The article on Rav Dr. Joseph Breuer, הרב לוי יוסף ברייער זצ”ל, that we have been writing about in recent postings, by Rabbi Yaakov Lorch שליט”א, also discusses his derech haLimud. Here are some excerpts from pages 41-42 to give you an idea of how Rav Breuer learned gemara and other parts of תורה שבעל פה.
“Rav Breuer followed the derech halimud of his father, Rav Shlomo Breuer, who had been a close talmid of the Ksav Sofer….Rav Shlomo Breuer belonged to the school of the Chasam Sofer in his derech halimud…striving primarily to understand thoroughly the text at hand….learned with his talmidim only ‘on the daf’. Never did the Gaon come with prepared solutions to the gemara. He never discussed only those parts of the daf where he had something to be mechadesh….he strove for clarity in the pshat of the Gemara…He would never turn to the other Rishonim until Rashi and Tosafos were clear: in particular, he would get annoyed if one went right away to the Rambam…he eschewed any attempt at pilpul, and stressed the careful understanding of an inyan rather than hasty coverage of subject matter.”
In recent times some have replaced the above with different approaches. But the old way still has much going for it, even without invoking tradition, even if it seems simple and modest and lacking the fireworks and pizzazz of some newer approaches. If more people today would follow such a derech, we would be the better for it, as a people. כנלענ”ד.