Torah [study] is also greater than saving lives, as our Sages of Blessed Memory have said in [maseches] “Megillah” (16b).
 This section reads as follows:
“And HaShem said to Shmuel, ‘Behold I am going to do a matter in Israel, concerning which everyone who hears of it will have both of his ears shudder. On that day, I shall bring upon the Household of Eli all that which I have spoken concerning his Household, [this decree shall] begin and shall destroy them. And I have told him that I am Judging his Household forever for the sin of that which he knew that his sons were acting derisively toward HaShem (according to RaSh”I’s explanation) and he did not protest against [their actions]. And therefore I have sworn to The Household of Eli that they will never be atoned for by a sacrifice and a Mincha [offering] forever.” (Shmuel I: 3; 11 – 14)
According to Metzudas David and MaLBI”M, The Household of Eli would never be atoned for by a sacrifice or a Mincha offering, as they sinned in relation to those offerings and a “prosecutor can’t be made into a defender”. Their punishment was midah k’neged midah for their having acted disparagingly as related to the karbanos.
 This teaching is quoted in the name of Rava. Abayee holds that the sin will be atoned for by Torah study and g’milus chasadim (acts of kindness).
 The entire pasuk states, “This is the [Torah] law for the Olah, for the Mincha, and for the Chattas, and for the Asham, and for the Milu’eem and for the sacrifice of the Shilamim.” (Vayikra: 7; 37)
The above pasuk lists various types of offerings that were brought in The Beis HaMikdash.
 This teaching is quoted in the name of Rabbi Yochanan and is taught in reference to the following pasuk from “Tehillim”: “A song of ascents: Behold, those who serve HaShem, who stand in The House of HaShem during the nights.” (Tehillim: 134; 1)
 The teaching from The “Zohar” states as follows:
““And they came until Nachal Eshkol…” (Bamidbar: 13; 23) Rabbi Yehuda opened [by quoting the following pasuk from sefer “Yishayahu”]: “So says HaShem, The Creator of The Heaven and Who spread it out…” (42; 5) How [fitting] is it for people to look in The Service of The Holy One, Blessed is He, how [appropriate] is it for the person to look in [The] words of The Torah. For every person who involve themselves in [the study of The] Torah, [is considered] as if he has offered all of the sacrifices of the world before The Holy One, Blessed is He. Not only [is the above the case], rather, The Holy One, Blessed is He, Atones for all of his sins, and prepares a number of seats for him in The World to Come.”
 This teaching from The “Midrash HaNe’elam” of The “Zohar”, is quoted in the name of Rav Dimi. This teaching is followed by a teaching of Rabbi Yochanan’s, where he stated that HaShem told Moshe that when The Beis HaMikdash wouldn’t be in existence, when The B’nei Yisrael would be able to involve themselves in Torah study, that would have more of a positive effect than had they brought all of the karbanos (sacrifices) in that they will be pardoned for all of their sins as a result of their involvement in Torah study. Rav Kruspidee teaches that one who recites the matters of the karbanos and how they are offered in the Beis Midrash’s and shuls is guaranteed that the angels who would otherwise mention the sins of that person will not be able to and will not be able to do evil against that person, but will only be able to do that which is good to him.
 Rav Yosef teaches that studying Torah is superior to saving lives. Similarly, Rav, or alternatively, Rav Shmuel bar Marta taught that the study of Torah is superior to the building of The Beis HaMikdash. Rabbah said in the name of Rav Yitzchak, the son of Shmuel, the son of Marta, that studying Torah is superior to honoring one’s father and mother.
The gemara is merely teaching of the superiority of Torah study over these other great mitzvos. However, these other mitzvos are also applicable, though it must be clearly determined under what circumstances one would be involved in Torah study so as to not be obligated at that time to perform the aforementioned mitzvos. It is also important to keep in mind that though Torah study is superior to these other mitzvos, when the given mitzvah must be performed and can only be performed by the person who is studying Torah, he should try to find a way to avail himself to perform the given mitzvah if the mitzvah must be performed at the time of his Torah study. The person should, of course, try to make up that time he spent away from Torah study at a later time.
The sources, quoted in the gemara, by the above rabbis, which support their teachings, are as follows:
Rav Yosef notes that Mordechai was named after four great Torah leaders, as noted in sefer “Ezra” (2; 2), but subsequent to his being raised into the aristocracy, he was less involved in Torah than he had been previously, as a result and is mentioned after five great Torah scholars, indicated a drop in his stature. (Nichemiah: 7; 7) Though Mordechai was involved in saving the lives of The Jewish People, which he of course was obligated to do, his stature dropped.
Rav or Rav Shmuel bar Marta notes that Torah study is superior to the building of The Beis HaMikdash, as Ezra did not ascend to Eretz Yisrael, until after The Beis HaMikdash had been built, as he was learning Torah from Baruch ben Neriah, the Torah scholar, and prophet, in Bavel. (See RaSh”I, quoting a Midrash and Ezra (7; 8))
Rav Yitzchak, the son of Shmuel, the son of Marta, taught that studying Torah is superior to honoring one’s father and mother, as Ya’akov was not punished for the fourteen years that he spent studying Torah in the Yeshiva of Shem and Ever. (Megillah, 16a – b)