"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.

The Toras HoRav Foundation Series

Available at KTAV and OU Books





Dr. Eli Turkel (continually updated)
Dr. Zanvel Klein, Torah Umadda Journal, vol. 4 (1993), Yeshiva University. 
Virtual Beit Midrash
Mordechai Gafni in Da'at, vol. 31 (1993), Bar Ilan University


(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.

Excerpts from an address to the Rabbinical Council of America in 1975.Das reine Denken und die Seinskonstituierung bei Hermann Cohen by Josef Solowiejczyk, Berlin: Reuther and Reichard, 1932.

Quotes from the Rav On the Joys of Religious Experience

Prayer means sacrifice, unrestricted offering of the whole self, the returning to God of body and soul, everything one possesses and cherishes. There is an altar in heaven upon which the archangel Michael offers the souls of the righteous. Thrice daily we petition God to accept our prayers, as well as the fires - the self-sacrifices of Israel - on that altar ("ve-ishei Yisrael u-tefillatam be-ahava tekabbel be-ratzon"). Prayer is rooted in the idea that man belongs, not to himself, but that God claims man, and that His claim to man is not partial but total. God the Almighty sometimes wills man to place himself, like Isaac of old, on the altar, to light the fire and to be consumed as a burnt offering. “Redemption, Prayer, Talmud Torah”, Tradition 17:2 (Spring 1978), pp. 70-71

Alas, not always does creative man respond readily to the divine normative summons which forms the very core of his new existential status as a confronted being. All too often, the motivating force in creative man is not the divine mandate entrusted to him and which must be implemented in full at both levels, the cognitive and the normative, but a demonic urge for power. By fulfilling an incomplete task, modern creative man falls back to a non-confronted, natural existence to which normative pressure is alien. The reason for the failure of confronted man to play his role fully lies in the fact that, while the cognitive gesture gives man mastery and a sense of success, the normative gesture requires of man surrender. At this juncture, man of today commits the error which his ancestor, Adam of old, committed by lending an attentive ear to the demonic whisper "Ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil."Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, "Confrontation," from Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Thought, 1964 volume 6, #2.

Abraham, the knight of faith, according to our tradition, sought and discovered God in the starlit heavens ofMesopotamia. Yet, he felt an intense loneliness and could not find solace in the silent companionship of God, whose image was reflected in the boundless stretches of the cosmos. Only when he met God on earth as Father, Brother, and Friend - not only along the uncharted astral routes - did he feel redeemed.  Joseph B. Soloveitchik, The Lonely Man of Faith,  (Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1995), p. 49.

One serves God and enters into an intimate relationship with Him by self-realization on the part of the moral will, by living a moral life, by walking humbly with people, be engaging in deeds of charity, by being just and merciful, generous and kind, by cultivating the truth, by helping others, by disciplining oneself, by taming one’s animal desires and impulses and by introducing axiological worth into the realm of a bodily existence.Joseph B. Soloveitchik,Worship of the Heart  (Toras HaRav), pp. 9-10.

The slave lives in silence, if such a meaningless existence may be called life. He has no message to deliver. In contrast with the slave, the free man bears a message, has a good deal to tell, and is eager to convey his life story to anyone who cares to listen. Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, “Redemption, Prayer, Talmud Torah”

"Serve the Lord with joy.” Man must worship his Creator not only out of a feeling of absolute decree and coercion but also out of spontaneous, variegated desire and aspiration which gladdens the heart. The Torah commands us to serve God with joy, with longing and yearning, out of enjoyment and happiness, unfettered pleasure and the soul's delight. When man does not see God and sense His presence at every turn; when he thinks of God only out of fear of punishment, with a cool intellect, without ecstasy, icy or enthusiasm, when his actions lack soul, inwardness and vitality, then ills religious life is flawed. At the same time, if man is not always aware of God, if he does not walk with God in all his ways and paths, if he does not sense God's touch on his stooped shoulders in times of distress and loneliness, imparting a certain comfort and encouragement, then his service is likewise incomplete. And From There You Shall Seek in Mesorat HaRav Siddur, p. 75-6

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