THE DAILY SAGE CALENDAR:
< Tishrei 5782 September 2021 >
אבגדהוש
   כד/1כה/2כו/3כז/4
כח/5כט/6א/7ב/8ג/9ד/10ה/11
ו/12ז/13ח/14ט/15י/16יא/17יב/18
יג/19יד/20טו/21טז/22יז/23יח/24יט/25
כ/26כא/27כב/28כג/29כד/30  

Values Index - Torah Study

"And all your children shall be disciples of the LORD, And great shall be the peace of your children." The way that they will "be disciples of the LORD" – that is, learned in Torah and (having) fear of Heaven – is by "great shall be the peace of your children". This means that by being together in peace, brotherhood and friendship they will be able reprimand one another, and that the words of reprimand will be heard, so that all will follow God's path. This is also understood from the following: Hillel says, "Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving the creatures and bringing them closer to Torah." When one loves and pursues peace, and loves people, one can reprimand them what one says is accepted; they follow the paths of God and fear of Heaven. For this reason, the text ends with "bringing them closer to Torah".

VeHochiakh Et Avraham, from Shmo Avraham A, pp. 42 – 43, I.A. Itach Printing, Jerusalem, 1976

The commandment to write a kosher Torah scroll, as we have seen done by my friend Haim, may God preserve him, who had this excellent and lovely Torah scroll written in his name, is a fulfillment of the verse we have inscribed at the entrance, "This is my God and I will enshrine Him – enshrine Him with commandments". It is a beautiful Torah scroll, written with beautiful ink and a beautiful quill by an artist scribe, bound in beautiful silk vestment, to which he has also added the two sterling silver pomegranate and breastplate adornments. There is no doubt whatsoever that his recompense will be very great, and that he has fulfilled the verse "Wealth and riches are in his house, and his beneficence lasts forever". …We learn from the words of our master, Rabbi Asher Ben Yechiel, may he rest in peace, that in past generations they would write a Torah scroll and study from it. The principal aspect of the commandment is to write a Torah scroll, but in our day, when a Torah scroll is written and then placed in the synagogue for public reading, it does not suffice to write only Torah scrolls but Mishnah, Talmud and commentaries must also be written, in keeping with the above.

VaYikakh Avraham, original Torah commentary, Sermon 11, p. 27b, Izmir, 1882
A common error among those studying the perfect Torah, when the opportunity to fulfill a commandment arises, is to ignore it. One ignores it, thinking, "Torah study is to my advantage, and I am acting to glorify God's might. Such a person is certainly lying, heaven forbid, to God, and being wicked and deceitful, for he studies yet does not fulfill, and Torah was given for the sake its commandments.
Sefer Zicharon LaNefesh, p. 75. HaKtav Institute Press, Jerusalem, 1984
''They that wait for the LORD shall renew their strength' – 'Rabbi Nehorai says, I set aside all trades in the world and I teach my son only Torah' etc. Why? Because the Torah will stand for him in good stead in his old age, giving him hope and support. Regarding youth it says, 'They that wait for the LORD shall renew their strength' and regarding old age it says, 'They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and richness'. Therefore every person who deals in Torah is elevated, not only those of the People of Israel but non-Jews as well.
They said of the Rav HIDA [Rabbi Haim Yosef David Azulai, 1724-1806] that he had a sister who was more knowledgeable than he in Mishna but would read [the letter] het as chet, so he said to her: My sister, you are not Ashkenazic, why do you read het as chet? She answered him: Brother, dear, Scripture says "they that wait for the LORD shall renew their strength" – kaf renews het. [strength in Hebrew – ko'ach, written with kaf and het].
Ma'asei Gedolim, Genesis, Lech Lecha Haftara, section 1 – A Tale of Rabbi HIDA's sister, p. 226. Jerusalem, Second Edition, 1978

In it will you see…that a person will find that all the wisdom they can imagine or learn already indicated in the Torah, for the Torah is like a pure, natural and shining mirror; it will reflect the beholder's image, whatever shape is placed before it. Such is the Torah, each and every person makes sense of it in keeping with his or her understanding, and sees its image in it. Indeed, the Torah has six hundred thousand interpretations because each one of the six hundred thousand souls received an interpretation of the Torah, according to a literal, allegorical or esoteric meaning. Each soul will interpret Torah in keeping with the interpretation it received, and will find that particular interpretation in Torah, just like a mirror that reflects the shapes of all people, despite that they each have different shapes.

Ahava BaTa'anuguim, Tractate Avot, chapter 5, published by Orot HaHaim, Jerusalem (1987)

"The world stands on three things: on the Torah, and on the service (of God), and on acts of lovingkindness." A person should not say: Torah study on its own suffices for me, or fulfilling commandments between man and God suffices on its own, or fulfilling the commandments concerning man and his brethren suffices on its own. This is not the way. The three, together, are necessary … the letter vav is added, showing that one does not suffice on its own, and neither do two, but all three are necessary. For one without the other cannot exist. As they, of blessed memory, said, "Whoever holds a Torah scroll naked, is buried naked". They explain that this was intended to mean that a person who says that they have only Torah, who does nothing but study and does not engage in its garments - meaning the commandments written in it - such a person is "buried", or goes to the grave without anything, without even the reward for having studied.

Baruch Ta'am, Volume 1, Hakhel Torah reading portion, p. 108, Ahavat Shalom, Jerusalem, 2003

"Hillel says: Do not separate yourself from the community. Do not believe in yourself until the day of your death." This follows from what our sages, of blessed memory, said. A person should share in the fulfillment of commandments with the community: When praying, pray in community, for "Behold, God is mighty; He is not contemptuous" even if there are, Heaven forbid, sinners among them. This is not the case with the single person, who is observed and whose acts are scrutinized. Just as with our Master, Moses, "He has turned to the prayer of the destitute and has not spurned their prayer", meaning the individual is observed, "and not spurned their prayer" – the prayer of the community. This is also the case with Torah study in community. It has added value, as the Peleh Yo'etz, of blessed memory, wrote: It is best to study in community, to make the learning both a service and a tribute. This refers to the Psalms, rather than to difficult and technical matters (nega'im v'ohalot), and similarly to all mitzvoth that are enhanced when performed "in the multitude of people" and are "the king's glory".

Yad Binyamin, p. 26. Published by Zvi Did, Tiberias, 1969

Our Sages, of blessed memory, instruct us to begin with the Book of Leviticus [Vayikra], specifically, in teaching schoolchildren, so that the issue of humility should be learned first, for it is required for Torah study. A person lacking humility, even if they are a great Torah scholar, is not beloved by the Almighty. That is why there is a small aleph in the word Vayikra: so that pupils may ask why, and teachers can explain, as above, concerning our Master Moses' humility, and that the notion reach the child's mind. This is a fundamental principle in Torah.

VeCham HaShemesh, Part B, Vayikra Torah reading portion, p.358, published by the author, Jerusalem, 2003

Torah deals principally with preserving and observing, learning and teaching, so as to benefit the public. One should not be a foolishly pious person, who sits and studies without fulfilling any commandments, and says: "Since Torah study is equated to all the commandments, what need have I to fulfill any other commandments?" For it has already been said that "It is a time to act for the LORD, for they have violated Your teaching". Especially in the case of a person dealing in public affairs, for whom the need to postpone prayer and the like is more likely, for "…it is not the exposition (of Torah) that is essential, but the action".

Maskil LeDavid, Volume 1, Sermon 6 for Shabbat HaGadol, p.51a-b, published by the Organization for Immigrants from Djerba and South Tunisia, Pardes Katz, 1976

Listen, my friend. Know that hearing something first-hand is better than reading it…This is because speakers will change the level of their voice, raise and lower it, and give a sense to their words using their facial expressions and gaze, in keeping with the moment and according to need. And since those people listening may be standing, speakers will make the effort to have their words sound agreeable reach their public, and use a triumphant voice to make a greater and more powerful impression on their listeners... Just as Rabbi Bina wrote, that at times things written in a book, with all due sanctity, may be but the bare bones of a matter and have little vitality, have little effect and make no lasting impression on readers nor stir their hearts. But hearing those who teach and preach when they are present, alive and moving, adds to the power of speech beyond the actual contents of the matter, and is felt deeply by listeners, leaving them in wonder and moving them to action…for such reprimand coming from the living penetrates the inner being of the wise and settles within it, leaving them with a powerful impression that is not easily dispelled.

Bnei Meir, Introduction, Jerusalem 1914

“She seeks wool and flax, and works willingly with her hands”. This means to say that this woman, a woman of valor, is stringent in the demands she makes on herself by wearing tzitzit. She bases herself on a reasoning linked to (the Torah prohibition of) wearing sha’atnez (garments made of both wool and linen)… She seeks the reason for the adjacency of 'wool and flax', implying the wearing of sha’atnez, from which she concludes that she is obligated to wearing tzitzit, as follows from the issue raised by the Tosephot commentary. That is what is referred to by “wool and flax, and works…” - that specific item which is permitted to make out of wool and flax - tzitzit as they, of blessed memory, wrote. “…and works” – she fashioned and wore tzitzit; “…willingly with her hands” – in that she is not obligated by our Sages, of blessed memory, but does so of her own will and desire.

Maskil Ledavid – Original Commentary, p. 210, Pi Yesharim Institute, Jerusalem 2006

"As it was taught: 'And you shall love the Lord your God' which means that you shall make the name of Heaven beloved. One should do so by reading Torah, and learning Mishna, and serving Torah scholars; one should be pleasant with people in conversation and in business transactions. What do people say about such a person? "How fortunate is the one who learned Torah"… It says "one should be pleasant with people" in business transactions and in conversation, which means that being pleasant with people brings about that the name of Heaven is pleased…However, the name of Heaven is not pleased with those people of unpleasant speech etc., despite their reading and learning.

Zecher David on Torah, a eulogy, p. 240, Ahavat Shalom Publishing, Jerusalem 2001
Our ancient teachers never lacked respect for human wisdom; in fact, they respected and elevated it, and inscribed it on the slates of their hearts: Did they not state, "All who say a wise thing, even from among the nations, is called wise" and "I will destroy the wise men of Edom"?
The most prominent of them all in this case - and "his words are comely" – was the saintly Rabbi Yehuda Halevy, in his wonderful and enlightened book, the Kuzari. There he speaks in clear, pleasant and sacred language to clearly illustrate that the sages of the Talmud were proficient in wisdom of all types, and that they explained numerous practical and theoretical obscure issues according to general [secular] wisdom.
If the Talmudic sages did so in their time, and Rabbi Yehuda Halevy did so in his generation, what are we, orphaned by orphans, to say? … The need to apply general wisdom and to reject foolishness grows, as does the need to minimize damage and to be more practical.
Tzori Gilead, in Tradition in the Modern Age, Rabbi Yitzhak Chouraqui Ed., pp.26-27, Yedioth Aharonoth Press, Tel Aviv, 2009
"When wine comes in, secrets comes out" – Torah scholars, having spiritual qualities, even when drinking much wine will nevertheless speak secrets of Torah only, because of their superior wisdom; when they drink, they will not utter an indecent word but will, rather, display increased courage in speaking words of the Torah and its secrets.
Eliyahu Zuta, p. 86, Ahavat Shalom Press, 1997
Magid Rakhtza suggests that the transgressor's tikun [repair] is done through Torah [law], for "This is the law of the burnt-offering…of the sin-offering" atones all transgressions, and keeps the evil inclination and the sitra akhra away, for "I created an evil inclination and I created Torah as its antidote". This is what is meant by magid, it refers to the Torah, which is rakhtza [washing]: Through Torah one is cleansed from all transgressions.
Geulat Hashem, Piskei Dinim leShoavei Ma'im, p. 17a, Israel Kushta and Friends, Livorno, 1864
"Yehoshua ben Perachia says, "Make for yourself a mentor, acquire for yourself a friend and judge every person as meritorious." By "Make yourself a mentor [rav]", the Tanah may have meant that one should become a mentor oneself, by toiling at Torah night and day, until reaching the level of a mentor and generating original commentary. We are given sound advice: You shall reach this level by "acquiring for yourself a friend", purchasing a quill and copybook as your friends; one should be constantly writing in the copybook, and adding to the amount [of writings] composed. And it says, "…judge every person as meritorious", meaning that if you have reached this level and have earned the merit of [creating] original commentary and composing a collection, "do not scorn any person" who has not earned similar merit but rather "judge every person as meritorious".
Korban Moshe, p. 286, Ahavat Shalom Company, Jerusalem, 1985
A question concerning the Haftarah. What we read from the Prophets on Sabbaths and Festivals following the Torah Reading that we call the Haftarah – what reason is there to call it the Haftarah and not Prophets? – Inform us, and be recompensed by heaven…
One reason, attributed to Rabbeinu Tam, of blessed memory, that concerning the reading of these sections we say, 'Once the Torah scroll has been opened, it is forbidden to recount even a Halachic matter', follows what has been said: 'And when it was opened the entire nation stood'. Following the Torah Reading they are permitted to talk…
So despite what Maran Beit Yosef, of blessed memory, wrote in the name of our Rabbi Yerucham, of blessed memory, who wrote that it is forbidden to speak during the Haftarah reading of the Prophets before its conclusion, just as in the case of the Torah Scroll, since fulfilling the commandment depends not only on the reader but on all those present… it appears seems that generally speaking it is considered to be forbidden, but from the purely Halachic point of view it is permitted. Which is not the case for the Torah scroll, where even a Torah matter is forbidden. And this is simple.
Yad Eliyahu, Part A, question 25, p. 25a-25b, Zion Press, Jerusalem, 1930

