I Did Not Pass the Bar

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As much as it hurts to report, since I know a lot of you have been asking out of genuine concern and interest, I am sorry to say that unfortunately I did not pass the bar exam.

Honestly, it would have been a miracle if I had passed it. I spent a good four weeks in the midst of the 10 week study period tending to other pressing matters and was never able to fully recover the time. I held out hope that my writing would be good enough to outweigh my lack of knowledge, but alas it was not to be.

It is very painful right now. My friends are all celebrating, and I am not. It hurts to be left out. But I knew all along it was extremely unlikely that I would pass. It still hurts.

I will be getting back on the horse and putting forth a maximum effort this go-round. I really believe that if I do my best to prepare, I will pass the February exam.

That also means that I will be going offline for a a couple of months at some point. In the meantime the blog and Facebook / Twitter will continue for a bit longer. But soon I am pulling the plug, at least temporarily.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement along the way.

  • Yisrael Medad

    i guess part of that time was spent on useless “seichel”-less knock-down blogging of Israel and the logic displayed maybe was not only time-consuming but not helpful for law studies? but like you wrote in your apology, in another couple of months, maybe things will aright.

    • Actually I shut down the blog while I studied for the bar. The more you know…

    • Azi Grae

      Yisrael Medad the fair rabbi and scholar did go offline for a long while, to the chagrin of his friends and online admirers. It is rather derisive to use an honest, open, and unhappy post like this to attack REF with your likely usual criticisms,

      If you somehow had any empathy this would have been the time to use it. Too bad you don’t.

    • tikun olam

      Wow. There is a time to be nasty and a time to be nasty. R’ Eli is more than just a sum of his blog posts. He is a human being who just suffered a disappointment. You don’t have to agree with his politics to wish him well.

    • Daniel Rubin

      Feel better now?

  • Yerachmiel Lopin

    Good luck on your next round. Blog suspension will be temporary. Bar admission will be permanent.

  • tikun olam

    You’ll get them next time! It ain’t easy to find time to study enough when you have a job and family. You aren’t the first and won’t be the last to fail and turn out to be a great lawyer. No one will ask you once you are in practice how many times you took the bar. Best of luck the next time around.

  • Richard Friedman

    My sympathies, I’m sure your situation is not unique. Though I achieved straight A’s in my doctoral coursework I was run through the written exam obstacle course (which lasted five days) three times until they set me free. Do not forget the gatekeepers do not want to release an excess of job competitors at one time.

  • it truly hurts. unless one has taken the Bar one cannot fully understand nor comprehend what the experience is like. Best of luck next time. Take BarBri and if you need any tips just let me know…

  • Choosetoswim

    Sorry to hear, I truly empathize with you.

  • L120


  • Best wishes to you on your next try.

  • zachw

    Looks like California has a pretty consistent pass rate of only 42% over the years, if that’s any consolation.


    (I presume) that if you looked more closely at that number, full time students make up the great majority of those passes, folks who had lots more study time under their belt that a practicing rabbi could not afford.

    So what do you plan to do – if anything – with a law degree?


  • Rav Dov Fischer

    I did pass the bar exam (August 1993). I also support Israel’s decision to defend herself against the murderous Hamas rocket launchers and their civilian backers who freely elected them to lead the people of Gaza.

    • So if a bomb hits one of the 60% of the Gazans who didn’t vote for Hamas you’d be upset?

      • Rav Dov Fischer

        I would feel as upset as I would feel if an American bomb flattened one of the German 60% in Dresden who did not vote for Hitler.

        This is a war going on. There is a dead woman who was visiting Israel to mourn another dead woman and her dead husband, murdered four years earlier by Jew-hating Islamists who murdered them in India. There is a war going on. This is not “Blazing Saddles,” where the new sherriff, Sherriff Bart, hand-delivers a bomb to Mongo. If Israel has intelligence that a murderer is in a car, or that murderers are storing or launching weapons from a hospital or school or apartment building, then Israel needs to excise the threat to its population. If, while conducting its operations, Israel inadvertently kills unintended targets, that collateral damage is unavoidable. Not only is there no other country in the world that fights with the same degree of heightened sensitivities, ethics, and morals as Israel. There also is no other country in the world that is as aware as Israel that every non-combatant’s death will be amplified by the enemy into a media circus.

        I invite you to http://www.rabbidov.com

        • I would feel as upset as I would feel if an American bomb flattened one of the German 60% in Dresden who did not vote for Hitler.

          So not upset at all? That’s too bad…

          • Rav Dov Fischer

            This very minor exchange between us — brief and minor — already has given me greater insight into you. I now better understand how you could have written the post you posted. The exchange is valuable. Thank you.

            Let’s try it this way. I have posted my thoughts at: http://www.rabbidov.com/cuttingthegrass.htm

            It is fascinating that the same Pacific Jewish Center once was renowned as the shul where Rav Daniel Lapin was moreh d’asra, and later where Rav Benjamin Geiger was rav. Fascinating.

            Be well.

  • I commend you on your candor and what clearly was a difficult post to write. Keep on keepin’ on

  • vladimir

    Rabbi, you should sweeten the bitterness of your “no pass” with the thought that you have achieved unmesurable good effect on many of us by spending your time triggering our thinking and promoting our spiritual growth.