Temura 15 - 21
The Importance of Tutoring
How important is it for someone who has reached even a moderate level in his knowledge of Torah to help another who is just a beginner?
Two of the great Talmudic Sages, Rabbi Chanina (Mesechta Maccot 10a) and Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi (Taanit 7a) were quoted as stating: Much have I learned from my teachers; even more from my colleagues; and most from my students.
In Mishlei, King Solomon describes two scenarios of the response given by the above-mentioned individual with a measure of knowledge to the request of a novice for help.
A poor man and one of moderate means meet; G-d brightens the eyes of both. (Mishlei 29:13)
The man of means and the poor man meet; it is G-d Who created them both. (ibid. 22:2)
One of the explanations given by our Sages is that these passages deal with an encounter between a Jew poor in his Torah knowledge and one who has already reached a moderate level, with the former asking the latter to tutor him. If he responds positively the result is that G-d will brighten the eyes of both with an increase in their Torah knowledge. Should the potential tutor selfishly refuse, however, he is reminded by the wisest of men that the G-d Who created one knowledgeable and the other ignorant can easily reverse the roles by removing the wisdom of the reluctant tutor and enlightening the one who eagerly sought his help.
A Second Stage for the Second Tithe
During the time of the Beit Hamikdash a Jew took his maiser sheini - the second tithe of his crops which he had to separate during the first, second, fourth and fifth year of the seven-year cycle - up to Yerushalayim and consumed it there. Since the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash he can no longer do this and must instead redeem these crops on a coin which must eventually be destroyed.
The source for our inability to consume the crops in Yerushalayim today without redeeming them is the Torah passage which speaks of eating before your G-d in the place which He has chosen the tithe of your crops and the first born of your herd and flock (Devarim 14:23). An equation is thus made between this tithe and the firstborn animal which must be offered as a sacrifice. Just as it is impossible to offer such a sacrifice when there is no Beit Hamikdash, so too can the second tithe crops not be consumed in Yerushalayim without redemption.
Although we can never assume to know exactly why this rule was established we may speculate on the basis of what the Sefer Hachinuch writes as a possible reason for the Divine command to bring second tithe crops specifically to Yerushalayim. The conclusion of the above-mentioned passage states that the purpose of consuming these crops in the place chosen by G-d is in order that you will learn to revere the L-d your G-d all your days. This was achieved by the fact that a family would probably have one of its sons settle in Yerushalayim in order to consume the large quantity of second tithe, which was almost ten percent of its produce, along with the fourth-year fruits and tithes of animals which could be consumed only there. Spending so much time in the holy city that was the seat of the Sanhedrin and the center of Torah study would produce a Torah scholar who would have a powerful impact on the entire family. With the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash this advantage was severely reduced if not totally eliminated and there was not that much to be gained by being compelled to bring the second tithe there anymore.