Monday, January 26, 2009

ח"כ אברהם רביץ ז"ל

Here's what I wrote in 5766 where Ravitz tells of his 4 meetings with the Lubavitcher Rebbe.



4 times no less! So said the man himself in radio interviews on Israeli radio

Listen Here (in Hebrew)

Highlights of the meetings include:

1) The Rebbe tells him to grow a beard, he says the beard does nothing for him, it doesn't add nor does it diminish his Yiras Shomayim.
2) The Rebbe asks him about learning Chassidus, he says "in Chevroner Yeshivah we learn Mussar".
3) Years later when he grew a beard he told the Rebbe: "it's not because you asked me to, but rather because in the Army they made us either shave every day or let it grow, so I let mine grow!
What I find fascinating is that a man like Ravitz later became one of Degel haTorah's major attack dogs, and Lubavitch wasn't spared either to put it mildly, so what happened to him? Did he sell his soul? I guess so.

ע"כ what we wrote 2+ years ago. Now we learn that Reb Avrohom passed away yesterday at the age of 74/75. He was a "doer" of many great things, including bringing many, many Jews closer to Yiddishkeit while working at Yad LeAchim and at Or Someach in Israel. According to Ravitz even his joining of LeCHi in 1948 as a youngster of 13/14 was also due to the British injustices that were happening in Palestine at the time, including the hanging of Lechi operatives and the closed door policy that they maintained despite the recent ending of World War II. In short he was out there on the front lines, helping Jews. Yet, as a Lubavitcher it's tough to think of him as some great Tzaddik, being that he was a member of the ill-fated Degel HaTorah for 20 years. I know he's not an attack dog like Lorencz is, but he still managed to upset lots of people. Yes, we know Lorencz wasn't around at the time of the split, but he managed to make his mark with his narishe, hateful, and outright false memoirs, and that accusation comes from Agudists, not Lubavitchers.

25 comments:

mnuez said...

I've been reading through some posts here for the last little while and I've got to say that I need to visit more often. This place is absolutely fascinating. I mean I wish the folk here were a bit more rational (less religious, better educated regarding scientific and historical matters, etc.) but with the increase in rationality generally comes a decrease in passion so I suppose this is for the best. All in all I could do without all of the silly arguing about Lubavitch (particularly the nonsense kind like if today's chabad policy is tzioni or not) but the subjects and history offered here and the wealth of persoinal knowledge that some commentors bring to bear on the subjects is absolutely fabulous. It's been a while since I was so fascinated by Rebbes and whatnot but my excitement for it is still there and it's really fantastic to come across your blog.

I'm no big fan of the chareidi parties but I'll assume that Ravitz was a tzaddik and a kodosh and mourn his passing b'soch shaar aveili tzion v'yerushalayim.

As an aside pursuant to Zionism - it was right and necessary and could have saved a full third of our people from slaughter within living memory. Today however the keser of zionism lies in the corner abandoned and it's high time that people such as you guys here stop arguing nonsense about ver hut gehalt vus a hundred years ago and pick up the crown, the mantle and the rod and start firing tish in eretz yisroel like a respectable midinah. It's time you join the army, get with the program and assume the role that nobody else is assuming. If you don't want to see Israel crumble and another Holocaust come for your families, that is.

mnuez

bentz said...

"Not an attack dog like Lorencz"
Why are you such an ignorant "mechila"?
Lorentz wrote a book, recently, that's why you even heard of him.He was not a member of the knesset when Lubavitch was a major issue. That was btw, before you could even vish your own mechila.He was not a major mouthpiece in any of the Lubavitch dealings
But why would a mechila like you care?
Fooy, fooy fooy.

Chaim Berlin tragedy said...

What's wrong with Degel HaTorah?

It's the party of the Israeli Lithuanian Haredim, brilliantly founded by Rav Shach, and now guided by Rav Eliashiv, with an able assist from Rav Shteinman and Rav Chaim Kanievsky.

What should the Israeli Litvaks and Misnagdim do? They have a long-standing strong and unshakable mandate to help Torah Jewry in all its facets and needs, from the Chazon Ish (1878-1953), with the Haskoma of Rav Aron Kotler (1891-1962), to be fully involved in the Israeli electoral and political process and to sit in the Knesset and even in the government if conditions permit it to its rabbinic heads at any given time.

They used to do it through Agudat Yisrael, but when the Chasidishe Rebbes, mainly from Ger who were very possessive and controling of Aguda for historical reasons, Rav Shach decided it would not do, and he first created the Shas party for the Sefardim and worked with and through them, and eventually Rav Shach (1898-2001) had the vision, political acumen and siyata dishmaya to create Degel HaTorah as a distinct political party from the Chasidishe-dominated Agudat Yisrael, and the Sefardishe-dominated-Shas.

Nevertheless, it has not stopped Degel HaTorah from coming together with and uniting with its old partners in Agudas Yisroel to create the "UTJ" (United Torah Judaism) faction in the Knesset.

That way, the Israeli Chasidishe velt and the Israeli Litvak yeshiva community can have their cake and eat it at the same time. They can each have their own separate parties yet unite as one through UTJ to act for the benefit of all Ashkenazi Charedim and Chasidim. (While the Charedi Sefardim in Shas do or don't join them as the sitaution arises.)

So all in all, there is nothing to cry about or to stoke up issues and flames that would just be tragedy because it's a lot better to have the Chasidim in Agudas Yisreol and Misnagdim in Degel HaTorah united under the chupa of UTJ Yahadus HaTorah that shows achdus, Ahavas Yisroel, and the koach of the tzibbur, which can accomplish alot more for all of them and it's a true Kiddush HaShem and sign that Mashiach is closer than we think when the majority of Torah Jews can come together ke'ish echad be'lev echad lema'an HaShem Echad.

There can be nothing possibly wrong with this from the point of view of Torah-true Judaism. For a Torah Jew to think otherwise is wrong a travesty and a tragedy!

P.S. Rav Yitzchok Hutner (RYH) of the Chaim Berlin yeshiva was totally respectful of the authority of Rav Shach. RYH also was mekabel the Chazon Ish as his "Rebbe" and moreh derech perhaps even over and above his great love and admiration for his early-manhood Rebbe, Rav Avraham Yitzchok HaKohen Kook. When the Chazon Ish was niftar, RYH came to the yeshiva and they all sat shiva in the Bais Medrash of the Chaim Berlin yeshiva. This became the precedent for the yeshiva when RYH himself was niftar in 1980.

RYH attachment to the Chazon Ish also ties in to his (RYH's) life-long differences with the Brisker Rov, Rav Velvel (Yitzchok Zeev) Soloveitchik (1886-1959) (RVS) who espoused an anti-Zionist line closer to the Satmar Rov's (RYT) shita.

While RYH was also very respectful of RYT and on the level of hashkofa was in full agreement with RYT, yet there was an outright yeshivish-velt rivalry with RVS that was mutual.

For some or other odd reason RYH had it in for the Briskers -- not for Rav Chaim of Brisk (1853-1918), and RYH held that the true Brisker mesorah went to RVS's brother, Rav Moshe Soloveitchik (1879-1941) (and father of the famous Rav Yoshe Ber (J.B.) Soloveitchik (1903-1993) of YU, American aguda, RCA and Mizrachi).

Rav Moshe Soloveitchik and his two sons Rav Yoshe Ber and Rav Aron, were extremely close to RYH. Rav Moshe let RYH tutor his young son Rav Aron Soloveitchik in pre-war Europe, and later RYH appointed Rav Aron Soloveitchik as the Rosh Yeshiva in the Chaim Berlin yeshiva as RYH assumed more work in his office for the Klal (this was before Rav Aron Shechter took command, after Rav Aron Soloveitchik left for Chicago.)

RYH would always make sharp comments against the Briskers (in later life against Rav J. B. Soloveitchik as well, never against rav Moshe Soloveitchik or Rav Aron Soloveitchik and he idolized Rav Cahim Soloveitchik ad me'od.

RYH never said anything against RYT or Satmar. According to RYH, RYT and Satmar in America were A-OK even with their fiery anti-Zionism, but when it came to the Briskers under RVS, RYH was in open opposition. So that RYH's acceptance of the Chazon Ish and his more willing ways to work within the new Israeli political structure was better to RYH's way of thinking than the Briskers under RVS opposition to the medina in all forms.

Only RYH could pull off such a balancing act. There are none like him today. To say that he was exceptional is an understatement. There is a lot to be learnt from him.

Snag said...

Tzig enough with your tunnel vision - Do you see everything only through the prism of Chabad?
The man accomplished many great things in his life.

Michoel said...

To say to the Rebbe, or to ANY Rebbe litvish or chasidish, "I grew a beard but NOT because you told me too", shows such a degree of yosher. Gevaldig!!

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

" (this was before Rav Aron Shechter took command, after Rav Aron Soloveitchik left for Chicago.)"

CBT, left or was thrown out?

