Friday, June 26, 2015

An Honest Account of a Contemporary Jewish Publishing Odyssey

In Your Anger, Please Mercifully Publish My Work:
An Honest Account of a Contemporary Jewish Publishing Odyssey
by Dovid Bashevkin[1]

My recently published sefer, “Berogez Racheim Tizkor” (trans: “In your anger, you shall remember to have mercy”), whose title is based on the verse in Habbakuk 3:2 and traditionally recited each morning during Tahanun, really began as a tweet. In March 2014, I tweeted, “Considering writing a sefer entitled “Aveiros K’Hilchisa.”

The tweet was originally intended as a satire of the many seforim that have been published as halakhic digests of obscure practical issues in Judaism.  If there could be an Ittush be-Halakhah (trans: “Sneezing in Jewish Law,” - an actual pamphlet shown to me by my dear friend and devoted consigliere Reb Menachem Butler), why not an “Aveiros K’Hilchisa”?[2]

However, as often happens, what began as satire became a very real project.  Following the passing of my Zaide, Mr. William Bashevkin, and last living grandparent, I thought it would be a fitting tribute to their memory to publish a work of Torah.  Additionally, coupling sorrow with joy, my marriage this past year to Tova (née Flancbaum) gave me the inspiration to begin my relationship with a project of Torah scholarship.  The sefer, which is a small collection of essays discussing halakhic issues related to sin and the path towards teshuva, is based upon shiurim I have had the opportunity to deliver periodically at the Young Israel of Lawrence Cedarhurst.  With special appreciation to Mr. Joel Mael, who originally invited me and has been a continual source of guidance and counsel, the chevra who have participated in the shiurim are really my partners in this effort - without them, none of this would have been possible.

Nonetheless, publishing a sefer has historically, and remains, an exercise marked with rabbinic ambivalence. As I note in the pesicha many great rabbinic figures looked suspiciously at the growing trend of publication. The Chatam Sofer in his Responsa Orach Chaim #208 famously considered those who publish works for their own self-promotion to be in violation of the prohibition of writing down Torah sh’Baal Peh, which, in his view, was only permissible if the work was truly written with pure intention.[3] Indeed, in a different response (vol. 6, #61), The Chatam Sofer laments the overwhelming increase in seforim being published.

Why, then, publish a sefer?

This question, I believe, has added import in contemporary society when the inclination for self-promotion and aggrandizement has seemingly never been stronger. So, then, is the publication of a sefer just an exercise in intellectual, albeit spiritual, vanity? This question has been addressed by many, including on the pages on the Seforim blog, most notably by Yaakov Rosenes in his post “Publish and Perish or Digital Death” (link). What follows are my experiences and brief thoughts on the issue of seforim publication.

Firstly, as Rabbi Yaakov Levitz, a noted seforim distributor in Brooklyn, mentioned to me, the only thing that sells is “Soloveitchik, stories and pictures.”[4] No one should publish a sefer as a venture to make money. Aside from the questionable motive, it just won’t work. The only works that have a faint chance are those that will be purchased for Bar Mitzvah gifts. Other works that deal with more scholarly or intricate Talmudic issues will have a hard time even recouping the cost of publication.[5]

Financial investments aside, I published this work for three reasons:

Firstly, as I mentioned earlier, the sefer is dedicated to the memory of my grandparents and in honor of my marriage. Admittedly, these reasons are rather self-centered. I do, however, think they are relatively justifiable. While I grant that there are certainly less narcissistic ways of memorializing or honoring loved ones, I do think that sharing Torah, when possible, is appropriate. As Rabbi Hershel Schachter notes in the generous michtav bracha that he wrote to my sefer, the greatest honor one can accord their ancestors is sharing Torah. While the quality of the Torah may be questionable, I hope the honor it brings to their memory is just the same.

Secondly, throughout the sefer, the works of Reb Zadok of Lublin, who I had the opportunity to study under Professor Yaakov Elman at Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and those of Rav Yitzchok Hutner both feature prominently.[6]  I was first introduced to the works of Reb Zadok of Lublin by Rabbi Dr. Ari Bergmann of Lawrence, NY, and the door to Rav Yitzchok Hutner was kindly opened to me by Rabbi Ari Waxman of Yeshivat Shaalvim. Those familiar with these thinkers understand their relevance to the modern reader. Unfortunately, particularly Reb Zadok and the larger school of his rebbe, Rabbi Mordechai Leiner of Izbica, are often misunderstood and frequently misinterpreted.[7] My hope was to develop my own creative ideas within their school of thought, while still remaining loyal to the type of avodas hashem I think they hoped to engender. I don’t know if I was successful, but I hope the sefer continues to bring the much needed attention these thinkers deserve in contemporary times.

Lastly, the Kotzker Rebbe famously remarked, “All that is thought should not be said, all that is said should not be written, all that is written should not be published, and all that is published should not be read.”[8] Undoubtedly, not everything in this work, or nearly any work, should have been published. In some ways I am comforted by the saying of Reb Chaim Brisker that even one valuable chiddush within an otherwise subpar work, can redeem an entire sefer, as Rav Hershel Schachter observes in Nefesh Harav (1994), page 334. Parenthetically, in Rabbi Schachter’s introduction to his later work, Ginat Egoz (2006), he shared a wonderful anecdote that after mentioning the aforementioned saying of Reb Chaim during a shiur at Yeshivat Shaalvim, the Rosh Yeshiva approached him and (jokingly?) said that his entire shiur was worth hearing just because of that one story from Reb Chaim.

No one will like, enjoy, or appreciate everything in a sefer, but I think the one insight that illuminates, explains or inspires another makes the entire work worth it. And, as often happens in the course of writing, the one who is inspired is the author himself. Rav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky, The Steipler Gaon, often advised writing personal Torah ideas as a means of cultivating a stronger relationship with Torah (for example, see his collected letters, Karyana de-Igarta #41). In fact, Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin had a special seder at the end of the day (at 10PM following a half-hour seder set to review the Rif) for students to write and develop their own chiddushei Torah.[9] We are willing to take risks in the pursuit of so many other goals, why not jeopardize our precision and flawlessness by sharing more published Torah? While I admire the Brisker allegiance to publishing perfection, I think many students have missed the opportunity to kindle an excitement for Torah in others and themselves by dwelling too much on their unworthiness in the endeavor. It only takes one chiddush or one idea to make it worthwhile.

I knowingly may sound a bit too optimistic and/or forgiving when it comes to seforim publication and am glad to be guilty of such. In fact, it is the theme of my sefer. As I mentioned the title, Berogez Racheim Tizkor is said during Tachanun. In Tachanun this line is followed by the verse in Tehillim 123:3 which begins “Ki Hu Yada Yitzreinu.” Together these verses form a meaningful plea - that though we invoke God’s anger, we request his mercy for God knows our inner nature. Much of the work elaborates on that request. Namely, how the limitations of our free-will relate to our shortfalls and failures. The work discusses the halakhic and theological implications of sin and the often inevitability of failure. The underlying message, I hope, is one of comfort and optimism.

