Learning Torah


By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

In this week’s Parsha the posuk teaches us in Perek Heh, posuk alef that the Jews should keep the laws etc. The language used is Ulmadtem Osam-” you should learn them and Ushmartem Laasosam-” and keep the laws. This is one of the places in the Torah that states we are obligated to learn Torah. The Gemara in Kiddushin, daf chaf tes explains that the chiyuv is on a father to teach his son. However, if one’s father does not teach his son, one is obligated to learn by himself.

In the Gemara in Menachos, daf tzaddik tes, amud bais Reb Yochanan says in the name of Raish Lakish that as long as a person reads Shema in the morning and at night he is mekayem the commandment of Lo Yamush-” the Torah should not be removed from you.

The Gemara in Nedarim, daf ches, amud alef says that if one makes a vow that he will learn a perek, it is considered a binding vow. The Gemara questions this. We find that if one makes a neder concerning a mitzva that he is required to do Min HaTorah, the vow is not binding since the vow we all took upon ourselves at Har Sinai preceded this vow. Why does this vow of learning a perek turn out to be binding? The Gemara responds that since one may be yotze the Mitzva of Limud HaTorah by just saying Shema in the morning and evening, if one vows that he will learn a perek, it is binding. This is the way Rashi explains the Gemara.

The Ran argues and says that one has a constant chiyuv of learning Torah as the posuk uses the term, Veshinantam.” The Torah has to be so fluid that when one is asked anything he can respond without hesitation or stutter. The Ran explains the Gemara differently as the posuk says we need to learn in the morning and at night; therefore the vow is binding as there are times of the day that are not included in those times. There is a machlokes between the Ran who holds that one is required to learn everything all the time, and the other Rishonim who hold that the minimum chiyuv is to say shema in the morning and at night.

The Gemara in Yuma, daf yud tes, amud bais points out that the Torah uses the terminology of Vedibarta Bam,” one may only speak words of Torah and not other words. The question arises according to those who hold that the minimal chiyuv is to just say Shema in the morning and at night, why would he be oveir on vedibarta bam if he speaks about other things like sichas chullin”?

Rashi in Yuma explains that one is not oveir if he speaks sichas chullin,” but rather one would be oveir if he speaks words of lashon hora or words of kallus rosh (making fun of people and the like). Rabbeinu Chananel explains it a bit differently. If one is actually learning and interrupts his learning to speak about mundane things, then he would be oveir” on Vedibarta bam.

In any case we see the great chashivus of learning Torah. We need to learn without interruption. Let us hope that by learning Torah we will merit to do it in the Bais Hamikdash. Amen. 

Do you have a topic or discussion you want to read about? Please send comments or questions to hymanbsdhevens@gmail.com or Berachsteinfeldscorner@gmail.com




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