A report on Semikhah

Example semikhah certificate, Yadin Yadin, of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan awarded by Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel. The wording, as is typical, states that the holder is learned in Shas (ש״ס) – i.e. has wide knowledge of Talmud – as well as in Rishonim and Acharonim – i.e. has deep knowledge of Halakha; the phrase "כל מן דין סמוכין לנא" is often included, and translates "anyone of this [caliber] may be ordained for us".

Traditional Jewish name for rabbinic ordination.

- Semikhah
Example semikhah certificate, Yadin Yadin, of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan awarded by Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel. The wording, as is typical, states that the holder is learned in Shas (ש״ס) – i.e. has wide knowledge of Talmud – as well as in Rishonim and Acharonim – i.e. has deep knowledge of Halakha; the phrase "כל מן דין סמוכין לנא" is often included, and translates "anyone of this [caliber] may be ordained for us".

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The first page of the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Berachot, folio 2a. The center column contains the Talmud text, beginning with a section of Mishnah. The Gemara begins 14 lines down with the abbreviation גמ (gimmel-mem) in larger type. Mishnah and Gemara sections alternate throughout the Talmud. The blocks of text on either side are the Rashi and Tosafot commentaries, printed in Rashi script. Other notes and cross references are in the margins.

Talmud

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Central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (halakha) and Jewish theology.

Central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (halakha) and Jewish theology.

The first page of the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Berachot, folio 2a. The center column contains the Talmud text, beginning with a section of Mishnah. The Gemara begins 14 lines down with the abbreviation גמ (gimmel-mem) in larger type. Mishnah and Gemara sections alternate throughout the Talmud. The blocks of text on either side are the Rashi and Tosafot commentaries, printed in Rashi script. Other notes and cross references are in the margins.
An early printing of the Talmud (Ta'anit 9b); with commentary by Rashi
A page of a medieval Jerusalem Talmud manuscript, from the Cairo Geniza
A full set of the Babylonian Talmud
Talmudic saying on the Divine Presence
Koren Talmud Bavli
The Talmud on display in the Jewish Museum of Switzerland brings together parts from the first two Talmud prints by Daniel Bomberg and Ambrosius Froben.
Jewish Scene I
Jewish Scene II
A Controversy Whatsoever on Talmud<ref>See Schleicher's paintings at MutualArt.</ref>
At the Rabbi's
Jews studying Talmud, París, c. 1880–1905
Samuel Hirszenberg, Talmudic School, c. 1895–1908
Ephraim Moses Lilien, The Talmud Students, engraving, 1915
Maurycy Trębacz, The Dispute, c. 1920–1940
Solomon's Haggadoth, bronze relief from the Knesset Menorah, Jerusalem, by Benno Elkan, 1956
Hilel's Teachings, bronze relief from the Knesset Menorah
Jewish Mysticism: Jochanan ben Sakkai, bronze relief from the Knesset Menorah
Yemenite Jews studying Torah in Sana&#039;a
Oz veHadar edition of the first page of the Babylonian Talmud, with elements numbered in a spiraling rainbowː (1) Joshua Boaz ben Simon Baruch's Mesorat haShas, (2) Joel Sirkis's Hagahot (3) Akiva Eiger's Gilyon haShas, (4) Completion of Solomon ben Isaac's commentary from the Soncino printing, (5) Nissim ben Jacob's commentary, (6) Hananel ben Hushiel's commentary, (7) a survey of the verses quoted, (8) Joshua Boaz ben Simon Baruch's Ein Mishpat/Ner Mitzvah, (9) the folio and page numbers, (10) the tractate title, (11) the chapter number, (12), the chapter heading, (13), Solomon ben Isaac's commentary, (14) the Tosafot, (15) the Mishnah, (16) the Gemara, (17) an editorial footnote.

The apparent cessation of work on the Jerusalem Talmud in the 5th century has been associated with the decision of Theodosius II in 425 to suppress the Patriarchate and put an end to the practice of semikhah, formal scholarly ordination.

Mir Yeshiva (Jerusalem) – largest yeshiva in the world

Yeshiva

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Traditional Jewish educational institution focused on the study of Rabbinic literature, primarily the Talmud and halacha (Jewish law), while Torah and Jewish philosophy are studied in parallel.

Traditional Jewish educational institution focused on the study of Rabbinic literature, primarily the Talmud and halacha (Jewish law), while Torah and Jewish philosophy are studied in parallel.

