Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Value of Consistency

The importance of learning a set amount of Torah each day cannot be overstated. It is sufficient to mention that our sages teach that the first question asked at one’s heavenly judgment is קבעת עיתים לתורה—“Did you set aside fixed times for Torah study?” Rav Yechiel of Alexander, zt”l, explains the language of the Mishnah in Avos: "עשה תורתך קבע"—“Make your Torah fixed.”
“This is similar to the halachah regarding kevias seudah. Even if one leaves in the middle of his meal and returns, as long as he did not forget his intention of returning he can continue to eat. So too, one should have a set time to learn as early in the day as possible. Then when he goes to his business or other concerns, as long as he intends to return to learning the moment he can, it is as if he never left since he is returning to his original kevius.”
Rav Yisrael Hagar, shlit”a, once explained his father’s insistence that every chassid have a set time to learn Torah every day. “People say that prayer achieves half of one’s goal, as we find in the midrash that Moshe’s prayer achieved half of what he sought. Rav Meir of Premishlan, zt”l, liked to say that this is why the word for ‘half’ in Yiddish is nearly the same as the word for ‘help.’ Prayer, which achieves half of the goal, really helps.
“We can similarly explain the halacha that that 'קבועה כמחצה על מחצה דמי'—‘A set reality has equal standing.’ This can be explained to mean that when a person is absolutely committed to learning his daily sedarim, the time may be relatively short in duration but it assumes a status that is ‘half.’ This means that through doing whatever he can to learn his daily sedarim, he receives Divine assistance. Even if it appears as though he only has time to complete part or half of his seder, Hashem will give him the other half of the time and he will complete his sedarim.”
But the Boyaner Rebbe, zt”l, explained this in a very different way. “The fixed learning that a person does each day often seems nullified by the vast amounts of time he spends on other matters. But if he never misses his commitment it is considered kavuah, which is not nullified.”


Anonymous said...

I wonder if reading a Torah blog every day counts ? Would that be considered a "fixed time" for Torah study, even if it's just a few minutes ?

Micha Golshevsky said...

Definitely. We all must do what we can and not more. Determining how much that is can be difficult but every word and every concept counts tremendously.
Not certain about it being like half the day if one is not learning as much as he can, however. But it certainly counts for a lot.