Sunday, January 27, 2008

Compensation for Teaching Torah

Rabbi Yochanan said (Nedarim 37a): While it’s true that one cannot take money for teaching Scripture, he may take money for teaching them the proper cantillation of the verses.

One is obligated to teach others the laws and statutes of the Torah without demanding payment. The Chasam Sofer rules: Nowadays that the entire Gemora and the poskim are written down, one is not obligated to teach them inside for free; rather, he is required to teach orally the halachos and the rationale behind them. If, however, one teaches the students the Gemora inside, he may demand payment. The reason that the Gemora makes a distinction between Scripture and Midrash is because the Scripture was already written down. (Although Rebbe arranged the Mishna, it was not written down until much later.) Therefore, if one teaches student the correct method to read the Gemora, he may demand payment.

The Ran cites a Yerushalmi which rules that although a person may not receive compensation for teaching Torah, he may demand payment for the loss of income that he suffers by the fact that he does not pursue other means of support. This is true as long as he devotes himself completely to teaching.

Other Rishonim rule that if a teacher has no other means of support, he may receive compensation for teaching Torah.


joshwaxman said...

There is an interesting citation the Rif makes on this gemara of a connected Yerushalmi:

and it seems to me the purpose of citing it is to provide a derasha supporting Shmuel, such that we need not reject him in favor of either Rav or Shmuel.