Wednesday, February 16, 2011

chinuch lessons from Parshas Titzaveh

I meant to post this earlier for Titzaveh - better a little late than never:

"V'atah t'daber el kol chachmei lev asher mileisev ruach chochma..." (28:3). Chasam Sofer explains that Moshe was told to tell the "chachamei lev" that they are already, "asher mileisiv ruach chochma," endowed with the wisdom, knowledge, the capacity to do the job of building the Mishkan. Nothing else is needed except for them to make full use of talents they already have. This vort should be plastered on the walls of every yeshiva classroom in the world. "Asher mileisiv ruach chochma," you have what it takes to learn and succeed, even if you make mistakes along the way.

Talent alone is not enough to produce results. It also takes hard work. Chasam Sofer interprets the light of the menorah symbolically as representing the wisdom of Torah. That light comes from oil that must be "kasis," crushed and pounded to the finest consistency -- without grinding away at learning, without effort, nothing can ever be accomplished.

There is one other ingredient needed for success, and that is a rebbe or morah. There is a tremendous Ksav Sofer that caught my eye. The Ramban asks why the Torah places so much emphasis on Moshe's personal participation when it comes to making the oil for the menorah: "Atah tetzaveh... V'yikchu eilecha..." etc. Ramban suggests that Moshe had to make special effort to get proper oil, as it was not readily available, and he personally had to supervise its pressing to make sure it was done properly. It is difficult to understand why Moshe had to personally serve as mashgiach here; however, as the Ksav Sofer writes, it teaches an important lesson in light (excuse the pun) of the symbolism of oil as chochmas haTorah. You can't delegate Torah learning; you can't delegate chinuch. If you want the light of Torah to burn, you have to personally make sure that it happens. Yes, I know must of us pay good money for yeshiva tuition and are not personally involved in every step of our children's education, but that does not mean we get a free pass on all our responsibility and involvement.

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