Anonymous said...

יעדער וואס שטארבט איז א ליובאוויטשער?

yoshe kalb said...

ניין, יעדער וואס לעבט מיט לעבעדיגקייט איז א ליובאוויטשער

Chaim Berlin tragedy said...

"Twistelton-Twistelton said...' (this was before Rav Aron Shechter took command, after Rav Aron Soloveitchik left for Chicago.)'

CBT, left or was thrown out?"

I wasn't there at the time so I can't tell you.

Rav Aron Soloveitchik left New York in the mid-1960s when the Chaim Berlin yeshiva was in a state of flux and even confusion.

The Kollel Gur Aryeh of Chaim Berlin was in Crown Heights until they moved it to be with the Bais Medrash in the new premises on 1593 Coney Island Avenue around 1966.

The Bais Medrash and what was left of the Mesivta High School was crumbling in East New York and moved to Far Rockaway in 1964 I believe and was there for about two years when it moved in 1966 to 1593 CIA. The high school was then combigned with the Rav Chaim Segal's Mesivta of Crown Heights, and he became the new Menahel of the High School and Rav Moshe Greenes was let go and left adrift in Far Rockaway. The chilukei dei'os between RYH and Rabbi Greenes was the worst machlokes between RYH and a talmid until the RSC machlokes.

I do not believe that Rav Aron Soloveitchik came with the yeshiva to 1593 CIA in 1966. At about that time he went to Chicago. It was the height of the Vietnam War. The yeshiva was made up of all sorts, some were draft dodgers, most were going to Brooklyn College and there was a strong minority of great shining stars of young gedolim in the making. The Kollel Gur Aryeh was the main jewel in the crown, but it was small, those who received Kollel checks were perhaps not more than 30 (yes, thirty at one time) and there were always a number of others, even elterre bochurim who learned with the Kollel.

I do not know the exact date when rav Aron Soloveitchik arrived on the scene at CB, could be he was always there coming and going since he had an extremely close personal bond with RYH from Europe yet, but one thing is clear, Rav Hutner gave him Kibbud Melachim and gave him a seat up front and there was no doubt that RYH had placed his faith and trust in him.

If they had a falling out, I never heard about such a thing, on the contrary Rav Aron Soloveitchik always spoke highly of his "Rebbe" RYH. What rav Aron Soloveitchik's relationships were with other personalities and maggidei shiur in CB I do not know. Peope do not talk about that far back and he seems to have not rocked the boat and knew his role well enough and was expected of him.

How many years he sat up from I don't know. What his relationship was with RAS was I don't know. Why he left CB I don't know, except that he decided to move to Chicago. What gave him that idea, I don't know. Who invited him, it can be read up somewhere. He was first with one mossad, and was not happy and then decided to make his own yeshiva in Skokie.

But one thing I do know, is that when Rav Aron Soloveitchik was niftar a number of very prominent and choshuve CB alumni and talmidim of RYH and of Rav Aron Soloveitchik pushed to have an official shloshim in the yeshiva.

It was officially held in the high school Bais Medrash and not in the main Bais Medrash. RAS did NOT attend the ceremonies or the droshas. There were a number of very choshuve speakers who spoke about the gadlus of Rav Aron Soloveitchik and of their memories of him as the young(er) Rosh Yeshiva of Chaim Berlin, and how shy he was by nature. They remarked how surprised they were that he later got into some serious machlokesen with other rabbonim in Chicago. And how he was shy and almost bashful by nature yet RYH held from him so much, that he pushed him to the front and appointed him Rosh Yeshiva while RYH retired to the backrooms to deal with other matters and presumably work on his ma'amorim that became RYH's ikker in Toirah.

The exact nature of the relationship, or possible rivalry between the two Rav Arons, Rav Aron Soloveitchik and Rav Aron Schechter is not known to me or to almost anyone nowadays, whatever happened or did not happen between them and between Rav Aron Soloveitchik and RYH and anyone else in the CB community has long been buried and forgotten.

One interesting point, is that Rav Aron Soloveitchik was supposedly working on and obtained a PhD in Law from NYU (New York University) at the time he held the shtelle at CB. I may be wrong about the timing, but he got his degree without skipping any sedorim. The man was no doubt an illui atzum in Toirah and a genius in secular subjects. Maybe that was part of the chillukei dei'os, since RAS is very anti-secular and generally strongly anti-college.

This is what I have collected in my memory bank. If anyone knows otherwise, let them come forth, I wowuld appreciate learning more. Thanks.

schneur said...

I sort of recollect reading that ravitz's family were Gerer Chassidim as is Gafni"s (I think he still wears a spodik).
Lets face it until Degel and its spiritual leader made an issue of Chabad in its first electoral appearance, Lubavitch had little to do with the Aguda.
Since Kfar Chabad was and is an independent municipality with a 95% population of Anash it is possible to track the Chabad electoral support and in most elections it went to Poali Agudas israel. Some Anash also voted for NRP and the Aguda. The Reshes OYY is part of the mizrachi school system so Lubavitch had little interest in the Aguda. Of course some individual chabad people belonged like Saulson, but then again there were Lubavitchers who belonged to the NRP like Rav Zevin.

Yankle said...

This story about R' Raavitz goes: When R' Schach opened Degel, he called in R' Ravitz to ask him to head the party. R' Ravitz who had more than one important job at the time asked R' Shach to let him think about it and he will get back to him. To this R' Schach answerd "sure no problem. How much time do you need to think about it? 2 minutes? 3 minutes? Ill wait while you think." He took the job on split second notice, which says alot about this great man.
I can still remember those good days when us litvaks were finally giving those that have been screwing with the torah for way too long a sock in the teeth. There was a feeling of "finally someone that has the courage to do and say what we've all been thinking for years".
B"H Chabad has been off the frum world map ever since then.
May the memory of R' Schach and R' Ravitz be blessing for us all!

Chaim Berlin tragedy said...

The three Rav Arons: Shnai Rav Arons shemakchishim zu es zu ad sheyavo Harav Aron Hashlishi veyachria beinehem!

By way, with regards to Rav Aron Soloveitchik getting his PhD at NYU while he was being a Rosh Yeshiva at CB, and how CB glacially moved away from being a primarily "college yeshiva" to becoming what it is today, a more or less yeshivishe yeshiva under RAS, there may be a number of threads here.

One is that in the late 1930s early 1940s up to about 1950 both Rav Yitzchok Hutner (RYH) and Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz (RSFM) of Yeshiva Torah Voda'as were working hard to come up with a solution to dealing with the bochurim who at their parents' behest wished to go to college. They got as far as getting an official charter from New York State to set up a program that would give them the power to have college courses and yeshiva courses for those who wanted them (sort of a frum YU set-up in Brooklyn without the YU "synthesis" philosophy). But Rav Aron Kotler (RAK) came along and shot the whole thing down and forced them to stop it because he thought it was a horrible idea.

RSFM did not have the years and koiches to fight RAK (there is that funny joke that he supposedly said to RAK, "ir vet machen gedolim un ich vel machen ketanim un tzuzamen vet men machen a asher yatzar"), and RSFM decided to concentrate on his work on his Bais Medrash Elyon in what was later to become Monsey Ir haKoidesh (mostly built on land he had bought) and on setting up Torah Umesorah in New York to build Jewish Day Schools in America, and he passed away in 1948.

While RYH deferred to RAK and was not willing to fight RAK, and continued with allowing CB bochurim to attend Brooklyn College at night, from anywhere during second seder on (until RAS came along and started pushing the time later and later for when college guys could leave) and there were the handfull who went on to get PhDs, like Rav Shlomo Braunstein (of CB Mesivta. In Math), Rav Shlomo Teichman (of BYA. In Math), Rav Shlomo Ribner (now in EY. In Psychology), Rav Yisrael Meir Kirzner (Prof at NYU and rov in BP. In Economics), and even RYH's daughter (of BJJ. In Judaic Studies).

So Rav Aron Soloveitchik comes into the picture at around the time RYH is coming to terms with being mekabel the gezeirah from RAK of CB and YTV not setting up a formal college. Rav Aron Soloveitchik working hard and publicly to get a PhD in law from NYU at the time when RYH had given in to RAK was a "clash" of sorts.

Add to it that just by family connection and association Rav Aron Soloveitchik was the younger illuisher brother of Rav Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik at YU who was the mega-illui with a very famous PhD in Philosphy from U. of Berlin with a philosophy of "syntheis" to match, it must have sealed Rav Aron Soloveitchik's fate at the "new" CB that RYH now started to nurture and the chosen leader of that new super-yeshivishe derech was none other than RAS who's fiercely anti-college in ethos and practice. This is just a very strong probability the more I think about it.

