Two to One Ratio
This Shabbat we will read the first Torah Portion “Shemot”
in the book of Exodus.
The book of “Shemot” talks about the Egyptian exile.
It opens with the verse:
וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הַבָּאִים מִצְרָיְמָה אֵת יַעֲקֹב, אִישׁ וּבֵיתוֹ בָּאוּ
“And these are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each man and his household came.” (1:1)
The Sages saw in the word “names” (SHeMOT – שמות) a hint to an acronym (for the words)
שְׁנַיִם מִקְרָא וְאֶחָד תַּרְגּוּם
“Two original readings and one translation”
which appears to teach that every person should learn the portions of the Torah three times, meaning that every person should learn the portions in Hebrew twice.
And, in addition, they should learn the portion once in a language which is understandable to them (whether translation or commentary).
The hint to the commandment of “two original readings and one translation” is found specifically in the beginning of the book of Shemot because the book of Shemot talks about the exile in Egypt.
Before the exile the People of Israel spoke only the Holy Language – Hebrew, but after they went down to Egypt they started to speak additional languages.
The Sages instructed us to use the Hebrew language more than any other languages, so that we do not forget our own national language.
Therefore, each week when the people of Israel, (wherever they are) read the portions from the Torah, they should read those in the manner of “two original readings and one translation”, with the ratio of two to one:
So the reading should be done twice in Hebrew and once in translation (interpretation) — in order to preserve the Hebrew language.
Yoel & Orly
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