If a learned person has the choice of learning something by themselves that they never learned before and going in depth into it, vs learning with someone who otherwise wouldn’t learn but you’d be learning something basic that you already know, what would our rabbis suggest to do? Focus in yourself and grow your knowledge, or learn with the other person, even if it’ll be low level, and thus imbue some Torah into his life?

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    Is this a general question of how much chesed to do? If we love another Jew, we should want to help them grow. But no one expects someone to do chesed all the time and never take care of himself. Do both.
    – MichoelR
    Feb 2 at 21:43
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    Truth is, though, that you may be astonished how much you yourself learn by having to explain "low-level" topics to a beginner, if you do it honestly. Torah at every level contains worlds.
    – MichoelR
    Feb 2 at 21:45
  • @MichoelR I think a good place to find opinions about that might be the "machloket" between R' Weinberg and R' Weinbach of Aish and Ohr Somayach respectively. I believe the latter believed 10% of our time should be for chesed/outreach
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Feb 4 at 16:10

1 Answer 1


R Moshe Feinstein has a teshuva (EH 4:24:4, right side of here, about mid-page) where he writes that a talmid chacham should spend a portion of his time teaching others, even if it means giving up some of his own learning. He writes this is for sure 10% of this time, possibly up to 20%.

R Moshe finds a proof in the gemara (Eruvin 54b) where R Perida taught one of his student 400 times the same lesson, and mentions this was for sure in the time he was giving others.

See also this broader essay on the topic from 1973 which I scanned for MY.

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    Thank you! Gonna leave this open for a bit more to see if anyone else has some insights but if not I’ll mark this Feb 3 at 23:39
  • Don't understand the proof about R' Preida. Maybe that was his job?
    – MichoelR
    Feb 4 at 1:32
  • @MichoelR R Perida was a Tanna in Eretz Yisrael. The gemara (Megila 27b) writes about him "On the third occasion, Rabbi Perida was once asked by his disciples: In the merit of which virtue were you blessed with longevity? He said to them: In all my days, no person ever arrived before me to the study hall, as I was always the first to arrive." Think of him as a gadol hador, his job was not to teach beginners 400x the same thing. Imagine asking R Eliashiv or R Schachter to teach you 400x something .... the fact he did testifies (writes R Moshe) to the need to spend time helping others
    – mbloch
    Feb 4 at 7:12

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