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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@saber.towson.edu> Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 00:23:53 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Talmud Torah (beyond 1 chapter a day) **IS** OPTIONAL I recently introduced the distinction between commandment types in the hope of clarifying the nature of our obligation to go to Israel. 3 types of commandment obligations are discussed: (1) OBLIGATORY--YOU HAVE TO DO THEM (like praying daily);(2) CONDITIONAL OBLIGATORY--YOU MUST DO THEM IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES (eg if you eat meat then you must eat kosher) (3) PIOUS--YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THEM BUT FULFILL GODS WILL IF YOU DO (Like learning all day) Carl Scherer dissents:(Carl brings about 6 sources which I omit) >>>> I see no basis at all for characterizing any Torah learning as merely pious....I think you are taking things which have no shiur (fixed amount) and appending to them a characterization of "piety" as if they are not obligatory. I see no basis in halacha for doing so. >>> I am glad Carl says this since it enables us to carry our discussion on PIOUS vs OBLIGATORY from Israel to other halachic areas where have more sources. In other words I believe that both learning and Israel are PIOUS but not obligatory while Carl believes they are both obligatory (or conditional obligatory). Let us examine Talmud Torah. It turns out this was discussed about a year ago (by me)on the email group Torah Forum (at project genesis) Volume 4 Number 68. Here is a brief synopsis. I cite 5 sources on the obligation to learn Torah 1) TNACH: It says explicitly (Dt 6:7) "...You shall learn them ..when you wake and when you go to sleep". It further says (Jos 1:8)"..This book of the Torah shall not depart from your mouth and you shall utter them day and night".(Carl also cited this last verse from Joshua) 2) TALMUD: (Mnachoth 99) The talmud raises the question whether the above mentioned requirement of "continual study" MEANS "all the time" or once a day and once a night. This is a controversy in the Talmud (and seems to apply to other matters (like the "continual bread" (Lev 24)). 3) RAMBAM: (Law of Torah 1:8): "Every Jew is obligated in Talmud Torah whether he is poor or rich...all Jews must set ASIDE TIMES IN THE DAY AND EVENING TO STUDY" 4) ARUCH HASHULCHAN (246:7) "As is clear from the CAPPED words the Rambam decided the Talmudic controversy according to the "once a day and night" interpretation. (NOTE: The Rambam is read IN LIGHT of the Talmud..) (Tanya Chap 34 is also cited as a 5th source) There is more to discuss here (perhaps a MJ thread). But I think there is a strong case that Talmud Torah (Beyond one chapter a day) is PIOUS but NOT OBLIGATORY. Hence I conclude that eg you should not pester people to learn more than their one chapter a day. Russell Jay Hendel http://www.RashiYomi.Com/