For how long must one study the Talmud in order to have a great understanding of it.

Of course, some would use more time than others but there must be a general answer?

  • 1
    Why must there be a general answer?? – Double AA Feb 21 '16 at 15:52
  • @DoubleAA If there is not a general answer,how can you teach many people? – Aigle Feb 21 '16 at 16:27
  • "A great understanding" is not at all well-defined – Isaac Moses Feb 22 '16 at 15:19

The most popular Talmud study program is daf yomi ("a page a day") whereby many Jews around the world study the same page of Talmud every day, typically spending 40-60 mins on a page (2-sided). To go through the 2700 pages of Talmud Bavli takes 7.5 years this way. And there are hundred more pages in Talmud Yerushalmi.

Now most people studying Talmud this way would agree it is still quite superficial and only gives them a broad overview but without the mastery needed to plumb the full depth of each page.

So the answer to your question is many many years - possibly all of one's life. As Ben Bag says in Pirkei Avot (5:26)

Turn the Torah over and over for everything is in it. Look into it, grow old and worn over it, and never move away from it, for you will find no better portion than it.

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    If I may make a comment, I'm not sure that the daf Hayomi has been designed for people who can not yet study. – kouty Feb 20 '16 at 23:39
  • @kouty, see this article [link] ( en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daf_Yomi) – sye81397 Feb 21 '16 at 17:34
  • @sye81397 I read it my best but I did not understand what you wanted to show me – kouty Feb 21 '16 at 17:45
  • @kouty the Genesis part describes Rav Meir Shapiro's zt"l his idea and the thought behind it! – sye81397 Feb 22 '16 at 15:45

Rabbi Kook said following a Midrash in Masechet Hagiga 27a (see Rashi) of a salamander that is under the fire for 7 years, that a person only can know if he is fit for the Torah studying if he studied 7 year... If he saw a blessing in his studies he shall be a Talmid Hacham (if not...).

Also I remember from my Rabbi in the Yeshiva (I forgot his "mekorot") saying that just after 40 years a person can understand the set of mind of his Rabbi.

Of course it is understood that today it is hard (but not impossible) to devote your self to so much Torah (unless someone started young), but I just wanted to pass the answers I got.

Ofcourse the knowledge in gmara differs and someone that studied only one year has more knowledge than one that didn't and one of 7 year etc.

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