Sunday, April 25, 2010

Two Yudim

Last shabbat I heard the following dvar torah (from Y.C., age approx. 12), apparently in connection to the mitzva in last week's parsha of "veahavta lereacha kamocha".

A certain chasidic rebbe told the story of how he learned to read when he was a kid. In his school, or "cheder", they taught him to read from a chumash. He read correctly until he came to two letters yud, one next to the other. He pronounced this literally - at which point the teacher corrected him. "Whenever there are two yuds like that, it means to say the name of God." The kid did so, and kept reading.

Then, he got to the end of a verse. It was punctuated with a colon - two vertical dots, which looked like yuds. So he said the name of God again. And the teacher corrected him. "No, that's not the name of God. That's the end of the verse."

From this exchange, the kid learned a moral lesson. Whenever there are two yudim (=Yehudim) on the same level as each other, God's name is present in the world. Whenever there are two yudim, one above the other, it is like the end.

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