Volume 7 Number 57

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Administrivia - Rav related material
         [Avi Feldblum]
Clarification Requested on Hesped
         [Josh Rapps]
Rabbi Soloveitchik in an Imperfect World
         [Hayim Hendeles]
Rav and YU - Last Response, I Hope!
         [Yosef Bechhofer]
Rav--comments (fwd)
         [Anthony Fiorino]


From: <a.feldblum@...> (Avi Feldblum)
Date: Mon, 24 May 93 10:42 EDT
Subject: Administrivia - Rav related material

I have had a few questions concerning gathering all the Rav related
material into a special topic collection.

The Rav material is being collected (by Eitan and Eli) and will be
broken down into a few files, probably a bibliography of the Ravs
writings and writings about him, the collection of Hespedim that have
been published here on m-j, and the discussions that we have had
concerning the Rav. As the material is still coming in, I suspect it
will be a few weeks before the collection will be finalized, uploaded
and announced.

Avi Feldblum
<avi_feldblum@...>    or  ayf@volta.pr.att.com


From: <jr@...> (Josh Rapps)
Date: Wed, 19 May 93 03:19:06 -0400
Subject: Clarification Requested on Hesped

First of all, thanx to Eitan Fiorino for summarizing the hespedim.  You
have done a fine job, as others have already attested to.  I would like
a clarification on the following:

>> In maimonides, he said the nusach sefard seder avoda, although the rest
>> of the davening is nusach ashkenaz.  He didn't say the nusach ashkenaz
>> seder avoda because the sefard version is more accurate.  Also in
>> Maimonides, he introduced a 4th bowing into the Yom Kippur davening from
>> the baal hatanya's machzor.  These were obviously small changes.

It was well known that the Rav considered Atah Konanta (the "nusach
sefard" seder Avodah) more reliable. He felt that it was based on
Mishnayot and Beraytot and perhaps was written by a Kohen Gadol.  (I
believe that Arnie Lustiger has made available a symmary of the 1979
Kinus Teshuvah Shiur where the Rav discussed this). The fourth bowing
was for the extra time that the name of Hashem was mentioned in the
Avodah. Eitan mentions that "these were obviously small changes". Was
that his interpretation or did Rav Shachter state that? I believe that a
change of this nature to the Seder Hatefilah, particularly with the
emphasis the Rav placed on Mesorah (tradition) in tefilah, would not
have been considered trivial by the Rav at all.

A personal experience with seder tefilah/mesorah questions with the Rav:
When I was in his shiur, the shul that I davened in was forced to seek a
merger with another shul due to changing demographics. Our shul davened
nussach sefard while the potential 'merger and acquisition' shul davened
ashkenaz. One of the criteria for merging that our shul had, was that we
continue to daven sefard, which would have meant that the other shul
would have to adopt our nussach but we would daven in their shul. I
asked the Rav about this and he asked me what the respective nuschaot of
the shuls were. After telling him that the ashkenaz shul would be the
makom tefilah (house of prayer) but that they would have to change to
our nussach, the Rav said that "he would not" change the nussach from
Ashkenaz to Sefard.  He felt that from a messorah view nussach ashkenaz
should be kept as it was (I believe because he felt that Ashkenaz was
the older of the two).  I believe that as far as mesorah and tefilah was
concerened, there was nothing trivial as far as the Rav was concerened.

Another interesting story when I was in the shiur: the Rav had the
minhag to fast on his father's yahrtzeit It was a thursday and the Rav
thought that the Yahrtzeit was thursday when in reality it was friday
(off by one...)  He remarked that he was fasting that day. When some
fellows mentioned that the Yahrtzeit was the following day, the Rav said
if thats the case, and he completes thursday in fasting, then he wont be
strong enough to fast the follwoing day when it really is the Yahrtzeit.
We happened to be learning Nedarim that year and should have been more
aware of what he was driving at: providing the Pesach (opening) for us
to be Matir his Neder (rescind the vow he took to fast).  After a few
seconds and there was no response from the talmidim, he yelled "NU"!! At
which point we realized that he wanted us to be Matir Neder to fast and
there was a mass "mutar lach, mutar lach" (your vow is rescinded and as
if it never existed).

josh rapps


From: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
Date: Tue, 18 May 93 09:57:27 -0700
Subject: Rabbi Soloveitchik in an Imperfect World

	>It also seems inconsistent with the philosophy expressed at YU
	>these ... have been cited as expressions of the Rav's
	>outlook. Can anyone resolve the discrepancy for me?

I am very reluctant to comment on this, as well as some other general
comments about Rabbi Soloveitchik zt"l. Unfortunately, I believe that
the following incident must be said, lest we draw erroneous conclusions.