"Because Koheleth was a sage, he continued to instruct the people." This would seem to only be natural, for the more wisdom one amasses by increased study the more possibilities one has of teaching, having more Torah and wisdom to impart to students. In what sense, then, was Solomon praiseworthy in accumulating knowledge, having nevertheless taught the people? On the contrary. This is explained by the fact that there are scholars who the greater their Torah learning becomes and their wisdom increases find it difficult to teach the people. If they have a deep and detailed halakhic argument, they seek out the company of Torah scholars who can understand their words. The greatness of Koheleth, however, was in that as his wisdom increased, he turned to the people and taught the simple folk even more frequently, seeking the simple language that they could understand, to lead them in their right path and towards the right deeds.

Sha'arei Ezra, p. 34, Eliyahu Touffiq, ed., Beer Yehuda Yeshiva Press, Jerusalem 1996

Maimonides, of blessed memory, often criticizes Torah scholars who decide to devote their time to Torah rather than to craft, saying that they earn a living from others and, heaven forbid, desecrate God's name and disgrace the Torah, causing harm to themselves and losing their share of the World-to-Come, since it is forbidden to profit from Torah in this world… First, "to make Torah great and glorious". If Torah scholars would not have an income, they could not properly toil at Torah as they should, and Torah would be forgotten…and it is a mitzvah "to make Torah great and glorious". Second, Torah scholars are considered wealthy when their words are heard, in keeping with what is written, "The splendor of the wise is their wealth"… And third, the prohibition applies only to Torah scholars who shirk from their studying in order to indulge in worldly craft. But in the case of a person who sits in yeshiva and teaches Torah to the public, is not idle for any worldly purpose and only fulfills mitzvoth, it is sinful that he not receive from others.

VaYachel Moshe, The Book of Exodus, Mishpatim Reading Portion, p. 19a, Vienna, 1814

The Torah scroll has no vowel symbols (nikkud) so that people may interpret as they wish. The letters, not being marked with vowels, tolerate different meanings, and can break up into many sparks. This is why we were instructed not to punctuate Torah scrolls with vowels. For it is the vowel punctuation that gives each word its meaning, and a word with vowel punctuation has but a single meaning, while without vowels a person may understand many worthy and wondrous things. Understand this, for you will find it necessary on many occasions…

LeDavid Emet, Torat HaShelamim, Torah Scroll Halakha, section 13, p. 48, Moshe Aharon Koegel, Livorno, 1786
'…recite it day and might, so that you may observe faithfully all that is written in it. Only then will you prosper in your undertakings and only then will you be successful." Our teachers, however, explained and clarified that according to Torah a person who works for a livelihood and is pressed for time, yet sets times aside for Torah [study], or someone who has no time for even this – yet prays Shacharit, Mincha and 'Arvit, and recites the Shema appropriately, this too is considered as studying Torah… A person who releases himself from the yoke of Torah will have the fear of God and common decency [derech eretz] imposed upon him; a person who maintains his studies and supports the studies of Torah students will be delivered from it all and achieve the merit of God-fearing people…and will succeed in all things.
Divrei Hizkiahu, Vol. 2, p. 8, Jerusalem, 1952

I have been told by a certain student that his honor, our great master and rabbi, Rabbi Shaul Levi Mortina, has expressed his doubts about that ruling and has ineffectively sought to prove its contradiction. I wrote him in protest about this a second time, asking that he present his arguments to me, and advise me of the true course…not for my honor's sake, but to honor God's Torah and reveal the truth concerning my approach with the great masters from all regions, who share their inner thoughts with me both in writing and in person, and who write me from distant lands requesting my opinion. For if I haven't the knowledge, how will my words revive their spirit and fulfill their need for a response? This is my way of expressing affection and respect for them. On the contrary, thanks to the criticism of scholars, and by sharing my true feelings with him, if he has erred I will understand and not humiliate him, and if it is I who have erred I will admit the truth. And I will not be embarrassed if he tells me I am mistaken, for I am no better than Rabbi Akiva, who interpreted "the bread of knights" to mean the bread of ministering angels, and was told by Rabbi Yishmael: You are mistaken. Moreover, I do not merit the honor of Rabbi Yishmael's teaching, nor am I Rabbi Akiva, yet I will nevertheless not cease debating, so that the rabbi may point out my errors, and I will pursue the truth, not to be annoying nor out of love of victory. And if this, to his mind, places me in error, it is actually he who is mistaken.

Ohel Yaakov, Responsum 10 to the city of Livorno, Hertz Levi Rofeh Press, Amsterdam, 1737

One should study word by word with students, to each according to their level and ability. One should present a bright countenance, and not be stringent and become angry at their lack of knowledge or limited understanding and achievements, for not all intellects are identical. Even if one feels that they should have understood after two or three [explanations], they may not have understood because of the issue's complexity, or because of their ability to understand at that opportunity, for opportunities are not all identical. One should, instead, speak to them gently, comforting them with appeasing words, until one has made certain that their delay in understanding is the result of a lack effort and that their attention is not on the matter at hand but has been distracted. Then it is appropriate to show annoyance, until they are prepared to pay attention.


And when they ask a question about a difficulty, one should reply graciously, display pleasure towards their question, and encourage them to question, so that they open their hearts to Torah. If they refrain from asking, even when an issue seems not to have any explanation, they are likely not to ask about other issues - even when they do have explanations, and will be left with a law or halakha lacking sufficient reason or known explanation, like birds chirping. On the contrary; when they do not ask about a halakhic issue, one should act annoyed about how the question found in that halakha did not arise in their minds. One should show them the way to ask the questions themselves in the future, for is a person encounters a question, that person is close to understanding the matter, because a question is half the explanation. This way they will improve in their studies and, with God's help, greatly succeed.

Minhat Yoseph, p. 11a, section 56, Yaakov Tobiana Press, Livorno, 1827

The Talmud says that a student who has qualified as a teacher and does not teach transgresses ‘Thou shalt not kill’, and the opposite is true as well; a person who is not qualified to teach and teaches - also transgresses ‘Thou shalt not kill’. This is why the niqqud vowels on ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sometimes have a dot in the patach (open) and sometimes in the kamatz (closed). This hints that ‘Thou shalt not kill’ applies to a person who has qualified to teach and keeps his mouth 'closed' without teaching, and to a person who has not qualified as a teacher and teaches – 'opens' his mouth. That is why there is a dot in both the patach and the kamatz. What is the reason behind the transgression? The attribute of pride, the worst of attributes in all transgressions. For the right thing is that one who has attained qualification to teach should teach others. But the person does not teach - out of pride; and the one who has not qualified and must learn from others does not wish to do so - out of excess pride. The remedy to their ills is to transform pride into modesty; once they have become humble the one who has qualified to teach will teaches others, and the one who has not qualified will not, and must learn from others.

Yosef Chen, Breishit Torah Reading Portion, p. 78, published by the author’s grandchildren

Those whose custom it is to study the Shavuot night Tikkun that was compiled to read on this night, how good is their lot – if they have the strength to stand in the sanctuary of the Lord of Hosts, and pray on the following day without dozing or falling asleep during the recitation of the Shema, hymns, prayer and Torah Reading on the day our Torah was given… To my mind, those who cannot remain awake, and certainly anyone who spends the time in idle talk and amusements, had better study a little and go to sleep, so as not to omit reciting the Shema and prayers, which are commanded by the Torah, rather than observing an ancient custom that has been revived in the general population and is not properly observed.

Kaph BeNaqui, p. 96, Orot Yahadut HaMaghreb Press, Lod, 2014

Supreme knowledge is concealed in Creation, and it reveals itself progressively; each and every generation has its problems and aspirations, and a person might consider that Torah is no longer a source of guidance, heaven forbid. It contains, however, the origin of Creation, which can be called a path – and just like this path, its landscape and surface change; every step forward has you renewing your attention for reasons of pace and safety. Yet this is all revealed to you thanks to light; light is the plain, single agent through which you discover all that lies before you –whether in differentiating between place and time, or within Creation itself – this same, plain light that exists from the dawn of the Genesis to this day. This is the sense in which the Torah is called light, and is the reason that all places and times, and all of Creation, will bestow light upon you and reveal to you the solutions to the new questions.

Brit Halevi, Ecclesiastes 12, pp. 203 – 204, published by the Machshevet Levi Institute, Jerusalem, 2000

The evil inclination is aware that Torah study leads to its obliteration and its being overpowered by the individual; Torah study prevents it from trying to seduce the individual into transgression. It therefore invests all its might in being a nuisance, and tries to lead one's heart to idleness and to avoiding Torah study. It may falsely present the individual as incapable of Torah study – for how can anyone, tired and weary in the evening after a long day's work to bring home a livelihood, study Torah? One evil thing leads to another, and one goes from neglecting Torah study to attending to the evil inclination, and that leads to thoughtless transgression. An Israelite must gather a lion's strength and overcome the evil inclination, and try to study Torah in poverty, so as to attain delight and pleasure, for such distress will lead to wellbeing.

'Amar Naqeh, Sermons and Original Torah Commentary, p. 1a, Sermon for Shabbat HaGadol. Published by Idan, Cohen, Tzaban and Haddad, Djerba, 1949

"…say little and do much, and receive every person with a pleasant countenance" refers to the attribute of humbleness. One should not boast of having learned much, but belittle oneself by saying, "despite all I have learned I've not learned a drop in the sea of the Torah's wisdom…" And one should not act as do those who, seeing that their wisdom exceeds that of their colleagues, become prideful and take no other person into account, and are unwilling even to speak with others, thinking that they are unique in the entire world – they are surely making a great error. For our sages, of blessed memory, said that "The words of Torah are comparable to water. Just as water leaves high places for lower places, thus do the words of Torah exist only among those of humble spirit." This is the meaning of "say little and do much"; even if you have done much, meaning that you have studied Torah and fulfilled many mitzvoth, you should consider this as a minor thing so that you not be prideful among your colleagues. Which is why the verse ends with "and receive every person with a pleasant countenance" – even a person who is lesser than you.

Beit Meir, original interpretation of Tractate Avot, p. 142, published by Rabbi Yonah's family, Migdal HaEmek 1986

Some have a passion for Torah, some for justice and some for charity; it is likewise for all commandments. There are differences also among those who learn Torah: Some have a passion for Torah, some for Mishna, some for Talmud, some for the Aggada and some for the Merkava. In what does each differ from the other? We know the following from our teachers, of blessed memory: All souls that are to reach this world unto the end of generations were present at Mount Sinai. Each and every soul of the nation of Israel has its own grasp of Torah, one from the aspect of a certain commandment, one from another, and this logic applies to them all. For each one of them, this is what provides their tikun (repair) and their place in the World-to-Come… the Tanah means to say: It is not difficult for any person to obtain the World-to-Come; just as a city appears to have many, innumerable paths, each one will lead to it. Thus it is with a righteous person, whatever the person grasps will lead them to the World-to-Come, each one according to their spirit's penchant, and according to what arouses their passion in this world, which leads to their place in the World-to-Come.

Yarim Moshe on Tractate Avot, p. 15 – 16, Wagschell Publishing, Jerusalem, 2012
There are those who say that the rule concerning a friend's wife on this issue is the same as for the friend, and one must stand up before her, and some who say that it is not imperative but that it should be done - out of piety. It is appropriate to rise in the first sense; it says in Sha'ar Hamiztvot that "you shall fear your God". Fear in the heart was said concerning women, and rising or praising is unnecessary. These words apply to aged women and to wise women, but it is obligatory to stand before the wife of a talmid hacham [Torah scholar] out of respect for her husband, since she is likened to his body and her case is considered as is standing before her husband. Know that even somebody who considers a friend's wife like his friend on this matter will admit that nobody they did not say that an elder's wife is like the elder, because the honor of the Torah is different, and this is as simple as it is clear.
Likutei Khemed, Part One, Halakhot, Respect of one's master's and for Talmidei Hachamim, Halakha 15, p. 250, Hapoel Hamizrachi Press, 1977
One should hire a clever tutor who is familiar with the ways of teaching children according to their nature, and who will be very precise, for the version learned in childhood is not forgotten. He should also be faithful and not transform God's work into deceit, and should supervise the children and prevent them from any unsightly or forbidden acts, and watch them carefully when they go to the toilet, and assure that indecent individuals not associate with them, for children are easily tempted and cannot be relied upon… Also, should one realize that the tutor does not behave as he should or that his teaching is inadequate, one should withdraw one's child from his hold and place him with another tutor, and not take pity on the tutor because of his income, for in so doing one is being cruel to his child as well as sinning towards God. The tutor should be prompt in teaching the children a daily hour of halachot for proper behavior and ethics, "train up a child in the way he should go". He should clarify biblical texts in depth, in keeping with their abilities and understanding, so that Scripture not be learned like a mere song whose recitation they do not understand; when he translates Bible into the local language, he should take care to be precise in his language and to be exact in all instances, as required.
Likutei Khemed, Part Two, Halakhot, Guidelines for Tutors, Halakhot 22-24, pp. 251-252, Hapoel Hamizrachi Press, 1977
"Then sang Israel this song: Spring up, O well, sing ye unto it". We know that the Torah is a spring of living waters and that this poesy refers to the Torah, as this indicates: 'Spring up, oh well' – to elevate the sparks of Torah, and this requires two conditions, which are: 'sing ye unto it'. The [Hebrew] letters of 'sing' [also] spell 'meek' – the Torah scholar should be meek, 'unto it' – and study for its own sake.
Korot Zemanim Vemasaot, p. 54, The Afghan Jews Research Institute Press, compiled by Reuven Kashani, Jerusalem 2013
"One who benefits from his hard labor is greater than a God-fearing person" [i.e., one who is so enthralled by his fear of God that he sits idly by and does not work]. The person who benefits from his toil, in this case, also reveres the Almighty. He does not, however, seek to benefit from his reverence by imposing himself on the community and having its members maintain and support him because of his qualities. Instead, he allows himself slight idleness from Torah study to pursue his craft and work, and to make his livelihood and obtain his income from the fruit of his labor.
The author of this saying seeks to teach us that it is not the person who stays at home and studies Torah, reveres the Almighty and imposes himself upon others to sustain him who is the better person and who, as a result, benefits from his reverence of the Almighty. The word "benefits" relates both to the fruit of his labor and to reverence. It is as though the text reads, "Greater is one who benefits more from the fruit of his labor than from his reverence of the Almighty".
Likutei Nissim, Innovations on the Tractate Berachot, pp. 315-317, published by the author, Tel Aviv, 1971

I have seen the following explanation, similar to the one in Sefer Hassidim… Anyone to whom the Holy One, blessed be He, has revealed something, and who is capable of writing yet does not write it down, is robbing the One who revealed the matter to him, for it was revealed only so as to be written. As it says, "For every deed God will bring into judgement, and every hidden thing; whether good or bad". Such a person causes it to become hidden, whether that which has been revealed and not written down is good or evil. The text was precise in saying "for every hidden thing" - for that person hides what he or she has not written and, to clarify, this also refers to the simple things that an author might consider not good enough to publish. This, too, will be brought into judgement, all the more so because Heaven delights more in matters that are simple and straightforward… Asked why he writes simple things, the Pri Megadim (Rabbi Joseph ben Meir Teomim, 1727–1792, Galicia) replied that the time will come when the world will tire of cleverness, and when simple explanations will prove to be more useful…For this reason I have spared no expense for those more simple writings, for they are favored by the Holy One, blessed be He, over sophistry and covert, allegorical moral preaching.

Va'yikach Ovadiahu, Part 2, author's introduction, Yehuda Amram Itach Printing, 1939

Torah scholar who study only Talmud, and whose entire activity consists of pilpul (casuistry) and do not attend to also studying laws, are in error. For the purpose of studying Talmud is to learn the required laws, and to teach God's laws. The purpose of study is to act or to teach, and one must allocate time to learning and considering the responsa of adjudicators, to know how to teach and how to act. One should set regular times for the study of Shulchan Aruch and its supplements to attain proficiency in knowing the laws, those that are currently applicable, in particular. For we see, to our chagrin, that some Torah scholars are extremely studious and precise, yet when confronted with questions of simple laws that are clarified in the Shulchan Aruch, even those laws of prayer and the recitation of blessings, do not know how to reply. They end up making secondary matters primary. For pilpul and cleverness were not created for their own sake, but to teach law. They serve to sharpen the mind so that it be prepared to learn rulings, questions and answers, and to teach God's law and teachings, and to avoid errors when teaching.

Menachem Cohen, Part 3, p. 29, published by the Committee for the Publication of the Rabbi's Books, Tehiya Printing, 1958
A judge who makes rulings faithfully to the truth becomes party to the act of creation, but a judge who takes a bribe and makes a slanted ruling - it is as though he exiled the People of Israel from their land, destroyed the Temple with his own hands, damaged the Name of Shadai, and caused that the klipah [husk, i.e. spiritual obstacle] named RIV [strife] rule Israel. This causes conflict and disputes between man and wife, and between man and his brethren and, Heaven forbid, that the divine Name be desecrated, for those of that generation will say: If judges distort judgement and take bribes, how then are we to act? And none will be able to rebuke them, for if one would say to him, 'remove a splinter from between your teeth', he could say, 'remove a beam from between your eyes'. Bribe is the gematria [alphanumeric value] of Shadai. This is what was meant by "Her rulers judge for gifts": an acronym for R.I.V., that is, instead of RABBI there is the klipah of RIV, and conflict and dispute between the people of Israel.
Kiseh Rachamim – Commentary on the Torah, Parshat Yithro, p.92

Is it permissible to learn, pray and recite blessings bareheaded according to law or not? Since the statements by all the great adjudicators I have mentioned to you show that they considered it not necessary, with the exception of where the Name is mentioned, the case of study, according to them, seems obviously permissible according to the law.

Karnei RE'EM Responsa, paragraph 222, Samuel Elalouf Publishing, Salé (1910). Reprinted by Avishalom Avidor ben Adiv, Jerusalem, 2000.

To whom does "Torah is their craft" refer? To those who engage minimally in a craft or commerce for their livelihood and review Torah or study on a regular basis, whenever they have a free moment … A Torah scholar for whom "Torah is his craft" returns to his studying at every opportunity that he is freed from his dealings. There have been Torah scholars who have a shop and spend most of their day dealing in commerce, sitting in their shop all day, such as the one in Bzazin.

Mishpatim Yesharim, p. 81b, question 172, Cracow 1891, Jerusalem 1993, second printing
"All Israel have a share in the World to Come". The question that arises is why it is the custom to recite the "All Israel" Mishnaic verse before [studying] Tractate Avot. The place of this Mishnaic verse is not here but in Tractate Sanhedrin, while Tractate Avot, as we know, opens with "Moses received the Torah from Sinai". We can explain this in the name of Rabbi Yaakov Yitzhak, the Seer of Lublin, of saintly blessed memory, who would whisper to himself after rising to read the Tikun Chatzot during the night, and would commune with his Creator at this time. Then, after the Tikun Chatzot, before he would begin his study of SHAS, Halachic adjudicators and Hassidism, he would ponder penitence and ask himself: What if I am one of those people about whom King David spoke, when writing Psalm 50 in the Book of Psalms, which says: "And to the wicked, God said: Who are you to recite My laws, and mouth the terms of My covenant?" … So righteous a person would say this, and declare to himself: What if he is one of those people about whom this psalm speaks? Meaning to say, what merit and what right have I to open this Talmud and learn Your Torah, Lord of the Universe? By the right of that same Mishna that is found in the tractate Sanhedrin: "All Israel have a share in the World to Come".
Pirkei Raphael, First Chapter, pp.128 – 141, Hish Press, Ramla, 2011

In the haphtarah of the Breishit Reading Portion, the prophet Isaiah says, "Listen, you who are deaf; You blind ones, look up and see! Who is so blind as My servant, So deaf as the messenger who I send? Who is so blind as the chosen one, So blind as the servant of the LORD?" The prophet uses these words to reprimand the righteous who are devoted to God and His Teachings but do not care about what goes on in town, acting as thought they were deaf to what goes on among the public, to whether they transgress or are just. They also, Heaven forbid, act as though they do not see, so as not to reprimand the public and mention their acts. It is insufficient that you be righteous for yourselves. You must also hear and see what goes on outside, and voice recommendations to repair and improve the situation within the public.

