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Rav Yitzchak Yaacov Reines yertziet
Ivri Date: 10 Elul, 5675
English Date: 20 August, 1915
Reines, a descendant of Saul Wahl, was born in Karolin, Belarus. He studied at Eishistok Yeshiva and Volozhin Yeshiva before becoming a rabbi in Saukenai, Lithuania, from 1867. He was then rabbi in 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 named the yeshiva Torah Vodaas.
Reines wrote many books on rabbinic literature. Reines developed a rational approach to Talmud study in his “Hotem Toknit” (Mayence, [= Mainz] 1880; vol. ii, Presburg, 1881) a new plan for a modernized, logical method of studying the Talmud.
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 in Russia, and there he proposed the substitution of his method for the one prevalent in the yeshivot.
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 a 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.
His son, Moses was born at Lida (where his father R. Isaac Jacob Reines, was rabbi) in 1870; died there March 7, 1891. Moses Reines was the author of Jewish historical materials for the history of Jewish culture in Russia and for a history of the yeshibot in Russia.