Volozhyn

Home of the famous Yeshivah that operated day and night.

Print this page Print this page

It was arranged that some students would study in the Yeshivah during the whole of the day and others for the whole of the night. It was the Yeshivah’s boast that the voice of the Torah was heard unceasingly there by day and by night. Before Rabbi Hayyim Soloveitchik succeeded his father as Rabbi of Brisk, he taught at the Yeshivah of Volozhyn, where he introduced his special methodology of logical analysis which, through his students at Volozhyn, set the pattern for the Lithuanian-type approach in all major Yeshivot that arose after the decline of Volozhyn.

Yet while on the surface traditional faith was unchallenged at Volozhyn, the Haskalah and secular philosophies found their way into the Yeshivah. A number of the students read Haskalah and scientific works hidden between the pages of the Talmud they were supposed to be studying. The official teachers at the Yeshivah were either unaware of these trends or turned a blind eye to them. But even those students who later deserted traditional Judaism still retained their admiration for this "factory in which the soul of the people is manufactured," as the Hebrew poet Bialik, a former student at the Yeshivah, described it.

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Rabbi Louis Jacobs

Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs (1920-2006) was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism (also known as Conservative Judaism) in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism.