I read the following on Yerushalmi Online:

Rav said: As soon as man goes forth from Halachic to Scripture study he no longer has peace. And Shmuel said: It means one who leaves Talmud for Mishnah. And Rav Yochanan said: Even from Talmud to Talmud. Rashi explains, from Talmud to Talmud: from Talmud Yerushalmi to Talmud Bavli, since the former one is deeper. Talmud Bavli, Chagigah, 10a Rashi Chagigah 10a, d.h from Talmud to Talmud

Do I understand this correctly to discourage one from reading or studying Torah/Scripture, but rather to study rabbinic writings instead?

How does that square with Psalm 1:

א אַשְׁרֵי הָאִישׁ-- אֲשֶׁר לֹא הָלַךְ, בַּעֲצַת רְשָׁעִים; וּבְדֶרֶךְ חַטָּאִים, לֹא עָמָד, וּבְמוֹשַׁב לֵצִים, לֹא יָשָׁב. 1 Happy is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the wicked, {N} nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the scornful.

ב כִּי אִם בְּתוֹרַת יְהוָה, חֶפְצוֹ; וּבְתוֹרָתוֹ יֶהְגֶּה, יוֹמָם וָלָיְלָה.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD;
and in His law doth he meditate day and night.

ג וְהָיָה-- כְּעֵץ, שָׁתוּל עַל-פַּלְגֵי-מָיִם: אֲשֶׁר פִּרְיוֹ, יִתֵּן בְּעִתּוֹ--וְעָלֵהוּ לֹא-יִבּוֹל; וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר-יַעֲשֶׂה יַצְלִיחַ. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by streams of water, {N} that bringeth forth its fruit in its season, and whose leaf doth not wither; and in whatsoever he doeth he shall prosper. ד לֹא-כֵן הָרְשָׁעִים: כִּי אִם-כַּמֹּץ, אֲשֶׁר-תִּדְּפֶנּוּ רוּחַ. 4 Not so the wicked; but they are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. ה עַל-כֵּן, לֹא-יָקֻמוּ רְשָׁעִים--בַּמִּשְׁפָּט; וְחַטָּאִים, בַּעֲדַת צַדִּיקִים. 5 Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. ו כִּי-יוֹדֵעַ יְהוָה, דֶּרֶךְ צַדִּיקִים; וְדֶרֶךְ רְשָׁעִים תֹּאבֵד. 6 For the LORD regardeth the way of the righteous; but the way of the wicked shall perish. {P}

  • 1
    Could you clarify the question from Psalm 1? Especially for readers who don't focus on reading or studying Torah/Scripture, but rather study rabbinic writings instead :)
    – mevaqesh
    May 19, 2016 at 15:12
  • In addition to the answer I gave regarding the accurate text of the relevant passage, it is worth noting that the Oral Law is also referred to as Torah. Thus the Psalm 1 is not necessarily conclusive.
    – mevaqesh
    May 19, 2016 at 21:16
  • Yeah, About that, I seek to even understand or discern the Jewish writings beyond Scripture. I understand about the oral law and about not being presumptuous toward the God ordained legal court and obedience to authority. I understand about wise counsel. It is my understanding that all of that stops when once one goes against God's laws or tells you to live act or believe contrary to Scripture. That would be idolatry of man (we are all gods) and God says to have NO god before Him. It seems some traditions pull against the written law. And I just can't go there
    – user2411
    May 19, 2016 at 22:17
  • To clarify my comment, even if Rav did suggest that there is some advantage in prioritizing study of the Written Law over the Oral Law, that still would not necessarily contradict the Psalm which praises one who occupies himself with the Torah, since Torah can be interpreted to include the Oral Law, whose study (according to this version) Rav was encouraging.
    – mevaqesh
    May 20, 2016 at 2:15
  • 1
    Just an FYI, I changed the tag to Bavli. The quote is from Chagigah 10a in the Bavli (Chagigah 10a in the Yerushalmi discusses, among other things, Elisha ben Avuyah). The resource is called Yerushalmi Online but that quote is not from the Yerushalmi,
    – rosends
    May 20, 2016 at 10:53

2 Answers 2


This seems to be dependent on the text of the Talmudic passage in Chagiga 10a.

In conformance with the printed text of Rashi's commentary, the printed Talmud (Vilna edition) states:

כיון שיוצא אדם מדבר הלכה לדבר מקרא - שוב אין לו שלום. ושמואל אמר: זה הפורש מתלמוד למשנה, ורבי יוחנן אמר: אפילו מתלמוד לתלמוד.

"Rav said once a person leaves matters of halacha for matters of Scripture he no longer has peace. And Shemuel said even from Talmud to Mishnah, and Rabbi Yochanan said even from Talmud to Talmud."

However, the text of this passage as cited in the medieval Yalkut Shimoni anthology (Zechariah 574) is:

אמר רב כיון שיוצא אדם מדבר הלכה שוב אין לו שלום, ושמואל אמר זה הפורש מגמרא למשנה, ורבי יוחנן אמר זה הפורש מגמרא לגמרא

The critical line about Scripture is omitted. The citation thus reads:

Rav said 'when a person leaves matters of halacha, he no longer has peace.' Shemuel said, 'this is one who leaves the Talmud for the Mishna.'

In this version, Rav referred not to one who studies Scripture, but to one who studies nothing at all!

