If someone has the choice of learning quantity or quality what do you recommend? Should he concentrate on learning in depth or on covering ground?
It depends who the person is. If he’s young and he’s a yeshiva-man, so he has the mentality for it – so we urge him to go in depth, because he has a long life yet ahead of him. It’s like when you plow, when you give a big push into the earth with your plow, then when the oxen pull the plow, or the motor pushes the plow, it will plow deeply. If you don’t push it deeply into the earth, so when the oxen pull it, or the motor pushes it, it will plow superficially. When you’re young, and you put your plowing knife deep into the sugya to understand it thoroughly, then the rest of your life you’re going to plow deeply in learning. If you start shallowly, it will be shallow forever.
However, if it’s already late and you didn’t cover much ground – and this applies to almost every yeshiva-man today after they leave the yeshiva, because it’s late already. So then, you had better hurry up and accomplish. Because it’s too much work for you to sit down and learn deeply every sugya. You’ll never do it. And you’ll remain ignorant of all the great treasures of the Torah. So you should let go and cover ground – even if it means skimming only the surface. But you should review a lot. Skim over the surface, but review constantly, that’s how to get at least a general knowledge of the Torah. So again, it depends for whom the advice is being given.
TAPE # 74