Yeshivat Har Etzion

Coordinates: 31°39′28″N 35°07′24″E / 31.6577°N 35.1233°E / 31.6577; 35.1233
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Yeshivat Har Etzion
ישיבת הר עציון
Yeshivat Har Etzion's main Bet Midrash building
EstablishedNovember 24, 1968 (November 24, 1968), 3 Kislev 5729
FounderRav Yehuda Amital, Rav Hanan Porat, Rav Yoel Bin-Nun, Moshe Moskowitz
Religious affiliation
Religious Zionism / Modern Orthodoxy
HaYeshiva St 1
, ,
31°39′28″N 35°07′24″E / 31.6577°N 35.1233°E / 31.6577; 35.1233

Yeshivat Har Etzion (YHE; Hebrew: ישיבת הר עציון), commonly known in English as "Gush" and in Hebrew as "Yeshivat HaGush", is a hesder yeshiva located in Alon Shvut, in Israel in Gush Etzion. It is considered one of the leading institutions of advanced Torah study in the world and with a student body of roughly 480, it is one of the largest hesder yeshivot in the West Bank.[1][2]


In 1968, shortly after the Six-Day War, a movement was founded to resettle the Gush Etzion region, from which Jews had been expelled following the Kfar Etzion massacre. Yehuda Amital, a prominent rabbi and Jewish educator, was asked to head a yeshiva in the region. In 1971, Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein moved from the United States to join Amital as rosh yeshiva. First established in Kfar Etzion, it moved to Alon Shvut, where it developed into a major institution.[3] The current yeshiva building was finished in 1977.[4]

In 1997 a women's beit midrash was established for Israeli and overseas students as a sister school in Kibbutz Migdal Oz, which goes by the name Migdal Oz.

On January 4, 2006, Rabbis Yaakov Medan and Baruch Gigi joined Amital and Lichtenstein as rashei yeshiva in anticipation of Amital's upcoming retirement. Amital's involvement in the yeshiva effectively ended due to illness in the later months of 2009, and he died in July 2010. Mosheh Lichtenstein, son of Aharon Lichtenstein, was appointed as rosh yeshiva alongside and to eventually replace his father in 2008; Aharon Lichtenstein died in April 2015. The current rashei yeshiva are Rav Yaakov Medan, Rav Baruch Gigi and Rav Mosheh Lichtenstein.

Most of the students are Israelis in the hesder program, which integrates intensive yeshiva study with at least 15 months of active service in the Israel Defense Forces, an idea developed by the founding Rosh yeshiva, Rav Yehuda Amital.[5]

There is a post-high school overseas program which receives students from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and France. There is also a Southern Hemisphere program for students from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia under Bnei Akiva's MTA program. Yeshivat Darkaynu, a yeshiva program for students with special needs is housed on the YHE campus.[6]

Several of the overseas students join the Israeli Hesder program and make aliyah. Most return to university outside of Israel. Some students eventually come back to the yeshiva to study for the rabbinate in the yeshiva's Semicha Program (Semicha given by the Israeli Rabbanut) and affiliated Herzog College.

Many alumni, both overseas and Israeli, have gone on to become rashei yeshiva or to take on other rabbinical positions in Israel and abroad. Over 550 alumni from overseas have made aliyah and a high percentage are involved in Jewish education. Others have gone on to prominent academic careers in fields such as science, law, medicine, engineering and mathematics.

In 2022 the Yeshiva opened a high school in Alon Shevut, Yeshivat Har Etzion Latze'irim headed by Rabbi Amichai Gordin, who left his position as a Ram in the Yeshiva to take on this position.[7][8][9] The high school was established to promote excellence in Gemara learning already from the high school age.[10]

Educational and religious philosophy[edit]

Yeshivat Har Etzion advocates a combination of Torah study and a love of the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.[11] It is known for a more moderate and open approach to the role of religion in the modern world; the Yeshiva's slogan is "Immersed in Torah – Engaged with the World."[12] The yeshiva encourages serious study, creative thought, intellectual rigor, and a universal, humanistic outlook.

