Rav Avigdor Miller on the Yeshiva-Man and Chessed

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Q:
How much chesed should a full-time Yeshiva bochur be involved in?

A:
And the answer is that a yeshiva bochur should never allow anything to interfere with his learning. Now, if it’s possible for him to do chesed when he’s not learning, why not? But don’t go away from the Beis Medrash for chesed. Talmud Torah ki’neged kulam. And even if it’s a mitzvah, as long as it’s efshar la’asos al yi’dei acheirim – other people can do it – then let them do it. It’s essential to know that our entire career is in learning Torah. Ki heim cha’yeinu. It is so important! For a yeshiva man, the number one thing on the agenda is to succeed in learning. If you can do it together with shleimus, with da’as, with mussar, with yir’as shamayim – absolutely those are also important.  But it’s necessary to know that to know that you must succeed in learning Gemara. You must be successful in your learning.
After all, that is the bread of our lives. The Gemara is the bread of our lives. And even though other things are like butter on the bread and like jelly on the bread – that’s all very good. But the bread comes first. And that’s why I say to all Yeshiva men – never neglect your learning for anything else.

TAPE #E-209