The Torah says:

This is the line of Aaron and Moses at the time that the Lord spoke with Moses on Mount Sinai. These were the names of Aaron’s sons: Nadav, the first-born, and Avihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. [Numbers 3:1-2]

But only Aaron’s four sons are listed! Moses’ sons are not. The Talmud says:

Moses’ nephews are considered as his children because he taught them Torah … Anyone who teaches another person’s son Torah, it is as if he fathered him. [Sanhedrin 19b]

The Midrash adds:

Rabbi Nathan says: Moses was saddened that one of his sons did not stand [in his place], whereupon the Lord said to him: Are the sons of your brother Aaron not like your sons? [Sifrei Devarim 305:2]

So Moses taught the sons of Aaron but not his own? Why? The Torah that he preached says:

וְשִׁנַּנְתָּ֣ם לְבָנֶ֔יךָ -- And you will teach it to your children. [Deut. 6:7]

Does teaching the children of others exempt you from teaching your own?

  • 2
    "Moses taught the sons of Aaron but not his own" I don't understand where you got that from
    – Double AA
    Oct 26, 2021 at 20:55
  • 2
    "What would have been lost if the Torah had listed Moses' sons?" This seems like the wrong question. What would have been gained?
    – Double AA
    Oct 26, 2021 at 21:38
  • 1
    @pcoz key word "more". There's no indication Moses didn't teach his sons. All we are told is they didn't grow great enough to be leaders
    – Double AA
    Oct 26, 2021 at 21:52
  • 1
    @DoubleAA -- "What would have been gained" by listing Moses' sons? Simply this. Following up on the Torah's announcement: "This is the line of Aaron and Moses ". Oct 26, 2021 at 22:15
  • 3
    Since the halacha is that one has to teach Torah to his sons and grandsons, the premise that Moshe didn't observe halacha would need very strong proofs ...
    – mbloch
    Oct 27, 2021 at 3:28

2 Answers 2


I'd speculate that because the Cohanim are considered to be the future teachers of the Torah more than the Levi'im to the whole nation (even though they represent the same tribe), it is important to mention that Aharon's sons received the tradition straight from Moses.

Mentioning that Moses taught his sons is irrelevant to the tradition of passing the Torah.

This approach aligns with what the Gemmarah says in Eruvin 54b:

"What was the order of teaching the Oral Law? Moses learned directly from the mouth of the Almighty. Aaron entered ... and Moses taught him ... Aaron’s sons entered, and Moses taught them their lesson..."


Your question is premised on the fact that sons of Moshe Rabbeinu aren’t mentioned as being present by Har Sinai. Furthermore, although you didn’t mention it, the process of teaching Torah to the Jews included Aron, his sons, the Elders, the rest of the nation. Moshe’s sons weren’t included together with Aaron’s sons. However, that was also due to the set up on Har Sinai and so we’re back to the original premise that his sons were there and not included on Har Sinai.

However, in Medrash Rabba (Vayikra 9:6) there is a machlokes as to when Yisro arrived.

ויקח יתרו חותן משה עולה וזבחים לאלהים דא מה עבד לה רבי יוסי בר חנינא עבד כמאן דאמר לאחר מתן תורה נתגייר יתרו איפלגו רבי חייא בר אבא ורבי ינאי חד אמר לאחר מתן תורה נתגייר יתרו וחד אמר קודם מתן תורה נתגייר יתרו א"ר הונא ולא פליגי מ"ד קודם מתן תורה נתגייר יתרו כמ"ד שלמים הקריבו בני נח, ומאן דאמר לאחר מתן תורה נתגייר יתרו כמאן דאמר עולות הקריבו בני נח

According to the one who says that they weren’t there, it would explain why they weren’t mentioned in these places. So even if Moshe taught his sons Torah, they wouldn’t of been mentioned due to the fact that they missed Matan Torah.

  • I think it's important to note that as of matan Torah, Eliezer son of Moshe was one years old. See Shemos 4:24
    – Derdeer
    Nov 2, 2021 at 4:25

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