- Torah and Jewish Thought
- General Questions
Why do Yeshivot place such an emphasis on learning Gemara, yet they put almost no emphasis on learning Chumash? If they claim that they learn Gemara instead of Chumash so that we can learn the meanings and Halachot, then we should only learn Mishna Berurah? So what is the point of learning Gemarah?
The holy Yeshivot have always been the home of the creation of great people and sages of our nation under the leadership of the great Torah sages and giants of spirit. We can fully trust them that they knew and know what orders and topics of study are necessary in order to raise generations of Talmidei Chachamim and people of spirit. The results speak for themselves. And regarding the point itself, everyone agrees that every Jew, including Yeshivah people are obligated to dedicate some time for learning Chumash and Halachah Le’Maaseh. Regarding the techniques of learning, there may be different styles, but all agree that most of the learning in Yeshiva should be dedicated to studying Talmud Bavli which is the basis of learning the wisdom of Torah. The reasons for this are as follows: The Talmud in Sanhedrin 24. explains that the Talmud Bavli is called Bavli because it is a mixture of Mikrah, Mishnah & Talmud, so when one learns Talmud Bavli he is learning all three of them. Learning in Yeshivah is geared towards turning the Student into a Lamdan, so he should know how to learn and reach a deep understanding in every Torah area. There is nothing like learning Gemara, especially Nashim and Nezikin which are usually learned in the first years of Yeshiva, to train the brain in deep and sharp thinking and to create a true Lamdan. The purpose of the Yeshivot is to create Torah sages and some of the important tools that are needed for greatness in Torah is the ability to achieve clarity in perceiving the differences between two topics or in comparing one topic to another, and in defining clear and precise definitions. All these tools can be achieved only through learning Gemara in depth with the Rishonim and great Achronim. Even though many Yeshiva students don’t turn out to become Torah sages; nevertheless it is of the utmost importance for them to study in a Yeshiva in order to acquire a basic understanding of the reasoning of the Talmud, so that they will be able to properly understand Jewish law. Additionally, studying Gemara will help each student absorb the spirit of the Torah to become a Torah person with fine character trade who can integrate in the business world and be a Kovea Itim La’Torah. It is important to note that, after a while of learning Torah, many of the learners reach a higher level of learning which is “Asukei Shmaatsa Aliba Dehilchasa” that means learning the Gemara until it’s final conclusions with the Poskim La’Halachah Le’Maaseh.