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3. Torah Study - Talmud Torah

a) The Importance of Torah Study

Every Jew is required to set aside time for the study of Torah by day and by night, as it says "And you shall speak about it day and night".1,a He should divide this time appropriately among the written Torah, oral Torah, and Talmud (this last refers to the reasoning by which laws are derived from the Torah).b Torah study is as important as all the other commandments combined because study leads to action.c The way of Torah requires great effort, but the reward is proportionate to the trouble taken.d

b) Teaching Torah

Every man who knows the Torah is commanded to teach students, as it says "And you shall repeat them to your sons" -- "these are your students".2,e A father is required to teach his sons Torah, as it says "And you shall teach them to your sons"3; and it says "And you shall make them known to your sons and your sons' sons".4,f If necessary, he is required to hire a teacher to teach his sons.g Every community is required to provide teachers for children.h If a person was not taught by his father he is required to teach himself, as it says "And you shall learn them".5,f

A teacher of Torah must be a worthy person i and should teach Torah only to worthy students.j The teacher must be patient with his students and the students must not be ashamed to admit that they do not understand.k A person must respect his teacher even more than his father, for his father brought him into this world but his teacher brings him into the world to come.l The sanctity of a house of study is greater than that of a synagogue.m

c) Respect for Torah Scholars

We are commanded to respect a wise man even if he is not our teacher, as it says "Rise up before gray hair and honor the face of an old man" -- "of one who has acquired wisdom".6,n Scholars should be exempt from taxes and other services to the community and should be given priority in all their affairs.o A person who is disrespectful to a scholar or to a rabbinical court or who scoffs at a rabbinical law or a commandment is subject to excommunication; he must keep apart from others, like a mourner, until the ban is lifted from him.p

Sources:

1. Joshua 1:8 a. 1:8
2. Deut. 6:7 and Sifrei on it b. 1:11
3. Deut. 11:19 c. 3:3
4. Deut 4:9 d. 3:12,1
5. Deut. 5:1 e. 1:2
6. Lev. 19:32 and Sifra on it f. 1:1-2
g. 1:3
h. 2:1
i. 2:3
j. 4:1
k. 4:4-5
l. 5:1
m. 4:9
n. 6:1
o. 6:10
p. 6:14,7:4



 

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