web analytics
December 27, 2014 / 5 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



How Important Are Ethics?

Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha

Question:  In our daily prayers we state that Talmud Torah – the teaching of Torah – is equivalent to all the other mitzvot. What, however, comes under the category of “teaching Torah”? Does someone who teaches students how to behave ethically come under the category of a teacher of Torah?

Answer: Numerous passages in the Books of Prophets contain the phrase “bnei hanavi’im.” The phrase literally translates as “the children of the prophets,” but it obviously means something else since the fact that the prophets had children is irrelevant in the contexts within which this phrase appears.

Don Isaac Abarbenel, a medieval scholar and the treasurer of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, contends therefore that the phrase refers to those students whom the prophets taught ethical and moral conduct. These students wished to become ennobled by their ethical conduct so that they would be selected by G-d to serve as His prophets.

The implications of this explanation are potentially enormous. The Rambam (Hilchot Talmud Torah 1:1) writes, pertaining to the mitzvah of Talmud Torah, that “every Jewish scholar has a mitzvah to teach Torah to students as it is written, ‘Veshinantam levanecha.’ Tradition has it that ‘levanecha’ means students, for students are called children, as it says, ‘Vayatzu b’nei hanevi’im – And the students of the prophets departed.’” Thus, the Rambam explicitly rules that the obligation to teach Torah to students is derived from a phrase that deals with the prophets’ students who studied ethics.

We see therefore that someone who teaches ethics is considered a teacher of Torah – a rebbe – just as much as someone who teaches the text of the Bible or Talmud, and deserves proper respect. Furthermore, parents who imbue their children with mentshlichkeit and standards of moral behavior should also arguably be classified as rebbe’im to their children and afforded the respect due to rebbei’m of Talmud Torah.

About the Author: Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, is the author of eight sefarim on Jewish law. His latest, “Jewish Prayer the Right Way” (Urim Publications), is available at Amazon.com and select Judaica stores.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “How Important Are Ethics?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ayala Shapira, 11, is fighting for her life after suffering burn wounds when an Arab terrorist threw a Molotov cocktail at the car in which she was riding.
‘Slight Improvement’ in Life-threatening Condition of Firebomb Victim
Latest Judaism Stories
Torah-Hakehillah-121914

Why is the tzitzis reminder on our clothing? How does it remind us that there are 613 mitzvos?

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

The court cannot solely rely on death certificates issued by non-Jewish institutions without conducting its own investigation into the facts of the case.

Business-Halacha-logo

“I’m still not sure we have a right to damage his property,” said Mrs. Schloss. “Can you ask someone?”

Rabbi Sacks

Jacob’s blessing of Ephraim over Manasseh had nothing to do with age and everything to do with names

Slavery was universal; So, why was Egypt targeted in this object lesson?

Rav Akiva Eiger is assuming that the logic of the halacha that both the son and his mother are obligated to honor his father and therefore he must honor his fathers wishes first, is a mathematical equation.

The first requirement is a king must admit when he is wrong.

Reward And Punishment
‘Masser Rishon For The levi’im’
(Yevamos 86a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Reb Shlomo Zalman could not endure honorifics applied to him because of his enormous humility

Because we see these events as world changing, as moments in history, they become part of us forever.

They stammer “I’m not Orthodox,” as if that absolves them from the responsibility of calling to G-d

It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.

She was determined that the Law class was Dina’s best chance of finding a husband, and that was the real reason she wanted her to go to college.

But who would have ever guessed that Hashem would unlock the key to the birth on same day as the English anniversary of our wedding.

More Articles from Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen
Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha-NEW

Once this took place, no Beit Din could annul its practice but for an entirely different reason. A minhag accepted by klal Yisrael becomes an obligation that must be practiced.

Cohen-080814-Sign

Is God apologizing for taking away my Father? Is God telling me that He is sorry?

Question: At Birkat Kohanim, who says the phrase, “Am k’doshecha ka’amur”?

Question: How can one determine whether someone is a true disciple of a rav, Rebbe, or rosh yeshiva?

Question: Does halacha agree with the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade permitting women to have abortions?

Question: When someone puts on a talit to lead services, should he recite a berachah?

Question: A number of synagogues feature bar mitzvah celebrations for elderly Jews. Is this proper?

Hashem understood their complaint and therefore selected the ritual mitzvah of sukkah to test them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/how-important-are-ethics/2013/10/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: