Having graduated rabbinical school three summers ago,* I felt it was appropriate to discuss why I decided to go to rabbinical school. Although I initially posted about this topic over five and a half years ago, I wanted to more fully list out the reasons as to why I decided to go into rabbinical school.
The first reason actually occurred to me in my second summer of staffing BBYO summer programs (in 2003). I saw the rabbis as being not only very knowledgeable about Judaism, but also seemed to me to be quintessentially Jewish leaders. It wasn't simply that I saw them as possessing so much knowledge of our people's traditions, customs, practices, etc., but I saw rabbis as serving as architects of Jewish life.
|Spending years learning furthered my knowledge|
The third reason was that I liked being involved with Jewish leadership activities and roles (e.g. BBYO) and I wanted to further the opportunities for being involved in such situations.
The fourth reason was that I enjoyed being a part of large gatherings of Jews (such as a conventions and conferences) and thought that becoming a rabbi would certainly enable me to attend such events.
|With Rabbi Berel Wein at Ohr Somayach (Spring 2004)|
The sixth reason was that I was inexplicably drawn to the need to serve my people. Two instances stick out to me where the need for good Jewish leaders was articulated and I felt that I had the opportunity to serve: 1) When I visited YCT in December 2003 and heard Rabbi Avi Weiss address us perspective students on the need for good Jewish spiritual leaders across the North American landscape; 2) One day in between classes at Ohr Somayach in the spring of 2004, hearing Rabbi Berel Wein speaking about a few things that could help American Jewry and one of them being good rabbis. Although I don't want to claim in any way that I thought I would be a good rabbi (or even currently am), I did feel that I owed it to my people to at least try to serve them.
**Although I know other people who spent 2-3 (or more) years studying in yeshivos in Israel post-college, I felt that I needed to move on with my life. (Although, looking back, I think that I probably didn't have to necessarily just move on at that time, yielding me with more time for personal development, Jewish learning, and social networking in Israel. Ah, well, that's hindsight....)