Revelation and the Education of Modern Orthodox Rabbis
Guest Post by Rabbi Asher Lopatin, President YCT Rabbinical School
As an Orthodox Rabbinical School, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah is committed to the classic, Torah-true mesoret of Torah Min Hashamyim, a basic tenet of Jewish belief. That is what we teach. As Rav Nati Helfgot, Chair of our Philosophy Department (Machshava) wrote, the yeshiva teaches in a classical and traditional way that both the oral and written Torah were revealed to Moshe at Sinai and in the wilderness.
At the same time, as Rav Ysoscher Katz wrote, since we are an Open Orthodox rabbinical school, we want our students to struggle openly throughout their lives as they integrate the mesoret into their own hearts and souls.
Our talmidim are exposed to a range of views on Torah Min Hashamayim from our classic commentaries and thinkers, and students will embrace different views along this traditional spectrum. Some talmidim are in the midst of theological work to uphold Orthodoxy in a way they find intellectually honest. One recent example is Rav Zev Farber, whose journey has taken him to the outer boundaries of Orthodox thinking on this subject. Rav Zev is thinking honestly and personally, but his ideas are different from, and in some ways contradictory to, what we teach and ask our students to believe at YCT. He discusses his struggle in more detail here. Rav Zev is a big enough talmid chacham to defend his Orthodoxy from all his critics. We support his honesty and speaking his mind, but he speaks for himself, not YCT. His beliefs on this matter are his own and far from the broad classical views of Torah Min Hashamayim that we at the Yeshiva believe in.
Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School actively encourages diversity of thought—all anchored within our students’ passion for their Orthodoxy. I invite you to become part of the conversation, part of a dynamic Orthodoxy that is open and contemporary, but, most important, an integral part of the unfolding of Hashem’s holy Torah, given to us all so long ago at Sinai.