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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Bemidbar: Parashat Bemidbar: Parents and Teachers

Contributed by: Rabbi Haim Shaul

In Parashat Bemidbar that we always read on the Shabbat preceding Shabouoth, the Torah states, "And these are the children of Aharon and Moshe". However the verse continues and enumerates only the descendants of Aharon and not Moshe!

Rashi asks the obvious question: why does the Torah refer to the children of Aharon as having two fathers, both Aharon and Moshe? He answers that Nadav, Abihou, Elazar, and Ithamar (the sons of Aharon) are also considered to be like Moshe's children because he taught them Torah. It states in Tractate Sanhedrin 19A, "For anyone who teaches his friend's child Torah is considered as if he gave birth to him".

We find a similar concept with a slightly different expression concerning Abraham Avinu. There the Torah states that Abraham "made souls in Haran (Beresheet 12:5). The Talmoud asks, is it possible to make a soul? To which the Talmoud answers that Abraham brought people under the wings of G-d and it is as if he made them.

Why are Abraham's students considered to be "made" and Moshe's students are considered his "children", and what is the difference between being made and being born?

As parents, we have an advantage in the education of our children that a professional teacher does not have. We have a natural love and natural sense of compassion for our children. Such a feeling is necessary in teaching any child. But sometimes those feelings of compassion can be a detriment, because the natural feelings for one's children can cloud a parent's thoughts and be detrimental to the child's education.

On the other hand, the professional teacher has the advantage of being like the one who has "made" the student, like a drill sergeant who takes an undisciplined boy and "makes" him into a soldier. However, without the parental love and compassion, it could not be said that the teacher "gave birth to him."

That is why it is so important for each one of us as parents, to be intimately involved with our children in every aspect of their lives, especially in schoolwork. Helping to direct them to the friends that will have a positive influence on them, they social lives and spiritual development, because we cannot expect teachers to be like Moshe Rabenou and be the parents of our children, because that is our job and no one can do it bettercom
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