But the story does not end there. When Dr. Bernard Lander broke away from YU and begand building Touro College in the mid 1970s, and by that time RAK was niftar for a decade already, and the Lakewood yeshiva was headed by the more moderate and less confrontational Rav Shneur Kotler, RYH was VERY POSITIVE about the rise of Touro College. He refused to sign kol kores against Touro and gave the green light for talmidim to go there. He held it was a lot safer for them at Touro with classes for men only than the more mixed Brooklyn College environment and RAS continued pushing for Touro only when CB bochurim just had to go to college, but over the years he has put obstacles in the form of waiting periods and delays when bochurim request his resgus to go to Touro.

So one can safely conclude that the the two Rav Arons: Rav Aron Soloveitchik with his PhD in Law, and Rav Aron Shechter with an anti-secular outlook reprented two dimensions of their mutual Rebbe, Rav Yitzchok Hutner (RYH), and while at one time RYH pushed Rav Aron Soloveitchik to the fore, with the advent in America of another Rav Aron, Rav Aron Kotler of Lakewood, RYH changed gears and went with RAS as the new Rosh Yeshiva of CB.

This may have not been very explicit at the time, (then again, maybe it was) but in the end it was a parting of the ways of not just two different types of Rav Arons, but of two types of chinuch. Yet, SYMBOLICALLY SPEAKING, while RAK pushed RYH in the direction of RAS (RAS was sent by RYH to be a founding talmid of RAK when Lakewood started, and RAK was at RAS's chasuna and held highly from him) eventually RYH himself remained true to himself and when Touro College was established gave it a big green light.

Fascinatingly the Rav Shlomo Carlebach (RSC) tragedy also fits into this story. After Rav Avigdor Miller (who was also a graduate of YU and was literate albeit eccentricaly so) was pushed out of CB in the mid 1960s and RSC was brought in, as a true-full blooed Yekke from the real Torah Im Derech Eretz yichus, and with a college backround himself (BA level) RSC symbolized and even espoused a tolernace for college and he had his biggest folling among the college going bochurim. When in the late 1970s RAS threw out a whole crew of those guys and pushed second seder to end from 6PM to 6:45 PM it made it almost impossible for the college guys to get to Brooklyn Colleg in time for the first night classes. At that time RSC stood for the expelled talmidim, many who sought eitzas from him, and in the process it surely must have added to his demise in RAS's mind who then became determined to limit RAS over-all influence as well by making his case to RYH, so that eventually, in some ways RSC was put in the same exit queue, willy nilly the way the anti-college tide was rising in CB. Obviously, there is more to the RSC story than the Rav Aron Soloveitchik story.

In the end though, RYH transcended any and all of the above and blazed his own trail as in the last years of his life he donned a spodik on Shabbos and Yom Tov, went to EY and set up his own new Yeshiva Pachad Yitzchok in Yerushalayim, and worked on completing his written magnum opus the Sifrei Pachad Yitzchok based on a lifetime of the unique ma'amorim he had said over most of his life, leaving Rav Aron Shechter with CB in Brooklyn, Rav Aron Soloveitchik becoming famous in Chicago, Lakewood to grow into a a Torah bastion, RSC licking his wounds and eventually writing his own Hutnerian work, Maskil LiShlomo, while he (RYH) and his son-in-law RYD and his daughter RBD went on with continuing the Hutnerian legacy in Israel and wherever Bnai Torah still have an interest in RYH's writings and thought system.

Anonymous said...

Do a seperate post on the succession of RY of CB in the form of a timeline of CB's location and compare it with other by yeschivas like mir bes hatalmud ytv ..

Milhouse said...

CBT, cut the crap. Degel was founded for one reason, and one reason only: because Hamodia was printing the Rebbe's sichos (as paid ads). Shach demanded that they stop accepting these ads, and the Lev Simchah put his foot down and refused to bow to this extortion and extreme chutzpah to the Rebbe. So Shach decided to destroy the Agudah by pulling out, founding Degel (aka ETz, for Ovdei Tzlomim), the Entrenching Tool, and Sheretz Yisroel. It was an act of pure sin'ah, and nothing built on such a foundation can come to any good.

That's why the Rebbe supported Agudah that year, a one-time departure from Chabad's many-decades-old policy of nonpartisanship, as a thanks to the Agudah for standing up for his kovod. (The Frierdiger Rebbe, in 1927, said Chabad was bezparteine, nonpartisan, and that was not a new policy then.)

Anonymous said...

CBT
after everything can we come to a clear path on Rav Hutner? unstable? opportunist? a Clintonite checking every morning the polls?

Chaim Berlin tragedy said...

Anonymous asks: "CBT
after everything can we come to a clear path on Rav Hutner? unstable? opportunist? a Clintonite checking every morning the polls?"

Pardon me, but you sound totally stupid and clueless with an agenda yet, could you rephrase your question please, with a drop more derech eretz for Rav Hutner please!

Rav Hutner came to America in around 1933 and he was a rosh yeshiva from 1936 starting in Brooklyn New York until the day he died in 1980. How many years is that dumb-bell? Do all things stay the same in the world and in society and in every mossad for more than 50 years? What was America like before Rav Aron Kotler, the 6th and 7th Lubavitcher Rebbes and the Satmarrer Rebbe and the Bobover Rebbe came to America all in the 1940s? Do you realize the extent and scope of the changes in Orthodox life with the arrival and growth of Charedi and Chasidic leaders to America.

In Brooklyn, Rav Hutner at the Chaim Berlin yeshiva and Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz at the Yeshiva Torah Voda'as, were running big institutions catering to mostly American Jewish boys most of whom had never been to a yeshiva. They took Jewish boys from the streets of Brooklyn and made them into something. You needed to have secular studies in high school and the opportunity to go to college to catch the smartest kids in those days, otherwise parents would go nuts and take you to court.

When the other Gedolim came after the Holocaust it was different, they came with a bren and an unbroken vision from Europe and they started to build not with American Brooklyn kids but with Holocaust survivors and their kids, a different kettle of fish.

Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz and Rav Hutner had to decide if they wowld follow the Modern Orthodox model of the powerful and popular Yeshiva University-Rabbi Isaac Elchonon Theological Seminary where the secular degree was just as important as the limmudei kodesh or would they start to move their yeshivas towards the the directions of Rav Aron Kotler and to the style (if not the content) of the newly arrived post-Holocaust Rebbes in America.

To the great credit of Rav Hutner and Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz they moved in the direction of the "right" and not the "left" but unfortunately Rav Shraga Feivel passed away in 1948, while Rav Hutner lived longer to 1980 and was able to steer his yeshiva rightward, while still not totally abanding the reality that Chaim Berlin was an American yeshiva and not just a yeshiva in America.

When Rav hutner saw the start of Touro College he was pleased that at least there was another option now open for the college type youngsters that they don't all have to go to regular colleges that break down Jewish life and values but he still kept on with moving CB to the right and that is PROBABLY (I don't know the final truth) why he handed over CB to Rav Aron Shechter and not to Rav Aron Soloveitchik. But from the 1940s until the 1950s nobody knew which derech would really work the best in America. It was besiyata dishmaya and mamash shelo kederech hateva that Rav Aron Kotler was able to launch Lakewood, in the beginning it was a big safek, and it took a long time to develop. Same for Lubavitch, Satmar and Bobov, noone knew when the Rebbes came what would be. You know why? Simply because BEFORE the Holocaust there could never have been such as Charedi or Chasidic Rebbes and Roshe Yeshivas and mosdos in America. Every attempt to start something like that FAILED! It was only after the shock of the reality set in that a different set of circumstanes presented themselves in America. This is not my chiddush. Many books have studied and said this.

While some like Rav Hutner, Rav J.b. Soloveitchik and rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz who were gedolim who had to work in pre-Holocaust conditions in America, knew from bitter expeerience that without allowing secular and college studies you could not get to a point a to have a yeshiva with intelligent boys in it in the first place. There was no choice then. A good book for you to read is "The Revel Era" by Rabbi Rakeffet-Rothkof about Rav Dov Revel, the first Rosh Yeshiva who a hundred years ago started to build YU and which is the first real Bais Medrash in America and the conditions in America in those days. It will astound you that he even got past first base.

If you don't know history, and Jewish history in America especiall, and you can't grasp sometimes paradoxical and complicated situations, then at least ask the right questions, and don't come off sounding like a nitwit. Thank you.

vus nisht said...

CBT,


Wow!
Four consecutive posts regarding CB and no trying to bash RAS?! Kol hakavod!


“from the Chazon Ish (1878-1953), with the Haskoma of Rav Aron Kotler (1891-1962), to be fully involved in the Israeli electoral and political process…”

There is not a single letter from the Chazon requesting or commanding anybody to participate in elections or to be involved in matters of the Medinah.
The Anti-Tziyoni crowd claims that the Chazon Ish was very against the Medinah.
Everything said about the stance of the Chazon Ish is all mipi hashamuah, but there is nothing documented.
I personally am inclined to believe what you and most others believe, since I find it hard to believe that R’ Shach, the Steipler and the rest of the gedolim were misinformed about the Chazon Ish’s stance.
But again, it is all only mipi hashamuah, and there is not a single letter or kol koreh signed by the Chazon Ish backing this belief.


