Can learning Tefilah - or improving one’s davening - be considered part of the mitzvah talmud Torah?
It depends. When the tefilah incorporates pesukim and you learn/practice them you are in fact learning Torah as well. When improving the non pasuk text of the tefilah you are not considered to be learning Torah.
Why should that be? You are learning a text which chazal wrote?
Reb Chaim Volozin in his sefer Nefesh Hachaim in the beginning of the 4th Perek says regarding Tehillim: Dovid Hamelech prayed to Hashem that he should consider his Tehillim like the Torah. Reb Chaim says we never find that Hashem responded to him. Therefore Reb Chaim says we have no proof that Tehillim has the level of Torah.
The shela writes that his tefilah was answered that it should be the same;and in any case, I would understand that source as indicating that they should not be considered at the same level (because tehillim requries more effort). Rabbi Gifter says that as I recall. In any case, I don’t see the relevance because of course there is a mitzvah of talmud torah for tehillim when learned as you indicate initially. Thank you for your time
You have an obligation to understand the words you are using to daven with. Therefore leaning what he words mean and how they work to better your davening would not be considered Talmud Torah. See Rambam Hilchot Talmud Torah Chapter 3
I am sorry to be a bother, but I just don’t see any relevance…do you mind being more specific. You have an obligation to learn כל התורה כולה according to many poskim (see shulchan aruch harav hilchos talmud torah).
I’m not sure I understand the question. There is an obligation to learn Torah, and one should also understand the meaning of Davening. Some parts of Tefilla incorporate portions of the Torah while others don’t.