What is it that causes a young man who is learning Torah and is seemingly doing well in his studies to feel dissatisfied and to yearn for success elsewhere?
That can only be due to his lack of understanding of Torah. And that could happen because many people learn Torah like they learn accounting l’havdil. And even though they have quick minds and they can repeat the shiurim, but it’s not approached by them in the right way and it’s not put to them in the right way. Because Torah doesn’t mean only a rebbe’s shiur. Torah means a lot of things. It means the spiritual content of Torah too.
And therefore, when people in yeshivas, especially young boys, learn the Torah in a dry desiccated way without the idealism it leaves them hungry and thirsty. The soul thirsts for inspiration. There’s so much in the Gemara that can inspire but unfortunately in most places they skip those things.
And therefore, it’s very important to do what they do in the mussar yeshivas, like they did in Europe. At least twice a week they had big dissertations on mussar; inspiring talks that spoke about the pnimiyus of Torah, that spoke about the idealism of the Torah. And therefore even those people who were assiduous in studying and were brilliant in debating Torah, they also received that vitamin that they needed.
But when people eat only the starches and they don’t get the necessary materials to augment their diet, so they can eat a lot of Torah and still be starving.
And that’s one of the reasons why many times you find yeshiva men who are dissatisfied. Because they don’t know, they don’t feel the glory of Torah. If Torah is taught properly, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be happy and always inspired.
Tape # 177 (July 1977)