Part 1: A major feature of Torah study is that every
word one studies, one fulfils a positive mitzvah and
merits awesome reward.

  1. In the book ‘Shenot Eliyahu’ of the Vilna Gaon [which is an
    explanation to the mishnayot, printed in at the back of some
    editions] on massechet Peah (81:41) Chazal write, “A person
    must love the Torah very much, since every word that he learns
    is a mitzvah on it’s own. If so then after learning one page, for
    example, he fulfils many hundreds of mitzvot.” The Chafetz
    Chaim brings these words in his book ‘Shem Olam’, sha’ar
    Hachzakat HaTorah chapter 9 (11:4).
  2. The Chafetz Chaim writes further, following along the same
    lines, that with every word that a person learns, an angel is
    created who advocates on his behalf.
  3. In the Yerushalmi (4a) there we find, “Rebi Berachia, Rebi
    Chiya of C’far Dechumin [Rebi Chiya was from a place called C’far
    Dechumin], (were sitting) one said, “Even the entire world
    cannot be compared to one word of Torah.” We see that if one
    were offered all the silver and gold and precious things and high
    positions in the world, or to give all that up in order to learn
    just one word of Torah, it is more worthwhile for him to choose
    the one word of Torah, since by learning one word of Torah he
    earns himself world to come, more enjoyable and worth
    thousands and thousands of times more than anything in this
    world. [Someone on a higher spiritual level will feel that
    performing Hashem’s will and the resulting closeness to Hashem
    that comes with Torah study is worth more to him than
    anything in this world.] In addition, the Yerushalmi refer to one
    word of Torah study, how much more so when a person
    regularly busies himself with Torah, each time learning many
    words of Torah.
  4. Here we see many things to awaken us to study Torah. The
    first is that when a person decides how to settle his future, he
    should be aware of the huge profit he could gain were he to
    secure Torah study in his future. Secondly, even a person who is
    constantly engaged in Torah, or in the opposite extreme,
    someone whose life situation excludes the possibility that Torah
    study be the main activity, and he has a small amount of free
    time, he should muster all his strength to use this time for
    Torah. If one uses even his shortest spare moments in this way,
    he will earn multitudes of mitzvot, each one huge and powerful,
    as we know is the magnitude of the mitzvah performance of
    Torah study.
    Part 2: How the Torah study of the Jewish nation is
    the purpose of creating the world.
  5. The Chafetz Chaim writes in his book ‘Shem Olam’, sha’ar
    Hachzokat HaTorah, chapter 9, [slightly adapted], “Behold it is
    well known that the study of Torah is a positive Torah mitzvah,
    as the verse says, ‘And you should teach them and keep them do
    to them.” The creation of man was principally in order that he
    toil in Torah, as the gemarah Sanhedrin writes in chapter Chelek
    (99) “A person was created to toil, as the verse says, ‘A person
    was born to labour’ ; this is the labour of Torah, as the verse
    says, “This Torah scroll must never move from your mouths.”.”
  6. See further in the Nefesh Hachaim, sha’ar 4, chapter 13 for a
    lengthier discussion on the subject.
  7. The true desire of every Jew is to bring pleasure to his
    Creator. The more a person acknowledges that the main reason
    for creating the world is for the study of Torah, it is then
    implicit that out of the desire to bring pleasure to his Creator,
    he will increase his Torah study.
  8. Since the main reason why the world was created was for the
    study of Torah, it is clear that this is the great bringer of
    closeness to Hashem. A person has a great desire to be close to
    Hashem and to receive reward in the Gan Eden. When one fulfils
    Hashem’s will in order to come close to Hashem, this is the great
    reward bringer in the world to come.
