Is Hakotel a Modern Orthodox yeshiva? What does that mean?
Hakotel sees itself as Modern Orthodox in the sense that we belief that Hashem means for us to engage the world and its people in the hope that we can effect and learn from them. We believe that Modern Orthodoxy can only be lived properly if it is rooted in scrupulous observance and a true commitment to Talmud Torah and the pursuit of the Hashem's will.
Does Hakotel belief in one way to serve Hashem or in diversity?
Hakotel identifies with the Yerushalmi (Berachot 63b)/Midrash (Tanchuma Pinchas) that explains that just as Hashem created us with different faces, so he created us with different views.
Hashem includes in the Torah the things/categories which he means to be incumbent upon all Jews in all times.
Beyond the things mentioned in the Torah, each individual has to pursue the path which best helps him serve Hashem. This is why we allow/encourage each talmid to learn what most interests him individually.
Our goal is to help talmidim learn to properly fulfill the generic mandates of the Torah and accurately determine what their unique mode of Avodat Hashem ought to be.
What is Hakotel's opinion about The State of Israel?
Hakotel beliefs that the miraculous events of the past hundred years are Hashem's facilitation of the beginning of the geula process. The State of Israel with its flaws needs to be appreciated as the form Hashem facilitated.
It is essential that the Jewish People (and Jewish people) respond by returning to Hashem which includes the strengthening of The State of Israel. This return may very well be the condition for the continuation of the geula process.
Comparison to Other Yeshivot
What is/are the difference/s between Hesder and American yeshivot?
A Hesder yeshiva is one where the Israeli talmidim spend a period of at least five years which include at least 3.5 years of learning and at least 1.5 years of army service.
How does Hakotel compare to other hesder yeshivot?
There are three models of hesder yeshivot that accept overseas talmidim.
One model is the yeshiva which consists of two separate programs- one for Israelis and one for overseas talmidim.
A second model is where the yeshiva consists of just an Israeli program into which overseas talmidim are fully integrated.
Hakotel is unique in that it balances between these two models by integrating overseas talmidim with Israelis while offering them the additional shiurim and guidance generally offered to overseas talmidim in separate programs.
What are the unique aspects of Hakotel?
- Integration within an Israeli yeshiva with overseas support staff and programming
- Program that develops high proficiency in Gemara while teaching Tanach, Machshava, Halacha, Mussar, and Hebrew Language comprehensively.
- Learning in the rova with a view of and relationship with the Har Habayit and the Kotel
- A yeshiva with an open- minded hashkafa that also emphasizes and fosters religious and spiritual growth.
- Rebbeim and other staff members (high staff/talmid ratio) who pursue and build meaningful relationships with talmidim both during and after time in yeshiva