• April 6, 2020
  • 12 5780, Nisan
  • פרשת ויגש

Writings of Rav Soloveitchik

Writings of Rav Soloveitchik

Join Rabbi Jeffrey Saks for a survey of some of the major themes, thoughts and religious philosophies found in Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s shorter essays.

January 17, 2012 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Writings of Rav Soloveitchik: Lesson 1
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REDEMPTION, PRAYER & TALMUD TORAH: Thanks for signing up for our new series on Rabbi Soloveitchik’s writings. This time we’ll be exploring some of his shorter essays – especially those that appeared in a special Spring 1978 issue of the journal Tradition (available online HERE). We’ll start with a piece entitled “Redemption, Prayer, Talmud Torah which is an important parallel text to a central section of “The Lonely Man of Faith.” If you’re able to read the essays in advance it’s to everyone’s benefit. For those that want an overview to the Rav’s thought and biography, listen to THIS archived shiur. Looking forward to learning with you – as always please feel free to be in touch with questions or thoughts.

Handouts
January 24, 2012 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Writings of Rav Soloveitchik: Lesson 2
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REDEMPTION, PRAYER – PART 2: Thanks to all who joined us in the first session of our new series on Rabbi Soloveitchik’s writings. THIS website (http://www.box.com/shared/7vpxhzhg2ekrid9e5fb4/2/129360005/1003195725/1#/shared/7vpxhzhg2ekrid9e5fb4/2/129360005) just came to my attention with many recordings of the Rav’s lectures – THIS talk seems particularly interesting and connected to some things we began discussing (see its review HERE. For next week please try to finish reading the essay “Redemption, Prayer, Talmud Torah” which can be found HERE – keeping in mind the questions I placed before you at the end of the last class. I welcome your questions, thoughts, feedback, etc. Jeff Saks

January 31, 2012 12:00 am - 6:00 pm
Writings of Rav Soloveitchik: Lesson 3
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REDEMPTION, PRAYER – PART 3: Next time we’ll conclude “Redemption, Prayer, Talmud Torah” (available HERE) – if you haven’t finished it, please do. I am open to suggestions which of the other essays archived HERE we should do next – feel free to express an opinion. Again, I recommend this new book by my friend Reuven Ziegler, Majesty and Humility: The Thought of Rabbi Soloveitchik.

February 7, 2012 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Writings of Rav Soloveitchik: Lesson 4
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MAJESTY & HUMILITY: In the next session we will begin the Rav’s Essay “Majesty and Humility”. It’s available HERE. I also include a link to the English translation of Y.L. Peretz’s Yiddish story “Bontsha Schweig” (Bontsha the Silent) (http://www.google.co.il/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=bontche%20schweig%20pdf&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCAQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bibleandjewishstudies.net%2Fstories%2FBontsha_the_Silent.pdf&ei=fawnT4jJNsSh8QOG17i1Aw&usg=AFQjCNE8b7r3kPERlolypcQ3WGub7EVLSQ&sig2=64ctRr2fW5G3He_e2JoryA) which the Rav had mentioned in passing – it’s worth reading.

February 14, 2012 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Writings of Rav Soloveitchik: Lesson 5
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MAJESTY & HUMILITY – PART 2: Next week we’ll conclude the essay “Majesty & Humility” (please finish reading it if you haven’t already done so). The following week we’ll look at “A Tribute to the Rebbetzin of Talne”. Both essays are available HERE.

February 21, 2012 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Writings of Rav Soloveitchik: Lesson 6
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REBBETZIN OF TALNE: This 1977 eulogy (hesped) for his in-law, Mrs. Rebecca Twersky, the Rebbetzin of Talne, is a classic example of the Rav’s characteristic use of the hesped form as a vehicle to encapsulate larger ideas within Jewish thought. For background see accompanying essay by Marvin Fox, “The Rav as Maspid” (esp. pp. 178-79 on the Talne Rebbetzin) on the Rav’s use of typologies to understand and mourn the departed, as well as to communicate Jewish ideals. I have also enclosed the Rav’s 1972 hesped for the Talne Rebbe, published in Reflections of the Rav and found HERE as “Engaging the Heart and Teaching the Mind”. (For a tiny background on Talne hassidism see this link http://members.bellatlantic.net/~vze2nb56/talner/about/talneHistory.html.)