  9. Although it is now understood that Torah learning is the
    main reason for creating the world, one must learn and also try
    to keep the Torah. One cannot Hashem forbid, cast off the yoke
    of performance, saying that if Torah study is the main reason
    for the creation of the world he will do just that and not do
    mitzvoth. Such learning will not justify creating the world. See
    the book ‘Ana Avda’ which brings, in the name of the Chazon
    Ish,that the main purpose of a person in this world is to live in
    holiness, in areas of the attribute of Yesod. The way to come to
    this is through Torah study. There is no contradiction here; it is
    all the same point. Should a person Hashem forbid find himself
    in a spiraling spiritual descent, it should not prevent him from
    studying Torah, quite the opposite, he should strengthen
    himself with all his might in Torah study, and this will help him
    to get out of this difficulty and to speedily return and be close to
    Part 3: How Torah study changes a person’s
  10. In the introduction to the Zohar (p.12) and also in the Nefesh
    Hachaim (sha’ar 4, chapter 15) [in the translated version] we find
    that, “It is a mitzvah to be engaged in the study of Torah and to
    try hard every day in the study of Torah, since a person who
    learns Torah, his soul acquires another holy soul and becomes
    like a holy angel.” This is a tremendous encouragement for a
    person to muster all his strength in the area of Torah study,
    since every Jew wants to climb higher and become close to
    Hashem, to be more spiritual and more pure, to change his very
    being for one more holy. Were one to discover a way that was
    guaranteed to achieve this one would be prepared to invest huge
    amounts for this; in which case the gates are open wide for such
    a person, as brought here at the beginning of this topic. There is
    in fact a guaranteed way to get there, and that is to increase
    one’s study of the holy Torah. Torah study will purify his soul
    and he will rise and climb in levels of closeness to Hashem. That
    is the true purity and the true elevation.
  11. There are people who find it hard to awaken themselves to
    this since the change in the person brought about by Torah
    study is not recognizable. It appears that he is in a period where
    he is only investing in Torah, like the period beforehand.
  12. A person must therefore get himself used to seeing his
    situation according to the spiritual truth and not by what it
    physically appears to be. It is written in the book of the Chazon
    Ish ‘Emunah and Bitachon’ that a person can be on a level close
    to that of an angel and yet still mix with others, who don’t
    notice any difference between him and themselves. The truth is
    only according to what lies inside the person. This is brought
    clearly from all the Rishonim when they speak about prophecy.
    This is such an awesomely high level we cannot even describe it.
    And yet we see in the book of Melachim when the Shunamit
    spoke to Elisha, she saids, “Behold I know that a man…holiness
    passes over us”. The gemarah asks how she knew this. They
    explain that she saw that there were never any flies near to his
    table, meaning that without this proof it would have been
    impossible to know that he was a holy person even though he
    was on an incredibly high level!
  13. The point of this here is not to tell a person that he is
    obligated to hide his actions in a way that nothing of his high
    level be seen outside, although this is correct behaviour as the
    verse says, “Walk with modesty…”, it is indeed a very great
    thing. It is brought in the Chovat Halvavot that there is a great
    danger when a person behaves in the same way as everybody
    else in order to secret his own spiritual level. In reality this will
    cause him to greatly minimize his service of Hashem, for
    example he will pray more shortly than how he would really like
    to pray, without swallowing the words, and the same will
    happen in many other areas too. The Chovot Halvavot writes
    that as a result of this a person can fall from all his high levels. A
    person must therefore be very careful not to hide himself. In any
    case the intention of the words here is to say that many times a
    person will behave in an elevated manner for a time and yet
    when contemplating whether to continue with it, or to move on
    to higher levels, he decides against it since he reasons that it is
    not worth the effort it takes to grow, since one anyway does not
    see a great difference from the growth. The words written above
    come to rebuff this mistake, as the truth is that it is very likely
    that through this elevation his spiritual level rose thousands
    more times than what it was previously, even though it is not
    recognizable to the outside world.
  14. There is however a greater problem than that mentioned
    above. Many times the barrier to awaken oneself to study Torah
    is not just that the change is not recognizable, but that one
    cannot feel the change at all within himself.
  15. However it is important to know the truth. Whoever
    dedicates himself to learn Torah, his inner self automatically
    changes to become holier and purer. If he doesn’t feel this it is
    only because there is a screen on the body preventing him from
    feeling this – as explained at length above in chapter 10.
    Part 4: Further changes to the inner person due to
    Torah study.
  16. The Chafetz Chaim writes that if a person were to take the
    skin of an animal, which is a regular item, not containing any
    holiness at all, and tans it with the intention that it be used for a
    Torah scroll, and writes a Torah scroll on it, this skin becomes
    holy with an awesome holiness, a Torah scroll greatness that is
    well known. How much more so when a person takes his brain
    and tells it words of Torah! It is certain that his brain contents
    will be sanctified with tremendous holiness. In a Torah scroll it
    is merely written on top of the parchment whereas in the brain
    the Torah enters inside the brain. The difference between a
    person before he has learnt Torah and after he has learnt Torah
    is like the difference between the regular piece of skin and the
    Torah scroll which is sacred and with tremendous sanctity.
