amounting to something

The Brisker said that you only get reward for the Torah you understand. How does that square with our previous post about Hassidut enlivening you even when you don't understand it?

Not to mention, something you learned years before can be understood anew many times over the course of your life. Which time counts as you 'learning it' if each time you understand it better than the last, only the last time? This also raises the question of does understanding it later even count as learning it, if you aren't learning it when you understand it?

At this point, I think it would be prudent to simply mention נעשה ונשמע - we will do, and we will hear. שמיעה or hearing is normally associated with בינה (understanding) which is actually the root of the Oral Torah. Whereas עשיה, action, relates back to Will, or desire, which is רצון which relates above the intellect (of which בינה is a part) entirely to the level of כתר or God's Crown.

So, it still seems that learning Torah even without understanding it, is doing. The most important part of the learning in this case is speaking it aloud while you are learning. (The speaking is the essence of the doing.) In this way, there is still a basis to say you are 'doing and hearing' since you are speaking the Torah aloud, and your ears are hearing your voice.

In short, just keep learning as we are fulfilling the letter of נעשה ונשמע by reading it out loud and hearing it with our ears, and fulfilling the spirit of נעשה ונשמע by moving forward with our learning even though we haven't yet heard (understood) the proper way to learn.

I have one more subtle nuance: the Oral Torah is rooted, as we said, in בינה. Whereas Hassidut is actually rooted not in בינה but in חכמה (wisdom) the source of the Written Torah. Understanding is something we need to work for, Wisdom comes on its own, it's like receiving a present. So, it makes perfect sense that the Brisker, (Rav Hayyim of Brisk) who was talking about the Oral Torah says you don't get any reward unless you understand, and Hassidut explains that even if you don't understand Hassiduth the reward comes anyways.

The moral of the story? When in doubt, learn Hassidut.


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