what should I learn?

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    This summer (be’ezras hashem), I am going to be spending six weeks fully engaged in serious talmud torah along with a few dozen other talmidim and some excellent rebbim. Aside from the traditional chavrusa and shiur in gemara which cover the first two sedorim, what do you tzaddikim suggest I learn during night seder and in my free time?

    In the spirit of ein adam limed ela mah shelibo chafetz, I shall tell you that I am very interested in learning some mussar, machshavah/hashkafah, and modern day teshuvos. For mussar, should I learn Mesillas Yesharim, Orchos Tzaddim, Tomer Devorah, or something else? For Machshavah: I have heard good things about Alei Shur and Nesivos Shalom from the Slonimer Rebbe. Is Emunos V’Deios an easily accessible sefer? Any other suggestions are great. And for teshuvos: igros moshe, tzitz eliezer, yechaveh daas, or something else?



    Personal choice would be Mesillas Yesharim, Alei Shur, and Igros Moshe, respectively. Tomar Devorah is a great sefer too, and generally not as hard to read as Mesillas Yesharim.


    Thank you LAB for the suggestions. If anyone else has input I’d love to hear it.


    As far as machshava goes I would recommend sifsei chaim by Rav Chaim Friedlander as it was written by someone more contemporary and will enable you to have a much greater understanding of the ramchals seforim. Even if you have a more advanced knowledge of hashkafa it is still extremely advisable.


    Ahh your vacation sounds like the life!

    I would go with Mesillas Yisharim for mussar too, i learned it maybe four times with different people and still learning it now in a chabura and then doing chazarah with a friend. Each time you read even the same passage depending on your stage in life you gain something else! Its the classic mussar sefer, like thats where you start.

    Both Alieh Shur and Nesisvos Sholom are great and i can go on and on about both. Another sefer i would teally reccomend in this category would be any by Rav Pincus. Nefesh Shimshon on Emunah Bitachon, or Tefilla- it will literarly transform your Davening. Or shabbos malkusa which i learn with a teacher- shabbos is something most us of keep all our lives but makes each one special? You cant imagine how much there is to the hashkafa aspect of Shabbos! And if you learn it during the week every time you are mikaim the mitzva of preparing for Shabbos!

    And about Emunos ViDayos (by Rav Saadiah Gaon?) i know its not readily abailable in a general sforim store as i looked into buying it last year and couldnt find it. I was explained that nowadays most hashkafa sforim are based off of that so yeah….

    And modern day teshuvos sorry im not a guy so cant help you there 🙂



    If you have an opportunity learn any of the Maharals seforim but I recommend learning with an advanced chavrusa or Rebbe.

    I’m with you on learning alei shur and the Mesiras Shalom. Both great choices although quite different.


    Lonely Man Of Faith, Halachic Man, Making Of A Godol, Sacred Monsters.


    RAV PINCUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Also ALEI SHUR is unreal!

    Have fun learning!


    Messilas yisharim


    RF: As far as T’shuvos go, it depends on what style you enjoy. The Tzitz Eliezer will take you on a Mehalach through a Sugya, but often Paskens based on a Haskama or assumption of Achronim 300 years ago that the later Poskim rejected.

    Most of R’ Moshe’s T’shuvos are not in what’s called the “classical style” of written T’shuvos. But there is nothing more L’ma’aseh for Americans than the Igros.

    If you can handle Rav Ovadia, the Yabiya Omer is the way to go. Then again, no one alive today can handle Rav Ovadia.

    All in all, I think the Tzitz Eliezer and the Igros Moshe are the most interesting for most people.

    And if you have the right edition with the footnotes (it’s a sky blue 5-volume set, I think published by Hamaor), R’ Akiva Eiger is the best way to go.


    You cannot go wrong with Mesillas Yesharim, but I would also look for works by Rav Lopian, Rav Schmulevitz, and Rav Dessler. I go to a Sunday morning Hashkafa shiur that my Rov gives, and we cover works by the latter three. This year we are learning something by Rav Shmulevitz.




