Anshei Chayil – Beit Midrash for Torah Leadership

“Select capable men [anshei chayil] from all the people, men who fear God, men of truth who hate dishonest gain” (Exodus 18:21)

Within Israel’s Haredi (ultra-orthodox) community, there is currently a growing contingent of young people who are confused about their identity and their affiliation with Haredi society, particularly given their desire to embody: “Beautiful is the study of Torah together with derech eretz [the way of the world, worldly life]” (Pirkei Avot 2:2).

These are young adults who have served in the IDF and/or studied in academic institutions, and have integrated into the working world.

It is a community that is continually increasing in size, and requires Torah-oriented leadership that will be in line with its needs.

The purpose of the Anshei Chayil Beit Midrash, which we would like to establish, is to cultivate such leaders.

Creating a new Torah Leadership:

The Beit Midrash is intended for Haredi Torah scholars, whose feet are firmly planted in the Beit Midrash, but who are also familiar with the world of action and work and its challenges.

Additionally, they are aware of the questions and dilemmas raised by the meeting between these “new Haredim” and Israeli society on issues such as education, employment, attitude towards women, religion versus science, redesigning the Beit Midrash, and adapting Haredi life to the modern era.

They will be continuing the path of famous and respected Torah scholars, such as Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch zt”l from Frankfurt; Rabbi Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg zt”l, who wrote Sridei Eish (Remains of Fire); Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Isaac Herzog zt”l; Rabbi Yoseph Dov HaLevi Soloveitchik zt”l from Boston, the head of Yeshiva University; and Rabbi Soliveitchik’s son-in-law, Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, head of the Har Etzion Yeshiva.

Each one of these men, in his time and place, charted a path for many, combining Torah with worldly life.

Objectives and methods:

The objective of establishing such a Beit Midrash is to build a bridge between the world of knowledge and the world of faith, to create a model of “active ultra-orthodoxy” that believes in cautious integration into Israeli society, and founding the next generation of modern Haredi leadership that will be an address and a voice for this community.

In the Beit Midrash, we will establish a high level of Torah leadership, that will offer a response to issues in the world of spirit and faith alongside exposure to non-religious wisdom and coping with the new challenges presented by the current era.

At the same time, we will work to create change through developing responses and programs that will constitute a bridge between the world of faith and the world of action.

The outcome can be expressed through development of educational programs, establishing yeshivot, opening educational institutions, leading synagogues and communities, writing and distributing Torah-oriented philosophy, and more.


  • A first core group of men committed to this path and concept was established at the initiative of Rabbi Bezalel Cohen, as part of the Society for Advancement of Education’s work with and for the Haredi community. In their lifestyles, these men embody integration between high-level Torah knowledge and action in the world at large, which expresses itself in participation in the workforce, study at institutes of higher education, and activities for the benefit of the community.
  • The core group meets throughout the year for a weekly study day, that includes studying and teaching, meeting with guest lecturers, hevruta (traditional learning in pairs), and educational tours, with the purpose of developing Torah-oriented thought that will be written and published, and to work towards advancing educational and social responses.
  • The Beit Midrash is open to members of the group for individual and group study and work throughout the week, and comprises a venue for community activity.