I have long taken for granted that it is important to be m'chadesh chiddush (compose new and novel torah insights). However, I realize I have no source for that notion. Is there any source which indicates that it is important to try to come up with chiddushim, or perhaps is simply studying torah without adding any novel interpretation equally as meritorious?
אשרי מי שמתחדש ד״ת על פיו וכל מי שמתחדש דברי תורה על פיו דומה כמי שמשמיעין אותו מן השמים ואומר לו כך אמר הקב״ה בני בנה לי בית המדרש ששכר הגדול שיש לי באוצרי שלך הוא ובשבילך אני מציל את ישראל
— which I'm having a hard time translating, but it seems to mean:
Happy is he through whose mouth words of Torah are created. Anyone through whose mouth words of Torah are created is like someone who is called from Heaven and told, "God says, 'My son, build me a study hall, for the vast reward in my storehouse is yours, and because of you I rescue the Jews'".
נפש החיים שער ד פרק יב:
וכל שכן חידושין אמיתים דאורייתא המתחדשין ע"י האדם. אין ערוך לגודל נוראות נפלאות ענינם ופעולתם למעלה. שכל מלה ומלה פרטית המתחדשת מפי האדם. קב"ה נשיק לה ומעטר לה. ונבנה ממנה עולם חדש בפ"ע. והן הן השמים החדשים והארץ החדשה שאמר הכתוב. כמ"ש בהקדמת הזוהר ח"א ד, ב
(my translation) How much more so every chiddush in Torah made by man, there is no measure of the greatness of its awesomeness ... every word of chiddush from the mouth of man, Hashem kisses it and crowns it, and builds from it a new world of its own, and these are the heavens and earth which the verse refers to, as is described in the Zohar
And see further there for more.
From Mishnat Rebi Aharon 1:203
The Mesilat Yesharim writes in his introductions for things known and evident are hidden from people due to their being so evident. Therefore it is necessary to expand the matters and contemplate them, namely, the remedy to increase recognition in them is "lechadesh" (to renew something) in the matter. For the chidush (new thing) causes the entire matter to be clearer so that the evident and familiar receive a new light and shine. The sages said (Sotah 3a): "every parsha that was repeated was repeated only for some chidush (new thing) in it. It was possible to say this new chidush in the first parsha. But the benefit of repeating it is when there is a chidush (new thing). The sages already exhorted us [Midrash Vaetchanan on the verse Devarim 6:6]: "And these words, which I command you this day"] - "that they be in your eyes every day like new".
For the old does not mashpia (influence) a man and he is not affected by it. Only by adding a new idea the matter becomes changed entirely. And likewise by expounding an old matter from a different angle they also become as new....
cited here. see there for more (bottom of page)