Who are we?






Words of Torah




Rav B'Yisroel Program


Entrance Requirements I: Academic
   1. Completion of Tanach and basic
   2. Completion of at least 500 pages (Dafim) of Gemara with Rashi 
      and Tosfos. (In exceptional cases this requirement may be
   3. Acceptable knowledge of Hilchos Tfiloh (Shulchan Aruch
      Orach Chaim)
   4. Acceptable knowledge of Hilchos Shabbos (Shulchan Aruch 
       Orach Chaim)
   5. Acceptable knowledge of Hilchos Yom Tov (Shulchan Aruch

Entrance Requirements II: Character
   1. The candidate must be a Yoray Shomayim
   2. The candidate must be Shomer Shabbos
   3. If married, the candidate must observe Taharas HaMishpachah
   4. Candidate must provide acceptable references and letters of 
   5. Candidate must agree to dedicate an acceptable amount of time
      to kiruv rechokim.

Ordination Curriculum
(For course description/listing see General Curriculum. Number to the right of the course name indicates number of credits awarded. In certain cases, credit is given for previous learning. )

(Siddur Kiddushin)

CH101: Tenaim Before Marriage (3)
CH102: Laws of Betrothal and Marriage (3)
CH103: Marriage Ceremony (3)

ML101: Laws of Circumcision (3)
ML102: Order of Circumcision (3)

Redemption of the First Born (Pidyon Haben)
PB101: Laws of Redemption of First Born (3)
PB102: Order of Redeeming First Born (3)

Bar Mitzvah
BM101: Bar Mitzvah (3)

Birkat HaGomel (Public Thanksgiving)
GM101: Laws of Public Thanksgiving (HaGomel) (3)

Bikur Cholim
BC101: Visiting the Sick (3)

Mourning Customs (Hilchos Avaylus)
HA101: Shmirat Hamet - Guarding the Deceased (3)
HA102: Kriya - Rending the Garment (3)
HA103: Onain - Pre-Burial Mourning Laws (3)
HA104: Tachrichim V'Tahara - Shroud and Tahara (3)
HA105: Hotza'at HaMet V'Halevayato - Removing the Deceased from the
            Premises (3)
HA106: Tziduk HaDin U'Kevura - Tziduk HaDin and Burial (3)
HA107: Kevura B'Yom Tov - Burial on Yom Tov (3)
HA108: Seudat Havra'a - The Mourner's Meal (3)
HA109: Shiva - Shiva (3)
HA110: Sheloshim V'Shnaim Asar Chodesh - Sheloshim and the Twelve
            Months (3)
HA111: Shemuah Kerova U'Shemuah Rechokah - Hearing of the Death:
            Locally and from Afar (3)
HA112: Kaddish V'Yohrtzeit - Kaddish and Yartzeit (3)
HA113: Hakamat Matzeivah - Unveiling (3)

Basic Kosher Ordinances
KL101: Bread (3)
KL102: Milk (3)
KL103: Cheese (3)
KL104: Wine (3)
KL105: Meat (3)
KL106: Cooking (3)
KL107: Kashering (3)

Rambam: Mada

RB101: Hilchot Yesodai HaTorah (Foundations of Torah Knowledge) (3)
RB102: Hilchot Dayos (Proper Personality Traits) (3)
RB103: Hilchot Talmud Torah (Laws Concerning Study of The Torah) (3)
RB104: Hilchot Tshuva (Laws of Repentance) (3)
RB105: Hilchot Avodat Kochavim (Laws of Idolatry) (3)

JP102: Nachmonides' Debate (3)
JP201: Pirkei Avot (3)
JP404: Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) (3)

HR101: Liturgical Hebrew (3)
BH201: Biblical Hebrew (4)
HR203: Hebrew of the Commentaries (3)

TA101: Talmudic Aramaic (4)

HS101: Elements of a Sermon (3)
HS102: Delivery of a Sermon (4)

Total: 135 Credits

Jewish Communal Administrator Program
Askan B'Tzorchey Tzibur

Due to the need in the Jewish community for qualified administrators, group leaders and teachers, The Institute for Jewish learning (IJL) of Kollel Ayshel Avraham has initiated a program leading to a Diploma as a Jewish Communal Administrator (JCA). The Certificate will be awarded to qualifying students who have completed a prescribed course of 60 credits. Those students who, prior to this time, have taken courses at IJL, will be given credit for them, assuming the courses were completed satisfactorily. Individuals holding a JCA will be given preferential consideration by the Institute for positions as administrators, group leaders and teachers in programs it plans, as well as when requests come in from the Jewish community for such positions. 

