Laws Pertaining to Teachers of Torah (part 1)

  1. Chazal tell us that the world exists because of the merit
    of the children learning Torah with their Rebbe. From this we learn that the
    spiritual reward for teaching children Torah is very great. The Shechina
    dwells wherever children learn Torah with their Rebbe. Rebbe Shimeon Bar
    Yochai once said, when going to visit a cheder, that he was going to see the
    face of the Shechinah. (Zohar, Lech Lecha). And, indeed, it was the
    custom of people who were dedicated to Torah to visit the cheder when they had
    completed their work in order to see the face of the Shechinah. Anyone who
    enters a cheder should be aware that he enters a place where the Shechinah
    extends Her wings protectively over Her young. The Rebbe must keep this in
    mind, apply himself faithfully to his sacred task and see to it that the
    cheder is kept clean: “your camp should be holy.” Rebbes should be aware
    that they are responsible for instilling faith in the young.

  2. A Rebbe must prepare himself for class so that he can
    answer questions correctly. The verse “cursed is he who does the work of G-d
    with deceit” (Yermiah 48:10) applies to a Rebbe who doesn’t prepare
    himself adequately and gives his talmidim wrong information. Moreover, the
    time spent in teaching misinformation is time wasted which can never be
    recovered, time in which the Rebbe actually prevents the talmidim from
    learning Torah.

  3. The verse “cursed is he who does the work of G-d with
    deceit” (Yermiah 48:10) also applies to a Rebbe who comes late to class or
    leaves the class in the middle of the lesson: he is depriving his talmidim of
    the opportunity to learn Torah. For this reason, the Rama (Shulchan Oruch
    Choshen Mishpat
    ח"ס ו"ש) writes that a
    Rebbe should not stay up too late at night because it may impair his ability
    to teach the next day. He should also avoid fasting, even in atonement of
    averos he may have done, for this, too, may impair his teaching. A Rebbe who
    was unable to daven before class should rather daven by himself during the
    break than delay his class. Every minute of learning is precious to G-d. For
    this reason, a person should avoid disrupting a class to speak to the Rebbe or
    one of the talmidim unless it is about an urgent matter that must be addressed
    before the break.

  4. If any worker who is given an hourly wage is forbidden to
    be late or to leave early, certainly a Rebbe, whose work is so important, must
    be careful to avoid cutting his lessons short because he is late or leaves in
    the middle of his class. According to the Zohar, the learning of the
    children he teaches negates harmful decrees against the Jewish People.

  5. Of course, if a Rebbe needs to pause to take a drink, etc.
    in order to keep up his strength to teach, he is permitted to do so. He should
    have no hesitations. Similarly, the break between classes and other things
    which the children need in order to renew their ability to learn contribute to
    the learning and are permitted.