Of the positions in the orthodox rabbinate, perhaps the two most noticeable and influential are those of the Rav and the Rosh Yeshiva. The Rav is more commonly known as a “pulpit rabbi” and is employed by a community to oversee and establish religious policy for his congregation.1 The Rosh Yeshiva is not necessarily the “head of the school” as its title translated,2 but rather is a Torah scholar who often teaches those who will eventually become Rabbis.
In contemporary halakhic disputes, it is not uncommon to find these two groups on opposite sides – especially regarding modifications to existing practices or customs. A Rav may wish to innovate, and a Rosh Yeshiva would wish to preserve the status quo. The real question is not the nature of the new or modified practice, but who has the real authority to promote change in normative Judaism.