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    Limit to Torah study – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. You wrote recently about yeshivah students spending years immersing themselves in Jewish texts. Is there a quantitative limit to Torah study?

    A. No. The Mishnah says, “These are the things which are without measure: … Talmud Torah (the study of Torah)” (Peah 1:1; cf. Kiddushin 40a).

    The other items in the list are much easier to measure quantitatively. Leaving the corners of the field unharvested so that the poor can come and take what they need is a good example.

    How do you measure a corner? How much are the poor entitled to? These are mathematical questions, as is the question of how much has to be brought to Jerusalem as the first fruits bikkurim).

    But what does “without measure” mean when applied to study?

    Does it mean quality, i.e. how hard a student must concentrate or how deep an understanding he must get, or quantity, in terms of the numbers of books, chapters and subjects he is to master?

    Is every student judged by the same criteria? What about the student who has a quick mind but little sitzfleisch (the ability to sit) or the student with sitzfleisch but no great intellectual capacity?

    There are more questions than answers.

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