Rav Binyamin Zimmerman

Rav Binyamin Zimmerman [YHE '96] received his Semikha and his Masters in Secondary Jewish Education from Yeshiva University. After beginning his spiritual growth at Yeshivat Har Etzion, he spent time studying under some of the great Talmudic giants of the generation in order to learn from their styles, and blend them with the skills and training he acquired from Rosh Yeshiva HaRav Aharon Lichtenstein. His desire to bridge various approaches in Judaism also led to his in depth study of Jewish thought, combining ideas of Chassidim, Mitnagdim and others to a practical approach to modern questions of outlook and philosophy. Some of these ideas are expressed in his series on Jewish Ethics on The Virtual Beit Midrash. After beginning his teaching career in other yeshivot he decided to return to the Yeshiva where his growth began, to continue to develop in his spiritual home, and to aid the students in the yeshiva to achieve a broad based approach to Jewish learning and life.

Teacher Title Abstract Course
Rav Binyamin Zimmerman Shiur #06: The Return The historical significance of shemitta may be seen in the desolation which characterized the land until Jews began to return in modern times. The link between the Nation of Israel and the Land of Israel is expressed through the latter's refusal to sustain any other people. The Philosophy of Shemitta
Rav Binyamin Zimmerman Shiur #15: Rav Kook’s Perspective on the Return What is the theological significance of the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel over the past 150 years? How does it change what shemitta means, on an individual and collective level? This is explained by Rav A.Y. Kook in his introduction to Shabbat Ha-aretz. The Philosophy of Shemitta
Rav Binyamin Zimmerman Shiur #16: The Shabbat Element of Shemitta Shemitta is referred to as Shabbat ha-aretz, but what does this term mean? Rav Kook's masterwork of the same name gives us an opening for understanding this deep spiritual concept, as further explained by HaRav Yehuda Amital. The Philosophy of Shemitta
Rav Binyamin Zimmerman Shiur #17: The Neshama Yetera of Shabbat and Shemitta The weekly Shabbat invests within each Jew a neshama yetera, an extra soul. Does shemitta, "the Sabbath of the land," do the same? And what does that mean for its educational and spiritual message? The Philosophy of Shemitta
Rav Binyamin Zimmerman Shiur #18: Shemitta in Parashat Mishpatim Shemitta's first appearance in Parashat Mishpatim raises many questions. What is an ostensibly ritual law doing amongst civil laws? What do all of them have to do with the Sinai covenant? The answers offer a unique insight into the sabbatical year. The Philosophy of Shemitta
Rav Binyamin Zimmerman Shiur #19: Tishmetenna U-ntashtah – Relinquishing Ownership of Produce What exactly does the Torah seek from man in the two-word directive which first mentions the sabbatical year, tishmetenna u-ntashtah? What does relinquishing produce during shemitta mean, and how is the mitzva to be fulfilled? The answers tell us a great deal about the Jewish concept of ownership. The Philosophy of Shemitta
Rav Binyamin Zimmerman Shiur #20: Shemitta in Ki Tissa – Extending Holiness Shemitta is first introduced in the Book of Shemot, but does the Torah return to this concept after the Sin of the Golden Calf? The fascinating argument about a three-word phrase has ramifications for our understanding of the second covenant between God and His people and the place of the sabbatical year therein. The Philosophy of Shemitta
Rav Binyamin Zimmerman Shiur #21: The Disputed Interpretation Shemitta is the seventh year, but does it really start on Rosh Hashana? What activities are restricted in the sixth year, and what do they tell us about the nature of the sabbatical year--and holiness itself? The Philosophy of Shemitta
Rav Binyamin Zimmerman Shiur #22: The Message of Tosefet Shevi'it and Tosefet Shabbat Shemitta, like Shabbat, starts "early," but what does it mean for man to add on to God's holy times? Moreover, how does this relate to the prohibition to add to mitzvot? Finally, is adding on to a sacred place comparable to adding on to a sacred time? The Philosophy of Shemitta
Rav Binyamin Zimmerman Shiur #23: Shabbat Ha-aretz and Mount Sinai in Parashat Behar "What does shemitta have to do with Mount Sinai?" This famous Midrashic question challenges us to consider why exactly the Book of Vayikra concludes with a return to Sinai, how it affects our understanding of the commandments in general and what it teaches us. The Philosophy of Shemitta
Rav Binyamin Zimmerman Shiur #24: Preparing for a Sinaitic Shabbat Ha-aretz Experience The unique preparations for the Giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai and the weekly preparations for Shabbat serve as the template for what it means to be ready for the sabbatical year--and all of the spiritual opportunities it affords. The Philosophy of Shemitta
Rav Binyamin Zimmerman Shiur #25: The Melakhot and the Shabbaton Spirit of the Man and the Land As we continue to delve into the sabbatical nature of shemitta, we must ask a profound question: does the Torah require the Jew not to work the land or that Jewish land not be worked? The ramifications of this distinction, legal and philosophical, are profound. The Philosophy of Shemitta
Rav Binyamin Zimmerman Shiur #26: The Sanctified Produce of Shemitta The most profound expression of shemitta is the holiness imbued in its produce. What may we learn from the special laws of shevi'it? Rather than an inconvenience, they offer a unique spiritual opportunity. The Philosophy of Shemitta
Rav Binyamin Zimmerman Shiur #27: Yovel Yovel, the fiftieth year, plays a pivotal role in the shemitta cycle. The jubilee year shares many features with the sabbatical, but it has a unique role--symbolized by the shofar blown not on Rosh Hashana, but on Yom Kippur. The Philosophy of Shemitta
Rav Binyamin Zimmerman Shiur #28: Yovel- The Count to make it Count The message of yovel is as relevant as ever, even though its laws are currently inapplicable. What does its clarion call for liberty and freedom mean for the Torah's vision of an ideal society? The Philosophy of Shemitta
Rav Binyamin Zimmerman Shiur #29: The Economic Message of Shemitta The economic and social messages of shemitta and yovel are profound, all the more so when we consider that these laws were given to a nation of former slaves. What does this system teach us about faith and fairness? The Philosophy of Shemitta
Rav Binyamin Zimmerman Shiur #30: The Challenge of Statehood In this final lesson, we examine the meaning of shemitta throughout the generations. How does this year reflect the continuing struggle to build a moral economy, which dates all the way back to Avraham? Can the sabbatical year be meaningful in the pre-Messianic Era? The Philosophy of Shemitta