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 "Honey and Milk are Under Your Tongue" Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Sefer Bamidbar - The Book of Pekudim Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Multifaceted Relationship between Jerusalem and the Land of Israel Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "The Day that You Stood before the Lord at Chorev" Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Torah of Fire and Water Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "He Will Separate Himself from Wine ..." Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Shavuot: Renewed Commitment to Accepting the Torah Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Et Devar Hashem Baza Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Consolation after the Sin of the Spies Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "And Now, Let My Lord's Power Be Great" Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Conceptual Foundations of Shemitta In two places, the Torah foresaw that difficulties were liable to arise with respect to the observance of shemitta. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Significance of Tzitzit Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Tzitzit: Sanctification of the Profane Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Reflections on Shemitta, 5761 Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "The Spirit of the People Grew Impatient" Our parasha mentions two complaints of Bnei Yisrael. At first glance, these appear to be two similar stories about a lack of basic necessities during the journeys through the wilderness, leading the nation to grumble. It is precisely this similarity that makes God's sharply contrasting responses to these episodes so surprising. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Sin of Moshe and Aharon Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "He Has Defiled My Temple" Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Punishment for Inaction A close reading of the parasha seems to indicate that Moshe and Aharon were punished not for what they did but for what they didn’t do. Why was the punishment for inaction so severe? Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein On the Assassination of Prime Minister Rabin z"l This sicha was given by Harav Lichtenstein to Yeshivat Har Etzion on Monday, 20 Cheshvan 5756 (November 13, 1995). It has been translated and adapted by Rabbi Ezra Bick and Rabbi Ronnie Ziegler. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "How Good Are Your Tents, Yaakov..." Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Daily Sacrifices The month of Tammuz is a month of infamy. It includes two dates that commemorate terrible suffering that befell Am Yisrael – the 9th and the 17th. But unlike Av, in which the fasting and mourning over the destruction are followed by our celebration on the 15th of the month, in Tammuz there is not a single joyous day to balance the tragedy. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Action and Laziness in Divine Service And, behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought to his brothers a Midianite woman in the sight of Moshe, and in the sight of all the congregation of the people of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the Tent of Meeting. (Bemidbar 25:1-6) It is understandable why Moshe and the elders were crying. Before their eyes was harlotry, both in the literal sense and in the figurative sense - the unfaithfulness of idolatry. The Torah explicitly connects idolatry and promiscuity in the aftermath of the sin of the golden calf (Shemot 34:15-16). Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein A Nation that Dwells Alone Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Reward and Punishment Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "Behold I Give Him My Covenant of Peace" Sichot Roshei Yeshiva

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