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Yeshiva , in Hebrew ישיבה, pl. Yeshivot or Yeshivos (Ashkenazi pronunciation; alternative spellings Yeshiva or Yeshivah ) is a Jewish university , at which mostly male students devote themselves to the Torah and especially the Talmud . The study takes place in the form of daily shi'urim .

There are two final levels: Yeshiva gedola (literally: large yeshiva) and yeshiva ketana (literally: small yeshiva). In the United States, the higher degree is also named after the Aramaic term Metivta or Mesivta . A yeshiva for married male students is called a kollel ("assembly"). The head of a yeshiva is called a rosh yeshiva .

Traditionally, women were not allowed to study the Torah, but for some years now they have had the opportunity to obtain a yeshiva degree at modern Orthodox Jewish institutions.


Before 1800

According to Jewish tradition, the rabbi of each community had the right to teach its own student body in a building called Beit Midrash (“ Klaus ”), which was usually located near the synagogue . Their livelihood was covered by the municipality's tax revenue. After a few years, the students could either take up a rabbinical position themselves after having passed the semichah or devote themselves to a secular profession.

The Mishnah mentions the law that a place may only call itself a “city” if it enables at least ten men (Batlanim) , the minimum number for common prayer, to study the Torah (Mishnah: treatise Megilla ). Each rabbinical court ( Beth Din ) was also accompanied by a student body who corresponded to three times the number of judges themselves (Mishnah, Tractate Sanhedrin ). This shows the historical importance of the classical yeshiva.

As prescribed in the Talmud, the men usually devoted themselves more intensively to the study of the Torah one month before the harvest ( Elul and Adar ).

In the German-speaking world, the three cooperating Talmud schools in Mainz , Worms and Speyer , the ShUM cities , enjoyed a special reputation in the 11th to 13th centuries . In 1990 the Yeshiva Gedola was founded in Berlin by the Chabad Shluchim ("Emissaries"), Rabbi Yehuda and Leah Teichtal. It was the first re-establishment of an Orthodox yeshiva on German soil after the Second World War .

Chaim of Valoschyn

Structured Torah studies were developed primarily by Rabbi Chaim Valoschyn , a student of the Vilna Gaon . In his opinion, the previous form of study did not meet the need for more intensive study.

Rabbi Chaim gathered interested students and opened the Valoschyn yeshiva at the end of the 18th century . Although this facility was closed by the Russian government 60 years later , several more opened in other cities, the most famous of which are Ponovezh, Mir , Brest and Telz . Many schools today in the United States and Israel see themselves as their successors and bear their respective names.

Forms of the yeshivot

There are four forms of yeshivot:

  1. Yeshiva Ketana ("little yeshiva") - also called cheder , only basic and without secular content
  2. Yeshiva High School - also Mesivta or Mechina (not to be confused with Mechina ), combines Jewish-Orthodox education with a secular high school degree (roughly equivalent to the German Abitur), dual curriculum originally from the Manhattan Talmudical Academy of Yeshiva University (also known as " Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy ") from 1916
  3. Beit Midrash - an advanced course for those who have graduated from high school , training takes one to several years
  4. Kollel - Yeshiva for married adults, from 19th century Europe

A distinction is made between the American and Israeli yeshiva. The American yeshiva student usually completes the yeshiva ketana on site, then the yeshiva high school either on site or more often with other students in a kind of boarding school. This is often followed by two to four years in a Beit Midrash. This is followed by stays of two to five years in Israel. The student then returns and does an American yeshiva, often followed by a kollel after the wedding.

Well-known yeshivot

The currently largest yeshivot are:


  • Mir-Yeshiva ( Jerusalem ); Charedi
  • Beit-El-Yeshiva ( Bet El ); Zionist
  • Brisk-yeshiva (Jerusalem); Charedi
  • Chewron-Yeshiva (Jerusalem, previously in Hebron ); Charedi
  • Yeshivat Birkat Mosque ( Maale Adumim ); Zionist, Hesder , Hebrew
  • Yeshivat Ateret Kohanim; Zionist , Hesder, Hebrew
  • Yeshivat Har Etzion ( Gush Etzion ); Zionist, Hesder, English and Hebrew
  • Yeshivat haKotel; Zionist, Hebrew with Shiur in English
  • Yeshivat Kerem beJawne; religious-Zionist, Hebrew and English
  • Kol Torah
  • Ponevezh yeshiva (Bnei Berak); Charedi
  • Machon Meir (Jerusalem); Zionist, multilingual
  • Merkas HaRaw Kook (Jerusalem); Zionist, Hebrew
  • PARDES Institute for Jewish Studies; English and Hebrew; egalitarian, modern-orthodox, independent
  • Tomchei Tmimim Lubavitch (Kefar Chabad); Lubavitch
  • Toras Emes (Jerusalem, previously in Hebron ); Lubavitch

The most famous yeshivots with English-language classes are:

  • Mayanot
  • Ear somayach
  • Aish HaTorah

There are many Hesder yeshivot who combine studies with military service; various Hasidic; and dozens of others.

United States

There are numerous others, including various Hasidic yeshivot.



Yeshivot in German-speaking countries




  • Viennese yeshiva

Academic year

The year is divided into three Smanim (roughly: "semester" or trimester).

Elul-Sman begins in the Hebrew month of Elul and goes up to Yom Kippur (six weeks). Winter Sman begins after the Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) and continues until the Feast of Passover (six months). The summer semester begins after Passover and continues until the beginning of the Jewish month Aw (three months).

Typical timetable

  • 07:00 a.m. on request Seder (studies)
  • 07:30 Shacharit (morning prayer)
  • 08:30 Jewish law
  • 09:00 am breakfast
  • 09:30 am Talmudic studies (first seder )
  • 12:30 Schi'ur ("Lecture")
  • 13:30 lunch
  • 14:45 Mincha (afternoon prayer)
  • 15:00 Mussar (Jewish ethics)
  • 3:30 p.m. Talmudic Studies (second seder )
  • 19:00 dinner
  • 8:00 p.m. Night Seder - repetition of lectures, study as desired
  • 21:25 Mussar (Jewish ethics)
  • 21:45 Ma'ariw (evening prayer)
  • 22:00 Seder on request

This study is usually valid from Sunday to Thursday with an extra long seder until 1:00 a.m. On Fridays there is usually at least one seder in the morning, the afternoon is free. A special Sabbath schedule applies on Saturdays .

The study usually takes place together with a study partner ( Chawruta, Aramaic for "friend"), or in a sh'iur .

Talmudic Studies

In the typical yeshiva, the main focus is on studying and analyzing the Talmud . The study of the Talmud takes place on the one hand be'ijun, with emphasis on the most detailed and profound understanding of the Talmud passage, on the other hand, bekijut, with emphasis on quantitative progress in the study, so that the student acquires the most comprehensive possible knowledge of the Talmud.

Jewish laws

Generally speaking, the student spends some time studying the halacha , the Jewish laws. The most studied text is the Mishnah Berura, written by Rabbi Jisra'el Me'ir Kagan .

Jewish ethics

Important texts

Hasidism : Tanja and Likkutej Tora, both by Schneur Salman .


Web links

Commons : Yeshiva  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. About Us. In: Yeshiva Gedola Berlin. Yeshiva Gedola Berlin, accessed on February 1, 2013 .
  2. a b Yeshiva. In: Yeshiva Gedola in Berlin. Chabad Lubawitsch Berlin, accessed February 1, 2013 .
  3. Founded in 1990 by the Chabad Shluchim ('Emissaries'), Rabbis Yehuda and Leah Teichtal. The first orthodox yeshiva on German soil after World War II.