Rabbi Azriel Goldfein zt’l established The Yeshivah Gedolah of Johannesburg with two specific purposes in mind.
Firstly, to develop a Yeshivah at post matric level. One which would reach for the highest Torah levels possible, where its students could grow and flourish in all aspects of Torah study.
Secondly, to develop top calibre Rabbinical, Religious and Educational personnel for the South African Jewish community, who would spread Torah through-out the Republic.
Elaboration is necessary to fully appreciate the goals of the Yeshivah, and also to see how the Yeshivah is fulfilling its goals.
The term Yeshivah, in the conventional sense, refers to an institution which provides the opportunity for the student to immerse himself fully, according to his ability, in the study of Torah.
- This requires full study facilities, which include a Beis Medrash (Study and Prayer Hall), a dining room, a hostel and extensive libraries.
- There must be a comprehensive daily, weekly and monthly schedule of Davening, learning and Shiurim.
- It must be a place where one can experience Shabbos and Yamim Tovim different to what one has experienced before.
All together creating a framework, wherein the goals of a Yeshivah bocher become attainable.
The Yeshivah Gedolah of Johannesburg has a beautiful, welcoming Beis Medrash, and an extensive library containing scores of seforim covering all aspects of Torah. The Bar Ilan Responsa project as well as hundreds of recorded Shiurim are available for the bochrim to make use of. There is a homey dining room and well-equipped modern kitchen wherein the full time Chef and staff provide delicious meals three times a day. There is also tea and coffee available throughout the day. There is a fully furnished hostel as well as a gym facility. There is also an Astra turf soccer court available for the bochrim to use located at the Hirsch Lyons Boys High School.
Torah study is a pursuit of Hashem’s wisdom and knowledge as embodied in the form of his Holy Torah. However, Torah perfection is not simply an intellectual exercise; it is meant to be a holistic growth experience. The Yeshivah provides an environment for personal growth and self-discovery. It assists in the lifelong goal of becoming Shalem (whole) in one’s service of G-d and thereby one’s life. Students are encouraged to become great in Torah knowledge as well as their Derech Eretz, middos tovos and mentschlichkeit.
The Yeshivah aspires that its alumni should be well balanced individuals. Great in their Torah knowledge on the one hand, and impeccable in their Derech Eretz on the other. We are exceedingly proud of our illustrious alumni. Aside from their academic achievements, they have become mature, well balanced and well-adjusted individuals, with “their heads in the heavens and feet on the ground.” They have demonstrated their ability to work with and inspire people from all walks of life, in ways of pleasantness and peace.
The Late Chief Rabbi Harris Zt’l as well as the late Rabbi Aloy Zt’l, would often say that hardly a day goes by that they do not hear something good said about our protégés.
This is the fulfilment of what the Rambam writes (Yesodei HaTorah – 5:11), “When a Talmid Chacham speaks to people kindly, and associates with them, greets them with a friendly smile … honours them … attends to his business with integrity … and the people praise and love him and wish to emulate him – he has thus sanctified the name of Hashem.”
The second aim of the Yeshivah is to provide top calibre Rabbinical, Religious and Educational personnel for the South African Jewish community, who would spread Torah through-out the Republic.
The Yeshivah strives to develop religious personnel who aspire to all round Torah perfection. They should aim to achieve the highest standards, especially in the following areas:
- A high level of in depth Torah study and knowledge
- Middos Tovos, Derech Eretz and integrity
- The ability to relate to all types of people
- A sense of responsibility
Over 70 South African Shuls, Educational Institutions and other organisations have benefited from the talents and skills of our alumni.