Talk:Joseph B. Soloveitchik

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Soloveitchik a great admirer of Schneerson?[edit]

The only sources we have for the claim that Soloveitchik was a "great admirer of Schneerson" are Lubavitch ones, which are hardly neutral, and prone to claiming all sorts of thing about Schneerson that cannot be verified by any independent sources. Please provide outside sources that confirm this claim. Jayjg (talk) 21:43, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

The sources are prominent students of Soloveitchik who are very prominent, and who are not lubavitchers. You see a video of them speaking in the sources shown. This should be as verifiable as it gets. There is also Kowalsky, Sholem B. From My Zaidy's House. Israel Book Shop, 2003 (ISBN 097023600X) page 274 which is referenced in the Menachem Mendel Schneerson article. --PinchasC | £€åV€ m€ å m€§§åg€ 01:24, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
O.K., thanks for clarifying. Jayjg (talk) 01:36, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
R" Hershel Shachter SHLIT"A says it. --Shuliavrumi 14:03, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

The speakers on the video are most emphatically NOT students of Rabbi Soloveitchik, nor were they close associates. At most, Rabbi Herschel Schacter (NOT to be confused with the RY who was a disciple of RYBS) studied with the Rav's father, Reb Moshe. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:05, 26 October 2008 (UTC)



B'Kovod R' Yoshe Ber ZT"L, He would be included in two categories. The Rov was already giving over his peirushim before 1950, the end of the achronim, and continued from then to his petirah, Therby alloting him a contemporary spot

any input welcome. --Shuliavrumi 14:02, 9 August 2007 (UTC)


somebody apparently stole my username and edited out The Rav's profile... --Yodamace1 02:51, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Early relationship with Menachem Mendel Shneerson[edit]

The article currently appears to have a great deal of focus on a conversation Soloveitchik and Shneerson had in Berlin in the early 20th century. There's no evidence that this brief conversation had anywhere near the significance on Soloveithchik's development that seems to be being made of it. It doesn't deserve more than a few sentences in a biography. If more is desired, suggest a separate article on Relationship between Joseph B. Solveitchik and Menachem Mendel Schneerson which can give complete attention to these issues without having to address the issue of undue weight in the context of an overall biography. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 18:12, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Several Ips have recently attempted to completely remove the entire section. While I disagree with trying to provide what seems to be almost a transcript of the conversation recovered from various people's memories and think mention of the whole incident needs to be boiled down to a couple of sentences sourced to reliable sources, disagree with completely removing all mention of it without discussion since it is a topic of later interest and note. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 16:30, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
This section is copied verbatim from a Lubavitch propaganda tape of the kind commonly seen in Deli Kasbah. This is far from serious history; it is hagiography, an account of one encounter and finally, according to some, even counterfactual. For instance, Soloveitchik's son claims that his father had a falling out with Schneersohn over the messianism issue. This was not a relationship characterized only by soft cuddly hugs! It is impossible for me to understand the kind of fixation that causes someone to write such a section in the first place; would you go graffiti "endorsed the Rebbe" on the Rav's kever? Why not just note in the article that there was an important encounter betwen MMS and JBS if its so necessary to emphasize one visit the man made in his life to one synagogue? How is this possibly in someone's wildest fantasy a SECTION of the Rav's biography and not a minor footnote?

~~Josh~~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:56, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

I deleted the transcript, which is out of place in a wikipedia article, and the honorifics attached to the various attributer's names - which clogs up the piece and makes it difficult to read (not to mention that the only significant part is that they were students of the Rav). I also changed some of the non-neutral language ("momentous" among other things). The section should ideally be shortened to a paragraph at the most, as no compelling argument for significance has been forwarded. All this said: The piece needs to be cleaned up further - significantly all jargon needs to be removed. Lubbarlubab (talk) 18:14, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

I have deleted this paragraph: According to Laufer, "Whenever he [R' Soloveitchik] had a question about an academic or religious text, he would stop over at R' Schneerson's house and consult with him." In a hagiographic biography, Laufer, citing a Rabbi who heard from R' Soloveichik himself and a Kfar Chabad Rabbi who heard it from associates of R' Soloveichik, says that "even though R' Schneerson did not spend much time at his studies, his marks were always higher than R' Soloveichik's".