“Rav Velvel (Yitzchok Zeev) Soloveitchik (1886-1959) (RVS) who espoused an anti-Zionist line…”

The same goes for the Brisker Rov. Rav Shach allegedly said that the Gri”z was maskim to his stance on the Medinah, but the Rov’s mishpacha vehemently denies that the Rov ever said such a thing and they get angered that people even suggest it.


“RYH also was mekabel the Chazon Ish as his "Rebbe"…”

Did RYH ever even meet the Chaon Ish?


“RSFM did not have the years and koiches to fight RAK…”

RSMF did not have the kochos literally (physically) or metaphorically?


“with regards to Rav Aron Soloveitchik getting his PhD at NYU while he was being a Rosh Yeshiva at CB…”

RASol did not get that degree while he was Rosh Yeshiva at CB.
I am also not too sure that RASol attended university at all while in CB, even before he was appointed RY.
He graduated NYU in ’46, he then got a shteller for a short period of time in MTJ, and only afterward did he go to CB where he was a maggid shiur for a good few years before RYH appointed him as Rosh Yeshiva.


Another point worth mentioning here is that RASol was not the only person who was pushed up front by RYH as Rosh Yeshiva.
RYH seemingly had a quite a few changes of mind before ultimately settling on RAS and RYD as the Roshei Yeshiva of CB.
The most famous would obviously be RSC, which of course is a point of much contention and disagreement.
Far less famous is the story R’ Feivel Cohen, mechaber of the Badei HaShulchan, being appointed Rosh Yeshiva by RYH for a short period.
There may have been others too, but the point is that RASol was certainly not the only person ever appointed Rosh YEshiva by RYH before finally settling on RAS and RYD.
As far as I know nobody ever referred to RASol as the Rosh Yeshiva of CB, not before nor after his departure.
I am not trying to take away from his gadlus in any way, I am merely pointing out that RASol was not a Rosh Yeshiva who left CB to be Rosh Yeshiva in his own place; he was a maggid shiur who left CB to be Rosh Yeshiva in his own place.


“…but he still kept on with moving CB to the right and that is PROBABLY (I don't know the final truth) why he handed over CB to Rav Aron Shechter and not to Rav Aron Soloveitchik.”

Very very very unlikely.
I expected a far superior hypothesis from you!
RASol was born in Europe to one of the most illustrious and chashuve families in recent history. His elter zeide was the Bais Haleivi, His Zeide was R’ Chaim, his father was R’ Moshe, and His uncle was the Gri”z, the list goes on and on and on… He was privy to geonim and talmidei chachamim the likes of which we have never seen, and he inherited the rich and prestigious Solevetchik mesorah.
He was an accomplished talmid chacham long before he ever stepped foot in CB.
Although RASol was tutored by RYH in Europe, one can assume that he learned a lot more in his youth from his father and his other mechanchim than he learned from RYH.
By the time RASol took his position in CB he was already a developed and accomplished talmid chacham of more than thirty years. Of those thirty plus years only a tiny fraction were spent learning with RYH.
When he got to CB, RASol had his own mehalech halimud, his own hashkafos and his own mehalech hamachshavah which were molded over the first thirty plus years of his life, and almost none of those thirty plus years were spent with RYH. It is doubtful that his hashkafos were in sync with those of RYH. Nevertheless, RYH respected his gadlus and he respected RYH’s gadlus.

RAS, on the other hand, was born and bred CB. RYH was his rebbe muvak from day one. He came to CB as young boy from East NY and was then transformed by RYH into the gaon he is today. His entire mehalech ha’chaim from A-Z was shaped by RYH. He was the quintessential talmid muvak and his whole tzurah screams RYH.

I doubt that when RYH put RASol up front as Rosh Yeshiva it was a long term commitment. At the time RYH appointed RASol as Rosh Yeshiva, RYH was still very much involved with the yeshiva albeit not as much as in previous years. There was just a void that needed to be filled with RYH not as involved as he had previously been, so he filled it with RASol. Why he filled it with RASol and not RYD or RAS I have no idea, your guess is as good as mine; perhaps at the time RYH felt that RAS and RYD were still too young and not yet ready as they were both a good few years younger than RASol, perhaps some other cheshbon, who knows…

But al pi pashtus, RYH handing the CB reigns to RAS over RASol had nothing to do with the whole university thing.
It’s far more likely that RYH simply wanted to pass the torch to somebody who would continue on the derech halimud and derech hamachshavah that he blazed and he RYH saw RAS as the best candidate for that task.

Chaim Berlin tragedy said...

The vus nisht "Big Brother" arrives on the scene and says a few things: "CBT, Wow! Four consecutive posts regarding CB and no trying to bash RAS?! Kol hakavod!"

I am not a one-issue writer! And besides, seems that since the Isaac Hersh fiasco, RAS has managed to keep a lower profile and not embroil himself in headaches that he does not need when he has a big enough job managing CB and helping it stay afloat, which the Isaac Hersh maisa did not help in way whatsoever.

"There is not a single letter from the Chazon requesting or commanding anybody to participate in elections or to be involved in matters of the Medinah."

And neither is a single "letter" needed because in the 20 years the Chazon Ish was in Palestine/Israel, from 1933-1953 he was at the center of all the events: advising, thinking, acting and instructing with no time left for a "brivelle tzi der mama" types.

He was not living in a theoretical world when it came to how do deal with the new state of Israel and how and when and why to get involved in its politics. Similarly, when Rav Eliashiv makes most of the key decisions and pesakim for the Degel HaTorah politicians to follow, he does not write them "letters" and certainly zero publicity is made.

Coming from a CB you should know that the major decisions are made quietly by one or two leaders and that big orders are issued in near-silent whispers with big repurcussions and with never a word, let alone an igeres being written.

By the way, do you think the Chazon Ish even needs to be implicitly defended here for something he did naturally and viewed as vital by boosting those who had to go into the Knesset and deal with the secular and other Zionists? After all, the Chazon Ish even undertook to meet with Ben Gurion himself when he felt that only his own personal intervention would stop giyus banos, and it worked. The Litvishe gedolim of yesteryear were much more pragmatic and connected to the hamon am and even had open dialogues with maskilim and tziyonim many of whom were often close relatives, as in the case of Rav Aron Kotler and Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky who had relatives behind the Iron Curtain, and others even like RYH, Rav Elya Lopian and Rav Mottel Katz who had non-frum (or not Charedi-style frum) siblings in different parts of the world.

Those were complicated times and the Litvishe gedolim knew about the complications first-hand from their own personal and family circumstances that gave them and added sensitivity and deeper insight into the depth of the social and political problems in Israel and whereever Jews lived.

"The Anti-Tziyoni crowd claims that the Chazon Ish was very against the Medinah."

Is the "anti-Tziyoni" crowd ever rational and truthful? They hate the state of Israel and will twist and turn everything and anyone their way. They have zero credibility most of the time. They are often intolerant and brutal and it's a pachad to be near them or to hear their irrational views.

Just look at what it leads to when they take it all the way and go to Iran, kiss the new Hitler arch-terrorist Ahmedinejad and attend a Holocaust denial conference just because they are so meshuga ledavar to be anti-tziyonim. Too bad frum people are not taught about hobbies and other outlets to remove frustrations that get expressed in all sorts of false noble sounding causes.

"Everything said about the stance of the Chazon Ish is all mipi hashamuah, but there is nothing documented."

Ok, so what? Are you now joining the anti-tziyoini historical revisionism bandwagon for the heck of it, because it's the social trend?

"I personally am inclined to believe what you and most others believe, since I find it hard to believe that R’ Shach, the Steipler and the rest of the gedolim were misinformed about the Chazon Ish’s stance."

Ok, fine, so we finally agree on something.

"But again, it is all only mipi hashamuah, and there is not a single letter or kol koreh signed by the Chazon Ish backing this belief."

This is the third time you are making the same point here and you add that there isn't even a "kol koreh" for it. What "kol koreh" should there be? That a few Agudist rabbis were encouraged to sit in the Knesset by the Chazon Ish to symbolize and represent the interests of Torah Jewry.

Out of about the little over 600,000 Jews in Eretz Yisroel in 1949 when the first official elections were held (now there are about 6 million Jews there) how many were really from the frum world and it took a very small proportion to elect one chaver haknesset. The frum were living in a few small enclaves in Bnai Brak and Yerushlayim. They didn't even have phones in those days. It was very easy to get the word out in shulls and yeshivas and let those who respected the Chazon Ish to know that it was important to vote in the bechirot.

The Chazon ish was not much of a talker. He had great difficulty with public speaking, and spoke mostly to yechidim and to small groups and if there a shmua that even you and I can agree on, then one can assume that yesh ledavar mamoshes.

