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    The father of them all – B’midbar

    The Torah says, “These are the generations of Aaron and Moses” (Num. 3:1).

    The verse then lists Aaron’s descendants but not those of Moses, yet we know that Moses definitely did have children.

    What has happened that the verse refers to generations but says nothing about Moses’ own progeny?

    Rashi finds a lesson in this wording. He tells us that whoever teaches someone Torah is regarded as if he gave them birth. Moses, therefore, having taught Torah to many other people and their children, is the virtual father of them all.

    One is reminded of Mr Chips, the boys’ school teacher and headmaster whose real name was Chipping. People asked, “Did he have any children?” and the answer was, “Yes, many of them… and they were all his boys!”

    If I may add a personal note, I remember the day when I erroneously called my Hebrew teacher “Dad”, and then got embarrassed. My teacher said, “You have just paid me a compliment. Calling me ‘Dad’ indicates that I must have succeeded in teaching you Torah!”

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