An Importance Of Studying & Practicing For The Career

The debate on whether study is greater than practice has defeated many philosophers and significant historians specifically amongst the Jewish community. The reason for this never-ending debate is because there is an answer to the question, multiple answers in fact. Answers that of course completely contradict each other, hence, why society is still debating today.

Traditional Jewish thinkers have been heavily invested in the contradiction between whether study is greater than practicing the law, as the Torah (the bridge connecting God and Man) and its study versus practicing the Jewish law concerns this debate. There are facts on both sides, Rabbi Akibah argues that the study is greater whereas Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel proposes that it is in fact practice that is superior. In the eyes of many, including myself upon my initial thought to answering this debate, study is greater as it is “learning that brings one to practice.” This is significant because it is suggesting that one must learn to practice; therefore, without the knowledge gained from learning, there is no practice.

In the eyes of Rabbi Akibah, this perspective makes it seem in this light that study is undoubtedly greater than practice. Nonetheless, there is more to the question than simply the effect of studying. What is the reason for studying in the first place? Studying the Torah, in fact is completed for simply the sake of learning it, it is its own end. This demonstrates that just because learning came before practice that does not mean that it is of greater importance. Upon reflection, my perspective changed once acknowledging Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel’s position, that practice is superior to learning. It was initially argued that since learning occurred prior to practice, it is therefore, of greater significance.

However, if the result is practice in the first place, is one not simply studying for the purpose of practicing? Meaning that the result is superior as it is “through learning that one will come to practice.” I agree with David Novak who quotes the Torah when stating, “you shall learn them to do them” thus implying that learning is of no significance if not to use what one learns for a greater purpose – practice. Currently, I am aiming to attend law school, however, I must realize why I would like to pursue law. Is it because I enjoy the study of law, the discussions, the debates such as this one? Do I even want to become a lawyer, or do I simply love the law? Is it worthwhile to pursue studying law if I will not end up practicing it?

In fact, I agree with Gamliel’s statement that “not study but practice is the chief thing”, as at least in our modern day, what is the significance of learning if not to apply your knowledge to life? What would be the purpose of education at all, if not to someday use that education to enhance one’s career?

Overall, through analyzing both sides of this debate regarding whether study is greater than practicing the law, I have discovered that although this debate has contradictory answers, studying to learn is greater than practice. However, studying to later apply that knowledge to life holds the ultimate seniority. Therefore, arguably practice is greater than study.

03 December 2019
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