|Founded||between 1814 and 1817|
|Founder||Eliezer Yehuda Finkel (Reb Leizer Yudel)|
|Dean||Eliezer Yehuda Finkel|
The Mir Yeshiva (Hebrew: , Yeshivas Mir), known as the Mirrer Yeshiva or The Mir, is an Orthodox Jewish yeshiva in Beit Yisrael, Jerusalem, Israel. With over 8,500 single and married students, it is the largest yeshiva in the world. Most students are from the United States and Israel, with many from other part of the world such as UK, Belgium, France, Mexico, Switzerland, Argentina, Australia and Canada.
The yeshiva was founded in the small Russian town of Mir, Belarus in 1814, 1815 or 1817 by Rabbi Shmuel Tiktinsky. After his death, his oldest son Rabbi Avraham Tiktinsky was appointed Rosh Yeshiva. After a number of years, Rabbi Avraham died and his younger brother Rabbi Chaim Leib Tiktinsky succeeded him. Rabbi Chaim Leib would remain as Rosh Yeshiva for many decades. He was succeeded by his son, Rabbi Avrohom Tiktinsky, who brought Rabbi Eliyahu Boruch Kamai into the yeshiva. In 1903, Rabbi Kamai's daughter married Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel (Reb Leizer Yudel), son of Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel (the Alter of Slabodka), who in time became the Rosh Yeshiva of the Mir. The yeshiva remained in that location until 1914.
With the outbreak of World War I, the yeshiva moved to Poltava, Ukraine. In 1921, the yeshiva moved back to its original facilities in Mir, where it remained until Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939 marking the beginning of the Holocaust.
Although many of the foreign-born students left when the Soviet army invaded from the east, the yeshiva continued to operate, albeit on a reduced scale, until the approaching Nazi armies caused the leaders of the yeshiva to move the entire yeshiva community to Keidan, Lithuania.
Around this time, Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel traveled to Palestine to obtain visas for his students and reestablish the yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael, but these plans were interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. In 1944, Rabbi Finkel opened a branch of the yeshiva in Jerusalem with ten students, among them Rabbi Yudel Shapiro (later Rosh Kollel Chazon Ish), Rabbi Chaim Brim (later Rosh Yeshiva of Rizhn-Boyan), and Rabbi Chaim Greineman.
The story of the escape to the Far East of Mir Yeshiva, along with thousands of other Jewish refugees during WWII, thanks largely to visas issued by the Japanese consul-general to Lithuania, Chiune Sugihara, has been the subject of several books and movies including the PBS documentary Conspiracy of Kindness. After the war, most of the Jewish refugees from the Shanghai ghetto left for Palestine and the United States. Among them were survivors from the Mir Yeshiva, many of whom rejoined the yeshiva in Jerusalem.
When Rabbi Finkel died on July 19, 1965, his son, Rabbi Beinish Finkel and his brother-in-law, Rabbi Chaim Leib Shmuelevitz became joint Mirrer Rosh Yeshivas. Reb Chaim was considered the main Rosh Yeshiva and when he died, his son-in-law, Rabbi Nachum Partzovitz, replaced him. Rabbi Beinish Finkel became Rosh Yeshiva after Reb Nachum died. With Rabbi Beinish Finkel's death in 1990, the reins were taken over by Rabbi Beinish Finkel's sons-in-law, with the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, at the helm. After Nosson Tzvi Finkel's sudden death on November 8, 2011, his eldest son, Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, was named as his successor.
Under Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, the yeshiva's enrollment grew into the thousands. The large enrollment was divided into chaburas, or learning groups. Each chabura consists of the same type of student – e.g. American, European, Israeli, Hasidic, and non-Hasidic. These chaburas sit in designated areas in the Mir's various study halls (such as Beis Yishaya, Beis Shalom, and the Merkazei), as well as in the same area in the dining room. Each chabura is subdivided by shiur (class), with one maggid shiur (lecturer) teaching an average of 40 to 60 students. The largest shiur in the yeshiva is that of Rabbi Asher Arieli, who gives shiurim in Yiddish to approximately 700 students.
The yeshiva has a branch in Modi'in Illit primarily for Israelis, which also includes a kollel. Mir Brachfeld was headed by Rabbi Aryeh Finkel (Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel's grandson) until his passing on Aug. 9, 2016. His oldest son, Rabbi Binyomin Finkel, took over as Rosh Yeshiva.