A Jewish man has an obligation to learn Torah.

However, not every Jewish man is capable of learning well. Even if he would quit his job and go to a full time kollel, he wouldn't accomplish that much, and most of the time would be wasted.

For such a man , can he fulfill his obligation of Talmud Torah through his sons?

If he sends his sons to a good yeshiva from a young age, they will have the skills and understanding necessary to learn Torah "day and night".

Since the sons would not exist, nor have that early education, except for the father's decision to have children and pay for their early yeshiva education, would the father fulfill his obligation of Talmud Torah via his sons' learning?

EDIT: If someone answers no: how is enabling ones own son to learn Torah, different than the "Yissachar / Zevulun" partnership, where one enables another man, perhaps not even a relative, to learn Torah?

  • The Yissakhar/Zevulun partnership is different, as Rav Mansour says, because even the enabler learns a little bit. It's not that he's fully absolved of learning simply because he enables another to learn more than he does. As a side note, I believe Rav Mansour also said in the name of the Ben Ish Hai that there is an opinion which holds that by reading Qeri'at Shema' one fulfills the bare minimum requirement of Talmud Torah.
    – Lee
    Oct 30, 2014 at 9:43
  • So if a father learns a little bit, the rest of his obligation can be fulfilled through his talmid chacham son?
    – Jake
    Oct 30, 2014 at 9:46
  • 1
    "[M]ost of the time [spent learning Torah] would be wasted." By what metric would you consider this time wasted?
    – Isaac Moses
    Oct 30, 2014 at 17:25
  • @IsaacMoses not being able to retain what is learned, and/or not being able to focus on the pilpul, and not really getting the issue in the first place.
    – Jake
    Nov 4, 2014 at 13:18

2 Answers 2


Rambam Hilchos Talmud Torah

Halacha 4

If a person wants to study Torah and he has a son whom he should teach Torah, his [study] takes priority over [that of] his son. If his son is wiser and a more creative thinker and thus capable of understanding what he studies more than he [himself] is, his son is given priority.

Even though his son is granted priority, he should not neglect [his own studies]. For just as he is commanded to teach his son, he is commanded to teach himself.

Halacha 8...

Every Jewish man is obligated to study Torah, whether he is poor or rich, whether his body is healthy and whole or afflicted by difficulties, whether he is young or an old man whose strength has diminished.



The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch writes in that סימן כז - הלכות תלמוד תורה that those who cannot learn should support others who learn.

Surely paying for one's son's Torah education qualifies.

However, the Kitzur ends by reminding us that no matter how busy and/or unscholarly one is, one should set aside time - every day and night - to learn, for even a few moments.

That said, in סימן לד - הלכות צדקה the Kitzur says that paying for one's son's Torah education qualifies as Tzedaka, and they actually have precedence over other charitable causes. He doesn't mention anything about fullfiling one's obligation of Talmud Torah, but it may be self understood.