Likutei Raphael, p. 7, Yeshua Ben David Salem Publishing, Jerusalem 1985

Our teachers said in the Talmud, "Rabba bar Rav Huna said: Any person who has Torah in him but does not have fear of Heaven is like a treasurer (gizbar) to whom they gave the keys to the inner door (of the treasury) but … did not give keys to the outer door." A person who speaks the truth is called one who fears Heaven. This is the great key to fulfilling the commandments and preserving oneself from transgression; if one plans to fulfill commandments – one should do so, and if one plans to transgress, one should flee rather than conceal the fact from others. Should you be asked where you are going, being a person who speaks the truth, you must reveal the truth, and thus be saved from transgressing. This is why our teachers in the Talmud called those with fear of Heaven 'people who fear transgression'. It shows that fear of Heaven preserves all the good attributes, and is linked to each one of them.

Divrei Shmuel, 5th sermon, p. 23, Shuvi Nafshi Institute for the Publication of Books and Manuscripts, Jerusalem, 2006/7

It is right to speak out in respect for one's teacher. People ought not to be thankful to a person for any knowledge he or she has, but to the master who taught them. This can be learned from what our venerable sages, of blessed memory, said about the verse "Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands upon him". To what can this be compared? To a river that supplies water to the entire city and is praised by everyone. Someone said to them, 'Praise the spring that feeds it.' Similarly, when they praised Joshua who supplied the entire nation of Israel with his wisdom, the Holy One, blessed be He, said, 'Praise Moses for having thus taught' "because Moses had laid his hands upon him".

Drushei MehaRaSHa"SH Serero, Part 2, p. 431, HaRav David Ovadia Publishing, Jerusalem, 1991

After having learned Torah and become a rabbi, the Tanah says that in addition to Torah learning, one must have a craft from which to earn a livelihood. When one begins studying, one should not work for a living, as Torah scholars have decreed, and study out of effort, as HaZa”L said, “The righteous first suffer and end up at peace”. Once a person has already studied Torah, the person should seek a livelihood, as it says, “And all study of the Torah in the absence of a worldly occupation comes to nothing in the end and leads to sin”… It leads others to sin, for all things are visible, and those who see a great Torah scholar who nevertheless has no income, will be fearful and no longer wish to study.

Seh LeBeit Avot, commentary, p. 19b, Itach Printing, Jerusalem, 1941
The kedusha prayer reads from the verse, "But You are the Holy One, enthroned, the Praise of Israel" to "and make their hearts constant toward You". It was instituted so that all People of Israel would be involved in a minimal amount of Torah every day, meaning that reading and explaining are equivalent to involvement. And since it is customarily said throughout the people of Israel, both scholars and simple folk, its value is twofold: sanctification of the Name and Torah study.
Keter Shem Tob, Chapter One, The Significance of Customs and Differences between Liturgical Rites, p. 94, Kedainiai, Movsoviciaus ir Kagano, 1934

My dear child, when you will have learnt to read the book of God's Torah and its commentaries, and will have understood Talmud so that you know what God expects of you and how to comport yourself in keeping with the Torah and its commandments, you should choose a clean and light trade so that you may earn your livelihood from the fruit of your labor, honorably and without humiliation. You will then not depend on gifts from people – those provide but little yet bring great disgrace. Only guard your spirit, and be very careful not to abandon God's perfect Torah that brings wisdom to the naïve. Set a time to hear a lesson on a daily basis - in Talmud or Shulchan Aruch, and on books of morals and good values. Yours will be a good and pleasant destiny if you learn a trade and choose a craft that is needed by all people, in all places and at all times.

Talmud Kattan, Hanoch LaNa'ar, Chapter 3, Eliyahu Ben Amozegh Publishers, Livorno, 1877

On Shavuot Eve, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, may he rest in peace, and his colleagues, who were an exemplification of God's study in heaven, would study the midrashic and mystical interpretations of Torah, Prophets and Writings, the mysteries of PARDE"S, to prepare for the bride… Know that they had songs and melodies based on Wisdom and mysticism (sod), which they would sing to cheer the heart and to adhere to the upper world, and to draw plentitude and heavenly mercy through melody, through the concealed meaning of "As the musician played, the spirit of the LORD came upon him". This is our custom as well, and on the first night of Shavuot, we sing the 32 piyuttim (32 is the numerical equivalent of lev, which means 'heart', in Hebrew] which have been imparted to us by Wisdom.

