In Judaism, the study of torah is considered above all else. However, there is also a need to be able to provide for one's family.

How does one calculate the amount of time one should devote to torah study and how much should be spent towards generating income.

  • 1
    The study of Torah is above all else? What does that mean?
    – Double AA
    Sep 15, 2013 at 22:37
  • We have discussed something similar. judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/30426/…
    – eramm
    Sep 16, 2013 at 15:51
  • it all depends what your individual needs are. some people can live with little and keep a smile on their faces and some need more. consult your L.O.R.
    – ray
    Oct 17, 2013 at 9:28

4 Answers 4


The Chafetz Chaim writes (in the Sha'ar HaTziun) that a person should ask himself 'would that it were that I had to support someone else, how much would be sufficient?' And then apply that to himself. I'm sure a lot of extras would go out the window.

  • 1
    What kind of someone else are we talking about: someone who is used to extravagances or not? The Shulchan Aruch rules that you have to support someone up to the standard of living they expect. If so, this answer is circular and not helpful.
    – Double AA
    Sep 17, 2013 at 14:50
  • I understood his point to be less technical (in the sense that the koach hatziur is not bound by choshen mishpat). I think that when most people read his eitzah they say "I guess I don't really need as much as I think I do". It's a mussar point.
    – Gavriel
    Sep 17, 2013 at 17:10

when you were on your honeymoon how many times did you ask yourself how much time to spend with your wife! just imagine your wife knew that you even thought of the question ...! this is about passion for torah not only ticking the box of minimum requirement!


here's a parable from the shaar bechina ch.3:

How analogous these types are to two brothers who inherited from their father a piece of land that needed cultivation. They divided it between themselves. Neither of them possessed anything else. One of them was sensible and industrious; the other was the opposite.

The sensible brother realized that if he occupied himself solely with his plot of land, this would prevent him from earning his livelihood and attaining his immediate needs. So he hired himself out as a day-laborer in a field belonging to another person and was thus able to subsist on the wages he received. After he had finished his daily task he worked an hour every evening in his own field industriously and zealously. When he had saved enough out of his wages to keep him for one or more days, he stopped working for others and labored on his property with the utmost energy and zeal. In this course he persevered until his plot was in a proper state of cultivation. When the harvest time came he gathered the products of his field and orchard, stored them and had sufficient produce to support himself for the next year. Then he cultivated his land as he desired and planted more trees until it not only produced enough for his maintenance, but yielded a surplus with which he bought additional land.

The foolish brother, recognizing that working on his land alone would prevent him from earning a living, neglected his property completely, hired himself out to others as a field-laborer, spent the whole of the wages he received and saved nothing. Whenever he had enough left of his earnings to provide him with food for a single day, he turned it into a day of rest, idleness and amusement, never giving a thought to his property. The hours during which he was free on the days when he worked, he spent in the bath. His land remained waste and yielded nothing. It was all covered with thorns and thistles. Its fences were broken. Its trees were swept away by a flood. It was in the condition described by the wise man in the text (Mishlei 24:30-31) "I passed by the field of the slothful and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down."

The intelligent reader who reflects intently upon this parable will draw from it the lesson as to his final end, which is his true home, and he will work on it with all his might. While for his earthly needs, he will work as one does for others, in moderation and only to the extent absolutely necessary. The fool, however, acts oppositely in two ways. His interests here on earth he pursues with zeal and diligence while for his welfare in the hereafter he utterly ignores; even as the wise man said, when he observed the fool (Mishlei 24.32), "Then I saw and considered it well. I looked upon it and drew lessons".

Tov Halevanon commentary there:

"will draw from it the lesson as to his final end" - For his land refers to his neshama (soul), which G-d gave to him "to work it and to guard it" (Bereishis 2:15) in purity, to succeed in planting and bearing fruit in the vineyard of G-d, until the time it is called back. The intelligent man sees that if he spends all of his time working only for his soul, he will not be able to earn a living to provide for his body, and like our sages said: "all torah study without working for a livelihood will in the end be neglected" (Avot 2:3). Therefore, he sees proper to hire himself out to some work, or some business dealing with faith, in order to sustain himself. But when he is free from this work, he returns diligently to torah study and service of G-d until he reaches the level of Tzadik (righteous). Then G-d will direct special attention on him to give him abundance and to bless his handiwork


We are commanded in Shemot 20:9 'Sheshet Yamim Ta'Avod'. According to Talmud Shabbat 127a, learning Torah is equal to various mitvaot of Chesed and Tefilah. Shimon HaTzadik teaches that the world is based on not only Torah and Avodah, but Gemilut HaSadim too (Pirkei Avot 1:2). If one learns Torah but does not keep what they have learnt, then one has not truly learnt it. The purpose of learning Torah is after all, to keep it. Titen Chesed LeAvraham.


  • But how much time should you spend on each? Oct 18, 2013 at 2:26

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