Volume 7 Number 10

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

R' Chaim and R' Twersky's Hespedim
         [Arnold Lustiger]
R. Soloveitchik
         [Eli Turkel]
The Rov and Lubavitcher Rebbe
         [David Kaufmann ]
The Rov's Writings
         [Jeffrey Woolf]


From: Arnold Lustiger <ALUSTIG%<ERENJ.BITNET@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 93 11:52:55 EDT
Subject: R' Chaim and R' Twersky's Hespedim

Filling in a few gaps on the Rav discussions

First, let me say that the recent thread on the Rav, his writing and the
hespedim about him was the most engrossing, and possibly the most
important discussions I have read in mail.jewish. Let me interject a few
comments that may fill in a few gaps on the Rav, his hespedim, etc.

Eitan's summary of Chaim's hesped (eulogy) was great. There is only one
small point at the end of the hesped that was missed. Chaim said that
those in the Rav's shiur, at certain points in their experience, felt
clearly that the reality of what was happening in the shiur was more
compelling and expressed a deeper sense of reality than what was
happening outside.  Another point R. Chaim said was that the spoken word
is fundamentally different than the written word. To be a great
darshan (lecturer) one had to express original ideas either through the
force of one's personality, or through one's oratorical skills.  In
writing, however, the words stand on their own. Therefore, what the Rav
spoke wasn't meant for publication. ( I believe that R. Chaim was saying
that we should not expect him to release lecture notes or tapes of the

Because I haven't yet seen Prof. Twerski's hesped summarized, here is my
very brief summary. If there are gaps, please don't hesitate to fill
them in:

The Rav was unique: not in the quantitative sense of his vast
understanding of Torah, but in a qualitative sense. The sin of Miriam
was in not acknowledging this uniqueness in Moshe; "Lo chen avdi
Moshe".  (not so my servant Moshe). The Rav didn't merely surpass all
others, he was fundamentally different.

Even the most intellectual of his works derived from a profound
religious sensitivity. Ish Hahalakha for exampledescribed the religious
personality and how he gives religious categories to natural phenomena.
"Uvikashtem misham" describes the religious experience of the Ish

The Rav had no unifying theory of theology. As a result, the search for
contradictions in his writings is a shallow exercise, since in each
essay he used a different mode of self expression. If there are such
inconsistencies, it is because they are "shnei ktuvim hamachishim zeh et
zeh" (two verses that conflict with each other) and our lack of
understanding is due to our inability to see the "katuv hashlishi"(the
third verse that reconciles the other two).

Part of the Rav's uniqueness lies in his ability to teach:"natan belibo
lehorot". This ability required within the Rav a monumental act of
tzimtzum ("contraction", i.e. telling the audience less than what he
could); his command of the sources and his lightning mind would
otherwise have caused the audience to drown in his words. He therefore
had to slow his explanations down to a pace that wouldn't lose his
audience. To every lecture, one could apply the phrase "yoter mimah
shekarati lifneichem katuv kahn"(more than I have read here is herein
written, stated by the Kohen Gadol after reading the Torah portion on
Yom Kippur).

I would also like to add one other source to Eli Turkel's bibliography.
The June 1978 issue of Tradition is a summary of 5 lectures that the Rav
himself wrote up, and is an important addition to his work.

Does anyone know of an English translation of "Uvikashtem Misham"? Both
Dr. Lamm and Twersky emphasized its importance prominently in their

By the way, for those interested, I am now translating the 1977 Teshuva
Drasha, which I hope to have ready for mail.jewish readers in time for
Yom Kippur, similar to last year's translation of the 1979 Drasha.

Arnie Lustiger


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 93 11:44:02 +0300
Subject: R. Soloveitchik

    Some more details from an Israeli paper (yom hashishi).

1. Similar (but not identical) to what Shmarya Richler wrote, the
rav attended a farbengen for the Lubavitch rebbe's 80th birthday. In 
the middle of the rebbe's lengthy talk the rav got up to leave and 
immediately the rebbe stopped speaking and announced that he was 
required to accompany the gadol ha-dor who was now leaving. He thus 
requested ten of the important local leaders to accompany the rav to 
the exit.

In way of introduction to the other remarks, R. Berlin (the Netziv) 
had two sons, R. Chaim Berlin and R. Meir Berlin who later changed his 
name to Bar-Ilan. R. Bar-Ilan was active in Mizrachi in both the U.S. 
and in Israel. The Netziv also had (at least) one daughter and R. 
Chaim Soloveitchik married a daughter of this daughter. R. Chaim had 
sons R. Moshe and R. Yitzhak Zeev Soloveitchik. Thus R. Meir Bar-Ilan 
was a brother to the rav's great-great- grandmother. The Brisker rav 
(R. Yitzhak Zeev) was the rav's uncle.

