Monday, November 28, 2016

The Chabad Lubavitch campaign

"In a speech in 1942 Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, praised the efforts of the Chabad Lubavitch campaign to raise awareness to the coming of the Masiach. Rav Soloveitchik said, 'The Lubavitcher Rebbe speaks and publicizes about the Mashiach and a tumult has erupted, an uproar and an outcry. What is wrong, I ask? That people who are heretics decry him; I understand. That those who violate the Shabbat decry him; I understand. But that those who study the Talumud and Chassidus decry him; this is inconceivable...Are we not allowed to talk about the belief in the Mashiach anymore?'"

Yosef Dov Soloveitchick. Oiystzug Fun Der Rede 1943

Wikipedia

Monday, October 31, 2016

A Moral Issue

"The aftermath of Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and the attack on the Palestinian refugee camps by Lebanese Christians, left a moral stain on Israel. In the Knesset there was a demand for a thorough inquiry into the massacres and a clarification if Israel was in any way responsible. The left wing political parties were in favor of the inquiry. The right wing parties were opposed to it. Mizrachi joined them in opposing any inquiry. Rav Soloveitchik was informed of the position taken by Mizrachi. A vote was scheduled for a Sunday. The Rav called Rabbi Friedman at the Jewish Agency and instructed him to call Israel in his name and to demand that Mizrachi vote for the resolution. The Rav said that it is not a political issue but a moral one and Mizrachi had to act morally. So insistent was the Rav that he told Rabbi Friedman to call Israel on Shabbat to convey his message! The call was an halachic order by the Rav to Rabbi Friedman. The call was made on Shabbat. Mizrachi voted for the inquiry."

Orthodoxy Awakens, The Belkin Era and Yeshiva University, Victor Geller, p. 258

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Welcome



Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, or the Rav (translation: The Rabbi), as he is generally called by his students, was one of the greatest Jewish leaders and Torah scholars of the 20th century. He possessed many qualities of special relevance to people of our era, including the following:  

• He spent enormous energy attempting to show the meaning and relevance of Torah to a 20th century Western audience.

 He was a master of Talmud, Halacha, Bible, and Jewish philosophy. In addition, the Rav had a broad secular education, having earned a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Berlin.

 He was a highly eloquent pedagogue, a riveting speaker, and a brilliant writer.  Not every genius is a great communicator. The Rav could communicate myriad aspects of Torah from intricate Talmudic logic to subtle philosophical ideas. Moreover, he was fluent in English.

 The Rav loved his audience and relished the act of teaching.

This website is a collection of resources for study of the Rav’s life and teachings. You can find here books (over 70 of them), articles, sound recordings (hundreds of them), videos, photos, and links to works by the Rav, his students, and scholars of his work. The material is challenging and you may need a dictionary to get through some of it. But it is well worth the effort.

If you have material related to Rabbi Soloveitchik that you would like to disseminate please contact me. This can include notes, recordings, or your own completed writings or works in progress.

Click here to listen to The Rav's famous description of how he experienced the Mesorah (Jewish Torah tradition) through the act of teaching (YUTorah.org)

Video of the Rav Giving a Public Talk

Rav Soloveitchik Teshuvah Drasha 1975





New Publications/Media


Chumash Mesoras HaRav—Sefer Bereishis
Mesorat HaRav Chumash
Dr. Arnold Lustiger

 Articles:

The Two Adams by Microsoft Founder Bill Gates
Judaism: Rav Soloveitchik and social issues series: Who gets the kingship by Dr. Chaim Charles Cohen

Classes:

Handouts:

ADDENDUM TO KOREN MESORAT HARAV SIDDUR, Collected by Dr. Arnold Lustiger, Posted with permission



This website is non-commercial. Links to booksellers are for the convenience of site visitors. We do not receive any commission for books, tapes, or CDs listed here.

We cannot vouch for the cyber-safety of any downloads you make from sites linked to this site.

Banner photo courtesy of Yeshiva University

Monday, August 15, 2016

Articles


(Partial Listing)

"Confrontation"  (Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Thought, 1964: 6, #2) From Tradition 17:2 (Spring, 1978)
"The Community", p. 7-24
"Majesty and Humility", p. 25-37
"Catharsis", p. 38-54
"Redemption, Prayer and Talmud Torah", p. 55-73
"A Tribute to the Rebbetzin of Talne", p. 73-83 
"U-bekashtem Misham", Hadarom 47:1-836, 1979 
Hesped le Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky", HaPardes, Shana 14 Choveret 7, 1940.  
"R' Chaim Heller Zt"l Shmuel haKatan shel Doreinu HaPardes, 32-33, 1962. 
Letter to Editor, Cantorial Council of America Bulletin, Vol. 4#1, 1965. 
On repetition of words by the cantor, translated by Rabbi Schonfeld.
"Sacred and Profane, Kodesh and Chol in World Perspective," Gesher, Vol. 3#1, p5-29, 1966.
"Cheto haKaved shel Dorenu" Hapardes, Shana 30 Choveret 1:24-27, 1955. 
"U-bekashtem Misham", Hadarom 47:1-836, 1979.
"Iyunim be-nusach ha-kiddush shel shabbat" shana be-shana, 159-173, 1980
"Surrendering to the Almighty," Light 17, Kislev 5736-1976.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Moshe Soloveichik