The Same text appears in the Raavyah's (12th-13th centuries) rulings there (805):

אמר רב כיון שיצא אדם מדבר הלכה שוב אין לו שלום. ושמואל אמר זה הפורש מתלמוד למשנה. ורבי יוחנן אמר אפילו מתלמוד לתלמוד

The same text appears in the rulings of Rabbi Isaiah the Elder of Trani (12th-13th century)there:

כיון שיצא אדם מדבר הלכה שוב אין לו שלום, ושמואל אמ' זה הפורש מתלמוד למשנה

Apparently this is also the text in the Munich Ms in addition to the Cambridge, Oxford, Vatican, and London MSS.

It thus appears that the correct text is probably that or Raavyah, R. Isaiah of Trani, et al. as I have not found a single corroboration for the text as printed in Rashi.

Lest one think that this is merely a typo in our texts of Yalkut Shimoni, the same text appears in a separate passage in Yalkut Shimoni (Divrei Hayamim II 1085):

אמר רב כיון שיצא אדם מדבר הלכה שוב אין לו שלום ושמואל אמר זה הפורש מגמרא למשנה, ור' יוחנן אמר זה הפורש מגמרא לגמרא

  • @DoubleAA my personal hypothesis is that Rashi's explanation was the impetus for the scribes to add the reference to Scripture into the Talmud and the header of Rashi, but further study is of course necessary.
    – mevaqesh
    May 19, 2016 at 15:44
  • Furthermore, I am pretty sure that medieval Spanish writes did not have Rashi's text, because if I recall, in their discussion of studying scripture vs. halacha, they do not cite this passage.
    – mevaqesh
    May 19, 2016 at 15:56
  • I can check your answer for being helpful or I can wait until further study is conducted.
    – user2411
    May 19, 2016 at 16:06
  • @Sarah Well i'm not exactly unbiased :) It is possible to change accepted answers, so if a better answer comes along, you can accept it as the accepted answer.
    – mevaqesh
    May 19, 2016 at 16:10
  • 1
    All Munich, Cambridge, Oxofrd, Vatican, and London manuscripts don't have לדבר מקרא in the Talmud. Even Soncino's print edition in Venice doesn't have it! This was clearly added in sometime after 1550 if not later. Dikdukei Soferim already noted this error almost 200 years ago.
    – Double AA
    May 26, 2016 at 5:43

Rashi, a central commentator explains the biblical verse from Zecharyah 8:10 which he understands to refer to someone who leaves Torah study to study anything else. The Talmud then discusses others who have no peace. This section mentions someone who chooses to leave one source of learning and jump to another (and it seems, does so still expecting the same results from the learning even though the source material is different).

So one who is steeped in learning law who jumps to the text, itself, will never have peace in terms of his understanding because one cannot simply figure the law out by reading the text. Similarly, if one is reading the gemara which explicates the mishna, then he jumps to the mishna, he will not achieve the same level of understanding because he now lacks the explanation of the gemara which he can't intuit on his own.

This would not preclude someone's choice to learn the written text, but would caution one who is working towards deriving practical law against changing modes midstream and expecting to be able to reach the same end point. This is shown to be the case immediately later on the page where the Mishna says, regarding the laws of Sabbath, the Chagigah offering and of misuse of holy items, "these are like mountains hanging from a hair, for they have very few verses and many detailed laws." With just the text, one cannot understand the many laws so one can never find peace in his practice.

The dafyomi page explains it as follows:

(Rav): "To the one who leaves and the one who comes, there is no peace" (Zecharyah 8:10) -- this refers to one who leaves Halachic discourse and goes to [learn] Scriptures, who has no more peace (for no Halachic ruling can be derived from the Scriptures alone). (b) (Shmuel): This refers to one who leaves Talmud in order to learn Mishnah (for no Halachic ruling can be derived from the Mishnah alone). (c) (R. Yochanan): This refers to one who even leaves the Talmud Yerushalmi to learn Talmud Bavli (which is much more difficult).

  • Zecharyah 8:10 כִּי, לִפְנֵי הַיָּמִים הָהֵם, שְׂכַר הָאָדָם לֹא נִהְיָה, וּשְׂכַר הַבְּהֵמָה אֵינֶנָּה; וְלַיּוֹצֵא וְלַבָּא אֵין-שָׁלוֹם מִן-הַצָּר, וַאֲשַׁלַּח אֶת-כָּל-הָאָדָם אִישׁ בְּרֵעֵהוּ. For before those days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the adversary; for I set all men every one against his neighbour.
    – user2411
    May 19, 2016 at 18:19
  • the gemara text quotes וְלַיּוֹצֵא וְלַבָּא אֵין-שָׁלוֹם "to the one who leaves and to the one that comes, there is no peace"
    – rosends
    May 19, 2016 at 18:31
  • I saw that after I posted the comment. But context is always good--don't you think!!
    – user2411
    May 19, 2016 at 18:37
  • @Sarah context is always good. however, one must also understand the genre. this is something called midrash (and more specifically, drush), in which texts are taken deliberately out of context and reinterpreted for the purposes of homily. May 20, 2016 at 22:10
  • According to the PaRDeS approaches to exegesis, interpretation of Biblical texts in Judaism is realized through peshat (literal or plain meaning, lit. "plain" or "simple"), remez (deep meaning, lit. "hints"), derash (comparative meaning, from Hebrew darash—"to inquire" or "to seek") and sod (hidden meaning or philosophy, lit. "secret" or "mystery"). The Midrash concentrates somewhat on remez but mostly on derash (Some thinkers divide PaRDeS into pshat, remez, din (law) and sod. In this understanding, midrash aggada deals with remez and midrash halakha deals with din). --Wikipedia-Midrash
    – user2411
    May 20, 2016 at 22:56

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