Midot Hayom: Day 43: Chesed in Malchut
When one learns Torah by himself, he is cherished on High. For it says, “Let one sit in solitude and be silent, for He has laid his reward upon him.” (Lamentations 3:28) To what can this be compared? To a man who went to the market, leaving his little son alone at home. The child took down a scroll, placed it on his lap and made believe he was studying. Returning from the market, the father exclaims, “Look what my little son has done! I went to the market and left him alone at home. He took down a scroll by himself, put it on his lap, and is studying it!” Thus we learn that even when one sits by himself learning Torah, it is cherished on High. Avot of Rabbi Nathan 8:6
The father does not believe that his son is actually studying. He realizes that the child is picking up behaviors from his environment, and that it is an indication of what the child perceives.
Even those of us who are like children in Torah study, who feel that we are simply reading when we learn by ourselves, and wonder whether we gain from such Torah study, do gain. We gain the life force that pervades the Torah. We influence our development through our efforts no matter how simple.