On the verse in Leviticus (26:3), “If you follow My statutes and observe My commandments and perform them,” the commentator Rashi explains that “if you follow My statutes” is referring to “toil in the study of Torah.”1

I find studying Torah to be very inspirational, exciting, and mostly enjoyable. Can you please explain the meaning of “toiling in the study of Torah”?


Yes, the study of Torah, Jewish teachings, can be very uplifting, enjoyable, and intellectually stimulating. But what if it isn’t? What if you hit an area of study that you find boring? Or an area of study that you can’t make sense of, no matter how hard you try?

Or, there may come a time in your life that is so hectic that it is difficult to set aside the time to study. You might be tempted to push it off to the next day, the next week, or to sometime in the future when there aren’t so many demands on your time.

It is at these moments when the concept of “toiling in Torah” kicks in.

When you have no particular pleasure in an area of study, keep at it anyway. When it’s difficult to understand, keep trying to wrap your head around the concepts. When you seem to “get it” easily, work anyway, and dig for deeper insights and greater understanding. And when you have no time, make time.

In Torah study, it’s not only the end result, the knowledge, that’s important. Equally important, or perhaps even more important, is the process by which we acquire the learning. Because it is in the struggle that we subjugate and overcome our negative inclinations and the spiritual lethargy that causes us to be uninterested in learning and doing good deeds. Through authentic Jewish teachings, we become more spiritually refined and more connected to G‑d.

See Torah Study.