This week’s Parsha, Bamidbar, talks about the different censuses that took place in the second year of the Jewish nation’s sojourn in the wilderness. There are two separate censuses that are mentioned in our Parsha. The first one counted all the Israelite tribes, except for the tribe of Levi, while the second one counted the tribe of Levi. Before describing the census of the Levites, the Torah briefly discusses their genealogy: “These are the descendants of Aaron and Moses, on the day that G-d spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai” (Bamidbar 3:1).
Rashi points out that although the verse only proceeds to mention the sons of Aaron, they are referred to as Moses’ sons as well because Moses taught them Torah. This idea is rooted in the Talmudic adage in Sanhedrin, 19a, stating that “one who teaches another’s son Torah is considered as if he fathered him.”
As a new father, I continue to learn the many aspects of parenting. This lesson from the Talmud is a good reminder that from a Jewish perspective, a major part of parenting is to teach Torah. It does not matter if the child is your biological child or not, nor does it matter if you are a scholar or not. Teaching Torah could simply start with teaching the Hebrew alphabet, or Biblical stories. It does not need to be an all or nothing proposition. Just because one does not know the deepest esoteric meanings of the Talmud or Zohar does not mean that they can’t teach Torah. We are all teachers of the Torah if we want to be.
There are meant opportunities to learn Torah even, or arguably especially, during this pandemic. Now is as good a time to start or rededicate ourselves we prep for the holiday of Shavuot, in which we celebrate the giving/receiving of the Torah. Examples include: Our weekly Parsha class on Sunday at 11am on our regular Livestream link. As well as Thursday evening after Yizkor and services we will have a class on the book of Ruth.