HaRav Einfeld explained the tremendous obligation that an
educator has toward his students. He is like a paid
shomer who is constantly on duty, like Noach who had
to feed the animals in the teivah night and day. R'
Yeruchom compared it to the poles of the Oron Hakodesh in the
Mishkan: they had to constantly be in their supportive role
of the Oron. He is given the tools to teach his students
properly, and is held to a high standard of success.
Furthermore, the teacher must be filled with love for his
Malkos Without a Strap
The Mishnah demands of us, "Let the honor of your
talmid be as precious to you as your own." Without
embracing this principle it is impossible to teach others
Torah, as the Baal HaTurim writes on the posuk, "Now
therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad
is not with us -- seeing that his life is bound up in the
lad's life" (Bereishis 44:30). The Baal HaTurim writes
that there is a similar posuk in Mishlei
(22:15): "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child." This
is intended to teach us that "since he is bound with
foolishness, it is necessary that the educator's life be
bound up in the lad's life, so that he can educate him."
How foolish it is that some educators overlook their
students' feelings! They degrade them and even insult them.
Not only are they disregarding what the Mishnah in
Ovos writes, they are failing to obtain their
objective, the aim of all teaching. They are not carrying out
their shelichus and are sinning against Hashem,
against the child, and against his parents.
Insulting a Jew is a lav deOraisa: "It pertains to
every place and every time, both for men and women and even
small children. . . . One who violates this, and, when he
talks, hurts someone else, has committed this lav.
There are no malkos for this lav, since it can
be committed by merely talking, but are there not many
malkos without a strap that the L-rd has, Who commands
this?" (Chinuch 338).
We find that embarrassing another Jew is tantamount to
murder, as we see from Tamar. "It is preferable that a person
throw himself into a burning oven and not publicly embarrass
another person" (Kesuvos 67b). Mar Ukba actually
hurled himself into a blazing oven so he would not embarrass
someone. The Tosafos (Sotah 10b) write that
embarrassing another person is a sin that falls in the
category of those which one should preferably die rather than
commit (yehoreig ve'al ya'avor). It was not enumerated
among the three cardinal aveiros (Sanhedrin
75a) because it is not explicitly written in the Torah.
Rabbenu Yonah (Sha'arei Teshuvah 3:139) writes that
embarrassing another person is an offshoot of murder. The
Tosafos (Arochin 16a) write that embarrassing someone
is actually defined as murder; it is a "temporary murder."
The baal Aruch LaNer, in Teshuvos Binyan Tzion
(172), was asked whether it is permissible for a person to
save himself if by doing so another person would be
embarrassed. The Aruch LaNer rules that it is
Let Us Learn From Our Mentors
When HaRav Y. Gans eulogized Maran HaRav S.Z. Auerbach
zt'l, he related that he once walked into HaRav
Auerbach's room before the shiur and found him
studying the Sha'arei Teshuvah. HaRav Gans asked
whether that sefer had any bearing on the
shiur's topic. Maran answered that it was connected
with the very essence of the shiur, since
talmidim sometimes speak nonsense during the
shiur. He must be exceptionally careful not to answer
them sharply and insult them. For this reason he studied
mussar before the shiur.
It once happened that a melamed in Yeshivas Eitz Chaim
brought a group of boys, aged about thirteen, to the house of
Maran HaRav Isser Zalman Meltzer zt'l, the author of
Even HaEzel, to be tested. HaRav Meltzer asked them
the meaning of a Tosafos and one of the
talmidim answered without delay, but answered
HaRav Meltzer smiled and said: "Wonderful, you surely meant .
. ." and explained to the talmid how to correctly
understand the Tosafos.
The talmid expostulated: "No, Rebbe, I did not mean
that!" and retold his erroneous explanation of the
Tosafos. Maran said: "Oh, now I'm sure I understand!
Let us see ..." and began a slow and simple explanation of
the gemora from scratch, eventually reaching the
kushya of the Tosafos and explaining it in a
The child stubbornly answered, "Why doesn't the Rav
understand?" and he explained to Maran his "explanation"
anew. The other children giggled and the melamed was
enraged, but again for another ten minutes HaRav Meltzer
patiently and clearly explained the pshat in the
Tosafos. At the end he said: "Surely you meant like
this," but the talmid was unyielding and responded:
"No, absolutely not!"
Now that the argument was becoming unbearable, Maran suddenly
got up, apologized and said: "Please excuse me. I must leave
for a minute." He rose, left, and shut the door after
him. The melamed was curious to see why Maran had left
and silently opened the door and gazed outside. He saw the
gaon walking back and forth in the hall while saying
to himself: "When the Torah commands us to honor people it
also means children! Honoring people includes even children!"
After an extended time he returned fresh to the room, sat
down, and turned cheerfully to the child: "Now, please tell
me how you explain the Tosafos."