As Rabbi Akiva Eiger’s children were preparing his scholarly works for publication, the famous Rabbi said to them, “Among the responses, you will undoubtedly find many letters to those who studied in my yeshiva. Please do not refer to them as my students, for I have never called anyone my student. How can I know who has learned more from whom?”
As Joshua goes out to recruit an army to defeat the tribe of Amalek, Moses tells him, “Choose for us.” Rashi says this refers to both Moses the teacher, and Joshua the student. Our tradition teaches that our students be held in esteem as our own honor.
While a primary role of a Rabbi is as teacher, I can confidently state that each story I learn, each person I meet, each birth and death I attend to teaches me more Torah than any Torah that I can learn.
The book of Joshua commands us, “You should have the Torah on your tongue both day and night.” The Rabbis understand that this task is impossible, and so they allow us to fulfill this obligation by simply reciting the Shema both day and night.
Learning Torah is a wonderful thing to pursue, but living out the lessons of Torah is even better. Yes, the Torah is available to us each and every day of the year. The real challenge is….Will we bring it into our lives?