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Question:

My cousin told me he’s going to “yeshiva”. Does that mean he will be a rabbi?



AskTheRabbi.org answered:

Not necessarily.The origins of modern yeshivot (plural of yeshiva) lie in Babylon in about 200 C.E. in the academies where Jews studied the text of the Mishnafor the scholar, the place of study is virtually his home.

Yeshivot“Torah lishmah,” i.e. the study of Torah for its own sake. They study in order to know and understand the Torah, not for financial gain or career advancement. It is becoming increasingly common for students, both men and women, to spend a year or two after high school studying in a yeshiva in order to become a more complete, knowledgeable Jew. These students do not necessarily plan to continue with intensive Torah study and they expect to go on to college or enter the business world after their time in a yeshiva. They have decided that if they are going to spend four to six years at college studying in order to “make a living,” they would like to devote at least a year or two to studying how to live.

The world of the yeshiva today encompasses a broad spectrum of learning styles, academic levels and student populations. Some yeshivot cater to people who know very little or nothing about Judaism, others accept only those who already have advanced knowledge of Jewish texts. There are Chassidic yeshivot, Sephardic yeshivot, yeshivot that combine Torah study with Israeli army service (known as Hesder yeshivot), and yeshivot that specialize in training rabbis, educators and judges for rabbinical courts (beit din). One type of yeshiva, the kollel, accommodates advanced married students who live off campus and often receive a stipend from the institution in which they study. Some kollels are operated within a larger yeshiva; others exist as independent institutions. They often serve as an educational resource for the community.


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