Torah Study is the study by Jewish people of the Written and Oral Torah. Traditional Jews view the study of Torah as equal to all the commandments in the Bible.
The word Torah comes from the word Hora’ah which means instruction. Jewish people believe that Torah is G-d’s instruction to mankind. Unlike other fields of study, Torah study is not meant to be kept only in the theoretical realm; rather, the knowledge acquired from delving into it must be applied to real life.
It therefore makes sense that such weight is placed on Torah study in the Jewish religion. After all, in order to keep the deeds commanded by G-d via the Torah, one must fully understand their intricacies. There are six-hundred-and-thirteen commandments in the Torah and every Jew is expected to learn them. One may ask how the commandments appertaining to the Temple such as the sacrifices are relevant to us nowadays. It is believed that these laws should also be learnt in depth in expectation of the time when the Temple will stand once again.
The Code of Jewish Law informs us that one who has limited study time should concentrate on practical commandments that can be applied to every-day situations. The Torah in Judaism is often referred to as “Torat Chayim”- a living Torah- and this is due to the fact that it is the manual of how to lead life on Earth according to the word of G-d. Traditional Jewish people believe that the Torah is G-d’s word and since G-d is Eternal so too is His Torah. The Torah is applicable at all times, in all places.
Rav Kook, in his book, Ein Ayah relates an insight into the phrase in the book of Exodus 15:26, “Shamoah Tishma” translated to mean “You shall surely listen”. This phrase is unusual as it uses the verb of “to listen” twice. Why? It is brought down in the Gemarah that this alludes to the fact that if one listens to the old, one will listen to the new and if your heart turns away, you will subsequently not listen. Rav Kook explains that love of Torah knowledge can be reached in two ways. The first is due to valuing the Torah and the completeness it brings. The second way is through a natural love of knowledge. Only one who loves Torah due to it’s holiness will one be blessed with understanding new Torah concept. Such a person will hear old Torah ideas that he has heard previously and still love them and treat them as new. Conversely, one who turns away from old ideas is lacking true love for Torah and he will not merit to understand new concepts and will subsequently not be able to properly accept it.
May we merit to delve into the Torah with love and to utilize the information acquired to lead better lives as Jews and human-beings.