Saturday, April 20, 2013

48 Ways: #16 - Minimizing commerce


Pirkei Avot 6:5 teaches that Torah is acquired in 48 ways, which it lists for us. The sixteenth of the 48 is miut sechorah - minimizing commerce.

We are instructed to pursue a livelihood; some even explain a biblical verse, "You shall work for six days and perform all of your work," as a command requiring such work. However, there is neither enough time nor enough energy to specialize in ever pursuit, and one who wishes to achieve substantial success in Torah study will need to reduce his time spent in commerce.

Rambam's insistence upon the importance of earning a livelihood is well-known, but his advice [Mishneh Torah Hilchot Talmud Torah 1:12] was to spend three hours each day in a craft, and nine hours in Torah study (as well as eight hours in sleep! - Hilchot Deiot 4:4). Of course, times have changed, living standards have changed and the investment needed to earn a living has changed... but the demanding nature of excellence in Torah study remains.

Have a great day,

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