Recently, I have had the opportunity to spend a few hours a week at a kollel. I'm not used to self-guided learning, and I don't know what to learn from all the different seforim that exist (other than gemara). What should I use this time to learn? I'm looking for recommendations of specific seforim that I can use to gain broad experience with learning in general (halacha, parsha, or anything else).

  • (I don't really know if TB is better or POB.)
    – Double AA
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 18:32
  • based on most recent edit of OP i vote to reopen Commented May 21, 2015 at 18:40
  • 2
    Sean, I recommend that you either edit in more detailed criteria that the selected study program should fulfill or convert this question to a process question along the lines of "How should one choose?" Either way could make it more possible to provide answers that can be compared and evaluated objectively.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 18:46
  • Wow! Now HERE is a user who could benefit from an idea I had thought of putting as a video - "Bes Midrash for Dummies" _ I don't mean to imply, Sean that you're a "dummy". What I mean is, someone like you (even the most "experienced" learner) could use a guide to how to locate the right books for the right purposes. The Bet Midrash can be overwhelming to many. I don't know what many of the book titles are for, and if I'm a "novice" to the Bet Midrash, I'm uncomfortable stopping someone who's learning to ask, "Which sefer do I use to find out about what Tosfot meant when he said X".
    – DanF
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 20:09

1 Answer 1


It is very important to have a Halacha seder. Learn the Shulchan Aruch with the Mishna Berura, as this will help you gain practical knowledge for the rest of the day.

However, if you are a beginner I would start with the Chayei Adam or the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch.

If your primary focus is on Gemara, the best thing to do is not to get caught up in the plethora of different sefarim on the Gemara. Rather, focus on learning "pshat" - the inner mechanics of the sugya very well, including Rashi and Tosfos,

After mastering Pshat you should look at the commentary of the Meharsha, as his peirush is geared specifically to better understanding the pshat in the sugya. Then look at the other Rishonim ie. Ramban, Rambam, Rosh, Ran and then the Ritva and the Rashba.

Once you have a handle on this, you can move on to other books, as without a deep understanding of the sugya more often than not you will not understand their true intentions and chiddushim on the sugya.

  • We have to know your present level to be able to answer . From your question I doubt if you are really up to all that this answer states. So please tell us your present level and if you are learning alone or with a chavrusa.
    – cham
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 19:58
  • There is no simple way in getting broad experience and there really is no specific sefer to help you. A good shiur (of which there are not many) is the only real answer.
    – cham
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 20:01
  • Good advice thank you Commented Jul 1, 2020 at 15:58

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