This week’s Torah portion begins with the verse; “G-d said to Moses, say to the Kohanim, the sons of Aharon and say to them..”. The following verses continue with various laws that the Cohens (priests) had to adhere to. The Sages in the Talmud are troubled by the double expression in the verse, “Say” and then again “Say to them”, they explain that by using a double expression, the Torah is teaching us that not only do the priests have to adhere to these special laws, but, they also are responsible to make sure that their children do so as well.
The expression the Sages use for this teaching is, “The adults were cautioned regarding the children”. The Hebrew word they use for cautioned which is “Lihazhir” also means radiance and the teaching can also be read “the adults should radiate to the children”. Indeed, the commentaries tell us that this was the intention of the teaching. It is not enough to educate the verbal teaching, but it must be combined with the personality of the educator, radiating the values and morals he or she is teaching. Our verbal teachings reached the minds of our children and students but when our personalities radiate these teachings, it touches their hearts.
This lesson is especially pertinent this time of the year when we celebrate the holiday of Lag B’omer. One of the things we celebrate on Lag B’omer is the passing of the great sage of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai who instructed to make a celebration on this day. He said that this day would be a day of great blessings. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was the author of the primary work on Kaballah (Jewish Mysticism) called the “Sefer Hazohar”. The word Zohar is the root of the same word that the sages use regarding education and indeed the name of the book is “The Book of Radiance”. May this Lag B’omer bring much light and radiance in our lives.