Setting Fixed Times for Learning Torah 1

  1. According to the Rambam, every Jewish man is obligated to
    set time aside during the day and during the night to learn Torah, as it is
    written (Yehoshua 1:8), “…you should contemplate it day and night…”, whether
    he be rich or poor, at peace or afflicted, young or weak with age—even if he
    is supported by charity and even if he is burdened with the responsibilities
    of supporting his wife and children. The Rambam adds that the time set aside
    for Torah learning should be a fixed time so that no matter what a person is
    doing and even if he would make a large profit — when that time comes, he sits
    down and learns. The Mishnah Berurah writes that the idea behind having
    a fixed time for learning Torah is that a person should designate a fixed time
    every day for learning which he never misses. And if it occurs that he is
    unable to learn at the designated time during the day, he regards himself as
    obligated to make it up in the evening.

  2. According to the Gemorah (Shabbos 31), at the beginning of
    a person’s judgment after death, the first thing that will be asked of him
    will be, “Did you set a fixed times for learning Torah?” “Times” (in the
    plural) because a person should have two fixed times for learning every day:
    one during the day and one at night.

  3. The best thing to do is to fix a time to learn in the
    morning because if a person is busy the rest of the day, he won’t have time to
    learn. The later poskim (Acharonim) have written that before leaving the
    synagogue in the morning, a person should learn at least a single verse or a
    halachah, even if he is in a rush or has urgent business to attend to. If he
    has a class he goes to at the same time every day, he should fix a time for
    learning at night as well. If his class starts during the day and ends at
    night, he fulfills his obligation of learning day and night by attending the
    class.