I went to yeshiva for 4 years, I can say that I enjoyed learning gemorah less than 10 days out of all 4 years.

I go to daf yomi, I read through the gemorah, but I find it very irrelevant, even halocha I find it very dry.

How do I find gemorah more meaningful and satisfying? I just feel so disconnected from it.

  • 1
    Why don't you find a shiur with a maggid shiur that is engaging and brings it alive?
    – Dov
    Oct 27, 2022 at 19:04
  • 1
    There are websites and daf yomi apps that are meant to help. Look into finding ones that help give you practical examples in daily life of halachos. Also study masechtos that apply in daily life, like Brachos or from Moed.
    – N.T.
    Oct 28, 2022 at 2:03
  • 2
    related: How to feel about not liking Gemara?
    – mbloch
    Oct 28, 2022 at 3:18
  • 1
    Related: "How can you regain a love for learning talmud?"
    – Tamir Evan
    Oct 28, 2022 at 10:43
  • 5
    R' Hershel Schachter has acknowledged that Gemara may not be for everyone. "What to do if Gemara doesn't work for me?" For some people, the answer may be to do Chumash in-depth, Tanach, Mishna, Halacha, Machshava, responsa -- find something else that does work for you. "Gemara or bust, how do I best make it work for me?" is a different question. Which one are you asking? (Are you asking the second because you feel you have to, and actually looking for permission to ask the first?)
    – Shalom
    Oct 31, 2022 at 9:41

8 Answers 8


Rav Avigdor Miller gives several tips on how to make Torah learning more enjoyable, e.g. more sweet. He also talks on learning the Gemara.

Rav Avigdor Miller says that when learning Gemara, you should speak aloud (see: Eruvin 54). Speak every word, one by one. Then do it again, and again and again.

He connects this to the idea of eating bread. When a person eats (chews on) bread, the starch in the bread connects to the stuff in saliva called ptyalin. That's an enzyme which causes the starch to turn into sugar. So too with learning Gemara, when you chew on it, e.g. repeatedly learning it out loud, it will eventually become sweet.

The Nefesh Shimshon, authored by Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus, writes (Nefesh Shimshon: The Attainment of Torah: Sweetness and Success in Torah Learning, chapter: The Importance of Achieving Pleasure in Torah Learning, p. 59):

When we learn a certain masechta, we should know that it contains depth, and depth within depth, and so on. An integral part of emunah is the belief that in every word of Torah there is infinite wisdom, and it may be unfolded more and more, to endless profundity. The world was created with one goal in mind: that we should find Hashem, Who is, so to speak, the neshamah of everything. When we learn a sugya in Gemara, our goal should be to find Hashem, to find the point of kedusha that is hidden deep within the sugya.

The Sochatchover Gaon, Rav Bornstein, explains in his wonderful introduction of his work "Eglei Tal" that the essence of learning Torah, is to enjoy learning it:

ואדרבא כי זה היא עיקר מצות לימוד התורה להיות שש ושמח ומתענג בלימודו ואז דברי תורה נבלעין בדמו ומאחר שנהנה מדברי תורה הוא נעשה דבוק

Also, I would like to point out that the Steipler Gaon shares a wonderful piece of advice. In Karyana D'Igarta 1:21 the Steipler writes that true heightened succes is not always recognisable to the eye of a student. But, every blatt of Gemara the student learns and understands is indeed a great succes

In his work "Orchos Yosher", p. 407, Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt"l writes that one time, a person complained to Rav Chaim Kanievsky and said that learning was difficult to him. To this, Rav Chaim Kanievsky said that learning is supposed to be hard. When learning is easy, that's not good.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt"l also gives advice on what to do when a person does not enjoy his learning (Gemara in this instance). A certain person came to see Rav Chaim, complaining that he did not enjoy what he was learning. Rav Chaim told him (Orchos Yosher, p. 22):

Apparently, you do not understand what you learn. If you understand, you would enjoy learning.

To this, the person asked what he needed to do to achieve love of Torah. Rav Chaim said:

Learn a great deal of Gemara


There is an opinion that the aspect of Torah learning your neshama is drawn to is reflective of your tikkun in this life. If you do not feel driven to study the Gemarra, you may be driven to study other parts of the Torah. Many people think that the Babylonian Talmud is the only thing Jews have to learn. This is far from true. There are many, many texts to choose from. A few suggestions below:

  1. The Jerusalem Talmud: though its structure is similar to that of its Eastern counterpart, the Yerushalmi has a radically different feel and at times comes to startlingly different conclusions. There are those who will tell you you need to learn the entire Bavli first. There is in fact no such halacha.

