Tonight R’ Bamberger continued to discuss the 48 methods of acquiring the Torah. The first eleven methods were already discussed in previous vaadim.
The twelfth method of acquiring Torah is through carefully choosing one’s friends. A person’s friends have a very significant influence on him. Therefore, it is vital for a person to choose friends with good character traits.
R’ Bamberger once had a roommate who would learn with a chavrusah every day between the hours of 12:15 a.m. – 2:00 a.m. The chavrusah was clearly the most diligent talmid in the yeshivah. However, he married a girl who influenced him to severely limit the amount of learning that he did each day. This story illustrates the extent to which a person is influenced by social factors.
The thirteenth method of acquiring Torah is through testing the students. Preparing for a test sharpens the mind and puts pressure on a person to retain information.
The fourteenth method of acquiring Torah is through having a calm frame of mind. A person can’t learn when his mind is agitated.
R’ Yerucham emphasizes that physical relaxation doesn’t lead to tranquility of the soul. Rather, physical relaxation makes it more difficult to learn. In order for a person to maximize his growth in Torah, he needs to break his desire for creature comforts.
When R’ Moshe Feinstein visited the Lakewood Yeshivah for the first time, he noticed that the boys there leaned on shtenders when they learned. R’ Moshe remarked that he couldn’t conceive that Torah would thrive in such a yeshivah. He explained that a person can only succeed in his learning when he brings himself to the Gemara, not when he brings the Gemara to himself. Indeed, it is well known that R’ Shteinman, shlita would always sit on a chair without a back when he learned.
The fifteenth method of acquiring Torah is through learning the 24 books of Tanach. Indeed, Chumash and Rashi is the foundation for the whole Torah. The commentary of the Ramban has also been referred to as the foundation of faith in G-d.
The sixteenth method of acquiring Torah is through the study of Mishnah. The Shelah HaKadosh writes that R’ Yosef Cairo once experienced a quasi-prophecy when he recited Mishnayos on the night of Shavuos.
As we approach the Yom Tov of Shavuos, we should remember that our fate in Torah is decided on Shavuos. Moreover, our success in Torah is what really adds meaning to our lives.
From A Vaad