Can I really do so much?
Question: I have a question about what’s written in “Crossing The Narrow Bridge.” If Rebbie Nachman suggested that a good study program should consist of finishing the Shas with Rashi, Tosfos, Rabenu Asher, all the Midrashim, all the Zohar, all the writings of the Ari, and the Shulchan Aruch with all the mefarshim, is this really possible? Or is it possible maybe for only a handful of people. Should one strive for something this impossible or is it better to have goals that one can actually accomplish?
Answer: It is my humble opinion that Reb Nachman meant exactly what he said. Now of course this must be understood in a larger context. Reb Nachman wanted to inspire us to aim for the greatest heights in Torah scholarship and therefore recommended and very difficult goal that requires us to be well regimented. That being said a person must be honest with himself and see where he stands. If he cannot finish all of these in one year then try for two years etc… How about if each one of these seems like something that is very lofty for him? Well then you can start with the Mishna and proceed to to Talmud/Daf Yomi once you have accomplished that. I believe the main point is to cover ground and complete the different parts of the Torah, the more times you will do this, the more proficient you will become in those parts and the quicker you will be able to complete them. The ultimate goal being to continually finish things again and again, then perhaps you will one day come to the level where you can complete the Rebbe’s course of study in one year.
By the way Reb Noson himself said that there were years where he was able to complete the studies the Rebbe told him to do and years where he wasn’t able to. But he certainly did what he could and finished quite a lot!