Joseph Ber Soloveitchik
Joseph B. Soloveitchik was born into a family already known for its great
Torah learning. His grandfather and father, emphasized a thorough analysis
of Talmud, and it is in this way that Rav Soloveitchik studied and taught
his own students. He was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Berlin, and
then settled in Boston in the early 1930s. He became Rosh HaYeshiva of
Yeshiva University, and gave weekly shiurim to senior students, while
delivering philosophy lectures to graduate students. His accomplishments in
study and secular study made him a unique Torah personality to Torah
scholars all over.
His limitless expertise in and
appreciation of secular disciplines never
lessened his total devotion to Torah study. Indeed Torah study was the central focus of his life and his
teachings. His public historic
shiurim in memory of his great father, Rav Moshe Soloveitchik, and his
public shiurim between Rosh
Hashana and Yom Kippur
organized by the Rabbinical
Council of America known as Kinus TShuva, were attended by thousands
of Torah students from all groupings in the Torah community.
Thus he was one of the leaders of the generation.
He never engaged in pejorative
or invectives when speaking of non-orthodox Jews.
He was polite and respectful to others. Yet he was firm and
inflexible in protecting and advocating the Mesorah of Torah tradition.
His ruling, written by him, that one is not allowed to pray in a
house of worship that violates Halachic standards even if it would result in
not fulfilling the Mitzvah
Shofar is an illustration of his strong stand on Torah and Mesorah.
This can also be seen from his
opinion that while dialogue with non-Jewish faiths may be necessary, it may
not deal with theological topics.
This was a historic principle which guided his disciples in all their
dealings with non-Jewish clergy, and continues to this very day.
His teachings and shiurim are responsible for literally thousands of men and women in the educational and academic community today.
The above graphic includes photographs that were provided by VERAfilm archives.