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Rabbi Isaac Jacob Reines and the Lida yeshiva

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Reines, Isaac Jacob (1839-1915)
Lithuanian rabbi and one of the founders of the Mizrachi movement.
I . His Life
Born in Karolin, Belorussia, he studied at yeshivot in Eishistok and
Volozhin before becoming a rabbi in Lithuania. His last post was in
Lida, where he was the rabbi from 1885 until his death.
II. His Accomplishments
A member of the Hibbat Zion movement from its inception, Rabbi Yitzhak
Reines joined Rabbi Samuel Mohilever in proposing settlement that
combined Torah study with physical labor. Theodor Herzl recognized the
need for rabbis to support the new Zionist movement and Reines was one
of the first rabbis to answer Herzl's call to become part of the
movement; as such, he attended the Third Zionist Congress (1899).

While most of his eastern and western European rabbinical colleagues
remained opposed to political Zionism, in 1902 Reines published a
book, "Or Hadash al Tzion" (A New Light on Zion) which countered the
claims of the anti-Zionist rabbis. The same year, he organized a
conference of the religious Zionist movement in Vilna, where the
Mizrachi movement was founded. He was recognized as the movement's
leader at its founding convention in Pressburg, Bratislava in 1904.

In 1905, Reines accomplished his own personal dream, with the
establishment of a yeshiva in Lida where both secular and religious
subjects were taught. In sharp contrast to the "pilpul" method which
characterized eastern European Jewish scholarship, Reines offered a
different approach to learning.



By : Executive Committee of the Editorial Board. Peter Wiernik

His "?otem Toknit."


Russian rabbi, and founder of the "Mizra?i," or Orthodox, branch of
the Zionist organization; a descendant of Saul Wahl; born in Karlin,
government of Minsk, Oct. 27, 1839. His father, a native of Wilna, who
lived several years in Palestine before Isaac was born, gave his son a
thorough rabbinical education. Isaac made rapid progress in his
Talmudical studies, and devoted part of his time to the study of
Hebrew works on logic and mathematics. He read also the medieval
Jewish philosophers and acquired the Russian and German languages—an
uncommon accomplishment among Russian rabbis of the older generation.

In 1855 young Reines went to the yeshibah of Volozhin, where he
remained about two years. After spending some time in Eisheshok he
returned home (1857). In 1859 he married the daughter of Joseph
Reisen, rabbi of Hordok, settled there, and continued his studies
under the roof of his father-in-law; and when Reisen became rabbi of
Telsh (1862) Reines removed with him to that city. In 1867 Reines
became rabbi of Shukian, and in 1869 he was chosen rabbi of the more
important town of Shwentsian, in the government of Wilna, where he
remained for about sixteen years.

His "?otem Toknit."

Reines began to attract attention when he developed in his "?otem
Toknit" (Mayence, 1880; vol. ii., Presburg, 1881) a new plan for a
modernized, logical method of studying the Talmud. Some of the
ultra-Orthodox condemned his plan as a radical innovation, and only
his great learning and piety saved him from being openly charged with
heresy. He was one of the rabbis and representative Jews who assembled
in St. Petersburg in 1882 to consider plans for the improvement of the
moral and material condition of the Jews of Russia, and there he
proposed the substitution of his method for the one prevalent in the
yeshibot. His proposition being rejected, he founded a new yeshibah in
which his plans were to be carried out. It provided a ten years'
course, during which the student was to acquire the rabbinical
knowledge necessary for ordination as rabbi, and at the same time
secure the secular education required in a government rabbi. But
although the plan to supply Russian-speaking rabbis agreed in
principle with the aims of the Russian government, there was so much
Jewish opposition to his yeshibah that it was closed by the
authorities after an existence of four years; all further attempts of
Reines to reestablish it failed.

In 1885 Reines became rabbi of Lida, government of Wilna, of which
rabbinate he is still the incumbent (1905). His next undertaking was
the establishment of a system popularly known as that of the Kovno'er
Perushim, for the purpose of subsidizing young married men
("perushim") studying for the rabbinate outside of yeshibot (see
Blaser, Isaac b. Solomon; "O?ar ha-Sifrut," iii. 21). Later he joined
the Zionist movement, and when, after the fifth Zionist congress, the
Swiss and other students formed a radical faction and threatened to
turn the movement in a direction which would lead away from religion,
Reines founded the Mizra?i branch, now probably the strongest branch
of the Zionist organization in Russia. His personal influence helped
to give the support of that powerful Orthodox body to the regular
Zionist organization on the question of the East-African or Uganda

Besides the above-mentioned work Reines published: notes on the "'Edut
bi-Yehosef" of his father-in-law (Wilna, 1866); "'Edut be-Ya'a?ob," on
testimony (ib. 1872); "Sha'are Orah," on Haggadah and Midrash (ib.
1886); "Orim Gedolim," on Halakah (ib. 1887); "Nod shel Dema'ot,"
eulogies or funeral sermons (ib. 1891); "Or Shib'at ha-Yamim" (ib.
1896); "Orah we-Sim?ah" (with a preface explaining Zionism from the
Orthodox point of view; ib. 1898); "Or ?adash 'al ?iyyon," a
refutation of the arguments which are advanced by the ultra-Orthodox
against Zionism (ib. 1902).

