"I live in Alaska, and the nearest shul is a thousand miles away! You are my only connection to Torah!"
"I have no extra time during the week. On the website, I'm always able to find a variety of shiurim that are exactly what I'm looking for."
"The rabbis and other lecturers bring me back to my time in Yeshiva… For years, I haven't had a connection like that to the Yeshiva's Torah."
These stories are just a few of hundreds (and even thousands) of similar stories that illustrate how innovative and unique the Koschitsky Virtual Beit Midrash at Yeshivat Har Etzion is. It led the way into online learning back in 1993 (5753), well before online study became widespread.
The Torat Har Etzion website is a continuation and extension of the previous Virtual Beit Midrash founded by Rabbi Ezra Bick, Rabbi Reuven Ziegler and others. We hope that it will become a leading site for Torah learning on the internet and a center for online study for thousands of people in Israel and the Diaspora.
The site has more than thirty thousand classes and articles, most of them organized into many hundreds of series in all of the diverse fields of Torah study. This number includes articles and lessons in both English and Hebrew, written clearly and edited meticulously.
The Torat Har Etzion website continues a tradition of twenty-five years: It opens a virtual door to the Torah of Yeshivat Har Etzion and its sister institutions. This site was designed and developed by Linnovate, a company that continues to provide technical support, allowing us to access the vast and diverse content that has been built over decades, via up-to-date digital media.
- What is unique about the Torat Har Etzion website?
It stands out amongst other Torah content sites with its cutting-edge technology and advanced features. Among these features are:
· Hundreds of series and tens of thousands of classes and articles in all fields of Torah study.
· Readily available classes and articles on the holidays, current affairs and your personal preferences. The carousels into which the classes and articles are organized bring the website's content to the user and allow an uninterrupted surfing experience. We value your time and the time you spend learning Torah, and the carousels help you begin studying quickly and efficiently. We update them regularly, and you can modify them to meet your needs, by topic or by speaker.
· If you decide to search the website for content, you will find an innovative search engine that allows you to search by word or filter by various parameters. The site is bilingual, and you can switch your search easily from one language to the next.
· Don't bother with reminders – once you sign up for a series of classes or articles, you will receive updates by e-mail whenever a new item is added to it.
- Guiding principles in building this site
We have been fortunate enough to be graced with an exceptional staff, which has published over eighty books in Hebrew and English. Writing in-depth, clear articles for the website has played an instrumental part in this extraordinary output.
The values that the rashei yeshiva, Rav Aharon Lichtenstein zt"l and Rav Yehuda Amital zt"l, brought to the Yeshiva led our mission to spread the Yeshiva's Torah online. The current rashei yeshiva, Rav Yaakov Medan, Rav Baruch Gigi and Rav Mosheh Lichtenstein, alongside Rabbanit Esti Rosenberg, the head of The Beit Midrash for Women at Migdal Oz, lead us down the same path.
We learned these values in the Yeshiva, they accompany us through our lives, and this website is but another expression of them:
· The goal of the Yeshiva does not consist only of finding and cultivating gedolei Torah. Our mission includes the cultivation of generations of God fearing Jews who involve themselves in Torah study. The website, especially the new availability of the classes and articles, is an excellent way to achieve that goal.
· The site is built to facilitate day-to-day Torah study, "temidim ke-sidram," by offering varied platforms – video, audio and text – that can adapt to any daily schedule. Just as the Yeshiva does, the site provides broad, diverse topics and types of study alongside in-depth inquiry. That is why we built hundreds of series that demand a measure of intense study, in the vein of what we do daily in the beit midrash.
· The Yeshiva's method of Torah study preserves venerable tradition while adopting innovations in intellectual inquiry. In this manner, the Yeshiva has spearheaded several "revolutions." For instance, the Yeshiva led the revolution in Tanakh study, which added Tanakh as an intellectual focus in the Yeshiva and Herzog College. The Yeshiva also played an integral part in the revolutionary change in Torah study for women. One of the zeniths of that movement was the establishment of The Beit Midrash for Women at Migdal Oz, a beit midrash that stands today at the pinnacle of Torah study for women.
The website reflects both tradition and innovation by serving as a platform for classes and articles by the staff of rabbis, rabaniot, and lecturers who embody these changes while holding fast to traditional methods and topics.
· The Rashei Yeshiva have always emphasized independence, especially spiritual independence. We, therefore, worked hard to provide each visitor with the ability to shape his own study as he sees fit.
· The Rashei Yeshiva emphasized the importance of "hearing the crying baby" and the importance of morality, which is not any less important than studying Torah or knowing it intellectually. The Yeshiva's beit midrash strives to put out relevant Torah content, and, in line with the rashei Yeshiva's vision, the site has sections devoted to morality and current affairs.
· We believe in integrating our Torah study and our practical lives. This belief led us to bring practical, in-depth halakhic work and relevant philosophical thought to the site and involve as many alumni as possible in building the site and contributing to its diverse content.