My city is blessed with multiple frum yeshivos, each with a slightly different hashkafa. I am currently in my final year of a 4-year post high school Bays Medrash program. I would like to know whether, once I complete my program, I’m allowed to switch to a different rav in the city for guidance in life—one who has a generally more liberal hashkafa (but is still within the Torah framework). And if so, do I need to obtain my current rav’s (Rosh Yeshiva’s) permission? I know that one is not supposed to ask the same halachic question to multiple rabbeim--to “shop around” for lenient halachic guidance--but this is not what I’m talking about. I am talking about doing a one time change. (Reason: When I enrolled in my Bays Medrash program, I wasn’t aware at the time how “right wing” and strict the yeshiva hashkafa was compared to most other yeshivas in my city.) Thank you!
Shalom, Thank you for your question. Firstly, let me send you brachot for success in your learning, and continued spiritual growth. A person is not obligated to stay within one particular “path” of hashkafa. In fact, we find that many of our great Rabbis merited to study from different Rabbis over the course of their lives, and grew in different directions under the guidance of each Rabbi. Those who became Chassidic, those who moved from one Yeshiva to another, those who searched themselves for different teachings. Let me mention just two – Rav Soloveitchik zt”l, who changed from being anti-Zionist to a strong supporter of Israel (he wrote at length about his struggles to change his world view). And Rav Charlap zt”l, Rav Kook’s famous student, who after meeting Rav Kook zt”l, completely moved over to a new way of serving Hashem. There are many many more examples. So, certainly, you should feel free to move on from one Beit Midrash and Rabbi to another. You do not need anyone’s permission for this. However, let me offer a piece of advice. It is generally good to see one’s life experiences as positive additions to one’s complete personality that Hashem has merited a person to come into contact with. When you move on from your present Yeshiva you might benefit from looking back at your years there, and rather than focusing on why you want a change, try to reflect on all that you gained. You might even want to put that in writing – and then using the middah of “hakarat ha’tov” – being grateful – find time to sit with your Rabbi and teachers, and personally thank them. This will help you move on with the wealth of what you’ve learned well secured in yourself. Blessings.