One of the primary goals of a human being is to study the words of Torah, its Mitzvos, and its way of thinking. Through this study we strive to maintain a close relationship with G-d. The Torah and its teachings are seen as the love letter between G-d and Man, as well as the instruction manual as to how to successfully live our lives. Among the fascinating studies within Torah is a body of literature focused on explanations for the Mitzvos. As the Sefer Hachinuch repeatedly writes, “A human being is affected by what he does.” By doing good things a person becomes a better person. The purpose of Mitzvos is to guide us to do good things and avoid the bad.
Sometimes, an activity that we think is good, may be defined by the Torah as a bad choice. Part of studying Torah is to pay attention to topics that our initial reaction differs from what the Torah seems to be instructing. Our task is to strive to understand what guidance the Torah is providing and to incorporate that wisdom in our lives. Care must be taken not to think that Torah must fit our line of thinking. Rather, Torah study is approached with reverence, like a student approaches a revered mentor, expecting to receive guidance and instruction.
One of the challenges that we have experienced in our time, is that students of in-depth study might not find satisfaction right away. One approach to achieving satisfaction- according to the organization http://vhaarevna.com/- is to spend a lot of time reviewing what one has learnt. In other words, we often do the “heavy lifting” by learning a passage of Talmud, and then move on to the next passage. By realizing that each passage of Talmud is a treasure, and by realizing how much effort goes into success, we will be more ready to spend significant time reviewing, and treasuring, that which we study. At http://vhaarevna.com/ is a video of tribute to those who have implemented the strategy of review in the their learning. It is called the “Vhaarev Na Song Music Video.”
Advice for the Torah Student
- Talmud Eiruvin 54a, to articulate ones studies.
- Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 245, Ramoh cautions that too little sleep and eating too much or fasting can compromise ones ability to be effective in Torah.
- Refer to our Perek Shirah CD recording, “The Fig: Yehoshua the Faithful Student,” for an exploration of what quality granted Moshe’s successor his success.
- See also Rambam, Talmud Torah 3, where he lists off numerous recommendations for the Torah student including the need for humility, devotion without distraction, and a willingness to subsist without extravagance.