Chapter 1

Nowadays there seem to be many young students who find

that learning Gemara does not attract them as it should. Judging

by the ones with whom 1 am personally acquainted, 1 am

convinced that it is not in any way because they dislike mitzvos,

or are not interested in learning Torah. On the contrary, 1 see

that they are boys who genuinely want to do what Hashem

requires of them.

The first possible reason for this disturbing trend is that they

simply do not realize how tremendously important it is to learn

Gemara. They sincerely want to know what is so unique about

learning Gemara and why it is held is such esteem, and they

would be more than grateful to anyone who could come and

explain it to them. The surest proof that ignorance is to blame

for their disinclination to learn, can be seen once they do come

to appreciate the true worth of learning Gemara. Then, as soon

as they start to understand the powerful effect it has on them,

they begin to feel the attraction to learning Gemara no less than

anyone else.

Another difficulty standing in the way of many students is

that they think they will never manage to understand Gemara in

depth. They see it as hopeless and give up even before they start.

Although they are mistaken; the chances to succeed in learning

Gemara, for anyone, are very high. Nevertheless such a negative

attitude is obviously very discouraging and prevents them

putting much effort into learning Gemara.

In the following pages we will attempt to elaborate on these

two points. We would like, first o f all, to clarify how vitally

important it is to learn Gemara, and then to demonstrate how

each and every student has the potential to learn Gemara

productively and meaningfully.

There are also many parts o f the Gemara which appear to be

complicated or difficult, and they can be problematic for some

students. They don’t understand why they should exert

themselves to understand these texts and prefer to concentrate

on the more straightforward sections o f the Gemara. What they

don’t realize is that there is so much to be gained from the

actual ‫עמל‬, the toil and effort. If they would only know about the

spiritual benefits and the refining influence to be derived from

the actual learning and from striving to understand, it would

completely change their attitude, and make them enjoy their

learning much more.

Throughout the generations o f our history, learning Gemara

has been the ultimate pleasure and joy for all jews, jews from all

walks of life, from the simplest to the most learned, were always

happy to sit down and learn a ‘daf Gemara’. Essentially it is no

different today. The spiritual delight that learning Gemara

affords can still belong to every jew. The obstacle standing in

the way of today’s youth is simply that they lack the knowledge

o f certain basic facts – facts which are the key to the wonderful

happiness that lies in learning Gemara.

In the following pages we will, with Hashem’s help, elaborate

on the subject and discuss ways and means to overcome the

aforementioned difficulties. There are sources in the writings of

our Sages for all we have written, and they will be listed

elsewhere. In these pages, however, we have tried to write in

simple terms and without quoting the sources and proofs, so

that the reader should find the text easy to read and understand.