Remembering what we learn

In the future, G-d will make everyone remember everything ever learned, even if it was forgotten during one’s lifetime (Zohar I: 185a). This is also true of lessons heard from the lips of a true tzaddik and not understood. In the World to Come, they will be understood (Tzaddik #388).

The Torah exists mainly for the soul. In the future life, all souls will remember and understand everything they heard and studied in this world.

Fortunate is he who fills his days with much Torah and devotion.

Rebbe Nacham, Sichot HaRan #26

Praying to reach new levels of understanding

The primary way to advance to new levels of understanding is to study Torah and pray with all of your strength. Then, you attach yourself to Hashem, may He be blessed, that dwells within the letters of Torah and prayer. This infusion of Divine light subdues any physical inclination, and you can experience the abnegation or divestiture of your physical being. Then, you will enter the Supernal worlds and constantly rise to new levels of understanding and clarity.

Toldos Aharon, Shelach

Heart of Prayer: Baal Shem Tov, by Tvi Meir Cohn


The Study of Torah has Fallen

In our times, the study of Torah has fallen very low. The great rabbis of earlier eras had no knowledge of Kabbalah, but nevertheless, they were able to perform miracles through their strength in Torah. That was so great that whatever they said would come true.

Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom, #17, by Reb Noson of Breslov

Possessed by a Spirit of Foolishness

A person does not commit a transgression unless one is possessed by a spirit of foolishness. Therefore, each person – in precise correspondence to the transgressions one has committed and the spiritual blemishes one has caused – is literally insane. This is why most people have all sorts of quirks and idiosyncrasies. The rectification for this insanity is engaging in Torah study.

Rebbe Nachman

Based on Kitzur Likutei Moharan (Abridged Likutei Moharan) Vol. 1, Rebbe Nosson of Breslov, see I:1


Torah Learning and Emuna

True Torah learning enhances a person’s emuna (faith) in Hashem and in one’s ability to see G-d’s loving-kindness in every event and everything. Building and reinforcing emuna in order to get closer to Hashem is the ultimate purpose of Torah learning. If a person’s intention in learning Torah does not include the desire to enhance one’s emuna, especially one’s emuna in hashgacha pratit (Divine Providence), then the person is missing the entire point of Torah study.

Based on The Garden of Gratitude, by Rabbi Shalom Arush

The Importance of Torah

Many people stumble and fall just as they are about to reach their final perfection. Some were already at the gates of holiness and could have easily entered completely in the realm of holiness, but retreated because obstacles and confusions arose against them with such intensity that they felt it was impossible to withstand them. The main means of rectifying this situation is Torah study. One must be very strong never to neglect Torah study, no matter what one must endure. One will then be able to overcome anything through the Torah, for all rectifications and purifications — from the first to the last — all are only through the Torah.

From Likutei Halakhot, Birkhat haMotzi 5:38.

An Elixir of Life or Potion of Death

Rebbe Nachman explains to us (Likutei Moharan I: 36:5) that the Torah has two potentials — for life or for death. Our Sages teach us: “‘Place them’ …” (Deuteronomy 11:18) — if he is deserving, it becomes his elixir for life; [but if he is not deserving, it becomes his potion of death]” (Yoma 72b).

The Rebbe points out by citing Yoma that depending on one’s approach, the Torah can be either an elixir of life or a potion of death. If a person can approach the Torah with the thought of drawing closer to Hashem, then the Torah one learns is an elixir of life.

However, if a person’s interest in Torah is not directed to serving Hashem, then the Torah becomes a potion of death, G-d forbid. The Torah this one studies will mislead the person and only strengthen the evil traits the person already possesses. There are many examples of such a person: someone who studies Torah as an intellectual pursuit and rejects its obligations, someone who studies Torah in order to argue with the Torah scholars or mock them, or someone who studies Torah simply to receive financial gain or honor.

“The ways of Hashem are straight; the righteous will go in them, [but the wicked will stumble in them]” (Hoshea 14:10). Our Sages (Nazir 23a) teach that it is possible for two people to perform the same act, and while for one that act is a mitzva, for the other it is a sin! Rebbe Nachman warns us that the person can choose whether to walk in the path of the righteous or, G-d forbid, otherwise.

Hence, our Torah learning can turn out for our good or otherwise based solely on our intentions. If we study Torah in order to get to know Hashem better and to draw closer to Him, it becomes an elixir of life for us. However, if our learning is for personal, less-pure reasons, G-d forbid, it becomes a potion of death. If we realize our intent in studying Torah is not so pure, we must at least want to study with pure intentions, and can then cry out to Hashem to help us merit to correct our less pure approach.

Based on Likutei Moharan, Volume V (see notes there)