“And teach them to your sons” (beneichem; Dt.11:19)—
your sons, but not your daughters:
words of R. Yose b. Akiva.2
On this basis they taught:
When a baby begins to speak,
his father should speak to him
in the language of holiness [Hebrew],
and teach him Torah.
But if he does not speak to him
in the language of holiness,
and does not teach him Torah—
he might as well bury him!3
For it is said:
“And teach them to your sons, to speak of them” (Dt.11:19).
If you teach them to your sons—
[they apply this verse to you]—
“so that you extend your lives and your sons’ lives” (Dt.11:21).
But if not—
so that you shorten your lives.
For this is how words of Torah are interpreted:
a negation implies an affirmation,
and an affirmation implies a negation.4