Mir Yeshiva (Jerusalem) – largest yeshiva in the world
A typical bet midrash – Yeshivas Ner Yisroel, Baltimore
Chavrusas in study – Yeshiva Gedola of Carteret
Morning seder, Or-Yisrael - a yeshiva founded by the Chazon Ish
Shiur in memory of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein at Yeshivat Har Etzion, a Hesder yeshiva
Rabbinical students in shiur, Jerusalem
Shiur klali, Slabodka Yeshiva
A depiction of Sura (from Beit Hatefutsot)
Volozhin yeshiva, “mother of the yeshivas”
Mir yeshiva
Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, Israel
Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva, now a national monument
The Breslov Yeshiva in Mea Shearim, Jerusalem.
Satmar Yeshiva in Brooklyn, New York.
Bobov Kollel in Jerusalem
Geula branch of Porat Yosef Yeshiva.
Kisse Rahamim yeshivah, Bnei Brak
JTS building in Manhattan
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Beth Medrash Govoha, Lakewood, New Jersey – largest yeshiva outside Israel.
Mercaz Harav, Jerusalem
Kollel Birkat Yitzhak, Moscow
Mir Yeshiva in Brooklyn
Mincha, Yeshiva Centre, Melbourne
Talmud Torah, Russia, 1937
Yeshiva High School, Tel Aviv, 1938
"Cheder"-class in Talmud, Tel Aviv, 1946.
Bet Midrash, Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh
Gemara, the first page of tractate Rosh Hashanah
A full set of the Babylonian Talmud
Chavrusas learning beki'ut, recording their summary of each sugya alongside its Mishnah
Set of Mishneh Torah
Cover of the first edition of Mesillat Yesharim.
Chumash with Mikraot Gedolot
Chumash with Yiddish translation

After a number of years, the students who received semikha (rabbinical ordination) would either take up a vacant rabbinical position elsewhere or join the workforce.

Rabbi instructing children in 2004

Rabbi

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Spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism.

Spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism.

Rabbi instructing children in 2004
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, a leading Rabbinical authority for Orthodox Judaism of the second half of the twentieth century.

One becomes a rabbi by being ordained by another rabbi – known as semikha – following a course of study of Jewish texts such as the Talmud.

Rosh yeshiva

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Rosh yeshiva (ראש ישיבה, pl.

Rosh yeshiva (ראש ישיבה, pl.

He or she is also the one to decide whether to grant permission for students to undertake classes for rabbinical ordination, known as semicha.

Artistic conception of Karo's appearance. Painting of 19th century

Joseph Karo

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The author of the last great codification of Jewish law, the Beit Yosef, and its popular analogue, the Shulchan Arukh.

The author of the last great codification of Jewish law, the Beit Yosef, and its popular analogue, the Shulchan Arukh.

Artistic conception of Karo's appearance. Painting of 19th century
Synagogue of Maran, R. Joseph Karo, in Safed
Karo's grave in Safed
Title page of Karo's Shulchan Aruch

Berab exerted great influence upon him, and Karo became an enthusiastic supporter of Berab's plans for the reinstitution of semicha (rabbinical ordination) which had been in abeyance for over 11 centuries.

Plaque outside the burial cave of Jacob Berab, Safed, Israel

Jacob Berab

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Plaque outside the burial cave of Jacob Berab, Safed, Israel

Jacob Berab (יעקב בירב), also spelled Berav or Bei-Rav, (1474 – April 3, 1546), was an influential rabbi and talmudist best known for his attempt to reintroduce classical semikhah (ordination).

Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor, namesake of the Seminary

Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary

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Rabbinical seminary of Yeshiva University (YU).

Rabbinical seminary of Yeshiva University (YU).

Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor, namesake of the Seminary

The high school, previously part of RIETS, became a separate entity, and RIETS became exclusively a college-level program, including granting of degrees via semikhah (rabbinical ordination).

The Sanhedrin, from an 1883 encyclopedia

Sanhedrin

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Assembly of either twenty-three or seventy-one elders (known as "rabbis" after the destruction of the Second Temple), appointed to sit as a tribunal in every city in the ancient Land of Israel.

Assembly of either twenty-three or seventy-one elders (known as "rabbis" after the destruction of the Second Temple), appointed to sit as a tribunal in every city in the ancient Land of Israel.

The Sanhedrin, from an 1883 encyclopedia
Galilee in late antiquity.
Medallion struck in honor of the "Grand Sanhedrin" convened by Emperor Napoleon I of France.

379–395 CE) forbade the Sanhedrin to assemble and declared ordination illegal.

Jewish Theological Seminary of America

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Conservative Jewish education organization in New York City, New York.

Conservative Jewish education organization in New York City, New York.

JTS building at 3080 Broadway in Manhattan

Morais and Mendes were soon joined by Alexander Kohut and Bernard Drachman, both of whom had received semicha (rabbinic ordination) at Rabbi Frankel's Breslau seminary.

An illuminated manuscript of Arba'ah Turim from 1435.

Arba'ah Turim

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Important Halakhic code composed by Yaakov ben Asher (Cologne, 1270 – Toledo, Spain c. 1340, also referred to as Ba'al Ha-Turim).

Important Halakhic code composed by Yaakov ben Asher (Cologne, 1270 – Toledo, Spain c. 1340, also referred to as Ba'al Ha-Turim).

An illuminated manuscript of Arba'ah Turim from 1435.
A 1565 edition of Even Ha'ezer, the third part of Arba'ah Turim

Students of the Shulchan Aruch, particularly in Orthodox Semikhah programs, typically study the Tur and the Beit Yosef concurrently with the Shulchan Aruch itself: in some editions the two works are printed together, to allow comparison of corresponding simanim.