ONE SHOULD LEARN OUT LOUD
Bruriyah saw a Talmid learning quietly. She kicked him, and said 'it says "Aruchah va'Kol u'Shmurah." If Torah is arranged in your 248 limbs, it will endure. If not, it will not!'
(Beraisa): R. Eliezer had a Talmid who used to learn quietly. After three years he forgot his learning.
(Beraisa): R. Eliezer had a Talmid who was liable b'Yedei Shamayim to be burned. They (the angels) said 'pardon him! He served a great Chacham.' (Maharsha - this is the above Talmid. He was liable for forgetting Torah. Even so, his merit of serving a Chacham was intact.)
Shmuel (to Rav Yehudah): Sharp one! Open your mouth when you learn written or oral Torah, in order that you will remember it and live a long time. We read "Ki Chayim Hem l'Motz'eihem ul'Chol Besaro Marpei" like 'Motza'eihem' (those who say the words).
Shmuel (to Rav Yehudah): Sharp one! Seize opportunities to eat and drink. This world that we are leaving is [fleeting] like a wedding feast! (Surely, he did not suggest that he eat for pleasure! See note 18 in Appendix.)
Rav (to Rav Hamnuna): If you have money to benefit yourself (Ben Yehoyada - by doing Mitzvos), do so. You cannot do so after death, and death can come at any time.
Suggestion: One should save to bequeath to his children!
Rejection: [After death,] he will not know what happens to the money. (Perhaps it will be lost!)
People are like grass in the field. New grass sprouts (with its own sustenance. Likewise, Hash-m will provide for your children), and other grass withers.
(R. Yehoshua ben Levi): One who walks on the way without an escort should learn Torah - "Ki Livyas Chen Hem" (its merit will guard him).
If one's head hurts, he should engage in Torah - "Ki Livyas Chen Hem l'Roshecha." (Toras Chayim - one may not use Divrei Torah as a charm to heal, but one may learn Lishmah intending that the reward help to heal. Dividends are paid in this world for Torah, and the principal is intact for the world to come. Alternatively, engaging in Torah protects one from these pains).
One should engage in Torah if any of the following hurt --
The throat - "[Ki Livyas Chen...] va'Anakim l'Gargerosecha"; the stomach - "Rif'us Tehi l'Sarecha"; the bones - "v'Shikuy l'Atzmosecha"; the whole body - "ul'Chol Besaro Marpei".
(Rav Yehudah b'Ribi Chiya): Hash-m's ways are unlike the ways of people. If a human [doctor] gives a drug to someone, it is good for some [sicknesses or limbs], but bad for others. Hash-m gave Torah to Yisrael. It is an elixir of life for the entire body - "ul'Chol Besaro Marpei".
(R. Ami) Question: What do we learn from "Ki Na'im Ki Sishmerem b'Vitnecha Yikonu Yachdav Al Sefasecha"?
Answer: Divrei Torah are pleasant when one guards them in his stomach (remembers them);
Question: When are they guarded in the stomach?
Answer: This is when "Yikonu Yachdav Al Sefasecha." (He says the words clearly and audibly.)
(R. Zeira): We learn [when Divrei Torah are pleasant] from "Simchah la'Ish b'Ma'aneh Fiv v'Davar b'Ito Mah Tov":
Version #1: A man has Simchah when Ma'aneh b'Fiv. (He can answer questions);
Version #2: A man has Simchah in responding when Davar b'Ito Mah Tov. (He can answer timely questions, e.g. laws of Pesach during Pesach.)
(R. Yitzchak): "Ki Karov Elecha ha'Davar Me'od b'Ficha ubi'Lvavecha La'asoso" - Torah is close to you when it is [audible] in your mouth and your heart. (He intends to fulfill it. Maharsha - if it is audible in your mouth, you will remember it and be able to fulfill it.)
(Rava): We learn from "Ta'avas Libo Nasatah Lo va'Areses Sefasav Bal Manata Selah." (Ben Yehoyada - a Talmid desires to be a Rebbi. He will attain this if he merits to say the words nicely, for then he will remember them).
Contradiction (Rava): It says "Ta'avas Libo Nasatah Lo" (Hash-m answers prayer while it is still in the heart), but it also says "va'Areses Sefasav Bal Manata" (he must say it! Ha'Rif - Rava expounds the verse regarding Torah and prayer.)
Answer: If one merits, Hash-m grants his desire before he requests it. If not, he is not answered until he requests (Rashi. Maharatz Chayos - if one merits, Hash-m grants his desires according to his heart, i.e. only if it will be good for him; if one does not merit, his requests are granted, even if it will be bad for him. Shlomo prayed that Hash-m answer Nochrim in this way.)
(Tana d'vei R. Eliezer ben Yakov - Beraisa): Whenever it says 'Netzach', 'Selah' or 'va'Ed', the matter will never cease:
We learn from "Ki Lo l'Olam Ariv v'Lo la'Netzach Ektzof", "... b'Ir Hash-m... Yechoneneha Ad Olam Selah", and "Hash-m Yimloch l'Olam va'Ed".
