יערוף כמטר לקחי תיזל כטל אמרתי כשעירים עלי דשא וכרביבים עלי עשב (לב:ב).
“May my teachings drip like the rain and may my utterances flow as the dew… ” (32:2).
This verse provides very descriptive words regarding the teaching of Torah. Let us try to understand the parables. Why is the teaching of Torah compared to both rain and dew, is the verse simply being poetic?
Rain and Dew
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, our previous Gadol HaDor and a master pedagogue, learns two beautiful fundamentals from the Torah’s word choice. The Torah is teaching us two keys to effective teaching! There are two main differences between dew and rain which are mentioned in Rashi. First, dew is a pleasant morning mist that is welcomed and appreciated by all, whereas, rain is sometimes seen as inconvenient and bothersome. Secondly, however, only the rain is most helpful and productive upon the ground. Dew causes very little growth. Rain brings much life.
Reb Moshe then explains further. A teacher must excel in both aspects! His lessons must be powerful and enlightening like rain. But they cannot be forced and imposing. The mode of presentation must be like dew, pleasant and enjoyable to all!
In the same vein, Reb Moshe states that one should only teach if he enjoys doing so! If he forces himself to be involved with what he finds cumbersome and unfulfilling, this will impede his ability to touch the hearts of the students properly. One who has passion and love for what he is doing will be able to impart the lessons in an enjoyably and effective manner.
The Alter of Kelm, Reb Simcha Zissel said that students must know two things: (1) The teacher is wiser and knows more than I. (2) The teacher truly cares about me and acts for my benefit. Only if a student possesses these two realizations will he be able to learn from his teacher. These two things are the rain and dew of teaching. Rain causes much growth, this refers to the knowledge of the teacher which he has to share. Dew is pleasant and enjoyable, this refers to the teacher’s warmth and care for the student.
The Torah is teaching us the two most important ingredients for teaching. Even if we are not in a classroom setting, we are still imparting our lessons to others, to our children and the people whom we interact with. Let us share our Torah with others and show them the sweetness and beauty of closeness to Hashem.
We are told in our parsha to study history. “Zichor yimos olam binu shinos dor vador, remember the days gone by; understand each of the previous generations (Devarim 32:7). Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch explains that the study of Jewish History is not like the usual study of world history. Jewish history is not simply about places, times, cultures and customs. Jewish history is meant to be a lesson in emunah and bitachon, true faith in Hashem. When one contemplates all that Hashem did and does for His nation, many lessons of awe and beauty will be gained.
Rabbi Yechezkel Abramsky zt”l (1886 – 1976) points out a strange occurrence in Megillas Esther. At the end of Esther (10:2) the verse says that the whole story of the miracle of Purim and Mordechai’s greatness is written in the annals of Persia and Mede. Why does the Megillah need to tell us this? It is simply recommending further reading? Rabbi Abramsky explains that at first glance we would think that the Megillah’s focus is to tell us the story of Purim and that it is a historical accounting like so many other books. It is for this reason that the Megillah specifically states that if you are interested in the sensational story, you can get a detailed account in the Persian history books. The Megillah however was written with Divine Inspiration and its sole purpose is to spread the knowledge of the miracles and love of Hashem. It is meant to inspire us and show us how profoundly Hashem loves and cares for His Nation. Thus, it can be said that if one wants to understand the ways of Hashem, the Megillah is the source; if one is looking for a good story, check out the Persian historical account. All of Torah and Jewish History is meant to inspire and uplift.
This is what our verse is telling us. We should study the history of our rich heritage. The most important part is “binu shinos dor vador, to contemplate all that occurred.” We should think about the intricate providence and the implications of Hashem’s Guiding Hand throughout each chapter of Jewish history. This brings value and benefit to the study of Jewish History.
פרשת וזאת הברכה