The Yeshiva's core philosophy is illustrated by two key works by its founding Roshei Yeshiva: Jewish Values in a Changing World by Rav Amital (Hebrew: והארץ נתן לבני אדם) and By His Light: Character and Values in the Service of God by Rav Lichtenstein (Hebrew: באור פניך יהלכון).[13][14]

The central focus of study is the Gemara or Talmud and the yeshiva is known in Israel and abroad for its rigorous standards of Talmud learning.[15][16] The Yeshiva in parallel emphasizes Tanach (Bible), Mussar (ethics and character development), Machshava (Jewish Thought), and Halakha LeMaaseh (practical Jewish law),[17] facilitating students development in these areas also.

The study of Gemara at the yeshiva "trains talmidim [students] to analyze, explore and evaluate differing opinions in the hope that they will grow to be discerning individuals [and] sophisticated thinkers..."[17] In particular, the Yeshiva emphasizes the Brisker method of Talmud study, a method innovated by Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik; see Yeshiva § Talmud study. Some have argued that the complexity with which the yeshiva's students regard both Jewish and global matters can be seen as a product of the Brisker methodology, emphasizing as it does the compounded and dichotomous nature of many issues and subjects.[18] The yeshiva's relatively liberal and open worldview is also seen as a product of this Brisker approach, viewing the world as complex, a composite of many different dichotomous principles, whose inherent tension needs to be recognised.

The yeshiva actively encourages ethical and philosophical study, both academically, and especially so as to cultivate the student's love of Torah study and religious commitment. [19] Numerous formal shiurim are offered in these areas daily, [15] and students are encouraged to also study these areas privately. However unlike a classic Mussar yeshiva, there is no formal Mussar seder (a study session set aside for learning moral-ethical texts).[20]

The yeshiva is also well known for its pioneering and continuing role in the study of Tanach. From the yeshiva's conception it was desired that Tanach would have an important role, something uncommon for Yeshivot at the time, [21][22] and the Yeshiva thus pioneered the "Bible Revolution", "מהפכת התנ״ך", a renaissance in the status of and approach to Tanach study in the Religious Zionist (and broader religious) public, led by Yaaqov Medan and Yoel Bin-Nun.[22][23] This approach emphasises the literal meaning (peshat) of biblical verses, but also takes into account the overall structure of the relevant section, the context and any intertextual references. It includes a more psychological and literary approach to character and narrative analysis, often known as "תנ"ך בגובה העיניים" ("Tanach at Eye Level"), all the while incorporating the views and ideas of the Midrash and later Rabbinical commentaries.[24] In the past, Rabbi Mordechai Breuer, the founder of the Shitat Habechinot ("The Aspects Approach"), also taught at the yeshiva.

Many of the yeshiva's teachers and alumni have published sefarim on Tanach. For example, the "Torah MiEtzion" series presents essays on the five books of the Torah from the rabbis of the yeshiva. The approach of the series is "centered on learning the 'simple meaning' of the text but also incorporating the disciplines of literary theory, geography, archeology and history in order to better understand the text."[25] Together with Herzog College, the Yeshiva produces several formal publications in the field, including the Journal Megadim.[22]


The Yeshiva operates two libraries. The Torah Library is the largest of any yeshiva in Israel, with over 90,000 volumes, as well as CDs, microfilms, rare Judaica and antique books, including the personal collection of Rav Yisachar Tamar [he] collection and a four-hundred year-old collection from the Etz Chayim community of Amsterdam.[26] The Pedagogic Resource Center of the Herzog College supplements the central Torah library, providing audio-visual material for teachers of Judaic studies in Israel and worldwide.

