Thursday, October 19, 2006
Book Review - 'הרב מבריסק חלק ג (Part I)
The life and times of Rav Yitzchok Zev (Velvel) Soloveitchik of Brisk - Jerusalem. By Shimon Meller, Jerusalem 5766
(That's my ספרים שאפע if you're wondering. Yes, we do have Nigleh Seforim)
On Yom Kippur during Krias HaTeyreh and throughout Sukkos I perused the new book, הרב מבריסק" - חלק ג" and noted a few things.
The book, and subsequently it's predecessors Vols. 1 and 2, is juvenille. ( a review on the first volumes will follow PG) Note to the author: When you write a book about the life and times of a person please don't put every person and movement you disagree with into quotation marks, it makes your book look like an editorial from Der Yid and puts your objectivity into question.
The Rov's battle with Zionism, a worthy cause indeed, seemed to be become personal with him, and to this reader it seems like he was obsessed with their every move. words like "זיי מיינען" AND "זיי ווילען" were always on his lips, as if he was watching their every move and it had become some sort of contest. His reluctance to participate in הפגנות against the Government's decisions was based on the fact that his father Reb Chaim said that the ציונים זענען חשוד אף שפיכת דמים, which may have been the case, and therefore there was no need to be "Moser Nefesh". By the way: does this "Vort" refer to all Zionists? The Brisker Zionists? Any Zionist of any time? The question remains.
There are also parts of the book that are downright embarrassing to the entire family, including Reb Chaim and Reb Velvel. Meller, in the chapters entitled חנוך לנער, makes mention of the great effort that the BR made in the education of his children, and in the great success he had at it. It seems that corporal punishment was a major player in that process, with the Rov and Reb Chaim both using פעטש as a means of educating and punishing. Now, all this may be good and well, but do you really think that the family would like their father/grandfather to be known as a שלעגער?
I do believe that the author Shimmy Meller, - who strangely also wrote about the Chevroner Rosh Yeshiva Reb Simche Zissel Broyde - does the house of Soloveitchik a great disservice by publishing these books because he breaks the mystique that has engulfed Brisk for the last 60 years. He does however have some great pictures that some of the great Gedolim in Eretz Yisroel would rather he not have published, but that's beside the point....