Talmud Tips

For the week ending 26 May 2023 / 6 Sivan 5783

Shavuot and Torah Study

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
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Learning Torah Together

“Take care to learn Torah only together with other people in a group.”

This is an important message that the Sages of Bavel sent to the Jewish community in Eretz Yisrael at that time. By learning Torah with the others, the members of the group help “sharpen” each other in understanding the Torah. This applies to both the students and the Rabbi who teaches them. (Rashi & Rabbeinu Nissim)

*Nedarim 81a

Torah Study and Children of the Poor

"Pay special heed to the children of the poor because Torah will come forth from them.”

This was another important message sent to the Sages of Bavel to Eretz Yisrael, and is supported by a verse in the Torah (Bamidbar 24:7), as is explained in the gemara.

Is there a logical basis to explain why poverty should be an indication of great potential for success in Torah study? Yes. One reason is that the students will not be preoccupied with wealth or lofty, pressing careers, and therefore they will not be distracted from dedicating their time and thoughts to Torah study. Another reason is that poverty is humbling, and humility is essential for being successful in learning Torah. (Rabbeinu Nissim)

*Nedarim 81a

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