“There are four types of people in regard to frequenting the Beit Midrash. One who goes but fails to do is rewarded for going. One who does but fails to go is rewarded for doing. One who goes and does is exceedingly righteous. One who neither goes nor does is a sinner.” — (Avot 5:14).
The “Beit Midrash” of this Mishna is where people come to learn ethical teachings and to gain guidance in how to behave, and how to perform mitzvot. One who goes there to hear guiding words of ethics will be rewarded for his effort even if he has not yet managed to live up to what he has heard, for there is hope that he will eventually do so.
The one who does his own bit of self-discipline and feels no need to hear the counsel of the sages will be rewarded only for his deeds but will be missing out on the greater level he could have achieved by going to the Beit Midrash.
The exceedingly righteous man is the one who is well versed in what he is supposed to do but nevertheless goes to the Beit Midrash to hear the lecture in order to strengthen himself in the service of G-d.
- Tiferet Yisrael