"The same goes for the Brisker Rov. Rav Shach allegedly said that the Gri”z was maskim to his stance on the Medinah, but the Rov’s mishpacha vehemently denies that the Rov ever said such a thing and they get angered that people even suggest it."

Here you go even further than anything I have said and you assert that the Brisker Rov actually was more in line with the Chazon Ish's stance. Interesting. If that is so, then when, how and why did the Briskers in Eretz Yisroel become so disengaged from involvement in the medina and preach against sitting in the Knesset?

Perhaps it has something to do with the rise of the power of Satmar and that the Satmar Rov became head of the Eidah HaChareidis and the Briskers fell in line with that shita, indeed today the Briskers are on the Eidah HaChareidis. It's a little tricky seeing that coming from Brest-Litovsk/Brisk in Litta it's not hard to understand how even the Brisker Rov had a pragmatic streak and could see the sense of Rav Shach working for Agudist political causes in the Knesset.

It's well-know that Rav Shach regarded the Brisker Rov as something of a rebbe and moreh derech and sought out his guidance and pesakim, and one cannot divorce the Rav Shach who was involved with the politics of the medinah and guiding the Agudist and later the Degel HaTorah chavrei haknesset from the Rav Shach who idolized the Brisker Rov and would not make a move without him. The next generation of Briskers are already a new dor falling in line with the political correctness of Satmar which is to be ant-tziyoni no matter what, even lemafrai'a if it means rewriting history.

"Did RYH ever even meet the Chaon Ish?"

You know the answer to that question is NO! But so what? RYH also regarded himself as a talmid HAGRA and he surely did not meet him in real life either. So what is the point of your question? You know full well that there is a complicated dimension to RYH taking on the Chazon Ish as his "rebbe" and it had a lot to do with a few things like: (a) the Chazon Ish's greatness in learning. RYH held the works of the CI were those of supreme gadlus. (b) The politics of Israel and Zionism, that RYH had been close with Rav Kook but recalibrated to make it known that after the hakomas hamedina he (RYH) was "pledging allegiance" so to speak to the CI who was not a religious zionist like Rav Kook. Symbolically, for years RYH had a picture of Rav Kook in his sukkah but after the row of giyus banaos in Israel he replaced it with a picture of the CI.

"RSMF did not have the kochos literally (physically) or metaphorically?"

Both, probably. Noone was able to withstand Rav Aron Kotler last anyone heard.

"RASol did not get that degree while he was Rosh Yeshiva at CB.
I am also not too sure that RASol attended university at all while in CB, even before he was appointed RY. He graduated NYU in ’46, he then got a shteller for a short period of time in MTJ, and only afterward did he go to CB where he was a maggid shiur for a good few years before RYH appointed him as Rosh Yeshiva."

Check your facts. It was said by some talmidim that he was getting his doctorate (not another earlier BA or MA degree) in law from NYU when he was at CB.

"Another point worth mentioning here is that RASol was not the only person who was pushed up front by RYH as Rosh Yeshiva.
RYH seemingly had a quite a few changes of mind before ultimately settling on RAS and RYD as the Roshei Yeshiva of CB."

But he was certainly the greatest of them all and sat up front the longest and the only one with a doctorate, quite a marvel for a rosh yeshiva in simple bumpkin Brooklyn those days where yeshiva boys still worshipped the Brooklyn Dodgers or NY Yankees as "gedolim".

"The most famous would obviously be RSC, which of course is a point of much contention and disagreement."

Come again? By "RSC" do you mean Rav Shlomo Carlebach?, if so that's false, he never sat up front and was never remotely regarded as a rosh yeshiva! He was the mashgiach who replaced Rav Avigdor Miller and was a member of the CB hanhalla but not as a rosh yeshiva. He was brilliant as mashgiach but he never gave gemora shiurim. I am not quite why you stuck this in, it's really absurd.

"Far less famous is the story R’ Feivel Cohen, mechaber of the Badei HaShulchan, being appointed Rosh Yeshiva by RYH for a short period."

This is not "less famous" it's very famous and he was pushed out by RAS big time and the two were on bad terms for a long time. When RSC was later pushed out of CB he was taken in by Rav Feivel who had started a minyan for Shabbos in his house already a few years back. Rav Feivel and RAS have since made up, but there is still bad blood between them beneath the surface, it's pretty obvious.

"There may have been others too,"

There were. From the old, CB, like Rav Shurkin who was a big rosh yeshiva but was never allowed to develop a following, he also didn't have the type of personality that wanted "followings" he just loved learning and the talmidim and hated the CB power-play shtik. He was a very good and beloved man. Pity his memory is no longer known in CB they could learn so much from him.

"but the point is that RASol was certainly not the only person ever appointed Rosh YEshiva by RYH before finally settling on RAS and RYD."

So what? CB has had a long history.

"As far as I know nobody ever referred to RASol as the Rosh Yeshiva of CB, not before nor after his departure."

And tell me, how many today in the Brooklyn campus of CB refer to Rav Yonosan David as "the rosh yeshiva" without gagging? Get real. It's not just about how people are saluted like false ceasers in the "corridors of power" leading from their offices to the bais medrash. Oh, and the Chazon Ish wasn't a rosh yeshiva either, but many viewed him as the Gadol Hador of the non-Chasidish world. Swinging to semantics instead of addressing substance does noone any good.

"I am not trying to take away from his gadlus in any way,"

Yes you are, you already did a few times now.

"I am merely pointing out that RASol was not a Rosh Yeshiva who left CB to be Rosh Yeshiva in his own place; he was a maggid shiur who left CB to be Rosh Yeshiva in his own place."

Oh, so now he was just a plain old "maggid shiur"? sure, tell that to the marines. He was a very humble man and he never wanted the limelight. It was only after RYH pushed him up front and forced him to be in the position of rosh yeshiva that he became one. You know, before the death of RYH, both RAS and RYD were "only maggidei shiur" and almost everyone called RAS "Rav Aron" and RYD as "Rav Yonoson" while RYS was still alive not to trample on the kavod of the REAL ONE AND ONLY rosh yeshiva who was RYH, and chas vesholom to call RAS or RYD by the name "rosh yeshiva" in those days and even to their face one could address them as "Rav Aron" and "Rav Yonoson" because they were only "maggidei shiur" and not the official roshei yeshiva even tho they sat upfront in the bais medrash.

So likewise with Rav Aron Soloveitchik, he was one of the big guns put up front by RYH himself much like RAS and RYD were put there later. They outlived RYH in CB and got to demand (through other senior talmidim who went about enforcing the new "rule") to be called the "rosh yeshiva" but Rav Aron Soloveitchik left earlier and was a rosh yeshiva in Chicago in his own right already before RYH passed away. Why are you so determined to cut Rav Aron Soloveitchik down to size?

"Very very very unlikely.
I expected a far superior hypothesis from you!"

The real truth is that the real estate magnate Avrohom Fruchthandler with RAS as his partner BOUGHT CB from RYH in exchange for building the Pachad Yitschok yeshiva for RYH and his son in law RYD in Israel. That's about the whole sum of the story if you really want to know it.

But on the ideological and abstract side, looking at it through the flow of the yeshiva world's history in America, RYH must have clearly seen the light that it was safe to go with a RAS type personality and jettison the Rav Aron Soloveitchik type of model for a rosh yeshiva because the tide had turned in the favor of the Rav Aron Kotler type of yeshivishe derech that was anti-thetical to the derech of the AMERICAN Soloveitchiks.

There were two competing visions in RYH's far-sighted complex and analytical mind and he made his decision one way or the other to go with the RAS crowd ultimately backed by solid money from Avrohom Fruchthandler and his balebatishe oilem and not with Rav Aron Soloveitchik's more intellectual oilem in CB and do not delude yourself he had a very strong following who admired him greatly and had RYH signalled that it was ok to go with Rav Aron Soloveitchik then he and his family would have still been the heads of CB. But that was not the way it turned out, was it.

"RASol was born in Europe to one of the most illustrious and chashuve families in recent history. His elter zeide was the Bais Haleivi, His Zeide was R’ Chaim, his father was R’ Moshe, and His uncle was the Gri”z, the list goes on and on and on… He was privy to geonim and talmidei chachamim the likes of which we have never seen, and he inherited the rich and prestigious Solevetchik mesorah."

All the more reason for him to be a powerful example and leader. All the great roshei yeshiva who rebuilt Toirah in America were like this, and Rav Aron Soloveitchik was younger so he could carry it on longer. And he modernized himself by obtaining a doctorate in law at NYU which made him even more perfect for the American bochurim as a role model with their colored shirts and colorful jackets at CB in those days, many of whom were geniuses like him and RYH.

"He was an accomplished talmid chacham long before he ever stepped foot in CB."

The point is NOT CB, it is the fact that he was strongly bound to RYH and not just that RYH tutored him as a younster, it was not a babyish thing like that. It was one genius and illui recognizing and working with another and their bond was very close, strong and to the end unbreakable.

