Monday, February 26, 2007

Doing What We Do Best

Chumash printed in Slavuta, 1817

Sometimes stores go out of business because they try to branch out into too many things instead of concentrating on the thing they are the best at.

Similarly, we have an innate knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses in learning, and sometimes I wonder if I am doing myself a disservice by not just concentrating on my strengths.

A Yid once commented that the Arizal taught that one has to complete his learning in the course of his gilgulim. He added, "If he feels attraction to certain field of study, it indicates, that this field was neglected by him in his previous gilgulim (if any), so now his neshomo arouses this urge to learn what it missed before, so the rule of "ma sheliboy chofeytz" according to mekubolim is really a deep indicator of what is missing for neshoma's tikun."

Explaning the lesson to the story of the turbulent learner, Rabbi Dovid Sears e-mailed his advice: "Whatever you learn, you should concentrate the most on the kinds of seforim you find most stimulating -- while maintaining your Minimal Daily Requirements of Chumash, Tehillim, and Halachah. (So say Chazal: "mah she-libo chafetz bah," as well as the ARI zal and Vilna Gaon in Even Sheleimah.)"

I think I will do just that. As Rabbi Lazer Brody once told me, "It's a mitzva to enjoy your learning."


At February 26, 2007 at 5:08:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just wanted to comment on the whole discussion of Gemara learning, that it is fascinationg that today, while Gemara learning is an issue for the men, there are so many women and women's learning institutions that teach Gemara. i wonder if here is anything to say about "gilgul neshomos" with respect to this phenomenon. For anyone who is interested in extraordinary shiurim in Gemara b'iyun on all masechtos, you can go to ""


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