Learning with the Yezter

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    Daniel Rosen

    Guys, do you find that when you casually sit down to learn Torah ‘things’ suddenly come up preventing you from learning. I can be doing nothing all day and as soon as i sit down to learn i will get an urgent phone call and have to leave or something similar.


    happens all the time. the way I work around it is to make the learning more interesting.


    Yes, this kind of thing sometimes happens! One possible explanation for why:

    “All the barriers and obstacles which confront a person have only one purpose: to heighten his yearning for the holy deed which he needs to accomplish…. When you achieve the necessary desire and yearning for the holy act you need to accomplish, you will surely succeed in transforming the idea which is in your mind into an actual reality. The barrier itself can bring you to succeed by strengthening your desire to do so…. The greater the goal for which you yearn, the bigger the obstacles and barriers which are sent in order to strengthen your desire.” (Likutei Eitzos, Obstacles 1-2.)

    Rav Tuv

    Learn in a bais midrash, preferably with a chavrusa, Turn off your cell phone. That should get rid of the yetzer


    Be in an environment that is conducive to learning- without music, background noise, or other distractions. A beis midrash or kollel is a great place to learn seriously, and maybe you should get a chavrusa or rebbe to keep you on track.

    When I am hearing kol Torah, and watching people involved in the milchamta d’torah, that usually excited me enough to forget everything else. Torah cannot be adulterated or mixed up with concerns or other thoughts, it must be central and you have to want it.


    Perhaps a change in outlook would help you defeat the problem, not just get around it for a day or two. If you just turn off/disconnect from your distractions, whatever they may be, you’ll find something else – it might start a day later, a week later, or even a month later when you’re thinking you’ve fixed the problem.

    Maybe the problem is that you’re too casual about your learning. Torah isn’t the cherry on top of “a comfortable life”. Even if you’re not working, you have an obligation to be thinking. But today if you ask someone what they’re thinking about, they think you’re insane. Why should I be thinking?

    Sorry if it’s not nice nitpicking at your wording, but I couldn’t help but notice. Doing nothing all day and then sitting down casually to Torah is the problem that needs to be fixed – not the individual distraction


    Learn somewhere where you won’t be distracted.

    Also, confirmation bias and self-rationalization for wasting time.


    My two solutions:

    1) Have learning Torah as the default activity for any time I’m not doing something else such as working for my employer, cooking a Shabat meal, etc. It is amazing how much Torah one can learn even in a five minute stretch. And I learn a lot of Torah while on the subway.

    2) Learn Torah that is interesting to you. If the geneological diagrams you need for tractate Yevamot, or the architectural diagrams needed for tractate Eruvin leave you cold and uninspired, pick a different tractate! And remember that Nach, machshavah, halachah, midrash, aggadata, and kaballah are also Torah!!!


    It definitely happens. It is a sign that The Yetzer Hara is actually concerned with your learning, and would like to stop it. Take it as an encouraging sign, and double down. Learn more, sit through the distractions. The other possibility is use it to your advantage, if you are getting frustrated that your phone calls are not getting through, or that nothing is happening in your business dealings, open up a gemara, I can almost guarantee you, that something will happen to distract you from learning. If I am wrong, you get an hour of learning in, if I am right, you get the deal moving.


    what on earth is yezter??



    “what on earth is yezter??”

    Maybe its his chavrusas name?


    tzaddiq-He is the Yeyzer Horah, and wants to own the Seder.



    Be careful. There were two tanaim that asked this question. Did not fare them well. (somewhere in kidushin-rashi too)


    My personal solution is to team up with a friend who’s much more motivated and intelligent than I am. The peer pressure then makes me want to do things just as well as she can.

    (Shout out to A! 🙂 )

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