General Curriculum
(If course name is followed by *, it may also be taken privately with a mentor as a non-credit course.)

Jewish Philosophy
JP101: The Way of G-d (Derech Hashem)* Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato. 

In this fascinating work covering the existence of G-d and His relationship with man, the mystic and kabbalist Moshe Chaim Luzzato, (Ramchal) blazes a path of understanding that has enraptured readers for centuries. The student obtains a real grasp of the meaning of prophecy, Holy Spirit, angels and witchcraft, all explained in Luzzato's highly spiritual approach. 
5 Credits: 6 Sessions; Instructor: Rabbi Yaakov Spivak

JP102: Maimonides (Rambam) Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon.
Laws of the Foundations of Torah (Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah)*
The clarity and genius of Rambam's writing is never more evident than in this section. Laws of the foundations of Torah specifies man's obligation to know that the Al-mighty created everything which exists, and that continued existence is dependent upon His Will. A look at the Universe through the eyes of Torah.
5 Credits: 6 Sessions; Instructor: Rabbi Yaakov Spivak 

JP103: Maimonides (Rambam) Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon.
Laws of Personal Conduct (Hilchos Daiyos)*

In this work Rambam talks of attaining the goal of the "middle path." He analyzes character traits and flaws, and explains how to overcome them. Torah psychology that will enlighten. 
5 Credits: 6 Sessions; Instructor: Rabbi Yaakov Spivak

JP104: Maimonides (Rambam) Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon.
Laws of Idolatry (Hilchos Avodas Kochavim)*

Rambam describes the evolution of idolatry in vivid detail. The student follows an incredible path, beginning with man's initial true recognition of the One G-d, then the deterioration into idolarty and cults, followed by the Patriarch Abraham's restoration of Monotheism. A sometimes frightening look at the practices of idolatry, this course also includes Rambam's controversial position on witchcraft, as well as the opposition he faced on this issue.
5 Credits: 6 Session; Instructor: Rabbi Yaakov Spivak

JP105: Nachmanides (Ramban) Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman.
Nachmanides' Debate (Vikuach HaRamban: Sefer Milchamot Hashem)To open the door to the writings of this mystic and scholar supreme is to plunge simultaneously into Torah's both deep and outer space. As a Halachic decisor, commentator and kabbalist, Ramban is stunning. Students of Nachmanides Debate will see Ramban forced to debate a Meshumad priest, Pablo Christiani, in front of the Court of James of Aragon, King of Spain. Challenged by Christiani, (and, in essence, by the king and his court) as to why the Jews refused to accept the Christian messiah, Ramban's brilliant answers serve as guidelines to Jews throughout the ages when confronted by a hostile theological environment.
5 Credits: 6 Sessions; Instructor: Rabbi Yaakov Spivak

JP201 Pirkei Avot According To The Maharal
Sayings filled with "common sense," The Chapters of the Fathers probe far more deeply into life than may be apparent to the novice. This course will examine Pirkei Avot in light of the Maharal of Prague's Derech HaChaim (a commentary on Pirkei Avot) and Netivot Olam (a book on Ethics and the second part of Derech HaChaim).
7 Credits: 8 sessions. Instructor: Rabbi Chaim Szmidt

JH101 Biblical History

This is an overview course designed to take the novice down the road of Jewish history from Creation to the end of the Tanach.
5 Credits: 6 sessions.

JH102 Second Temple Period and Beyond
Personalities and Events in the Mishna and Talmud
3 Credits 4 sessions.

