We often hear about learning lishmah. What does it mean?

Answer:

Three basic approaches are given for the concept of Torah lishmah:

1) Study of Torah for the sake of performing the Torah, which in turn is for the sake of Hashem in performing His mitzvos (Reishis Chochmah, intro.; Vilna Gaon, Intro. to Tikkunim). This can perhaps be called the “mainstream” interpretation: One studies the Torah for the sake of performing one’s duties before Hashem, i.e. for the sake of mitzvah performance.

2) Study of Torah for the sake of completing and perfecting one’s own person (many early Chassidic masters).

3) Study of Torah for the Torah’s sake: for the sake of understanding the Torah, so that the Torah should be promulgated in the world (Nefesh Hachaim 4:3).


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