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48 Ways to Acquire the Torah: Way #41

Pirkei Avot, “Ethics of the Fathers,” states in chapter 6:6: “The Torah is acquired in 48 ways.” This week: Way #41, “Being at Peace in One’s Torah Study.”

Notice: It does not say, “At peace in one’s life.” Study of Torah may be in sync with a peaceful life, or may be a peaceful refuge from a troubled life. The great Torah scholar, Rabbi Yehiel Y. Weinberg (1884-1966), was troubled his entire adult life by an early, failed marriage.

How can Torah study and inner peace interweave? Isn’t Torah study intellectually difficult? Aren’t parts of the Torah counterintuitive (you may marry this relative, not that one)? Some students get edgy just putting in the time to acquire the Torah. All this is why Pirkei Avot says that in order to acquire the Torah, one must be at peace in studying it. This is not a given; it is a challenge.

When the challenge is met, the result is moving and inspiring. Not just the mind but the mien, the speech, the sensitivity of a Torah scholar leave an instant effect; not least, on the scholar himself.

As a role model, the Torah scholar is a major motivator to acquire the Torah. This yields great rewards, but they may not be readily evident. It requires faith to keep plowing ahead. The Torah student who evinces serenity in his study reaps the rewards; the more peaceful the study, the more Torah is acquired.

The 41st way to acquire the Torah: Being at Peace in One’s Torah Study.

Hillel Goldberg

IJN Executive Editor |

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