Here are some of the topics discussed in the sefer:
The status of apostates in Jewish law and thought;
Do we always have the free will to avoid sin? And, assuming they do exist, is repentance required for such sins?;
What should you wear to a sin?;[10]
If spiritual struggle is redemptive, is it permissible to seek out situations of spiritual challenge?;
The desultory appearances of the mysterious personality “Geniva” in Tractate Gittin;
A contextual analysis of the Talmudic statement “A man doesn't stand on words of Torah unless he fails in them,” (Gittin 43a);
The halakhic import of granting someone forgiveness verbally, while internally still harboring internal resentment;
An analysis of issues surrounding the concept of Averah Lishmah in contemporary times;
Additionally, the sefer is book-ended by two essays related to Torah study in general, respectively considering the relationship between Blessings on the Study of Torah HaTorah and the Blessing of the Kohanim, and the role of Converts and Kohanim in the development of the Oral Law. Copies of Berogez Racheim Tizkor are available for purchase at Biegeleisen in Boro Park, and is currently available online here.
I hope Berogez Racheim Tizkor is read with the same measure of mercy which, especially nowadays, is required of any sefer to be written.

[1] David Bashevkin is the Director of Education at NCSY. He studied at Yeshivat Shaalvim, the Ner Israel Rabbinical College and at Yeshiva University, where he completed a Master’s degree in Polish Hassidut, focusing on the thought of Reb Zadok ha-Kohen of Lublin, under the guidance of Professor Yaakov Elman. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in Public Policy at the Milano School of International Affairs.
[2] Ittush be-Halakhah has previously been reviewed by David Assaf, “On Sneezing in Jewish Law,” Oneg Shabbes (1 July 2012), available here; and a mention in the infamous thirteenth footnote to Marc B. Shapiro, “Concerning the Zohar and Other Matters,” the Seforim blog (29 August 2012), available here.
[3] As I also note, this is in accordance with the more restrictive view of his Rebbe, R. Nathan Adler who understood that the prohibition of writing down the Oral Law was not completely abrogated and, in certain instances, remains in place even in contemporary time; see Sdei Chemed, ma’arechet 4, no. 22, for a longer halakhic discussion of his views. For an interesting parallel, see Ignaz Goldziher, “The Writing Down of the Hadith,” in Muslim Studies, vol. 2 (London: George Allen, 1971), 181-187.
[4] Rabbi Levitz’ most (in)famous sefer that he distributed was, of course, Rabbi Nathan Kamenetsky’s quite-celebrated and much-talked-about Making of a Godol in 2002. Though an improved edition of this work was published in 2004 -- with its “List of Improvements” detailed in volume two, pages 1427-1429 -- Rabbi Levitz was not the distributor for the second volume.
[5] In terms of the cost of publication there are two major expenditures: editing and printing. Editing costs vary. For some is just gentle linguistic touch-ups and proofing, for others the editor functions more as a ghost writer. I had the opportunity to work with a brilliant editor, Rabbi Avshalom Gershi, who has worked on some of the recent seforim of Rav Soloveitchik, most recently the first volume of his chiddushim on Gittin. Aside from his fair price, actually writing the sefer yourself is a major cost-cutting initiative I would urge thrifty authors to take. In terms of printing the price varies in terms of the amount of copies published, the length of the work, and the quality of the page and cover. Since my sefer is quite small and short and I eschewed editing that even bordered on ghostwriting my costs were well under five thousand dollars. For others who have larger works and print more than the industry minimum of five hundred copies, the costs can rise into the tens of thousands. Hence, the rapid rise in dedication pages.
[6] For Professor Elman’s articles on Reb Zadok ha-Kohen of Lublin written over the past three decades, see Yaakov Elman, “R. Zadok Hakohen on the History of Halakah,” Tradition 21:4 (Fall 1985): 1-26; Yaakov Elman, “Reb Zadok Hakohen of Lublin on Prophecy in the Halakhic Process,” Jewish Law Association Studies 1 (1985): 1-16; Yaakov Elman, “The History of Gentile Wisdom According to R. Zadok ha-Kohen of Lublin,” Journal of Jewish Thought & Philosophy 3:1 (1993): 153-187; Yaakov Elman, “Progressive Derash and Retrospective Peshat: Nonhalakhic Considerations in Talmud Torah,” in Shalom Carmy, ed., Modern Scholarship in the Study of Torah: Contributions and Limitations (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1996), 227-87; and Yaakov Elman, “The Rebirth of Omnisignificant Biblical Exegesis in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries,” Jewish Studies Internet Journal 2 (2003): 199-249; and Yaakov Elman, “Autonomy and its Discontents: A Meditation on Pahad Yitshak,” Tradition 47:2 (Summer 2014): 7-40. For recent latest scholarship Rav Yitzchok Hutner, see Shlomo Kasirer, “Repentance in the Thought of R. Isaac Hutner,” (PhD dissertation, Bar-Ilan University, 2009; Hebrew).
On the occasion of the 110th yahrzeit of Reb Zadok ha-Kohen of Lublin zy”a five years ago, I published a 5,000 word essay in Dovid Bashevkin, “Perpetual Prophecy: An Intellectual Tribute to Reb Zadok ha-Kohen of Lublin on his 110th Yahrzeit,” (with an appendix entitled: “The World as a Book: Religious Polemic, Hasidei Ashkenaz, and the Thought of Reb Zadok,”), the Seforim blog (18 August 2010), available here.
[7] I will be elaborating on this theme in a forthcoming essay.
[8] On The Kotzker Rebbe’s proverbs, see Yaakov Levinger, “The Authentic Sayings of Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotzk,” Tarbiz 56:1 (1986): 109-135 (Hebrew); and Yaakov Levinger, “The Teachings of the Kotzker Rebbe According to his Grandson R. Samuel Bernstein of Sochotchow,” Tarbiz 55:4 (1986): 413-431 (Hebrew).
[9] See Dovid Abraham Mandelbaum, ed., Iggerot ve-Toledot Rabbeinu Maharam Shapira mi-Lublin (Bnei Brak, 2010), 125 (Hebrew), which reproduces in full the daily schedule from Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin. For an earlier scholarly essay, see Hillel Seidman, “Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin,” in Samuel K. Mirsky, ed., Mosedot Torah be-Europa: Jewish Institutions of Higher Learning in Europe (New York, 1956), 393-413 (Hebrew).
[10] This chapter is an expanded Hebrew version of Dovid Bashevkin, “What to Wear to a Sin,” Torah Musings (21 July 2013), available here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Running on the Inclined Plane of the Altar in the Second Temple

Running on the Inclined Plane of the Altar in the Second Temple

by Chaim Katz
בראשונה ...  רצין ועולים בכבש, וכל הקודם את חברו לתוך ארבע אמות זכה
 We read in the Mishna:
[The priests used to compete for the honor of separating and removing ashes from the altar] by sprinting up the ramp. Whoever was the first to reach the top four cubits was entitled to remove the ashes.  Mishna Yoma 2:1

One of the first authorities to question the practice described in this mishna was Eliezer ben Samuel of Metz who lived in the 12th century. He was a Tosafist and a student of Rabbenu Tam. In his Sefer Yereim  (Negative 311), he compared the description given in this mishna with a conflicting description given in the Mekilta DeRabbi Yishmael: (Masechta d’bhodesh parsha 11):
  מה ת״ל אשר לא תגלה ערותך עליו שלא יפסיע פסיעה גסה אלא עקב בצד גודל וגודל בצד עקב
What do you learn from the verse “don't go up to my altar by stairs so that your nakedness isn't revealed near it” (Ex. 20:23) [1] - that one doesn’t take large strides when stepping up to the altar, rather heel-next-to-toe and toe-next-to-heel.

