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3 short vorts about the 2nd paragraph of Shema

Written by d fine

1) If one can learn, then teach

The Chofetz Chaim notes that in the pasuk (11:19) of Shema velimadetem osam es beneichem ledaber bam (‘you shall teach them to your children to speak in them;’ referring to the teaching of Torah to one’s children), the word osam is written without a vav, which lends itself to be read as ‘atem.’ Commenting on the availability of this alternative reading, the Chofetz Chaim points out that this reading would have the pasuk say ‘you should teach yourselves.’ A father should not settle for merely teaching one’s kids Torah, but has to learn Torah themselves. In fact, the person who is best equipped to transfer Torah to the next generation is someone who is enveloped with a love and appreciation of Torah themselves. The best way to fill a new, empty cup with Torah is to be overflowing with Torah yourself.

2)And sticking with our pasuk (11:19), it has been said that the word bam refers to the Oral and Written Law (Torah she’bichtav and Torah shebe’al peh). For the beis of bam hints at the first word of the Torah she’bichtav (bereishis), whilst the mem refers to the first word of Torah she’be’al peh (me’eimasai of Brachos 1:1).

3)Whatever will be

The enumeration of the rewards for keeping mitzvos is introduced with the word vehaya (11:13). The Ohr Hachaim notes that this word vehaya denotes simcha, with the pasuk thus referring to the fact that if we keep the mitzvos properly then we will be genuinely happy people. The Messilas Yesharim in his opening few lines highlights the same point – there is no simcha like the observance of HaShem’s Will.

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