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Can We Give Birth to Ourselves and to Others?
by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh

>>> Listen to Audio Lecture here 

Teaching is much more than just relating information. The true teacher imbues his students with his very essence. In this audio meditation, Rabbi Ginsburgh describes how the devoted teaching of Moses emanated from the depths of his soul. When we understand the dynamics of this type of teaching, we can learn to convey our own Torah essence to others, recreating them and ourselves, and filling the entire world with the revelation of God. 

Where are the Children of Moses?

After a census of the Children of Israel has been taken, the fourth section of our Torah portion, Bamidbar, opens with the verse, "These are the generations of Aaron and Moses…" The verses then go on to enumerate Aaron's four sons. Moses' two sons, however, are not mentioned.

The famous literal commentator on the Torah, Rashi, explains the absence of Moses' children with a teaching from the sages. Our sages learn from this omission that when a person teaches Torah to another, it is as if he has given birth to him. When enumerating the sons of Aaron, the Torah includes Moses as their progenitor to make this point. Moses, the quintessential Rebbe ("Rabbi" or  "teacher") of all Israel, including Aaron's sons, is considered their father.

Revelation and Essence

In Chassidut we learn that the transmission of Torah knowledge and insight from one person to the other can be compared to the revelation of spiritual light. On the other hand, when a person brings physical children into the world, he is not transmitting light, but his very essence. How then, can we understand the interpretation of the sages that when a person teaches Torah to another, it is as though he has given birth to him?

A True Rebbe

Chassidut explains the difference between an ordinary teacher and a teacher like Moses. While the ordinary teacher conveys insight and light to his student, the Rebbe, who is the manifestation of Moses in every generation, imbues his very essence--his entire heart and soul--into the holy words of Torah that he conveys. This devoted teaching is so intense that the teachings of the Rebbe enter the soul of his disciple, impregnating him with his very essence. This act of union between the true Rebbe and the true disciple gives birth anew to the disciple and in a certain sense, to the Rebbe, as well. By impregnating his disciple with his new Torah insights, the Rebbe reveals new depths of the essence of his own soul, and is also renewed.

The Song of Songs is the parable of the marriage of God to Israel This parable also applies to the relationship between a true Rebbe and his disciple. They are like mates, bearing the disciple anew. In this way, the disciple becomes more of a son of his Rebbe than of his biological father. Our Sages teach that there are many laws that require a person to honor his Rebbe even more than his biological father. When the Rebbe has given birth to his disciple, his new status as father becomes ensconced even in Jewish law.

The Spark of Moses in Every Person

Every Jew has within him a spark of the quintessential Rebbe, Moses. Hence, every person can aspire to convey the Torah that he has learned with his whole heart and soul. This is much more than simply sharing thoughts--even lofty Torah thoughts--with others. It requires total devotion to the Torah, so that the Torah becomes one's very life. In this state, we can convey our essence to others. A true disciple will open his heart and soul to integrate his Rebbe's essential teachings into his own essence.

The Wonder of Re-Creation

The very first commandment given to man is to be fruitful and multiply. This of course applies to the literal mitzvah ("commandment") of bringing children to the world. Kabbalah explains that another dimension of this commandment is that when a person merits new flashes of Torah insight, he is being fruitful and multiplying in the holy essence of his mind.

Rabbi Schneor Zalman of Liadi, the first Lubavitcher Rebbe and author of the Tanya, explained this commandment as the mitzvah upon every Jew to make another Jew. This is not necessarily a biological directive. The Torah calls upon us to devote ourselves so much to another Jew until we actually re-create him.

Some people think that the main role of a Rebbe is to work miracles. Those with a deeper understanding of the role of the Rebbe understand that his true wonder comes from his ability to imbue his students with his own essence. When the Rebbe teaches Torah from the depths of his heart and soul to his students, it is as if he has taken a piece of wood and created it anew as a human being.

Actualizing the Spark

The Torah addresses every individual at all times. By alluding to Moses' role as father of his disciples, our Torah portion instructs the spark of Moses in us all to be fruitful and multiply in our interpersonal relationships. God brought us to this world not just to share our Torah knowledge, but to actually impregnate other souls with the Torah essence of our own souls. Then together, we give birth anew to ourselves and to others, filling the entire world with the revelation of God.



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