It is nothing but Lubavitch propaganda. As noted by Deutsch and Menachem Friedman, RMMS was never a matriculating student in Berlin. Hence he would never have received grades. The idea that RJBS would need to run to RMMS with a question about academic or religious texts is ridiculous. In Berlin he was close with Rav YY Weinberg and R. Haim Heller. He corresponded constantly with his uncle, R. Menachem Krakowsky, not to mentio his father. Why would he run to a fellow student? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:15, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Whether accurate or not, this relationship wasn't a major feature of RYBS's life. Portraying it as though it were distorts his life story. I an simply deleting this section regardless of its truth because its presence creates a false impression. micha (talk) 13:33, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

I have restored the information arbitrarily deleted by Michab and would caution against removing reliably sourced information from a page without WP:CONSENSUS. The LR and RYBS were both highly WP:NOTABLE figures throughout their lives and by way of their impact on the world Jewish community. That they shared such obviously mutual respect while remaining so radically different in their philosophy and approach makes their interactions highly relevant to the article.--Winchester2313 (talk) 20:06, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

Views on "Halakhic Man"[edit]

Here is the full reference for a recent addition: RK (talk) 18:59, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

"Heschel, Hasidism and Halakha" Samuel H. Dresner, page 102, Fordham University Press

When J. B. Soloveitchik's essay Halakhic Man (Ish Ha-halakhah) appeared, it was the same subject for a seminar session with Heschel. After each of us had our say, Heschel spoke. Most of his thoughts were later refined in print in various publications, but the freshness of the spoken word has its own merit. Here are his comments as I recorded him:

"Ish Ha-halakhah? {Halakhic man}? Lo haya velo nivra ela mashal haya {There never was such a Jew}! Soloveitchik's study, though brilliant, is based on the false notion that Judaism is a cold, logical affair with no room for piety. After all, the Torah does say 'Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and soul and might'. No, there never was such a typology in Judaism as the halakhic man. There was - and is - an Ish Torah {a Torah man} who combines halakhah and aggadah, but that is another matter altogether. When I came to Berlin I was shocked to hear my fellow students talking about the problem of halakha as a central issue. In Poland it had been a foreign expression to me. Halakhah is not an all-inclusive term, and to use it as such is to restrict Judaism. 'Torah' is the more comprehensive word. But the Orthodox often speak of halakha, instead of Torah. Halakha has very little to do with theology; in fact some of them think that we have no need for theology at all. In the words of one Orthodox figure, 'shor shenagah es haporoh' is our theology. (That is to say, the study of Talmud, even such dry, legal portions as this - 'assessing the damages done by an ox that gored a cow' - is all the theology needed.) 29

"We are living in one of the periods of Jewish history where aggada has been devaluated. For when you say halakha, you exclude aggada. But they are inseperable. The Maharsha (R. Samuel Edels, d. 1631), whose greatness has not been sufficiently appreciated, composed two separate Talmud commentaries, one to the halakha and one to the aggada. But, after completing them, in the introduction to the former he confesses to having erred 'for one must not separate, but join them as sisters....for the halakhot and aggadot comprise one Torah for us.' In such a person as the Ish Ha-halakhah {Halakhic Man} there is little room for the spontaneous, for rahamanut {compassion}. The Jews in Alexandria mistakenly translated Torah as nomos, law. But the Aramaic targum translates it orayta or rahmanut. True, without halakha there can be no Judaism, but is halakha everything?

um excuse me, are you even close to aware of the fact that ish halakha was coupled with u'vekashtem mesham? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:06, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Abraham Joshua Heschel said this after Halakhic Man came out. u'vekashtem mesham was drafted, lost, drafted, drafted again and finally published in 1979. Heschel didn't have the benefit of hindsight unlike us! ( (talk) 16:00, 6 August 2010 (UTC))

