The Sages tell us that the Torah is one of the three things the world rests on, and that "the study of Torah outweighs all the other mitzvot" in importance and in the reward attached to it.
A deeper understanding of this mitzvah requires that we distinguish between its two aspects, one within the other.
The study of Torah is, first, the way that knowledge of Torah in all its dimensions—theoretical and practical, abstract and concrete—is acquired.
It is through such study that one obtains guidance for life.
It is through such study alone that one attains knowledge of Judaism itself.
The study of Torah also has another, inward aspect to it: it is itself a mitzvah and an important one, not only a means but also an end, an act that is inherently meaningful regardless of its practical consequences.
The study of Torah is not a matter of learning "about" Judaism, but is in itself one of Judaism's essential components.
Just as every mitzvah-fulfilling act derives meaning from the link it creates between the doer and the Giver of that mitzvah, so too does talmud Torah establish a connection between the learner and the Source of the text.
Torah is both a gateway leading into the palace of Judaism and a great hall within that palace.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From Teshuvah, p. 87, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz