Audio Roundup: More 20th Yahrtzeit

 

by Joel Rich

(Many links are to YouTube videos)

The Rav in Ranana

  • Rav Reuven Ziegler at Yom Iyun Harav Soloveitchik – Raanana (H)

    R’Ziegler discusses his involvement with the Toras Harav texts (only 2/3 of the texts, apparently “the son” has the other 1/3 and will do something different with them?). The Rav never said kabeil daati (do what I say) but demanded his students (he did not want chasidim) make their own decisions – R’Aharon Lichtenstein does the same – helps you think out plus and minus but you must decide.
    The Rav was a multifaceted thinker who emphasized particular issues and approaches because of the time and place and audience (me – b’asher hu sham) so don’t take the specific results and apply them blindly but take the process and apply it.

  • Rabbi David Shapiro at Yom Iyun Harav Soloveitchik -Raanana (E)

    R’Shapiro discusses R’Chaim’s 4 differences between sippur and zchira (see here http://torahmusings.com/2013/04/audio-roundup-82/) and adds 2 from The Rav (Hallel must be a bursting out in song type and the sippur has a limud Torah approach). Closes with Tollner Rebbi on the psychological parallel between sippur/zchira and Tisha b’av/daily zecher l’churban mourning for the Temple.

  • Rav Yair Kahn at Yom Iyun Harav Soloveitchik – Raanana (H)

    R’Kahn transmits over the Rav’s insights regarding Kiddush at the Seder consisting of elements of the “standard” Kiddush plus elements of the 4 cups as part of the story of the Exodus (ties to whether you can make Kiddush “early” on erev Pesach). Then the Rav’s classic insight “geulateinu” (our redemption as a nation) vs. “pdut nafsheinu” (our individual personal redemption from the mindset of slavery), a slave has no responsibility or control over time; we control our destiny vs. fate, we can make both place and time holy, etc.

  • Rav Aharon Adler at Yom Iyun Harav Soloveitchik – Raanana. A personal perspective (H)

    R’Adler – personal insights as The Rav’s driver – The Rav raised all his students (anyone can do it for the bright ones!). Why is there a mitzvah on the Shalosh Regalim to see your Rebbi Muvhak? Because the Beit Medrash is like Kodesh Kodashim and Rebbi is like Aron (HKB”H) for his student. Following this analogy, why didn’t they take the badim (staves) off the Aron once it was in its set home? Because a Rabbi must be able to go out of the beit medrash to be with the people.
    The Rav didn’t give mussar schmoozes, he believed you work on yourself and you will impact others (as he did R’Adler from just watching how he conducted himself in many situations).
    The Brisker allergy towards publishing was based on the feeling that you could always improve the work, so why rush to publish? A poseik must know all the circumstances before giving psak and shouldn’t be lazy (go look at an eruv rather than just hearing about it).
    R’HS thinks The Rav originally followed minhag HaGra and didn’t visit graves, but after his wife died, he couldn’t stay away and thus changed.
    Good stories about The Rav, Rav Hutner and the Rebbe in Berlin. Books The Rav wrote but we don’t have – electricity (Harold Z – I think he took my position!), Tanya and explaining arrangement of topics in Torah.
    Important caveat on third hand stories accuracy (R’HS in his books on The Rav often say “shamati” – I heard).
    He was a huge baal tzedaka – 60% of $, even to those who would have boycotted them. What about the prohibition against spending more than 20%? “Guilty as charged” (that should be the worst). If you are looking for chumrah, try Tzedaka and lashon hara.

  • Rabbi Avishai David on Rav Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik – Raanana Yom iyun

    R’ David discusses Two types of hallel – shirah vs. kriah, spontaneous vs. remembrance. The Rav was complicated – life is complex and he didn’t try to make it black and white.
    The Gaon said birchat hagomeil was patterned after 4 things that the Jews went through in Yitziat Mitzraim – Seder is Seudat Mitzvah. The Rav was always in a State of Shirah [song] [of the TSBP?]!

  • Rabbi Carmi Horowitz at Yom Iyun Harav Soloveitchik- Raanana (H)

    Rabbi Horowitz looks at the elements of “modern Orthodoxy” and the Rav. Trying to recapture the hitlahavus (emotional energy) – The Rav didn’t feel he did a great job of transmitting this to his students. While The Rav was intellectually curious, R’HS says there are limits on what you are allowed to think (mutar /assur applies here as well). Halacha has its own logic and in the beit medrash you don’t use other (academic?) methodology. Then on to his religious Zionism but at the same time focus on strong U.S. community for practical and philosophical reasons (dialectic! surprise!!!).

