of Torah are Like Parents

Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20 )


These are the descendants of Aaron and Moses ... Nadab, Abihu, Elazar and Itamar (Numbers, 3:1-2)

Rashi remarks that although the Torah lists only Aaron's sons, they are considered to be Moses' children as well, because Moses taught them Torah. This teaches us that if one teaches another's child Torah, it is considered as though he bore him.

This is an important principle that every teacher of Torah should bear in mind. You must treat every child you teach as though he were your own child. Anything less is a dereliction of a Torah teacher's obligation.

Teaching children Torah is not the same as teaching the “three R's.” A teacher of secular subjects fulfills his responsibility when he successfully transmits knowledge to his students. A dedicated teacher who has made a sincere and maximum effort at teaching his pupils algebra may go home with a clear conscience and sleep peacefully. The fact that one or more students were unable to grasp the subject does not disturb him. He has not been derelict in his duties.

This is not the case with someone who teaches Torah. The Torah places an awesome responsibility on a teacher of Torah. He must consider each child as if it were his own biological offspring. How would a father feel if his child did not learn well or misbehaved? That, the Torah tells us, is how a Torah teacher must feel. He should have the child evaluated for a possible learning disability. He might even try to investigate whether there may be something in the home environment that inhibits the child's learning.

If a teacher were to find out that his own child had been humiliated in class, he would be irate. If he found out that his child's teacher embarrassed his child in class, he would be incensed at that teacher. If he found out that his child's teacher directed most of his attention to the brightest students and neglected maximizing his child's potential, he would certainly react. If his child was expelled for misbehaving, he would investigate what had happened and appeal for the child's reinstatement.

Parents expect their children to love them, just as they love their children. Teachers, too, should love their students and relate to them in way that will earn their love.

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