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    Milk & honey – Vayikra

    The ancient Cheder began its Bible curriculum with the Book of Vayikra, but even before this, a child’s first Hebrew lessons commenced with the aleph-bet written on a slate in honey.

    The children licked off the honey and got a sweet taste of Torah learning.

    Not very hygienic, but highly significant.

    It based itself on a verse from Shir HaShirim 4:11, “Your lips, O my bride, drip honey: honey and milk are under your tongue”.

    The symbolic dimension of Shir HaShirim sees the book as the love story of the Jewish people and their Torah and their land (and their God). Both Israel and the Torah are compared to honey and milk.

    Israel is “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex. 3:8 etc.). Torah is honey, a sweet, pleasant experience. Milk is the basic food for nutrition. Being a Jew is not merely a vague feeling of identity, but a daily joy and inspiration.

    The Talmud says, “The world exists on the merit of the little children who study Torah”, which suggests that every day in every way a Jew must be a little child again and enjoy every letter of every page of Jewish wisdom.

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