Mishneh Torah, Torah Study
Chapter 1א׳
1 א

נָשִׁים וַעֲבָדִים וּקְטַנִּים פְּטוּרִים מִתַּלְמוּד תּוֹרָה. אֲבָל קָטָן אָבִיו חַיָּב לְלַמְּדוֹ תּוֹרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יא יט) "וְלִמַּדְתֶּם אֹתָם אֶת בְּנֵיכֶם לְדַבֵּר בָּם". וְאֵין הָאִשָּׁה חַיֶּבֶת לְלַמֵּד אֶת בְּנָהּ. שֶׁכָּל הַחַיָּב לִלְמֹד חַיָּב לְלַמֵּד:

Women, slaves, and infants are absolved from the study of the Torah; but the father is obliged to instruct his infant son in the Torah, for it is said: "And ye shall teach them your children, talking of them" (Deut. 11.19); but a woman is not charged to teach her son, for only one obliged to study is obliged to instruct.1Sukkah, 42a; Kiddushin, 29; Ketubot, 28. G. C.

2 ב

כְּשֵׁם שֶׁחַיָּב אָדָם לְלַמֵּד אֶת בְּנוֹ כָּךְ הוּא חַיָּב לְלַמֵּד אֶת בֶּן בְּנוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ד ט) "וְהוֹדַעְתָּם לְבָנֶיךָ וְלִבְנֵי בָנֶיךָ". וְלֹא בְּנוֹ וּבֶן בְּנוֹ בִּלְבַד אֶלָּא מִצְוָה עַל כָּל חָכָם וְחָכָם מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל לְלַמֵּד אֶת כָּל הַתַּלְמִידִים אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָן בָּנָיו. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ו ז) "וְשִׁנַּנְתָּם לְבָנֶיךָ" מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ בָּנֶיךָ אֵלּוּ תַּלְמִידֶיךָ שֶׁהַתַּלְמִידִים קְרוּיִין בָּנִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים ב ב ג) "וַיֵּצְאוּ בְנֵי הַנְּבִיאִים". אִם כֵּן לָמָּה נִצְטַוָּה עַל בְּנוֹ וְעַל בֶּן בְּנוֹ. לְהַקְדִּים בְּנוֹ לְבֶן בְּנוֹ וּבֶן בְּנוֹ לְבֶן חֲבֵרוֹ:

Even as man is obliged to instruct his son, so is he obliged to teach his son's son, for it is said: "But make them known to thy sons and thy sons' sons" (Ibid. 4.9); and, not alone to his son and his son's son, but each and every scholar in Israel is commanded to instruct all who desire to be his disciples, even though they be not his sons, for it is said: "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children" (Ibid. 6.7.), which is traditionally interpreted2Sifre, Deut. 11. C. G. to include one's disciples; for disciples, too, are called children, as it is said: "And the sons of the prophets came forth" (Second Kings, 2.3.). If it be so, why then was one commanded to teach his son and his son's son? To permit the precedence of one's son to one's son's son, and his son's son to the son of his fellow.3Sukkah, 30b; Kiddushin, 30. G.

3 ג

וְחַיָּב לִשְׂכֹּר מְלַמֵּד לִבְנוֹ לְלַמְּדוֹ. וְאֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְלַמֵּד בֶּן חֲבֵרוֹ אֶלָּא בְּחִנָּם. מִי שֶׁלֹּא לִמְּדוֹ אָבִיו חַיָּב לְלַמֵּד אֶת עַצְמוֹ כְּשֶׁיַּכִּיר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ה א) "וּלְמַדְתֶּם אֹתָם וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם לַעֲשֹׂתָם". וְכֵן אַתָּה מוֹצֵא בְּכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁהַתַּלְמוּד קוֹדֵם לַמַּעֲשֶׂה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַתַּלְמוּד מֵבִיא לִידֵי מַעֲשֶׂה וְאֵין הַמַּעֲשֶׂה מֵבִיא לִידֵי תַּלְמוּד:

One is obliged to engage a teacher for the instruction of his son; but his fellow's son he is not obliged to teach, save when there is no expense to himself.4See Baba Batra, 21a. G. He whose father failed to instruct him, when he becomes conscious thereof, is obliged to educate himself, as it is said: "That ye may learn them, and observe to do them" (Deut. 5.1). Thus, you will find it a universal rule, that study precedes conduct, because study brings about proper conduct but conduct does not bring about study.5Kiddushin, 29a; Ibid. 33b. C. G.

