Someone said today that they saw once in one of the seforim of the Chafetz Chaim that he wrote that if someone is learning Torah (a specific topic) and the veers unnecessarily to another topic of Torah (not related to what he is learning) that it is akin to "bittul Torah".

I was somewhat surprised by this. Does anyone know the source or perhaps know a different source (outside of the writings of the Chafetz Chaim)?

  • Changing subjects helps me learn better and keeps more focused. Hard for me to understand how that would be bitul Torah
    – Dude
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 22:07
  • Doesn't the Talmud abruptly change topics all the time? Commented May 1, 2023 at 0:29
  • 1
    There is a concept of bittul Torah in quality, not just quantity. The Chofetz Chaim could mean that by getting sidetracked, the quality of learning suffers.
    – N.T.
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 7:43

2 Answers 2


The Chofetz Chaim in the end of Ahavas Chesed included a kuntres from an earlier gadol called Marganisa Tova. It is a list of 44 behaviors a person should be careful with every day.

In item number 4, he says one shouldn’t jump from one limud to another during learning.

Here’s a picture of the page enter image description here


In Megillah 3a it says that one must be “Mevatel” his learning in order to hear the Megillah, which is also Torah, yet it is still called “Mevatlin”

  • The chafetz chaim I think meant it stronger...Not that you are "mavatel" to do a mitzvah, but it's like bittul Torah on the level of learning and then speaking "davarim batalim"
    – Yehoshua
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 21:59
  • 1
    – Fred
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 3:21

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