The Gemara Niddah 30b writes that "they" teach the embryo the entire Torah in the womb. However,the gemara brings one passuk as a proof which says וירני ויאמר לי... which is a loshon of one person teaching, not many. So who teaches the embryo Torah ,a malach,many melachim,HaShem?

  • This is a common expression in rabbinic literature. E.g. הבא לטהר מסייעין לו, מוחלין לו עוונותיו
    – mevaqesh
    Dec 16, 2015 at 6:27
  • Etc. Artscroll renders it: heavenly forces.
    – mevaqesh
    Dec 16, 2015 at 6:28
  • This aggadita is probably a reply to Plato, who said that abstract knowledge cannot be learned, because learning requires experience. How do we get any? We learn it before birth, and are reminded of what we already know in our lifetime. Now the point of contention: to Plato, the most abstract and fundamental truths are mathematical. Now Chazal have a similar idea, but the truth learned before birth is Torah... Dec 16, 2015 at 17:24

2 Answers 2


This is from Proverbs 4:4 but the Baraisa later says that Shlomo Hamelech could have meant that he was referring to the knowledge that he gained as a prophet rather than in the womb. However, the following note references the pasuk in Iyov to say that Hashem Himself teaches the fetus, citing Rashi. The gemaro continues that He assigns a malach to suppress the knowledge at birth so that it can be regained (with adult understanding) upon study of Torah (note 36).

Art Scroll Talmud Nidah page 30b4 note 33

In this verse, Solomon recounts how Hawshem Himself instructed him. The verse does not contain a clear indication that it speaks of instruction in the womb; however, the Baraisa does deem this interpretation plausible (Maharsha). [As we shall soon see, the Baraisa itself considers this interpretsation speculative, and therefore cites an additional verse to more fully prove its point].

Note 34 expands on this and says that Hashem Himself teaches the fetus in the womb.

Art Scroll Talmud Nidah page 30b4 note 34

Job 9:4 The verse appears in the passage in Job already demonstrated to describe life in the womb (xs. 2-4; see Gemara above). As such, these words are taken to imply that Hashem teaches the Torah to the unborn child (see Rashi). [The simple meaning of the verse refers to the company of Torah scholars with whom Job studied; see Rashi to Job loc. cit.]

  • So why does the gemara say "they"
    – sam
    Dec 16, 2015 at 3:10

According to the Maharal in Chidushei Hagaddos it means that the Neshama is not yet combined with the body and is therefore naturally aware of the Torah. The flick before coming out is the final touch which unites soul and body, thereby causing it to forget the Torah.

  • So then what does the gemara mean when it says "they"
    – sam
    Dec 16, 2015 at 3:11
  • @sam What are you expecting it to say? It is referring to his inherent awareness as being taught so it uses 'they' the way we do, as in, the company.
    – HaLeiVi
    Dec 16, 2015 at 4:46

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