Learning From Everyone (Pirkei Avot 2:17)

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Rabbi Yosi said, ‘Prepare yourself for Torah study, for it is not an inheritance and let all of your deeds be for the sake of Heaven.'”

Each one of us desires to grow in wisdom and to achieve clarity in Torah knowledge. To this end, Rabbi Yosi offers sound advice, “Torah is not an inheritance.” Meaning, HaShem does not reveal the entire Torah to any one person.

Therefore, to gain a well-rounded Torah view, it is important to study, learn, and discuss Torah with other people. Perhaps, they can illuminate areas of Torah that you have not yet mastered.

However, it is not always easy or comfortable to learn from others, even if they have greater knowledge. In response to this challenge, Rabbi Yosi recommends, “Prepare yourself for Torah study.” That is, strive to strengthen your positive character traits. A sense of humility will enable you to learn and gain from others .

Moreover, it is also possible to learn from those who know much less than you, as King David said (Tehillim 119:99), “I learned from all of my students.” In reference to learning from those who have less wisdom than you, Rabbi Yosi said, “Let all of your deeds be for the sake of Heaven.” That is, endeavor to purify your motivation for Torah knowledge. As a result, you will be able to hear wonderful gems that ‘the Torah reveals to you’ through the mouth’s of those who are younger than you.

May we discover new insights from both “teachers and students.” In turn, our knowledge will be enriched; and goodness and joy will fill our hearts (based on the commentary of the Chidah to Pirkei Avos).

Today: Make an effort to learn one thing from another person every day.

Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Zvi Miller and the Salant Foundation

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