TO LOVE THE TORAH
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
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.