Since its inception, Beit Horah’a Haklali (BHK) – “The main beit Horah’a of Jerusalem” has become known and highly respected throughout the Jewish communities in Israel and around the world.
It all started in the summer of 2015. Various religious communities in and around Yerushalyim, voiced their dismay in regards to the lack of accessibility to Rabbis who can answer daily Halachic questions as they come up.
The chief Rabbi of Jerusalem approached one of the most distinguished rabbis in the city, the renowned Posek Rav Ben Tzion Hacohen Kook Shlit”a, notable disciple of Posek Hador Maran Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, and asked him to head a new Halacha institute, provide answers to questions and lead a group of additional Rabbis in this vital mission. This is how Beit Horah’a Haklali was established.
The request was addressed immediately. Within a few weeks, the mission was accomplished by the rabbis of Tziyuney Halacha institute. The leadership of the teaching institute delved into the new project and the initial Beit Horah’a Haklali started operating. A special emphasis was placed on providing quick response via telephone conversations or by an email. This service was available from day one, five years ago, and is still in use today from morning until midnight. Halachic answers are given by highly qualified Rabbis from various communities and backgrounds, who work harmoniously to provide guidance in different languages, including: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
“There is a large group of individuals who are searching for Halacha answers, and they do not have access to Rabbis who are available to give them the right information. The Halacha does not differentiate between people, and the Rabbis in Beit Horah’a Haklali are here to teach Hashem’s Torah and Halacha”, said the chief Rabbi at the opening ceremony.
Indeed, in this Beit Horah’a Haklali Jew from all communities and backgrounds can receive a clear and easy to understand Halachic answer, provided by the Rabbis in accordance with the five books of Shulchan Aruch. Answers are given with great consideration and sensitivity to the caller, whether it is a Great Talmid Chacham, a famous Rabbi who needs answer for his community or a ‘traditional’ observer – everyone is made to feel comfortable and ‘at home’.
At the festive ceremony of appointing the Rabbis to their new roles, which took place around the high holidays, the Head of the Beit Horah’a Haklali spoke about the enormous responsibility that lays on the Rabbi’s shoulders, when teaching laws to callers, especially when they are unfamiliar with religious life. “We must use our services to bring them closer to Yiddishkeit and encourage them to ask questions.”
Ever since Beit Horah’a Haklali was established, our Rabbis have responded to tens of thousands of Halacha questions.
Calls to the hotline in the Jerusalem center come from all over the world, fulfilling the vision of the prophet Isaiah (2,3): “Ki Mitzion Tetze Torah Udvar Hashem M’Yerushalyim” – For mount of Zion will come the teaching of Torah, and Hashem’s words out of Jerusalem. Beit Horah’a Haklali has become a teaching model. Rabbis from around the world are using our ‘model’ and building ‘branches’ in their own communities. Many religious leaders from the Unites States and Europe are eager to learn about the ‘methods’ and ‘unique approach’ that our Rabbis are using, when responding with great sensitivity to callers of all ages and all walks of life. Our ultimate goal is that “No Jew in the entire world should ever hesitate to turn to a Rabbi for advice or Halachic guidance.”
In the Beit Midrash of Beit Horah’a Haklali, our Rabbis are constantly learning and researching the various topics and challenges that our Jewish communities are facing every day. In addition, the institute includes several departments for specific Halacha issues, such as: A Kashrut division, a special section for hospital issues related to Cohanim purity – under the guidance of Maran Rav Chayim Kanyevsky, Chupa and Kiddushin department, Halachic arbitration and mediation, Selling of Chametz, special fund for supporting needy families, Kimcha D’pischa project, and others. Beit Horah’a Haklali publishes the popular weekly newsletter “Shoalin V’dorshin”, which brings a summary of many of the questions and answers given by Rav Kook, the Head of Beit Horah’a Haklali.