In communist Russia, there was a group of people who studied Torah in a basement. It was crowded there, but they were afraid to study in the open. There was one person, who didn’t understand Torah, but he would go there regardless, to sit among the Torah students. Someone asked him, “Since you don’t understand, why do you come? You are just making it more crowded for us?”
This man replied, “Years ago, I was drinking some drink in a bar. Near me, was a group of people who gathered there to plot how they could rebel against the government. The government knew they were there; soldiers came and beat them mercilessly. The soldiers beat me too. I shouted, ‘I wasn’t part of their group. I was just sitting at a nearby table, by myself.’ The soldiers replied, ‘If you were near them, you are like them,’ and they continued to beat me.
I learned that when I am near a group, I am counted as part of them. I come to your Torah classes. I don’t understand anything, but I know that if I am together with you, I will be considered part of your group and I will be rewarded together with you.” Even if one doesn’t understand Torah, or even if one is very tired after a day’s work, and he falls asleep at shiur, it is still worthwhile going there. If you are among people who learn Torah, you will be counted as one of them. ~ R’ Elimelech Biderman Shlita