4 ד

הָיָה הוּא רוֹצֶה לִלְמֹד תּוֹרָה וְיֵשׁ לוֹ בֵּן לִלְמֹד תּוֹרָה הוּא קוֹדֵם לִבְנוֹ. וְאִם הָיָה בְּנוֹ נָבוֹן וּמַשְׂכִּיל לְהָבִין מַה שֶּׁיִּלְמֹד יוֹתֵר מִמֶּנּוּ בְּנוֹ קוֹדֵם. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁבְּנוֹ קוֹדֵם לֹא יִבָּטֵל הוּא. שֶׁכְּשֵׁם שֶׁמִּצְוָה עָלָיו לְלַמֵּד אֶת בְּנוֹ כָּךְ הוּא מְצֻוֶּה לְלַמֵּד עַצְמוֹ:

One who was ambitious to pursue learning, and, at the same time, has a son whom he is obliged to instruct, his own study comes first; if his son be diligent and intellectually more capable to grasp his studies than himself, his son comes first. Nevertheless, he shall not completely abandon his own study, his son's precedence notwithstanding; for, even as he is commanded to teach his son, so is he under command to study himself.6Ibid. C.

5 ה

לְעוֹלָם יִלְמֹד אָדָם תּוֹרָה וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִשָּׂא אִשָּׁה שֶׁאִם נָשָׂא אִשָּׁה תְּחִלָּה אֵין דַּעְתּוֹ פְּנוּיָה לִלְמֹד. וְאִם הָיָה יִצְרוֹ מִתְגַּבֵּר עָלָיו עַד שֶׁנִּמְצָא שֶׁאֵין לִבּוֹ פָּנוּי יִשָּׂא וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִלְמֹד תּוֹרָה:

Let man ever study the Torah and thereafter take a wife unto himself; for, if he takes a wife first, his mind will not be as clear to study. If the urge of marriage will over-burden him, even finding his heart not free to understand his studies, he should marry first and thereafter study the Torah.7Ibid. 33a. G.

6 ו

מֵאֵימָתַי אָבִיו חַיָּב לְלַמְּדוֹ תּוֹרָה. מִשֶּׁיַּתְחִיל לְדַבֵּר מְלַמְּדוֹ (דברים לג ד) "תּוֹרָה צִוָּה לָנוּ משֶׁה" וּ(דברים ו ד) "שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל", וְאַחַר כָּךְ מְלַמְּדוֹ מְעַט מְעַט פְּסוּקִים פְּסוּקִים עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בֶּן שֵׁשׁ אוֹ בֶּן שֶׁבַע הַכּל לְפִי בֻּרְיוֹ. וּמוֹלִיכוֹ אֵצֶל מְלַמֵּד הַתִּינוֹקוֹת:

Whenceonward is his father obliged to teach him the Torah? When he commences to speak, he should teach him the Verses of, "Moses commanded us a law" (Deut. 34.4), and of the Shema (Ibid. 6.4); thereafter he imparts to him little by little other Verses till he be six or seven years old, all, of course, depending upon his physical condition; thereafter he brings him under the care of a beginner's instructor.8Sukkah, 43a; Ketubot, 50a. C. G.

