“Which part of the davening can we find in this week’s parshah?” Avi asked his learning group.

“That’s easy,” Bennie, Shmuel, and Dov called out together. “It’s the Shema.”

“It’s probably one of the first parts of the davening you were taught,” said Avi. The boys nodded. “And since we have been saying it from the time we were small and reciting it at least twice a day, we may just say it by heart without really thinking about the words.”

The boys looked at each other and slowly nodded again. “Avi is right,” they thought to themselves.

“So let’s take a close look at the Shema,” said Avi. “You might be surprised at all the different mitzvos we will find in this one tefillah.”

“We can use our Sefer HaMitzvos to help us,” suggested Dov.

Soon everyone was leafingeagerly through the pages.

“The pasuk Shema is one mitzvah: to know that HaShem is one.”

“Veahavta is another mitzvah: to love HaShem.”

“Vishinantam livanecho is another mitzvah: to teach Torah and to study it.

“Videbarta bam is another mitzvah: to read the Shema twice each day.”

“Ukishartam is two mitzvos: to put on the head tefillin and the hand tefillin.”

“And Uchisavtam is another mitzvah: to put up a mezuzah.”

Yossi had a question: “The pasuk vishinantam speaks about teaching younger children. But we’re supposed to study Torah all our lives, even after Bar Mitzvah. So why doesn’t the Torah mention that?”

Avi smiled. “That’s to teach us that we should always learn Torah like children do.”

The boys were surprised. “Like children?”

Avi explained. “When a person studies the Torah and understands what he is studying, he might become proud and think he’s very important. After all, he has been able to understand HaShem’s Torah, and that’s no small accomplishment.

“Sometimes it happens that the more a person knows, the prouder he becomes. HaShem doesn’t want that, because when a person becomes proud, he stops thinking about HaShem and starts thinking about himself instead.

“There is no real reason to be proud; when compared to HaShem, even the greatest Rabbi is like a little child. So when the Torah tells us about the mitzvah of studying, it mentions children. Even when a person grows up and learns a lot, whenever he opens a Chumash or a Gemora, he should think of himself as a young child. Even when he succeeds and learns a lot, he has to remember that it’s HaShem’s Torah, and he is like a little child being taught by his father, Avinu shebashomayim.”

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XIX, p. 38)