Ketem Paz, Volume One, published by the author's family and the Or Shalom Association, Bat Yam, 2014
"…and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children" – In order that a person may fulfill the commandment of teaching unto thy children – that children study, one must, oneself, fulfill "and thou shalt talk of them" – one must study Torah, and it is worthy that a person devote the Sabbath and Festivals to Torah study, because of the many daily worries and making a livelihood, we must devote the Sabbath to study and to sacred things.
Having no writings of his teachings, we have written up what was said in his name by his children and pupils.
Torah study through Agadah [non-halachic rabbinic lore] has the power of pardoning all transgressions of Israel, and if one adds a kaddish to the Aggadah, even if an adverse sentence has been pronounced for him, the Holy One, Blessed be He, pardons all his sins. This is why it says "And all your children shall be taught of the LORD", meaning to say – If your children will all learn Aggadah and recite the kaddish – which is praise for God – then "great shall be the peace of your children": They will have much peace and even if an adverse sentence has been pronounced for them, it will be annulled.
Chaim ad Ha'Olam, Tractate Berachot conclusion, p. 6-7, Moriah Press, Jerusalem, 1921
"If you have learned a lot of Torah, do not credit it favorably for yourself", meaning: Through rigorous and deep Torah study, you have reached original interpretations; do not keep the original commentary for yourself, but "let your fountains flow forth" and share it for the public benefit.
Va'Issa Yaakov, p. 10, Jerusalem, 1956
They said "Be careful with [regard to the education of] the sons of paupers as from them Torah will issue forth" – happy are they and happy is their lot. On this basis, every wise person will act judiciously and devote his body and soul to fulfill this commandment and not spare his wealth, and hire a tutor from his own pocket and wealth to teach children of paupers whose fathers lack their own [wealth] and orphaned sons who have no father to plead on their behalf.
Dvar Tov, p. 34b, Jerusalem, 1914
The Midrash says: Jacob deserved that he be the one to give the Torah, as it is said, "give truth to Jacob", but the population was too small, that is, they did not number six hundred thousand, and could not receive the Torah until they reached six hundred thousand…and He gave us the Torah, 248 obligations corresponding to the 248 limbs in the human body, and 365 prohibitions, corresponding to the number of its tendons. This is to teach you that through Torah, we, the People of Israel, are considered as one body, and there are, as well, six hundred thousand letters in the Torah. So each soul of the people of Israel holds a single letter of the Torah, and the word "Israel", when taken as an acronym in Hebrew represents "There are six thousand letters in the Torah". Not until they reached six hundred thousand in number could they receive the Torah – the body did not yet conform to the norm as written in the Midrash: On the day that they received the Torah they were six hundred thousand minus one. The Almighty descended to Mount Sinai and was counted among them, completing the count of six hundred thousand.
The Writings of Rabbi Yehuda Alkalai; Volume 1, Darkei Noam, p. 6, Mossad Harav Kook Press, Jerusalem 1974
If the countenance of Moses does not resemble the countenance of Abraham one cannot acquire the Torah… Whoever studies Torah but does not have the countenance of our father Abraham – features of charity, features of the attribute of compassion –"the law of kindness on his tongue"– cannot acquire the Torah. The angels, the absolute truth of holiness, are unwilling to give him the Torah, because Torah without derech eretz [common decency] is dangerous. Moses without Abraham is, as it were, impossible.
If the Law of Moses is severed from Abraham's attributes, then the angels refuse to give the Torah. This is an extremely important issue, because many of Moses' students who study Torah as Halacha have regretfully forgotten that Moses was a son of Abraham. They have forgotten the connection between our father Abraham's attributes and the Law of Moses.
Misped Lamashiach?, Third Section – The Period of the Omer, p. 197, Manitou Institute Publishing, Dudu Press, Kiryat Arba, 2006

"Why did He begin with Genesis?" Sage Yehuda seeks to teach us and to engage the Torah scholar coming to teach and preach to the people so that they learn from the Divine One's attributes. The Torah should have begun with "This month is", for this is the first of the commandments that the People of Israel, upon receiving the Torah, were commanded and it is nearly the beginning of the Torah… But in order to draw the hearts of people to begin studying Torah, He did not begin the Torah thus, with the commandment of the month, but opened with the story of His mighty works, in a way similar to the Torah scholar who, coming to preach to the people, must begin with a story of the past. This is what is meant by "Why did He begin with Genesis?" As if to say: He could have told of the wondrous acts and miracles He performed for us and for our forefathers after the commandments.


The explanation lies in that "He told His people of the power of His acts". Meaning that those who are to preach the LORD's commandments and teachings to the people are to learn from His attributes and actions. Just as He begins the Torah and opens with stories of the past, of the world's creation, which draw people into the study of Torah, and stir the human heart to love the LORD when it sees the wondrous acts, mercies and miracles done by the Almighty for our forefathers and their children, such as taking them out of Egypt – what I call stories – as the verse says, "and He has declared to His People".

Chen Tov, pp. 2-3, Dror Printing, Jerusalem 1970
How pleasant are the poet's words when he says: 'Great peace have they that love Thy law; and there is no stumbling for them' – meaning to say: If there will be peace for the master and students and he presents a kindly countenance to them as is fitting – a smiling countenance. Firstly.
And further, for he said: 'they that love Thy law' – to imply another interpretation, RASHI's, of blessed memory, that is: that the pupils also love Thy law, and deal with from love, in there being no 'stumbling for them', G-d forbid, by their erring in teaching. And I have heard that one of the sages interpreted this according to: ' And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children' – meaning to say: 'All thy children shall be taught of the LORD' that they become wise as they should, by 'great [rav] shall be the peace of thy children' – meaning to say: The rav [rabbi] shall be at peace with the children, that is: present a kindly countenance to them. His words so far.
'And this was the work of the candlestick, beaten work of gold; unto the base thereof, and unto the flowers thereof, it was beaten work; according unto the pattern which the LORD had shown Moses.' – Note that the matter [the Hebrew, in 'according to the pattern'] resembles reflecting mirrors, whereby when a person approaches a mirror to see his shape in it, when he laughs, the shape in the mirror laughs, and if he distorts – the shape also distorts.
This is what our holy Torah implied: "And this is the work of the candlestick' – this means the Torah, which is as he writes: 'and Torah is light'. If it is 'beaten', meaning: his study is difficult for him, one must know whether it is he does not give it its due, or because his master does not present him with a kindly countenance. For this reason did he conclude with 'according to the pattern' – that is: This matter is like a mirror in which a person sees his face, that when he laughs it laughs, and when he distorts it distorts. This is the case for this matter as well.
Doresh Ba'adi, Be'Ha'alotkha weekly portion, p. 53a, Goldenberg Brothers Publishing, Brooklyn (2000)
"Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews" – An angel comes and teaches him, 'having all goodly things of his master's in his hand' and 'the spark of his fire shall shine, a candle lit upon his head', 'let them set a fair miter upon his head, the counsel of God upon his tent'. He is given good doctrine – nothing is as good such as is Torah, 'ordered in all things' preserved from 'since ever the earth was' and he is sworn, on the day of his birth, his makers congratulated, 'better is overt rebuke', 'A damsel, two damsels to every man', and he is told and instructed, as one does to his brethren: Be a righteous person and not a wicked one, 'forgiving iniquity and transgression and fear', that they be uppermost in his mind throughout the days of his life until old age, to live by his faith, 'righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins', ' because his consecration unto God is upon his head'.
Vayizra Yitzhak, sermon on Tefillin, pp. 87-88, Ezra Haim Press, Damascus, printed in Aram Tzova [Aleppo], 1928

When on the way to the study house, one should attempt to purchase a book on ethics or parables from one's own money, in keeping with one's means. This is a way of fulfilling the mitzvah "Therefore, write down this poem", as the rulers of the Law, of blessed memory, have instructed us. For these days it is preferable to purchase books of Chumash, Talmud, Haggadah and morals than it is to purchase a Torah scroll. It seems to me that in our day every person can fulfill this mitzvah. A Torah scholar certainly fulfills it when he purchases books of Talmud or commentary. If one is not a Torah scholar, then one can purchase a book of morals and give it to the sage who teaches and preaches to the public to read or to have his students read. Or purchase a Chumash or 'Arba V'Esrim to give to an orphan to read, or purchase books of Talmud, Halakha or commentary to give to a Torah scholar. This is preferable to purchasing a Torah scroll. If one cannot afford to make a purchase then one may at least have a torn book mended. And if one has already purchased a book of Aggadah or books on ethics and wishes to purchase a Torah scroll, it is preferable to mend or proofread old Torah scrolls laying in the ark than purchasing a new one, so that people do not read from a scroll with errors in it.

