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2 Marcheshvan, 5779 - October 11, 2018 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Questions and Answers About Learning

by HaRav Moshe Hillel Hirsch shlita

HaRav Moshe Hillel Hirsch shlita

Q. In the study session of bekiyus, comprehensive knowledge, is it advisable to devote effort in covering the Rashi on the gemara, or is it better to cover less material and study the Tosafos on the gemara?

A. If the goal is to cover much material, it is preferable to study the gemara with Rashi alone and proceed more rapidly.

Q. What is preferable to study during bein hazmanim: Review of the material already covered or to take on new masechtos? And if the latter, which tractates are suggested?

A. First of all, the study during bein hazmanim should involve what a student is drawn to and enjoys, because there is a particular inclination of the yetzer hora to thwart Torah study during this intersession. Some students prefer review while others find that difficult and rather intellectually enjoy easier material. Most important of all is to find that venue which provides one with satisfaction so that he can be able to spend many hours pursuing it.

Q. Many organizations offer incentives for various studies. Should one join these projects or study without prizes, for the sake of study itself?

A. One who feels he is on the high level of pure study should surely pursue that on his own. When I once approached the Steipler about offering money prizes for study, he was very upset. But in our generation, when there is a strong need to encourage study, it is preferable for a student to honestly see what causes him to learn better. If he feels that the incentive of money is necessary to prod him to study more, he should accept that and wait until he reaches the higher level of pure study, at which stage he can renounce taking monetary inducements.

Q. What is advisable to study during bein hazmanim?

A. The first priority is a gemara which will intellectually appeal to the student and will not be too difficult, for example: Brochos or a tractate from Moed.

Q. If a student is scholastically good but lacking in yiras Shomayim, but a fellow student feels that a study partnership with him will be beneficial and not harmful, should he undertake an association with him?

A. A bochur cannot judge this along. He must consult with his Rosh Yeshiva, Mashgiach or an avreich of caliber who knows him and the other student in question to ascertain if a study partnership will not be detrimental. In such a matter, there are fine points which the student himself cannot realize or decide on his own.

Q. What is the most important element which a student should seek in a study partner?

A. 1) One who is a masmid who doesn't waste time in idle talk. 2) One with whom he can relate [on the same wave length]. 3) One whose learning approach and style are consonant with his own. For example, one should not seek fine points while the other skims over them as irrelevant.


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