Bereshit, Siman 1 בראשית, א׳
1 א

בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב: ה' בְּחָכְמָה יָסַד אָרֶץ (משלי ג, יט). וּכְשֶׁבָּרָא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֶת עוֹלָמוֹ נִתְיָעֵץ בַּתּוֹרָה וּבָרָא אֶת הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: לִי עֵצָה וְתוּשִׁיָּה אֲנִי בִינָה לִי גְבוּרָה (משלי ח, יד). וְהַתּוֹרָה בַּמֶּה הָיְתָה כְתוּבָה? עַל גַּבֵּי אֵשׁ לְבָנָה בְּאֵשׁ שְׁחוֹרָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: קְוֻצּוֹתָיו תַּלְתַּלִּים שְׁחוֹרוֹת כָּעוֹרֵב (שה״‎ש ה, יא). מַהוּ קְוֻצּוֹתָיו תַּלְתַּלִּים? עַל כָּל קוֹץ וָקוֹץ. תִּלֵּי תִלִּים שֶׁל הֲלָכוֹת. כֵּיצַד? כָּתוּב בָּהּ, וְלֹא תְחַלְּלוּ אֶת שֵׁם קָדְשִׁי (ויקרא כב, לב), אִם אַתָּה עוֹשֶׂה חֵי״‎ת הֵ״‎א, אַתָּה מַחֲרִיב אֶת הָעוֹלָם. כֹּל הַנְּשָׁמָה תְּהַלֵּל יָהּ (תהלים קנ, ו), אִם אַתָּה עוֹשֶׂה הֵ״‎א חֵי״‎ת, אַתָּה מַחֲרִיב אֶת הָעוֹלָם.

With1The prefix bet in the first word of the Torah can be translated as “with,” “in,”, “by means of,” etc. the beginning (Gen. 1:1). This is what Scripture means when it says: The Lord with wisdom2“Beginning” and “wisdom” are synonyms for “Torah” in rabbinic literature. See Schechter, Aspects of Rabbinic Theology, p. 129. founded the earth (Prov. 3:19). That is, when the Holy One, blessed be He, was about to create this world, He consulted the Torah3Seven things were created two thousand years before the creation of heaven and earth, and the Torah was one of them. before embarking upon the work of creation, as it is said: Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power is mine (ibid. 8:14). How was the Torah written? It was written with letters of black fire on a surface of white fire, as is said: His locks are curled and black as a raven (Song 5:11). What is meant by His locks are curled?4The word taltalim (“curls”) is read as tille tillim (“heaps upon heaps”). Each letter in the Torah has numerous strokes upon it which, according to tradition, represent heaps upon heaps of laws. Cf. Leviticus Rabbah 19:2, Song of Songs Rabbah 5:11–12. It means that each crowned stroke on the letters of the Torah contains heaps and heaps of law. For example, it is written in the Torah: Profane not My Holy Name (Lev. 22:2); but if you should change the het in the word yehallelu (“profane”) into a heh, the word would read “praise,” and you would thereby destroy the world. Conversely, where it is written Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord (Ps. 150:6), if you should alter the heh in the word tehallel (“praise”) into a het, the word would read “profane,” and you would thereby destroy the world.

2 ב

וְכֵן שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ ה' אֶחָד (דברים ו, ד), אִם אַתָּה עוֹשֶׂה דָּלֶ״‎ת רֵי״‎שׁ, אַתָּה מַחֲרִיב אֶת הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: כִּי לֹא תִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לְאֵל אַחֵר (שמות לד, יד). כִּחֲשׁוּ בַּה' (ירמיה ה, יב), אִם אַתָּה עוֹשֶׂה בֵּי״‎ת כָּ״‎ף, תַּחֲרִיב אֶת הָעוֹלָם.

Similarly, in the verse Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One (Deut. 6:4), if you should change the dalet in the word ehad (“one”) into a resh, the word would then read aher (“another”), and you would thereby destroy the world, since it is said: For thou shalt not bow to another god (Exod. 34:14). Likewise, in the verse They have lied against the Lord (Jer. 5:12), if you should change the preposition bet (“against”) into the preposition kaf (“like”), you would thereby destroy the world.