7 ז

הָיָה מִנְהַג הַמְּדִינָה לִקַּח מְלַמֵּד הַתִּינוֹקוֹת שָׂכָר נוֹתֵן לוֹ שְׂכָרוֹ. וְחַיָּב לְלַמְּדוֹ בְּשָׂכָר עַד שֶׁיִּקְרָא תּוֹרָה שֶׁבִּכְתָב כֻּלָּהּ. מָקוֹם שֶׁנָּהֲגוּ לְלַמֵּד תּוֹרָה שֶׁבִּכְתָב בְּשָׂכָר מֻתָּר לְלַמֵּד בְּשָׂכָר. אֲבָל תּוֹרָה שֶׁבְּעַל פֶּה אָסוּר לְלַמְּדָהּ בְּשָׂכָר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ד ה) "רְאֵה לִמַּדְתִּי אֶתְכֶם חֻקִּים וּמִשְׁפָּטִים כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוַּנִי ה'" וְגוֹ' מָה אֲנִי בְּחִנָּם לָמַדְתִּי אַף אַתֶּם לְמַדְתֶּם בְּחִנָּם מִמֶּנִּי וְכֵן כְּשֶׁתְּלַמְּדוּ לְדוֹרוֹת לַמְּדוּ בְּחִנָּם כְּמוֹ שֶׁלְּמַדְתֶּם מִמֶּנִּי. לֹא מָצָא מִי שֶׁיְּלַמְּדוֹ בְּחִנָּם יְלַמְּדוֹ בְּשָׂכָר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אֱמֶת קְנֵה. יָכוֹל יְלַמֵּד לַאֲחֵרִים בְּשָׂכָר. תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר (משלי כג כג) "וְאַל תִּמְכֹּר". הָא לָמַדְתָּ שֶׁאָסוּר לוֹ לְלַמֵּד בְּשָׂכָר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלִּמְּדוֹ רַבּוֹ בְּשָׂכָר:

Where the custom of the state is to pay a beginner's teacher, he should give him his wages, and the obligation to pay for his son's education continues until he is through reading all of the Holy Writ. In a place where the prevailing custom is to teach the written Torah for pay, one may instruct for pay; but to instruct the Oral Torah for wages, is forbidden, as it is said: "Behold, I have taught you statutes and ordinances, even as the Lord my God commanded me, etc." (Deut. 4.5.), which means; "Even as I was instructed free so have you received instruction from me free; likewise when you will give instruction throughout the generations, instruct free even as you were instructed by me." (Nedarim, 37a; Bekorot, 29a). If he find not one who is so willing to teach him gratuitously, he may hire one for wages to be instructed by him, as it says: "Buy the truth" (Prov. 23.23.) Peradventure, one will deduct herefrom that he may instruct others for wages? The Verse, therefore, teaches us, saying: "But sell it not" (Ibid.) Herefrom you learn that one is forbidden to instruct others for hire although his master taught him for hire.

8 ח

כָּל אִישׁ מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל חַיָּב בְּתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה בֵּין עָנִי בֵּין עָשִׁיר בֵּין שָׁלֵם בְּגוּפוֹ בֵּין בַּעַל יִסּוּרִין בֵּין בָּחוּר בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה זָקֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁתָּשַׁשׁ כֹּחוֹ אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה עָנִי הַמִּתְפַּרְנֵס מִן הַצְּדָקָה וּמְחַזֵּר עַל הַפְּתָחִים וַאֲפִלּוּ בַּעַל אִשָּׁה וּבָנִים חַיָּב לִקְבֹּעַ לוֹ זְמַן לְתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה בַּיּוֹם וּבַלַּיְלָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יהושע א ח) "וְהָגִיתָ בּוֹ יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה":

Every man in Israel is obliged to study the Torah, whether he be poor or rich, whether he be physically healthy or ailing, whether he be in full vigor of youth or of great age and weakened vitality; even if he be dependent upon alms for his livelihood, or going around from door to door begging his daily bread, yea, even he who has a wife and children to support is obliged to have an appointed time for the study of the Torah, both during the day and at night, for it is said: "But thou shalt meditate therein day and night" (Joshua, 1.8.).9Yoma, 35a; Menahot, 99b. G. G.

