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Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Cheshvan 9, 5782
Question
which would get someone to a higher level in olam haba: -focusing completely on learning torah and living torah Or -partially doing that and with the rest of ones time, learning advanced math and science (but not for the sake of a career, for the sake of learning it for knowledge and wisdom and a higher level of olam haba.) -which is recommended?
Answer
ב"ה Shalom There are a few aspects to your question. First of all, the highest level of learning Torah is learning "torah lishma", which means learning Torah to fulfill Hashem's will that we fill ourselves with Torah knowledge. Olam Haba is indeed the reward, but our intention of learning Torah is not for the reward but for the sake of the Mitzva of learning Torah. As is says in the Mishna of Chapters of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot 1:3 ): "Do not be like the servants who serve their masters in order to receive reward. But, be like the servants who serve their masters NOT for the sake of receiving reward" Secondly, focusing completely on learning Torah and living Torah would definitely grant a higher level in Olam Haba than those who study the sciences. On the other hand, there is the famous saying of the Vilna Gaon, in which he says that he who lacks knowledge of the sciences, will lack one hundred fold knowledge of the Torah. We therefore see that knowledge of the sciences is certainly instrumental to a greater knowledge of the Torah. However, this is not in place of Torah study. This is what I can basically answer based on the information provided. My suggestion though for all these types of questions, is to go to a Rabbi and Torah scholar who knows you well to give you custom made guidance to make your paths to Torah easier and clearer. All the best
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