Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Should everyone sit and learn Torah all day?

 The charedi hashkafa says absolutely. However there is a fascinating Gemara in Chagiga which clearly contradicts this position

תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן, שְׁלֹשָׁה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בּוֹכֶה עֲלֵיהֶן בְּכׇל יוֹם: עַל שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר לַעֲסוֹק בַּתּוֹרָה וְאֵינוֹ עוֹסֵק, וְעַל שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לַעֲסוֹק בְּתוֹרָה וְעוֹסֵק, וְעַל פַּרְנָס הַמִּתְגָּאֶה עַל הַצִּבּוּר.

The Sages taught that there are three types of people for whom the Holy One, Blessed be He, cries every day: For one who is able to engage in Torah study and does not engage in it; and for one who is unable to engage in Torah study and nevertheless he endeavors and engages in it; and for a leader who lords over the community.

The Gemara clearly and unequivocally states that certain people aren’t meant to learn Torah and god cries when they do. To whom is the Gemara referring to? The answer would seem to be the following. God gives everyone certain talents. Some people get musical talent, some  artistic talent etc. for example, Mozart was given tremendous musical talent. If instead of using that talent and composing he would have just sat and learned Torah god would have cried. He would be wasting his god given talents on music. In the charedi worldview why does god give people musical talent, athletic talent, artistic talent etc. if all they should be doing is sitting and learning Torah anyway? The answer is that god expects everyone to use the talents that he gave them, that is what this Gemara is telling us.