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It is known from the gemara (Shabbos 31a and cited in maamar Toras HaBayis ch. 1, among other places) that when a person dies, he is asked if he had set times for learning. I know that these times can be as little as possible: For example, he might learn one pasuk a day.

However, this is my question: Is it possible for his kovea itim to be at least one pasuk a day, or at least one mishnah a day, etc.? In that case, he can learn two if he wants to. Or, on the other hand, is it a "gezeiras hakasuv" that it must be the same amount every day?

As a side point, where is the requirement of kovea itim brought down in the Shulchan Aruch?

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Torat HaBayit...of the Rashba? The Gemara is Shabbat 31a. –  Double AA Jun 8 '12 at 23:47
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The one by the Chafetz Chaim. –  b a Jun 8 '12 at 23:59
    
Please provide a source that one pasuk is sufficient. Perhaps, for example, three pesukim is the minimum. (Kriyas Shema is more than one pasuk, and even the d'oraysa obligation for kriyas shema is more than one pasuk according to most Rishonim). –  Fred Jun 10 '12 at 7:01
    
Peah 1:1: "Eylu devarim she'eyn lahem shiur ... vetalmud torah." –  b a Jun 10 '12 at 13:29
    
This means there is no maximum and no d'oraysa minimum. Everything else listed in that Mishnah has a rabbinic minimum. –  Fred Jun 10 '12 at 16:39
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2 Answers

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Shulchan Aruch OC 238:

א. צריך ליזהר בלמוד הלילה יותר מבשל יום, והמבטלו עונשו מרובה

ב. אם יש לו חק קבוע ללמוד כך וכך ליום והיה טרוד ביום ולא השלימו, ישלימנו בלילה מיד

Regarding upper limits, I believe this is a Nedarim question. The Gemara says (Nedarim 7a):

אמר רב גידל אמר רב: האומר לחבירו: "נשכים ונשנה פרק זה", עליו להשכים

Shach (YD 203:5) writes that even if one just says "I will learn x" without using the language of a neder, he is bound by these words. Moreover, if someone decides to accustom himself to doing a certain good thing and his plan is to always continue doing so, it retains the status of a neder even after one time (Shulchan Aruch YD 214:1). According to the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (67:7) if one does it three times then it retains the status of a neder even if his plan was not specifically to always continue doing so.

All this being said, it would seem that there is no problem with specifically planning to always learn at least a mishna, or something like that. Since you have a specific plan, I would say that doing extra every now and then doesn't mean anything nedarim-wise. However, if every day you do an "extra" mishna, and you don't continually specify that you are still sticking to your original plan and this is just an exception, it could be that your "plan" doesn't help. I'm guessing here.

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This is the mitzva of Talmud Torah. The question asked about Keviat Ittim. –  Double AA Jun 10 '12 at 2:44
    
^^^ And just to prove that they are different, if one learns a pasuk every morning and evening but not at a fixed time, he has fulfilled Talmud Torah but not Keviat Ittim. –  Double AA Jun 10 '12 at 2:52
    
I see no reason Nedarim shouldn't apply to kevias ittim. –  Dov F Jun 10 '12 at 3:42
    
They could, but it doesn't help us understand the nature of the mitzva. –  Double AA Jun 10 '12 at 3:49
    
@Double AA I'm not understanding; are you saying that my response didn't speak to ba's question? –  Dov F Jun 10 '12 at 3:58
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The Shulchan Aruch rules (OC 155:1)

אחר שיצא מבהכ"נ, ילך לבה"מ; ויקבע עת ללמוד, וצריך שאותו עת יהיה קבוע שלא יעבירנו אף אם הוא סבור להרויח הרבה.‏
After one leaves the synagogue he should go to the study hall and establish a time of study which should be fixed such that it won't be overridden even if he will gain much [money].

The Mishna Berura there (sk 4) quotes a Yerushalmi (Brachot 9:5 רב חלקיה...‏) that implies that these fixed times are meant to be minima for Torah study and that one who only learns at fixed times when he has other free time available is as if he rejects God's covenant.

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At the same time, l'halacha one fulfills his basic obligation with the morning and evening kerias shema. Shach paskens (YD 246:1) about this halacha מצוה לאמרו בפני עם הארץ. –  Dov F Jun 9 '12 at 0:09
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Of course, but what would the Shulchan Aruch's source be. Kevias ittim is not a new mitzva, it is simply a way (perhaps the proper way) of performing the mitzva of talmud torah. Of which the absolute minimum is technically fulfilled through kerias shema. –  Dov F Jun 10 '12 at 3:54
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I thought I explained my reasoning in the rest of my comment. Kevias ittim is important, but based on the other sources I find it hard to believe that there is any absolute obligation which extends further than k"sh. Therefore I find it hard to believe that the Tur/SA are discussing an absolute obligation in 155. –  Dov F Jun 10 '12 at 4:34
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@DovF I don't see why והגית בו and קביעת עיתים can't be separate. This is already a pretty long comment thread; feel free to ask for more discussion. –  Double AA Jun 10 '12 at 4:40
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@DovF Hey, no problem! It's good to have you around. –  Double AA Jun 10 '12 at 5:24
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