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Shir ha-Shirim XVI Part Six: Sefirah 25

“Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand (Psalms 149:6).” Rabbi Yehudah and Rabbi Nechemiah and the Rabbis give different explanations (of ‘two-edged,’ or, ‘mouths,): Rabbi Yehudah said: The Torah which was originally proclaimed from one mouth was afterwards proclaimed from many mouths (First by Moshe and then by Aharon, Aharon’s sons, and the Elders; similarly in all generations, first by the teacher and then by his students). (Shir Hashirim Rabbah 1.2:5, Part Six)


When God taught the Torah, He taught it in such a manner that it could be taught from the mouth of each who heard Him. Each one who heard, “Shemah,” was able to find his own words to share his learning. The one mouth became two.

Each teacher must transmit his Torah so that each student can find his unique way of presenting his learning. The emphasis is not on the material, but on how the wisdom relates to the individual student, who hears, “Shemah,” in order to teach. We cannot focus our teaching as teachers or as parents on the specific information; we must give over the teachings so that our students and children can hear it well enough to find their own words to share the learning with future generations.

This is why the Mitzvah to teach Torah is in the paragraph of Shemah: 1) Allow me to hear Your Torah so I can share it in my words, and 2) Help me teach focusing on the one who is hearing, not the one who is speaking.

Hint: How is the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah presented differently in the second paragraph of the Shemah?

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