The Yeshiva of Volozhin was started in  1803 and become the most important Russian Yeshiva. Its founder and president, Hayim of  Volozhin, was an opponent of Pilpul, like his teacher, Elijah Vilna. The number of pupils was small at first, but speedily increased, although only those who had recieved a thorough previous education were admitted. After the death of Haym of Volozhin (1821), his son, Rabbi Isaac of Volozhin, directed the institution in 1824. The Yeshiva, which now had more than 200 pupils, was closed by order of the goverment. In spite of this, it actually continued to maintain its existence up to the time when it was again officially sanctioned in 1843. When Isaac of Volozhin died, he was succeeded by his son-in-law Rabbi Naphtali Zebi Judah Berlin; after 1854 the latter and Joseph Baer Soloweichik were jointly in charge of the Yeshiva. Berlin was adherent of Elijah Vilna`s method of teaching, while Soloweichik favored a Pilpulistic method. As a result of this a dispute arose; after it had been settled, Berlin retained the sole direction.
In 1858 the Yeshiva was again closed by the goverment, but thanks to the energies of Berlin, it was further developed in spite of this, and numbered about 400 students. After a second legalization and another closing, its re-opening was violently opposed by the Maskilim (Haskalah supporters); it was accomplished only under the condition that certain secular studies also should be taught there (1891). These conditions were not carried out, and this led to the final official closing (1892). After this it still continued to exist, despite the lack of official sanction, until the first World War, under the direction of Rabbi Raphael Shapiro, the son-in-law of Berlin. During the  Yeshiva hundred years of existence its influence on the cultural life of Russian Jewry was unusually strong. Many of the important rabbis of Russia, Poland  and other countries as well as many Hebrew authors, were students there.

Source:  Universal Jewish Encyclopedia inc., New-York, 1946, Vol.10.

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