Monday, November 29, 2010

Taharas HaKodesh in Volozhin

check the schedule in the box

Maybe I'm not getting something here, and then maybe you guys can help me out. It seems like all those years of Lubab "brainwashing and kool-aid" did a real number on me. What we have here is a daily schedule of learning in Volozhin in the year 1858 LeMisporom. That's 34(!) years before it actually closed. [The NeTZIV was the Rosh Yeshivah back then, although there is talk there about getting official Government recognition. Maybe that has something to do with internal politics... The Beis HaLevi was there at the time. If we had the time and energy we could find that many of the giants were learning there at the time.] I dunno about you guys, but I had no idea they were being hounded by the Government for such a long time. The official schedule pictured here and submitted to the Ministry of Education was maybe composed to please the authorities and to show them how they're agreeing to the demands that they begin teaching the students the Russian Language and other secular subjects. So we're not here to complain about that or to point that out, despite the fact that today's biographers would have you believe that nothing other than Torah and Talmud was studied and taught there. But one things keeps you scratching your head: Why the need to study the Biur?! Was that too required reading by the Czarist Government? Did the maskilim force that upon them with their influence among Government officials? Intelligent answers are welcome. Please note the difference between הביאור with the ה' הידיעה, when it comes to Chumash, and ביאור stam when it comes to Nach. HaBiur is Mendelssohn. Biur stam can either be the continuation of that commentary by his contemporaries and students, or it can be any other Meforash on TaNaCH.

We often wonder why Volozhin wasn't good enough for the Rebbe Rashab of Lubavitch. We're beginning to see why...

The title page of the above-quoted book.


Anonymous said...

Arithmetic in the first year, fractions and decimals in the second? How old were the bochurim?

Anonymous said...

badly done, tzig.
not worthy of a response.

til koireh said...

Hirshel yes you are full of it, (Koo-laid ?)
This was written government education ministry who were staffed with Maskilishe cronies it passed till they didn't do inspections, once they could not be deceived he yeshiva was closed rather then learn limudei chol,
and please do some research ,the Rashab became sick when he found our that the Rayatz was reading seforim chitzionim an unheard thing in those days bi chasidim and a common practice in lubavitch today so stop pointing fingers on voloshin your laundry can do some cleansing

Anonymous said...

so Saul Stamper the author of this pamphlet did not realize that the Biur means Mendelssohn till Burech Obeelander from lubavitch pointed it out for him , so in the past the maskilim were degrading bnei teyreh now lubavitch took their place

Anonymous said...

today administrators of yeshivas do such write ups to get government grants so why shouldn't they have done such write up just to avoid closure and aliba demes they learned al tahras hakoidesh

Anonymous said...

i checked the schedule in the box the limudei kodesh is so unrealistic so why should the limudei chol be emes at all, you are a filthy anti Semite

yehupitz said...

This was obviously meant for gov't eyes, like roiv transcripts of today's yeshiva awarded degrees and credits. Really tzig what were you thinking??

An Ailmesher said...

השנאה מקלקלת את השורה.


You know better than that. You think that R. Chaim Brisker, the Aruch Hashulchan and R. Chayim Oyzer were mechunach with that curriculum?

oldtimer said...

Tzig 2 things 1-ive been looking for that book for a long time any idea where i can get ahold of it?is it available online?2-what is the maaseh with the rebbe rashab and volozhin?

Anonymous said...

We already discussed Mendelsons biur in an earlier post from OnTheMainline withhis post on Lilienthal.
Why is the Biur such a biggee??

Anonymous said...

Netsiv gave a daily Chumash shiur after davening in which he read pesukim adn explained them, hence "biur". Netsiv's Cumash commentary came out of this shiur.

This is clearly an attempt to please the authorities. Stemper himself and others point out that students hid away when Russian classes were held and Netsiv had to go around to gather them and force them into this class.

You are right that a great deal of secular educaiton went on in the yeshiva but it was done as tutoring or self-study and unofficially. Vovlozhin was like a Jewish University where one could get a good secular education from the young geniuses who learned there. Bialik writes about this. Torah Temima studied accounting (on his own) while he was learning in the yeshiva. They used to say, "If you want to learn to be a mensch, go to Volozhin".

avakesh at

Chanokh said...

Chullin, Yevamos, Ksubos, Gittin, Kidushin, plus Yore Dea and Even haEzer, plus mishnayos nezikin and kodshim, all in one year. On the other hand, no BK, BM or BB. Sounds pretty realistic to me...