Apparently, the Mekilta DeRabbi Yishmael forbids not only running on the ramp, but even forbids regular, normal, walking on the ramp.

Another Tosafist, R. Moshe of Coucey (13th century) in his Tosafot Yeshanim on Yoma 22b re-raised the problem. Over the years and centuries, many others suggested ways of resolving this difficulty. [2]

A solution occurred to me based on the idea that maybe the priests who sprinted to the top of the ramp were acting improperly and not following the teaching of the sages. Our sources report a number of temple practices that were initiated by groups who followed their own teachings. For example: the practice of lighting incense outside the kodesh ha kedoshim on Yom Kippur (Yoma 19b), the practice of not offering the water libation on the altar on sukkot  (Yoma 26b), the practice of following a different calendar and bringing the omer offering on Sunday (Menahot 65). [3]

Although I don’t have a proof that the races on the ramp were improper, the Talmud itself encourages this perception (Yoma 23a):

ת"ר מעשה בשני כהנים שהיו שניהן שוין ורצין ועולין בכבש קדם אחד מהן לתוך ארבע אמות של חבירו נטל סכין ותקע לו בלבו עמד רבי צדוק על מעלות האולם ואמר אחינו בית ישראל שמעו געו כל העם בבכיה בא אביו של תינוק ומצאו כשהוא מפרפר אמר הרי הוא כפרתכם ועדיין בני מפרפר ולא נטמאה סכין

We read in a baraita. It once happened that two priests were racing up the ramp … when  one got close to the other and stabbed him … R. Zadok stood on the steps of the temple and eulogized the slain priest: Listen my brothers the house of Israel ... All the people burst into tears. The father of the young priest had meanwhile found his slain son in his death throes, “The knife is still ritually clean”

The obvious contrast between the father who “cared more about the purity of the temple vessels than about the murder” and the people who were present listening to R. Zadok and weeping, demonstrates that the priest (the father) didn’t see himself as part of the community who was present in the temple nor did he share the priorities of the rabbis. [4]

If so, there really is nothing to reconcile: a priest is never allowed to run on the ramp. Historically, there was a time when the rabbis had little control over what the priests did. The Mishna is describing one of those times. However, when the circumstances changed and the rabbis had the opportunity, they stopped the racing and substituted the lottery in its place. [5]

Standing in Prayer

The Mekilta’s teaching is not quoted in the Babli, but is quoted in the Yerushalmi, albeit in a different context. We read in the Yerushalmi (Talmud Berakot 1:1):
זהו שעומד ומתפלל צריך להשוות את רגליו.  תרין אמורין רבי לוי ורבי סימון חד אמר כמלאכים וחד אמר ככהנים.  מאן דאמר ככהנים לא תעלה במעלות על מזבחי שהיו מהלכים עקב בצד גודל וגודל אצל עקב.  ומאן דאמר כמלאכים  ורגליהם רגל ישרה.
One who stands up to pray must hold his feet together. Two teachers: R. Levi and R. Simon. One of them says: like angels. The other one says: like priests. The one who refers to priests quotes:  “Don't go up to my altar by stairs” (Ex. 20:23).  They walked with heel-next-to-toe and toe-next-to-heel. The one who refers to angels quotes: “Their legs were as one straight leg” (Ez. 1:7)

It isn’t very clear how to visualize that the kohen walking on the ramp towards the altar, serves as a source and paradigm for the custom of standing with one’s feet together during the amidah prayer. Many commentaries therefore, found a practical difference between these two opinions: if we compare ourselves to angels, then we stand with our feet together and parallel to each other; however if we compare ourselves to priests, then we stand in prayer with one foot in front of the other. [6]

The Oxford manuscript of the Mekilta has a slightly different description of the way the priest walked up the ramp. Based on the manuscript and a careful reading of the rest of the passage in the standard editions, the comparison between walking on the ramp and standing with our feet together in prayer is much more straightforward: 
אלא גודל בצד עקב ועקב בצד עקב ועקב בצד גודל
Rather toe-next-to-heel and heel-next-to-heel and heel-next-to-toe
According to the manuscript, the priest stood with his feet together before taking every step. Instead of taking a full step (moving his heel about 20 inches) he took half steps (moving his heel about 10 inches each time). [7]
In addition, when the Mekilta teaches that the priest walked heel next to (בצד) toe,  it doesn't mean that he moved one foot completely ahead of the other, with the back of the heel of one foot touching or parallel to the top of the toe of the other foot. Rather the priest took even smaller steps so that the length of the big toe of one foot was “next to” or parallel to the heel and lower instep of his other foot. I experimented and found for me, at each step my heel only moved forward  about 6 inches.  At this pace the legs are hardly parted.
This is all to say that if you were present in the courtyard of the Israelites (about 50 feet away from the priest walking up the ramp), you would see the priest standing with his legs held together heel to heel 50% of the time (assuming all steps took an equal length of time). Even when he was “walking”, he moved his legs so slightly apart that he would appear to be standing still. The long robe he wore that reached down to his ankles also helped to conceal his movement. Picture the priest walking up the ramp as someone standing still on a slowly moving sidewalk or some similar example. He looks almost motionless, as he inches forward smoothly towards the top of the altar.  (I did a test on level ground.  Walking this way, it took me a little more than three minutes to cover about 32 cubits).
It’s likely that both amoraim in the Yerushalmi agree that we pray with feet held together parallel to each other. They each  cite a different pasuk, but they’re expressing the same idea.[8]
On the level of the aggadah, there may be a different lesson from each teaching. We’re fortunate to have R. Kook's aggadic interpretation on the meaning behind aligning one’s feet together in prayer like the angels: [9] 

המתפלל צריך שיכוין רגליו, שנאמר ורגליהם רגל ישרה. הרגלים משמשים פעולת ההליכה ופעולתהעמידה. לפעולת ההליכה עיקר שימושם הוא במה שהם נפרדים, בפעולת העמידה עיקר שימושם הואבמה שהם מתאחדים. במהלך שלמות האדם יש הליכה, להוסיף לקנות שכליות ומעלות מדותיות. וישעמידה, היינו שהדברים שקנה יהי' קנינם חזק בנפשו, לא יפסידם איזה שינוי וגירעון במצבו... ובזההאדם מתדמה לפי יכולתו לשכלים העליונים, שקניני שלמותם חזקים במציאותם, בהיות ג"כ עיקרתעודתם לעמוד בשלימותם ולא להוסיף עליו.ובזה ג"כ נכללת השתדלות האדם בתפילה שתהיינה מעלותיו קנויות אצלו ומוטבעות

