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All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.    T. E. Lawrence (1888 - 1935), "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom"

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Machon Shilo - About Us PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 03 November 2008 02:00

About the Machon

Machon Shilo is a centre of Jewish learning in Jerusalem dedicated to the exposition and dissemination of Torath Eress Yisrael, the Judaism of the Land of Israel, headed by Rabbi David Bar-Hayim.

Rabbi Bar-Hayim defines his vision as “laying the groundwork for a restatement and reconstitution of Jewish thought and practice, based on the Written Law and the Oral Tradition (Tora ShebiKhtav and Tora SheBa’al Pe), in order to facilitate the realization of the Jewish nation’s divinely mandated purpose and duty to establish “a nation of priests, a holy people” (Exodus 19:6).

The crucial issue of our day is the reconstitution of the Jewish Nation. In order for the Jewish people to realize its true potential and destiny and live up to HASHEM's expectations of His people, it is crucial that we cease to define ourselves as Hungarian, Russian, Polish, Moroccan, Tunisian or Yemenite Jews...and begin to see ourselves simply as Jews. Or more precisely: as Jews privileged to dwell in our ancestral homeland in which we aspire to live according to a full and authentic expression of Tora.

Rather than relying exclusively on the traditions of Rabbinical authorities in the Exile who studied and lived Judaism within the historical context of a minority residing in a foreign land under non-Jewish sovereignty, Machon Shilo encourages the study and implementation of the traditions and rulings found in the ancient sources of Land of Israel such as the Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem or Palestinian Talmud), compiled in Tiberias in the 4-5th centuries, rather than the Talmud Bavli, compiled by rabbinic authorities in Babylon some 200 years later.

One aspect of this approach is the reintroduction of Nusah Eress Yisrael, the format of prayer and liturgy used by the Jews of the Land of Israel from time immemorial and up until the first Crusade (1096-1099), at which time most of the Jewish population of the Land of Israel was either massacred or fled the country. This historic calamity sealed the fate of Torath Eress Yisrael, with the result that by the 12th century the Halakhic rulings, customs and liturgy of the Babylonian Jews had become the norm throughout the Jewish world.

There is a qualitative difference between the study and practice of Judaism in Eress Yisrael as opposed to the Galuth (Exile), a fact stressed in several Talmudic sources. What is needed at this juncture of history is a reconstituted Halachic Judaism which is in step with and complements the modern reality of the sovereign Jewish people living in their ancestral land.

There is no such thing as Judaism without a Halakhic system at its base; Judaism only exists today because of the system put into place 2500 thousand years ago by Hazal (the foundational rabbinic authorities). From this perspective, both Reform and Conservative Judaism are flawed concepts from the outset. The former because it was founded on a rejection of Halakha as a basis for religious practice, and the latter because its underlying motivation was to facilitate social integration into the diasporic milieu. Conservative Judaism allowed itself to pick and choose Halakhic positions and to accept certain values and societal norms that were deemed expedient for a Jew in the Diaspora.

However Orthodox Judaism too is flawed; it was by definition a response to the rise of Reform Judaism in the early 19th century. Responding to the Reform movement’s complete disregard for traditional practice and established religious jurisprudence, the new and reactionary “Orthodox Judaism” (a previously unknown term) adopted an extreme and opposite approach, viz. that the Ashkenazi Jewish practice which had evolved in Europe till that time should be enshrined, denying the possibility of any change whatever, even where such change is mandated by the Tora itself.

This is not and never was the intent of Halachic Judaism. The rabbinical authorities of the past, Hazal, the G'onim and the Rishonim, always understood the need and were willing to take stock of the realities of the present, to allow changes for the better. They were always redefining and reinventing certain elements of Halakhah, even changing well-established practices to suit the different circumstances and needs of the Jewish people in their times.

Now, with the creation of the State of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people and a territory under its political sovereignty, there is a need for just such an adaptation. Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook, the first chief rabbi of the State of Israel, understood this concept well, arguing that a reformulated and updated Halakhic system must be put in place in Eress Yisrael.

This as a means to become more Jewish and more able to connect to Torah in Eretz Yisrael in the present historical context.” This need may not be pressing for those Jews who still live in the Galuth, but it is absolutely necessary for those who have returned to their Land.



Beth HaWa'adh Machon Shilo (Beth Din)
In response to the need and demand for pisqe halakha (religious rulings) based on authentic Tora principles and sources, Machon Shilo has formed a Beth Din (religious court) to provide halakhic guidance for all Jews who wish to "go to the next level" - for those who aspire to lead a more fulfilling, meaningful, authentic and intellectually honest Jewish life based on Torath Eress Yisrael.

About Rav Bar-Hayim

Rav Davidh Bar-Hayim is the head of Machon Shilo and is a Tora visionary and scholar. In addition to his Tora research, he lectures throughout the greater Jerusalem area and publishes articles in English and Hebrew on leading Israeli websites.



Shiurim are conducted weekly, The shiur is open to men and women and takes place at Machon Shilo in Jerusalem. Other Shirum are scheduled as individual events or series in the Jerusalem area by the request of those communities. Contact either the Rav or the Office to request a Shiur in your area.  Announcements for times, events, and locations of Shiurim are made using our Yahoogroup email list.

Email Lists

2. Receive instant email copies of all newly published articles and shiurim on the Machon Shilo website, Subscribe Here.


Machon Shilo is located at 11 Haim Vital street in Givat Shaul, Jerusalem.  Use the side entrance.


View Haim Vital 11 On Google Maps.

Last Updated on Monday, 06 October 2014 20:10