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The Volozhin Yeshiva is known as the "first yeshiva".

What was the system of Torah learning in Europe before Volozhin and in what way did Volozhin change the system?

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the wikipedia article says the first modern yeshiva. The footnote points to a book on google books, but I couldn't view the page. –  Menachem Mar 5 '12 at 19:52
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

My understanding is that until that point, if you wanted to study you'd have to pay your own way and find someplace to study. The Volozhin yeshiva raised funds, and didn't charge tuition. So it decoupled the education from paying for it. It was also more officially organized and centralized; usually you'd have to wander from town to town and unofficially study with the town rabbi.

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So now we're back to the pre-volozhin days :) :( –  Shmuel Brin Mar 6 '12 at 3:10
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The great innovation of the Volozhin yeshiva was that it was not tied to a specific community. The "super-communal" Yeshiva was totally new and created a more elite level of study.

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In what was were previous y'shivos community-tied that it was not? And do you have a source for this answer? –  msh210 Jul 30 '12 at 6:41
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