Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner

June 14, 2006

Rav Hutner was a founder and Rosh Yeshiva of Pachad Yitzchok in Har Nof Jerusalem, Mesivta Rabbi Chaim Berlin and Kollel Gur Aryeh which have produced thousands of disciples. Though a brilliant Rosh Yeshiva whose lectures on Talmud were dazzling, he expended greater efforts on his discourses on morals and ethics and on demonstrating the spiritual power of the Yomim Tovim (Jewish Holidays) and Yomim Noraim (High Holy Days). This came from his recognition that though there were many Roshei Yeshiva capable of delivering illuminating Talmudic lectures, there were very few who could provide guidance in the non-halachic ‘aspects’ of Torah and Avodah (worship); who could provide a body of principles that made Judaism exciting, challenging, and inspiring.

Recognizing the critical importance of creating well-rounded disciples prepared to communicate the power and depth of Judaism he concentrated his efforts in this area. In 1949 he began publishing his discourses on morals and ethics which he subtitled, Divrei Torah B’inyanei Hilchot Deot V’Chovot Halevovot, a phrase formerly used by Rav Kook, who exercised a profound influence upon him.

He combined brilliance of intellect with intense passion and once remarked, “I speak poetry and they wish to hear prose.” He was interested in all areas of knowledge and was the antithesis of provincialism. He said that contradictions did not bother him and once proudly recalled having had R. Amram Blau and R. Tzvi Yehudah Kook in his waiting room at the same time.

As a young man he wrote Torat Hanazir on the Rambam Hilchot Nezirut. He wrote a profound commentary (Kovetz Heaarot) on Rabbeinu Hillel on the Safra. His discourses on Yomim Tovim and Shabbat (Pachad Yitzchok) are collected in seven volumes. In addition there is a volume of letters and a Memorial (Sefer Zikkaron) volume which contains a 130 page biography.