Laws of Learning Torah

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Importance

  1. Chazal tell us that "regardless, if one brings a large Korban or a small one as long as one's intentions are for heaven (one's korban is accepted)." [1] The same idea applies to Torah study. [2]
  2. If one likes to learn and understands it, one can refrain from extending Tefillah and only say the portions that are obligatory. [3]

Who is obligated to learn Torah?

  1. Women, slaves, and children are exempt from learning Torah. [4]

Who is obligated to teach Torah?

  1. All who are obligated to learn Torah are also obligated to teach Torah. [5]
  2. Specifically, a father is obligated to teach his son Torah. [6]
  3. A man is even obligated to teach his grandson Torah. [7]

Learning aloud

  1. One should be careful to learn Torah out loud. If one learns out loud, one will be blessed to remember one's learning. [8]
  2. Bruria, the wife of Rebbe Meir, was passing a student who was studying silently without verbalizing what he was learning. She rebuked him and said that his manner of study was incorrect because the verse states, “Life comes to the one who comes upon them” which is meant to be understood as, “life comes to the one who articulates its words with one’s mouth.” [9]
  3. When one learns one should learn out loud but it’s considered Talmud Torah even if one only thinks about it. [10]

Learning with a Chevruta

  1. Even though it is preferable and advantageous to learn with a Chevruta (partner) or in a Chabura (group) nonetheless, one who learns by oneself, fulfills the Mitzvah Deoritta of Talmud Torah. [11]

Interrupting Torah Learning

  1. One should not interrupt Torah learning to answer Baruch Hu Ubaruch Shemo. [12]

Sources

  1. Menachot 110a
  2. Mishna Brurah 1:12 writes that this principle also applies to Torah learning. Halacha Brurah 1:11 concurs and writes that such is evident from Brachot 5b.
  3. Eliyah Rabba 1:1, Lechem Chamudot (Brachot HaRoeh 84), Birkei Yosef 1:9, Mishna Brurah 1:12, Halacha Brurah 1:11, Kaf HaChaim 1:31.
  4. Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Talmud Torah, 1:1
  5. Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Talmud Torah, 1:1
  6. Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Talmud Torah, 1:1
  7. Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Talmud Torah, 1:2
  8. Eirvuin 54a, Rambam (Talmud Torah 3:12), S"A Y"D 246:22, Kitzur S"A 27:5
  9. Eruvin 53b-54a
  10. Halichot Olam (8 pg 390).
  11. Tanna Dvei Eliyaho 23 writes that Hashem finds favor in the Jewish people because they learn in groups (Chabura’s). Pirkei Avot 3:2-3 says that an individual who learns gets reward for learning, two who learn together have their Torah written in Hashem’s Sefer Zichronot and the Shechina is present, while ten who learn together have the Shechina precede the group in wait for their learning. Brachot 63b says that one really acquires his Torah that he learns in a Chabura. From the above it just seems that there are good levels of learning and then higher forms, yet from Tanit 7a which says that Talmidei Chachamim who learn by themselves are cursed, become foolish, and sin, it seems that learning as an individual is problematic. Nonetheless, because nowadays we learn from a Sefer it’s permissible (Halichot Olam 8 pg 390) and Yavetz (Introduction) writes that it doesn’t apply to learning in Israel where the air makes one wise. Even though, Maharal (Derech Chaim (Avot 3:3)) writes that learning by oneself even if one says it out loud isn’t considered Osek in Divrei Torah, Halichot Olam rejects using this for halachic implications because one makes Brachot HaTorah for Torah one learns by oneself and also Mishna Brurah (Biur Halacha beginning of 155) writes that the mitzvah of Talmud Torah also applies to learning individually.
  12. Kitzur S"A of Rav Rephael Baruch Toledano, Volume 1, Page 111