  2. The Mishna- the Mishna is an amazing work in its own right and flows very differently from the Gemarra. Plus it comes in nice bite-sized portions- you can do a couple of mishnayot with commentary in ten minutes or sit down with an entire perek for an hour.

  3. Chumash- sure, everybody at least tries to read the parsha each week, but how many do so b'iyun with all the commentaries and not just Rashi? The Or haChayim is just one amazing commentary, we have many.

  4. Nakh- Possibly the most neglected area of our sifrei kodesh. There are many great commentaries on Nakh, and the texts themselves are riveting. Why should the Notzrim have a monoply on studying our prophets? The Arizal says that learning Neviim will bring the Geula

Which of course brings us to 5) study Sod HaTorah such as Ramchal, the Zohar, Kitvei Ari.

These are just a few suggestions. You may also find that if you take 6 months to a year off of studying the Bavli you may enjoy it when you come back to it.

  • That was not the question.
    – N.T.
    Oct 28, 2022 at 2:01
  • 4
    @N.T. It's not clear that that wasn't the question. Having a wider appreciation of Judaism can help you understand gemara in context.
    – The GRAPKE
    Oct 28, 2022 at 5:12
  • @N.T. I agree most of this is clearly not an answer, but the last line is.
    – Double AA
    Oct 28, 2022 at 13:24
  • Not really. You aren't giving him anything to connect to Gemara.
    – N.T.
    Oct 28, 2022 at 20:55

Learn other things for now until your appreciation of learning builds to the point of learning gemera as well.

Options for learning could include chaasidus, musser, tanach, ein Yaakov, Zohar, Sefer yetzira, etc.

Or alternatively maybe not enjoying general but at least taking some time during the week to learn a little bit at a time makes your learning that much more valuable because it's being done with kabalas ol malchus shamayim

  • Also not an answer.
    – N.T.
    Oct 28, 2022 at 20:56
  • The second answer can be an answer, because learning with someone else, can make it more enjoyable.
    – Shmuel
    Oct 29, 2022 at 18:59
  • 3
    @N.T. you not liking my answer doesn't disqualify my response as an answer. If you have something to contribute then provide your own answer instead of being a troll
    – Dude
    Oct 30, 2022 at 2:10
  • I like what you wrote, but it's not an answer. I put my two cents in the comments.
    – N.T.
    Oct 31, 2022 at 1:52

Have you considered learning Ein Yaakov? It discusses all of the Divrei Aggada. See Avoda Zara 19a where Rebbe Yehuda Hanasi says that a person should always learn what his heart desires. Also, see likutei halachos from the Chofetz Chaim where he writes in the hakdama that most people won't master Shas and would be better off learning Rif. Rambam in his hakdama to Mishna Torah writes that Shas isn't for most people and that they should learn His sefer instead. Regarding Halacha being dry, you may want to look in the שערים מצוינים בהלכה where he brings fascinating questions that arise from the psakim of the kitzur shulchan aruch.

  • Hi @user31723, welcome to Mi Yodeya. I recommend that you edit your first given answer to include the last lines of your second answer, since it's almost identical.
    – Shmuel
    Nov 1, 2022 at 19:14

Tell me if this makes sense. Firstly, what makes you assume that you should be enjoying learning gemara? Are you trying to get your reward in this world? 😉 Do you think this is something easy and simple and natural that it should just happen? Do you think you are zoche? Nowadays, it seems, we can’t just learn because it is the right thing to do anymore. We feel like that we really should be enjoying it, it should be making us feel like we are doing what we were born to do, and we are instinctively aware of what that should feel like, especially when it doesn't feel like that... And it is possible for everyone.

On the one hand, Karov Elecha Meod. It is natural for a Jew to keep all Torah with his heart, to love it and be in awe of it. On the other hand, how dare we presume to be able to achieve this? Meaning, don’t expect that we’ll be able to force this, or find some trick or technique, or settle for something superficial. Yes, it is possible to find superficial ways to boost our enjoyment of learning, but also recognise that there is an actual real acquisition of this, to naturally love learning, in a way that doesn’t require any forcing. Until we are zoche to receive that, don’t worry if you aren’t enjoying it! We can’t really, for that we really need penimius. This is a topic discussed a lot in Chassidus. Let’s talk about how you get it before we describe what it is.

