Torah with Derech Ertez [a vocation]

My basic path in a nutshell is to learn The Oral Law, the Written Law, Physics and Math and Aristotle Metaphysics. This is a slight modification of Maimonides. While Maimonides did include the two sets of books of Aristotle The Physics and the Meta-Physics into his program of how to learn Torah he was referring specifically to the books of ARISTOTLE. In my modification of Maimonides I would instead put String Theory and Abstract Algebra and Algebraic Topology instead of Aristotle's Physics.

I should mention that Torah with Derech Ertez [a vocation] was the path of my parents. They did not think that being a position to use Torah for money was a good idea. If I could have done yeshiva in the morning and then learned some vocation in the afternoon they would have been overjoyed but as it was I was in Far Rockaway where the closest college was Brooklyn College and it was a few hours on the subway.  Even my own Rosh Yeshiva Reb Shelomo Friefeld was telling me to go to college.

At the time however I do not know what I would have majored in.  I did not know how to learn Physics in those days in a way that I could do well in it.   Even today years later it takes me a whole long kind of round about way to get anywhere. I have to read the words in order --just saying the words straight and going on. Then after about 50 pages or so I go back reading the last paragraph and then the one before that etc until I get to the beginning of the book. It takes a lot of time.

But just for the record this is what the Rambam advised and my parents and also from what I have seen this makes the most sense. Torah with Derech Eretz.

[I imagine I could have learned Kant or Music, but as it was I was pretty involved with Torah. And I think at least for those years I needed to be involved with Torah all day in order to make any progress at all.]

I also should mention that unless the Rambam had specifically included Physics in the mitzvah of learning Torah, I would not have much motivation for learning it. It is rather the combination of the Rambam along with my parents that convinced me to spend time on it. Otherwise I would have thought it is bitul Torah.

[Bitul Torah is the sin of spending time on anything when you could be spending it on learning Torah. This sin is considered very severe in the Torah and it was certainly a major part of the thinking of the yeshiva world]

One of the best books on Physics I have found to be free. You can find the links on my blog.
As for Musar and Torah the best books of Musar are the Nefesh Hachaim which go into more modern issues like bitul Torah and idolatry. And the Chovot Levavot. But the best idea in terms of Musar is to have a Cheder Musar {Musar Room} like I saw in Netivot. One room that has only Musar books and to get the basic set of Mediaeval Musar and the books of the Gra and the disciples of Reb Israel Salanter.

[I am not saying I have no doubts about this. In fact if I could I would be sitting and learning Torah all the time. Every second. But there were many factors preventing me from this-enough in fact for me t begin to wonder if sitting and learning Torah all day is in fact the best path. But I admit I could be wrong and that the sitting and learning all day is the right thing. I am just saying that for me that path did not work out so well and at some point I found it impossible to follow. So I concluded that the Rambam was right all along. But that might simply mean I was not on the kind of spiritual level necessary to learn Torah all day.]