JH103 Medieval Jewish History
A study of the Jews in exile, this course explores the Rabbinic contributions to the survival of the Jewish people during a trying period.
5 Credits: 6 sessions

JH201 History of the Holocaust
This course covers the events leading up to the Holocaust beginning with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914. Special emphasis is placed on the difference between pre-twentieth century anti-Semitism and that of the Hitler era.
7 Credits: 8 sessions.

Biblical Literature
BL101 Parshat HaShavua*

An in depth analysis of the weekly Torah portion.
Ongoing: 5 Credits for every 6 sessions.

BL102 The Haftarot*
The history surrounding the particular Haftora of the week and its relationship to the Sidra.
Ongoing: 5 Credits for every 6 sessions.

BL103 Bereishit*
A study of the first book of the Torah with emphasis on the commentary of Rashi.
3 Credits: 5 sessions

BL106 Bamidbar*
A Torah study of the social and personal struggles of the young Jewish Nation in the desert. Rashi reading is emphasized as well as an introduction to the study of other commentaries such as the Ramban and Ibn Ezra.
3 Credits: 8 sessions

BL107 Devarim*
This course on the last book of the Torah will stress independent student study. It will utilize a wide range of commentaries, emphasizing the Talmudic comments on the passages.
3 Credits: 8 sessions

BL201 Women in Tanach
This course delves into the psychological and historical impact of various women in Biblical history, among them: Chava, Sarah, Rivka, Rachel, Leah, Tzippora, Esther, Ruth, Chanah and Penina, Devorah and Yael.
7 Credits: 8 sessions.

BL202 Misunderstood events of Tanach
6 Credits: 8 sessions

Jewish Music
JM201 Music: The Language of the Soul

An in-depth look at music within the Torah - The Five Books of Moses, the Prophets, the Writings and Rabbinic Sources.
*Seeing how music has been used to elevate the human soul
  throughout history
*Discussing the role of song as the ultimate emotional expression
*The role of music in prophecy
*Music found in the Jewish mystical approach to faith
*The role of nigun, melody - understanding its relationship with the
  Creator of the Universe.
3 credits: Eight Sessions.

Tephillah - Jewish Prayer
TP101 Tephillah: Jewish Prayer*

Mystical insights into Jewish Prayer. This course explores the meaning of Tephillah through selected Kabbalistic texts and the great Chasidic Masters. It will explore the paradoxical power of Tephillah, which all at once can be sweeter than honey and yet, sharper than a stiletto. This Tephillah course travels a road strewn with treasure all around, as well as within, the student.
7 Credits: Eight Sessions. Instructor: Rabbi Chaim Szmidt

TP102 Nusach HaTephillah*
Melodies of the Prayers: Includes daily, Shabbos and Holiday melodies as well as Torah and Haftorah notes.
6 Credits: 8 sessions

Israel Studies
IS201 A Comparative Study of American and Israeli Law

A broad survey course comparing Israeli and American law, studying the political, governmental and legal structures of both countries, and examining varying and similar approaches in an array of legal areas, including Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Family Law and Commercial Law. Reference will be made to American, British and Jewish sources. Among topics to be discussed are issues of Separation of Church and State, Civil Liberties and treatment of penal issues. This is a very useful course for those intending to do business in Israel or to live there.
7 Credits: 8 sessions

HR101 Liturgical Hebrew*

Translations and Commentaries on the Siddur and Machzor
3 Credits: 8 sessions

HR201 Biblical Hebrew*
Grammar and Translation
3 Credits: 8 sessions

HR202 Mishnaic Hebrew*
Grammar and Translation
3 Credits: 6 sessions

HR203 Hebrew of the Commentaries*
Rashi, Rambam and Ramban
6 Credits: 8 sessions

Halacha - Jewish Law
SA101 Halacha I*

Daily Conduct, Holidays.
6 Credits: 8 sessions

SA201 Halacha II: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch*
A study in Hebrew. Designed to familiarize the student with classic Hebrew expressions of Jewish Law.
Six Credits: 8 sessions

SA301 Halacha III: Mishna Brurah*
This study of the landmark work of the Chofetz Chaim is designed to illustrate the relationship between Classic Jewish law and modern situations. 
Six Credits: 8 sessions 

SA401 Halacha IV*
Igros Moshe: This study of responsa on modern day questions illustrates the Living Torah as it offers guidance to the complexities of the Technical Age. 
Six Credits: 8 sessions

GS201 Talmud I: Mishna Berochos*

This introduction to Mishna will outline the relationship of The Written Torah to The Oral Torah. Designed to give meaning to blessings and prayers by providing the Talmudic insight of the Sages into these basics of Jewish daily life.

GS301 Talmud II: Sanhedrin*
A study of the Jewish system of justice.

GS401 Talmud III: Kedushin*
This study of the laws of Jewish Marriage will emphasize independent student use of Rashi as well as an introduction to Tosfos.

Courses On Tape
Students are responsible for these tapes as part of the General Curriculum

Lectures by Rabbi Yaakov Spivak
Audio and Video Cassette Tapes

STA101 Partners in Miracles 
What ingredient is necessary for us to merit sorely-needed miracles in our times? Rabbi Spivak's riveting description of the categories of miracles with reference to Talmudic and late Rabbinic commentaries develops the partnership role we must play to be worthy of miraculous intervention. The answer is a leap of faith characterized by Nachshon ben Aminadav's plunge into the Reb Sea in the Exodus from Egypt. This lecture explores the partnership of "mesirat nefesh," self-abnegatory risk-taking in the pursuit of "Kiddush HaShem," the Sanctification of G-d's name as the prerequisite of the Divine Miracle. Audio

STA102 Jewish Leadership 
This lecture explores the quintessential ingredient of leadership. Rabbi Spivak paints a graphic portrayal of the history-making power of genuine leadership, and the tragic consequences of failed leadership. Weaving a fabric rich in variegated allusions to the Bible, Prophets, Talmud and Rabbinic commentaries, Rabbi Spivak describes the forceful, self-negating (mesirat nefesh) quality that crowns authentic leaders. Rabbi Spivak puts forth that every Jew experiences the challenge of attaining spiritual leadership in the face of pervasive materialism. Rabbi Spivak was speaking before Yeshiva students on Tisha B'Av after a demonstration at the Brazilian Consulate to urge the Brazilians to release to the Jewish community millions of dollars they were holding which had been stolen by the Nazis. Audio

STA103 Survival 
Can Jews survive without the advancing secularism of the world? On the other hand, will they swallow the fallacy which views constantly-expanding technology and secular knowledge as a substitute for Torah spirituality? Has the world progressed morally in synchronization with the advancements of science? In this insightful, inspirational lecture laced with humor and sensitivity, Rabbi  Spivak weaves an historical tapestry of analysis stretching from the Biblical times of Cain, Noah, Jacob and Esau to the contributions of Marx, Freud an Einstein to the excesses of Nazi Germany. Survival presents us with a thought-provoking spiritual and educational challenge. Audio

STA104 Anti-Semitism I 
In this tape, Rabbi Spivak presents an incisive analysis of the complex and contradictory nature and root of anti-Semitism. Utilizing vivid examples from the long and tortured history of Jew-hatred, Rabbi Spivak encapsulates  the march of anti-Semitism from its inception in the paradigmatic conflict between Esau and Jacob through the religious persecutions of the middle Ages  until the large scale butchery perpetrated by the Twentieth Century Nazis.  This lecture traces the 
indignities and cruelties and horrifying slaughter of  the Crusades and Inquisition, the nefarious bloodletting and oppression of he Russian Czar and the massive genocide of the Holocaust. Rabbi Spivak  contrasts traditional religious anti-Semitism with its secularized modern  version, and outlines some of our responsibilities in the war against this enduring hatred. Audio

STA105 Mercy Versus Justice 
Rabbi Spivak analyzes the reasons for G-d's treatment of man through the divergent qualities of Mercy and Justice. This lecture explores the mystical concept of the yearning of the immortal soul to demonstrate its loyalty to  G-d. He discusses whether mercy or Justice furthers or hinders man's  fulfillment of his purpose on earth, and why both are necessary for the  existence of the world. Rabbi Spivak also explores the meaninglessness of  externals as a barometer of spiritual reality, and how apparently  insignificant acts may engender far-reaching 
effects in the earthly and spiritual realms. Audio

