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I Hope That My Kids Don't Inherit Me Anytime Soon

If my Jewish education would have ended at age 5 I still would have known the following pasuk - "Torah Torah Torah Torah Torah Torah Torah Torah tziva lanu Moshe morasha kehilllas Yaakov" [if you sing it, it sounds better]. That means that Torah is our INHERITANCE.

However at the end of the second chapter of Pirkei Avos, Rebbe Yossi says that Torah is NOT an inheritance. So which one is it?

i'd liek to share my thoughts, and i'd liek to begin with the psukim themselves. i feel the difference can be derived form the nouns inheriting.

pikei avot (2:12) : "she'ainah yerushah lach" lach - to YOU!

Deuteronomy (33:4) : "morasha k'hilat yaakov" k'hila - to Am Yisrael!

the commentators on pirkei avot (bartenura, rashi, rashbatz, meiri and more) all seem to circle around the smae idea - that you do not 'inherit' the torah from your father. i.e. just because your fatehr was a chacham does not mean you will! its a persoanl statement to you.

i feel that the pasuk in the torah is talking about our nation as a whole. a single whole, that is, amongst many other nations and even the angels. (recall the fun midrash of HKBH telling moshe to stand up for the human rights to the torah when the malachim protested.)

the point is that the torah is ours, we can access it easily if we want to. its right in front of our eyes, unfortunately so many of us ignore it too often. its our inheritance, we got it in the midbar and we still have it today through all the generations. and theres nothign we can do about, or anyone else for that matter. we will ALWAYS have it, it is our yerushah!!!! and it is to be inherited when we want, thats the pasuk in pirkei avot, 'fix yourself to learn torah because you dont inherit it' automatically! you must work for it, but it is there. whereas the goyim and malachim do not have it! a goy can do mitzvot but its not a mitzva for them, except 7, not until they join k'hilat yaakov!

P.S. after looking this pasuk up i found my thoughts in rashi and ibn ezra, baal haturim, sforno, ramban, kli yakar, chizkuni.

REBBI! the baal haturim asks your question!!!!
and answers "morasha v'lo yorshim" as i figure translation "'an inheritance' [is written] and not 'they inherit'". its there for us to take!

in my huge awesoem Even-Shoshan hebrew-hebrew dictionary the 3rd definition of yerushah is 'kabalat davar l'reshuto, ha'avara l'reshuto ha'p'ratit' (the 1st 2 definitions imply automatic acceptance [1. 'stuff' upon death of parents, 2. genetic inheritance] ) but the 2nd half of this 3rd one says clearly that it is an active taking into your reshut. no one else can transfer things into YOUR reshut but you and you alone! the 1st 2 deffinitions say nothing about reshut! they are given automatically whether you want them or not! i finish my thoughts for now tying up this end - the 1st definition is the pasuk in the torah. the 3rd is the mishna in Avot.

submitted for everyones learning and intellectual pleasure.

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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