    I may be in a minority, but I feel that if you have time, and you have not learned them in depth before, you should give some thought to learning Na’ch, particularly Neviim both spiritual like Yishayahu and Yirmiyahu and historical like Yehoshua, SHoftim and Shmuel, Trei Osor, Tehilim, and Megilos.

    Its been my experience that many yeshivos do not encourgae study and knowledge of Na’ch. These are our foundational texts. Tfilos we say every day quote from them. They have fundamental things to say about our past and our future. And they have been very inspiring to me.



    If you never learned chumash Rashi I recommend you go through as much as you can from Bereishis straight through to Vezos Habracha. Its yesodosdika nd many people never really get a good handle on chumash Rashi which is the basics!


    How about learning a skill so you can get a good paying job after you sit in Kollel for the next 10-15 years?

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    walton – you signed on and spewed the same comment on two different threads without even finding out what the question was. you must be a college graduate.


    Thank you all! I am strongly considering learning alei shur and nefesh shimshon (per ourtorah and ultimate skiers’ suggestions) as well as mesillas yesharim and some pertinent teshuvos in igros moshe.

    Oomis- have you read michtav me’eliyahu and did you find it both easily readable and inspiring in the original hebrew, or was it difficult to get through? Thanks for the suggestion!

    Walton- holy brother I thank you for your concern and sensitivity to my job security and parnassah opportunities. However, in this particular case you happen to be mistaken. I’m actually fairly modern and do not plan on going to kollel for any amount of time, so you really did not offend me (I found it funny in fact), but what does get on my nerves is that you are spreading sheker. Some of my best friends and most trusted advisors are or were in kollel for many years, and I value their love, knowledge and friendship far, FAR more than any silly “skill” they could have possibly learned. Tov li Toras picha me’alfei zahav va’chesef. I’ll work on myself and you work on yourself. Deal?


    I learned michtav me’Eliyahu in my early twenties and it had a tremendous affect on me. Easy enough to understand and really inspiring.



    Btw did you ever learn Nefesh Hachaim? If not it is required learning.


    mod 29- cool! thanks for the tip.

    wiy- I have learned tanya and parts of nefesh hachaim. he has some fascinating things to say about talmud torah among many other subjects.


    Love the way you responded to walton. Idk y the moderators don’t stop people who are so openly against kollel.

    You also should see Ohr Letzion chachma Umussar. Very practical down to earth and full of pure emes.

    not a mod

    Completely maskim to ultimateskier on the seforim of Rav Pincus. I read Nefesh Shimshon about Shabbos and I could hardly put it down. Now I’m reading the one on torah and its equally as good.


    if you can find a good rebbi and what to fill a lot of background to yiddishkeit, derech hahsem is the way to go. Am doing it now with a rebbi, and it’s literally amazing.


    Not a mod- maskim 1000% shabbos is transforming! I calculated that in my 17yrs of life i shouldve kept bierech 884 shabbosos yet what made each one special? This past years Shabbosim= THIS SEFER!

    And the torah one is sooo beautiful! I learned it Shavuos night with a friend, gorgeous insights on what Torah is and its relationship with us and Hashem…. Rav pincus lived a short but such an accomplishing life!

    (Oh and emunah i learn with a friend whose a baalas teshuva and tefilla with another friend. Its not stam)

    Rationalfrummie- you wont be sorry listening to me on this lol


    Perhaps you want to go through Derech Hashem and Daas Tevunos of the Ramchal. The Ramchal has a very flowing style and it is very organized. It is easy to understand deep and essential concepts.


    ultimateskier- haha ill take your word for it.

    haleivi- I’ve heard great things about sifrei haramchal, but I’m more interested in studying mussar in the form of middos and the improvement of character traits versus learning deep philosophical concepts.


    Mishna! in those 6 weeks you can finish all of the mishniot. (also you will understand gemora better because you will know more shaas concepts)


    ????? ??????? ??????? ?????



    You learn a lot of Hashkafah and mussar from basic chumash Rashi. Ever try it?

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