3 ג

אֵין קָדוֹשׁ כַּה' (ש״‎א ב, ב), אִם אַתָּה עוֹשֶׂה כָּ״‎ף בֵּי״‎ת, תַּחֲרִיב אֶת הָעוֹלָם.

Again, in the verse There is none holy as the Lord (I Sam. 2:2), if you alter the preposition kaf (“as”) to read bet (“in”), you would thereby destroy the world.

4 ד

וְאִם אוֹת אַחַת כָּךְ, כָּל שֶׁכֵּן הַתֵּבָה כֻלָּהּ, לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר: קְוֻצּוֹתָיו תַּלְתַּלִּים. לְפִיכָךְ דָּוִד מְקַלֵּס וְאוֹמֵר: רְחָבָה מִצְוָתְךָ מְאֹד (תהלים קיט, צו). וְאוֹמֵר: אֲרֻכָּה מֵאֶרֶץ מִדָּה וְגוֹ' (איוב יא, ט).

If a slight change in a single letter can produce such drastic consequences, how much more so the alteration of a complete word. Such, then, is the meaning of His locks are curled. Accordingly David praised God by saying: Thy commandment is exceedingly broad (Ps. 119:96); and elsewhere in Scripture it says: The measure thereof is longer than the earth (Job 11:9).

5 ה

וְהִיא הָיְתָה אוֹמֶנֶת לְכָל מַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וָאֶהְיֶה אֶצְלוֹ אָמוֹן (משלי ח, ל). אַל תִּקְרֵי אָמוֹן, אֶלָּא אוֹמֵן. וּבָהּ נָטָה שָׁמַיִם וְיָסַד אָרֶץ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: אִם לֹא בְרִיתִי יוֹמָם וָלָיְלָה וְגוֹ' (ירמיה לג, כה). וּבָהּ חָתַם יָם אוֹקְיָנוֹס שֶׁלֹּא יֵצֵא וְיִשְׁטֹף אֶת הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: הַאוֹתִי לֹא תִירָאוּ נְאֻם ה' אִם מִפָּנַי לֹא תָחִילוּ וְגוֹ' (ירמיה ה, כב). וּבָהּ כָּבַשׁ אֶת הַתְּהוֹם שֶׁלֹּא יַצִּיף אֶת הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: בְּחֻקּוֹ חוּג עַל פְּנֵי תְהוֹם (משלי ח, כז). וּבָהּ בָּרָא חַמָּה וּלְבָנָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: כֹּה אָמַר ה' נֹתֵן שֶׁמֶשׁ לְאוֹר יוֹמָם חֻקֹּת יָרֵחַ וְכוֹכָבִים לְאוֹר לָיְלָה רֹגַע הַיָּם וַיֶּהֱמוּ גַלָּיו ה' צְבָאוֹת שְׁמוֹ (ירמיה לא, לד). הָא לָמַדְתָּ, שֶׁהָעוֹלָם לֹא נִתְיַסֵּד אֶלָּא עַל הַתּוֹרָה,

The Torah served as an artisan in all the work of creation, as it is said: Then I was with Him, as a nursling (amon) (Prov. 8:3). However, you do not read the word as amon (“nursling”), but as uman (“artisan”), since it was with the assistance of the Torah that God stretched out the heavens and established the earth, as it is said: If My covenant be not with day and night, if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth (Jer. 33:25). With it, He bound up the sea lest it should go forth and overflow the world, as it is said: Fear ye not Me? saith the Lord; nor will ye not tremble at My presence who have placed the sand for the bound of the sea (ibid. 5:22). With it, also, He locked up the deep so that it might not inundate the world, as is written: When He set a circle on the face of the deep (Prov. 8:27). Similarly, He fashioned with it the sun and the moon, as is said: The Lord giveth the sun to light the day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars to light the night. Who stirreth up the sea, that the waves thereof roar, the Lord of hosts is His name (Jer. 31:35). Hence, you learn that the world was founded upon the Torah.

