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11.7.15

In praise of Talmud.

I have limited objective here. It is to point out the advantage of learning Talmud for its own sake and not to be paid for doing so. And I also want to point out a kind of time limit for it. That is I don't want learning Talmud to become away of making a living, because then it loses the effect.

The main effect of Talmud is that it carries with it the different promises that you find the sages said about learning Torah. [And it is the actual oral tradition first hand. As the Rambam says "Just like one must can not add or subtract from the Written Torah, so he can't add or subtract from the Oral Torah." But, of course, people add and subtract from the Written and Oral Law all the time. The point however of the Rambam is that none of that stuff counts as Torah.]

This I am sure all sounds very vague. So let me try to make myself clear.
First to defend my position in front of Christians I should say that I am not saying Talmud is Divine in the same sense that the Torah and prophets are Divine. Rather, I am saying that learning Talmud connects one to the same divine source as when one learns the Torah and prophets. And it has the advantage that it goes into detail how to keep the laws of the Torah and prophets with rigorous analysis, and it does not leave it to individual opinions which vary as the winds.

Second, I wanted to point out there are kinds of services that people promise, "If you do such and such, this will be the result." A good example is Yoga. In spite of extensive studies, no one has found any evidence that yoga does anything for anyone,- and yet it is a multi million dollar industry. People pay good money to do what there is no the slightest evidence that it does anything but waste your time.

But I have good reason to believe from what I have seen in others and in myself, that learning Talmud has enormous benefit --but only on condition it is not done  for pay. If one is paid for learning the learning turns to poison and corrupts the character. So this is a delicate matter.