I went to Yeshiva all my life until I finished High school and after that I fell out of learning torah, whether its chumash or gemara etc... It's been 10 years since I last opened a gemara, or chumash or any other book. I need help choosing what I should be learning as I need to refresh from A-Z

I do keep Shabbat every week, put tefiilin every day, and I keep kosher but when it comes to learning I want to get back into it but not sure what to go back into as I'm a beginner or a bit more advanced than a beginner after not learning for 10 years.

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    While I wish you great success in this endeavor, I'm not sure this is the best place to get assistance for your particular case
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 15:44
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    1) "Shnayim mikra" w/an Artscroll Chumash. Best if read w/trop if you remember that & you can refer to the English if needed. For Targum Onkelos, even if you are a total newbie, still good to read it - if you do it week after week and year after year regularly, you will pick up the meaning. If not enough time for all this regularly, at least do a single weekly run-through of reading the parsha out loud. 2) Gemara maybe more challenging. Don't try daf yomi just yet, but there are many good online daf yomi shiurim which you can use at your own slower pace eg. outorah.org/series/2925
    – EraserX
    Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 15:58
  • Try learning something you didn't learn in yeshiva. For example, if you went to a chassidic yeshiva, try learning some litvish Torah etc.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 16:51
  • Perhaps you can ask a rabbi to put you on an appropriate learning schedule. Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 18:32
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    I'd agree with @DoubleAA. It really depends on your personality, preferences, etc. For some people, fanning the spark to a flame involves learning mussar; for others, it involves the intellectual depth of learning a sugya b'iyun; for still others, it's doing something as "dry" as shnayim mikra. It really depends on you.
    – Yehuda
    Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 18:33

4 Answers 4


A core principle of choosing what to learn and that it should be something you enjoy (see Avoda Zara 19a). Did you have particular areas of Torah you used to like? When you write you want a refresher, do you mean to refresh your knowledge across all areas of Torah? These questions are best addressed by a rabbi in a conversation with you to help guide you.

Nevertheless here is some general guidance

  • Learning Chumash is the foundation of everything, you could certainly start with the portion of Torah of the week, either with Rashi or with a commentary you like (e.g., artscroll's Stone Chumash, Ramban)
  • if by refresher, you mean going through the entire Torah, you might consider learning Mishna Yomi either through the text with a good commentary (ideas here) or with short audio classes
  • alternatively, if you have more time you might consider learning daf yomi, many followers of Eli Stefansky's shiur were people who had left learning and reported after trying his class for a few days that, for the first time, they fell in love with learning again
  • beyond this the sky is the limit: halacha (e.g., Rambam Yomi, Mishna Brura Yomi), Tanach (1-2 chapters a day), musar (starting with first 13 chapters of Mesilat Yesharim), hasidut, etc.

If you like audio/video shiurim, OU has a very nice portal with much material.

See also this related question I asked on what a Jew should learn regularly which might provide other starting points, and further ideas in this question.

  • A big principle of choosing what to learn and that it should be something you enjoy. I've heard that before, but there is also tremendous pressure to learn halacha, and not learn too much Hashkafa etc. Hard to find a balance that pleases everyone! Amazing answer and links
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 12:53
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    You have heard this before as it is a gemara in Avoda Zara 19a. And yes you are right since the objective of learning is to practice, learning halacha is critical. It is difficult however to learn just halacha unless one is highly dedicated - so important to balance with other things that "warm up the heart" (e.g., Chumash, Tanach, musar, etc.)
    – mbloch
    Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 13:35
  • Thanks for that great source. There is a lot of complexity about those things: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/15139/31534 and judaism.stackexchange.com/a/75582/31534 and also this comes to mind: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/39100/…
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 14:48

Shnayim mikra is probably a good place to start, you can do 1 aliyah a day or something like that - I believe R' Moshe also holds that one can do English instead of Targum if they can't understand Targum (but speak to your LOR).

