It brings in Tana D’Vei Eliyahu Eliyahu Zuta 12:3-4 aspects of the light of a person who learns much or little. He brings the example of Moshe Rabeinu compared to everyone else. Every other one of the Ziknei HaEida (Elders of the Congregation) and the leaders learned one perek each, but Moshe Rabeinu learned the whole Torah. That is not to say that each of the others didn’t have light upon their faces, but Moshe Rabeinu was so bright that people couldn’t even look at him. So clearly the amount of Torah one learns has an effect on their countenance and brings them greater light and reward in the next world.
He replies to Chavakuk as well in regards to this matter, asking if one who learns little and one who learns much have the same light “Lav, eloh kol echod v’echod l’fi darko.” (No, rather evryone according to his way.) This is curious, to me at least, considering much of what I’ve learned essentially says that understanding is the key aspect of learning, except for Rebbe Nachman, who maintains quite otherwise, he holds like the Tanna D’Vei Eliyahu.
My kasha, at least starting here, is why is it better to learn more Torah than to learn with the goal of understanding and maybe cover less ground? The teirutz is that it is best to understand Torah, but the fact of the matter is that every shtikl Torah that we learn contains sodos far beyond what we could possibly uncover within our lifetimes. This is why we’ll be learning the same Torah we learned in this lifetime in the next world with the tzaddikim; and even they learned more after death! The Torah we learn performs tikkunim on us and in the higher realms, which then makes us more proper conduits for the Light from Hashem Yisborach. Even then, this is not such a good answer.
Utilizing a popular tool of logic, it even states a clearer understanding of this in the Midrash itself, “Lav, eloh kol echod v’echod l’fi darko.” Everybody gains Light according to his path. There are some of us in this world that are meant to learn fast, there are some that are meant to learn much, there are some of us that are meant to learn very little Torah, but it is deep, and there are even those who are meant to learn very little at all. The important thing is that we engage in Torah from an approach based in emes, that we truly seek to do the rotzon Hashem, and that we do what we need to do, without even the slightest trace of selfishness or self-aggrandizement. Limmud HaTorah is easily a selfish avoda, because it can take us to the place of believing that we are smarter than others because we’ve learned something another hasn’t. It has nothing to do with intelligence, it’s just like it says in Avos, “if you’ve learned much, thank the One who made you to do so.” We must learn Torah simply to serve Hashem and understand how we must serve Him, not with an intent that we should look cool to other people, or for a shidduch, or frankly for any reason other than simple avodas Hashem. If we can learn Torah from this perspective, truly l’fi darkeinu, according to our paths, rather than according to what our social group wants, from there we can truly grow and merit to receive Hashems Light.
L’fi Darko does not mean simply how much one learns or the quality, it must even apply to the WAY, quite literally, one learns. If a person needs to shuckel and throw coffee cups around the room to understand the gemara, then he should do that. If he needs to sit quietly at home or in a corner in the beis medresh rather than yelling constantly, then he should do this. If he needs to learn alone completely rather than with chevrusos all day, then he should do this, if he is able. The important thing is that Torah is learned properly, and according to the way Hashem created each one of us to serve Him.