Online platforms[edit]

The Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash provides yeshiva-style courses and shiurim (lectures) in Torah and Judaism to students of all ages online. Over 18,000 subscribers around the world subscribe to weekly shiurim, in English, Hebrew, and Russian covering subjects such as Tanakh, Gemara, Halakha, Jewish philosophy, and various other Jewish topics.[27]

KMTT is a daily Torah study Podcast from Yeshivat Har Etzion which is sent out every day of the week.[28]

Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Yeshiva University". Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  2. ^ "Yeshivat Har Etzion Rabbis". Koren Publishers Jerusalem. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  3. ^ "Lonely man of faith", Larry Derfner, Jerusalem Post, December 22, 1995
  4. ^ Gush, In The (April 5, 2017). "in The Gush: הספרייה התורנית של ישיבת הר עציון – הנצחת זכרון הנופלים".
  5. ^ "This Day in Jewish History A Yeshiva Head and Settler Who Had a Change of Heart Is Born". Haaretz. Retrieved September 11, 2023.
  6. ^ "Home". Darkaynu. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  7. ^ Desk, Jewish Press News (August 31, 2022). "Yeshivat Har Etzion Opens New High School in Gush Etzion". Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  8. ^ Julian, Hana Levi (November 2, 2021). "Yeshiva Har Etzion to Establish New Yeshiva High School in Alon Shvut". Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  9. ^ "Har Etzion Yeshiva opens new high school south of Jerusalem". Israel National News. August 31, 2022. Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  10. ^ "עמוד הבית". הישיבה התיכונית הר עציון (in Hebrew). Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  11. ^ "Mission Statement".
  12. ^ "Etzion Foundation's 2022 In Person Annual Dinner" (PDF).
  13. ^ Amital, Yehuda (2005). Jewish Values in a Changing World. KTAV Publishing House. ISBN 978-0881258813.
  14. ^ Lichtenstein, Aharon (2017). By His Light: Character and Values in the Service of God. Maggid. ISBN 978-1592644698.
  15. ^ a b "Vision of the Yeshiva",
  16. ^ See "Har Etzion" Listing under Yeshiva University's Men's Schools – S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program
  17. ^ a b Prospective Students FAQ,
  18. ^ For further discussion, see for example, pp. 37–65 in Haim Sabato and Aharon Lichtenstein (2016)Seeking His Presence: Conversations with Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, Yedioth Ahronoth Books, 2016. ISBN 978-9655456738.
  19. ^ "Har Etzion": Listing on S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program site at
  20. ^ Kaplan, Lawrence J. (June 4, 2007), "Joseph Soloveitchik and Halakhic Man", The Cambridge Companion to Modern Jewish Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, pp. 209–233, doi:10.1017/ccol0521813123.011, ISBN 9780521813129, retrieved March 1, 2022
  21. ^ See description at, "Torah MiEtzion", Bereshit volume, Koren Publishers Jerusalem
  22. ^ a b c רייס, יהושע; Ziegler, Reuven; Lichtenstein, Mosheh; Marcus, Yoseph (2013). היא שיחתי (PDF) (in Hebrew). Israel: Koren Publishers Jerusalem. ISBN 9789655261455.
  23. ^ Drazin, Israel (August 30, 2012). "A Deeper Examination of the Bible".
  24. ^ The book Hi Sichati: Al Derech Limmud HaTanach (Hebrew: היא שיחתי: על דרך לימוד התנ״ך), which was published jointly by Yeshivat Har Etzion and Michlelet Herzog in 2013, comprises an analysis of the methodology of studying Tanach and deals at length with the discussion surrounding the Eye Level Approach
  25. ^ Jotkowitz, Alan. "Book Review: Torah MiEtzion". Jewish Press Book Supplement.
  26. ^ "Yeshivat Har Etzion: Har Etzion Library". Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  27. ^ "vbm haretzion".
  28. ^ "KMTT – The Torah Podcast".
  29. ^ a b c d e "Roshei Yeshiva". Archived from the original on March 20, 2012.