If there is a perek/masechta that you feel you have a special kesher with and/or remember well, or one that interests you a lot, start off learning that, as it will be easier for you - because learning is hard. It may be a good idea to get both a regular Gemara and an Artscroll gemara and use the regular Gemara as your main one, and only use the Artscroll when you need it, so that you don't become dependent on it.

And daily mussar is a necessity - there are plenty of mussar seforim with English, such as the R' Avigdor Miller Mesilas Yeshorim.

But the most important thing is a schedule - no matter how deep one's convictions are, life happens and all of a sudden its night. So maybe something like learn 1 aliyah a day by lunch, learn gemara for x amount of time in the evening, and mussar for 5 minutes before maariv - something like that. #KoveaItimLatorah

And chavrusos are great - besides for being a tremendous mechayev, its always more geshmak to have someone to learn with. If you don't know anyone to ask often the Rov of the shul can set you up, or maybe there is a local kollel/night kollel that you can find someone in.

The ikar is to learn stuff that will give you back a geshmak in learning - instead of looking at it as you have to cram all that missing knowledge into your head, which can likely lead to burn out, look at it as getting back your geshmak in learning - and the thirst to know more will come mimaila, by itself.

Hatzlacha, and you should be zocheh to climb higher and higher on the sulam aliyah of Torah and Yirash Shamayim.

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    "Shnayim mikra is probably a good place to start" "The ikar is to learn stuff that will give you back a geshmak in learning" these seem contradictory
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 16:14
  • Well because its a halacha, and it also is generally quite rewarding for people to have a basic knowledge of the parsha. I can speak for me and the people I know, at least, its very rewarding to understand what's going on. If someonestruggles with shnayim mikra and they fiund it really not enjoyable then I guess they should speak to a Rov about it, but otherwise it is both a halacha and something that is benificial in many ways.
    – Kovy Jacob
    Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 16:20
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    It might be a halacha and beneficial but it's notoriously laborious to many.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 17:01
  • @DoubleAA I guess I thought about it regarding using English. I found it extremely hard with the Targum as I wasn't able to read it well and also didn't understand it, but it became much more enjoyable with English instead of Targum Onkelos.
    – Kovy Jacob
    Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 17:02
  • @DoubleAA I found it to be that 1 aliyah a day with English isn't too hard.
    – Kovy Jacob
    Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 17:03

If you download the Chabad app it will break down the weekly torah portions and has plenty of resources where you can study at your own pace.

  • Or simply go here
    – Shmuel
    Commented Nov 10, 2023 at 13:04

How about Chok L'Yisrael? You get a daily piece of Chumash, Mishna, and Zohar. Furthermore consider the following regarding Zohar. And also, in terms of difficulty, Sefer haMidot and other Breslev sefarim are always written in very easy language.

  1. על ידי לימוד הזוהר נעשה חשק לכל מיני לימודים של התורה הקדושה. (שיחות הר"ן אות קח)

Translation: learning Zohar makes you want to learn all the learnings of the holy Torah.

  1. לימוד הזוהר בגירסא בעלמא בונה עולמות, וכל שכן אם יזכה ללמוד ולהבין פירוש מאמר אחד, יעשה בו תיקון למעלה בשעה אחת, מה שלא יעשה בלימוד הפשט שנה תמימה כו'.

(כסא מלך לתיקו"ז, תיקון מג אות ס)

Translation: Just reading the words of the Zohar builds worlds, all the more so if he merits to learn and understand the explanation of one teaching, he gets a repair up above instantly that he is unable to attain in a whole year of learning Pshat.

  1. לימודו כל השנה אינו כלום אם אינו מעטרו ביום אחד בלימוד הקבלה, כי שקול הוא כנגד כולם. (שם)

Translation: learning all year is worthless if it's not crowned one day with learning Kabbalah, because it counts as much virtually everything, relatively.

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    This would be a good answer except for the fact that Kabbalah is largely contingent on how much you have learnt prior i.e. toras hanigleh vs toras hanistar, so if he is just getting back into learning he needs to build up to this point, as well as according to many poskim - the learning of kabbalah is age dependent.
    – Dov
    Commented Dec 11, 2023 at 9:26

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