Anonymous said...

Til Koreh
"and please do some research ,the Rashab became sick when he found our that the Rayatz was reading seforim chitzionim"
was it a fact ? or a accusation from a person that was a big oived, but had some leadership ambition?

snagville said...

You embarrass yourself (and your last 20 good posts) with this garbage. Do you remember the scene from a few good men (frummies cover your eyes) where Tom Cruise asks the soldier to show him in the book where the dining room is to prove that not everything is in the book? That is what this is like. I would like to see the next page where the menu of the meals was shown. I am sure it shows foods from all the food groups and in the amounts recommended by the Russian version of the USDA. C'mon this is a joke. This is like a press release.

Anonymous said...

I don"t see your reason for hysteria, Tzig started out that it could be only official paperwork for the Government, but it is still worth to mention either way.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said....but it is still worth to mention either way.
even when he writes about Lubavitcher?

til koreh said...

to anon who wrote and please do some research ,the Rashab became sick when he found our that the Rayatz was reading seforim chitzionim"
was it a fact ? or a accusation from a person that was a big oived, but had some leadership ambition?
it was an accusation then and a fact now

Chabad historian said...

"We often wonder why Volozhin wasn't good enough for the Rebbe Rashab of Lubavitch. We're beginning to see why..."

Contrary to popular belief, the Rebbe Rashab was not the one who initiated the idea of a Yeshiva with a combined ciriculum of Nigleh and Chassidus. In fact, he was orignally opposed to it. When his son, the Rebbe Rayatz, brought up the idea, he said that it was a "Misnagdishe eitzeh". His position was that they should go "there" for nigleh and come "here" fo chassidus. His son eventually prevailed, and during his wedding celabration, the Rebbe Rashab announced the opening of his unique yeshiva. Unless you say that the Rebbe was simply unaware of the ciriculum, he seemingly trusted the people over "there" enough to entrust his young chassidim to them.

Anonymous said...

Til Koreh
"it was an accusation then and a fact now"
do you have it Mekubal Ish Mipi Ish till whom????

Anonymous said...

is it in the letters? or you heard from chasidim?

Anonymous said...

no continuation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
but another letter printed there where the Netziv is half way maskim for certain limudei chol

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

20 good ones to 1 bad is a great ratio. I'll take that any day!

S. said...

>Why the need to study the Biur?! Was that too required reading by the Czarist Government?

Why does the Tzemach Tzedek's name appear as a muskam to the Vilna Biur?

In a word, yes, Biur means apparent compliance with the Russians.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

he never gave a Haskomeh.

S. said...

>he never gave a Haskomeh.

I know. But it's as incriminating as your find. Or, to put it another way, it puts it into context. As I said, yes, the Biur was necessary to include. Of course in fact the Biur wasn't considered so treif among Misnagdim, but its inclusion also makes sense as a sop to the government.

Also, it's really strange that Staemfer doesn't point out that Tamud Leshon Ever is by Benzeev, whom (at least Hungarian) Orthodox polemics held that he wrote it on shabbos. On the other hand he needed someone to tell him what the Biur was? Sometimes it's helpful not think in Hebrew I guess.

Anonymous said...

The new Israeli Judaic researcher are a new breed of amarietzim, gone are the old days when we had Yankel Katz,Ta Shema, Urbach etc..that were yeshiva bocherim.

Chovevei Zion said...

Lithuanian Yeshivas of the Nineteenth Century

Creating a Tradition of Learning
Shaul Stampfer

This is the first systematic study of the Lithuanian yeshivas that flourished from 1802 to 1914 in their social and cultural context; their legacy still dominates orthodox Jewish society. The main focus is the yeshiva of Volozhin, which in its independence of the local community was the model for everything that followed, but chapters are also devoted to the yeshivas of Slobodka and Telz, and to the kollel system.
More info

One of the key ways in which the traditional Jewish world of eastern Europe responded to the challenges of modernity in the nineteenth century was to change the system for educating young men so as to reinforce time-honoured, conservative values. The yeshivas established at that time in Lithuania became models for an educational system that has persisted to this day, transmitting the talmudic underpinnings of the traditional Jewish way of life. To understand how that system works, one needs to go back to the institutions they are patterned on: why they were established, how they were organized, and how they operated.