2. After arriving in Boston the rav decided to compete for the 
position of chief rabbi of Tel Aviv after the death of R. Aharonson. 
He was strongly backed by R. Bar-Ilan for that position. The elections 
were held in the end of 5695 (1936) and the rav came in third. The new 
chief rabbi of Tel Aviv was R. Amiel and R. Herzog (later chief rabbi 
of Israel) came in second. Though all the candidates were qualified it 
seems that politics played the major part in the decision. The 
Bostoner rebbe claims that the rav was so upset by the politics that 
he decided never to return to Israel.

3. In 1937 R. Chaim Ozer Grozinski requested that R. Eliezer Silver 
rejuvenate the Agudat Israel in America. Until that time all the major 
rabbis belonged to Mizrachi. One of R. Silver's first "converts" was 
the rav who joined Agudat Israel. A little later R. Meir Bar-Ilan visited
the U.S. from Israel and convinced the rav to return to Mizrachi. 
It is clear that he paid for this decision by being isolated from the 
Haredi community.

4. R. Soloveitchik was active in supporting the Chinuch Aztmai school 
system in Israel. As such he worked closely with R. Ahron Kotler, his 
son R. Shneur Kotler, R. Ruderman, R. Feinstein and many other gedolim 
from Agudat Israel all of whom appreciated his greatness. His closest 
connection was probably with the Bostoner Rebbe (also a member of the 
Moetzet Gedolei ha-Torah). In fact, the Bostoner rebbe attended the 
hesped given by R. Lichtenstein in Jerusalem.

   In regard to Jeffrey Woolf's interesting remarks I have one small 
quibble. The rav was approximately 38 when his father died and so he 
could not have learned with his father for 40 years. I also did not 
mention the Torah journal "Mesorah" put out by the OU which is largely 
dedicated to the Torah of the rav. Also Moshe Krone has already 
submitted another volume of hashkafa (philosophy ?) of the Rav to the 
publishers and it should be released soon. He claims he has enough 
notes from the Rav to publish dozens more of books. The Briskers are 
famous for not publishing. Krone says he convinced the Rav to let him 
publish his haskafa notes by arguing that the students in Israel would 
miss out on this work if it did not appear in print.

Eli Turkel


From: David Kaufmann  <david@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 93 23:26:08 -0400
Subject: Re: The Rov and Lubavitcher Rebbe

In one of the excellent and enlightening articles on Rav Soloveitchik,
o.b.m., someone (Y. Silberstein?) mentioned a meeting between him and
the Lubavitcher Rebbe on Yud Aleph Kislev. If it was on the occasion of
the Rebbe's birthday, it would have been Yud Aleph Nissan. Yud Tes
Kislev is the day of liberation of the Alter Rebbe, so it may have been

David Kaufmann INTERNET:	<david@...>


From: Jeffrey Woolf <JRWOOLF@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 93 19:26:06 -0400
Subject: Re: The Rov's Writings

In comment about the various postings about m"r the Rav Zt'l.

 1) The Rav's speeches to Mizrachi entitled Hamesh Drashot were
published by David Telzner in Yiddish as 'Fir Droshos.' They are a
wonderful opportunity to hear the Rav's mastery of Yiddish. As Reb Haym
said last Sunday, "those who knew him in English didn't know him.'

  2) Regarding the Rav's library-The Rav was convinced (he told us so in
shiur many times) that too many sefarim detract from creative thought.
He said, as I recall, 'We had Shas and a Rambam and that's why I became
a lamdan.'

  3) The story about the Tanya is lovely. However, in Ish HaHalakha he
contrasts Halakhic Man (Reb Moshe Soloveitchik ztl) with Lubavitch as
opposites. Also, Reb Haim Brisker was furious that his gifted aynikel
was spending his time with Hassidut and insisted that Reb Mayshe take
over the Rav's education.

  4) The boycott of anything to do with the Rav was nigh on total. Only
Reb Reuven and Reb Dovid Feinstein attended the Azkarah (and they and
Reb moshe were not only family but close family with the Rav). Also at
the Azkarah was Reb Simcha Elberg of the Agudat HaRabbanim. ---I'd heard
that Rav Ahron Schechter of Haim Berlin visited ONLY Rav Ahron (based I
assume on their time together at Haim Berlin).--Such Bizzayon of the
Gadol HaDor can only be dealt with by HaKadosh Baruch Hu himself. But
the truth is it didn't matter...We, his talmidim (direct and indirect)
knew who he was, honor his memory and will try to continue his derech.

                                   Jeffrey Woolf


End of Volume 7 Issue 10