RYH never spoke a bad word about Rav Aron Soloveitchik (altho he would often poke fun in public about Rav Yoshe Ber of Boston as he called him) and Rav Aron Soloveitchik only had the warmest praise for his REBBE RYH as he called him until his last days, so that CB itself is immaterial in the larger picture of RYH's kesher nafshis with Rav Aron Soloveitchik and vice versa.

"Although RASol was tutored by RYH in Europe, one can assume that he learned a lot more in his youth from his father and his other mechanchim than he learned from RYH."

Why do you assume that?

"By the time RASol took his position in CB he was already a developed and accomplished talmid chacham of more than thirty years. Of those thirty plus years only a tiny fraction were spent learning with RYH."

You should know very well that even a few years with RYH is enough to turn the biggest illuim into his die-hard followers, and Rav Aron Soloveitchik has a connection from both his youth and his later adult life with RYH. What do you think went on between them except rumo shel Torah. And it was on that bais that RYH brought him into CB and seatedhim up front, the row where the rosh yeshiva sits and told him to be and act as the CB rosh yeshiva. I know it's painful for you to swallow this, but there really was another CB before the dawn of the present one. Nothinbg ever stays the same even in yeshivas.

"When he got to CB, RASol had his own mehalech halimud, his own hashkafos and his own mehalech hamachshavah which were molded over the first thirty plus years of his life, and almost none of those thirty plus years were spent with RYH. It is doubtful that his hashkafos were in sync with those of RYH. Nevertheless, RYH respected his gadlus and he respected RYH’s gadlus."

Right, and part of RY's gadlus was that he never wanted people who just imitated him blindly like monkey see-monkey do. He loved variety in people and no two of his talmidim are alike and he knew you can't build a yeshiva with only one type of leader at the top.

That's why he had the visions and guts to hire someone so totally different to him like Rav Avigdor Miller to be the mashgiach even though they clashed, RYH knew that Rav Miller was helping the bochurim cope with life and grow as Bnai Torah. Likewwise with maggidei shiur, RYH was not looking for clones of himself, in any case he was impossible to be cloned after, he was truly unique.

"RAS, on the other hand, was born and bred CB."

Is that a ma'aleh? It may be huge chisaron, that you see the world through only one prism, yours.

"RYH was his rebbe muvak from day one."

So what? According to all reports, RYH was also the rebbe muvhak of Rav Aron Soloveitchik which makes it an even greater achievement. What's with this "day one" business by the way? Since when does "day one" have to be around to make you a better talmid muvhak of a rebbe? Think it over. You are being ridiculous here.

"He came to CB as young boy from East NY and was then transformed"

Shall we take out the violins and drums too as backgound music as you recite this city-boy makes good idyll?

"and was then transformed by RYH into the gaon he is today."

Utter rubbish! RAS transformed HIMSELF through extreme brain-power, near-infinite powers of concentration, inexhaustable hasmoda, sheer ahavas HaTorah, and with his own self-will to succeed into what he is today. RYH and RAS have zero in common and yet RYH is the rebbe and RAS is his talmid muvhak. Life is made up of paradoxes. Don't be a simpleton please.

"His entire mehalech ha’chaim from A-Z was shaped by RYH."

Another piece of servile trash. There is absolutely NO similarity between RYH's mehalech and RAS's, at all, you dummy! Take just a few samples: while RYH encouraged his own daughter to get a doctorate from Columbia University [PDF], RAS forbade his sons from any secular education. While RYH grew a long tshup and loved his hair, RAS shaves it all off in Satamat style (oh yes, they both have great unbalding hairlines that are "the same"). While RYH had worldly interests, spent years travelling in his youth and even went to study at the University of Berlin for a short time, RAS is adamantly anti-secular and lives mostly secluded in CB and goes to visist other yeshivas mainly/only. In personlaty RYH was boisterous and and funny and had a huge sense of humor, while RAS is friendly but dour. They are light years apart and yet of course RYH loved RAS dearly as his own son, but many sons do not look like or take after their father's much to their wise father's pride.

"He was the quintessential talmid muvak and his whole tzurah screams RYH."

Now you sound like a commercial from Madison Avenue. His whole tsurah ONLY screams, look I am the great RAS, noone even remembers what RYH looked like any more or what he stood for at various fazes of his life.

"I doubt that when RYH put RASol up front as Rosh Yeshiva it was a long term commitment."

So how do you know? Doyou think that RYH was playing games with so serious a matter?

"At the time RYH appointed RASol as Rosh Yeshiva, RYH was still very much involved with the yeshiva albeit not as much as in previous years.

Well, at least you now admit that Rav Aron Soloveitchik was indeed a rosh yeshiva at CB and not a mere "maggid shiur" as you alleged a few lines above. Make up your mind.

"There was just a void that needed to be filled with RYH not as involved as he had previously been, so he filled it with RASol. Why he filled it with RASol and not RYD or RAS I have no idea, your guess is as good as mine; perhaps at the time RYH felt that RAS and RYD were still too young and not yet ready as they were both a good few years younger than RASol, perhaps some other cheshbon, who knows…"

As I said I do not know the final truth because I was not privy to RYH's thoughts nor was I there. Illu yedativ hayisiv. We can only surmise as best we can. But based on the broader context of those times, it would be reasonable to assume that RYH had something specific and greater in mind than just having Rav Aron Soloveitchik be in place as a holding ploy till RAS and RYD came of age.

And it is not a contradiction, and the scenario may well be that RAS plotted the ouster of Rav Aron Soloveitchik as he ploteed the ouster of Rav Feivel Cohen and of any serious rivals. RAS may indeed ulimately have been the man for the job at CB that RYH envisioned but it does not mean to say that Rav Aron Soloveitchik was not a viable alternative or that he could not have also been part of a larger hanhola, if they could only live in peace as RYH's talmidim, something that has been proven to be impossible over time with all the other fallouts at CB that occurred.

"But al pi pashtus, RYH handing the CB reigns to RAS over RASol had nothing to do with the whole university thing"

How do you know? CB was always a college yeshiva all of RYH's years, RYH never banned or suppressed college like RAS has been doing, and he had different views on college for yeshiva bochurim to RAS.

"It’s far more likely that RYH simply wanted to pass the torch to somebody"

Nothing is ever simple in CB, you should know that.

"who would continue on the derech halimud and derech hamachshavah that he blazed and he RYH saw RAS as the best candidate for that task."

Maybe. But there are very few people who can follow RAS in life and in his shiurim, and RYD has few talmidim. They both live in grand isolation from both the real world of reality and of Torah in their ivory towers and it is only the Fruchthandler millions being pumped in all the time, like a life-support program, that keeps it all glued together. Subtract the core philanthropy of Fruchandler's money for upkeep of the properties and the staff, salaries for rebbeim, yungeleit and the CB and PY mosdos would close shop very queickly, and the whole derech and mehalech would disappear like a puff of smoke or as if one was awakened from a nice but complicated dream. All that will remain are the ten volumes of the Pachad Yitschok seforim on seforim shanks that anyone had bothered to purchase.

But don't worry, Sura and Pumbedisa also closed and turned to dust but they left us the Shas, kach he darka shel Toirah.

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

"...Rav Aron Soloveitchik only had the warmest praise for his REBBE RYH as he called him until his last days, ...".

CBT

Just what did RASol say IN CB Bais Medrash at the Levayah of one of the ousted CB Magidde Shiur? Sort of disputes your thesis.

Chaim Berlin tragedy said...

Twistelton-Twistelton said...
"...Rav Aron Soloveitchik only had the warmest praise for his REBBE RYH as he called him until his last days, ...".

CBT

Just what did RASol say IN CB Bais Medrash at the Levayah of one of the ousted CB Magidde Shiur? Sort of disputes your thesis."

You know, people say lots of things over the course of their lives, especially at funerals. If you were there or know about it, please share it with the world AND GIVE IT AN INTELLIGENT CONTEXT please.

I wasn't there so I don't know what he said and what he meant and what it was all about if it even happened at all. Maybe what he said needed to be said and he had the guts to say it for the kovod of the niftar even if RYH didn't like it. RYH was not G-d in the eyes of people like Rav Aron Soloveitchik and he was not above tochacha if that was the case and Rav Aron Soloveitchik may have been one of the few people to give it without rancor or malice. Who knows? If you aren't going to be specific and just talk in remozim then you are just wasting everybody's time here. Thanks.

Maybe Rav Aron Soloveitchik was still licking his wounds for being ousted and that RYH did not take take his side at the time, a pattern that was repeated many times by RYH as he watched his "bonim" fight over who should get what seat and where and why. This could also be the exception that proves the rule.

