Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer at Diaspora Yeshiva, is not only a popular speaker and teacher, but also a dynamic thinker and writer. A student of Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky and Harav Gedalia Schorr, Rabbi Sprecher was granted smicha (rabbinical ordination) by Torah Vodaath Yeshiva. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Sprecher was a professor of Judaic studies at Touro College in New York. In addition to his duties at Diaspora Yeshiva, Rabbi Sprecher writes a regular column on various Judaic topics in the Jewish Press, and lectures regularly at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
We All Shine On
Published: Wednesday, August 7, 2019 10:00:14 AM
Number of views: 187

“Behold, You (Israel) are today like the stars of Heaven in abundance.” (Devarim 1:10) The Torah compares the Jewish People to the stars in the heavens. But there is another verse in Devarim 7 which seems to contradict this verse. There the Torah states “For You (Israel) are the fewest and the least of ALL Nations.”

Rashi on Devarim 1:10 deals with this problem. He states that the Torah did NOT mean that we were as numerous as the stars because at that time the Jewish population numbered only 600,000 men over the age of 20, in addition to the women and children. And even today we are a mere 15 million compared to the Chinese population of 1.4 BILLION people! Therefore Rashi explains that what the Torah means is NOT quantity but Eternity. Rashi explains that just like the sun, the moon, and the stars shine forever, so too will the Jewish people shine forever. Could this be what John Lennon meant in his number one hit song WE ALL SHINE ON, LIKE THE SUN, AND THE MOON, AND THE STARS.

There is another reason to compare the Jewish People to the stars in Heaven. There is an amazing verse in Daniel 12:3 which says, “Those who teach righteousness to the multitudes will shine on like the stars, forever and ever.” The Talmud in Baba Batra 8 states that this idea refers to a Rebi who teaches Torah to his students. The Maharsha explains the similarity of a Rebi to the stars. Every Rebi is a star! But that just begs the question of why does Daniel compare a Rebi to the stars.

My Rebi, Rav Pam z”tl explains that it seems that a star shines only “part time” at night. But of course that is incorrect because the stars are always in the sky. It is the brightness of the daytime sun that obscures the light that the stars emit.

So too it is with a Rebi. It may seem that the Rebi works only “part time,” meaning only during Yeshiva hours. But Rav Pam stressed the fact that a devoted Rebi never ceases to think about his students, even when he is not teaching them.

Also, a devoted Rebi stays in contact with his students even after they leave his classroom. He takes part in their happy times and their sad times in life and helps his students to deal with the constant challenges of life. Therefore, the Talmud compares a Rebi to the stars in the heavens, shining on forever and ever.

I believe the message of Daniel 12:3 is that EVERY Jewish person should strive to be a TORAH TEACHER (TT) in any capacity that he or she is able!

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