STA106 Refuting Missionaries 
The cassette used around the world to combat missionary propaganda. Rabbi  Spivak answers missionary claims point for point and illustrates the folly of  their position. Audio

STA107a Why Jews Believe In Only One Divinity
Spanish Version: STA107b; Russian Version: STA107c
In a scholarly and riveting lecture, Rabbi Spivak brings the classic Jewish sources which show that a Jew cannot believe in more than One Divine Being and still be an observant Jew. Invaluable in combating missionaries. Used around the world. Audio

STA108 Ramchalian Mystical Philosophy I 
An examination of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato's mystical quest for Perfection. Audio

JH101 Jewish History 
JH101 is a vibrant, analytical approach to the lives of the Patriarchs. The Biblical stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob which one remembers from childhood are reexamined with mature eyes drawing upon midrashic and mystical sources as well as more recent rabbinic interpretations. Rabbi Spivak reveals messages which can be gleaned from the struggles of the Biblical textual heroes and patriarchal Tzadikim. We view Jewish history as more than a chronological record of events and deeds, heroic or otherwise. Rabbi Spivak's analysis of Jewish history pursues the extraction of didactic moral messages which can aid us in discovering our own personal mission in this world as a Jew and a human being. The Patriarchs were engaged in an ongoing struggle to overcome their spiritual and physical adversaries in a hostile environment of idolatry and dissolution. Rabbi Spivak presents their quest to spiritually perfect themselves through the challenge of suffering and adversity as a model of character building and spiritual achievement. We see how those outstanding Jewish figures fashioned their roles as social "outsiders" into a springboard of spiritual leadership for the world through the ages. Audio and Video

JH102 Jewish History 
JH102 follows an intriguing, incisive technique in analyzing Jewish history and its leading personalities. Using a wealth of midrashic sources, Rabbi Spivak examines the lives and deeds of the Patriarchs, Matriarchs and later Jewish leaders such as Joseph, Judah, Moses, Aaron, King Saul, King David and King Solomon as a series of recurring themes which provide us with moral lessons and models. Among the themes explored is the pragmatic spirituality of the Matriarch Leah and her descendants such as King David versus the introverted spirituality of the matriarch Rachel, Joseph and King Saul. Another is the clash between unyielding zealotry versus compromise and accommodation and their varying effectiveness in preserving and promoting the spiritual and physical life and continuity of the Jewish nation. Themes are traced from Biblical events through the modern context of the Holocaust. Rabbi Spivak also emphasizes the role Divine empowerment - Siyata Di-Shmaya - in the success of the application of varying approaches. Audio and Video

JP102: Selected Writings of Rambam (Maimonides)
The clarity and genius of the Rambam's writing is never more evident than in Laws of the Foundations of Torah (Hilchot Yesoday HaTorah), in which he specifies man's obligation to know that the Al-mighty created everything which exists, and that continued existence is dependent on His Will. Six Audio Tapes.

JP201: Rise Above The "Demons"
A stirring look at the capabilities of man in relation to the forces which try to bring him down. The theme is positive reinforcement of the idea that nothing stands in the way of man's will to accomplish good things. 

JP 301: "The End of Days"
A Biblical, Talmudic and midrashic look at the Acharit ha-yomim - the end of days - and, yes, how to survive them.

STA111 Parshat HaShavua 
These tapes are ideal for brushing up on the Torah Portion of the Week. Deep, insightful and often fiery, they are filled with classical commentaries such as Rashi, Ramban, Kli Yakar, to name just a few. They are delivered in a style popularized internationally by Rabbi Spivak.

We will constantly be adding new samples of some our courses
Here is the first, please check back with us regularly

Kiddush Hashem (RealAudio)

Copyright 1997-2001 Ayshel Avraham Rabbinical Seminary
Designed by:
designworks studio, inc.