Legs are used for walking and standing. In the activity of walking, the legs' usefulness consists in their being parted; in standing, in being held together. To advance towards perfection, to progress in virtuous conduct and intelligence, man must move. To entrench in his personality what he has already acquired, man must stand still. He must not allow any change for the worse in his circumstances to let him lose what he possesses...Torah is essentially designed to increase man's perfection and exaltation. It is referred to as 'a path'... Tefillah impresses virtues already acquired making them stable and enduring. Here man is likened, to the extent that he is capable, to the supreme intelligences whose perfection is firmly ingrained in their selves - their intrinsic function being to preserve their perfection, not to add to it [10]

I’m not capable of extrapolating a similar lesson from the comparison with priests walking up the ramp. However, I feel that we have a enough  key words to associate the way the priests walk up to the altar with ideas like refinement, growth and free choice on one hand, and ideas like slow change on the other.  With this in mind we can at least get a fuzzy feeling for the difference between standing with our feet together in prayer like angels and standing with our feet together like priests walking up the ramp.
[1] I notice that in some humashim the pasuk is numbered 22 instead of 23. I was looking in some modern editions of Moreh Nebukhim, and saw two editions that reference this pasuk as 26 (following non-Jewish chapter and verse (?)).
[2] The common approach to synchronizing the two taanaitic sources is a compromise.  Kohanim may run or walk quickly on the ramp but must take smaller than normal strides. Another approach claims that the mekilta’s opinion is rejected and priests may run normally on the ramp.  Some present an opposite view and understand the mishna as a description of priests running towards the ramp, but not running on the ramp. And some interpret the mekilta to be talking about the altar itself – the kohanim may run on the ramp but may not take big strides when walking on the top of the altar.  I’m sure there are more solutions.
[3] Racing or competing seems very Hellenistic. Megillat Taanit lists a number of semi-holidays that were established when the rabbis prevailed over the temple priests. 
[4] Maybe this obsession with purity in the temple identifies these priests as Sadducees as in the Mishna Para 3:6 “they would touch the kohen who was about to prepare the ashes of the red heifer because the Sadducees believed…”. But even if the priests weren’t Sadducees or Boethusians, they might still have been ignorant of the teaching of the Rabbis. The Mishna mentions high-priests who were illiterate. The Sifra mentions priests who had to rely on the sages to tell them if a leprous mark was clean or unclean.
[5] The Talmud explains that running up the ramp was discontinued because it was too dangerous. It doesn’t say that the race was improper on unlawful.  However, R. Saul Lieberman discusses something similar in Hellenism in Jewish Palestine page 139 in the chapter about The Three Abrogations of Johanan the High Priest. He writes that “the Rabbis were sometimes reluctant to reveal the reasons which moved them to enact a new law. Moreover, in order to make the people accept a new ordinance the Rabbis occasionally substituted some formal legalistic grounds for the real motive.” He’s speaking there, (in one of the examples), about the knockers who stunned the animal by hitting it on the head before slaughtering it. The Talmud says the reason this practice was abolished, because it made the animal treif, but the Tosefta gives a different reason for abolishing the practice - because it mimicked what was done in the heathen temples. 
[6] One of the first to present this interpretation is the Talmidey Rabbenu Yona page 5a of the Rif on Berakhot . Many commentators of the Yerushalmi have given the same explanation.
[7] This variant is quoted in the Mekilta, Horowitz-Rabin edition, (end of Yitro) p. 245 (line 2) and is visible online here.   R. E.Z. Melamed in Essays in Talmudic Literature (Heb.)  Iyunim b’Sifrut HaTalmud) published in Jerusalem by Magnes press in 1986, (the original article was published in Tarbitz in 1935), demonstrates that the Oxford manuscript is much more accurate and authentic than the early print of the Mekilta that Horowitz reproduced as the main text of his edition. On the other hand, the two other manuscripts of the Mekilta, which are displayed on the web site mentioned above, are identical to the printed version with respect to this sentence.
According to the Oxford Mekilta manuscript the Kohen walked this way on the ramp: stand with your left foot ahead of your right foot. Take a small step forward with your right foot until your two feet are aligned.  Move your right foot forward again so that it is ahead of your left foot. Now move your left food forward until your two feet are aligned.  Move your left foot forward again. Note that you’re moving the same foot two times in a row.
[8] compare (for example): Zeiri of Dihavet said to Rabhina, “You derive that idea from that pasuk and we derive the same idea from this pasuk.” – Taanit 7b
[9] The Babli, Berakot 10b, has the comparison to angels but not the comparison to priests. R. Kook’s comment is printed in the Siddur Olat Ray"h , (in the anthology portion) just before the Amidah.  This section was probably taken from his Ayn Ay"h commentary on Babli Berakot #153. I don’t have access to the printed Ayn Ay”h. The online version (without the editor’s notes) is here.

[10] This paragraph is the work of Rabbi Leonard Oschry, in his English translation of Netiv Binah called Meditations on the Siddur by B.S. Jacobson, published by Sinai Publishing, Tel Aviv, Israel 1966. There is also an English translation of R. Kook’s explanation by Rabbi Chanan Morrison here.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Reminder: Book Sale #2

There are 24 hours left to the book sale. Please see this post for a link to the book list. A portion of the proceeds will be used to support the Seforim Blog.

Email inquiries to eliezerbrodt @

Thursday, June 18, 2015

[1]: א״ל הקב״ה … יודע אני כוונתו של אהרן היאך היתה לטובה On a Short Wedding Wish to the Lichtensteins from the Pen of Rabbi Jehiel Jacob Weinberg

 [1]: א״ל הקב״ה … יודע אני כוונתו של אהרן היאך היתה לטובה
On a Short Wedding Wish to the Lichtensteins from the Pen of Rabbi Jehiel Jacob Weinberg
By Shaul Seidler-Feller


Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, zts”l, the late, lamented, “irreplaceable”[2] gedol ha-dor of the Modern Orthodox and Religious Zionist communities,[3] has been characterized by those who knew him as a larger-than-life – indeed, angelic[4] – leader whose complete command of every facet of Torah learning was matched only by his sterling character and superlative (almost Hafets Hayyim-like) piety.[5] One of the things that struck me most, however, in listening to and reading several of the eulogies delivered or published after his passing was precisely how genuinely human this prince among men was in his personal and family life. Mrs. Esti Rosenberg, one of Rav Lichtenstein’s daughters and the head of the Stella K. Abraham Beit Midrash for Women – Migdal Oz, used the biblical metaphor of “a ladder set up on the earth, whose head reached unto heaven” (Gen. 28:12)[6] to capture how her father managed to radiate both a rarefied aura of sanctity and, crucially, a true humanity that extended to such mundane matters as doing most of the laundry in the house,[7] getting the kids ready in the mornings,[8] helping them with their homework in the evenings,[9] coming to learn with them after seder twice a week,[10] making sure to eat dinner with them almost every night,[11] washing the dishes after Shabbat had ended so that his kids would not fight over whose responsibility it was,[12] attending their performances in the Ezra youth group or at school,[13] teaching them how to ride a bike,[14] playing Scrabble and chess with them,[15] taking an interest in their friends,[16] buying them gifts and clothing during his visits to the States,[17] etc. – all of them activities that might be undertaken by normal devoted fathers but that I think we usually, rightly or wrongly, do not associate with people of Rav Lichtenstein’s intellectual caliber and spiritual stature. Indeed, in the words of Rabbi Avishai David, a student of Rav Aharon’s, “Rav Lichtenstein was a normal gadol ba-Torah, a very normal gadol ba-Torah.”[18]

And, of course, the same level of devotion was manifest in his relationship with his wife, Dr. Tovah Lichtenstein (nee Soloveitchik). Rav Aharon’s children reflected at the levayah on the mutual respect and unwavering support each partner showed the other,[19] while his students described some of the (ever-modest) manifestations of their affection for one another.[20] Dr. Lichtenstein herself summed it up best in a video produced in honor of her husband’s eightieth birthday when she said, “He invested both intellectually and emotionally in our children.[21] And he invested in our marriage as well – he was not only a family man but also a husband.”[22]


It is in this context, then, that I wish to digress for a moment and travel back in time to the Lichtensteins’ wedding, the point at which this whole story started, by way of a unique text discovered by Menachem Butler in a volume on the shelves of Yeshiva University’s Mendel Gottesman Library of Hebraica/Judaica. The year is 1959, and Rabbi Jehiel Jacob Weinberg (1884–1966), famed prewar rector of the Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin and author of the Seridei esh compendium of responsa, halakhic novellae, and topical essays, is living out the last stage of his life in Montreux, Switzerland. Meanwhile, across the ocean in the United States, Rav Lichtenstein has just received semikhah from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, having completed his doctorate in English literature at Harvard two years prior,[23] and is engaged to be married to Tovah Soloveitchik, daughter of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Rav Aharon’s rav muvhak.[24] The couple originally planned to wed Tuesday night, 22 Kislev 5720 (December 22, 1959), in the Dorothy Quincy Suite of the John Hancock Building in Boston, the bride’s hometown (see Fig. 1).[25] 

 Fig. 1

In anticipation of the joyous occasion, to which he apparently could not arrive in person, Rav Weinberg sent an inscribed volume of Yad sha’ul,[26] a collection of essays compiled in memory of his beloved talmid muvhak (and the person primarily responsible for bringing him to Montreux in the first place),[27] Rabbi Saul Weingort (ca. 1914–1946),[28] who had passed away following a tragic train accident while on his way to deliver a shi‘ur at the yeshivah in Montreux.[29] Through some serendipitous twist of fate, it is this copy of the sefer which made its way into the open stacks of the Gottesman Library. The dedicatory text (see Fig. 2) and my translation thereof follow:

Fig. 2

מזכרת ידידות
ושי לחתונה
של הרה״ג ד״ר אהרן ליכטנשטיין
מרת טובה סולוביציק ילאי״ט
של גאון הדור ותפארתו
ידידי הגאון הגדול מאוה״ג
מהרי״ד הלוי סולוביציג [!][30] שליט״א
שתתקיים במז״ט ובשעה מוצלחת
בכ״ב לחודש כסליו שנת תש״כ
ויה״ר שהזוג היקר יתברך
ממעון הברכות בחיים ארוכים
טובים ומאושרים ומוצלחים בכל
דרכי חייהם, והבית אשר יוקם
,יהי׳ לשם ולתפארת בישראל
ולמקור עונג ושמחת עולמים 
.להוריהם הדגולים
יחיאל יעקב וויינברג 
מונתרה, ח׳ בכסליו, תש״כ

A gift and token of friendship presented on the occasion of the marriage of the ga’on, Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein, to his soul mate, Ms. Tovah Soloveitchik[31] – may their years be long and good – the daughter of this generation’s pride and splendor, my friend, the great ga’on and Luminary of the Diaspora, our teacher, Rabbi Joseph B. ha-Levi Soloveitchik – may his years be long and good, amen – which is set to take place, under a lucky star and at an auspicious hour, on 22 Kislev [5]720. May it be His will that this precious couple be blessed from the Abode of Blessing with long, good, and joyous lives and with success in all of their endeavors. And may the home that they build be of fame and of glory in Israel [see I Chron. 22:5] and a source of eternal delight and happiness for their distinguished parents.
Jehiel Jacob Weinberg
Montreux, 8 Kislev [5]720 [December 9, 1959]

I think this text is historically significant for at least two reasons. First, while I am unaware of any subsequent contact between the Lichtensteins and Rav Weinberg following the wedding,[32] this message certainly attests to a longstanding relationship of mutual regard between Rabbis Weinberg and Soloveitchik, two leading rashei yeshivah whose formative years were spent in both the Lithuanian yeshivah world and the German academy. We know from other sources that they first met while the Rav was a student at the University of Berlin in the 1920s; according to testimony cited by Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff, the Rav audited classes at Rav Weinberg’s Seminary during the 1926–1927 academic year.[33] Their encounters extended well beyond the classroom, however,[34] and even though Rav Weinberg was generally not enamored of the Brisker derekh ha-limmud espoused by Rav Soloveitchik and his forebears,[35] these two intellectual powerhouses maintained a deep appreciation for one another throughout their lives[36] – as can certainly be seen in Rav Weinberg’s above inscription.

The second issue that I wish to discuss here relates to the date of the wedding itself. As of 8 Kislev 5720, Rav Weinberg, quite justifiably, thought that it would take place two weeks hence. However, that very evening, December 9 – the same night the Rav delivered the aforementioned (n. 35) hesped for his uncle, Rabbi Isaac Ze’ev Soloveitchik (1886–1959) – Rav Soloveitchik “informed his family that he had been diagnosed with colon cancer, and would be returning to Boston the next day for surgery. His daughter Tovah and her fiancé R. Aharon Lichtenstein postponed their wedding (which had been set to take place in the coming days) until a few weeks later, so that the Rav could participate.”[37] Thus, the wedding was not actually held until Tuesday night, 27 Tevet 5720 (January 26, 1960) (see Figs. 3 and 4),[38] something Rav Weinberg could not have predicted at the time he penned his wishes to the young couple.