  • Rav Ezra Bik at Yom Iyun Harav Soloveitchik – Raanana (H)

    Rav Bick focuses on the dual role of the wine at the Seder with the additional element of cheirut (freedom – I’m writing this as I read of the passing of Richie Havens) which is knowing we can do better, it’s in our control!

  • SPECIAL EREV LIMUD: Dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik zt”l(YCT)
    The Rav at YCT

    Rabbi Weiss starts with personal reflections on The Rav as a multifaceted genius who could connect with his students.
    Rabbi Hain (the younger) gave over The Rav’s approach on sfirah (continuity) and tied it to The Rav’s philosophy on kdushat hazman (our ability to infuse time with holiness).

    Rabbi Helfgot provided some interesting historical context on some public policy issues regarding relations with conservative Judaism (it was a very different time). Specific issues were the conservative ketubah (public opposition but private negotiations), negotiations for a joint beit din and acceptability of conservative gittin (were usually written by Orthodox sofrim [cheaper and more available!]. The Rav’s responses were nuanced and he took into account individual circumstances.

  • The Rav in Toronto

    Rabbi Azarya Berzon-Tribute to Rav Y. D. Soloveichik in Toronto in honor of his 20th Yahrtzeit

    Rabbi Strauchler (West Orange product!) introduces the program.

    Rabbi A. Berzon spoke of The Rav’s philosophical approach to the balance between focus on the individual vs. the tzibbur (community). He develops it from thoughts on tshuva and the kohain gadol. There are 2 levels of holiness (individual and communal = inherited and your own, sin only impacts the latter) reflected in 2 covenants.
    This explains the fault in the logic of korach’s sin, prayer and repentance – each of us has dialectic elements of both; Korach missed that the individual could differentiate himself in the individual element. The tzibbur is more than the sum of its parts. Then some more personal reflections.

  • The Rav in The Great Synagogue (Jerusalem)

    Mrs. Tova Lichtenstein -Commemorating the 20th Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Soloveitchik

    Mrs. Tova Lichtenstein, The Rav’s daughter reflects on the Boston experience and what a paradigm shift it must have been. So how did he become the leader? Many others never really “left” Europe but the Rav, bit by bit through his RIETS Shiur and faith in the etrnallity of the Torah, did so. He was tough on his students but they recognized his greatness, his intellectual honesty and (most of all) his passion. He had more of a father relationship with his adherents.

    Rabbi Meir Lichtenstein-Commemorating the 20th Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Soloveitchik

    Rabbi Meir Lichtenstein, The Rav’s Grandson states that in Israel The Rav is a literary figure who speaks in unfamiliar philosophical terms. Sometimes we need some distance (time, space?) to appreciate the grand plan (e.g. Yosef going to Egypt, the Rav to Boston). He saw destiny. Halacha was at the center of everything (including philosophy) and he addressed eternal issues. We need to apply his deep feeling of the relevance of traditional Judaism but recognize need to apply his method, not copy results from different circumstances.

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    About the author

    Joel Rich

    Joel Rich is a frequent local lecturer on various Torah topics in West Orange, NJ and supports his Torah listening habits by working as a consulting actuary.

     
    The opinions and facts here are presented solely by the author. Torah Musings assumes no responsibility for them. Please address religious questions to your rabbi.
     

    11 Responses

    1. lawrence kaplan says:

      Just to clarify: The Talner Rebbe R. Shapiro is referring to is his teacher and mine, Rabbi Professor Yitzhak Twersky, zt”l.

    2. joel rich says:

      r’lk,
      thanks for the clarification.
      KT

    3. Steve Brizel says:

      R Joel-in your parsing the above shiurim, etc, did any of the esteemed speakers mention or purport to state that RYBS was a supporter of TuM or MO in a MO-lite fashion?

    4. mycroft says:

      “Steve Brizel on April 30, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      R Joel-in your parsing the above shiurim, etc, did any of the esteemed speakers mention or purport to state that RYBS was a supporter of TuM or MO in a MO-lite fashion?”

