Laws Pertaining to Teachers of Torah (part 2)

  1. Those who teach righteousness to the multitudes will shine
    like the stars (Daniel 12:3). According to the Gemora (Baba Basra 8b) the
    verse applies to rebbes in chadarim and Talmudei Torah. Rashi explains
    that those who teach righteousness are those who educate their students to the
    right path in life. The Maharsha explains why a rebbe is compared to the
    stars. We only see the stars at night, but even during the day they see and
    serve the world. Similarly, even when the rebbe is not in the presence of his
    talmidim he should be concerned about them.

  2. Besides teaching his talmidim musar, the rebbe
    should also, from time to time, tell them stories of great Rabbonim and
    Tzaddikim that will inspire them to deepen their Yiras Shamayim,
    improve their midos, and intensify their dedication to learning. A
    Rebbe wants these stories to make a deep impression on them, so he himself
    should model the qualities they teach in the way that he speaks and davens.

  3. When the talmidim don’t understand a point that the rebbe
    makes, he should not get angry. Rather, he should repeat it as often as
    necessary until they grasp what he is saying. The rebbe who is not overly
    strict with his talmidim and patiently explains his lessons until they
    understand brings merit upon himself and his generation for which they are
    rewarded in the world-to-come, while he, himself, is rewarded with a long
    life.

  4. Talmidim are obligated to respect the rebbes who have
    taught them Torah (Chumash, Mishneh, Gemara, etc.), even those from which they
    have not acquired the majority of their learning. A talmid should feel
    gratitude to each one of his rebbes for guiding him to the world-to-come. A
    talmid who rebels against his rebbes will not have a long life (Chagiga 5a. ayain
    sham
    ), and from that we can infer that a talmid who respects his rebbes
    will live a long life.

  5. Because the rebbe invests all his time and energy educating
    his talmidim, his principal and the parents of his talmidim should show their
    appreciation with occasional words of praise and encouragement. They shouldn’t
    hold back for fear that he will become overly self-assured. And if it is
    necessary to bring a shortcoming to the rebbe’s attention, it should be done
    in a discrete and pleasant way.

  6. Parents should, of course, show interest and concern for
    their children’s education and make a point of speaking to the rebbe about
    their children every once in a while. This can be very helpful for the child.
    The father should make an appointment with the rebbe—not just catch him for
    a casual conversation on Shabbos or at shul.

  7. Parents should realize that they have entrusted their most
    cherished possession—their child—with the rebbe. And the rebbe should
    teach with the awareness that the parents of his talimidim have shown him
    great confidence entrusting their children with him. He should make every
    effort to take good care of them and return them to their parents enriched by
    the education he has given them.