A new Kollel L’rabbanus aims to give shluchim the tools to answer practical Halachic sha’alos, as well as to increase the number of sorely-needed morei hora’ah for Lubavitcher communities.
Join a unique community of current Rabbonim and aspiring Rabbonim supporting each other in ongoing in-depth practical Halacha learning
Chabad as a whole has expanded tremendously, with shluchim establishing themselves in many remote communities across the globe. These shluchim serve as mentors, mashpim and luminaries in their specific communities and are the ones people turn to for guidance and support.
As community leaders, Chabad emissaries bear a formidable responsibility in terms of the spiritual and material guidance they provide. Many are thrown into the position of rabbanus without proper training and shimush. They may spend hours researching and giving classes and talking to the individual. However, when presented with a Halachic inquiry, they often are compelled to direct the questioner elsewhere as they do not have the authority to decide the law.
Shaalos that are not answered promptly, particularly those relating to family purity, Shabbos, or kosher food, can be detrimental for both family and communal life.
In the words of Rav Gedalia Oberlander “If you have a shaalah on day 7, what are you going to do?”
The organizers say that the rabbonim they have spoken to have told us that they are inundated with 100s of shaalos per week and that many urgent shaalos are not able to be addressed. They describe the current situation as unsustainable in the long term. “There are so many Lubavitchers and baale batim looking to lead a life based on Halacha, yet qualified rabbinic availability is greatly reduced,” they say.
In the words of Dayan Levi Raskin: ‘’Considering the ratio of rabbanim poskim to the number of Anash… the number is very inadequate judging by the amount of shaalos that come my way. Every community of even 20-30 familes needs to have a capable rav who is able to pasken and answer shaalo”
But what is your average Shliach living in a far-flung community meant to do?
After many months and years of research and planning, we have a solution. A new Kollel L’rabbanus is being founded, where the hope is to create the next generation of Lubavitcher Rabbonim the world over.
So many shluchim already serve as unofficial rabbonim. The goal of the kollel is to educate select shluchim thoroughly in Halacha l’maase, providing them with the necessary tools to get a proper semicha and even take the Heichal Shlomo test (Rabbanut of Israel) if they so choose. The tests will be administered by leading poskim in the world. Upon concluding our program, those shluchim will be able to effectively pasken Halacha for their communities.
There are many Halacha ‘crash courses’ available and that is not what the organizers aime to establish. A shliach can only be posek Halacha and madrich his community if he has had shimush and extensive training.
The Kollel has created an 8-year learning program geared specifically for shluchim. The learning will be text-based and sources will include Gemara, Bais Yosef, Shulchan Aruch and more. A special emphasis will be placed on shimush and practical application
Shluchim will commit to a schedule of intense learning 6-8 hours a week. The subject will be introduced at a joint session in the beginning of the week and will be summarized during a joint session at the end of the week. Shluchim will be paired with Chavrusahs with whom they will study the weekly topic using the provided sources.
The first 18 months of the Kollel will cover Hilchos Niddah. This subject will start after Pesach. The plan is to incorporate a very unique shimush program allowing the Shluchim to become experts in ma’aros. They will learn the yesodos in town, then continue learning via a mailing system that the Kollel developed. They will return to in-town sessions as the topics evolve.
Starting on Chof Beis Teves until Pesach the Kollel will be learning Hilchos hagalos keilim (Siman 451 in OC, and 120-122 in YD) with a strong focus on shimush and practical application. They will also be learning the topic of mechiras chometz with practical application.
Aside from Hilchos Niddah, the Kollel will cover the halachos of:
Shabbos – This module will include classes on modern technology as well as refuah on Shabbos.
Chupah Vkidushin: Classes on birur yahadus, filling out a kesuvah and running a non-frum chuppah.
Eruvin – This will include a course on putting up an eruv in a city, village or vacation home.
Smachos (Aveilus) – Classes will be given by members of the chevra kadisha. The Shluchim will learn how to determine the moment of death, what one is obligated to do to prolong life, which organ donations are Halachically possible and how to go about them in a Torah-true way, as well as how to do a Tahara.
