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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|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||The Need for Voice with Respect to the Amida Prayer (I [Part 2])||Prayer||Topics in Halakha|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||The Need for Voice with Respect to the Amida Prayer (II)||Prayer||Topics in Halakha|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||The Need for Voice with Respect to the Amida Prayer (III)||Prayer||Topics in Halakha|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Ta'arovet Chametz||Pesach. Any discussion concerning ta'arovet chametz (chametz mixtures) divides into two levels: Torah law and rabbinic law. In this shiur, we will deal exclusively with the level of Torah law.||Topics in Halakha|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||On Conversion||Conversion. The status of gerut (conversion) as a subject of discussion and debate is not a recent phenomenon.||Topics in Halakha|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Torah and Life||Torah Study|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||"Make Your Torah Permanent:" The Centrality of Torah Study||Torah Study|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Reflections Upon Birkot HaTorah||Torah Study|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||The Nature and Value of Torah Study||In Jewish thought and experience, few values are as cherished as talmud Torah, the study of Torah; and few cultures, if any, have assigned to learning of any kind - let alone the mastery of scriptural and legal texts - the status it enjoys within Judaism.||Torah Study|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Torah of Fire and Water||Torah Study|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||"The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep" - Reading a Poem by Robert Frost||A shiur for Tu Bishvat. It is easy to devote yourself to Torah if you are convinced that everything else is nonsense. Nonsense is easy to give up. But one who sees the beauty in God’s creation, who comes to love it, must be strong in order to devote himself to learning Torah. One must not divorce the world, but rather bear in mind one’s “lover’s quarrel with the world.”||Tu BiShvat Torah|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Alei Etzion 16: Table of Contents||Table of Contents|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Alei Etzion 16: The Responsibilities of the Recipient of Charity||One of the fundamental problems troubling those involved in providing welfare services, whether as individuals or as part of the public system, is the issue of the recipient’s participation in and attitude towards the assistance extended to him.|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Alei Etzion 16: Kofin Al Middat Sedom: Compulsory Altruism?||Throughout the generations, the city of Sedom has symbolized ultimate evil and destruction.|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Alei Etzion 16: Does Involvement in Torah Study Exempt One From Mitzvot?|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Alei Etzion16: Yosef’s Tears||At the center of the drama played out over the final third of Sefer Bereishit, we find the tangled web of relationships in Yaakov’s household.|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Alei Etzion 16: “The Woods Are Lovely, Dark and Deep”: Reading a Poem by Robert Frost||What is the proper way to relate to an artistic creation? This question is frequently raised by students of literature, and it concerns yeshiva students as well.|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Alei Etzion 16: "Kallot Va-Chamurot": Gradation of Sins in Repentance||Many sources note the existence of different levels within the world of mitzva observance.|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Alei Etzion 16: Jerusalem: Between Holiness and Purity||I would like to examine the halakhic status of Jerusalem and see what it can teach us about our relationship with the city.|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Alei Etzion 16: "Is This Not A Brand Plucked From The Fire?" Confronting the Aftermath of the Holocaust||The Jewish People possesses a profound historical awareness. Our historical consciousness embraces not only memories of triumph and glory, but also remembrance of the most difficult and problematic periods in our history.|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Religion and State||The problem of religion and state is not a specifically Jewish issue but a universal question that Jewry confronts from its own perspective. Nonetheless, several factors have served, philosophically and historically, to give the issue a particular Jewish cast...|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Centrist Orthodoxy: A Spiritual Accounting||Centrist Orthodoxy finds itself increasingly under attack. While the possibility of attack from both right and left is endemic to centrism by virtue of its dual exposure, the nature and extent of criticism varies.|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Of Marriage||Relationship and Relations|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||My Education and Aspirations: Autobiographical Reflections of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein zt"l||"...although the Torah atmosphere in Paris at that time was lacking, and the context in which I grew up was very far from what many of us are accustomed to now, ours was a very intensively Jewish home." This essay is adapted from a sicha delivered in choref 5767 (2007) to overseas students at Yeshivat Har Etzion. It was adapted by Reuven Ziegler with Yoseif Bloch from a transcript prepared by Marc Herman and Dov Karoll.|
|Harav Aharon Lichtenstein||Torat Chessed: A Bibliography of Harav Aharon's Writings, English and Hebrew||Prepared by Rav Dov Karoll. Last updated January 2019.|