6 ו

וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא נְתָנָהּ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁיִּתְעַסְּקוּ בָּהּ וּבְמִצְוֹתֶיהָ יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְהָגִיתָ בּוֹ יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה (יהושע א, ח). וְאוֹמֵר: כִּי אִם בְּתוֹרַת ה' חֶפְצוֹ וְגוֹ', וְהָיָה כְּעֵץ שָׁתוּל עַל פַּלְגֵי מָיִם, וְגוֹ' (תהלים א, ב-ג).

The Holy One, blessed be He, gave the Torah to the Israelites so that they might devote themselves to it and to its commandments day and night, as it is said: But thou shalt meditate therein day and night (Josh. 1:8). And it says elsewhere: But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by streams of water (Ps. 1:2–3).

7 ז

שֶׁבִּשְׁבִיל שׁוֹמְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הָעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד, שֶׁכֵּן אָמְרָה חַנָּה, כִּי לַה' מְצֻקֵי אֶרֶץ (ש״‎א ב, ח). וּמִי הֵם מְצֻקֵי אֶרֶץ? אֵלּוּ שׁוֹמְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁבִּזְכוּתָם הֻשְׁתְּתָה הַתּוֹרָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיָּשֶׁת עֲלֵיהֶם תֵּבֵל (ש״‎א ב, ח).

(Furthermore,) the world endures because of those who guard the law, as Hannah stated: For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s (I Sam. 2:8). Who are the pillars of the earth? They are the guardians of the law, for whose sake alone the world was fashioned, as is said: He hath fashioned the world because of them (ibid.).

8 ח

וְתַנְיָא, אָמַר רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן לָקִישׁ, לָמָּה נֶאֱמַר בְּמַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית יוֹם אֶחָד, יוֹם שֵׁנִי, יוֹם שְׁלִישִׁי, יוֹם רְבִיעִי, יוֹם חֲמִישִׁי, יוֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁי, הֵ״‎א יְתֵרָה לָמָּה? שֶׁהֲרֵי בְּכֻלָּן לֹא נֶאֱמַר אֶלָּא יוֹם אֶחָד, יוֹם שֵׁנִי, וְכֵן לְכֻלָּם. מְלַמֵּד, שֶׁהִתְנָה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עִם מַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית וְאָמַר לָהֶם: אִם יִשְׂרָאֵל מְקַבְּלִים הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ חֲמִשָּׁה סְפָרִים, מוּטָב, וְאִם לָאו, אֲנִי מַחֲזִיר אֶתְכֶם לְתֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ. וְכֵן בְּנֵי קֹרַח אָמְרוּ, נְמוֹגִים אֶרֶץ וְכָל ישְׁבֶיהָ אָנֹכִי תִכַּנְתִּי עַמּוּדֶיהָ סֶלָה (תהלים עה, ד). זוֹ הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁפָּתַח הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא

It has been taught on the authority of R. Simeon the son of Lakish: Why does Scripture say of the creation process (simply) first day, second day, third day, fourth day, fifth day, the sixth day, adding the definite article (heh)5The numerical value of heh is five. only in this instance, so that it reads the sixth day? This is to teach us, the rabbi explained, that God made an agreement with the works of creation in which he declared: If Israel accepts the Torah, in which there are five books, well and good, but if not I will return you to a state unformed and void (Gen. 1:2). Hence the sons of Korah exclaimed: When the earth and the inhabitants thereof trembled, I Myself established the pillars of it (Ps. 75:4). The word pillars in this verse refers to the Torah, which the Holy One, blessed be He, revealed at Sinai.

9 ט

וְזָכָה מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ וְקִבְּלָהּ, לְפִי שֶׁהַתּוֹרָה סֻלְיָתָהּ עֲנָוָה וְכִתְרָהּ יִרְאָה. סֻלְיָתָה עֲנָוָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: עֵקֶב עֲנָוָה יִרְאַת ה' (משלי כב, ד). וְכִתְרָהּ יִרְאָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: רֵאשִׁית חָכְמָה יִרְאַת ה' (תהלים קיא, י).

Moses, our teacher, merited receiving the Torah, for the sole of the Torah is humility and its crown is fear. The sole of the Torah is humility, as it is said: The base of humility is the fear of the Lord (Prov. 22:4), and its crown is fear, as it is said: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Ps. 110:10).