The last chapter of Avot discusses acquiring Torah. When it is acquired, then it becomes part of who you are. It’s yours. Our neshama’s essence is knowledge (and middot). Meaning, we are designed to become what we know; you know that 2 + 2 = 4, and you can’t ever come to believe 2 + 2 = 5 without serious rewiring of who you are. However, we are, rightly, very guarded about which knowledge we let sink in to peniumius and transform us, because the effect is so powerful.

When it comes to Torah, what our neshama is really waiting for is to find out what is so important about it. Think about it, it’s Hashem’s Torah. Hashem’s Master Plan, Hashem’s people. We are a beings of purpose and given a cosmic mission. Surely, it has to be of such infinite profound importance, that one should open a page of gemara and feel that every word they read blows their mind, given that Hashem, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Infinitely Good wrote it! We don’t find it on the first daf, so we hope it’s on the second. It doesn’t come, so we keep hoping, maybe I just need a few more dapim, maybe it takes a while, maybe I need to finish a masechte, shas. When will the important thing come? Surely debating oxen falling in pits is not Hashem’s Infinite Cosmic Plan!

But Karov Elecha Meod. Just because we haven’t found the important thing yet, we definitely will if we sincerely want to. It won’t take too much effort, and it is guaranteed to be there. If we keep looking, if you decide to really go for it, go and ask everyone you can, try different shiurim, stay up late thinking about it, praying for it sincerely, it won’t take long and Hashem will bless us with success and we will find our personal chelek in Torah, our own inheritance and our free gift from Hashem. It is Karov Elecha Meod, and once one has it, it will unlock all of the Torah as in light of it, everything else will make much more sense.

So what does penimius look like? It’s hard to put into words, but the first word that comes to mind is personal. It means that you feel like it is yours, it is you. You certainly have this feeling with other things – we all do. Whether it be a sport, a hobby, a television series (l’havdil). We have that feeling like this is part of our identity, so much so that we would be proud to wear a t-shirt of it, our ears perk when we hear people speak about it, we feel tremendous pride when we hear someone call us an expert in it, we would love nothing more than to spend an evening discussing it or hearing a new chiddush about it or finding a new book about it*.

Dear Yid, when one has discovered what is so important, when one has one's “aha, I knew it! I was saying this all along!” and they are on the same page as Hashem, then they feel this penimius way about Torah, about Hashem, about the Jewish people (all three are one after all, see Zohar). It won’t feel like people who learn gemara and love it are geeks - they themself will love it and it will feel natural and normal and they will wonder why everyone else treats them like a geek now! They will be very close with Hashem and get excited to find out more and more about Him (and gemara is vital for that!), because, after all, the Torah is revealing Him in every word. It will be a real “inspiration”. It won’t wear off and require constant maintenance, just like one don’t need “chizuk” to find the energy to watch one's favourite sports team or whatever.

I can’t tell you what the important thing is (and thus, there is no direct answer to your question). Everyone has their own mission in this world. There are 12 tribes, and 600,000 letters. But please, don’t seek superficial answers, don’t settle for ignorance, and especially don’t defend ignorance by declaring “we can’t know” what is the importance. We CAN, well, thoroughly, deeply (doesn't have to be complex, but deep and real). It is all available (despite what you might hear! maybe people once used to ask their important question(s) and gave up!). We have so many different opportunities to learn the inner parts of the Torah – whatever it is we need to personally know – after 3000 years and many amazing holy teachers, any question you can have has been answered somewhere, and now we have incredible technology and proliferation of access. One might not find it in one's gemara class, but keep seeking, asking and searching and of course DAVENING! Hashem will bless us that we should be zoche to find our penimius in Torah sooner rather than later.

If you have already found your penimius, but are still feeling uninspired, please keep learning more and more. Find that area that got you excited once and see if you can go deeper, and deeper still. The Torah is endless and you can always go deeper, enough to fill up a lifetime of endless joyful learning and getting closer to Hashem.

Otherwise, if you have no clue where to start, then I might recommend starting with some Chabad Chassidus, which is all about very deep Yediyat Hashem, rethinking Judaism as a relationship with Him, rather than a religion (see this amazing Rambam), and explains things like this – most of this answer is based on Chabad Chassidus and I am happy to provide sources if you have a question on any particular point. You or anyone reading this can also start a chat with me and I am happy to go into more detail, give examples and hear more about what’s going on, but if this hasn’t come through enough yet, ultimately this is personal to you, and nothing less will suffice, the less external “impurities” the better!