Fig. 3

Fig. 4


In any case, returning to the present after our brief historical sojourn, it seems to me that, aside from all he taught us about avodat Hashem, lomdes, morality, and how to live as deeply committed Jews in the modern world, Rav Lichtenstein also modeled what it means to be a “totally devoted” family man.[39] As Rabbi Menachem Genack, who began his undergraduate studies at Yeshiva College when Rav Lichtenstein was already a rosh kolel in RIETS, remarked, “Rav Aharon’s gadlus batorah is well-known, but less celebrated is his gadlus as a father and as a son, his commitment and dedication to his family. Rav Aharon was always learning, but nevertheless managed to spend time with all of his children.”[40] Indeed, anyone who sees the pictures of Rav Aharon and his family featured in the aforementioned video will immediately understand what Rabbi Mayer Lichtenstein meant when he said that his father fulfilled the talmudic principle of ner hanukkah ve-ner beito, ner beito adif (Shabbat 23b).[41] With this background, it should not surprise us that, when asked, “What are you most proud of having accomplished during these years of service?” Rav Lichtenstein answered:
Looking back over the past 50 years, what I am proudest of is what some would regard as being a non-professional task. I’m proudest of having built, together with my wife, the wonderful family that we have. It is a personal accomplishment, a social accomplishment, and a contribution – through what they are giving and will give, each in his or her own way – in service of the Ribbono shel Olam in the future.[42]
I think the lesson for us, his students, is clear. May we be zokheh to rise to the challenge of carrying forth all aspects of Rav Lichtenstein’s multifaceted legacy for many years to come.

* I wish at the outset to express my appreciation to yedidi, Reb Menachem Butler, ne‘im me’assefei yisra’el, for furnishing me with the opportunity, as well as many of the bibliographical sources (including the primary text itself!) required, to compose this essay. Additional thanks go to his fellow editors at the Seforim Blog for their consideration of this piece and, generally, for their great service to the public in maintaining such an active and high-quality platform for the serious discussion of topics of Jewish interest. Finally, I am indebted to my friends Eliyahu Krakowski, Daniel Tabak, and Shlomo Zuckier for their editorial corrections and comments to earlier drafts of this piece which, taken together, improved it considerably.

[1] See Shemot rabbah (Vilna ed.) to Parashat tetsavveh 37:2.
[2] Dr. David Berger quoted Rabbi Yosef Blau as describing Rav Lichtenstein in this way and went on to characterize him in similar terms here (listen at about 1:04:40). Rabbi Ezra Schwartz said in effect the same thing here, and in some ways went even further (listen at about 58:00).
[3] For evidence of how strongly his loss has already been felt in the Modern Orthodox/Religious Zionist communities, one need only peruse the ever-expanding number of articles and tributes that have been cataloged on the Yeshivat Har Etzion websites here and here.
[4] One set of verses to which maspidim kept returning when describing Rav Lichtenstein was those that appear in Malachi 2:5-7, together with the rabbinic interpretation thereof: “If a given rabbi can be compared to an angel of the Lord of Hosts, let them ask him to teach them Torah, and vice versa” (Hagigah 15b, Mo‘ed katan 17a). See the hespedim of Rabbis Mayer Lichtenstein here (listen at about 7:50), Mordechai Schnaidman here (listen at about 23:00), and my friend Mordy Weisel here (listen at about 5:05). Similarly, others have described him as angelic without specific recourse to the verses in Malachi; see the hespedim of Rabbis Mosheh Lichtenstein here (listen at about 9:25) and Avishai David here (listen at about 1:03:25).
[5] So according to Rabbi Mordechai Schnaidman here (listen at about 16:00); see also Yosef Zvi Rimon, “Keitsad magdirim gedol dor?JobKatif (May 4, 2015). Similarly, Rabbi Ari Kahn compared Rav Lichtenstein to Rabbi Israel Salanter (1810–1883) here (listen at about 9:00 and 48:55), and Mrs. Esti Rosenberg said that the stories people tell about her father remind her of those told about Rabbi Aryeh Levin (1885–1969); see her interview with Yair Sheleg: “Yaledah ahat mul 700 otobusim,” Shabbat: musaf le-torah, hagut, sifrut ve-omanut 927 (May 15, 2015).
[6] See her hesped here (listen at about 0:35 and 2:25).
[7] See the hesped of Mrs. Tanya Mittleman, Rav Lichtenstein’s youngest, here (listen at about 10:15).
[8] See the hesped of Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot here (listen at about 46:55).
[9] See the hesped of my friend David Pruwer here (watch at about 18:50).
[10] See the hespedim of Rabbis Mosheh Lichtenstein here (listen at about 4:50), Mayer Lichtenstein here (listen at about 12:35), and Assaf Bednarsh here (listen at about 14:05), as well as the video produced in honor of Rav Lichtenstein’s eightieth birthday here (watch at about 9:25 and 11:35) and that of a public conversation between Rabbi Benny Lau and Rav Aharon and Dr. Tovah Lichtenstein on the topic of “Education and Family in the Modern World” held in Ra’anana on May 13, 2012 here (watch at about 27:45 and 28:55). See also the recently-released essay “On Raising Children,” The Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash (May 2015), based on a sihah delivered by Rav Lichtenstein in July 2007.
[11] See the video produced in honor of Rav Lichtenstein’s eightieth birthday here (watch at about 11:25), as well as the hesped of Mrs. Tanya Mittleman here (listen at about 19:05) and Mrs. Esti Rosenberg’s interview with Yair Sheleg, “Yaledah ahat mul 700 otobusim.”
[12] See the hesped of Mrs. Tanya Mittleman here (listen at about 11:00). Similarly, Rabbi Julius Berman relates in his hesped here that when Rav Aharon would stay at his house during visits to the States, he would always wash his own dishes when he had finished eating (listen at about 20:30).
[13] See the hespedim of Mrs. Esti Rosenberg here (listen at about 3:05) and Mrs. Tanya Mittleman here (listen at about 19:20), as well as the video produced in honor of Rav Lichtenstein’s eightieth birthday here (watch at about 11:15).
[14] See the hesped of Rabbi Shay Lichtenstein here (listen at about 23:00). See also the hesped of David Pruwer here (watch at about 18:45), as well as Rav Lichtenstein’s “On Raising Children.”
[15] On Scrabble, see the hesped of Rabbi Shay Lichtenstein here (listen at about 4:40). On chess, see the video produced in honor of Rav Lichtenstein’s eightieth birthday here (watch at about 12:20).
[16] See the hesped of Mrs. Tanya Mittleman here (listen at about 19:10).
[17] Ibid. (listen at about 10:30).
[18] See his hesped here (listen at about 16:50).
[19] See the hespedim of Rabbi Mayer Lichtenstein here (listen at about 16:15 and 17:30), Mrs. Esti Rosenberg here (listen at about 13:35 and 15:25), and Mrs. Tanya Mittleman here (listen at about 21:30); see also that of my friend Noach Lerman here (listen at about 37:35).
[20] Rabbi Assaf Bednarsh recounted here that when Rav Lichtenstein would call his wife on the phone, he would address her as “darling,” rather than “rebetsin” (listen at about 14:35). (Dr. Lichtenstein herself reminisced here about how her husband would sometimes jokingly address her as “Mrs. L.,” and she, in turn, would call him “Reb Aharon” [watch at about 1:10]). Noach Lerman talked here about how Rav Aharon would open the car door for his wife when they drove somewhere (listen at about 34:25). Similarly, see the video here for a picture of husband and wife going rafting together (watch at about 12:22) and, of course, the dedication Rav Lichtenstein inscribed at the front of his two-volume Leaves of Faith (Jersey City, NJ: Ktav Pub. House, 2003–2004): “To Tovah: With Appreciation and Admiration.”