10 י

וּשְׁנֵיהֶם בְּמֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְהָאִישׁ מֹשֶׁה עָנָו מְאֹד (במדבר יב, ג). יִרְאָה, דִּכְתִיב: כִּי יָרֵא מֵהַבִּיט אֶל הָאֱלֹהִים (שמות ג, ו).

Both these attributes were possessed by our teacher, Moses. As to humility, it is stated: And the man Moses was very humble (Num. 12:3), and as to fear, it is written: For he feared to look upon God (Exod. 3:6).

11 יא

וְאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ: בִּשְׂכַר שְׁלֹשָׁה, זָכָה לִשְׁלֹשָׁה. בִּשְׂכַר וַיַּסְתֵּר מֹשֶׁה פָּנָיו, זָכָה לִקְלַסְתֵּר פָּנִים. בִּשְׂכַר כִּי יָרֵא, זָכָה וַיִּירְאוּ מִגֶּשֶׁת אֵלָיו (שמות לד, ל). בִּשְׂכַר מֵהַבִּיט, זָכָה וּתְמוּנַת ה' יַבִּיט (במדבר יב, ח).

Our teachers maintained that in reward for three things Moses was granted three things. As a reward for And Moses hid his face (Exod. 3:6), he was granted The skin of his face sent forth beams (ibid. 34:30); as a reward for For He feared (ibid. 3:6), he was granted They were afraid to come nigh unto him (ibid. 34:30); and as a reward for He was afraid to look (ibid. 3:6), he was granted The similitude of the Lord doth he behold (Num. 12:18).

12 יב

וְאֵין מַתַּן שְׂכָרָהּ שֶׁל תּוֹרָה בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה אֶלָּא לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם לַעֲשׂוֹתָם (דברים ז, יא), וְלֹא לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. הַיּוֹם לַעֲשׂוֹתָם וְלֹא הַיּוֹם לִטֹּל שְׂכָרָם. וְכֵן אָמַר שְׁלֹמֹה, עוֹז וְהָדָר לְבוּשָׁהּ וַתִּשְׂחַק לְיוֹם אַחֲרוֹן (משלי לא, כה).

The reward for the observance of the Torah, however, is bestowed not in this world but in the world-to-come, as Scripture states in the verse: Which I command thee this day to do them (Deut. 7:11); that is, to do them today and not in the world-to-come. “(I command thee) this day to do them, but I do not decree that you should receive the reward for their observance today.” Hence Solomon said (of the woman of valor): Strength and dignity are her clothing; and she laugheth at the time to come (Prov. 31:25); (inasmuch as her reward will be given to her in the time to come).

13 יג

בּוֹא וּלְמַד מִפַּרְעֹה, עַל שֶׁאָמַר לְיוֹסֵף אֲנִי פַרְעֹה, נִגְדַּל מְאֹד, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיָּסַר פַּרְעֹה וְגוֹ' (בראשית מא, מב). הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, עַל כָּל מִצְוָה, אֲנִי ה', עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה. מִזֶּה נִלְמַד שֶׁאֵין קִצְבָה עַל מַתַּן שְׂכָרָהּ. צָפָה דָּוִד וְאָמַר, מָה רַב טוּבְךָ אֲשֶׁר צָפַנְתָּ לִּירֵאֶיךָ וְגוֹ' (תהלים לא, כ).

Observe the reward given for the observance of the Torah from the example of Pharaoh. Because Pharaoh said to Joseph, I am Pharaoh (Gen. 41:44), Joseph was exalted by him exceedingly, as it is said: And Pharaoh took off his signet ring and put it upon Joseph’s hand (ibid., v. 42). How much greater, then, is the reward bestowed by the Holy One, blessed be He, who with every commandment declares, I am the Lord (Exod. 31:13). (What else do we learn from this?) We learn from this that there is no limit to the reward given for the observance of the Torah. David foresaw this and declared: Oh how abundant is Thy goodness which Thou has laid up for them that fear Thee (Ps. 31:20).

