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.
TO READ HARAV AHARON LICHTENSTEIN'S SEMINAL WORKS, CLICK HERE.
To share your personal recollections, condelences, shiurim or eulogy
Click here for eulogies.
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Parashat Bikkurim||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||"That They Should Learn to Fear God All Their Days"||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||"All of Israel Are Guarantors for One Another"||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||The Principle of Choice and the Principle of Teshuva||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||The Torah - An Elixir of Life or a Potion of Death||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Service of the Heart and Mind||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Place the Torah in their Mouths||Now therefore write this poem for you, and teach it to the people of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this poem may be a witness for Me against the people of Israel. (Devarim 31:19)||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||In Order That They May Hear||"In order that they may hear, and in order that they may learn" – who is supposed to hear, and who is supposed to learn? (Devarim 31:10-13)||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Do Not Ill-Treat Him||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||"You are Unmindful of the Rock that Fashioned You"||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||"You Forgot God Who Created You"||People today are not stupid; they do not believe, as some once did, that "The Nile is mine; I made it". However, they are still prone to ignore the observance of mitzvot, and to "forget," in the existential sense, God's existence.||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||The Dual Nature of Chanuka||There are two miraculous events commemorated by Chanuka: ner, the miracle of the oil, and milchama, the military victory. What characterizes each of these miracles?||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||The Importance of Preparing the Menora||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||"What is This Service to You?"||The Torah describes the question that children will one day ask their parents after settling in the Land of Israel: "What is this service to you?" By understanding this question and the answer prescribed by the Torah, we can learn the appropriate response to similar questions in our own day and age.||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||On Raising Children||Raising children is a lot of work, and it is one of the greatest joys in the world – one of the greatest responsibilities and greatest privileges…||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Prayer in the Teachings of Rav Soloveitchik zt"l||It is specifically through tefilla and one's stance before God, and through simultaneous (self-)sacrifice and petition, that one rises and is elevated, meriting by means of tefilla both personal growth and connection with the Master of the Universe.||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||On the Assassination of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin z"l||On Monday, 20 Cheshvan (November 13, 1995), the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, addressed the Yeshiva. Having been in America during the week of the murder of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, this was his first opportunity, nine days later, to speak in the beit midrash about this event and its impact on the lives of us all.||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||To Our Brothers in Distress: In the Wake of the Terror Attacks against America||In the aftermath of the terror attacks on the WTC on 9/11/2001 , Rav Lichtenstein and Rav Amital sent an English letter to American community that was sent via the VBM entitled: "A Letter from the Rashei Yeshiva, To Our Brothers in Distress in the Wake of the Terror Attacks Against America"||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||STUDY - TALMUD TORAH||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||The Source of Faith is Faith Itself||Intellectual assent is normative and essential; but, at the personal level, it is generally not the key. In the final analysis, the primary human source of faith is faith itself.||Sichot Roshei Yeshiva|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Teshuva: Repentance and Return||The Day of Repentance|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||The Integrity of Teshuva||The Day of Repentance|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||"Kalot and Chamurot" - Gradation of Sin in Repentance||The Day of Repentance|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||A Pure Heart: Refining Character and Balancing Values||The Day of Repentance|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Teshuva of Norm and of Crisis||The Day of Repentance|