It has been said that teachers think they’re teaching us what they know, they hope they’re teaching us what they believe, but all they can ever really teach us is who they are. At the end of a year of learning with a teacher, we may feel we have learned what we came to learn, we may feel frustrated that we did not master more of the information we sought, we may feel awed by how much there is yet to learn, and we may feel that we have been deeply changed by the experience.
Barukh atah honen ha’da’at
Blessed is the One who has graced us with intelligence
When study had been completed in Rabbi Ammi’s school, students would say to each other:
May you see your world in your lifetime…
May your eyes sparkle with the light of the TorahThe Five Books of Moses, and the foundation of all of Jewish life and lore. The Torah is considered the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and study of the Torah is a high mitzvah. The Torah itself a scroll that is hand lettered on parchment, elaborately dressed and decorated, and stored in a decorative ark. It is chanted aloud on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat, according to a yearly cycle. Sometimes "Torah" is used as a colloquial term for Jewish learning and narrative in general.
, And your face shine like the brilliance of the heavens. May you speak words of wisdom, and may the deeds of righteousness you do fill your body with joy. And may your feet hurry to hear the words of the Ancient One, who sets the cycles in motion.
(Babylonian TalmudThe rabbinic compendium of lore and legend composed between 200 and 500 CE. Study of the Talmud is the focus of rabbinic scholarship. The Talmud has two versions, the main Babylonian version (Bavli) and the smaller Jerusalem version (Yerushalmi). It is written in Rabbinic Hebrew and Aramaic.
: Brakhot 17a, adapted from a translation by Danny Siegel)
We are blessed when we teach what we have learned in the name of the person who taught it to us. Before your classes come to an end, honor your teachers by telling them the “torah” (which means “teaching” or “instruction”) that you, in turn, will teach in their name.
(As you depart from your teacher)
Atah honen l’adamAdam is the first human being created by God. Symbolizes: Creation, humankind. da’at um’lamed le’enosh binah. Honeinu mei’itkha dei’ah binah v’haskeil.
Barukh atah Adonai honen ha’da’at.
You graciously endow us with intelligence, teaching wisdom and understanding. Grant us knowledge, discernment, and wisdom. Praised are You, God, who graciously grants intelligence.
(Bless your teacher)
May you be blessed and strengthened as you have blessed
and strengthened your student.
May you have peace, grace, kindness, mercy, long life and
everything you need.
(From KaddishThe Aramaic memorial prayer for the dead. Mourners recite this prayer at every service, every day, in the presence of a minyan (prayer quorum) over the course of a year (for a parent) or thirty days (for a sibling or offspring). The prayer actually makes no mention of the dead, but rather prays for the sanctification and magnification of God's name.
Why are the words of Torah like fire? A fire is built by many logs, and the words of Torah survive only through many minds.
(Adapted front Babylonian Talmud: Ta’anit 7a)
Rabbi Elazar ben Shamua taught: “The dignity of your students should be as precious to you as your own. The dignity of your colleagues should be as precious to you as your reverence for your teacher. The reverence for your teacher should be as great as your reverence for God.”
(Pirkei AvotLit. Ethics of the Fathers A tractate of the Mishna filled with pithy sayings of rabbinic sages.
From The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices: Clal’s Guide to Everyday & Holiday Rituals & Blessings, edited by Rabbi Irwin Kula and Vanessa L. Ochs, Ph.D., Jewish Lights, 2001.