Orchot Yoshe, p. 242, Shuvi Nafshi Press, Jerusalem, 1999

The Blessed One gathered all the future souls for every generation at Sinai, and had them all hear all the details of the Oral Law in the glory of His voice, as well as all the restrictions necessary for and worthy of each and every generation. Each and every one received and absorbed it; all its details and its entirety are contained within them. And so, when anyone reaches this world, what the soul received is renewed – its own portion of the Torah. Even if it appears to an individual that by studying it they understand, that is not the case; for that very same thing was lost to them, and they discovers it by effort, but it is always what they received at Sinai.

Yom Tov DeRabbanan, p. 75a, Jerusalem, 1843

He would devote his entire efforts to teaching them Torah, respect and courtesy, writing and arithmetic, and always comported himself with them in the most gentle and modest of ways. He did not treat them as his students but as his true friends, and went to great lengths for them, repeatedly explaining and reviewing their studies with them. He would strengthen their resolve and spirit without becoming embarrassed when they failed to fully understand something, and would review it with them once and again, until they understood it perfectly. He would neither be strict nor become angry with them, always bearing in mind the words of our sages, of blessed memory, "An impatient person cannot teach". He always encouraged their passion for Torah, using words of morality they found pleasant, and he served as an example to them, saying: Know, my friends and students, that I came from my city as a child with my father, and a short time after I arrived my father died and I was orphaned and left to fend for myself. Only the grace of God and my great passion and zeal for his holy Torah, which I studied day and night, supported me. I was also privileged to marry a rabbi's daughter, and am considered an excelling Torah scholar. Learn from me and do as I do, and you too, with God's help, will succeed.

Toldot Eliyahu, p. 8, Ma'arav Printing, Jerusalem 1933

We consider it essential to teach a young person a craft from which to earn a livelihood, as our Sages said concerning a father's obligations towards his son: "Where do we find the father's obligation to teach his son a craft? Hizkiyah said that it says in Scripture, 'Enjoy happiness with a woman you love'. If we are to take the text's meaning as actually referring to a woman, one should say as follows: Just as one is obligated to have him wed, so is one obligated to teach him a craft." We see the extent to which our Sages, of blessed memory, valued the teaching of a trade to a young person - to the point that the study of a craft was equivalent in their eyes to Torah study, and equivalent to marrying. Just as the first determines the world – birth perpetuating the human species – thus does craft sustain the existence of the human species.

Writings, Volume 1, Second Section: On Educating Street Youth, edited by Yoseph Toubi, p.110, Jerusalem 1989
'For what reasons is it not common for Torah scholars to give rise to Torah scholars among their sons? Because they do not first recite a blessing over the Torah' – I have seen a certain commentator interpret this to mean that most Torah scholars are poor, and when they bless their children they begin by wishing them wealth, that they not be as poor as they, and bless them with Torah learning at the end, making it seem as though Torah is not important to them, and therefore their sons do not achieve Torah learning, and this is, to my mind, correct.
Otzar HaMichtavim 1, letter 353, p. 184. Published by Otzrot HaMaghreb, Bnei Issachar Institute, Jerusalem, 1998
Torah scholars with a passion for Torah, who act appropriately and are not idle from study except for their livelihood needs, even if they be very rich people, are exempt from all types of taxes, as Maimonides wrote in his commentary to the Tractate Avot, and as Rabbi Yehoseph Halevi instructed as well, and as the HARAN [Nissim of Gerona, 1315 – 1376, Spain] wrote in the name of the RAMA [Meir ben Todros HaLevi Abulafia, 1170 – 1274, Spain] and concluded: It is not because of their poverty that they are exempt but because of their Torah learning, and therefore whoever approaches them acts as though he damages the apple of his eye.
Tokfo shel Yoseph, Part 1, paragraph 6, p. 51. Bnei Issachar Sephardi Library Publishing, Jerusalem, 2004
"Why is Halacha ruled according to the House of Hillel? Because they have the virtue of humility." One must question the words of those [sages] of blessed memory: If the House of Hillel have the virtue of humility, is this a reason to rule Halacha according to them, even if it is not according to their ruling? To resolve this, let us begin with a great principle enunciated by our Sages, concerning one who is humble: "When he studies a precept, his intention is to understand it according to Halacha, and therefore Halacha is ruled as he says".
According to this, the verses in which Moses blessed the Tribe of Levi can be reconciled: " And of Levi he said: Let Your Thummim and Urim be with Your faithful one…They shall teach Your laws to Jacob and your instructions to Israel". At first glance, one would have to ask why Moses gave this blessing only to the Tribe of Levi. Aren't they all the tribes of G-d, having all received the Torah from Sinai and having all learned it directly from Moses? Why, then, did Moses accord the merit of reading the Torah, as well as its teaching, only to the Tribe of Levi?
Our interpretation, however, allows for this to be resolved, as follows: The Tribe of Levi have the virtue of humility. When the Land of Israel was divided among the tribes they did not take any inheritance, as is written in Scripture: "…the LORD is their inheritance" and they were very gladdened by this gift. This is why they are referred to by the term 'faithful', as written in Scripture: 'with Your faithful one', and this is what is meant by 'the intention to understand according to Halacha' as mentioned concerning the House of Hillel, who had the virtue of humility. When they would study with students, they would attend to them until they understood; they never became angry, for such was their virtue.
Yoseph Hen, Sermon B on the Virtue of the Righteous Person, p. 30, Abraham Teshuva Press, Tripoli, 1928
The custom used to be that one stands on guard with the scroll, for it is not respectful for the Torah to remain on its own, and this would be the cantor; he would be the one who reads to the public. Two others would be positioned next to him, one to his right and one to his left. The one called to read the Torah would stand to his right, and another would stand to his left, symbolizing the Three Fathers. Despite the fact that there is no mention in early writings [Rishonim] that three are required it is, in any case, appropriate to act as it says in the Tractate of Sofrim [scribes], who came later, and were highly proficient in the customs adhered to by the People of Israel after the completion of the Talmud.
Ginat Vradim, Section Orah Haim, Gan HaMelech, paragraph 51, p. 22, Yismach Lev Publishing, Jerusalem, 2008