9 ט

גְּדוֹלֵי חַכְמֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הָיוּ מֵהֶן חוֹטְבֵי עֵצִים וּמֵהֶן שׁוֹאֲבֵי מַיִם וּמֵהֶן סוּמִים וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן הָיוּ עוֹסְקִין בְּתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה בַּיּוֹם וּבַלַּיְלָה וְהֵם מִכְּלַל מַעְתִּיקֵי הַשְּׁמוּעָה אִישׁ מִפִּי אִישׁ מִפִּי משֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ:

Some of the great scholars in Israel were hewers of wood, some of them drawers of water, and some of them blind: nevertheless they engaged themselves in the study of the Torah by day and by night. Moreover, they are included among those who translated the tradition as it was transmitted from mouth of man to mouth of man, even from the mouth of Moses our Master.

10 י

עַד אֵימָתַי חַיָּב לִלְמֹד תּוֹרָה עַד יוֹם מוֹתוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ד ט) "וּפֶן יָסוּרוּ מִלְּבָבְךָ כּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ". וְכָל זְמַן שֶׁלֹּא יַעֲסֹק בְּלִמּוּד הוּא שׁוֹכֵחַ:

Until what age in life is one obliged to study the Torah? Even until the day of one's demise; for it is said: "And lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life" (Deut. 4.9.) Forsooth, as long as one will not occupy himself with study he forgets what he did study.10Kiddushin, 29b. G.

11 יא

וְחַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּשׁ אֶת זְמַן לְמִידָתוֹ. שְׁלִישׁ בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁבִּכְתָב. וּשְׁלִישׁ בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁבְּעַל פֶּה. וּשְׁלִישׁ יָבִין וְיַשְׂכִּיל אַחֲרִית דָּבָר מֵרֵאשִׁיתוֹ וְיוֹצִיא דָּבָר מִדָּבָר וִידַמֶּה דָּבָר לְדָבָר וְיָבִין בַּמִּדּוֹת שֶׁהַתּוֹרָה נִדְרֶשֶׁת בָּהֶן עַד שֶׁיֵּדַע הֵיאַךְ הוּא עִקַּר הַמִּדּוֹת וְהֵיאַךְ יוֹצִיא הָאָסוּר וְהַמֻּתָּר וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן מִדְּבָרִים שֶׁלָּמַד מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה. וְעִנְיָן זֶה הוּא הַנִּקְרָא גְּמָרָא:

One is obligated to divide his time of study by three; one third for the study of Holy Writ, one third for the study of the Oral Torah, and one third for thinking and reflecting so that he may understand the end of a thing from its beginning, and deduct one matter from another, and compare one matter to another, and reason out by the hermeneutical rules in which the Torah is expounded to the end that he may know which are the principal rules and how to deduct therefrom that which is forbidden and that which is permitted, and other like matters which he studied from oral tradition. This subject of study is called Gemara.11Ibid. 30a; Abodah Zarah, 19b. C.

12 יב

כֵּיצַד. הָיָה בַּעַל אֻמָּנוּת וְהָיָה עוֹסֵק בִּמְלַאכְתּוֹ שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁעוֹת בַּיּוֹם וּבַתּוֹרָה תֵּשַׁע. אוֹתָן הַתֵּשַׁע קוֹרֵא בְּשָׁלֹשׁ מֵהֶן בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁבִּכְתָב וּבְשָׁלֹשׁ בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁבְּעַל פֶּה וּבְשָׁלֹשׁ אֲחֵרוֹת מִתְבּוֹנֵן בְּדַעְתּוֹ לְהָבִין דָּבָר מִדָּבָר. וְדִבְרֵי קַבָּלָה בִּכְלַל תּוֹרָה שֶׁבִּכְתָב הֵן וּפֵרוּשָׁן בִּכְלַל תּוֹרָה שֶׁבְּעַל פֶּה. וְהָעִנְיָנִים הַנִּקְרָאִים פַּרְדֵּס בִּכְלַל הַגְּמָרָא הֵן. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בִּתְחִלַּת תַּלְמוּדוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם אֲבָל כְּשֶׁיַּגְדִּיל בְּחָכְמָה וְלֹא יְהֵא צָרִיךְ לֹא לִלְמֹד תּוֹרָה שֶׁבִּכְתָב וְלֹא לַעֲסֹק תָּמִיד בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁבְּעַל פֶּה יִקְרָא בְּעִתִּים מְזֻמָּנִים תּוֹרָה שֶׁבִּכְתָב וְדִבְרֵי הַשְּׁמוּעָה כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִשְׁכַּח דָּבָר מִדִּבְרֵי דִּינֵי תּוֹרָה וְיִפְנֶה כָּל יָמָיו לַגְּמָרָא בִּלְבַד לְפִי רֹחַב שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּלִבּוֹ וְיִשּׁוּב דַּעְתּוֹ:

