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Blessings of the Torah: Like a Bride

“He gave to Moshe, when He finished speaking with him” (Ki Tisa 31:18). “Kechaloto” (when He finished) can be read as “Kechalato”- like His bride. Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said:

It is forbidden for a Torah scholar to issue a public halachic ruling until his words of Torah are appealing to those who hear it, like a bride who is attractive to her husband, and he desires to hear her words. (Midrash Tanchuma, Ki Tisa #16)

This Midrash describes the necessary approach to Torah learning and teaching. In the Blessings of the Torah, we ask God to sweeten the words of His Torah in our mouthes and in the mouthes of His people, the house of Israel. It is a process in which we must engage ourselves as well.

Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish states “until his words of Torah are appealing to those who hear it”. He must work at it. He must first find the beauty in Halacha, he must taste its sweetness. Then, he must present it in a way that will be pleasant to those who hear it- without compromising the truth of what he is about to transmit.
Until then, the Torah scholar is forbidden to rule; until then, the teacher should not be permitted to teach.
It is only when we are ready to see Torah as a magnificent bride that we will thirst to hear her words, and attract others to its beauty.

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