Rabbi Yosse Said: "Whoever Honors The Torah Is Himself Given Honor By Men, And Whoever Dishonors The Torah Is Himself Dishonored By Men."
tells us of a dialogue between Rabbi Yosse and a Roman matron. She asked questions based on the Torah and Rabbi Yosse attempted to offer her rational explanations.
That narrative can be seen as an extension of this teaching: Why did Rabbi Yosse enter into such a dialogue? Only for the honor of Torah; he desired that even non-Jews perceive its wisdom.
On that basis, we can appreciate the reward promised by the mishnah:
The Hebrew term for "himself" - - also means his physical body, and the term translated as "men" - - refers, as explained previously,
to people whose only redeeming quality is that they are G-d's creations.
When a person endeavors to see that all men honor the Torah, he in turn will receive honor from all people - even those who are merely G-d's creations. Moreover, since such individuals have no conception of things spiritual, the honor they give him will affect his physical person - the dimension to which they relate.
(Sichos Motzoei Shabbos Parshas Korach, 5738)
- (Back to text) Bereishis Rabbah 68:4.
- (Back to text) 1:2, 4:1.