Unbeknowest to many, the Agudas Harabanim and the YU administration
worked very closely together through the late 1930's. When Dr. Revel
passed away, followed shortly after by the death of Rabbi Moshe
Soloveitchik zt"l, Rabbi Leizer Silver (the head of the Agudas
Harabanim) sent a beautiful letter to the board at YU, expressing
condolences at the death of these 2 great men, and suggesting that YU
choose Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, Rabbi Moshe's son, as his successor.
His qualifications made him more than an ideal person for the choice, as
well as the fact that halachikly, he was entitled to inherit his
Father's position as Rosh Yeshiva.

To make a long story short, the board answered with a stinging response,
vehemently rejecting this proposal. When pressure continued to build to
select Rabbi Joseph Dov, the board decried the pressure being placed on
them. It wasn't until after the students took up the cause, and began
demonstrating in his behalf, that the administration was finally forced
to select Rabbi Joseph Dov zt"l as the new Rosh Yeshiva.

(The complete story of the above can be found in "The Silver Era", which
is a biography of Rabbi Leizer Silver zt"l.)

Under such circumstances, did Rabbi Soloveitchik begin his career at YU.

The first conclusion we ought to draw from this story as that we must
realize that one cannot assume that everything being done at YU was
being done with Rabbi Soloveitchik's approval.  Quite obviously, he was
"only a hired hand", and did not have the authority and power that he
should have had (b'avonoseinu harabim).  Undoubtedly he did what he
could, but equally undoubtedly, there was more that he would have liked
to have done, but could not do.

As great as Rabbi Soloveitchik zt"l was, we must realize that he
lived in an imperfect world. Not only that, but circumstances
sometimes put him in an environment with "less then perfect" people.
Undoubtedly, this placed him in many an uncomfortable situation
where Rabbi Soloveitchik zt"l was forced to choose between 
a bad choice or a terrible choice. The fact that he choose one of
these alternatives is thus no indication whatsoever that he
himself even approved of this choice.

Hayim Hendeles


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Tue, 18 May 93 03:21:01 -0400
Subject: Rav and YU - Last Response, I Hope!

I would like to respond briefly to Eitan's response to my response to my

EF: Exactly the point: Yeshiva University is a University which contains
both a Yeshiva and a secular studies college.  In terms of the
socializing aspect, dating standards are quite different between the YU
world and the Yeshiva world, as they are quite different between the
Yeshiva world and the Chasidisha world.  If you don't like the way we
socialize, that's fine; we may not like the way the Yeshiva world

     So obviously we cannot agree that this is proper behavior, I 
see it as improper...

EF: Only the Rav was _THE_ rosh yeshiva of YU.

     He wasn't, the President is. I could go  on  at  length  on 
this topic, but I refer you to Dr. turkel's letter which preceded 
mine  in MJ, and to the history books. I beg to differ with you

EF: Not true.  How many yeshivos, those that allow college or don't,
have a JSS?  How many can claim to giving support, knowledge, and
nurturance to so many people of limited background?  How many
other  Yeshivot  can generate lists of students who have gone  on 
for PhD's, MD's, and JD's?

     Quite a few.

EF: But I do not understand how you can declare such an institution off
limits to all Jews.  That you, or if not you then others, would hesitate
to set foot on the campus because it lends legitimacy to YU.  This is
not the same as eating lunch in the JTS cafeteria, which some wouldn't
do for this very reason.

     I didn't declare that, I go to YU quite often, and do not compare
it to eating in the JTS cafeteria. An institution is entitled to make
mistakes, and individuals are entitled to attend a flawed institution,
which aren't?, if it is more advantageous for them to do so. It is the
justification and rationalization by the school's Tora'dik
Administration of strange and unfortunate phenomena under some alleged
philosophical banner which bothers me so - especially when there are
opportunities to improve which are forsaken. In this regard, it is said
that the Chazon Ish once said that his primary objection to the Mizrachi
was that they made an ideal of mediocrity...


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Wed, 19 May 93 12:05:20 -0400
Subject: Re: Rav--comments (fwd)

Avi -- Moshe Goldberg sent to me the following correction, so perhaps it
could be posted.  Thanks

>From my summary of R. Schachter's RIETS alumni hesped:

>   > The Rav opposed the recitation of parts of kabbalos shabbos before Yom
>   > Yerushalaim as well as t'kias shofar, which some had instituted.  Thses
>   > are ceremonies, he said, because there is no kium, and Judaism is not a
>   > religion of ceremonies.  Kabbalos shabbos is part of the mitzva of kavod
>   > shabbos, and there is no kium of kavod on yom yerushalaim.

His question to me:

>     Don't you mean Yom Haatzmaut?  What you describe are part of the 
>     tefilot of Yom Haatzmaut, I have not seen shofar and have almost never
>     heard Lecha Dodi on Yom Yerushalim.

My answer to him:

You could be right; I thought R. Schachter said Yom Yerushalaim.  3
possible  explanations -- perhaps I just wrote down the wrong thing, or
copied from my notes incorrectly, or perhaps Rav Schachter made a mistake.  
I'll send a correction to mail-jewish.


End of Volume 7 Issue 57