For instance? If one was a craftsman and engaged himself three hours daily to his work and to Torah nine hours, of those nine hours he should devote three hours to the study of Holy Writ, and three hours to the Oral Torah and the last three hours to mental reasoning, to deduct one matter from another. Matters pertaining to tradition are included in Holy Writ, but their oral explanation is included in Oral Torah. The subjects designated as Pardas12Vineyard, Works of the Chariot, Cosmogony, Metaphysics etc. G. are included in the Gemara. These rules are spoken of man's beginning of study, but when he matures in wisdom and has no need either for further study of Holy Writ or for continuous devotion to the study of Oral Torah, he should read Holy Writ and traditional matters at appointed times merely so as not to forget any matter pertaining to the laws of the Torah, and turn his attention to a continuous study of Gemara, of course, in proportion to the broadness of his heart and peacefulness of his mind.13Abodah Zarah, 19b. G.

13 יג

אִשָּׁה שֶׁלָּמְדָה תּוֹרָה יֵשׁ לָהּ שָׂכָר אֲבָל אֵינוֹ כִּשְׂכַר הָאִישׁ. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא נִצְטַוֵּית. וְכָל הָעוֹשֶׂה דָּבָר שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְצֻוֶּה עָלָיו לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ אֵין שְׂכָרוֹ כִּשְׂכַר הַמְצֻוֶּה שֶׁעָשָׂה אֶלָּא פָּחוֹת מִמֶּנּוּ. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהּ שָׂכָר צִוּוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁלֹּא יְלַמֵּד אָדָם אֶת בִּתּוֹ תּוֹרָה. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁרֹב הַנָּשִׁים אֵין דַּעְתָּם מְכֻוֶּנֶת לְהִתְלַמֵּד אֶלָּא הֵן מוֹצִיאוֹת דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה לְדִבְרֵי הֲבַאי לְפִי עֲנִיּוּת דַּעְתָּן. אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים כָּל הַמְלַמֵּד אֶת בִּתּוֹ תּוֹרָה כְּאִלּוּ לִמְּדָהּ תִּפְלוּת. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּתוֹרָה שֶׁבְּעַל פֶּה אֲבָל תּוֹרָה שֶׁבִּכְתָב לֹא יְלַמֵּד אוֹתָהּ לְכַתְּחִלָּה וְאִם לִמְּדָהּ אֵינוֹ כִּמְלַמְּדָהּ תִּפְלוּת:

A woman who studied the Torah has a reward coming to her but it is incomparable to the reward of a man because she was not commanded to do so, and whosoever does something which is not mandatory upon him to perform receives not a hire equal to the hire of him who is commanded to perform it but less than he. And, although she has a reward coming the sages commanded that a man shall not instruct his daughter in the Torah, because most women have no set mind to be instructed therein, but, on the contrary, are apt to divert matters of the Torah to nonsensical matters, of course, in proportion to the inferiority of their mind. The sages said: "Whosoever instructs his daughter in Torah does no better than if he instructed her in matters of profanity." (Sotah, 21b). These matters are thus spoken of only concerning the Oral Torah, but respecting Holy Writ it is best not to begin to instruct her therein but if he did instruct her it is not as if he instruct her in profanity.14Abodah Zarah, 3b; Kiddushin, 31a. C.