I imagine I am not the only one who has dozed off during a lecture. While I might manage to pick up a point or two, surely such dozing limits my ability to contribute to the discussion at hand. Yet there are some who can sleep and learn at the same time; some whose minds are so full of learning that even when they sleep, they learn.
The halachic system, like most other disciplines, has both a theoretical framework and a practical application--and the two do not always coincide. While this may be frustrating at times, no system can operate in an abstract world, devoid of a multitude of factors that may impact on practical rulings. An important measure of a great posek(decisor of Jewish law) lies in his ability to apply his expert knowledge in halacha from the abstract world to real-life situations.