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The Gemara in Megila 6b says that if someone tells you that they understood a piece of Torah and they didn't work hard for it you shouldn't believe them.

The Ramha"l says in the Hakdama to his magnum opus Mesilat Yesharim about the Pasuk (Mishlei 2:4) "אם תבקשנה ככסף וכמטמונים תחפשנה, אז תבין יראת ה'"

He says:

אינו אומר אז תבין פילוסופיה, אז תבין תכונה, אז תבין רפואה, אז תבין דינים, אז תבין הלכות, אלא אז תבין יראת ה.‏

What is the difference between "Yagat Welo Masat" and "Im Tevakshena"?

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May I ask what sparked the Mesilat Yesharim question? –  Baal Shemot Tovot Apr 17 '12 at 20:02
    
@vram I'll tell you one thing, it certainly wasn't that Shiur. –  Hacham Gabriel Apr 17 '12 at 20:39
    
To what shi'ur are you referring, Hacham Gabriel? Do you mean what the Ramhal wrote in his hakdama to Mesilat Yesharim? (I've never heard a hakdama referred to as a shi'ur, but it's the only thing that looks like it could be a referent for your response.) For that matter, where is @vram's comment to which you are responding? It would be wonderful and helpful if people would clarify the antecedents to which they refer in their responses. –  Shemmy Apr 17 '12 at 22:53
    
Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/28379 –  msh210 May 3 '13 at 14:58

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The Targum on Mishlei 2:4 translates תחפשנה as sitzb'yah - desire, suggesting that the analogy in Mishlei emphasizes that you should be highly motivated and driven. By contrast, yaga'ti seems to by definition refer to the actual work that someone retrospectively put in to acquire Torah.

Note, however, that the Malbim (Mishlei, 2:4) distinguishes between bakashah and chipus; he writes that the former implies desire while the latter implies action.

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source​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​? –  Hacham Gabriel Apr 17 '12 at 20:40
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@HachamGabriel I doubt you're gonna get any sourced answer to this question. –  Baal Shemot Tovot Apr 17 '12 at 21:17
    
The Targum on Mishlei translates tachp'senah as sitzb'yah - desire. (The Malbim, however, distinguishes between bakashah and chipus; he writes that the former implies desire while the latter implies action). As far as yaga'ti, that's just a matter of translation. –  Fred Apr 17 '12 at 21:17

There is a story printed in Rabbi Zevin's Sippurei Chassidim (translated by Artscroll as "A Treasury of Chassidic Tales"). I haven't read it in a while, so I don't remember all the details, but here's what I do remember:

The son of one of the Rebbeim (it might have been Ger or Belz) became Rebbe when his predecessor passed away. Some of the Chassidim were under the impression that the new Rebbe was not very learned, since they never saw him learn. They were therefore surprised when they saw the level of his Torah knowledge.

When questioned about it, the Rebbe asked, "What does the Talmud mean when it says, 'if someone says I've not toiled but I've found it, don't believe him'? Why is this an issue of belief? Open up a book and test him, and you'll see whether found it or not."

"Rather", the Rebbe continued, "If someone says 'I've found it without toiling for it', don't believe him when he says he hasn't toiled."

If you look at it this way, then there is no contradiction between the two statements.

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