February 28, 2012 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Writings of Rav Soloveitchik: Lesson 7
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EMOTION AND INTELLECT: For our next session, instead of looking at a specific writing of the Rav, we’ll discuss a larger theme (touched upon in our discussion of “Rebbetzin of Talne”) in his thought, namely the relationship and tension (dialectic?) between intellect and emotion. I wrote about this in the attached essay “Rabbi Soloveitchik and the Israeli Chief Rabbinate” (esp. pp. 59-62). See also attached section of “Halakhic Man”. During our final session (March 6th) we’ll have a special program – an online “book launch” with R. Reuven Ziegler about his new book Majesty and Humility: The Thought of Rabbi Soloveitchik.

March 6, 2012 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Writings of Rav Soloveitchik: Lesson 8
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ONLINE BOOK LAUNCH: REUVEN ZIEGLER’S MAJESTY & HUMILITY: In this session we had an online “book launch” with R. Reuven Ziegler about his new volume Majesty and Humility: The Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. Rabbi Ziegler joined us for a discussion on the book. Rabbi Reuven Ziegler is Director of Research and Archives of the Toras HoRav Foundation and has edited numerous volumes of Rabbi Soloveitchik’s writings. He is also a founder of Yeshivat Har Etzion’s Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash and serves as its Editor-in-Chief.

May 15, 2012 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Writings of Rav Soloveitchik: Lesson 9
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CATHARSIS: I’m glad you’re joining us for the continuation of our series on Rav Soloveitchik’s thought. If you’re new to the series, don’t worry – we’ll be starting with all new material. Feel free however to visit the WebYeshiva archives to get past installments of the series. If you need some background THIS intro session to the Rav’s thought and biography may help. For our first couple of sessions we’ll be reading the essay “Catharsis” (available in accompanying link or here with some other of the essays we’ve done or will do) – if possible please try giving it a read in advance.

May 22, 2012 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Writings of Rav Soloveitchik: Lesson 10
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CATHARSIS 2: Thanks for all who joined us for the launch of the new semester (missed it? watch or listen to the archives). We’ll continue with our study of the Rav’s essay “Catharsis” which can be found HERE. Please try to read at least the first section (pp. 38-44). We’ll also be looking at chapter 15 of the English version of Uvikkashtem MiSham which is an important parallel text to Part II of Catharsis. As always, I’d be glad to get your thoughts, feedback, etc.

May 29, 2012 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Writings of Rav Soloveitchik: Lesson 11
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CATHARSIS 3 (HEDONISM): Thanks again for joining us last night for the ongoing study of the Rav’s “Catharsis.’ If you haven’t done so, please take a look at chapter 15 of the English version of Uvikkashtem MiSham  (we also have a course on this HERE) which is an important parallel text to Part II of “Catharsis”.

June 12, 2012 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Writings of Rav Soloveitchik: Lesson 12
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CATHARSIS 4 (EMOTIONAL): RESCHEDULED FROM LAST WEEK: We’ll continue to the 2nd of 4 realms of catharsis – the emotional (picking up on page 46 of the essay HERE). I attach here a copy of Rav Aharon Soloveichik’s essay “A Glimpse at Eternity from a Hospital Dungeon” which I’ve addressed before in different contexts. It was written after he suffered a stroke leaving him paralyzed on one side. It’s a moving insight to the body-mind dichotomy we have been discussing. I’m not likely to address it in our sessions as I’ve done so in past HERE.

June 19, 2012 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Writings of Rav Soloveitchik: Lesson 13
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Tonight I hope to finish up the previous topic of emotional catharsis, and move on to the intellectual realm. See attached appendix from Reuven Ziegler’s book which will give the interested student a reading list to keep busy re role of emotions in performance of mitzvot.

June 26, 2012 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Writings of Rav Soloveitchik: Lesson 14
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INTELLECTUAL CATHARSIS: Continuing to the 3rd of 4 realms of catharsis…

July 3, 2012 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Writings of Rav Soloveitchik: Lesson 15
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You might want to compare our previous discussion of intellectual catharsis to the parallel section in chap. 15 of From There You Shall Seek (attached again). From there I hope we’ll conclude the final section of the essay “Catharsis”.

July 10, 2012 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Writings of Rav Soloveitchik: Lesson 16
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CATHARSIS CONCLUSION: We will once and for all complete the essay Catharsis. Now’s your chance if you haven’t finished reading it…

Rabbi Jeffrey Saks is the founding director of ATID – The Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions in Jewish Education, in Jerusalem, and its WebYeshiva.org program. He is the Editor of the journal Tradition, Series Editor of The S.Y. Agnon Library at The Toby Press, and Director of Research at the Agnon House in Jerusalem. A three-time graduate of Yeshiva University (BA, MA, Semicha), Rabbi Saks has published widely on Jewish thought, education, and literature (see www.webyeshiva.org/rabbisaks).