14 יד

בְּכָל מַעֲשֵׂה בְּרֵאשִׁית לֹא כְתִיב פְּעֻלָּה, וּבְמַתַּן שְׂכָרָהּ כְּתִיב פְּעֻלָּה, דִּכְתִיב: פָּעַלְתָּ לַחוֹסִים בָּךְ (תהלים לא, כ).

Nowhere in the entire creation narrative does the word “He wrought”6The rewards awaiting one who observes the laws of the Torah are so numerous and wondrous that God was compelled to labor to prepare them. In contrast, the entire act of creation was achieved merely by means of the spoken word: By the word of the Lord, etc. (Ps. 33:6). occur other than with reference to the reward bestowed in the hereafter upon those who have observed the Torah. Concerning them it is said, Thou has wrought for them that take refuge in Thee (ibid.).

15 טו

אַתָּה מוֹצֵא, שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַרְאֶה בִּשְׁעַת פְּטִירָתָן שֶׁל עוֹסְקֵי תוֹרָה מַתַּן שְׂכָרָן. מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרַבִּי אַבָּהוּ, כְּשֶׁהָיָה מִסְתַּלֵּק מִן הָעוֹלָם, הֶרְאָה לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שְׁלֹש עֶשְׂרֵה נַהֲרֵי אֲפַרְסְמוֹן. הִתְחִיל לוֹמַר בִּשְׁעַת מִיתָה לְתַלְמִידָיו, אַשְׁרֵיכֶם עוֹסְקֵי הַתּוֹרָה. אָמְרוּ לוֹ רַבֵּנוּ, מָה רָאִיתָ? אָמַר לָהֶם שְׁלֹש עֶשְׂרֵה נַהֲרֵי אֲפַרְסְמוֹן נָתַן לִי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בִּשְׂכַר תּוֹרָתִי. הִתְחִיל לוֹמַר, וַאֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי לְרִיק יָגַעְתִּי לְתֹהוּ וְהֶבֶל כֹּחִי כִלֵּיתִי אָכֵן מִשְׁפָּטִי אֶת ה' וּפְעֻלָּתִי אֶת אֱלֹהָי (ישעיה מט, ד).

You find that the Holy One, blessed be He, discloses prior to their death the reward to be given to those who devote themselves to the Torah. It happened that when R. Abahu was about to depart from this world, the Holy One, blessed be He, revealed to him thirteen streams of balsam oil. Thereupon, he said to his disciples: “Happy are you who devote yourselves to the study of the Torah.” “Master,” they asked, “what is it that you have seen?” He replied, “The Holy One, blessed be He, gave me thirteen streams of balsam oil in reward for studying the Torah.” And then he went on to say, Yet I have said, “In vain have I labored, I have spent my strength for nought and vanity; yet surely my right is with the Lord, and my recompense with my God” (Isa. 49:4).

16 טז

וְכֵן יְשַׁעְיָה אָמַר, אַשְׁרֵיכֶם זֹרְעֵי עַל כָּל מָיִם (ישעיה לב, כ). אֵלּוּ עוֹסְקֵי תוֹרָה שֶׁנִּמְשְׁלָה לַמַּיִם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: הוֹי כָּל צָמֵא לְכוּ לַמַּיִם (ישעיה נה, א). מְשַׁלְּחֵי רֶגֶל הַשּׁוֹר, זֶה מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן יוֹסֵף שֶׁנִּמְשַׁל לְשׁוֹר. וְחֲמוֹר, זֶה מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: עָנִי וְרֹכֵב עַל חֲמוֹר (זכריה ט, ט).

It is because of the reward given to those who devote themselves to the Torah that Isaiah declared: Happy are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth freely the feet of the ox and the ass (ibid. 32:20). The words that sow beside all waters refer to those who devote themselves to the study of the Torah, which is compared to water, as it is said: Ho! Everyone that thirsteth, come ye for water (ibid. 55:1); the word ox alludes to the Messiah of the House of Joseph,7A descendant of the house of Joseph will precede the coming of the Davidic Messiah. Cf. B. Sukkah 52a. who is compared to an ox; and the ass refers to the Messiah of the House of David, for it is said of him: Lowly and riding upon an ass (Zech. 9:9).