Issur V’Heter – The future Rabbonim will receive instruction on giving a hechsher and running a local kashrus agency. They will develop their understanding of modern production facilities and practices and how Halacha must consequently be applied.
Participants will receive a separate heter hora’ah semicha certificate for each individual subject learned. A general heter hora’ah will be given to those that complete the entire course.
The Kollel intends to introduce innovative curricula, organized by Rabbi Avrohom Jacks from Toronto, along with the planned semicha program. Sessions will be administered by academic and medical experts in various subject matters including:
- The psychological domain
- The medical domain
- The interpersonal domain
The Rosh Kollel – Rav Chaim Hillel Raskin.
Rav Chaim Hillel Raskin studied in the Kollel Chabad Rechovot for over 15 years, and now serves as Rov of the Anash community in Petach Tikva. He is a dayan in Beis Din Rabbonei Chabad as well. He received the highest level Semicha from the Rabbanut of Israel “Rav Ir”. He did shimush by Rav Y. Belinow – the Rov of central Bnei Brak – and להבחל”ח by the Rabbonim Rav Meir Aharon and Rav Moshe Landau ע”ה.
Sgan Rosh Hakollel – Rav Tuvia Kasimov.
Rav Tuvia Kasimov serves as a Rov in the Beis Hora’ah of Crown Heights answering 100s of sha’alos per week for the Crown Heights community and Shluchim all over the world.
Rav Kasimov is also the Head of Machon Taharas HaBayis, and has authored a notable sefer Divrei Tohar on hilchos nidah.
Rav Tuvia Kasimov received smicha and dayonus from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg ז”ל. He received semicha on all four sections of Shulchan Aruch from Rav Y. Braun. He also received smicha and heter hora’ah from the Debretziner Dayan.
Rav Kasimov has received shimush from Rav Shaul Yechezkel Schwartz Debretziner Dayan, and Rav Yitzchok Shtein Faltishaner Rov, and Av Beis Din Karlsberg.
Menahel – Rabbi Betzalel Basman
Rabbi Bassman is the co-founder of SCP – Chabad creating Halacha curriculum in Lubavitcher communities and Chabad Houses. It is currently in over 50 Lubavitcher communities and Chabad houses with over 900 weekly participants. He is also the founder of Project Likkutei Torah.
- Rav Gedaliya Oberlander
- Rav Mordechai Farkash
- Rav Shaul Yechezkel Schwartz
ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
Shluchim joining the Kollel will need to go through a vetting process; Including an interview by the Rosh HaKollel, the Vaad.
The Kollel hopes to create new groups of shluchim every six months, keeping the groups separate to ensure the best learning for each individual group. “We feel that we can effectively train 75-150 Rabbonim Poskei Halacha over the next 8 years, if not more,” the organizers say.
There is also a plan to start a Hebrew branch of this Kollel. This will be helpful for those in other time zones and those that prefer a Hebrew-speaking Magid shiur.
A COMMUNITY FOR ALL RABBONIM
Many rabbonim who have learned these subjects in the past tell us that having a structured Kollel to continually review these subjects in a comprehensive manner is crucial for their busy rabbanus.
Rabbi Betzalel Bassman recently emailed close to 40 rabbis and rabbonim that applied for the Kollel: “The goal of this Kollel is to build a very unique community of Rabbonim growing in serious in-depth practical study of Halacha. In addition to the regular 8 year cycle of basic learning there will bezras Hashem be tremendous resources and tools offered to Rabbonim as this community grows”.
The cost to join is $175 per month. The optional ma’aros training (over 12-18 months) will cost an additional $1200. There is a 25% discount for Rabbanim that have been trained in rabbanus and shimush and want to join this Kollel for review. There are a few limited scholarships available. Most of the spots in the first group are full. If you’d like to join this first group please fill out this form.
The first session on Chof Beis Teves. The Kollel is accepting applications for the next couple of days.
You can register for the Kollel here.