For Rav Lichtenstein’s analysis of the Torah’s attitude toward the institutions of marriage and family and how they square with more modern conceptions, see his “Ha-mishpahah ba-halakhah,” in Mishpehot beit yisra’el: ha-mishpahah bi-tefisat ha-yahadut (Jerusalem: Misrad ha-Hinnukh ve-ha-Tarbut – Ha-Mahlakah le-Tarbut Toranit, 1976), 13-30, esp. pp. 21-30; “Of Marriage: Relationship and Relations,” Tradition 39:2 (Summer 2005): 7-35, esp. pp. 10-13 (reprinted here in Rivkah Blau, Gender Relationships in Marriage and Out [New York: Michael Scharf Publication Trust of the Yeshiva University Press; Jersey City, NJ: Ktav Pub. House, 2007], 1-34, and in Aharon Lichtenstein, Varieties of Jewish Experience [Jersey City, NJ: Ktav Pub. House, 2011], 1-37); and “On Raising Children.”

[21] In the course of the aforementioned (n. 10) public conversation on the topic of “Education and Family in the Modern World” here, Dr. Lichtenstein recalled that at the berit milah of the couple’s firstborn son Mosheh, her father, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (1903–1993), sensing that Rav Lichtenstein harbored grand aspirations to save the world, spoke about the importance of the father’s role in raising his children and not leaving the job solely to his wife (watch at about 26:00). See Rav Aharon’s parallel account in “On Raising Children,” as well as his comment there that “I feel very strongly about the need for personal attention in child-raising, and have tried to put it into practice.”
[22] Watch here at about 12:15. Incidentally, during a different part of that same public event in Ra’anana, available here, Rav Lichtenstein commented on the role of children in strengthening the emotional bond between partners (watch at about 35:15; see also 53:55).
[23] Shlomo Zuckier and Shalom Carmy, “An Introductory Biographical Sketch of R. Aharon Lichtenstein,” Tradition 47:4 (2015): 6-16, at p. 7. His dissertation would eventually appear as Aharon Lichtenstein, Henry More: The Rational Theology of a Cambridge Platonist (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1962).
[24] According to my friend Jonathan Ziring, in an e-mail communication dated May 28, 2015, the Lichtensteins first met, by chance, at the home of Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik (1917–2001), the Rav’s brother and another major influence on Rav Lichtenstein. The Rav would later encourage Rav Aharon to court his daughter, and the rest, as they say, is history.
[25] Image courtesy of Naftali Balanson’s Facebook page, as brought to my attention by Rabbi Jeffrey Saks.
[26] Jehiel Jacob Weinberg and Pinchas Biberfeld (eds.), Yad sha’ul: sefer zikkaron a[l] sh[em] ha-rav d”r sha’ul weingort zts”l (Tel Aviv: The Widow of Saul Weingort, 1953).
[27] See Rav Weinberg’s memorial essay, “Le-zikhro,” printed at the beginning of Yad sha’ul, pp. 3-19, at p. 13.
[28] The date of Rabbi Weingort’s birth seems somewhat controversial. Rav Weinberg himself, in “Le-zikhro,” 4, estimates that his student was born in either 5673 or 5674 (1913 or 1914), whereas the frontmatter of the Yad sha’ul volume gives the precise date 12 Kislev 5675 (November 30, 1914); Marc B. Shapiro, Between the Yeshiva World and Modern Orthodoxy: The Life and Works of Rabbi Jehiel Jacob Weinberg, 1884–1966 (London; Portland, OR: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 1999), 161, claims he was born in 1915; and the website of the Yad Shaoul kolel in Kokhav Ya’akov, opened in 2011 and dedicated in Rabbi Weingort’s memory, concurs with Shapiro.
[29] See Weinberg, “Le-zikhro,” 15.
[30] Most readers are probably familiar with the more common Hebrew spelling of “Soloveitchik” with a final kof. Rav Weinberg, however, generally preferred ending the name in a gimel (except, strangely, in the case of the Rav’s daughter Tovah).
[31] Dr. Lichtenstein would go on to complete her doctoral studies in social work at Bar-Ilan University following the family’s arrival in Israel in 1971, writing her dissertation on “Genealogical Bewilderment and Search Behavior: A Study of Adult Adoptees Who Search for their Birth Parents” (1992). She is therefore referred to here without her doctoral title.

[32] It should be noted that Rav Lichtenstein served as coeditor of the rabbinic periodical Hadorom during the mid-1960s and, as such, may have been involved in editing some of Rav Weinberg’s last publications to appear during his lifetime. (For a partial bibliography of Rav Weinberg’s oeuvre, see Michael Brocke and Julius Carlebach, Biographisches Handbuch der Rabbiner: Teil 2: Rabbiner im Deutschen Reich, 1871–1945, vol. 2 [Munich: K. G. Saur, 2009], 639-640 [no. 2657]. For a fuller inventory, see Shapiro, Between the Yeshiva World and Modern Orthodoxy, 239-246.) Discovery and analysis of any potential remaining correspondence between the two during this period remain scholarly desiderata.
[33] See Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff, The Rav: The World of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, ed. Joseph Epstein, vol. 1 (Hoboken, NJ: Ktav Pub. House, 1999), 27 with n. 13. Similarly, see Shalom Carmy, “R. Yehiel Weinberg’s Lecture on Academic Jewish Scholarship,” Tradition 24:4 (Summer 1989): 15-23, at p. 16.
[34] See Werner Silberstein, My Way from Berlin to Jerusalem, trans. Batya Rabin (Jerusalem: Special Family Edition Published in Honor of the Author’s 95th Birthday, 1994), 26-27, as quoted in Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff, “Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik: The Early Years,” Tradition 30:4 (Summer 1996): 193-209, at p. 197; idem, The Rav, 28; and idem, From Washington Avenue to Washington Street (Jerusalem; Lynbrook, NY: Gefen; New York: OU Press, 2011), 108 (available here).
[35] See his letter to Rabbi Jacob Arieli of Jerusalem composed sometime after 2 Nisan 5711 (April 8, 1951), as reproduced in Jehiel Jacob Weinberg, Seridei esh: she’elot u-teshuvot hiddushim u-bei’urim be-dinei orah hayyim ve-yoreh de‘ah, vol. 2 (Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 2003), 355-357 (sec. 144), at pp. 356-357; his letters to Dr. Gabriel Hayyim Cohn, dated 27 Tevet 5725 (January 1, 1965) and 19 Kislev 5726 (December 13, 1965), as reproduced in Jehiel Jacob Weinberg, Kitvei ha-ga’on rabbi yehiʼel yaʻakov weinberg, zts”l, ed. Marc B. Shapiro, vol. 2 (Scranton, PA: Marc B. Shapiro, 2003), 219 n. 4 (esp. the latter one); and the beginning of the selection from his eulogy for Rabbi Weingort printed in Yad sha’ul, 16. For a partial translation of the Rav’s famous hesped “Mah dodekh mi-dod,” which originally appeared in Hebrew in Hadoar 43:39 (September 27, 1963): 752-759 and is referred to by Rav Weinberg in the last letter cited above, see Jeffrey Saks, “Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik on the Brisker Method,” Tradition 33:2 (Winter 1999): 50-60.