17 יז

כְּשֶׁיָּבוֹאוּ, עַל אוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה הוּא אוֹמֵר, וּמֵעוֹלָם לֹא שָׁמְעוּ לֹא הֶאֱזִינוּ עַיִן לֹא רָאָתָה אֱלֹהִים זוּלָתְךָ וְגוֹ' (ישעיה סד, ג). וְאוֹמֵר: אַשְׁרֵי תְמִימֵי דָרֶךְ הַהֹלְכִים בְּתוֹרַת ה' (תהלים קיט, א). כְּלוֹמַר, אַשְׁרֵי מְכַבְּדֵי בַעֲלֵי תוֹרָה. וְאוֹמֵר: עֵץ חַיִּים הִיא לַמַּחֲזִיקִים בָּהּ וְתֹמְכֶיהָ מְאֻשָּׁר (משלי ג, יח).

Scripture states, concerning the reward that students of the Torah will receive after their deaths: And from old, men have not heard or perceived by ear, neither hath the eye seen a God beside Thee who worketh for him who waiteth for Him (Isa. 64:3). Furthermore, it states: Happy are they who are upright in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord (Ps. 119:1); that is to say, Happy are they who honor masters of the Torah. And it says also: It is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy is everyone that holdeth her fast (Prov. 3:18).

18 יח

וְכָךְ מֹשֶׁה אָמַר, כִּי אִם שָׁמֹר תִּשְׁמְרוּן (דברים יא, כב). אִם שָׁמַרְתָּ בְּנֵי תוֹרָה, תִּשָּׁמֵרוּן. וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר, כִּי מְכַבְּדַי אֲכַבֵּד וּבֹזַי יֵקָלּוּ (ש״‎א ב, ל), זֶה הַמְכַבֵּד בְּנֵי תוֹרָה.

Similarly, Moses declared: For if ye shall diligently guard (Deut. 11:22); that is, if you guard diligently the students of Torah, then you shall be guarded in turn. Hence Scripture states: For them that honor Me I will honor, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed (I Sam. 2:30). This verse alludes to those who honor the students of the Torah.

19 יט

וְתַנְיָא, אֶת ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ תִּירָא (דברים י, כ). אֶת, לְרַבּוֹת בְּנֵי תוֹרָה, לְפִי שֶׁאֵין מִדָּה אַחֶרֶת כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּהּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: יְקָרָה הִיא מִפְּנִינִים (משלי ג, טו), יְקָרָה הִיא מִכֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל הַמְשַׁמֵּשׁ לִפְנַי וְלִפְנִים.

What is more, there is a tradition to the effect that the object particle (et)8The et is a particle of the objective case and frequently, when employed in Scripture, has the meaning of “with,” thereby adding a new thought to the verse. The particle et gave rise to a method of biblical interpretation by implication. See B. Pesahim 22b, Jastrow. in the verse Thou shalt fear (et) the Lord thy God (Deut. 6:13) alludes to reverence for the scholars of the Torah as well as to fear of the Lord. This is so because there is no virtue comparable to the study of the Torah, as it is said: It is more precious than peninim (“innermost”) (Prov. 3:15); that is to say, it is more precious than the high priest who serves in the innermost part of the sanctuary.

20 כ

וְהַתּוֹרָה צוֹוַחַת, אַשְׁרֵי אָדָם שֹׁמֵעַ לִי וְגוֹ' (משלי ח, לד). כָּל הַשּׁוֹמֵעַ אֶל הַתּוֹרָה, אֵינוֹ נִזָּק, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְשֹׁמֵעַ לִי יִשְׁכָּן בֶּטַח וְשַׁאֲנַן וְגוֹ' (משלי א, לג). וְאוֹמֵר: בְּהִתְהַלֶּכְךָ תַּנְחֶה אֹתָךְ וְגוֹ' (משלי ו, כב).

Scripture itself declares: Happy is the man that hearkeneth unto Me, watching daily at My gates, waiting at the posts of My door (ibid. 8:34). This verse indicates that no harm will befall the person who hearkens unto the Torah, for it is written: Whosoever hearkeneth unto Me shall dwell securely and shall be quiet without fear of evil (ibid. 1:33). Furthermore it states: When thou walkest, it shall lead thee (ibid. 6:22).