Lamed ~ ל
"The Heart of the Talmid"
While the letter Mem is often mentioned as being at the centre of the alphabet, it is only so when all the Sofiot letters are included. The Lamed however is considered to be in the centre of the AlefBet as shown below: it is described in the context of being "in the heart of the alphabet" and one could also say ... "it is all about the heart."
The centre [or heart] of the AlephBet
Meaning = ‘to study’ and ‘heart’
Gematria = 30
Sound = "L" sound like in Love
- Lamad למָד literally means "to study" and is where we get the Hebrew word TALMUD תַּלְמֲוּד which means "to study"
- Talmud does not mean law/oral law like so many think, but it literally means "to study"
- From this we also get the word talmid ~ which is a "student or disciple"
What is the story of the Lamed?
Talmid תַּלְמֲד is understood to be linked to לב lev (heart)
- The concept of a disciple or student has to do with the heart much more than about knowledge.
- "A good disciple will see a transformation of his heart and not in his knowledge alone"
- According to the Hebrew dictionary, Talmid can mean ‘student, pupil, disciple, or follower’
- In western culture, we can compare students and call them "good, bad, mediocre" and so on
- But in Hebrew language and Jewish understanding, this is not so: there is only one type of talmid
- A talmid is simply "a follower" ... a follower of the one from whom they are studying
- Ultimately we look to Yeshua who is The Teacher/The Rabbi although we know that He does gift others to teach us, those who are "under-Shepherds"
- A true talmid is one who has his heart set upon his Teacher and what He is teaching, BUT it is also one whose heart is being transformed and changed in the process ~ from the inside out.
"Becoming a talmid is a process...
Everything that G-D does in the Kingdom is process based"
What is the preparation mode for becoming a Talmid
- Discipleship is a process as given in Deut 11:19 "And ye shall teach them your children, talking of them, when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."
- limadtem למַדתֶם ~ is rooted in the word root למַד limad
- It is a picture of a father instructing his children, in the sense that our children are the first ones to effectively become our disciples
- The Torah suggests that before one can become a disciple, there is a mode for both the instructor and the one who is being instructed ...
... and there are four verbs in this process
(*the 3 highlighted letters in the words is the root word known as the shoresh)
- sittest בְשִׁבְתְךָ B’shivtecha even in resting, we can be discipled ~ be still and know that I am G-D
- walkest ָוּבְלֶכְתְך Uv'lechtecha root לֶכְתְ lech’t to walk. Lech L’cha to go forth (Gen 12). We live busy lives but need to take God with us in all we do.
- liest down וּבְשַׁכְבְך Uv’shochbecha when you lie down ~ G-D is saying, "when you lie down at the end of the day, make sure you end your day with Me."
- wake up וּבְקוּמֶך Uv’kumecha ~ "when you wake up, rise up, put Me first" ~ as we are resurrected each morning, we remember the power of resurrection through meditating on His word.
"We cannot compartmentalise God ~ my time is God’s time!"
The Book of Joshua also gives us a Mode of the Talmid
לא־ימושׁ ספר התורה הזה מפיך והגית בו יומם ולילה למען תשׁמר לעשׂות ככל־הכתוב בו כי־אז תצליח את־דרכך ואז תשׂכיל
"This book of the Torah shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy ways prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." Joshua 1:8
- The Torah is trying to tell us that if we will observe the Torah as it is intended to be, then it will bring success to us ... we can bring G-D into all we do and find success or we can do things our own way and success will be difficult ... the choice is ours.
- At the very least, are we reading Torah first thing in the morning and last thing at night?
We often hear about Yeshua being "the living Torah" ... but what does that mean exactly ?
- It means He is alive and because He is alive, Torah is alive!
- Think about the times we get involved in a story and then try to pick it up where we left off ages after we first started ... we can easily lose the plot and forget the little details
- When we are reading it everyday, it is alive because we are becoming immersed in it
- Deut 11:19 is trying to tell us we need to be immersed in Torah
- Jews pray three times a day in Synagogue: Morning prayer: Shacharit (שַחֲרִת), Afternoon prayer: Mincha (מִנְחָה) and Arvit (עַרְבִית, "of the evening") or Maariv (מַעֲרִיב, "bringing on night") ... it is like we are asking G-D to make us a talmid, remembering that it means "a follower!"
How do we become a Talmid ... how do we become the living Torah
This is the blessing we say each time we study the Torah:
"Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu Melech Ha’Olam asher Kidshanu B’mitzvutav V’Tzivaznu L’asok B’devrey Torah."
- "Blessed are you O God, the King of the Universe, Who sanctifies us in His commandments and commanded us to engage in the Torah."
- We are saying "God you commanded us to be active (L’asok לַעֲסוק) in the word of Torah."
- Why does the Torah use the word L'asok? The Rabbi's say we don't "do Torah" or "study Torah" but it is about the demeanour of the Talmid.
The definition of a Talmid, becoming a disciple is found in Romans 12:9-11
"Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."
Spiritual Fervor is a specific Hebrew term that is used to describe the mode in which we are to become part of the Torah ... making it alive and active in our lives!
- The Greek word spu-da (spu-de) /spiritual fervor is translated in the Hebrew to שקידה which comes from the word for almond.
- Spu'de means something done with zeal and diligence ... in haste and with great labour, to give all diligence, to give oneself most earnestly
- The Rabbi's definition of this is that "we are not to study Torah half-way"
- And furthermore, if we study Torah half-way, it is as if we don't study Torah at all
- It is as we engage in the Torah - fully and earnestly with our heart - that we engage in a relationship with G-D and with each another ... it is anything but the head, but it is about the heart!
"We are to be doers of Torah, not just to study it with no application."
A talmid is one who engages with The torah with his heart, not in terms of academics ~ The Torah is the academics of the heart and this is the path for real and genuine discipleship.