Halacha Mastery & Semicha Program



Halacha Mastery Program (for men and women) and 'Orach Chaim' Semicha Ordination Program (for men)

The WebYeshiva.org Halacha Mastery Program is a three-year cycle. New participants are welcome to join at any point in the cycle.

Join Rabbi Chaim Brovender's WebYeshiva.org Halacha Mastery Program for a three-year journey to master an array of halachic issues, challenges, and questions a Jew faces in his or her home and world in the 21st century.

Each year, on a three-year cycle, WebYeshiva.org will offer two courses of study (from Sukkot until Pesach) which will emphasize the practical halacha — know how act in the situations that arise; know how to answer your children when they ask — while at the same time providing the literacy and knowledge of the underlying halachic concepts and principles that stand behind the halachic system and guide modern poskim in determining the law.

Courses will be given in real-time via WebYeshiva's fully interactive, video-conferencing system, and each will meet once a week. Participation will be live or via the archived (video or audio) recordings. Guided source material will be distributed in advance, and it is expected that students will spend a certain amount of time preparing and reviewing each week. Virtual e-chavruta with fellow students is encouraged. Each student will have access to private discussion, guidance, and review with the course instructor during the week. Review exams will be given at the end of each semester to demonstrate mastery of the subject matter.

Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Brovender will deliver a weekly tutorial and review session each week for each of the two courses. These sessions are optional but highly recommended for students to review, prepare and keep up with the material. It is also an excellent opportunity to interact with our Rosh Yeshiva, and discuss a variety of Torah topics.

Each week Rabbi Brovender will review the source packets (mekorot) uploaded by the teachers. Enrollment in either or both of Rabbi Brovender's tutorial sesisons is complimentary, and included as part of your enrollment in the Halacha Mastery Program.

Optional mini-courses will be offered at no additional charge during the summer semesters for students that want to study other subjects not part of the main curriculum, or who wish to deepen their mastery of Gemara study. The program will conclude with a week-long colloquium to be held in Jerusalem (Summer 2016) as the first cohort of students complete the courses and receive their Certificates of Halachic Mastery. However, students who cannot commit to take two courses a year, or who can't participate online synchronously, can undertake a personal schedule of study via the archives, benefit from the same access to our outstanding faculty, and take the exams and complete the program at their own pace.

The program is meant for Jewish men and women with some background in learning Jewish texts; preparation and review is expected. Contact our office to discuss if the program is right for you.

A Letter From Rabbi Chaim Brovender, Rosh Yeshiva

Knowing that each Jew must actively engage his or her understanding of God, and strive to integrate that understanding with daily action, the Rambam provided us with the "great curriculum." In following that plan, and engaging with halachic study and the havayot deAbaye veRava, we can ensure that our intellectual meanderings do not allow us to stray from the determined.

In so doing we can determine the actions that enable us to live as members of the community of mitzvah-doers.

For Rambam, philosophy, the "jewel in the crown," must be protected by the halachic process which directs us to live our lives responsive to Divine will. While halacha produces the "grounded Jew," philosophy enables him to soar. It was partially for this reason that the Rambam composed his Mishneh Torah, the ultimate compendium of Jewish law. In the over 800 years since his death, no one else has attempted as complete a summary of the law – encompassing practical laws as well as those not in practice in our day. For the Rambam this was necessary in order to maintain the proper grounding.

Since the Rambam's accomplishment, halacha has become the fundamental element in defining the Jewish person. Philosophy is important, for some it is crucial, but obviously not for everyone. Halacha on the other hand, is for "everyman" and every woman.

In the centuries that have passed since the Rambam stated his case the study and determination of halacha has become more difficult, and largely handed over to the hands of experts. If you learned halacha at home or in a Jewish school or even in a yeshiva or seminary you have likely discovered that it is never comprehensive enough. Not only don't you know the answer, but are often at a loss to even assess the question properly.

What is to be done with the soup ladle on Shabbat? Do you have to give tzedakah from stock dividends? Do you have to look for bugs with a magnifying glass? Such questions remain mysterious for most, and they do not have easy access to the answers. Who to ask? How often should I annoy the rabbi? The latest books seem so technical that I can't imagine that I could use them.

WebYeshiva has decided to step into this breach and to reemphasize the Rambam's position: the importance of knowing halacha – how to recognize a question, how to access an answer.


Rabbi Chaim Brovender
Rosh Yeshiva

Halacha Mastery Program Three-Year Schedule


Click here to view details of the current semester.

Topic 2

Topic 1

 

Kitchen & Kashrut:

Managing the kosher kitchen – meat and milk, forbidden mixtures, bugs and blood, and an overview of standards and hechsherim.

R. Yehoshua Geller

Thursdays at 9PM Israel Time

Kitchen & Shabbat:

Overview of laws of cooking and reheating food on Shabbat, with an emphasis on the underlying principles of Shabbat melachah.

