beth midrash
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A ''beth midrash'' ( he, בית מדרש, or ''beis medrash'', ''beit midrash'', pl. ''batei midrash'' "House of Learning") is a
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations (intergovernmental organizations), suc ...

Jewish
school located in a
synagogue A synagogue, ', 'house of assembly', or ', "house of prayer"; Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a High German languages, High German–derived language historically spoken by Ashkenazi Jews. ...

synagogue
,
yeshiva A yeshiva (; he, ישיבה, , sitting; pl. , or ) is a Jewish education, Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and the Torah, and halacha (Jewish law). The studyin ...
, ''
kollel A kollel or colel ( he, כולל, , , a "gathering" or "collection" f scholars is an institute for full-time, advanced study of the Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the ...
'', or other building. It is distinct from a synagogue, although many synagogues are also used as batei midrash and vice versa. In
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic language historically spoken by Ashkenazi Jews Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciatio ...

Yiddish
the ''beth midrash'' may be referred to as a ''zal'', i.e. "hall". ''Beis midrash'' is also the name of the undergraduate-level program in
Orthodox Orthodox, Orthodoxy, or Orthodoxism may refer to: Religion * Orthodoxy, adherence to accepted norms, more specifically adherence to creeds, especially within Christianity and Judaism, but also less commonly in non-Abrahamic religions like Neo-paga ...
yeshivas in the United States, for boys over 12th grade. The
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
term ''
madrasah Madrasa (, also , ; Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Mich ...

madrasah
'' is derived from the same
Semitic root The root (linguistics), roots of verbs and most nouns in the Semitic languages are characterized as a sequence of consonants or "wikt:radical, radicals" (hence the term consonantal root). Such abstract consonantal roots are used in the formation of ...
, and refers to any type of educational institution. The root דרש means "to seek nowledge Lev. 10:16
/ref> and is then generalized to mean "expound".


History

Early rabbinic literature, including the
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral tradition Oral tradition, or oral lore, i ...
, makes mention of the ''beth midrash'' as an institution distinct from the ''
beth din A beth din ( he, בית דין ''Bet Din'', "house of judgment" , Ashkenazic: ''beis din'') is a Rabbinic Judaism, rabbinical court of Judaism. In ancient times, it was the building block of the legal system in the Biblical Land of Israel. Today, it ...
'' and
Sanhedrin The Sanhedrin (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and th ...

Sanhedrin
. It was meant as a place of Torah study and interpretation, as well as the development of ''
halakha ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ), also transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping letters (thus '' trans-'' + '' liter-'') in predictable ways, such as Greek → ...
'' (the practical application of the Jewish Law). The origin of the ''beth midrash'', or ''house of study'', can be traced to the early rabbinic period, following the Siege of Jerusalem (70 Common Era, CE) in which the Second Temple#Destruction, destruction of the Temple took place. The earliest known rabbinical school was established by Johanan ben Zakai, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai at Yavne. Other official schools were soon established under different rabbis. These men traced their ideological roots back to the rabbis of the late Second Temple period, specifically the Houses of Hillel and Shammai, two schools of thought. By late antiquity, the ''beth midrash'' had developed along with the synagogue into a distinct though somewhat related institution. The main difference between the ''beth midrash'' and ''beth hakeneset'' (synagogue) is that the ''beth hakeneset'' is sanctified for prayer only and that even the study of Torah would violate its sanctity while in the ''beth midrash'' both Torah study and prayer are allowed. For this reason most synagogues designate their sanctuary as a ''beth midrash'' so that in addition to prayer the study of the Torah would also be permitted.


Structure

There are generally either benches or chairs for sitting, along with tables on which books are placed. In Lithuanian
yeshiva A yeshiva (; he, ישיבה, , sitting; pl. , or ) is a Jewish education, Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and the Torah, and halacha (Jewish law). The studyin ...
s the ''beth midrash'' will have ''shtenders'' (standing desks resembling lecterns; the
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic language historically spoken by Ashkenazi Jews Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciatio ...

Yiddish
word is derived from the German ''Ständer''). A characteristic ''beth midrash'' has many hundreds of books, including at least several copies of the entire Talmud, Torah, ''siddurim'' (prayer books), ''Shulchan Aruch'', ''Mishneh Torah'', ''Arba'ah Turim'' and other frequently consulted works. In modern times, ''batei midrash'' are typically found as the central study halls of yeshivas or independent ''kollels'', both institutions of Torah study. The location and institution of study are often interchanged, so in popular parlance, yeshivot are sometimes referred to as ''batei midrash''. A ''beth midrash'' may also be housed in a synagogue, or vice versa. In antiquity, this is a matter of debate (see below). Many ''batei midrash'' originally serve the community but attract a yeshiva in the course of their existence.


Virtual beth midrash

A virtual ''beth midrash'' is an online forum that provides articles for self-study and live, online classes. However, it generally doesn't provide for the chavrusa-style learning typical of a beth midrash study hall.


See also

* Mechina * Midrasha - a women's institution for Torah study


References


External links


The virtual Beit Midrash
at Yeshiva.co For more information, see George Foot Moore's ''Judaism,'' as well as the more recent works of Jacob Neusner. Also, Lee I. Levine's ''The Rabbinic Class of Roman Palestine in Late Antiquity,'' as well as the relevant articles in Dan Urman and Paul V. M. Flesher's edited volume, ''Ancient Synagogues: Historical Analysis and Archaeological Discovery.'' {{Authority control Orthodox Judaism Orthodox yeshivas Hebrew words and phrases