But it's hard to see that after a very strong push by RYH to seat Rav Aron Soloveitchik up front in the Bais Medrash and push him to be the de facto rosh yeshiva which Rav Aron Soloveitchik submitted to because it was the ratzon of his rebbe RYH, and having served loyally in that capacity for a good number of years, and then leaving CB for reasons that are not 100% clear ad hayom hazeh but it sure looks like RYH not only chose RAS over Rav Aron Soloveitchik because he had made up his mind that the CB of the future would be closer to a Rav Aron Kotler model than to a Soloveitchik model that's tolerant and accepting of serious college-level studies for its talmidim in Bais Medrash (something that has come to fruition over the decades since RYH's passing from this world in 1980.)

So who knows? People say all sorts of things at levayas and they get their two-penny's in and maybe even a bit of nekoma like a son "getting back at his father" but there were many other instances until Rav Aron Soloveitchik passed away that he praised RYH to the sky.

By the way, if Rav Aron Soloveitchik was a "true enemy of the state (CB)" then there is no way in hell that RAS would have allowed an official shloshim to be publicised and held in the CB mesivta bais medrash attended by many of the top-gun CBers who spoke the highest praises of Rav Aron Soloveitchik and of their fondest memories of him when he sat up front where the rosh yeshiva RYH put him.

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

CBT,

I don’t know for sure why RASol left CB. But I DO know (from first hand information) that HE WAS NOT a fan of RYH. To say he hated him would be more accurate. By the funeral of Rabbi Snow, held IN CB bais Medrash he said “ I can say that I did not kill the niftar”. His intent (as RYH told the guy sitting next to him was to call RYH a murderer. Exact quote “yener (RASol) refed mir a rotach”. And he was quite upset that the funeral was held in CB at all. In all subsequent years he never gave the impression that his opinion changed. Can you quote anything that would lead one to believe that in the later years he was a fan of RYH.

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

To give it context: it was the Parsha of Eglah Arufa. RASol said over the Gemras question “are the elders of the city Murderers” and then the answer “that we let them go without an escort”. To which he explained “you can’t know how you caused someone’s death’. He then said “I didn’t kill the niftar”. The implication and intent (clear to everyone there) was that someone else (RYH) did kill the niftar by persecuting him.

Chaim Berlin tragedy said...

Twistelton-Twistelton said...
CBT, I don’t know for sure why RASol left CB."

Neither do I, but it went beyond just two gedolim saying goodbye to each other. Given the gadlus of Rav Aron Soloveitchik, for CB it meant that RYH had chosen his druthers and as far as he was concerned, he was going to go down the path of Rav Aron Kotler's yeshivishe derech and the main pathfinder and trailblazer down that route was going to be none other than the American born RAS who RYH had a great fascination with from his earliest youth. RAS was also deeply into the world of RYh ma'amorim and developed such a deep insight into what they were really all about that it turned RAS into a mekubbel-disciple of RYH, which is where the true Rebbe-Talmid relationship lay between them, while the Soloveitchiks were not into that type of what they no doubt regarded as "hocus-pocus" when they were into more of the academic worlds with doctorates to boot.

"But I DO know (from first hand information) that HE WAS NOT a fan of RYH."

Love-hate relationships with RYH were the norm for many of RYH's talmidim. They still are for quite a few that are left (true RYH disciples are a rare and dying breed. Soon, in about 10-20 years there will be none left.) So no chiddush here that you can bring any sort of ra'ayah for anything. RSC was also no fan of RYH in many ways, but that did not detract from his clinging to RYH's derech in Hilchos Dei'os VeChovis Halvavos and even perfecting after he left CB. In fact there is not one CBer who at one time or another had what to say about RYH that was not flattering to RYH, and in some ways RYH brought that about himself because RYH was a critic and he taught his talmidim to be critics and so it was natural that they would critise RYH too. You know that as well as anyone else who spent time under RYH. Take the Fruchthandlers for example, today they are the shpitz CBers right? But from each one over the years there were criticisms and critiques of RYH over the many decades, even causing the youngest of the brothers to abandon RYH and CB and go learn in Lakewood for a good few years. At any rate, saying some negative things about RYH was the norm among his talmidim as much as one heard the great things. RYH was that complex that his talmidim could analyse him like that and still be loyal CBers. That was just how complicated RYH was for many and the greater the relationship, like with Rav Aron Soloveitchik, the greater the complexity to be expected over the long haul.

"To say he hated him would be more accurate."

Love-hate, it's all the same really. RYH always managed to stir the passions of his talmidim and friends and in that way they remained connected to him paradoxically. RYH knew how to stir the pot, like a good pshcholgist who knows the value of "rocking the boat" and its benefits.

"By the funeral of Rabbi Snow, held IN CB bais Medrash he said “ I can say that I did not kill the niftar”. His intent (as RYH told the guy sitting next to him was to call RYH a murderer. Exact quote “yener (RASol) refed mir a rotach”."

Ok, so as I surmised Rav Aron Soloveitchik was standing up for the kavod of the niftar and giving people there some needed mussar and perhaps in that way he was doing them all a huge favor that it was a way of asking mechila from the niftar and admitting to wrongs to get forgiveness from Shomayim, and Rav Aron Soloveitchik, while not speaking directly and through derech remiza, knew RYH long enough to know his faults and foibles and he delivered the goods that maybe min hashamayim gained them all mechila. I think this shows the gadlus of Rav Aron Soloveitchik, that he was his own man and was not afraid to speak his mind for the emmes, something that as RYH got older he got more intolerant about especially as he was making plans to move to EY in the early 1960s already and was making plans for a succession at CB. A lot of complicated moves going on then.

"And he was quite upset that the funeral was held in CB at all."

Well, when Rav Aron Soloveitchik himself was niftar, CB itself allowed an official shloshim asifa to take place in the high school bais medrash building and even though RAS was conspicuously not in attendance, the choshuve old-time CBers who were close enough to Rav Aron Soloveitchik delivered some great hespedim for him. So that in itself should tell you that as far as the official party line at CB is concerned they were cognisant of who Rav Aron Soloveitchik was and his role in CB and that even after all the years he was still worthy of receiving "state recognition" after his passing, about 30 years after he left CB.

"In all subsequent years he never gave the impression that his opinion changed. Can you quote anything that would lead one to believe that in the later years he was a fan of RYH."

To be honest, I have seen such quotes but I don't have them in front of me. You quote from a funeral, when moods are not normal, but during all the other decades after Rav Aron Soloveitchik left CB did you ever hear negative things about him in CB? Farkert, the sh'vach was always of how much of an illui and masmid he was and how he was able to juggle getting his doctorate without in any way cutting back on his seder halimud.

But, I did come acrosss the following post from a well-known talmid of Rav Aron Soloveitchik in Chicago, Harry Maryles, who runs a very respectable Torah blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" at haemtza.blogspot.com, and he has a post there from Wednesday, August 20, 2008 that affirms basically every point I have stated so far, so I am re-posting it here. Thanks:

"The Torah U’Mada of Rav Yitzchak Hutner

One of the most revered Charedi Gedolim of the 20th century was Rav Yitzchak Hutner. He was indeed a Gadol – a Torah giant. His magnum Opus Pachad Yitzchak was written at a very early age. If I understand correctly it was published by his daughter, Rebbitzin Bruriah David.

I never met him but I am quite an admirer of his. He was a revered Rosh HaYeshiva and rabbinic leader – a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudath Israel.

If the current Charedi rabbinic leaders were to follow his path - we would be living in a different world. It is a curious fact of life, however, that his successor Rav Aharon Schechter the current Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshivas Rabbenu Chaim Berlin does not seem to really follow in his Rebbe’s footsteps. Nor did another famous student of his, Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, the Novominsker Rebbe. He attended college and received a degree. But he does not advocate it for his current students.

This is not to cast any aspersions on anyone - certainly not Rabbi Perlow. People have a right to their own views. Rabbi Perlow was my 12th grade Rebbe and I still respect him and all he brings to the table as a rabbinic leader in Klal Yisroel .

But there are some students who I believe did follow in his footsteps - at least in having a positive attitude about secular studies. One of them is Rav Aharon Lichtenstein. Another is Rav Aaron Soloveichik. While obviously not identical to Rav Hutner I believe their Hashkafos are far truer to Rav Hutner’s than the current Rosh HaYeshiva of Chaim Berlin.

Rav Hutner was at his core a believer in the value of secular studies and limited participation in general culture. He spent time studying philosophy in the University of Berlin, and befriended other Gedolim there at the time including Rav Joseph B. Soloveithcik and the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rav Menachem Mendel Schneersohn - who attended classes there at that time. It is interesting to note that late in his life he became a fierce critic of Lubavitch.

Not only did he attend university, his daughter, Rebbitzin Bruriah David, the current head of Beis Yaakov of Jerusalem – a very Charedi women’s seminary- received her PhD from Columbia University in the seventies.

But it doesn’t stop there. Rav Hutner actually wanted to create a fully accredited Yeshiva college. Together with famed Torah VoDaath Rosh HaYeshiva Reb Sharga Feivel Mendelowitz - he had gone to the trouble to put all the elements in place including the accreditation from the New York Board of Regents.

