By Rabbi Yair Hoffman
This past Sunday, a number of halachic queries from the United States were presented to Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita in writing when Mr. Larry Gordon presented . One such question was whether Yeshiva boys should be learning TaNaCh as part of their regular routine, and if so, when should they be doing so?
The Shulchan Aruch (YD 246L4) writes that a person should divide his learning to include 1/3rd in Torah. Although the meforshim understand his words to refer to the 24 books of TaNaCh, the ruling only refers to the beginning of his learning. In other words when he begins to learn he should spend 1/3 of his time studying TaNaCh, but later on in life, he does not do so.
But what about in contemporary times?
Rav Shlomo Kluger in his Haelef lecha Shlomo (YD 259) writes that in contemporary times we should be learning TaNaCh and the Gemorah that seems to discourage it refers only to make it the central part of one’s study. He writes that an adult who studies Gemorah may study TaNach for an hour or two a day.
The Yesod v’Shoresh HaAvodah (6:2) writes that everyone should actually be fully fluent in TaNaCh and review it once per year. Indeed, he writes that the first year, he should actually complete the entire TaNach seven times to ensure his fluency in it! It should, of course, be stressed that TaNaCh should be studied with Rashi or the other commentaries that are faithful to Chazal.
In Sefer Chinuch Yisroel (Chapter 9), the Satmar Rav is quoted as saying that nowadays the Apikorsim have no connection whatsoever to TaNaCh, and therefore every Melamed in aa Jewish school should be teaching TaNaCh on a daily basis.
So what does Rav Chaim hold?
The following question was posed in writing to Rav Kanievsky, and this was his response.
1. האם ראוי לבן-ישיבה ללמוד תנ”ך שיהיה בקי בתנ”ך. וא”כ מתי ילמד?
Should a yeshiva student learn tanach to know it? If so when should he be learning it? What schedule should he keep?
כן – בן ישיבה צריך ללמוד תנ”ך – וילמד בשבת.
Rav Chaim clearly writes that Yeshiva students should make it a regular part of their schedule and should do so on Shabbos.
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