Moshe Rabbenu spent the entire month of Shevat teaching Torah to the children of Israel (Devarim 1:3) and continued until his passing on the seventh of Adar. The verse tells us (Devarim 1:5) הוֹאִיל מֹשֶׁה בֵּאֵר אֶת־הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת, that Moshe began explaining the Torah on the first day of the eleventh month, which is Shevat, starting from Nissan. Near the end of this period, he commands the children of Israel to inscribe the Torah teachings on stones, and the same unique word “be’er” is used once again there, as it says “ וְכָתַבְתָּ עַל־הָאֲבָנִים אֶת־כׇּל־דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת בַּאֵר הֵיטֵב” (Devarim 27:8).

Rashi on this verse explains that the Torah was written in seventy languages, reflecting that Torah is available to all nations in all corners of the world. This concept of seventy languages (based on Sota h32a) may also be understood in light of an expression used by Ibn Ezra in his introduction to his perush on the Torah where he says “there are seventy faces to Torah.” While our holy Torah has one source, God, there are abundant streams of thought and interpretation infused within it, including new observations waiting to be revealed.

Moshe was not simply teaching the Jewish people at the end of his life in order for them to retain and recall. Torah is analogized to water (Bava Kama 82a) and our springs are meant to gush forth – יָפוּצוּ מַעְיְנֹתֶיךָ חוּצָה (Mishlei 5:16). It may be laudable to be like a בּוֹר סוּד שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְאַבֵּד טִפָּה (Avot 2:8) — a cistern which collects rainwater and does not lose a drop, especially in the early years of an individual’s education, just as in the early years of our identity as a nation. In this last month of Moshe Rabbenu’s life, he became an inspiring model and facilitator, encouraging others to similarly tap into their wellspring of personal Torah insights and connection. While the plain meaning of the word “be’er,” used above, means to explain, the word can also mean: a well. Unlike a cistern, a well is connected to a living water source and such Torah learning is compared to a מַעְיָן הַמִּתְגַּבֵּר (Avot 2:8 and 6:1)- a spring which overflows with energy and promise of new life.

The mazal for the month of Shevat is a דלי, or pail of water, commonly known as Aquarius. The daughters of Yitro describe Moshe Rabenu as giving them water from the be’er and drawing water – וְגַם־דָּלֹה דָלָה- for them and their flock (Shemot 2:15-19). This is the image of the דלי, drawing fresh water to quench the thirst of others. When we dip into the waters of Torah, we are meant to learn in order to teach, just as we draw from a well in order to water others. When one needs to articulate an idea in his or her own words, the unique formulation of that teaching makes it distinctive to that individual, unlike the teaching of anyone else. This month of Shevat has a special quality to inspire us to create חידושים, original interpretations and discernments.

We each have our own unique portion of Torah and nuanced perspective. We therefore pray “ותן חלקינו בתורתיך,” to be granted access and wisdom to immerse ourselves in our particular share of God’s holy words. Shevat is an opportune time for Hashem’s Torah to become our own personal acquisition, (Rashi on Tehillim 1:2) and discover an original idea to be added to the ocean of Torah. By committing ourselves to delve deeply into our learning, it can enable us to spread Divine teachings in our own diverse and extraordinary ways. We are not meant to limit our learning to be like a cistern but also to be like a well, with deeper understanding and original insights (see Imrei Noam on parshat Vayetze).

The Chidushei HaRim (Parshat Shemot, 5) explains that just as Moshe Rabbenu was likened to a wellspring of novel eruditions in the month of Shevat, this potentiality awaits each of us, every year in this time as well, as he says-

!בא’ בשבט הואיל משה באר- ועדיין הדברים חיים וקיימים בכל נפש ישראל שנפתחים בו מעינות של באר התורה

You have undiscovered holy waters waiting to burst forth from within. Shevat is a month of התחדשות, of new life, freshness and awakening. Tap into whatever Torah your heart desires (see Avoda Zara 19a) and reveal the beauty with others; Share it in any of the 70 languages of the world.

Adina Ellis is a graduate of the Matan Bellows Eshkolot Educators Institute. She has been teaching Tanakh and machshava over the last two decades, initially on college campuses and in Hebrew Schools in the New Jersey area. Since making aliyah in 2005, she has given weekly shiurim in Hebrew and English to women in her community. Adina has taught in the ALIT program and Rosh Chodesh seminars run by the OU Women's Initiative as well as in the mother-daughter "learn and art" program of OU Israel. She is known for her unique ability to facilitate in-depth textual learning along with engaging and relevant discussions. Adina lives with her husband and children in Yad Binyamin.

Matan Women's Institute for Torah Studieshas been at the cutting edge of Torah learning for women since it was established in 1988.