This D’var Torah should be a Zechus L’Ilui Nishmas my mother Chaya Rochel Bas Dovid Tzvi (Hareini Kaparas Mishkavah), my sister Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my paternal grandfather Moshe Ben Yosef A”H, my paternal grandmother Channah Freidel Bas Avraham A”H, my uncle Reuven Nachum Ben Moshe & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein,

It should also be in Zechus L’Refuah Shileimah for:

-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel

-My grandmother Shulamis Bas Etta


-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili

-Noam Shmuel Ben Simcha

_R’ Simcha Yitzchak Ben Mirela Yudka

-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis

-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of HaRav HaGa’on V’Sar HaTorah Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Ben HaRav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky A”H, Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken by terrorists (Hashem Yikom Damam), COVID-19, and other tragedies.

-It should also be a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.





Be”H, I will be translating / transcribing / paraphrasing Divrei Torah of my Rebbi, HaGaon R’ Yonason Avner Sacks Shlita. (Any inaccuracies portrayed and/or added, or due to omission and/or points lost in translation or context should be attributed to me alone. * = My addition.)





How to Confer Semichah


(Based on Rebbi’s address at Lander Beis Medrash L’Talmud Chag HaSemicha 5782)


Parshas Pinchas is the headquarters in the Torah for the institution of Semichah (translated loosely, Rabbinic ordination), as Moshe Rabbeinu confers Semichah upon his Talmid, Yehoshua Bin Nun.

As per the original procedure of Semichah, a Rabbi would lean his hands upon his student and thereby “ordain” him. But, what exactly is the nature of this institution? What is the true source of celebration at a Chag HaSemichah?



Between Rebbi & Talmid


No doubt, true Musmachim are deservant of the greatest Kavod, for the toil and hours spent on mastering the Torah “curriculum.” But, more than an ordination, Semichah represents a relationship the Musmach (ordained) and Mesorah (tradition), between Rebbi and Talmid.



“And Live”


The Gemara in Makkos (10A) tells us that if, Rachmana L’tzlan, a Talmid takes a life B’Shogeig (inadvertently), that he is Chayiv Galus (condemned to exile). However, the Torah qualifies by stating “V’Chai” (Devarim 4:42) that the Talmid must “live,” that he has to endure Galus, therefore “Maglin Rabbo Imo”-“We exile his Rebbi with him.”

When Rambam quotes this Halachah (Hilchos Rotzei’ach 7:1), he writes: “V’Chayei Ba’alei HaChochmah U’Mevakshehah B’Lo Talmus K’Misah Chashuvim”-“and lives of masters of wisdom and those who seek it, without the ability to learn, are considered dead.”

Thus, Semichah celebrates not an accomplishment, but a chain in the Mesorah, a relationship of Rebbi and Talmid.


Where do you see this profound quality of this relationship? It is exhibited in the Semichah which Moshe Rabbeinu gave to Yehoshua.



Moshe’s Semichah to Yehoshua


Indeed, it was necessary for Moshe Rabbeinu to elevate Yehoshua, but HaKadosh Baruch Hu commanded Moshe, “וְסָֽמַכְתָּ֥ אֶת־יָֽדְךָ֖ עָלָֽיו”-“And you shall lean your hand upon him” (Bamidbar 27:18). It’s not simply enough to declare that Yehoshua, “You will emerge as a Manhig (leader),” but rather it is necessary to physically reach out to Yehoshua. You can’t simply confer Semichah remotely. It’s about the relationship, the passion, about nurturing.

And of course, Moshe followed the Tzivui (command) of Hashem. However, the Torah specifies, “וַיִּסְמֹ֧ךְ אֶת־יָדָ֛יו עָלָ֖יו”-“And Moshe leaned his hands (plural)” (Bamidbar 27:23). In other words, although Moshe was commanded to place a single hand on Yehoshua, Moshe placed both hands upon him.



Two Hands are Better than One


There is a fundamental difference between a single hand and two hands. With a single hand, you could reach out to a Talmid, you can greet a Talmid, no doubt.

But, it takes two hands to be able to embrace your Talmid, two hands to hug your Talmid. And therefore Moshe Rabbeinu was not satisfied with simply reaching out to Yehoshua, but he embraced Yehoshua (*as Rashi specifies, “B’Ayin Yafeh”-“with a generous eye”).


And perhaps that begs the obvious question: If it so self-evident that it’s not enough for a Rebbi to reach out to a Talmid, but to embrace his Talmidim, why was the Tzivui Hashem simply to reach out with a single hand? Why didn’t HaKadosh Baruch Hu tell Moshe, “Embrace Yehoshua with both hands”?



How to Embrace a Talmid


The answer is profound in its simplicity. Imagine you witness a Rebbi embracing a Talmid, a scene that no doubt resonates; it is something that is so impactful and transformative.

Now, imagine going over to that Rebbi and asking him: “What was it that motivated you to embrace your Talmid?” You would be shocked if the Rebbi would respond: “I had no choice. After all, I was commanded to. It was a Tzivui.” That is not how you embrace a Talmid. And therefore, the Tzivui was not that Moshe Rabbeinu should embrace Yehoshua, but simply to reach out “Yadcha,” one hand, and yet, Moshe, understanding the nature of that relationship, embraced Yehoshua, and by extension, all of Kneses Yisrael.


The celebration of Semichah follows that exact model, an opportunity for illustrious Rebbeim to embrace their incredible Talmidim. And that is what each Musmach must pass on to their Talmidim as well; to impact and teach is striking, but they are to truly touch their Talmidim, for them to see that their Rebbi is their role model and example.

And simply by virtue of that dynamic, the Rebbi will embrace each every one of his Talmidim, exemplifying the Gemara in Sanhedrin (19B), “Kol HaMilameid Es Ben Chaveiro Torah…K’Ilu Yilado… K’Ilu Asa’o”-“Whoever teaches the son of his peer Torah… it is as if he has fathered him… as if he made him.”

Each Musmach fathers the next generation of Kneses Yisrael, and that requires an understanding of the profound quality of that relationship.



*We should be Zocheh to have and strengthen that relationship, between Rebbi and Talmid, to be embraced by our Rebbeim, to embrace our Talmidim, and Hashem should embrace us all with the coming of the Geulah, Bimheira Biyomeinu! Have a wonderful Shabbos!