After 135 Years, Chevron Yeshiva Still Going Strong


chevron-yeshivaYerushalayim – This is the time of year when hundreds of applications pour into the Chevron Yeshiva, one of the oldest and most prestigious yeshivas, for admission in the upcoming Ellul z’man in October. According to Rav Yosef Chevroni, Rosh Yeshiva, only one in seven applicants will be accepted. The yeshiva, which is celebrating its 135th year of uninterrupted existence, had its origins in Slobodka, Lithuania which was known throughout the Torah world as “the mother of all yeshivas.” Since its founding, Slobodka and its successor, the Chevron Yeshiva Knesses Yisroel, produced the foremost leaders of Torah Jewry around the world. More than 1,400 talmidim, some of the brightest young men in Eretz Yisrael and elsewhere, study in the magnificent yeshiva campus in Givat Mordechai.

For some parents, the process to get their children into Chevron often takes years. Rav Chevroni says that parents frequently use well known Gedolei Yisroel, rabbonim and others to secure a place for their sons. The calls to Chevron come from a variety of sources including Rav Aaron Leib Shteinman and Rav Chaim Kanievski and even from highly unlikely sources like from Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chaim Ramon, a former Cabinet member, who called on behalf of a bochur. Rav Chevroni added: “We have high expectations from our talmidim and every reason to hope that they will become the future leaders of klal yisroel, including gedolei yisroel.” Indeed, the yeshiva’s alumni includes such luminaries as Rav Lazer Yudel Finkel, Rav Reuven Grozovsky, Rav Yitzchok Hutner, Rav Shlomo Heiman, Rav Avrohom Kalmanowitz, Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky, Rav Aharon Kotler, Rav Shneur Kotler, Rav Yeruchem Levovitz, Rav Dovid Leibowitz, Rav Avigdor Miller, Rav Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman, Rav Dov Schwartzman, Rav Chaskel Sarne, Rav Elazar Man Shach, Rav Moshe Shatzkes, and Rav Zalman Sorotzkin.

The glorious history of the Yeshiva includes the legendary sages Rav Moshe Mordechai Epstein, who served as Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Knesses Yisrael, and the “Alter of Slobodka,” Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, Slobodka’s famed mashgiach ruchani. Rav Moshe Mordechai began studying in the Volozhin yeshiva at the age of 16, under the guidance of the legendary Torah giant Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik, the Brisker Rav. The roster of legendary Gaonim who were part of the history of Slobodka included Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer, the brother-in-law of Rav Moshe Mordechai. The Slobodka yeshiva flourished under the joint leadership of Rabbis Epstein and Finkel, and many of its students were crucial in nurturing the spiritual level of the Jewish people in subsequent generations.

{Yair Israel}