  17. In truth every Jew, even without having learnt Torah still has
    a great amount of holiness within him just because he is a Jew.
    The Chafetz Chaim adds here the difference between the sanctity
    of a Jew before he learns Torah and the sanctity of a Jew after he
    has learnt Torah, the difference is enormous, like that of the
    regular skin and the very holy Torah scroll.
  18. Accordingly, even a person who has already learnt much
    Torah, still, when he learns for an additional amount of time, his
    essence is exchanged for an even holier one, just like the
    ordinary skin becomes the holy Torah scroll.
    Part 5: One who is busy with Torah merits special
    supernatural heavenly help.
  19. The Nefesh Hachaim (sha’ar 4: chapter 18) writes that one
    who accepts the yoke of the holy Torah upon himself, honestly
    and for its own sake, he is raised above everything in this world
    and Hashem attends to him with individual attention, way above
    all the natural forces. This is because he is joined to the Torah
    and therefore to The Holy One Blessed Be He, so to speak. He is
    sanctified with the lofty sanctity of the holy Torah, which is
    more valuable than anything of value in any of the worlds. It is
    the Torah which gives vitality and permanence to all the worlds
    and all the forces of nature. It follows therefore that a person
    who busies himself with Torah brings life and stability to
    everything and is superior to everything. How can it then be that
    such a person’s attendance from Hashem be via natural powers?!
  20. This means that one who busies himself with Torah for it’s
    own sake merits heavenly assistance in his affairs, way above
    what is natural. It is even possible that those around him don’t
    sense this. Supernatural things can still come in a hidden way;
    the viewer can still err and think that it is all natural. However
    the reality that he receives is unbelievable; the very individual
    care from heaven. Fortunate is he who merits this.
  21. Although this is written about one who learns Torah for its
    own sake and not about anyone who learns Torah, it need not
    weaken a person’s inspiration to learn Torah. The Nefesh
    Hachaim writes clearly about this, as explained earlier, exactly
    what ‘for its own sake’ means. He writes (sha’ar 4: chapter 3) that
    ‘Torah for its own sake’ does not mean incredible closeness to
    Hashem and great levels of spirituality which many find hard to
    acquire, rather it means to learn in order to understand the holy
    Torah and not for any other physical, worldly objectives, for
    example to receive honor or to enjoy a quarrel etc. Many merit
    achieving learning with the simple intention to get to know
    Torah and understand it. This is Torah for its own sake. One
    may not always manage this, but at least a large part of one’s
    studies can certainly be with the simple intention to know the
    Torah and understand it.
  22. Even though the Nefesh Hachaim has already explained what
    is considered as Torah for its own sake, still it is definitely true
    that it is a higher level when a person concentrates in his
    learning to bring pleasure to his Creator, more and more,
    resulting in his learning being with more of a feeling of
    closeness to Hashem. In addition, the actual learning that he did
    is also reckoned on a higher level. Although the Nefesh Hachaim
    (sha’ar 3) writes that closeness to Torah is automatically
    closeness to Hashem since the Torah is the word of Hashem,
    there are nevertheless many levels to this. The Nefesh Hachaim
    hints to this (sha’ar 3) after having lengthily explained all the
    different types of service of Hashem and closeness to Him. He
    writes there (chapter 14) that the highest of all types of
    closeness to Hashem is when one achieves really fearing
    Hashem, to be fulfilled at least during prayer, or at least for
    some time during prayer. He writes there (chapter 14, towards
    the end of the brackets) that at the time of engaging in Torah it
    is very great to have intention to have this fear. At any rate, it is
    clear from the Nefesh Hachaim high levels of spirituality are not
    required in order to merit all that one can merit through
    learning Torah for its own sake, i.e. receiving supernatural
    divine assistance. The basic level of ‘Torah for its own sake’ is
    that one’s objective not be for worldly things, rather his aim
    should be to know and to comprehend Torah.
  23. It will certainly not be detrimental if one adds some
    thoughts of holiness to the basic level of ‘for its own sake’. In
    fact quite the opposite; it is a bonus. An example of these
    thoughts could be to intend to bring pleasure to Hashem, or to
    increase the merits of the Jewish nation and bring salvation to
    the Jewish nation, or in order to teach it to others, (his intention
    to teach others should be for their good and not to be haughty),
    or he thinks that he wants to know how to perform the mitzvoth
    better. Good intentions certainly add and not detract as we see
    in the mishna in masechet Avot, “He who learns in order to
    teach or to do is preferable than one who just learns.”