For further discussion of these and similar sources, see Judith Bleich, “Between East and West: Modernity and Traditionalism in the Writings of Rabbi Yehi’el Ya’akov Weinberg,” in Moshe Z. Sokol (ed.), Engaging Modernity: Rabbinic Leaders and the Challenge of the Twentieth Century (Northvale, NJ; Jerusalem: Jason Aronson Inc., 1997), 169-273, at p. 239; Marc B. Shapiro, “The Brisker Method Reconsidered,” Tradition 31:3 (Spring 1997): 78-102, at p. 86, with n. 25; idem, Between the Yeshiva World and Modern Orthodoxy, 194-195, with nn. 95-98; and Nathan Kamenetsky, Making of a Godol: A Study of Episodes in the Lives of Great Torah Personalities, vol. 1, 1st ed. (Jerusalem: Hamesorah, 2002), 432-433. See also Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits’ assessment of his teacher’s derekh ha-limmud in “Rabbi Yechiel Yakob Weinberg zatsa”l: My Teacher and Master,” Tradition 8:2 (Summer 1966): 5-14, at pp. 5-10. For Rav Lichtenstein’s own reflections on the types of criticisms of the Brisker derekh expressed by Rav Weinberg, see his “Torat Hesed and Torat Emet: Methodological Reflections,” in idem, Leaves of Faith, 1:61-87, esp. at pp. 78-83, as well as an earlier version of this essay cited in Shapiro, “The Brisker Method Reconsidered,” 93-94. (I am indebted to Eliyahu Krakowski for bringing the Kamenetsky and Lichtenstein references to my attention.) See also Aharon Lichtenstein, “The Conceptual Approach to Torah Learning: The Method and Its Prospects,” in idem, Leaves of Faith, 1:19-60, esp. at pp. 43-44, 48-50.

As an aside, and as far as I can tell, allusions to a “Rabbi Moses Soloveitchik” in Rav Weinberg’s published works, excluding those made in the above letters, generally refer not to the Rav’s father (1879–1941) but to his Swiss first cousin (1915–1995), son of Rabbi Israel Gerson Soloveitchik (1875–1941), son of Rabbi Hayyim Soloveitchik (1853–1918).
[36] Indeed, Rav Weinberg would consistently refer to the Rav in writing by his honorific rabbinic handle, “Ha-g[a’on] r[abbi] y[osef] d[ov],” or a variant thereof (as in our case); see his Seridei esh, 2:196-201 (sec. 78), at p. 198 (dated 29 Adar 5716 [March 12, 1956]), and idem, Kitvei ha-ga’on rabbi yehiʼel yaʻakov weinberg, zts”l, 219 n. 4. According to Shapiro, Between the Yeshiva World and Modern Orthodoxy, 163, Rav Weinberg also contacted the Rav after the War to seek his assistance during his long recovery.
For the Rav’s part, the postwar written record with which I am familiar is a bit more reticent, although Rabbi Howard Jachter reports the following in the context of a discussion of the prohibition of kol ishah and Rav Weinberg’s now-famous lenient ruling on the question:

Interestingly, I asked Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik in July 1985 whether he agrees with this ruling of Rav Weinberg. The Rav replied, “I agree with everything that he wrote, except for his permission to stun animals before Shechita” (see volume one of Teshuvot Seridei Eish). Rav Soloveitchik related his great appreciation of Rav Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg. Rav Shalom Carmy later told me that Rav Soloveitchik and Rav Weinberg had been close friends during the years that Rav Soloveitchik studied in Berlin.

See Howard Jachter, “The Parameters of Kol Isha,” Kol Torah 11:17 (February 2, 2002).

For more on the shehitah controversy referred to here, see H. J. Zimmels, The Echo of the Nazi Holocaust in Rabbinic Literature (New York: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1977), 183-189; Bleich, “Between East and West,” 260-261, 271-272; and Shapiro, Between the Yeshiva World and Modern Orthodoxy, 117-129, 192. For Rav Soloveitchik’s own involvement in questions relating to the humane slaughter of animals, see Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Community, Covenant and Commitment: Selected Letters and Communications, ed. Nathaniel Helfgot (Jersey City, NJ: Toras HoRav Foundation, 2005), 61-67.
[37] Jeffrey Saks, “Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik and the Israeli Chief Rabbinate: Biographical Notes (1959–60),” BDD 17 (September 2006): 45-67, at p. 53.
[38] Fig. 3 is courtesy of Naftali Balanson’s Facebook page, as brought to my attention by Rabbi Jeffrey Saks. Fig. 4 derives from the video produced in honor of Rav Lichtenstein’s eightieth birthday here (watch at about 1:03). (I am indebted to Rabbis Dov Karoll, Jeffrey Saks, and Reuven Ziegler for confirming some of the details of the Lichtenstein wedding for me.)
[39] See the interview with Rabbi Dov Karoll on Voice of Israel here (listen at about 2:55). See also the hesped of Rabbi Mosheh Lichtenstein here (listen at about 5:15). Similarly, at a sheloshim event held at the Hechal Shlomo Jewish Heritage Center in Jerusalem on May 18, Mrs. Esti Rosenberg, in speaking of her father’s self-identification with the Levites as the prime exemplars of ovedei Hashem par excellence, commented that just as the Levites were netunim netunim to Aaron and his sons in Parashat be-midbar (Num. 3:9) (which also happened to be Rav Lichtenstein’s bar mitzvah parashah), so was Rav Aharon completely dedicated to his family. See the video here (watch at about 11:40). And for a visual representation of just how central avodat Hashem was to Rav Lichtenstein’s core identity, see the photograph of his matsevah posted to Yeshivat Har Etzion’s Facebook page.
[40] From a forthcoming article to be published in Jewish Action.
[41] See his hesped here (listen at about 10:30).
[42] See Rav Lichtenstein’s interview with Yaffi Spodek: “Reflecting on 50 Years of Torah Leadership,” the YUNews blog (October 11, 2011). Similarly, see this video produced in honor of Rav Lichtenstein receiving the Israel Prize in 2014 (watch at about 10:20), as well as the hespedim of Mrs. Esti Rosenberg here (listen at about 8:45) and Rabbi Baruch Gigi here (listen at about 16:30) and the former’s interview with Yair Sheleg, “Yaledah ahat mul 700 otobusim.” Finally, see Rav Lichtenstein’s sihahOn Raising Children,” where he states unequivocally: “There are very few people about whom it can […] genuinely be said that there is something objectively more important in their life than raising children.”

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