Chaim Soloveitchik's son
Moshe Soloveichik, was an Orthodox rabbi. He was the second son of renowned Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik and grandson of the Beis HaLevi. Wikipedia
Born: 1879, Valozhyn, Belarus
Died: 1941, New York City, New York, United States
Parents: Chaim Soloveitchik
Children: Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Ahron Soloveichik
Grandchildren: Haym Soloveitchik, Dr. Atarah Twersky, Tovah Lichtenstein
Grandparent: Yosef Dov Soloveitchik

Monday, August 1, 2016

LESSONS FROM HIS MOTHER

Most of all I learned that Judaism expresses itself not only in formal compliance with the law but also in a living experience. She taught me that there is a flavor, a scent and warmth to mitzvot. I learned from her the most important thing in life—to feel the presence of the Almighty and the gentle pressure of His hand resting upon my frail shoulders.

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, “A Tribute to the Rebbetzen of Talne,” Tradition 17:2, Spring 1978, p. 7

Monday, June 13, 2016

ETHICAL VALUES


…the religious person is given not only a duty to follow the halakha but also a value and vision. The person performing the duty seeks to realize this ideal or vision. Kant felt that the duty of consciousness expresses only a "must" without a value. He demanded a routine form of compliance, an "ought" without aiming at a value. As a soldier carries out his duty to the commanding officer, one may appreciate his service or just obey through discipline and orders. Kant's ethics are a "formal ethics", the goal is not important. For us it would be impossible to behave this way. An intelligent person must find comfort, warmth, and a sense of fulfillment in the law. We deal with ethical values, not ethical formalisms. A sense of pleasure must be gained by fulfilling a norm. The ethical act must have an end and purpose. We must become holy.
Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Mesorat HaRav Siddur, p. 112-3

Monday, May 16, 2016

insularity cannot be vindicated as authentic Judaism

"There are religiously committed Jews who are indifferent to
the concerns of the larger non-Jewish society. They are content
to reside in isolated communities with unconcern, if not actual
disdain, for the Gentile world and for the problems which afflict
humanity. This introversion can be explained as a reaction to
the centuries-old derision and persecution which have been the
Jewish historical experience and to which they were subjected
with particular ferocity in modern times. Nowadays, there are
particular aspects of moral perversion afflicting the general
society which are repellant to Jewish sensibilities. Nevertheless,
this insularity cannot be vindicated as authentic Judaism even if
it can be understood and justified in particular historical periods
and situations."

Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, Man of Faith in the Modern World, p. 73.

cannot be acquired in a state of melancholia

"It was the practice in Kovno and Slobodka to spend the twilight hour when the Sabbath was drawing to a close in an atmosphere suffused with sadness and grief, an atmosphere in which man loses his spiritual shield, his sense of power, confidence, and strength and becomes utterly sensitive and  responsive, and then begins to engage in a monologue about death and, the nihility of this world, its emptiness and ugliness. The halakhic men of Brisk and Volozhin sensed that this whole mood posed a profound contradiction to the halakhah and would undermine its very foundations. Halakhic man fears nothing. For he swims in the sea of Talmud, that life-giving sea to all the living. If a person has sinned, then the halakhah of repentance will come to his aid. One must not waste time on spiritual self-appraisal, on probing introspections, and on the picking away at the "sense" of sin. Such a psychic analysis brings man neither to fear not to love of God nor, most fundamental of all, to the knowledge of cognition of the Torah. The Torah cannot be acquired in a state of melancholia and depression." Halakhic Man [36], pp. 74-76 in The Rav, Rakeffet-Rothkoff, pp. 168-9.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Nowadays, it can be very difficult to observe Shabbos.

While the term בחירה denotes mere freedom of will in both the physical and spiritual sense, the word רשות portray's man's power to combat evil. It connotes man's capacity and fortitude to defeat his
evil inclination. Moreover, while the word בחירה implies that each option is equally accessible, requiring an identical exertion of effort, the term  רשות signifies heroic struggle. Although the sinner possesses the potential to overcome evil, he must first engage in a perilous and protracted battle. If the Torah were to have described the phenomenon of רשות, as opposed to בחירה, it would not have described it as accessible, as being neither remote nor distant לא נפלאת היא ממך ולא רחוקה היא. On the contrary, it would have declared that the pursuit of teshuva רחוקה ממך היא, is very remote from you. It is extremely difficult for a person to harness his energies and overcome his natural inclinations. His entire personality rebels against this. Unlike בחירה which presumes accessibility, the word רשות signifies inaccessibility, something which is difficult to achieve בשמים היא. To alter radically one's personality is very arduous.

Nowadays, it can be very difficult to observe Shabbos. Becoming observant is not an obvious option. One must sacrifice both monetarily and socially, in order to observe the Shabbos properly. Often, one faces ridicule and scoffery from the non-observant. The same obstacles are encountered when educating children in yeshivas, as opposed to secular schools. בשמים היא  - raising children properly, teaching them to be G-d-fearing and observant requires intense fortitude. רשות presupposes a decision which runs contrary to one's self interest, one which can be financially and socially ruinous. Nonetheless, יש לך רשות each person has been granted the capacity to conquer רע and achieve טוב. Though perilous and fraught with risk, man possesses the fortitude to renounce evil and adopt a righteous lifestyle."

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Noraos HaRav, Vol. 16, p. 18