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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rebbe Nachman's Way of Studying Torah

Sichos HaRan #76:
(Taken from Anonymous comment)

Many times the Rebbe told us that it is best to study a subject rapidly and not spend time on each detail. Study with speed and simplicity. Understand each thing in its own context and do not confuse yourself with its relation to other subjects. If you do not understand a concept, do not spend too much time on it. Go further, and in most cases, you will eventually comprehend the first thing as well.

The Rebbe said that when you study, you need only read the words aloud and in order. Then you will automatically understand. Do not confuse yourself by trying to understand everything at once. You will have much difficulty and end up understanding nothing.

Concentrate on your studies, read the words in order and with enthusiasm. Understanding will then come of itself. What you do not understand at first, you will comprehend later. Even if there are things you never understand, the quantity outweighs all else.

The Talmud teaches us: "Learn everything and then seek understanding" (Shabbat 63a). You must read the words even if you do not understand them completely. It is written, "My soul broke through with desire" (Psalms 119:20). The Talmud says that the surface must be broken, but the depths need not be explored (Avodah Zarah 19a). One need only read the words, even if he does not understand.

When you study quickly, you will absorb a great quantity. You will be able to review each volume many times. What you do not understand at first will appear simple the second or third time. You will eventually understand all that is possible.

The Rebbe spoke about this so often that everything cannot be recorded. But what we have quoted here is excellent advice. Follow this path and you will complete many volumes. You will have a better comprehension than one who tries to understand everything the first time. A person who is overly precise can become very confused. Often he will abandon his studies completely and end up with nothing.

Accustom yourself to learn quickly, without too much attention to detail. You will then be worthy of learning in quantity. You will be able to complete the Talmud, the Codes, the Bible, the Midrash, the mystical books of the Zohar, the Kabbalah and all the other sacred works.

We have already mentioned that it is good for a person to complete all books concerning the Torah in his lifetime. The Rebbe once reckoned all that one must study each day if he has the time. You should study enough each day so that at the end of a year you will have completed the entire Talmud with the Rif and Rosh, the four large Shulchan Arukhs, all the Midrashim, all the books of the Zohar, Tikuney Zohar, Zohar Chadash and all the Kabbalistic writings of the Ari.

Besides this, you should spend some time each day studying in depth. You should also say the Psalms each day, as well as many additional prayers. Even all this does not exhaust the Rebbe's list.

At that time the Rebbe also spoke at length, telling us to study quickly and eagerly, without confusion and attention to detail. The Rebbe also told us to not review each thing immediately. He advised us to complete each volume as rapidly as possible from beginning to end and then to review the entire work as a whole.

The Rebbe also told us not to be anxious if we could not complete everything he suggested each day. One can be a religious Jew even without that much study.

He also said that one can be a tzaddik even without being a scholar. Deep perception cannot be attained without Talmudic scholarship, but even the simplest Jew can be a tzaddik. "You are not obligated to complete the job, but neither are you not free to desist from it." (Avot 2:16)"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Look at my comments on "Eat don't Cram."
moshe na nach