From Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul

To an Audience Yet Unborn

Much have I learned from my teachers, more from my colleagues, but most from my students.


There is a delightful story about a Rosh Yeshiva, the head of a rabbinical seminary. His name was Rabbi Shlomo Heiman, the first dean of Yeshiva Torah Voda’ath, who had a most amazing way of teaching his students. Unlike the dry lectures given by many brilliant scholars, he would shout with almost breathless rapture as he explained the Talmud and its commentaries. His eyes would sparkle, and his arms would wave as he expounded Talmudic theory. After the class, he would almost collapse from the exertion.

On one particular snowy day back in the early 1940s, only four boys came to class. Nevertheless, Rabbi Heiman delivered his lecture as if the room was packed with hundreds of students. Beads of sweat rolled down his face as he passionately argued points of law to the incredulous four boys. As he paused to catch his breath, one of the boys mustered his courage and beseeched the Torah Giant.

“Rebbe, please—there are only four of us.”

The rabbi’s eyes widened. “You think I’m giving this class for four boys? I am giving this class to hundreds of boys. I’m giving this class to you, your students, their students and their students!”

Rabbi Mordecai Kamenetzky
Adapted by permission from
Parsha Parables
©1998 Bentch Press

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