Mazal Tov to Rabbi Noah Tile who recently received semicha from Rabbi Brovender at WebYeshiva.org.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Noah Tile. I live in Toronto, Canada, with my wife Atara and son Simon. Professionally, I am a Registered Psychotherapist in private practice, supporting individuals who struggle with OCD and ADHD. I also run a mental health company called Resolvve, a therapy and educational platform which helps students thrive in the areas of mental health, academic success, and personal growth. My passion lies in helping people make tangible improvements in their lives.
With OCD work, I support clients in systematically facing their fears, both psychological and in the real world, allowing them to increase their quality of life. With ADHD, I help people organize and orient their lives in a sustainable way, while helping reduce impulsivity.
In a professional capacity, I also see clients in the broader Jewish community; I have a strong interest in the intersection of Judaism and mental health.
I want to bring greater mental health literacy to the Jewish world, marrying the Torah with the wisdom of the psychological and behavioral sciences, each enlightening and enriching the other. I plan to teach and produce content of this secular wisdom in combination with the rich tapestry of Jewish text, making it feel closer to home.
Why did you choose and how did you enjoy the Halacha Mastery Program?
I did many units of Chaplaincy or Spiritual Care before moving more strictly into mental health and psychotherapy. In Canada, in order to do this, one has to be in a master’s level theology program. There are no Jewish graduate programs in Canada and so this felt like an opportunity to do Semicha instead. WebYeshiva was given equivalency status, being accepted as a viable alternative to other non-Jewish theology programs.
I loved the WebYeshiva program for a few reasons.
First, it afforded me the flexibility to commit, on my own time, to doing the work, while pursuing a career in mental health. It was great being involved in an engaging, meaningful, and goal-oriented learning regimen that complemented the rest of my schedule and lifestyle. I feel blessed to be part of the first era of online Semicha programs, learning from some of the greatest Torah teachers in Yerushalayim and around the world. Even though I was asynchronous for much of it, I created a schedule that treated the courses as if they were live, allowing me to sustain momentum and continuity over the four years.
Second are the teachers. The teachers combined scholarship and craftsmanship, love and care, as well as engaging, accessible cutting-edge material. It was a joy to get to know the teachers and to build relationships with them. Teachers were accessible and eager to help us grow in our understanding and learning. I have learned so much from them, both in content and character. Third is the learning style of the program, which is centered around developing a Halachic mind. I felt that I got an inside scoop of how a Psak is developed and who a Posek really is. One has to know and understand the sources over the centuries, beginning with the Chumash, through the Mishnah and Gemara, to the Geonim, Rishonim, Achronim and Poskim.
From there, they must consider relevant factors in the newness of their time and figure out how best to help Klal Yisrael serve God in the here and now.
For example, in modern kashrut, a Posek must know the past sources and conversations of our Sages while comprehending the complex realities of food science and production. It is a tremendous responsibility to then take the risk and stake what you believe for the betterment of the community. While this is of course not my role, I appreciate it all the more. Being a Posek is both an art and science, and to watch the development of their minds, watching how a Psak is generated was eye opening.
What stood out to me most in learning was seeing the unique genius of each Rabbinic mind extend themselves into the millennium old conversation, paving the way for the future generations. I was moved by just how sensitive and compassionate a Posek must be, remaining humble, all the while being fiercely bold to do, say, and guide as they see fit.
Since receiving semicha from WebYeshiva, what are your goals in learning moving forward?
Moving forward, although I hope to continue to learn practical Halacha in the style that WebYeshiva taught, my main areas of focus are:
- Mental health and Judaism
This I elaborated on above.
- Teaching and learning the Aseret HaDibrot.
In general, I want to continue to be a teacher of Torah. In particular, through Project Aseret I have become fascinated with the relationship of Klal Yisrael to the Aseret HaDibrot and the long, seemingly lost tradition of their centrality as the core values of the Jewish people. These are the לוחת הברית, the tablets of our Covenant, written with the finger of God, כתבים באצבע אלקים, so to speak.
At one time, there were minim (likely early Christians) who tried to say that the 10 were more important than anything else, that only they were Divinely given at Sinai. For this reason, our Sages moved their recitation out of specific Temple services (where they were originally said just before the Shema). Since then, there has been an overall wariness and caution with regards to elevating their status in relationship to Torah and Judaism. And yet, what if the 10, rather than shrinking the Torah, help us see the all of it, in its expansiveness? This is what Rashi alludes to in Sefer Shemot (24:12):
“כל שש מאות ושלש עשרה מצוות בּכלל עשרת הדברות הן”
All of the 613 Mitzvot are included in the Aseret HaDibrot
Looking back at the sources in Chumash and Chazal, we see a fascinating story about the power of the 10. After all, the 10 are what Klal Yisrael heard פנים בפנים, face to face, direct from Hashem (at least the first two). Additionally, this project allows me to experiment with fascinating pathways in learning that web apps, such as Sefaria and Nakdan provide, in being able to find language parallels (or intertextuality), across different stories and ideas in Tanach and Chazal. We all now have access to research methods and ways of seeing Torah that only were available to Talmidei Chachamim with photographic memories. The intersection of tech and Torah excites me greatly.
I also am working on building source sheets that are aesthetically pleasing and engaging for all audiences, bringing the key words and phrases of the people of the book to life. I feel that this is one thing missing in Torah Shiurim and learning in general. This to me is a way to fulfill the dictate of יגדיל תורה ויאדיר, to make Torah great and glorious.
- Overall content production
I want to continue to produce content in the written and spoken form. I have a podcast and blog called Torah Thoughts, which delves into the areas of Judaism, mental health and personal growth. An “Aseret” Podcast also is coming out soon, where I interview those who excel in one area of their Avodas Hashem through the lens of the Aseret HaDibrot.
Overall, I am thankful to God for this unique opportunity of being a student of WebYeshiva. I am so appreciative of the welcoming and supportive staff, including Michal Haber, Rabbi Zippor and Rabbi Saks. A big Hakaras Hatov to my teachers, Rabbi Rothstein, Rabbi Geller, Rabbi Fink, and of course Rabbi Brovender, for their support, their guidance and their Torah.
I wholeheartedly recommend WebYeshiva’s Halacha Mastery Program to all!