I am wondering if anything can be done about Dresner's loose translation in that quote of "Lo haya velo nivra ela mashal haya". Maybe it's good enough for most, but "There never was such a Jew" is inaccurate on a couple of points. But I'm not asking whether this is an important distinction; what I'm wondering about is whether the text of the quote can be edited -- not within quotes, obviously. --Arabicas.Filerons (talk) 16:42, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

"Left-wing" Orthodoxy?[edit]

There are serious - and unproven - allegations in this article that one of the major 20th and 21st century interpreters of Soloveitchik's thought - Rabbi Prof. David Hartman - and the Shalom Hartman Institute he has founded are, as the article claims without sourcing that Hartman's views are "considered to be outside the fold of acceptable Orthodox thought." I do not see any sources cited to support this assertion. Rabbi Hartman has a strong following among Orthodox, Conservative and Reform laypeople and rabbis as evidenced by the well-attended lectures and summertime programs at the Shalom Hartman Institute (evidence of this is available in text, video and audio form on the Hartman Institute website - [1].

Other unsourced allegations: "Many of Soloveitchik's students became leaders in the Modern Orthodox community. These students tend to espouse very distinct world views, often attributing their own views to Rabbi Soloveitchik himself.

Those furthest on the left include David Hartman, whose espousals of pluralism have earned him serious delegitimization. The institutions he founded, the Shalom Hartman Institute, is considered to be outside the fold of acceptable Orthodox thought.

Aabbey (talk) 08:03, 19 July 2009 (UTC)Alan Abbey

Slur against Buber[edit]

The slur against Buber (Buber writes about Nachman of Breslev for example without noting ideas Rav Nachman had taken from the Misnagdim, because Buber shows absolutely no knowledge of the מחלקס in his community of secular Jews in Germany is marked with a "needs citation" flag. I do not know when this was added (no date shown). I am sure Rabbi Soloveitchik would not approve of this slur of a great scholar whom he often quotes approvingly, and the line should be erased from the entry. (In any case, the poster used an incorrectly spelled Hebrew word (מחלקס (sic)) in an English article.) --PloniAlmoni (talk) 06:33, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Hey, come on now, let's not jump to any hasty, judgmental conclusions about ״מחלקס״ being a misspelling. It is probably just a קרי וכתיב .   :^} (talk) 18:07, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

Agudah and Rav Aaron Kotler[edit]


   Rabbi Aaron Kotler, whose public policy in relation to American Jewry
   was far more right-wing than Soloveitchik's, was introduced by
   Soloveitchik at a Chinuch Atzmai dinner[14] and this later became
   famous as an instance of unity among the Orthodox leadership.

A site of many personal remembrances of Rav Aaron Kotler by his students can be found at

At we read:

   The Relationship with Dr. Soloveitchik
       Another thing that came up at that time was with the RCA and
       Dr. Soloveitchik. The Rosh Yeshiva said on him: “He doesn’t know
       what he is, but the whole sitra achra, the whole tuma rests on him.”
       It was known that he said that, and somebody went and told it over
       to Reb Dovid Soloveitchik. He was “very pleased” [MH5] with that
       succinct way of saying it.

Is it at all possible to take this at face value? Can anyone elaborate on this? (talk) 16:27, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

Given the extreme nature of the purported quote, it would be quite helpful if someone, somewhere could offer further insights to put it all in perspective. (talk) 18:13, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Still no takers, eh? Perhaps the readers' thinking is that this is the kind of thing that simply "should not be dignified by a response"? (talk) 06:57, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

An entire year has now passed, and still no one cares to take up the cause of defending Rabbi Soloveichik's honor? Is no one, then, concerned that qui tacet consentire videtur? (The Talmudic equivalent is too well-known to require quoting here.) (talk) 00:17, 12 October 2015 (UTC)

Wow, yet *another* entire year (and then some) has passed, and *still* no takers. I am not quite sure what to make of that. Toddcs (talk) 19:17, 1 December 2016 (UTC)

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