Rashi, in his first commentary on this Torah portion asks: Why does this verse repeat Say AND Tell? In Hebrew its Emor v’Amarta. Why the double speak? Rashi explains: The first “Say” is for the adult Kohanim. “Tell them” is for the adults to L’HAZIR their young Kohain children.
Now, what does L’HAZIR mean?
a) Literally it means to warn or caution. Something urgent. Like the road signs in Israel which say “Zehirut!” be careful!
b) a Chassidic twist translates L’HAZIR to mean shine or enlighten. Like the Hebrew word Zohar.
Educationally, these two interpretations are worlds apart. How do we transmit values and guidelines to our children: Is it through caution and warnings? or via enlightening and illuminating? or both?
This brings me to social-media. I was thinking about the double expression in the verse and realized its somewhat similar to a Like and Share on Facebook, or a Favorite and Retweet on Twitter.
Unless people are especially prolific on Social-Media, most people “Like” a lot more than they “Share.” Likes can mean a lot of things. It can mean acknowledge (as when someone shares sad news, that no one really “likes”) or it can mean that you find it interesting or cute, often its that you really liked what they shared, but don’t love it enough or isn’t personally relevant enough to share the same on your own newsfeed/timeline.
It usually takes a lot for a person to Share or Retweet. Either it’s something really urgent or distressing or worrisome, like the first literal explanation of L’Hazir; or maybe its something so delightful and uplifting or exciting as the second Chassidic explanation suggests. To Share/Retweet it has to become your own, its not enough that you really like what the other person shared.
In Judaism, there’s a lot of emphasis on Share and Retweet. Liking it yourself without passing it on doesn’t help Jewish continuity. We are part of a chain, a long linking chain from generation to generation. We have to feel urgent enough about it, or better yet, like it enough, to pass it on, and keep it going. Make it viral!
Students often tell us how much they’ve enjoyed or internalize a Jewish experience at Shabbos House Chabad, be it a holiday, a message, a word of Torah, or whatever… but while that itself is huge, the next step is how to share that, how to retweet it, how to pass it forward. How do we make this a part of our own newsfeed and timeline, that’s shared with others…
Like the verse says: First “Say” and then “Tell them”.