Prayer and Learning Torah: Each in Its Own Time (Part II)
A person who has already davened and has remained in the
synagogue in order to answer kadishim, etc., is permitted to learn
while the community is saying the Shemoneh Esrai or reciting the Shma.
He need not concern himself with the possibility that unlearned members of the
congregation will learn from him to disregard the halachos which require
attentive participation in the service.
It is forbidden for a person to leave the synagogue hastily
because it appears as though he dislikes being in the synagogue. Nevertheless,
it is permitted to leave the synagogue in haste in order to go to learn in the
A person who is learning in the synagogue is not required
to stand if someone recites the Shemoneh Esrai standing next to him. A
Rav who is learning with a student need not stand even when a minyan recites
the Shmoneh Esrai. It would not even be considered midas chassidus to
It is a mitzvah dereisa (Torah obligation) to learn
Torah. A person who learns by himself fulfils the mitzvah. Nevertheless, lechatchilah a person should try to learn with others, for the Glory of G-d is greatly
enhanced when Torah is learned in public, as Chazal say, “The Glory of G-d
appears in the assembly of a multitude of people.” When ten Jews learn
together, the Shechina precedes them. According to Chazal, in order to
internalize the Torah, it must be learned with others. (Brochos 63b). And we
learn from Tana Devei Eliahu (Zuta 23) that when Jews learn Torah
together G-d shows them favor. Midas hadin asked G-d why He shows favor
to the Jewish People. G-d answered, “How can I not find favor with a people
that learns Torah together?” It is clear that even according to the Mechaber,
who holds that the mitzvah of learning Torah cannot be fulfilled by learning
silently, a person can fulfill his obligation to learn Torah by attending
Torah classes. When he hears the spoken words of Torah it is considered as if
he were reciting them.
The Jewish people will not be redeemed because of pain,
because of servitude, because of wanderings, because of troubles, because of
oppression or because they do not have adequate food, but because of ten Jews
that sit and learn together, each one talking Torah with the other so that
their voices are heard (Tana Devei Eliahu Zuta 14).