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What happened to the Yeshiva of Shem v'Aiver and all who learnt there?

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    I guess they closed down due to the lack of funds. Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 17:21
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    I'm removing the "Nefesh asher osu b'choron" part of the question as a duplicate of judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/11296, but retaining the "Yeshiva of Shem v'Aiver" part of the question as new.
    – msh210
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 17:39
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    Better question: What did they learn there?
    – jake
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 18:21
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    @jake, That's a great question also, but this is a fantastic question because it's so poignant. What ever happened to it? I love it.
    – Seth J
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 19:30
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    Didn't you hear ... after Yaakov left, they split into Ohel Shem High School in Ramat Gan and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (;-) Commented Nov 23, 2011 at 0:33

3 Answers 3

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They died. Yosef carried what they taught on.

Differing shitas on what they learnt, but because they lived through the evil generation of the flood, they had better haskafa on living with evil than the rest. So they say they taught the laws of chutz la aretz there, that Yakov only needed once he fled from Israel.

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    Jon, welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for this answer! You could make it much more valuable by editing in some sources to back up your assertions.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Nov 25, 2011 at 13:29
  • They taught business ethics and dealing with people like Lavan.
    – CashCow
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 8:40
  • But p'ru urvu was commanded before Mattan Torah
    – SAH
    Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 18:56
  • Or did they die out of something in particular? (It would have had to be pretty bad; that yeshiva was around forever)
    – SAH
    Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 18:56
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They also taught Torah which was outside of Olam Hazeh opposite to what Avraham taught a Torah that was connected to this world. That is why Yaakov needed to spend 14 years there before spending 14 years at the House of lavan.

When Yaakov had his dream, he dreamt of the ladder which as the posuk says was rooted on earth and touched the heavens, i.e. it tied together both schools of thought.

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    Moshe, thank you for your insight, and welcome to Judaism.SE! You could help us out and make your answer more valuable by editing it to include sources to support your statements.
    – Seth J
    Commented Dec 1, 2011 at 14:15
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    ...also by explaining what on earth (pun intended) you mean by "Torah which was outside of Olam Hazeh" and "Torah that was connected to this world".
    – msh210
    Commented Dec 1, 2011 at 16:17
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    MSH210 - fair point. I am going to think on this what exactly I meant. Commented Dec 2, 2011 at 12:17
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+50

The Maharsh'a on megilla 17a says:

הוה יעקב מוטמן בבית עבר י"ד שנים - ... דבית עבר נמי בבאר שבע ולא הלך כלל מבאר שבע לבית עבר אלא שהיה מוטמן בבאר שבע בבית עבר... ועוד נראה דאביו יצחק נמי היה לו בית המדרש כדאמרינן ביומא יצחק זקן ויושב בישיבה היה כו' וכל שלשה מדרשות של שם ושל עבר ושל יצחק בבאר שבע היו

Ya'akov was hidden in Ever's house (Yeshiva) for 14 years... For Ever's house was also in Be'er Sheva (where Yitzchak and family were living at the time), and Ya'akov didn't leave Be'er Sheva for Ever's house, rather he was hiding in Be'er Sheva in Ever's house... And it also seems that his father, Yitzchak, also had a Beis Midrash, as it says in Yoma "Yitzchak was a Zaken, and sat in Yeshiva", and all three yeshivos, of Shem, of Ever, and of Yitzchak were in Be'er Sheva.

We see something very important in this maharash'a: Shem's and Ever's yeshivas were not the same yeshiva. (This is also seen in B'reishis Rabba 63:10). We also see that Yitzchak had his own yeshiva, also in Be'er Sheva.

In the gemara mentioned by the maharash'a (Yoma 28b), it also mentions that Avraham and Ya'akov both had their own yeshivas. It also says there that while in mitzraim and while in the desert, B'nei Yisrael had yeshivos.

So it seems likely that what happened to "Yeshivas Shem V'Ever" is that it changed Rosh Yeshiva. Although the times overlap, it seems clear that Ever followed in Shem's footsteps and taught Torah, Avraham followed suit, as did Yitzchak and Ya'akov. (Note that Yitzchak was "only" 80 by the time Shem, Ever and Avraham had all died, and his was the only Yeshiva still in operation).

The same gemara in Yoma says that Avraham kept the entire Torah, including Torah sh'Ba'al Peh, so seemingly that's what they learned in Yeshiva. We also see in Avoda Zara (36b) that Shem and his beis din (maybe Ever and Avraham?) Paskened that it's assur for a woman to commit z'nus with a Goy (I'm not sure how exactly they'd define a Goy, seeing as there were no Jews. Maybe any non-Semite?)

I haven't see any sources for what happened to the students, but possibly the same as what happened to Avraham's Geirim. (which is itself not exactly clear, see What happened to Avraham's students?). It's also possible that there weren't many students, as the midrash states¹ that Avraham was the first person to 'call HaShem's name in the world', implying that others that came before him weren't as successful in their outreach.

In short, the Yeshiva moved to wherever the current Gadol Dor was, all the way to the Midbar (where Moshe took over). They seemingly learned the entire Torah, including the oral Torah, and the students (besides for B'nei Yisrael) possibly went the same way as Avraham's Geirim.


  1. Though I couldn't find the source, I'm relatively certain that this is said about Avraham

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