Kenneth Cohen

Make for Yourself a Rav

Rashi raises a question connected with the text of the Torah. It is written, “These are the descendants of Aharon and Moshe. It then lists the four sons of Aharon, Nadav and Avihu, Elazar and Itamar.

The question raised was why only Aharon’s sons were mentioned. And they were included as the descendants of both Moshe and Aharon.

Rashi answers his own question by saying that we learn from here, an important teaching. “Anyone who teaches Torah to the son of his friend, it’s as if he fathered him.”
The idea here is that one’s biological father brought his son into this world, but his teacher brings him to the next world.
There is even a concept called, “Rebbe Muvhak.” This refers to a special bond that a student might have with a particular rabbi. He may have learned most of his Torah from him. When this rebbe dies, he mourns for him by tearing his clothes and sitting Shiva, just as he would for his own father.

Pirkei Avot tells us, עשה לך רב, “Make for yourself a Rav.” We are instructed to find a rabbi who will be our guide and mentor. He will be capable of answering questions in Halacha, as well as giving direction in his student’s day to day affairs.

Moshe Rabbeinu was the rebbe of his nephews, and he was like their father. The concept of אמונת חכמים, having trust in our rabbis, is a basic concept of Judaism. There are many wonderful rabbis out there, that are available to fulfill this role. We must seek them out, as they help leading us to merit life in the next world.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at