Monday, June 04, 2007

Torah Lishmah - A Question From A Reader For Other Readers

Received via e-mail from Bob Miller:

The concept of Torah Lishmah came up in discussion in my shul yesterday. I'd like the readers of "A Simple Jew", and any frequent contributors who are willing, to comment on this question:

To what degree does Torah study "lishmah" mean one or more of these?

1. Study to understand the subject matter as deeply as possible

2. Study to become closer to HaShem

3. Study for the sake of HaShem's glory

4. Study to be able to practice mitzvot properly (or at least to know how, in the case of mitzvot that the Jew can't personally do because the Beis HaMikdash isn't operating, or he's not a Kohen, etc.)

5. Study for any other reason (give details)


At June 4, 2007 at 9:38:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to amplify a little:

The speaker in my shul identified one of the choices above as the view of Chassidim and another as the view of Misnagdim. However, my own reading has shown this to be an oversimplification, as each group has offered more than one explanation.

At June 4, 2007 at 2:52:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Studying to understand can't be Lishmo because you can do the same thing without thinking that it's Hashem command.

Baal Shem Tov defines Toyro Lishmo as dveykus to letters of the Toyro that one learns.

At June 4, 2007 at 4:59:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Yid: It seems from what you wrote that lishma study is more of a meditative type of study. Is it possible then to study lishma with a chavrusa?

At June 5, 2007 at 12:07:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definetely it is, according to the Baal Shem Tov. It is quite possible with chevrusa as well, if both are aware of this issue.

At June 5, 2007 at 5:38:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A yid: Chavrusa learning usually involves analitical discussion. How is it possible to be in a meditative state at the same time?

At June 5, 2007 at 6:27:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

I think learning l'shma is for the sake of uniting HKBH u'Shchinteh, (in this case l'shmah is for her sake, the sake of the Shechinah (Notzer Hesed)) which is best translated as revealing God's hidden presence in the world (Tanya)(essentially through the dveykut described by a Yid) which in turn brings down shefa to all of the worlds (Hesed L'Avraham (Azulai))

Which is why Torah learning is called chayyei olam -- the life of the world. (Notzer Hesed)

I think the chevruta version of such learning requires dveykut between the two chevrutot. Namely connecting to the Godliness in one's chevruta. The Notzer Hesed brings down that any group of people who are sitting and learning each on his own is the definition of 'Moshav Leitzim.' In reality the group should be sharing Torah with one another out of their great love for eachother. Each one drawing Torah out of his fellow.

According to the Brisker Torah study is defined as what you understood from your study, it would seem you could respect your Chevruta's intellect and logic but not have any feelings of ahavat yisrael towards him.

The Baal Shem Tov's derech of Torah study (to my limited knowledge) is built on the relationship of one's ahavat yisrael for the unique person that is one's chevruta. (And the unique Torah that you share in common)


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