The Importance of
              Torah Study

by Avraham Tzvi Schwartz


How great the holy Torah is, how magnificent! It has such an importance that Hashem Himself declares, “The Torah I give you, is a good acquisition; don’t abandon it.”1 The question here is, what is this good?

Chazal teach, that some people acquire items made of gold, but with no silver; others possess items containing silver, but with no gold – but the acquisition Hashem gives us includes both gold and silver. There are people who acquire fields, but no vineyards, others who acquire vine­yards, but no fields; however the acquisition Hashem gives us includes both fields and vineyards.2 How so?

“For the acquisition I give you,” says Hashem, “is My Holy Torah – and he who acquires this, acquires every­thing, all wealth and finery, honor and distinction, all pleasure, happiness and types of satisfaction.”

Accordingly Chazal teach, “He who has this, has all, while he who doesn’t have this, has nothing. He who acquires this, what does he lack? But he who lacks this, what then does he own?!”3


An item that is important and valuable to a poor man, is quite small in the eyes of one not so poor. In the same way, an item that is good and dear to such a person, is of little worth to a wealthy man. And similarly, something that a wealthy man cherishes, is quite insignificant to a king. For a king’s interests lie in wider fields, matters such as conquering neighboring territories.

Now, going a step higher, for an angel, even winning wars and conquering kingdoms is of petty value – for, as Chazal teach, there are angels whose size and scope cover many thousands of miles.4


If this then is true of an angel, what may we say of Hashem? Certainly all that man treasures is like nothing to Hashem; next to Hashem the entire creation, this material universe, as well as all spiritual worlds, possess trivial, temporary worth.

There is however one thing that man possesses that Hashem desires. There is one precious treasure in man’s hands that Hashem values highly. This is the Torah. It is the Torah that Hashem prizes, that He endears. It is the Torah that He calls good. And it is this selfsame Torah that is His constant companion, His true source of delight.5


The reward for a single mitzva, any mitzva at all, even giving a penny to a pauper, is completely beyond the world and its contents.6 It is larger and more precious than the sum-total of all wealth and pleasure throughout Creation – through its length and its breadth, from the first of days to the very last moment.

Consider for a moment: The reward of a single mitzva is of a quantity and quality so superb, that it cannot possibly fit into the realm of known existence. The only place that may hold it, is the world-to-come; the only dimension that may receive it, is a purely spiritual one.

This is the idea behind the teaching that even if all the world’s pleasures were concentrated – were gathered and squeezed into one single moment – still they would not equal the least element of the world-to-come; they could not compete with the smallest particle in the life after life.7


Yet, despite the greatness of a mitzva, the worth of one lone word of Torah is greater than all the mitzvos put together.8

The 613 mitzvos, when enacted completely and perfectly, with all of their details, fine points and desired intentions, when performed with purity and holiness, bring the entire person to a very lofty level. They elevate his spiritual organs and limbs to a lofty sphere. They vitalize his abilities, energize his energies, and make him a chariot for the uppermost sanctity of the mitzvos – a greatness beyond description.

Still, the illumination, the holiness of all 613 mitzvos, is quite faint next to the Torah’s immense height and thrust. The Torah’s brightness lights up its student and lifts him above the mitzvos. It rockets him worlds beyond all the brilliance and splendor, all the glory and holiness, that exist in the sum-total of all 613 mitzvos.9

Is there then an occupation so worthy of our thoughts and energies? Is there a richer prize to strive after?


1. Mishle 4.2

2. Shemos Raba 33.1. (Ayeles Ahavim p.169.)

3. Nedarim 41a

4. Chulin 91b

5. See Shemiras HaLoshon, Shaar HaTorah ch.1

6. Chulin 142a

7. See Michtav M’Eliyahu vol.1. p.4

8. Yerushalmi, Peah ch.1

9. Nefesh HaChayim (Binyan Olam p.7.)

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