סימן כז - הלכות תלמוד תורה - סעיף ב' ‏

כָּל אִישׁ יִשְֹרָאֵל חַיָּב לִלְמֹד תּוֹרָה, בֵּין עָנִי בֵּין עָשִׁיר, בֵּין שָׁלֵם בְּגוּפוֹ בֵּין בַּעַל יִסּוּרִין, בֵּין בָּחוּר בֵּין זָקֵן גָּדוֹל. אֲפִלּוּ עָנִי הַמַּחְזִיר עַל הַפְּתָחִים, חַיָּב לִקְבֹּעַ לוֹ זְמַן לְתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה בַּיּוֹם וּבַלַּיְלָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְהָגִיתָ בּוֹ יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה. וּמִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ כְּלָל לִלְמֹד, אוֹ שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לוֹ מֵחֲמַת רֹב הַטְרָדוֹת, יְסַפֵּק לַאֲחֵרִים הַלּוֹמְדִים, וְתֵחָשֵׁב לוֹ כְּאִלּוּ לוֹמֵד בְּעַצְמוֹ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁדָּרְשׁוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה בַּפָּסוּק שְׂמַח זְבוּלֻן בְּצֵאתְךָ וְיִשָׂשְׂכָר בְּאֹהֳלֶיךָ, זְבוּלֻן וְיִשָׂשְׂכָר עָשׂוּ שֻׁתָּפוּת. זְבוּלֻן עָסַק בִּסְחוֹרָה וְסִפֵּק לְיִשָּׂשְׂכַר פַּרְנָסָתוֹ, שֶׁיִהְיֶה לוֹ פְּנַאי לַעַסֹק בַּתּוֹרָה. לְפִיכָךְ הִקְדִּים הַפָּסוּק זְבוּלֻן לְיִשָֹּשְֹכָר, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁתּוֹרָתוֹ שֶׁל יִשָֹשְֹכָר עַל יְדֵי זְבוּלֻן הָיְתָה. וְכֵן מָצִינוּ בַּמִּשְׁנָה (זבחים פ"א), שִׁמְעוֹן אֲחִי עֲזַרְיָה אוֹמֵר וְכוּ', וְנִקְרָא שִׁמְעוֹן עַל שֵׁם אָחִיו עֲזַרְיָה, לְפִי שֶׁעֲזַרְיָה עָסַק בִּפְרַקְמַטְיָא, וְהָיָה מְסַפֵּק צָרְכֵי שִׁמְעוֹן אָחִיו, שֶׁהָיָה עוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה, וְהִתְנוּ בֵּינֵיהֶם, שֶׁיְהֵא חֵלֶק לַעֲזַרְיָה, בִּשְׂכַר לִמּוּדוֹ שֶׁל שִׁמְעוֹן. וְעַל כָּל פָּנִים יִתְאַמֵּץ כָּל אָדָם לִלְמֹד, אֲפִלּוּ רַק מְעַט, בְּכָל יוֹם וּבְכָל לַיְלָה. ‏

סימן לד - הלכות צדקה - סעיף ו' ‏

הַנּוֹתֵן לְבָנָיו וּבְנוֹתָיו הַגְּדוֹלִים שֶׁאֵינוֹ חַיָּב בִּמְזוֹנוֹתֵיהֶם (שֶׁהֵם יוֹתֵר מִבְּנֵי שֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים), כְּדֵי לְלַמֵּד אֶת הַבָּנִים תּוֹרָה, וּלְהַנְהִיג אֶת הַבָּנוֹת בְּדֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה, וְכֵן הַנּוֹתֵן מַתָּנוֹת לְאָבִיו (שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְפַרְנְסוֹ, רַק מִמְּעוֹת צְדָקָה שֶׁלּוֹ), וְהֵם צְרִיכִים לְכָךְ, הֲרֵי זֶה בִּכְלָל צְדָקָה. וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לְהַקְדִּימוֹ לַאֲחֵרִים. וַאֲפִלּוּ אֵינוֹ בְּנוֹ וְלֹא אָבִיו אֶלָּא קְרוֹבוֹ, הוּא קוֹדֵם לְכָל אָדָם. וַעֲנִיֵּי בֵּיתוֹ קוֹדְמִין לַעֲנִיֵּי עִירוֹ, וַעֲנִיֵּי עִירוֹ קוֹדְמִין לַעֲנִיֵּי עִיר אַחֶרֶת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר לְאָחִיךָ לַעֲנִיֶּךָ וּלְאֶבְיוֹנְךָ בְּאַרְצֶךָ. אֲבָל גַּבַּאי צְדָקָה הַמְחַלֵּק אֶת הַצְּדָקָה, צָרִיךְ לִזָּהֵר שֶׁלֹּא יַרְבֶּה לִקְרוֹבָיו יוֹתֵר מִלִּשְׁאָר עֲנִיִּים (רנ"א רנ"ז). ‏

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