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One often sees that individuals' have smicha from R' Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. The smicha exams are typically considered more theoretical than that of the Israeli rabbinate, which requires more memorization. Nonetheless, it would appear from this discussion that individuals from the States can take and pass his exam on issur v'heter by paper exam alone.

Is this the case? Is a formal learning program (e.g., in yeshiva) required for this smicha? Also, does that discussion list his correct exam? It's the only such source I could find online of the exam... it appears from this prep book advertisement that R' Goldberg also gives smicha for Niddah as well as Issur v'Heter? How about Shabbat? Are there available exams for these?

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2 Answers 2

Shalom u'Vracha,

Thanks for your interest in Sefer Iyunei Deah/Procedure for semicah by R. Z.N. Goldberg, shlita.

Below is a standard response I prepared based on many people's questions. Not everything below may pertain to you, but hopefully your questions will be among those addressed. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in further information.

I know that people who live outside of Israel do seek and receive semicha from the Rav.

He generally requires at least one letter of recommendation from an established rabbi such as a Kehilla Rav, Rosh Yeshiva or Rosh Kollel saying, for example, that he knows the candidate, for how long and in what context while also attesting to the candidate's experience and seriousness in learning as well as his intentions for requesting the semicha and his plans for the future.

Since getting semicha through him involves both a written and oral bachina, people may fax, mail or otherwise deliver the written bachina ahead of a planned visit to Jerusalem in order to allow time for the Rav to review it before meeting him for the oral bachina.

The nature of the oral bachina depends on a person's stated purpose for wanting the semicha. For one who intends to go into chinuch or kiruv, the oral generally covers only some of the main points covered in the written. For those who are testing toward hora'ah and poskening, the oral is significantly more thorough and rigorous.

As far as I know, one must test on an entire topic at once - like all of Isur v'Heter - melicha, basar b'chalav and ta'aroves - together.

One planning a longer visit might do both (submit the written and make an appointment for the oral) while here. Perhaps there are other ways of doing it as well.

It is possible to contact him directly and speak to him in either Yiddish or Hebrew in order to finalize the procedure for your specific case.

For the most up-to-date details regarding R. Goldberg's bachinos or other questions, you can call his home at 02 538 3162. His address is Elkana 12.


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Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ulman, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for supplying this information! I hope you'll look around the site and find other material of interest, perhaps including our 15 other questions about semicha. Please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features. – Isaac Moses May 8 '13 at 13:41
shalom, received semicha Rabbi Leibele Landsmann, the Yeshiva pirchei Shoshanim. My question is if I can take exam to receive ordination from Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, as could contact with Rabbi Zalman? Rabbi Yochanan – Rabbi Juan J. Bravo Oct 6 at 3:19

As I understand it from friends who have received this ordination, it is the case that non-Israelis who want to can in fact take the exam and send it in. It will be graded, and the test-taker ordained if he passes. I am not sure what is done to prevent the fraud of having someone take the exam for you.

In order to pass the exam, obviously one must have learned the material. However, I do not believe that yeshiva attendance is required, given that a friend who studied with Pirchei Shoshanim took the exam or is planning to do so.

I don't know if the test there is the correct one or if other exams are available online.

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Cheating on a test to get Rabbinic Smicha, sounds like you get an extra share in the world to come for that one. An additional question is that if this is how the ordination is done, is there a initial interview? Does he keep tabs to make sure these new Rabbi's are Yiras Shamoyim and also holding to the proper Torah standards? – user1292 Sep 7 '12 at 19:11
I've heard that to get the test you have to submit a letter of recommendation from a rabbi/yeshiva you've studied under/in. – Double AA Sep 7 '12 at 19:20
Do you know how to get a hold of his tests? – Shmuel Brin Sep 7 '12 at 21:40

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