With only 10 days left in our journey, I am reminded of an important Talmudic passage: “רבי יהושע בן קרחה אומר כל הלומד תורה ואינו חוזר עליה דומה לאדם שזורע ואינו קוצר – Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korcha says ‘Anyone who learns Torah but does not review it is like a person who plants but does not harvest.’”
What does Rabbi Yehoshua mean? When you learn something you have acquired knowledge, right? How can not reviewing it be compared to not harvesting?
Rabbi Yehoshua is teaching us something fundamental about how our brains work and how learning Torah works. Let’s examine the metaphor carefully.
When someone plants seeds they are planning for the future, they know that by planting this seed now – sacrificing a kernel of grain that could have been made into flour – they will be getting a greater return on their investment in the future. And after months of taking care of that seed, watering, waiting, praying and hoping, they finally get a crop that they can be proud of. They finally harvest.
What Rabbi Yehoshua is teaching us about our minds and about learning Torah is that learning things the first time isn’t gaining information, it is getting our brains ready to eventually gain that information. We first need to plant the seed of knowledge, then we need to spend time watering it, caring for it, praying over it and hoping that it blossoms, and then finally when we return to it and are able to simply review it, we have acquired that piece of knowledge.
We can’t simply acquire knowledge by reading a book, we need to plant the seeds and nurture it, return to it over and over again, live it and then we can finally harvest.
So today, I challenge you to review.
Take some of the information you have learned over the last 50 days, start reviewing it, start nurturing it, start living it and keep reviewing it until you can finally harvest. Because if you simply spent the last 50 days reading a post everyday, all you did was plant seeds – let’s get those seeds to blossom!