There is an interesting Q&A posted on din.org.il (link below) regarding Chacham Ovadia’s psak on how Ba’alei Batim should allot their free time for learning. It is entirely in Hebrew so I can’t fully understand it, but am eager to read it. Is there anyone here that can provide an English translation of the Q&A? it would be greatly appreciated.
Learning Daf Hayomi for Baalei Batim according to Horav Ovadia Yosef zt”l
Horav Ovadia Yosef Toledano
23 Sivan 5773
Shalom to the Rav,
My question is the following: Maran Horav Ovadia Yosef zt”l ruled that baalei batim that can only learn 3 hours a day should only learn halacha pesuka. Since I am in this category, and I only have3hours daily to learn, however out of that an hour and a half of it learning daf hayomi in a group. I most add that the learning is with an authorized Rov and helps me a lot in my torah and ruchniut development. However if Horav Ovadia paskened not to learn gemora, and the same for Horav Mutzafi, to learn halacha psuka exclusively. ( I understand what they are saying, however I have a long way to go, and this learning is very helpful to me and it helps me more then the day to day things. Therefore, what should I do?
Thank you very much for all that you do.
This is the text of what my grandfather ( shlit”a) in Halichos Olam 8 pg. 337 “Ballei Batim (laymen) who don’t have more than two three hours a day to learn should only learn halacha lemaaseh from the Shulchan Aruch and commentaries, from whose mouth we live, which is the main part of our Holy Torah – to know what to do. They are not fulfill their obligation to learn torah by learning Mishna and Gemorah, since we can derive halachot directly from the Talmud (Nidda 7b), and it is also written ( Nidda 73a) “Whoever learn halachos every day is assured that he will merit the world to come” this means learning halcha pesuka. However learning only daf hayomi from the Talmud, doesn’t suffice the obligation to learn torah, because the Rabbeinu Ri Ben Migash (Siman 114) writes that nowadays there isn’t anyone who can pasken directly from the Talmud, rather only from the rulings of the Geonim, and those who think that they can pasken by merely studying the Talmud in depth, should be stopped because no one in our times is befitting to do this. See there. However someone who has 4 hours or more a day to learn hould learn 3 hours learning halacha and the rest learning Gemorah and Rishonim as much as he can.”
And in the sources there, the words of the Shach (Y:D 246-5) “the Drisha wrote: There are baalei batim who learn Talmud every day with Rashi and Tosafot, and do not study the poskim, and they bring proof for this from is says (at the end of Nida), That whoever learns everyone is different every day, assured that he is a member of Olam Haba. But the truth is that in the books of the poskim, the laws of the Torah that is the practical halacha such as in the Raf and Rosh, and the like, which are the roots of our teachings, and they do not fulfill their obligation at all by learning (this is his only) Talmud. With the exception of one who has a lot of time like nine hours a day, should learn Talmud, however baalei batim who only study for three or four hours will not learn only Talmud”. These are his words. This is also brought in Gra”z ( Hilchos Talmud Torah 2-9) that a person who has little leisure should do all his study in the laws that lead to the doing, which are the laws that every person should know them, in order to fulfill the mitzvos, And be careful not to transgress aveiros. This means learning learning Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, some of Yoreh Deah, Even Haezer and Choshen Mishpat, and to learn each one of them clearly, while understanding it’s reasons as brought by the Bais Yosef. This is also the basic idea of what teshuva me’ahava says in his preface to Part 2, “And this is the table that is before H-shem, its name befits it the Shulchan Aruch (lit. set table) of the way of life, which which contains all the behavior and laws that are needed for practical daily living, and it contains the miriad of halachos of Shabbos and brachos, and other halachos, and not like I have seen of many people who learn a Gemara page every day and do not know the laws of the Brachos and the Laws of Shabbat. As the Shach Y:d 246-5…”. This is also written by Rabbi Yonatan Eivshitz, in Yaaros Devash, that anyone who did not study Shabbat law clearly two or three times will not be able to escape from desecrating the Sabbath, both in biblical and rabbinic laws. And written by the genius of Lissa in the Derech Chaim, and over this the sad ones should be sad, because there are some people who excel in Torah that deals with Shas in pilul and its sharpness, but regarding the Shabbat halachot they are not well versed and they come to doubtful desecration of the Shabbat. [this is also brought in the name of R’ C. Pelagi in Kaf Hachaim. And so also in the Zichronos Eliyahu O:CH (page126). And so the Mishna Berurah in his introduction to Halachic Sabbath Part III]. The wise should hear and add to this” these are his words.
It should be emphasized, however, that what he warned to study Halacha, this means with its sources, namely the study of Halakha from its roots, since those who study halakha from concise halacha seforim will soon forget it, and so we warned against this a lot. Therefore, it is good to do what you are doing, and look for a rabbi, or a regular shiur in your area where you study halachic in depth in order to understand halakha from its origins, and in the process also sharpen your mind.
However if you do not find a rabbi to teach you this, then I think it would be good if you learned an hour a day from the rabbi, and in the remaining two hours you will take a study partner, who will study with you the halacha from its origins.
H-shem should give your path success and you should succeed in this path.
As a side point this is the opinion of Horav Ovadia Yosef.