A question to think about: A man comes to me and says “Rabbi, I bring my wife coffee every morning, I have been doing so diligently for 30 years. But I must say, I’m just not getting anything out of it. I don’t feel any connection or how this is relevant.” What should we say to him?

*We are like it with these things because we feel we chose them for ourselves (conversely, when a friend recommends something for us, that in itself is often off-putting - we like to make our own choices), so part of it is choosing Hashem, in the same way He chose us, and this choosing has to be from us, and not feel like we are being made to do so by someone else.


The answer depends a lot on the type of person you are, and why you find gemorah irrelevant and dry.

If you do find things like mathematics and logic interesting, but don't find this with gemorah, that would be a strong indicator that you just haven't had the right gemorah teacher to make it interesting.

If, however, you find other forms of abstract logic just as dry, the problem is probably more complex. It may still be possible to find a way to make gemorah interesting for you, but there is no generic answer that can be given here. If you were to describe what kind of things you do enjoy learning, it may be possible to help further.


Did you try to learn some introductions / "theory of Gmara" ?

I would personally recommend the "Mavo Hatalmud" from Maharat"s Hayes (findable here); and also to try to find some insight on how the Rishonim - maybe other than Tosfot - read the Gmara, the Haggadot, the Drashot ...

Also, to learn well who of the Tannaim/Amoraim lived in the same times / places.

All this bring, to be honest, more questions than answers. But that take (at least for me) the Gmara to something more "true".



The Rebbe Rayatz says that learning the three cycles of daily chumash with Rashi, daily Tanya, and daily tehillim corresponding to the day of the month brings brochos for a livelihood and many other blessings

One time there was a simple yid, tinuk sheneeshbah who didn't know much about the commandants, who was sick in a hospital bed and a family friend went to the Rebbe to ask what to do

The Rebbe said that the person in need of healing should start studying ChiTaS. The reply was that he was very old and didn't really know how to read it in Hebrew (pretty sure), then the rebbe said that a family member should learn it in his behalf.

When the response was that there was no family member that could do so, then the Rebbe said that a close friend if his should learn, and soon the guy who himself was asking the rebbe starting learning it on his behalf, and soon the one who was sick got better

The cycle of chumash, tehillim and Tanya really goes back to the Baal shem tov

Wait, wasn't the Tanya written after the Baal shem tov?

In the times of the tzemach tzedek, the great "endarkenment" began to take root, and the Baal shem tov came to the tzemach tzedek in a dream and told him that if he would be an expert on the words of the chumash, Tanya and tehillim, then he can have the power to overcome the secular advancement

It wasn't officially divided up into unique sections of daily study until the rebbe Rayatz but that's the general origins

(Sources can be found in Chabad.org if you need specifics let me know)

Another cycle instituted by the Rebbe himself in 5744 is to learn 3 chapters of the Mishneh Torah every day

It says that anyone who learns halachos every day is assured to be a "son of the world to come", meaning, to "inherit" the world to come

It doesn't only mean after a certain amount of time, but mainly as one learns the halachos, every day, one is instantly taken over with the infinite power of the World to Come, even in this world, to help with all kinds of brochos in livelihood and other things

The gemara is associated with the name Elokim (gematria nature) which corresponds to how the Creator hides Himself in the world (and through learning the gemara one uncovers the hidden essence of the Creator which is beyond revelation, which is a very intense things to do).

Except in the gemara, as opposed to the world, there is the level of the "living Elokim", which, even though it's still concealment, but it's a higher level of energy in the form of concealment

This is because the gemara is mainly made up of different opinions and disputes, and the main purpose of learning it is to "elevate" the energy of the disputes (see 5666 Sefer Hamaamarim, toldos), (these and these are the words of the living Elokim)

While the Mishneh Torah starts out with the initials of the four letter name of Havaweeyuh, which is an open manifestation of the essence of the Creator ("the name of the Essence"), which is beyond concealment (even the highest level of concealment alluded to in the term "living Elokim"), such that there's no disputes or arguments, which is the whole idea of the world to come, which is when there will "be no more war, jealousy, strife... (Because) Goodness will be in great abundance, and the world will be filled with the knowledge of Hashem (4 letter name) like the water covers the seabed " (conclusion of Mishneh Torah)

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