Mir Yeshiva (Jerusalem)

Coordinates: 31°47′18.5″N 35°13′26″E / 31.788472°N 35.22389°E / 31.788472; 35.22389
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Mir Yeshiva
ישיבת מיר
Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem in September 2012
Religious affiliation(s)Orthodox
FounderEliezer Yehuda Finkel (Reb Leizer Yudel)
DeanEliezer Yehuda Finkel

The Mir Yeshiva (Hebrew: ישיבת מיר, Yeshivas Mir), known also as The Mir, is an Orthodox Jewish yeshiva in Beit Yisrael, Jerusalem. With over 9,000 single and married students,[1] it is the largest yeshiva in the world.[2][3][4] Most students are from the United States, United Kingdom and Israel, with many from other parts of the world such as Belgium, France, Mexico, Switzerland, Argentina, Australia, Russia, Canada and Panama.

Students study in the beis medrash


The yeshiva was founded in the small town of Mir (now in Belarus) in 1814,[5] 1815[6][7][8][9] or 1817[10] by Rabbi Shmuel Tiktinsky. After his death, his oldest son Rabbi Avraham Tiktinsky was appointed Rosh Yeshiva. After a number of years, Rabbi Avraham died and his younger brother Rabbi Chaim Leib Tiktinsky succeeded him. Rabbi Chaim Leib would remain as Rosh Yeshiva for many decades. He was succeeded by his son, Rabbi Avrohom Tiktinsky, who brought Rabbi Eliyahu Boruch Kamai into the yeshiva. In 1903, Rabbi Kamai's daughter married Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel (Reb Leizer Yudel), son of Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel (the Alter of Slabodka), who in time became the Rosh Yeshiva of the Mir. The yeshiva remained in that location until 1914.

With the outbreak of World War I, the yeshiva moved to Poltava (now in Ukraine). In 1921, the yeshiva moved back to its original facilities in Mir, where it remained until based on secret parts of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland in 1939.

Although many of the foreign-born students left when the Soviet army invaded from the east, the yeshiva continued to operate, albeit on a reduced scale, until the approaching Nazi armies caused the leaders of the yeshiva to move the entire yeshiva community to Keidan, Lithuania. The Yeshiva moved en masse on October 15 to Vilna in order to get out from under Russian rule and into then-free Lithuania. Russia had announced that it was returning Vilna to Lithuania. Until that was completed, they could go to Vilna with crossing a border.

Establishment in Jerusalem[edit]

Simchat Beit HaShoeivah celebration, 2006

Around this time, Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel traveled to Palestine to obtain visas for his students and reestablish the yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael, but these plans were interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. In 1944, Rabbi Finkel opened a branch of the yeshiva in Jerusalem with ten students, among them Rabbi Yudel Shapiro (later Rosh Kollel Chazon Ish), Rabbi Chaim Brim (later Rosh Yeshiva of Rizhn-Boyan), and Rabbi Chaim Greineman.[11]

In Europe, as the Nazi armies continued to push to the east, the yeshiva students fled to (Japanese-controlled) Shanghai, China, where they remained until the end of the war.

The story of the escape to the Far East of Mir Yeshiva, along with thousands of other Jewish refugees during WWII, thanks largely to visas issued by the Dutch consul Jan Zwartendijk and the Japanese consul-general to Lithuania, Chiune Sugihara, has been the subject of several books and movies including the PBS documentary Conspiracy of Kindness.[12] After the war, most of the Jewish refugees from the Shanghai ghetto left for Palestine and the United States. Among them were survivors from the Mir Yeshiva, many of whom rejoined the yeshiva in Jerusalem. Rabbi Finkel's son, Rabbi Chaim Zev Finkel (commonly called Chazap), served as mashgiach.[13][circular reference]

When Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel died on July 19, 1965, his son, Rabbi Beinish Finkel and his brother-in-law, Rabbi Chaim Leib Shmuelevitz became joint Mirrer Rosh Yeshivas. Reb Chaim was considered the main Rosh Yeshiva and when he died, his son-in-law, Rabbi Nachum Partzovitz, replaced him. Rabbi Beinish Finkel became Rosh Yeshiva after Reb Nachum died. With Rabbi Beinish Finkel's death in 1990, the reins were taken over by Rabbi Beinish Finkel's sons-in-law, with the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, at the helm. After Nosson Tzvi Finkel's sudden death on November 8, 2011, his eldest son, Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, was named as his successor.[14]


Under Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, the yeshiva's enrollment grew into the thousands. The large enrollment was divided into chaburas, or learning groups. Each chabura consists of the same type of student – e.g. American, European, Israeli, Hasidic, and non-Hasidic. These chaburas sit in designated areas in the Mir's various study halls (such as Beis Yishaya, Beis Shalom, and the Merkazei), as well as in the same area in the dining room. Each chabura is subdivided by shiur (class), with each maggid shiur (lecturer) teaching a group of students.[3] The largest shiur in the yeshiva (which is also the biggest in the yeshiva world) is that of Rabbi Asher Arieli, who gives shiurim in Yiddish to over 1000 students.[citation needed]

Mir Brachfeld[edit]

The yeshiva has a branch in Modi'in Illit primarily for Israelis, which also includes a kollel. Mir Brachfeld was headed by Rabbi Aryeh Finkel (grandson of Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel and son of Rabbi Chaim Zev Finkel[13][circular reference]) until his passing on Aug. 9, 2016. His oldest son, Rabbi Binyomin Finkel, took over as Rosh Yeshiva.

Present leadership[edit]

Past leadership[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Beyda, Rabbi Yehuda (2012). "Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel z.s.l." Community Magazine. Archived from the original on 10 December 2011. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Jerusalem – Torah Chigri Sak! Hagaon Harav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, Zt"l". Vos Iz Neias?. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  3. ^ a b Krausz, Yossi. "Our Boys in Israel". Ami, October 23, 2013, pp. 44-53.
  4. ^ Ettinger, Yair (9 November 2011). "Some 100,000 attend funeral of Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel". Haaretz. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  5. ^ חוברת של קרן התורה, וינה, תרפ"ה, עמ' 6
  6. ^ משה יהודה ליב גאלדבערג, תולדות הגאון ר' חיים יהודה ליב ז"ל, ווארשא, תרס"ב, עמ' 7. Rabbi Goldberg was a grandson of Mir's 2nd rosh yeshiva, R. Avraham Tiktinsky and a great-grandson of the yeshiva founder, R. Shmuel Tiktinsky.
  7. ^ ר' יוסף ד. עפשטיין, "ישיבת מיר" בתוך ר' ד"ר שמואל ק. מירסקי (עורך), מוסדות תורה באירופה בבנינם ובחורבנם, ניו יורק, תשט"ז, עמ' 87
  8. ^ ר' משה צינוביץ, "לתולדות ישיבת מיר" בתוך נ. בלומנטל (עורך), ספר מיר, ירושלים, תשכ"ג, עמ' 99
  9. ^ ר' משה צינוביץ, תולדות ישיבת מיר, תל אביב, תשמ"א, עמ' 1
  10. ^ Receipt from the yeshiva dated 1931 that lists the year established as 1817 Archived 2017-04-04 at the Wayback Machine (also see a full discussion re: the year founded at פורום אוצר החכמה: בקשת עזרה: שנת ייסוד ישיבת מיר)
  11. ^ Rabbi Chaim Leib Shmulevitz: by Eliahu Meir Klugman
  12. ^ Sugihara: Conspiracy of Kindness
  13. ^ a b Aryeh Finkel
  14. ^ Ben Gedalyahu, Tzvi (8 November 2011). "Mir Yeshiva Rabbi Finkel Passes Away". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  15. ^ "Beyond Space and Time". Mishpacha Magazine. 2020-09-16. Retrieved 2021-01-05.


  • Toldot Yeshivat Mir, Zinowitz, M., Tel Aviv, 1981.

External links[edit]

31°47′18.5″N 35°13′26″E / 31.788472°N 35.22389°E / 31.788472; 35.22389