R. Dovid Fink

Sundays at 8PM Israel Time

תשע"ד

2013-14

 

 

Optional Shiur:

Laws of the Land

Comprehensive study of Truma, Ma’aser and Shmita

R. Dovid Fink
Sundays at 8PM Israel Time

Optional Shiur:

Intensive Gemara

Learn to rigorously read and dissect the text of Tractate Shabbat, to ask major questions, and to develop and analyze the answers and approaches offered.

R. Jesse Horn
Thursdays at 9PM Israel Time

Summer 2014

Shabbat & Technology:

Muktzah, issues presented by technology and halacha,  electricity and “modern” issues; overview of laws of medical treatment and pikuach nefesh on Shabbat.

R. Dovid FinkSundays at 8PM Israel Time
(October 26, 2014 - March 22, 2015)

 

Orach Chaim

Mastery of the laws of tefillah and blessings; the “positive” mitzvoth of Shabbat and Yom Tov.

R. Yehoshua Geller
Thursdays at 9PM Israel Time
(October 30, 2014 - March 26, 2015)

תשע"ה

2014-15

Optional mini-courses:

Aveilut (Mourning) and/or Hechsher Kelim

and/or Intensive Gemara Seminar

Summer 2015

Hilchot Niddah

(Separate tracks for

men and women)

 

The House and the World:

Mezuza and tefillin, eruvin, bikur cholim, tzedaka and intro to Jewish financial laws.

 

אורח חיים יו"ט

Overview of the laws of the cycle of the year, with an emphasis on Pesach and its preparations.

 

תשע"ו

2015-16

ירחי כלה בירושלים עיה"ק

Summer Colloquium in Jerusalem

Awarding of certificates

Summer 2016

Fourth Year ‘Orach Chaim’ Rabbinic Ordination

Supplementary track (for men only)

תשע"ז

2016-17

* Schedule and topics subject to change

Staff of Halacha Mastery Program

Meet the staff of the WebYeshiva.org Halacha Mastery Program


R. Chaim Brovender, Rosh Yeshiva
Rabbi Chaim Brovender is the Rosh Yeshiva of WebYeshiva and President of ATID —The Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions in Jewish Education, in Jerusalem. He was the founding Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Hamivtar and Michlelet Bruria (today, Midreshet Lindenbaum) where he pioneered the teaching of Gemara to students for whom the Talmud had been a closed book. For over forty years he has been a leading force in teaching Torah in Israel and enabling his students to "learn how to learn" according to the renowned "Brovender Method."

R. Dovid Fink, Program Director
In addition to being one of Rabbi Brovender's first students, Rabbi Dovid Fink is an outstanding expert and teacher of Halacha. Rabbi Fink received his Rabbinic ordination from ITRI and the Mir and was awarded his Ph.D in Semitic Languages and Linguistics from Yale University. Rav Fink has taught thousands of students from all over the world for over 30 years.

R. Yehoshua Geller
Rabbi Yehoshua Geller received Smicha from Rav Mordechai Elefant zt"l and the ITRI Yeshiva, where he was a Talmid for many years. He served as the Rosh Beit Medrash of the English Speakers' Program at the Jerusalem College of Technology/Machon Lev, Rabbi Geller has also taught at Yeshivat Yam HaTalmud and Yeshivat Hamivtar. Rabbi Geller holds an M.A. in Hebrew Studies.

Semicha Ordination Track

Men who have completed the full course of study (6 courses, either synchronously over 3 years or via self-paced archive study) will be eligible to advance to a supplementary ‘Orach Chaim’ Semicha program, with one additional period of qualifying study and examinations on Orach Chaim section of Shulchan Aruch dealing with the laws of daily ritual life. Rabbinic Ordination will be issued by Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Chaim Brovender. Contact the office for further details.

Qualifying students, who can show mastery of the pre-requisite knowledge, and with sufficient years of advanced Jewish studies, can place-out of the years 1-3 requirements (to be determined on a case by case basis.)

Tuition for the WebYeshiva.org Halacha Mastery Program

Two courses will be offered each year, with a mid-term quiz halfway through and an exam at the end of each year.

Students who enroll in the year-course can join the optional summer programs (after year 1 and year 2) at no additional charge.

Tuition charges are as follows:

For information about scholarships and other questions, please email office@webyeshiva.org.
Halakhic Mastery Program

To pay by check in Israeli Shekels or US Dollars:

IsraelIn Israeli Shekels, please make your tuition check payable to ATID and send to:
ATID
9 HaNassi Street
Jerusalem 92188 Israel
United StatesIn US Dollars, please make your tuition check payable to Torah Education in Israel (TEI) and send to:
TEI c/o Gorsetman
2710 Edgehill Ave.
Riverdale, NY 10463
For payment in other currencies please contact the office.