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 Judaism and Democracy (Part 2 of 2) Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Routine and the Extraordinary Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "As If He Had Gone Out Himself:" Integrating Past, Present and Future in Observing Yom Ha'Atzmaut Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Sanctity and Impurity Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "You Created Me Both First and Last" Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Studying the Laws of Leprosy Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Bring Your Sacrifices Before God Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Intelligence and Ethics Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "You Shall Keep All My Statutes And All My Judgments" Chazal rule that we do not accept a would-be convert who states that he is prepared to accept the whole Torah except for one detail. The acceptance of Torah cannot be partial. It must be based on a commitment to and striving towards the fulfillment of the Torah in its entirety, in all its aspects and details. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "For Most of the Essentials of the Torah Depend Upon It" Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Following the Ways of the Gentiles Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Honor and Obligation Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Remembering the Needy Embedded within the portion dealing with the festivals, in between the Torah's discussions of counting the Omer and Shavuot, there appears the requirement to leave certain parts of one's field to the poor. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein After the Tsunami In light of the recent tragedy in Nepal, we are resending this sicha by Harav Lichtenstein zt"l about another tragedy that struck in Asia ten years ago. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Counting the Omer - Preparation and Elevation Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Always a Kohen Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "If You Walk with Me in Happenstance" Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Mitzva of Tzedaka Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Balancing the Settlement Ideal with the Creation of a Just Society Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Lag Ba-omer: Rabbi Akiva's Students and Derekh Eretz Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "Woe is Me, My Master, For You Have Left the Entire Generation Orphaned" In the story of R. Eliezer ben Hyrcanus' death, as recounted in Avot DeRabbi Natan, we find both a personal and a halakhic tragedy. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Sin of the Golden Calf and the Sin of the Spies Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "Bring Us with Heads Held High to Our Land" The blessings promised to Bnei Yisrael, if they fulfill God's commandments, are of a dual nature. This is expressed succinctly in the verses: "...You will have your fill of food and you will live securely in the land. I will grant peace in the land so that you will sleep without fear" (Vayikra 26:5,6). Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "I Will Walk in Your Midst, and I Will Be Your God" Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "And I Will Bring Peace to the Land..." Sichot Roshei Yeshiva

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