Unfortunately Rav Hutner acceded to Rav Aharon Kotler’s wishes who urged him not to do it. It never happened because of Rav Hutner’s profound respect for Rav Aharon Kotler. But what this episode says about him is that he viewed studying secular subjects to be so positive that he was willing to create a Yeshiva college. He had not changed his views on secular studies upon his immigration to America and - it seems – they actually became even stronger.

One of the people he was very close to was my Rebbe, Rav Aharon Soloveichik. When Rav Aharon was 12 years old and still living in Europe - Rav Hutner tutored him after Rav Ahron’s father, Rav Moshe, had moved to New York to become Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshiva University. And years later after both had immigrated to America -when Rav Ahron was ready - he became a Rebbe in Rav Hutner’s Yeshiva as well while as retaining his position in Yeshiva University.

In his later years his look changed. But I do not believe his Hashkafos ever changed.

The following story was told by Dr Yitzchak Levine. It is about a fellow who had attended Chaim Berlin it its early years.

After graduating Mesivtha Chaim Berlin, this fellow had no connection with the yeshiva for a number of years. More than 20 years later he attended a dinner sponsored by the yeshiva. When he got to the dinner, he saw Rav Hutner sitting on the dais. He had a full beard, was wearing a very large "up hat," and a kapote. This former talmud went over to Rav Hutner, looked at him, and said, "What happened to you? This is not the way you dressed when you were my rebbe." Rav Hutner replied, "I am the same person I was when I was your rebbe. The times have changed, that is all."

Perhaps. People do evolve and sometimes modify their Hashkafos. Rav Hutner was firmly was a disciple of Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook the patriarch of Religious Zionism - even though his early gounding was in the famed Slabodka Yeshiva under the Rav Nosson Zvi Finkel. But in his later years Rav Hutner seemed to move away from the Hashkafos of Rav Kook and closer to those of the Chazan Ish.

But I still believe that at the core he was the same person he had always been. This is what he meant when he answered that student of 20 years ago. His look changed and his emphasis changed, but his core values did not.

Those values included a positive view of secular studies, a warm and welcoming approach to secular Jews and an appreciation of the Halachicly permitted secular culture as evidenced by his love of opera - a fact testified to by one of his early students - a man old enough to be my father (who prefers to remain anonymous).

If only there were more Rav Hutners today."

Chaim Berlin tragedy said...

Maran HaRav Eliashiv and the Rosh Yeshiva HaRav Shteinman Urge Voters to Go to Polls and Support UTJ

11 Shevat 5769 - February 5, 2009

By Yechiel Sever

"Every yirei Hashem should do all he can to increase the honor of Heaven by strengthening the UTJ-Gimmel list," reads a letter written by Maran HaRav Eliashiv in advance of next week's Knesset elections. "And whoever shirks this obligation lends a hand to those who seek to uproot everything."

Large rallies are drawing thousands to hear messages conveyed by gedolei Torah and gedolei Chassidus regarding the holy obligation to vote for and to work to support the UTJ Knesset list.

At the gatherings a krias kodesh by Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita was presented (see text in separate article). A message by the Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman shlita, read, "Certainly there is a clear obligation to vote Gimmel, for in doing so one acts to establish the authority of the Torah."

Thousands of Bnei Brak residents turned out for a major elections gathering held at the large beis medrash in Kiryat Vishnitz to promote the UTJ list. The dais was graced by the Admor of Vishnitz, gedolei Torah, roshei yeshivos, roshei kollelim, marbitzei Torah vehoro'oh, dayonim and thousands of avreichim. Moving speeches were given on the obligation and the privilege of working to bring about the success of the UTJ list, which is backed by maranan verabonon, who are calling on the entire chareidi public to unite under the Gimmel banner, the list for yirei'im ledvar Hashem.

HaRav Yisroel Hager, speaking in the presence of his father, the Admor of Vishnitz, quoted remarks by his grandfather, the Ahavas Yisroel zy"o.

"We're facing a difficult campaign and we must act to increase the honor of Heaven," he said. "My grandfather, the Imrei Chaim, once said during the time of the decree to draft girls that although many Jews will go to jail and will make extreme sacrifices, we have to think about that Jew living in a small community in the North who cannot meet the nisoyon and will succumb chas vesholom, sending his daughters to the army, therefore we need many loyal representatives in the Knesset. This is not just about a party, rather it affects the entire existence of Klal Yisroel in Eretz Hakodesh. Every public representative is a representative of the entire public, regardless of background. Responsibility for the public rests on the shoulders of the representatives, who stand at the watch on matters both spiritual and material, for the material is spiritual since it enables us to build and add more benches in botei medrash and botei chinuch. Therefore we have a holy obligation to act and encourage others, to save what can be saved and to help promote the UTJ list. We must not treat the matter lightly, thereby distancing other Jews from a matter close to our hearts."

He finished by offering a "yeshar koach" to Rabbi Shmuel Halpert for 28 years of activity, and to Rabbi Menachem Eliezer Moses, blessing him for success in the challenges before him.

Another elections gathering was held this week at the large beis medrash for Gur Chassidim at which the Gerrer Rebbe called on the thousands of listeners to increase the number of activists promoting the success of UTJ. During the gathering an announcement was made in the name and in the presence of the Gerrer Rebbe: "With the elections drawing near, everybody has an obligation to vote for the Gimmel list and is asked wherever possible to help persuade others to vote Gimmel, and may all of us be blessed with brochoh and hatzlochoh."

Thousands of Belz Chassidim in Jerusalem took part in an elections rally combined with a seudas mitzvah to mark the "day of rescue" of the Admor of Belz and his brother, the Admor of Bilgorei. The event, held at the central Belz complex, was attended by gedolei Torah shlita, members of the Machzikei HaDas Badatz, roshei yeshivos, roshei kollelim, rabbonim, dayonim, public figures and UTJ candidates.

The gathering marked the miraculous resurrection 65 years ago of Belz Chassidus in Eretz Hakodesh. Afterwards the Belzer Rebbe's decision was presented regarding the obligation to participate in the elections in order to strengthen Yiddishkeit and Jewish education in Eretz Yisroel.

Speeches were given by HaRav Pinchos Friedman, head of Belz kollelim in Eretz Hakodesh, HaRav Menashe Reisman and R' Mordechai Webber, the chairman of the Forum of Representatives of Chassidei Belz and the Rebbe's shamash.

UTJ candidate Rabbi Yisroel Eichler also spoke, focusing on the difficulties chareidi Jewry currently faces as well as the danger to the Torah world, which was built through the strength and merit of gedolei Torah, who invested great efforts into Torah and educational institutions throughout Eretz Yisroel. On Election Day, he said, hanging in the balance is the fate of hundreds of thousands of children in the chareidi education system as well as young couples in need of housing and kollel families whose minimal subsistence is being further reduced by the world economic crisis.

Anonymous said...

>>"Rav Hutner came to America in around 1933 and he was a rosh yeshiva from 1936 starting in Brooklyn New York"<<

Not true. When CB stated in 1936 RYH was taken by RYMS to run the office, which he did for 7 years part time (there were those that remember the "President" plaque he hung on that office door) while at the same time keeping an afternoon job of "English principal" at Yeshiva RJJ.

After 7 years that RYMS built it up from 9th grade through 3rd year Bais Medrash, RYH stepped in an annoiunced "I'm also saying a shiur and I'm saying a shiur on top of you." RYMS, in his great legendary anivus to a fault, was fine with that as long as he had the bachurim for the first 3 years BM. RYH merely said 10 shiurei klali per year, unprepared, and did not allow them to be written down or recorded.

RYH, with his powerful personality quickly took over. RYMS had his own following which RYH couldn't handle based on the rule "ein shnei melochim bekesser echad". However, he couldn't fire RYMS who he didn't fire. But he could and did try to knock him down by putting kids up to say higher year shiur in BM. Those kids were mechutzofim for accepting and ended up getting what was coming to them.
RASol was an attempt of putting a gadol b'torah on top of him. However, RYMS was his cousin and close friend and they were very mechabed each other.

We all know every single yeshiva with machlokes was destroyed, from Bais Medrash Elyon in it's glory days to the recent Telz. Yet CB flourished? The answer is, it was a totally one-sided machlokes with RYMS in his great legendary anivus to a fault never saying one word back. The yeshiva stands today from him. His torah and seforim remain staples in the yeshiva world. Yet CB does not have a zecher of him.

About time you berliners put up a proper huge plaque to him in a prominent area and outside building wall.

See "Pirkei Toldos H'GRY"M Shurkin z"l" given out at CB I think 98th dinner. BH had a bais din and team of lawyers try to disprove it but she couldn't, so the best she could do was insist on some slight edits. It is reprinted in the back of the large new edition of sefer "Shiurei Rebbe Yaakov Moishe Shurkin" on Baba Kama.