Thursday, August 17, 2006

Daf yomi - Yoma 72 - Breakaway Shul

Currently we have been discussing the correct approach that one should have when engaging in Torah study. Tosfos poses a contradiction from two different Gemaras. One Gemara implies that one should only study Torah leshmo, whereas a different Gemara seems to indicate that one can even engage in Torah study shelo leshmo. Tosfos resolves this discrepancy by explaining that one can only be justified in studying Torah shelo leshmo if he is not seeking to aggravate others with his Torah studies. Regarding one who engages in Torah study for the sake of aggravating others, the Gemara states that it is better had he not even come into existence. The Netziv in Meishiv Dovor adopts a different approach to resolve this contradiction. The Netziv writes that there are two distinct forms of learning. One manner of learning is when one wishes to render conclusive rulings, and a dissimilar approach is one who engages in Torah study merely for the sake of attaining Torah knowledge. One who is engaged in Torah study with the intention of rendering a conclusive ruling must ensure that he is studying leshmo, for the Torah’s own sake, as any other motive will lead him to err in halachic rulings. The Netziv penned this response regarding a Jew who sought to distance himself from a congregation and create his own group of worshippers. When other Jews learned of this man’s intentions, they rebuked him for attempting to sow discord in the community. The man who was seeking to create his own prayer group approached the Netziv and explained to the Netziv that he felt justified in his aims, especially since the rabbis frown upon one who commences construction of a new synagogue and abandons his plans halfway through the project. The Netziv responded that when one is engaged in Torah study shelo leshmo when attempting to rule in halachic matters, the Torah that he studies does not stand in his merit and it would have been better that he had not come into existence. The rationale for this is that one who engages in Torah study that is not for the sake of Torah is not deemed to have truly studied Torah.


Scott said...

Does that mean there should never be a breakaway shul?