Moshe Meiselman

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Moshe Meiselman is an American-born Orthodox rabbi. He presently lives in Israel, heading the Yeshiva Toras Moshe in Jerusalem which he cofounded.

He previously studied under Dr. Donald Anderson, receiving a doctorate in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1967. The title of his thesis is The Operation Ring for Connective K-Theory.[1] He is a former principal of Yeshiva University High Schools of Los Angeles (YULA).[2]

He is a son-in-law of the previous Zidichover Rebbe of Chicago, Rabbi Avrohom Eichenstein. His mother, Shulamit Soloveitchik Meiselman was the author of "The Soloveitchik Heritage: A Daughter's Memoir."

Rabbi Meiselman and Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik[edit]

Rabbi Meiselman is a nephew of Rabbi Dr. Joseph B. Soloveitchik with whom, according to Meiselman, he had study sessions on a near daily basis from the time he was 18 until he was 29 years old.[3]

Meiselman never attended Yeshiva University in New York, to which Rabbi Soleveitchik commuted from Boston and gave his lectures. Instead, Meiselman spent long hours of intensive private study with Rabbi Soloveitchik at Rabbi Soloveitchik's home while he attended Harvard University[4] and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, until the completion of his Ph.D.

Following his career in Jewish Orthodox Jewish educational institutions in the United States, Meiselman emigrated to Israel; and settled in Jerusalem, where he founded and opened Yeshivas Toras Moshe[5] along with other close students and family of Rabbi Soloveitchik.

He has subsequently cast Rabbi Soloveitchik in the role of a traditional "Haredi" rosh yeshiva.[6] Meiselman professes that Rabbi Soloveitchik's Religious Zionism and respect for secular studies were solely for the purpose of outreach and as a response to the assimilation of American Jews.[7] This professed belief has angered many Modern Orthodox and Religious Zionist thinkers.[8]

Rabbi Meiselman and Rabbi Slifkin[edit]

After a disagreement about being mentioned in the acknowledgments in Rabbi Natan Slifkin's book, The Camel, The Hare, and The Hyrax, Meiselman supposedly made comments in private conversations with several students at Yeshivas Toras Moshe criticizing both Rabbi Slifkin and his work, specifically his suggestion that the Sages of the Talmud were mistaken in certain scientific matters. Slifkin subsequently sent a letter to Meiselman rebutting the critiques of his work, calling the lectures "factually incorrect and extremely defamatory." Slifkin also posted audio of the conversation that someone had recorded on his website, with a note that he did receive a request to remove it from his website on the grounds that 'they were only intended for his yeshivah.'"[9] Rabbi Meiselman subsequently wrote[10] that those were private "off-the-cuff" conversations, and that they do not accurately represent his complete opinions, although Meiselman's recorded conversation begins with an explanation of why he "decided to discuss this with the entire student body."

Torah, Chazal and Science[edit]

Meiselman's 2013 book, Torah, Chazal and Science, in effect a response to Slifkin's challenges, promotes the theory that all unqualified scientific statements of the Talmudic sages were divinely inspired and are therefore immutable: "All of Chazal’s (the Talmudic sages') definitive statements are to be taken as absolute fact [even] outside the realm of halakhah (Jewish law)."[11] The flip side of this thesis, and another major theme of the book, is that modern science is transitory and unreliable compared to the divine wisdom of the sages. Reviewers[12] have pointed to the author's forced interpretations of various Talmudic passages, the misrepresentation of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik's position on Talmudic science, and false or misleading statements regarding the validity of scientific knowledge.


Rabbi Meiselman on the Holocaust[edit]

Following the opinion of some Haredi thinkers, Meiselman has argued that the Holocaust was the result of Jewish cultural assimilation in Western Europe in the early twentieth century. He writes that "the turning away from the status of an 'am ha-nivhar, a chosen people, and the frightening rush toward assimilation were, according to the rules that govern Jewish destiny, the real causes for the Holocaust."[13]

Published works[edit]

  • Meiselman, Moshe (1978). Jewish Women in Jewish Law. Ktav Publishing House. ISBN 0-87068-329-2. 
  • Meiselman, Moshe (2013). Torah, Chazal and Science. Israel Bookshop Publications. ISBN 978-1-60091-243-6. 

External links[edit]

Rabbi Gil Student: Book Review: Torah, Chazal and Science

Professor Nathan Aviezer: Review Essay: Torah, Chazal and Science

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Mathematics Genealogy Project – Moshe Meiselman
  2. ^ Back cover of Jewish Woman and Jewish Law
  3. ^ http://matzav.com/rav-meiselman-yoatzot-to-poskot-maharat-and-rabbah-is-a-natural-progression
  4. ^ Learn Torah, love Torah, live Torah pg. 239
  5. ^ http://www.mishpacha.com/Browse/Article/1613/Mosaic-Of-Truth
  6. ^ http://www.ou.org/pdf/ja/5766/fall66/CommtyCovenantMeiselman.pdf
  7. ^ Moshe Meiselman, "The Rav, Feminism and Public Policy: An Insider's Overview," Tradition 33.1 (1998): 5–30.
  8. ^ Tradition 33.2 (1999), Communications by Rabbis Yosef Blau, Nathaniel Helfgot, and Eli Clark. See also "Revisionism and the Rav: the Struggle for the Soul of Modern Orthodoxy" by Dr. Lawrence Kaplan.
  9. ^ Rabbi Meiselman's Lectures and the Response
  10. ^ http://slifkinchallenge.blogspot.com/2011/12/text-of-letter-to-editor-on-5tjt.html
  11. ^ Torah, Chazal and Science (Lakewood: 2013), p. 634
  12. ^ Nathan Aviezer, Review Essay: Torah, Chazal and Science; Gil Student, Book Review: Torah, Chazal and Science
  13. ^ "Towards a Torah Understanding of the Holocaust," Oraisa: A Journal of Contemporary Jewish Issues, I (1989), 19–20.