HOW TO MERIT THAT ONE'S LEARNING WILL ENDURE
(R. Elazar) Question: What do we learn from "va'Anakim l'Gargerosecha"?
Answer: If a person makes himself [easygoing] like a necklace that is loose on the neck, and is seen rarely [in the market, for he is usually learning], like a necklace [that is seen only when he lifts his head], his learning will endure. If not, it will not.
(R. Elazar) Question: What do we learn from "Lechayav ka'Arugas ha'Bosem"?
Answer: If a person makes himself [humble] like a [garden] patch on which everyone tramples, and like a fragrance with which everyone scents himself (he teaches Torah), his learning will endure. If not, it will not.
(R. Elazar) Question: What do we learn from "Luchos Even"?
Answer: If a person makes Lechayav (his jaws) like a stone, which is never worn away (he never wearies from reviewing his learning), his learning will endure. If not, it will not.
(R. Elazar) Question: What do we learn from "Charus Al ha'Luchos"?
Answer #1 (R. Elazar): Had the first Luchos not been broken, Torah would [have been carved into Yisrael, and] never have been forgotten.
Answer #2 (Rav Acha bar Yakov): Had they not been broken, no nation would have been able to rule over Yisrael. We read "Charus" like 'Cherus' (freedom, due to the Luchos).
(Rav Masnah) Question: What do we learn from "umi'Midbar Matanah"?
Answer: If a person makes himself [humble] like a wilderness on which everyone tramples, [Torah is given to him like a Matanah (gift),] and his learning will endure. If not, it will not.
Rava had upset Rav Yosef. He went to appease him on Erev Yom Kipur. He found Rav Yosef's servant mixing wine for Rav Yosef [who was blind]. Rava volunteered to mix the wine himself.
Rav Yosef (after tasting the wine): This is how Rava mixes wine (three parts water for each part of raw wine! Most people mix two parts water for each of wine.)
Rava: Yes, it is me!
Rav Yosef: Explain the verse - "umi'Midbar Matanah umi'Matanah Nachli'el umi'Nachli'el Bamos...".
Rava: When a person makes himself Hefker to all like a Midbar (wilderness), Torah is given to him like a gift. After this, it is like a Nachalah (inheritance) to him. Then, he is elevated (Bamos);
If he raises himself (becomes haughty), Hash-m lowers him - "umi'Bamos ha'Gai" (the canyon). If he repents [from his haughtiness], Hash-m raises him - "Kol Ge Yinasei."
THE IMPORTANCE OF REVIEWING LEARNING
(Rav Huna) Question: What do we learn from "Chayascha Yashvu Vah..."?
Answer: A person's learning will endure only if he makes himself like a wild animal that tramples [prey] and eats immediately. (Rashi - immediately after learning, he reviews it. Ben Yehoyada - he does not insist that others prepare his needs, and he does not seek to be fed by others);
Some say, he must be like a Chayah that dirties its food before eating. (Maharsha - he is so engrossed in learning that he neglects to ensure that his food is prepared nicely, as befits a Chacham.)
If he does so, Hash-m Himself prepares a meal for him - "Tachin b'Tovascha le'Ani Elokim".
(R. Chiya bar Aba) Question: What do we learn from "Notzer Te'enah Yochal Piryah"?
Answer: Divrei Torah are compared to a fig tree. (The figs ripen at different times.) Whenever one feels around, he finds figs;
Likewise, whenever one ponders Divrei Torah, he finds Ta'am (taste, i.e. understanding).
(R. Shmuel bar Nachmani) Question: What do we learn from "Ayeles Ahavim v'Ya'alas Chen"?
Answer: Divrei Torah are compared to a female deer. It is always as dear to its mate as at the beginning. Likewise, Divrei Torah are always as dear to one who learns, every time he reviews his learning, as at the beginning;
"V'Ya'alas Chen" - Torah gives grace [and honor] to those who learn it (Maharsha - even though they often neglect their food and appearance);
"Dadeha Yeravucha b'Chol Es" - just like a baby always finds more milk in the breast, so too, whenever one ponders Torah, he finds Ta'am.
"B'Ahavasah Tishgeh Samid" (out of love for Torah, Chachamim are unaware of their affairs). R. Elazar exemplifies this;
R. Elazar would sit and learn in the lower market of Tzipori, and his garment was in the upper market. (He forgot it.)
(R. Yitzchak ben Elazar): Once, someone came to steal it. He found a snake on it [to stop him].
(Tana d'vei Rav Anan - Beraisa) Question: What do we learn from "Rochvei Asonos..."?
Answer: This refers to Chachamim who ride to far places to learn Torah;
"Tzechoros" - they clarify matters of Torah like Tzaharayim (noon);
"Yoshvei Al Midin" - they judge to the ultimate truth;
"V'Holchei" refers to people who learn written Torah. "Al Derech" are people who learn Mishnah. "Sicho" are people who learn Talmud (analysis of Mishnayos). All their Sichah (talk) is Divrei Torah.
