Memories of Reb Dovid, zt”l

In a year that has seen the loss of far too many gedolei Yisrael, we were again stunned last week with the passing of Rav Dovid Soloveitchik, zt”l.

Rav Dovid was the last surviving son of the Brisker Rav, Rav Yitzchak Ze’ev Halevi Soloveitchik zt”l, who was also known as Reb Velvel. Rav Dovid represented that longstanding Brisker tradition of intellectual rigor and lomdus.

I remember my first meeting with Rav Dovid in 1968. I was in Israel for a few weeks in the summer and went to Rav Dovid’s house to speak “in learning” with him. He was so welcoming and generous with his time, especially considering that I was not a talmid and only 20 years old at the time. As I was leaving his apartment, I was called to the apartment of his upstairs neighbor for a minyan. As it turns out, his neighbor was none other than Rav Dovid Cohen, known better as HaRav HaNazir. A close talmid of Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook and editor of Rav Kook’s sefarim, he was also the father of Rav She’ar Yashuv Cohen, the former chief rabbi of Haifa, and the father-in-law of Rav Goren, the former chief rabbi of Israel. Within the frum world, it would be hard to find two more ideologically distinct personalities than HaRav HaNazir and Reb Dovid Soloveitchik, yet in Yerushalayim these two great men lived together in one apartment building.

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The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.