אמר רבי אחא, יפה שיחתן של עבדי אבות לפני המקום מתורתן של בנים… (רש״י בראשית כד:מב)
Says Rabbi Acha: Better is the idle chatter of the servants of the forefathers before Hashem, than the Torah of their children…
This statement indeed is difficult to understand. How can it be that the idle chatter of the servants of great men is more important than the Torah laws? Idle chatter is definitely not the purpose of this world, whereas the Torah is the basis for all of the universe’s existence.
There are some commentaries that explain as follows: It is difficult—if not impossible—to understand Torah correctly just by learning the words. Therefore one must have a live guide to teach how to integrate the laws of the Torah into this world. This is called “shimush” (apprenticeship). Torah cannot be learned just from a book, but must also include life’s experiences. In regards to this, even idle chatter heard by those who were apprenticing to great men (sichas avdei avos) has an advantage over the text of Torah.
However, the Chasidishe seforim explain yafe sichason as follows: “The tefillah (prayer) is nice,” because the word sicha refers to tefillah and the tefillah of the avdei avos has an advantage over Torah. This needs explanation too, because tefillah and Torah are two totally different realms. How can you say one is better than another? It is like saying a potato is better than a pot. Each serves a different function.
Each of the Avos instituted a different tefillah (Shacharis, Mincha and Maariv). This represents a relationship that they had with Hakadosh Baruch Hu and their tefillah reflected that relationship. We as their offspring have inherited those three relationships that allow us those three special tefillos. The avdei avos were close to their mentors and lived the connection of their masters.
In learning Torah, one must come to conclusions through the tools given to him on his own accord. Mastery of the Torah is not a legacy passed down from generation to generation, but rather each person must acquire it on his own.
Being that this is so, we can understand yafe sichason m’avdei avos the natural given connection that the avdei avos had in tefillah was greater and more explicit than toraso shel bonim, and therefore Hakadosh Baruch Hu gives us their sicha in full as it is written in the Torah, whereas, toraso shel bonim is only mentioned in hints to teach us this idea, that in the learning of Torah, one must toil to his maximum ability.