Monday, December 1, 2014

Rav Moshe Twersky HY"D — Savior of the American Soloveitchik Dynasty by RaP

update: Sections that were seen as inappropriate have been removed.

Guest post by RaP

"Tzadikim Are Greater In Death Than In Life!" (Talmud) 

An incredible thing has just happened, but few realize it, admit it, or know what to call it. The name "Rabbi Moshe Twersky" ("RMT") was essentially unknown in the broader Haredi world  until the recent Har Nof Massacre. He was the son of the late Rav Yitzchok (Isadore) Twersky ZT"L, son of the Tolner Rebbe of Boston, and of Dr. Atara Soloveitchik, daughter of the famous Rav J.B. Soloveitchik ZT"L in America. RMT was among those murdered in cold blood while in deep prayer in a famous shull in Har Nof.< Within minutes of his murder everyone knew that someone famous was among those martyred on that terrible day. The irony is that until his death he made sure to maintain his "obscurity" and "anonymity" and it seems that really only his immediate family, a few of his elite teachers and mentors, only his very closest students at the Toras Moshe Yeshiva he taught at for at least 20 years, and maybe a handful of his neighbors and some select colleagues knew about him and who he REALLY was. RMT went to extraordinary lengths utilizing genuine humility to be a humble servant of the Lord, seeking no glory for himself, and making sure that to the world at large he was just another one among millions and billions of "everymen"! All of a sudden following his bloody death, the Jewish, Orthodox and Haredi media is paying attention to him in a way that would NEVER have happened in real life, and something he would evidently never had allowed let alone condoned.[...] 
Suddenly, for those who read the Yated, Hamodia, Jewish Press, Mishpacha, Ami, even the Jewish Week, Forward and many others like them, the name of Rav Moshe Twersky, heir to not one but two unique dynasties, the Soloveitchik Talmudic geniuses and the Twersky Hasidic Rebbes becomes known "overnight" and what is told about him is truly a great wonder that appears like a sudden blinding flash of light that is shockingly revealed – paradoxically not during his lifetime, but immediately following his dramatic death.

Suddenly the Haredi media mentions that he was the grandson of Rav Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik (not Rabbi Dr. J. B. Soloveitchik of Yeshiva University as he was known) and the son of the previous Tolner Rebbe of Boston (not Dr. or Professor Isadore Twersky of Harvard University as he was known). [...]

So the "frum" media meanders back and forth. So far not one has mentioned anything about the name of this great man: Moshe? Why? It is very strange indeed. First of all RMT was probably named for his own grandfather Rav "Moshe Soloveichik (1879–1941)...was the second son of renowned Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik and grandson of the Beis HaLevi. He married Pesya Feinstein, daughter of the renowned Rabbi of Pruzany, Rabbi Eliyahu Feinstein, and first cousins with Rabbi Moshe Feinstein" (Wikipedia) – so this is truly the aristocracy of the Torah world. Then there is the name of the yeshiva where RMT was a Rosh Yeshiva at Toras Moshe Yeshiva (affectionately known as "ToMo"), named for Rav Moshe Soloveitchik ZT"L.

So far, the Haredi media is printing a lot of stories and anecdotal tales from relatively minor and obscure sources and avoiding getting into almost any descriptions and history of exactly who and the stature of Rav Moshe Soloveitchik, son of Rav Chaim Soloveitchik ZT"L, and father of the famous Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik who was known as "the Rav" to his thousands of students. It is known in the Torah world that the "yerusha" of Rav Chaim of Brisk ZT"L was "split" between Rav Moshe Soloveitchik who "inherited" the "Nezikin" part of the family moving first to Warsaw and then to America, while the most famous Rav Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchik ZT"L, known as Rav Velvel, or the Brisker Rov took the "Kodshim" part and went to Eretz Yisroel and founded the well-known Brisker Yeshivos in Israel that still study only Kodshim.

RMT chose to be a disciple of both wings of his mother's family. While "informally" RMT delved into Kabbalah and became known as an informal "[Hasidic] Rebbe" to his students in the Yeshiva Toras Moshe where he taught. RMT was regarded by Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik as not just one of his four all-time greatest talmidim, but also by the current Brisker Yeshiva of Rav Dovid Soloveitchik SHLIT"A as one of its greatest talmidim.

Thus RMT bridged two continents and much more than that he healed and solidified and made respectable the bonds between the American and Israeli sides of Brisk that had been in a "stand-off" and even a war of words from the time the Israeli Briskers became the arch-Charedim so to speak in the Litvish Torah world, while in America, Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik who had once been a member of the original Agudah Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah in America left to become the arch-leader of Modern Orthodox Judaism and of the Mizrachi Religious Zionist movement, that split the Soloveitchik family in two distinct segments until now when Rav Moshe Twersky, IN HIS DEATH, has done the seemingly impossible of uniting the families as they move into the ;FUTURE realizing they have more in common than even they realized. This is no less than what happened in the time of Rebbi Akiva, who lost 24,000 students but his REAL "yerusha" and lineage continues through the five talmidim that TRULY continued his line. Rav Moshe Twersky seems to have died as a "korban" for something much greater much like Rebbi Akiva did Al Pi Kiddush HaShem Berabim in the midst of Holy Prayers!