Question (Rav Shizbi): What is the meaning of "Lo Yacharoch Remiyah Tzeido"?
Answer #1 (Rav Shizbi): A TZaYaD RaMaI (artful deceiver, he memorizes much text to make himself appear like a Chacham, but he does not review it) will not [remember it, nor] YiCHyeh or Ya'aRiCH Yomim (live a long time).
Answer #2 (Rav Sheshes): A Tzayad RamaI (crafty hunter, he learns a small amount at a time and reviews it often) will surely have what to Yichroch (roast. I.e. he will remember his learning)!
Answer #3 (Rav Dimi): This is a parable. If a hunter breaks the wings of each bird he catches before hunting the next, he will keep all of them. If not, it will not (they will fly away).
(Rava): "Hon me'Hevel Yim'at v'Kovetz Al Yad Yarbeh" - if a person learns Chavilos (large amounts) at a time (without time to review properly), he will lose it. If he learns small amounts at a time, he will grow.
(Rava): Many Rabanan know this, yet transgress it. (Maharsha (Avodah Zarah) - they follow another teaching of Rava, that a person should learn the text, even if he forgets or does not understand it.)
(Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): I fulfilled "v'Kovetz Al Yad", and remembered my learning.
THE IDEAL SEDER OF LEARNING
(Beraisa) Question: What was the order of learning [oral Torah in the Midbar]?
Answer: Hash-m taught Moshe (Maharsha - four times). Aharon entered, and Moshe taught him. Aharon went to sit to the left of Moshe. His sons entered, and Moshe taught them;
Elazar went to sit to the right of Moshe, and Itamar sat to the left of Aharon;
R. Yehudah says, Aharon went [after his sons learned] to the right of Moshe, and his sons sat to the left.
The elders entered and Moshe taught them. They left [from in front of Moshe, but they remained in the Ohel] and all Yisrael entered, and Moshe taught them.
Aharon heard Moshe teach four times. His sons heard three times, the elders heard twice, and all Yisrael heard once.
Moshe left, and Aharon taught the lesson. Aharon left, and his sons taught. His sons left, and the elders taught.
Everyone heard [in all, from Moshe and other teachers] four times.
R. Eliezer says, a Kal va'Chomer shows that one must teach his Talmid four times;
Even Aharon, who learned from Moshe who learned from Hash-m, had to hear four times. All the more so, a commoner who learns from a commoner must learn four times!
R. Akiva says, "v'Lamdah Es Bnei Yisrael" teaches that one must teach his Talmid until the Talmid understands. (Ga'on Yakov - R. Eliezer and R. Akiva both agree that one must teach until the Talmid understands, and at least four times even if he understands the first time.)
Question: How do we know that he must teach until the learning is arranged in the mouths [of the Talmidim in an orderly way]?
Answer: We learn from "Simah b'Fihem."
Question: How do we know that he must give reasons for what he teaches?
Answer: "V'Eleh ha'Mishpatim Asher Tasim Lifneihem."
Question: Moshe should have taught everyone all four times!
Answer: In order to show honor to Aharon and his sons and the elders, also they taught.
Question: Moshe could have taught Aharon [four times], and Aharon could have taught his sons [four times], his sons could have taught the elders, the elders could have taught Yisrael!
Answer: Because Moshe learned from Hash-m, it was better that everyone learn from him [at least once].
(Beraisa - R. Yehudah): Aharon went to the right of Moshe.
Question: Who is the Tana of the following Beraisa?
(Beraisa): If three people are traveling, the most important one goes in the middle, the next most on his right, and the smallest on his left.
Suggestion: It is like R. Yehudah, but Chachamim [who say that Aharon stayed on the left] disagree!
Answer: No, it is even like Chachamim. He stayed on the left because it would have been an exertion to go to the right.
R. Freida had a certain Talmid. He would teach him 400 times until he learned. Once, people needed R. Freida for a Mitzvah. He taught the Talmid 400 times, but he did not learn it. R. Freida asked why today was different.
The Talmid: Once I heard that you were needed for a Mitzvah. I was distracted, for I was afraid that you were about to leave!
R. Freida: Concentrate, and I will teach you again now!
He taught him another 400 times. A voice from Heaven offered R. Freida to live another 400 years, or to merit the world to come for himself and his generation. He chose the latter. Hash-m said that He will grant both of them. (See note 19 in Appendix.)
(Rav Chisda): Torah is acquired only through Simanim (schemes to remember). We read "Simah b'Fihem" like 'Simanah'.
(R. Avahu): We learn from "Hatzivi Lach Tziyunim Simi Lach" - make Tziyunim for Torah;
Question: How do we know that Tziyun refers to a Siman?
Answer: "V'Ro'oh Etzem Adam u'Vonah Etzlo Tyiyun".
(R. Elazar): We learn from "Emor la'Chachmah Achosi At u'Moda la'Binah Sikra" - make Moda'im (Simanim) for Torah.
(Rava): This teaches that one should make Mo'adim (set times) for Torah.