Monday, September 26, 2005

Differences btwn the "Improved" Making of a Godol and the Original

Differences between the "Improved" Making of a Godol and the Original
by Dan Rabinowitz

As previously mentioned at the Seforim blog, Rabbi Nathan Kamenetsky's Making of a Godol has been reprinted in an "improved" edition. In the new edition there are a few significant changes, which appear to have been done to appease those that originally banned the original.

It is fairly easy to find these changes with the help of the index in the "improved" edition.

Here are some of the highlights of these changes:

First Edition ("FE") - Also like my father, R' Aaron Kotler dabbled in secular studies at this time. He was more interested in literature than in the sciences which attracted my father's interest. (305)
Improved Edition ("IE")- Like our protagonist, young Aaron Pinnes picked up some secular knowledge as an early teenager in Minsk. (305)

FE- . . . during a visit with a young, intellectual protege of the Hazon-Ish who headed a yeshiva in Ramalah, R' Aaron blurted out, "This was expounded by Aleksander Pushkin" (305)
IE- not there

FE- nothing
IE- A story how he utilized this youthful experience to benefit the Torah community in Israel, came to light in an interview with R' Dov-Tzvi Rothstein.

FE- nothing
IE- In the Talmudic Yeshiva of Philedelphia mail is censored till this day: the students are "appeased" by being told "Without censorship, R' Aaron Kotler would have been lost."

FE- It maybe postulated that R' Aaron had too much self-confidence, as per what . . .
IE- In my fater's opinion, R' Aaron had very definate self-confidence, as per what . . . (386)

FE- "What is the difference? Before you go to his [R' Aaron Kotler's(D.R.)] yeshiva, you don't know how to learn anyway; and after you have been there a bit, you will already be considered [by him] that you do know how to learn. . . " Then our protagonist mitigated the seemingly sarcastic remark by explaining
IE- What is the difference. . . [same as above D.R.] Then our protagonist went on to explain his words by adding.

FE- the Lithuanian government issued an edict saying that the students of any yeshiva without secular studies would no longer be eligable for draft deferments. At a rabbinical assembly called to discuss the issue, it became evident that the Telz Yeshiva was ready to bow to the order, while the Slabodka Yeshiva, . . was uncompromisingly opposed. (510)
IE- the Lithuanian . . . eligable for draft deferments. Only the Telz Yeshiva , which despite opposition had started a mekhinah (preparatory school) with secular studies recieved recognition.

FE/IE There are a couple minor changes on 510-13 not worth getting into here

While there are numerous other changes, the above represent the "most controversial" passages from the first edition, and how they appear in the current edition.

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