Harav Aharon Lichtenstein

            Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein was born on 28 Iyar 5693 (May24, 1933) in France. In 1940, several months after the Nazi conquest of France, his family managed to escape to the United States. In his youth, he was recognized as an outstanding student at Yeshivat Rabbi Chaim Berlin, where he studied under Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner zt”l.  He continued his studies at Yeshiva University under Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik zt”l, who granted him rabbinic ordination. In 1960, he married Rabbi Soloveitchik’s daughter, Dr. Tovah Lichtenstein.

            In 1957, he completed a doctorate in English Literature at Harvard University, after which he returned to Yeshiva University to serve as an instructor in Talmud and as rosh kollel at Yeshiva University’s affiliated Yeshivat Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan.

            In 1970, Rabbi Yehuda Amital zt”l invited Rabbi Lichtenstein to serve as co-rosh yeshiva of the recently-established Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shevut, Israel. Rabbi Lichtenstein accepted the offer and made aliya with his family in 1971. They served together as rashei yeshiva for four decades and taught thousands of students, among them many rabbis and educators. Rabbi Lichtenstein also served as rector of Herzog College and as rosh kollel of Yeshiva University’s Gruss Institute in Jerusalem. He resided in Jerusalem from the time of his aliya until 2006, when he and his wife moved to Alon Shevut in Gush Etzion, near Yeshivat Har Etzion. In 2011 he announced his retirement from daily teaching, and devoted himself mainly to writing.

            Throughout his career, Rabbi Lichtenstein combined sovereign mastery of the vast expanses of Torah knowledge with breathtaking analytic depth and sharpness. His diligence in Torah study, day and night, was legendary. Hundreds of his students became rashei yeshiva and rabbis in Israel and throughout the world. Yet alongside his genuine Torah greatness, he was renowned for his deep humility, nobility and love of humanity.

            Over the years, Rabbi Lichtenstein published many articles on Talmud, Halakha and philosophy. Many of these were collected in his books Minchat Aviv and the eight-volume series Shiurei HaRav Aharon Lichtenstein on the Talmud, as well as in his books on Jewish thought and ethics Leaves of Faith (2 volumes), Varieties of Jewish Experience, By His Light: Character and Values in the Service of God, and in the recent series of interviews by Rabbi Chaim Sabato, Mevakshei Panekha. On Yom HaAtzmaut 2014 he was awarded Israel’s highest honor, the Israel Prize, for his extensive and varied Torah literature. He also was awarded the Rav Kook Prize for Torah Literature in 2013 for his volumes on the Talmud. The award committee’s decision declared that “In these books, Rabbi Lichtenstein brings the Brisker conceptual method of Torah study to its highest luster, to deep and impressive fulfillment, opening up methods of traditional Talmudic analysis for the current generation.”

            Rabbi Lichtenstein passed away on Rosh Chodesh Iyar 5775 at the age of 81 and was buried on Har HaMenuchot in Jerusalem.

            Rabbi Lichtenstein leaves behind his wife, Dr. Tovah Lichtenstein, six children all of whom are involved in Jewish education, including head of Yeshivat Har Etzion Rabbi Mosheh Lichtenstein and head of the Women’s Beit Midrash in Migdal Oz Mrs. Esti Rosenberg, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Read more.

 

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Teacher Title Abstract Course
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "That I Might Dwell In Their Midst" Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Meaning of Ta’anit Esther Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Thoughts of the Heart "R. Inyani bar Sasson said: Why does the biblical unit on sacrifices follow immediately after the unit on the priestly garments? ... (Zevachim 88b) The Gemara comes to explain the juxtaposition of the sacrifices with the priestly garments. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Daily Sacrifice- "A Great Principle of the Torah" Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Daily Offering Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Shattering of the Tablets Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Half-Shekel Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Torah Study and Forgetfulness Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Ability and Vision Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Why "Gather the Entire People"? Moshe gathered the entire people of Israel, and he said to them, "These are the things that God has said to do." (Shemot 35:1) What is the purpose of this gathering? A gathering of all the people is rare during these years in the desert, and it begs for an explanation. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Mishkan and the Vessels According to Chazal, Moshe commanded Betzalel to construct the vessels before the structure of the Mishkan itself, whereas Betzalel argued that the opposite order was more reasonable. What is the significance of this disagreement, and what can we learn from it? Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Renewing the Relationship Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "You Shall Worship Him with All Your Heart" Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Mending a Damaged Relationship Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "And God's Glory Filled the Mishkan" Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Moshe Builds the Mishkan The midrash and Rashi present two different reasons why Moshe set up the Mishkan in place of those who had fashioned its elements. These two reasons are relevant to each of us as we try to build our own inner mishkan. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein “And He Called to Moshe” Sefer Shemot concludes with a description of how Moshe was prevented from entering the Mishkan due to the intense presence of Hashem, but Sefer Vayikra begins with an invitation to Moshe to enter. How can we explain the transition between the two books? Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Message of the Burnt Offering Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Learning from Esther It seems that the megilla is not called "Megillat Esther" because Esther wrote it, but rather because Esther is the main character in the megilla, and the story of the megilla is, to a great extent, parallel to the story of her personal development. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Responsibility and Compassion: A Eulogy for Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l Rav Moshe Feinstein was not just a supremely courageous posek, but one who displayed the utmost responsibility to Halakha together with great human compassion. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Judaism and Democracy (Part 1 of 2) Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Para Aduma - Finding Reasons for the Mitzvot Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Priest and Prophet Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Innovation and Routine Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Para Aduma and the Reasons for Mitzvot Sichot Roshei Yeshiva

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