How Much Should A Person Learn Each Day?

How much Torah do you learn a day on average from Sunday through Thursday?
a) less than 1hour
b) between 1 and 2 hours
c) more than 2 hours

What do you think is a reasonable amount of time to learn each weekday?
a) less than 1hour
b) between 1 and 2 hours
c) more than 2 hours

What keeps you from learning more?
a) too many other obligations.
b) learning is too difficult
c) I don’t have classes to attend or chavrusas to learn with

11 comments on “How Much Should A Person Learn Each Day?

  1. R’ Neil Harris referred me to this post, as I had told him a bit about a fascinating shiur I had been listening to by HaRav Asher Weiss on the mitsva of talmud torah.

    IY”H I’ll write up a more complete summary of what he says, but for now two brief thoughts.

    1. The actual obligation of the mitsva to learn torah, according to most achronim, is that when you have time you are obligated to learn, but you are not obligated when you are busy with other matters, even if those activities are not mitsvos (but as long as they are not averos – in that case you violate the avera of bitul torah as well as whatever avera you were doing). The absolute minimum is fulfilled by saying shma twice a day in the morning and at night. The thing is, of course, you have to be totally honest about whether you really put all the time you could into learning or not – this depends on your life circumstances as well as your personality and abilities in learning, which only you and Hashem can really judge.

    2. He told a story about R. Yisrael Salanter Z”L, during the time that he was traveling around publicizing the fact that learning mussar is a critical part of talmud torah. Someone came to him and said, “I have only 30 minutes a day to learn torah – should I use it to learn halacha or mussar? Learning halacha, after all, is the main part of talmud torah.” R. Yisrael Salanter answered him that he *must* use that time to learn mussar, then he will realize that he has much more than 30 minutes a day to learn.

    Shabbat Shalom!

  2. Although Far Rockaway is technically part of Queens, it is physically and spiritually closer to the frum communities of Brooklyn. Drive right over the Marine Parkway Bridge, and you’re in the Rockaways. From Far Rockaway in South Queens to KGH in North Queens seems to take forever (and don’t even try to do it by public transportation, it’ll take longer than going to Boston).

  3. Maybe these quick quotes about Torah study from the Jerusalem Talmud will help:

    Jerusalem Talmud, tractate Berachot, chapter 9, law 5:
    Just as an infant must nurse every hour of the day, so too every Jewish man must toil in Torah all hours of the day.

    Jerusalem Talmud, tractate Rosh HaShanah, chapter 4, law 8:
    Because you accepted the burden of Torah, I [G_d] consider it as if you never sinned in your life, and all the afflictions and suffering will depart from you.

    Jerusalem Talmud, tractate Shekalim, chapter 2, bottom of page 11A:
    Rabbi Gidal taught: When reciting a Torah teaching, visualize the person who taught it, as if he were standing at your side.

    For more quick quotes from Jewish holy books, go to:

  4. Neil, I’m not sure if you’re joking but as I said before it was from my own observations and talking to people.

    In KGH, doing the Daf is a respectable daily limud (learning schedule) and the Daf takes about 1 hour a day.

  5. Far Rockaway is probably closer to the times in Brooklyn.

    Chicago, in general, is somewhere between Queens and Brooklyn.

    I’m also curious who your control was?
    Married, married w/families, FFB, BT, etc.

  6. Neil, I wasn’t including Far Rock. What do you think the respectable learning times are in Far Rock and your parts of Chicago.

    Judy, I’m fine with requests for sources as both the halachic and hashkafic searches for truth start with sources.

    Even when there are quoted sources, there exists an issue of the conclusions drawn from those sources. There is a halachic process which determines the halacha from a series of sources. Rabi Aryeh Kaplan’s Rules of Halacha is a great starting point, but there is also a life long process of in-depth learning necessary to understand halachic sources.

    Hashkafa can be even more difficult as Aggadic sources are difficult to understand and the search for truth process is less structured and defined.

    In any case, Torah is an endless search for truth and we welcome all fellow travelers who are traveling on that path which we assume includes the vast majority of Beyond BT readers. (This would be a good place to discuss the limitations of Searching for Truth on a site like this and the parameters we therefore set on that discussion, but I want to give it more thought before we start such a discussion.)

  7. Watch out, Mark. The Feinshmekkers who comment on, and scrutinize in fine detail, these types of postings are going to come back and ask you the following questions:

    1. What was your survey methodology?
    2. What was the size of your sample in each community?
    3. When was this survey conducted?
    4. Did you calculate the standard deviation and sampling error?
    5. How much rounding is involved in the final result. For instance, did “one hour and forty minutes” get rounded up to two hours, and “one hour and twenty minutes” get rounded down to one hour?
    6. What was the median, mean and mode of the age of the population surveyed?
    7. How did learning time break down in sub-communities (Queens into the sub-communities of KGH, FR; Brooklyn into BP and Flatbush; Israel into Tzefat, Yerushalayim and Bnei Brak) and in sub-populations (Charedi opposed to Religious Zionist as opposed to Litvish-Yeshivish as opposed to Chasidic as opposed to Centrist Modern Orthodox).

    A freilichen Purim!

  8. From my own observations and talking to people, different communities have different standards of respectable learning time:

    Queens: 1 hour per day
    Brooklyn: 2 hours per day
    Eretz Yisroel: 3 hours per day

Comments are closed.