This is the first properly documented, systematic study of the Lithuanian yeshiva as it existed from 1802-1914. It is based on the judicious use of contemporary sources—documents, articles in the press, and memoirs—with a view to presenting the yeshiva in its social and cultural context. Three key institutions are considered. Pride of place in the first part of the book is given to the yeshiva of Volozhin, which was founded in 1802 according to an entirely new concept—total independence from the local community—and was in that sense the model for everything that followed. Chapters in the second part focus on the yeshiva of Slobodka, famed for introducing the study of musar (ethics); the yeshiva of Telz, with its structural and organizational innovations; and the kollel system, introduced so that married men could continue their yeshiva education. Topics covered include the leadership and changes in leadership; management and administration; the yeshiva as a place of study; daily life, and so forth.

This edition is based on the second Hebrew edition, which was revised so as to include information that became available with the opening up of archives in eastern Europe after the fall of communism.

Chovevei Zion said...



Part I The Volozhin Yeshiva
1 The Beginnings of the Volozhin Yeshiva
R. Hayim of Volozhin - The Foundation of the Volozhin Yeshiva - The Establishment of the Yeshiva in Volozhin - Setting Up the Yeshiva and Organizing Financial Support - Curriculum and Students - Areas of Study - The Position of the Rosh Yeshiva - Yeshivas Modelled on Volozhin

2 The Beginning of the Yeshiva - Succession, Conflicts, and Change
R. Yitshak of Volozhin as Rosh Yeshiva - Change and Continuity at the Yeshiva - The Role of the Yeshiva in Society - R. Eliezer Fried as successor to R. Yitshak - R. Naftali Berlin and the Question of Authority at the Yeshiva - The Conflict with R. Yehoshua Heschel Levin - The Conflict with R. Yosef Dov Soloveitchik - The Restoration of Order to the Staff and the Yeshiva

3 The Yeshiva as a Place of Study
The Yeshiva as a Torah Study Centre - The Framework of Study - The Yeshiva Staff and their Functions - The Yeshiva's Functions

4 The Yeshiva Administration
Supervision of Studies and Examinations - The Shiur and Student Participation - The Importance of the New Mode of Study - Staff–Student Relations: Financial Support and Discipline - The Status of the Yeshiva in the Jewish World

5 Students at the Volozhin Yeshiva
The Decision to Study at the Yeshiva - Admission to the Yeshiva - Absorption at the Yeshiva - Integration at the Yeshiva - Student Activity and the Yeshiva's Response - The Individual Student and the Yeshiva - Students and the Local Community

6 Life at the Volozhin Yeshiva
Daily Routine - Study Arrangements - The Yeshiva Year - Sabbaths and Festivals - Extra-Curricular Activity - The Haskalah: Interest among Students - The Haskalah: The Yeshiva's Response - Leisure Activities

7 The Final Years of the Volozhin Yeshiva
Charity and Aid Associations - Zionist Organizations - Other Associations - Student Newspapers - Political Activity at the Yeshiva - The Financial State of the Yeshiva in its Final Years

8 The Closure of the Volozhin Yeshiva
Relations between the Yeshiva and the Authorities - Secular Studies at the Yeshiva - Background to the Controversy over the Successor to R. Berlin - The Struggle over the Succession - The Factors in the Closure of the Yeshiva - Appendix to Chapter 8: Official Documents about the Volozhin Yeshiva

Part II Slobodka, Telz, and the Kolel
9 The Slobodka Yeshiva
The Musar Movement - R. Yisrael Salanter - The Slobodka Yeshiva - The Yeshiva's Students - Talmud Study at the 'Musar Yeshiva' - Internal Problems and External Expansion - Controversy and Conflict at the Yeshiva

10 The Telz Yeshiva
The Foundation of the Yeshiva - R. Eliezer Gordon - The Aims of the Yeshiva - Study at the Yeshiva - Admission of Students - Basic Support for the Yeshiva Students - Conflicts at the Yeshiva - Factors in the Disruptions at the Yeshiva - R. Eliezer Gordon's Attitude towards the Haskalah and Zionism - R. Gordon's Confrontation with the Social Crisis

11 The Kolel Haperushim of Kovno and the 'Kolel' Institution
The Foundation of the Kolel and its Early History - The Kolel's Mode of Operation - Opposition and Conflicts - The Kolel of Brodsky


Anonymous said...

Shaul Stampfer is the son of a Conservative rabbi. He may have an agenda here. you think?

Anonymous said...

so hershel we found out through a comment on your blog that the Tezmach Tezdek late his name to be used to promote the biur , so maybe the why netziv made his own purush al hatorah

Chabad historian said...

To anon 4:22

mipi chassidim