I only have a small amount of time to learn every day, and I was told that in the time that I have, I should learn halacha because that comes first. Is that correct? What’s most important?
Look, everything is most important. Halacha li’maisah is the first thing of course. If you have a shailah about what to do, then of course that must be the very first question you resolve. But to learn halacha in general? You have to know that a great deal of the Shulchan Aruch deals with things that rarely happen. And therefore to just learn halacha for itself is almost the same as learning Gemara. And since both are very valuable forms of limudim, I won’t tell you which is more important.
But you have to know, however, that Halacha is not always halacha li’maisah. Look in the Shulchan Aruch and you’ll see that he brings down the cases from the Gemara. All the cases. And some of these cases happen very rarely. Therefore, halacha li’maisah that you need for now, is first. But halacha in general is the same as any other thing and “li’olam yilmad adam mah she’libo chafeitz.” What you enjoy most is what you should learn most.