As we start reading the Torah anew we cannot help but notice that it starts with the letter BET. Many Drashot have been said about this fact and also about the shape of the letter. There is, however, a very interesting Drasha that a Magid or preacher once gave.
He pointed out that the Talmud starts with the letter Mem. The first Mishna in the first Gemorrah, Berachot, starts with the words: ME’EMATAI KORIN ET HASHEMAH, “From what time may one recite the Shema?”
Hence this Magid calls to our attention that the Torah SHEBICHTAV, the Written Torah (the Bible) starts with a Bet and the Oral Law (the Talmud) starts with a Mem. Together these two letters spell the word BAM. This word is found in the Shema where we read: VEDIBARTA BAM, “…and you shall speak of them…” (Deut. 6,7)
The emphasis here is that every Jew should be able to converse freely in the Written Torah as well as in the Oral Law. Unfortunately this is a difficult order to fulfill. That does not free anyone from making the effort to try to meet this goal.
Every Jew should set aside time to study Torah and Talmud to the extent that he is able. No one is exempt from this responsibility. The good news is that, through the advent of new technical means and new publications, it has become easier to accomplish this goal and more people today are studying Talmud and the Torah than ever before in the history of our people. There is no excuse for anyone to avoid fulfilling this great responsibility of “you shall speak of them”.