      Rhetorical question once we define something as lite-the Rav was totally committed to Halacha.
      Of course, one must look at how the Rav ran local organizations that he controlled see eg Maimonides where there were coed classes-even when 2 classes per grade and it could have been divided one girls class and one boys class.

    5. Steve Brizel says:

      R Joel-I don’t accept Mycroft’s claim that my question was a “rhetorical question.” There is a well known story of RYBS visiting a prominent Baal Habayis on the UWS and expressing shock and dismay that the person in question, while affiliated with the MO world, did not even have a Yad HaChazakah in his apartment.

    6. mycroft says:

      ” Steve Brizel on May 1, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      R Joel-I don’t accept Mycroft’s claim that my question was a “rhetorical question.” There is a well known story of RYBS visiting a prominent Baal Habayis on the UWS and expressing shock and dismay that the person in question, while affiliated with the MO world, did not even have a Yad HaChazakah in his apartmen”

      What does the Rav visiting a Baal Habayis in the UWS have to do with supporting MO-lite-by definition MO Lite is one that does not take halacha seriously-otherwise one has plain MO. Since I don’t know the learning level of the Baal Habas I can’t even understand the story-one thing a Yeshiva educated one ,versus an am Haaaretz supporter of the Rav.
      If one wants a discussion of the Ravs attitude towards MO-one can find many different viewpoints.
      Of course, if one means did the Rav tolerate MO lite-that is a different question-unlike others the Rav would compliment someone if he felt that they knew when and if to fight on an issue and when not to fight. Not fighting on an issue does not equal MO lite-that is a tactical decision of which issues to fight about at any one time.

    7. joel rich says:

      He was a supporter of holistic torah which could speak to all of modernity in a nonapologetic fashion. Other than that there was no mention of Mo lite etc.
      KT

    8. mycroft says:

      “Rabbi Helfgot provided some interesting historical context on some public policy issues regarding relations with conservative Judaism (it was a very different time).”
      Listened to Rabbi Helfgot-very interesting modern tidbit that he wished to include in his book a 1955 letter of the Rav but the “family” prevented the publication.
      Why?
      By Rabbi Helfgots comments on what the letter states- I can speculate as to why-but certainly a very interesting tidbit.

    9. lawrence kaplan says:

      Actually, R. Helfgot read the entire letter, thus now making it available. He did the same later on in the lecture, reading the Rav’s letter to Dr. Zerach Wahrhaftig.

      One minor correction of R. Helfgot’s talk. The Rav, as I have pointed out elsewhere, NEVER said it is forbidden to enter into a “Conservative synagogue” to hear the shofar blowing on Rosh ha-Shanah. The terms he used were “a synagogue with mixed seating” or “family pews.” He never once used in any of his pronouncements about this the words “Conservative synagogue.” This just supports R. Helfgot’s view that the issue for the Rav, not surprisingly, was not denominationalism, but halakhah.

    10. mycroft says:

      “Actually, R. Helfgot read the entire letter, thus now making it available.”
      I heard the lecture online and did not realize he was quoting word for word-of course unless the text is published or posted online via a transcript of R Helfgotts speech ultimately it will be very difficult to quote

      “The Rav, as I have pointed out elsewhere, NEVER said it is forbidden to enter into a “Conservative synagogue” to hear the shofar blowing on Rosh ha-Shanah. The terms he used were “a synagogue with mixed seating” or “family pews.” He never once used in any of his pronouncements about this the words “Conservative synagogue.” This just supports R. Helfgot’s view that the issue for the Rav, not surprisingly, was not denominationalism, but halakhah.”
      Not that my haskama means anything my impression was similar to Prof Kaplan.

      Interrogative query to Prof Kaplan wasn’t Shaar Hashamayim of the Montreal area at one time a Conservative synagogue with a mechitza, didn’t JTS during the Ravs time period have a mechitza?
      It would be very interesting if the Rav did at anytime daven at a Conservative edifice with mechitza? If he did it would be very interesting -if not no big deal as how many Orthodox synagogues did the Rav daven at?

    11. mycroft says:

      “Important caveat on third hand stories accuracy (R’HS in his books on The Rav often say “shamati” – I heard).”

      Important caveat on all stories even first hand-the context-was it intended to be a halacha lemaaseh psak which is individual, or was the Rav talking in learning which could easily be a logical Brisker chakira which the Rav may not even have followed in his own practice!!!

     
     

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