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 The Embedded Message Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Earning the Crown Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Separating Oneself for the Sake of Purity and of Sanctity Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "Machshevet Ha-hafla'a:" The Philosophy of the Laws of Vows and Oaths Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "And They Traveled... And They Encamped..." Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The "Journey" Towards the Goal Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein God Desired to Bring Merit To Israel Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Importance of the Journey In life, the journey towards the goal is also important, and so are the tools that one uses to progress. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Remember What God Did To Miriam Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "Look at It and Remember All the Mitzvot of God" Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Moshe Rabbeinu - Educator Par Excellence Is there a particular explanation as to why Moshe Rabbeinu prefers to give his rebuke just before his passing? Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Appointment of Judges What are the criterial according to which we should appoint people to rabbinic courts and other important rabbinic posts? It is these criteria we must follow, and not give preference to those who are related to us personally, culturally or socially. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein On the Events at Amona [February 2006] In light of the recent events in Beit El and Sa-Nur, we turn to Harav Lichtenstein zt"l's sicha in the aftermath of Amona. We can only speculate as to what he would say today. May HaKadosh Barukh Hu have mercy upon His people and upon His land. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Hidden Things are Known to God Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "How Goodly are Your Tents, Ya'akov" Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Burden of Opportunity Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Value of an Individual In contrast to the tendency in wartime to denigrate the value of the individual and of human life in general, the parasha of egla arufa stands out to remind us of the exceptional value that Judaism places upon human life. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Be 'Tamim' with the Lord Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein The Position of Parashat Ki Tetze in the Book of Devarim Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "The Words of Your Mouth You Shall Guard and Fulfill" Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Striving for the Ideal, or Conceding to Reality Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Reflections on the [First] Anniversary of the Attack on the Twin Towers Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein “Wherever You Go, the Mitzvot Go with You” The midrash on the bird's nest teaches that every area of our life has religious significance, and that it is precisely those who will engage the world who must have the greatest awareness of this and the most preparation. Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein Parashat Bikkurim Sichot Roshei Yeshiva
Harav Aharon Lichtenstein "That They Should Learn to Fear God All Their Days" Sichot Roshei Yeshiva

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