Yitzhak Yaakov Reines
(1839-1915), Religious Zionist leader.
Born in Karolin, Belarus (then in the Russian Empire), he studied at
various yeshivot and was rabbi in Saukenai, Lithuania, from 1867,
Svencionys, where in 1882 he founded a yeshiva with a curriculum that
included secular subjects, from 1869, and Lida, (now in Belarus) from
1885 until his death. He also founded a modern yeshiva in Lida which
attracted many students from throughout Russia. He introduced a new
method of Talmudic study with a modern methodology. Reines wrote many
books on rabbinic literature. He was an early adherent of the Hibbat
Zion movement and after the advent of Theodor Herzl he became an
adherent of political Zionism and attended Zionist Congresses. He
believed that Zionism heralded the beginning of the redemption of the
Jewish people and was attacked in many Orthodox circles for his
Zionism. In 1902, Reines called a conference of rabbis and laymen in
Vilna, Lithuania, at which the Mizrachi movement was founded. The
following year, a second conference was held in Lida. In 1904 a World
Mizrachi Conference was convened in Bratislava, now in Slovakia.

REINES, Isaac Jacob. Sefer ha-`arakhim. `Arakhim `arukhim, be-derekh
ha-hegyoni veha-mehkar ha-pilosofi `al ha-adam veha-teva`, `al ha-dat
veha-le'om, `al Yisra'el ve-tikvotav, `al Erets-Yisra'el ve-binyanah
ve-`al kol ha-`inyanim ha `omdim be-rum ha-`olam ha-enoshi
veha-Yisre`eli me-et ... Yitshak Ya`akov Reines. Mesudar li-defus
ve-yotse la-or mi-tokh ketav-yad `al-yede beno ... Avraham Dov Ber
Reines. Pp. viii, 343. Nyu-York, 686 [1926]

REINES, Isaac Jacob. `Edut be-Ya`akov : she'elot u-teshuvot, hakirot
u-ve'urim be-`inyene `edut. Pp. 515. Yerushalayim: Mosad ha-Rav Kuk,

REINES, Isaac Jacob. Ha-Rav Yitshak Ya`akov Raines: meyased
ha-Tsiyonut ha-datit: hegyonot, amarot, ´sirtutim. Liket va-`arakh,
Aryeh Strikovski. Pp. 45. Yerushalayim: Mi´srad ha-hinukh ha-tarbut
veha-sport, Minhal ha-tarbut, ha-Agaf le-tarbut Toranit, 759, 1999.

MAIMON, Judah Leib. Zekhor zot le-Ya`akov: toldot ha-ga'on ha-gadol,
yotser ha-Mizrahi, ha-rav Rabi Yitshak Ya`akov Raines, zatsal. Ketuvot
va-`arukhot `al yede Yehudah Leyb ha-Kohen Fishman. Pp. 24.
Yerushalayim: Defus Salomon, 694 [1933 or 1934]

BATH YEHUDAH, Geulah.Ish ha-me'orot: Rabi Yitshak Ya`akov Raines. Pp.
370. Yerushalayim: Mosad ha-Rav Kuk, c1985.

Isaac Jacob Reines (1839 – 1915)
Rabbin Lituanien, l'un des fondateurs du mouvement Mizrahi

I – Sa vie
Né à Karolin, en Biélorussie, il a étudié dans les Yeshivot de
Eishistok et de Volozhin avant de devenir rabbin en Lituanie. Son
dernier poste a été à Lida, où il a été rabbin de 1885 jusqu'à sa

II – Ses réalisations
Membre du mouvement Hibbat Zion depuis sa création, Reines a rejoint
le rabbi Samuel Mohilever dans sa proposition de colonie qui
combinerait l'étude de la Torah et le travail physique. Il a aussi été
l'un des premiers rabbins à répondre à l'appel de Herzl et à rejoindre
les rangs du mouvement sioniste. En tant que tel, il a participé au
premier Congrès Sioniste à Bâle en 1897. Herzl était conscient d'avoir
besoin du soutien des rabbins pour son mouvement.

Alors que le plupart de ses collègues rabbins d'Europe de l'Est, comme
de l'Ouest, restaient opposés au sionisme politique, en 1902, Reines a
publié son livre « Or Hadash al Tzion » (Une nouvelle lumière sur
Sion) qui répondait à tous les rabbins anti-sionistes. La même année,
il a organisé une conférence sur le mouvement religieux sioniste à
Vilna. C'est là que le mouvement religieux sioniste Mizrahi a été
fondé. Il a été nommé leader du mouvement lors de sa première
convention à Presbourg, Bratislava en 1904.

En 1905, Reines accomplissait son propre rêve personnel avec
l'établissement de la Yeshiva de Lida, dans laquelle des sujets à la
fois séculaires et religieux étaient enseignés. En contraste complet
avec les méthodes qui caractérisaient les Yeshivot de l'époque dans le
monde juif d'Europe de l'Est, l'approche de Reines était tout à
fait révolutionnaire à l'époque.