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What's the point of learning Torah?

Torah Shbksav & Shbalpeh.

What's the point of any Sefer other than the classics? (Tanach, mishnayos, Shas, Rambam, Shulchan Aruch, Medresh)?

Is it for our own sake? Olam Haba? Create a relationship with GD?

Develop a better shalom bayis?

What's the point?

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  • It's a mitzvah. You mean what's the purpose behind the mitzvah? (Sefer Hachinuch style?). I'm not sure what you mean what's the point of learning something that's not one of the classics.
    – robev
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 22:18
  • It is to seek the God's will. What God wants from me, how can I understand the God's will
    – kouty
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 22:59

3 Answers 3

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Rambam provides a simple, practical reason:

Guide for the Perplexed 3:36

It is also evident that the precepts which exhort and command us to learn and to teach are useful; for without wisdom there cannot be any good act or any true knowledge.

(Friedlander translation)

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Should we observe the Torah to gain a reward?

Maimonides considered the notion of observing Torah to receive a reward was childish, comparing it to a child who needs to be bribed by candies or an adult by money or reputation as a rabbi.

“All this,” says Maimonides, “is shameful. It is only necessary because of the immature nature of people who need bribes. They make the ultimate goal of study something other than the study itself.”

He then quotes Antigonos (who also felt that no one should expect payment), and Midrash Sifre commentary on Deuteronomy 11:13:

“Should a person say: I will study Torah so that I will become wealthy... so that I will be called ‘rabbi,’... so that I will receive payment in the world to come. Behold, it is written: ‘to love your G-d.’ Everything that you do, do only out of love.”

True, the Decalogue promises a reward of a long life for the observance, but it is for the masses who need to be told how to act. Thus, the ultimate reward is the truth and its content.

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Good question.

Many Jews know that learning the Torah is a mitzvah. However, there are other reasons to do so as well. For one, the Rambam felt that the observance of the Torah is human-oriented, not G-d-oriented since God is all-powerful and does not need to see people doing mitzvot.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah, Introduction to Perek Chelek Maimonides writes that people only achieve immortality when they develop their minds. Thus, Maimonides stated that the purpose of the Torah is three-fold: to teach true ideas and helps improve individuals and society. People fulfill the Bible’s mandate, he stressed, when and only when they study and understand about science and the laws of nature and use their knowledge of the world to improve themselves and society. Thus, Maimonides considered it a mitzvah to study science.

Maimonides discusses many ways that a person can develop their intellect, either by studying religious books or studying science. In his Guide of the Perplexed, chapters 25 through 54, for example, he explains that the Sabbath laws help promote rest for the body and mind, contributing to good health. However, few people realize the good flowing from good human activity (as a result of observing the rabbinical enactments as the rabbis explained them). People need wise leaders to guide them. The Torah does this.

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  • Nice answer @turkhill Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 23:28
  • @FalseMessiah You're welcome.
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 1:03

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