http://revach.net/article.php?id=3651

Section:  Avodah   Category: 48 Kinyanei Torah
Kinyan 9 Shimush Chachomim - Elisha The Water Pourer
When Yehoshafat HaMelech was seeking a Navi, a servant told him that indeed there was a great Navi to be found, Elisha "who poured water on the hands of Eliyahu HaNavi" (Milachim 2 3:11).  The gemara in Brachos (7b)  tells us that from this pasuk we learn, "Gadol Shimusho Yoseir MiLimudo" serving your Rebbi is a greater learning experience than learning itself.  SImilarly we find that Moshe Rabbeinu's successor was not one of the great men of his era, rather it was his Talmid, Yehoshua, who did not leave his great Rebbi's side.

When you learn you are confined to the four corners of the page.  When you are in the presence of your Rebbi you get to watch the synthesis of all his torah knowledge in every action, every passing comment, and even every nuance and every facial expression.  There is "Halacha L'Ma'aseh" and then there is "L'Ma'aseh L'Ma'aseh".  Very rarely does a great figure emerge who is not himself the product of a great Rebbe.

Encyclopedic knowledge can be attained from locking yourself in a room with seforim.  True greatness needs a Rebbi, a guiding light, a figure placed on a pedestal for us to learn from and strive to emulate.  You can learn from a Torah but you are koneh torah become great by learning from a "Living Torah".