Parshas Behaaloscha.


The laws of studying the Torah, teaching the Torah and respecting the Torah scrolls.


1. Every Jewish man is obligated to study the Torah, according to his abilities. This mitzvah does not apply to women. One of the reasons is that women are usually busy with their household, and if they had devoted all their free time to the Torah, they would not be able to take care of their families properly. However, a woman, assisting her husband and sons study the Torah, will be awarded greatly. Moreover, the woman should know the laws of Torah and has a mitzvah to study the books of Halacha pertaining to her.


2. For the one who works, there is a mitzvah to separate a time for studying every day, and not to miss under any circumstances. Some study the Torah before or after the morning prayers while their brain is still responsive, others attend Torah lessons every evening. Nevertheless, one who cannot or has no chance to study should support Yeshivos financially so that their learning will be also credited for him.


3. There is a great mitzvah to teach Torah to others. This command relates first of all, to one’s own children and grand-children, but also there is a mitzvah to teach every Jew. One, who cannot teach his own children, should fulfill this mitzvah, by sending them to Yeshivos and paying the Rabbis for teaching them. Note, that sending the children to Yeshiva does not absolve one from educating them in keeping the mitzvos. Moreover, we are not permitted to cause any children (even not our own) to break any prohibitions.


4. There is a mitzvah for each man to write his own Torah scroll. One may fulfill this command by hiring a “Sofer” (scribe), and afterwards checking his writing and correcting his mistakes. According to some opinions, one who has buys a ready made Torah scroll also fulfills this command. According to some opinions, if many people write a common scroll or buy one, they all fulfill the obligation, and based on this most people try to do this Mitzvah by buying a letter in a Torah scroll. Nevertheless, a well-to-do man, who can afford a Torah scroll, should buy it. There is also a mitzvah to buy other religious books. On the other hand, keeping heretical books and books leading to sinful thoughts, for instance, romances, is forbidden.


5. The Torah scroll is sacred. Every time one sees it being carried, he should stand up and remain standing until the scroll is put down, or the one carrying it walks out of sight. It is strictly forbidden to through the Torah scrolls or to touch the parchment itself. One is forbidden to sit on the same bench, where the Torah scroll has been laid. One may not use the scroll for his own immediate purposes, like screening himself from the sun or wind, for supporting other books or for leaning on it with elbows. It is forbidden to have relations in the same room with the Torah scroll. If other religious books or Tefillin are in the room, they should be placed in two bags, with at least one of the bags not designated for keeping religious books. We must not discard the Torah or other sacred books, even if they have defects or became too old to be used. Rather they have to be buried (Genisah). In general it is forbidden to destroy any names of the Creator, and that’s why we may not through away any writings with any of Divine names.


6. The Torah is read in the synagogues on Shabbos in the morning and during Minchah and every Monday and Thursday morning. Besides, the Torah is read on all holidays and Rosh Chodesh, and on fast days. It is a mitzvah to listen carefully, while the Torah is being read aloud. One is now allowed to talk during Torah reading. One, who has been called to the Torah, should not refuse, because being called to the Torah (Alliyah) is an honor, this privilege is usually bought for rather large sums of money.