MASTER OF HEBREW LETTERS
Careers in Jewish Education, Community Services, Synagogue Administration, and Outreach work.
The Smicha/M.H.L. Program is an advanced, accelerated program leading to the Yoreh Yoreh smicha (Rabbinical Ordination) and the Master in Hebrew Letters degree. The Yoreh Yoreh Smicha confers the authority to rule on laws included in Yoreh Deah and Orach Chaim. Students will pursue an intense yeshiva program by day and will serve as tutors in the B.H.L. Program in the evenings, thereby gaining valuable pedagogic experience under the supervision of the Rosh Yeshiva, in addition to traditional rabbinic training.
The curriculum revolves around the traditional subjects (Chumash/Rashi, Gemorrah, Shulchan ‘Aruch, Chassidus), as well as areas of practical application in the contemporary rabbinate (writing, public speaking, and organizational management. Special attention will be paid to the laws of Kashrus (Ta’aruvas, Basar v’Chalav, and Melicha), Mourning, and Shabbos.
The material is learned in chevrusa-style one-on-one study. The students will prepare the required Talmud with the following commentaries: Rashi, the commentary by Rabbi Sholom ben Yitzhak (1040-1105); The Halachos of the Rosh, Rabbenu Asher ben Yechiel, Halachik authority (1245-1328); The Halachos of the Rif, Rabbenu Yitzhak Alfassi, a Halachic authority (1013-1103); The Rambam, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, or Maimonides, codifier of Halacha (1135-1205); The Tur, Rabbi Yaakov ben Asher, Baal Haturim, codifier of Halacha (1269-1343); Bait Yosef, Rabbi Yosef Karo, commentator to the Tur (1488-1575); followed by the Shulchan ‘Aruch, Code of Jewish Law by Rabbi Yosef Karo; The Mapa of Rema, glosses on the Code of Jewish Law by Rabbi Moshe Iserlish (d. 1572); The Taz, Turai Zahav, commentary to Shulchan ‘Aruch by Rabbi David Halevi (1586-1667); and the Shach, Sifsei Cohen, commentary to Shulchan ‘Aruch by Rabbi Shabsi HaCohain (1622-1633). There will be a weekly class given by the Rosh Yeshiva, summarizing material covered during chevrusa learning and/or examining other Halachic sources, such as: The Pry Megadim, commentary to the Shach and Taz by Rabbi Yosef Tumim (1727-1792); The Chavas Daas, commentary to Shulchan ‘Aruch by Rabbi Yaakov Lorbernaum (1760-1832); Dagul Mervavah, glosses on the Shulchan ‘Aruch by Rabbi Yechezkel Landau (1713-1793); Chiddushei Rabbi Akiva Eiger, glosses on the Shulchan ‘Aruch by Rabbi Akiva Eigeri (1761-1857); and Pischei Teshuvah, glosses on the Shulchan ‘Aruch referencing response by Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Eisenstadt (1812-1868).
The granting or Yoreh Yoreh Smicha means that its recipient has sufficient proficiency in Talmud and Judaic Law, and has developed appropriate spiritual qualities and personal development, to become a leader of a community or a teacher, and can decide on matters of religious law.
Students will take four courses per term for a total of 32 semester credit hours.
GRADES: The work of each student is graded on the following scale: A (93 – 100%), A- (90 – 92%) Excellent; B+ (87 – 89%), B (83 – 86%), B- (80 – 82%) Good; C+ (77 – 79%), C (73 – 76%), C- (70 – 72%) Fair; D+ (67 – 69%), D (63 – 66%), D- (60 – 62%) Poor; F (below 50%) Failure; NC No Credit; AU Audit; P Pass; W Withdrawn without penalty or prejudice; I Incomplete work.