Who would have thought that literally behind the scenes, that Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik while he was and is rightfully hailed as the rabbi who gave semicha to more Orthodox rabbis in his own lifetime than anyone else and who prided himself on his independence, was nurturing his own highly traditional grandson, the now martyred Rav Moshe Twersky in an entirely different image than what was assumed to be going on. RMT has been revealed for the whole world to see OPENLY as a genuine Illui, Tzadik, Nistar, Mekubal, someone well-versed in every part of the Torah and even in worldly matters on a standard higher than most Talmidei Chachomim of his generation (RMT was only 59 when he was murdered).< And then there is RMT's grandfather on his mother's side Rav Moshe Soloveitchik the leading Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshivas Yitschak Elchonon (RIETS) brought there by the pioneering Rabbi Dr. Bernard Revel. Rav Moshe Soloveitchik was an undisputed great Gaon, Torah giant and all-around genius in his own right, whose sudden death in 1941 propelled his son Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik to assume the mantle of leadership at RIETS and as one of modernity's leading Talmudists, Jewish Philosophers and Halachists.

The Haredi and Orthodox media is not giving enough, if any, attention to Rav Moshe Soloveitchik and it is a great shame because they are missing a great link. It was Rav Moshe Soloveitchik who brought the Soloveitchik and Brisker dynasty to America.

Now it has been proven that for all the controversy about how and why to deal with the challenges to the Torah World posed by Modernity, Zionism, and Secular Knowledge, at the end of the day there is nothing to be ashamed of because the great "egg" that was finally "hatched" was none other than the greatest of all of this process that is embodied and now enshrined in the Holy Memory and Glowing Torah Light that was Rav Moshe Twersky ZT"L, HY"D, May HKB"H Avenge His Innocent and Pure Spilled Blood that Poured Out In a Sanctuary of Tefila, Avoda and Torah in the Holy City of Yerushalayim!


  1. I must say that I find it offensive to categorically claim that any one of those murdered was greater than any other. Who are we to judge? How can we possibly measure their relative worth? Only G-d judges.

    Furthermore, is this eulogy of Rav Moshe Twersky indicative of the blending approaches? I'm not saying whether he was right or wrong, but would his grandfathers really have held that an attempt to reconcile Torah with science is the biggest work of Satan since the Golden Calf? Would they have described the Zionist leadership and the State of Israel with an analogy to murderers?

    I am not sure what RaP intends to convey with this 'hesped', but is it appropriate for a 'Daat Torah' website?

  2. @Rabbi Sedley - you raise important and troubling points.I do think that there are many people who agree with RaP -- the question is whether this is revisionist history or a revelation of reality?

  3. Sorry--did you want the media to take this opportunity to speak about how the Charedi community in America did not and still does not include JB Soloveichik? So they tactfully painted it in a decent light in the spirit of the moment. Why do you have to be the one who is the political opportunist at a time that the bodies are still warm?

  4. RaP - you raise many important points - although I think that it is wrong to describe any Yidden as "puny humans" (have you been watching Superman?), especially those who are "also great in Torah and Chesed themselves".

    I would also raise the question of whether the holy Niftar זצ"ל's life was an embodiment of the principles and שיטות of his grandfather זצ"ל, or rather a departure from them. I have no idea, and am cynical of those who claim that they do. After all, there is such diversity of opinion among the recognised students of the Rav זצ"ל as to what his real opinions about Torah and modernity, science, Kabbalah, Daas Torah vs. personal autonomy, Chasidus etc. etc. are that anyone who makes any definitive claim about the subject is automatically met with criticism from those who feel that they are making the Rav too frum/secular, etc. etc. ad nauseum. And the fact that he had so many students, over such a long time - who embody many different views of Judaism yet all claim that their brand of Modern Orthodoxy is the one envisioned by the Rav - doesn't make it easy for an outsider to know which close Talmid/family member is "telling the truth". The real essence of the Rav is therefore to me an enigma - call it one of the 7 mysteries of the modern world.

    על כל פנים, there is no קושיא as to why R' Twersky זצ"ל is not being viewed by Chareidim as a המשך of his grandfather, whose system produced and produces those who are very different to R' Twersky 99% of the time. One could ask a different question - why was R' Twersky not much more famous during his lifetime in the MO/YO world? Why, להבדיל, is Rabbi Meiselman שליט"א's interpretation of the legacy of the Rav looked at as fanciful revisionism by many in that camp?

    As I said before - I have no idea.

  5. David Sedley,
    There were those who condemned the Rambam. One was the leading tsadik in France, Rabbeinu Yonah. Then, the French government seized all of the Hebrew Torah books in France and burned them. The story goes that Rabbeinu Yona reocgnized in this unheard of suffering a punishment for people insulting the Rambam, even enscribing on his tombstone "Moshe Min." He therefore wrote books about penitence and piety to atone, and they are of the greatest Torah classics.

    There is a very fine line between learning about science and learning from people who deny the Torah. But some poeple did not find this a problem. I once sounded off on the Internet about what I felt was mistakes in secular physics, and a nice Jewish professor from Columbia felt very bad for me that I made such a spectacle of myself. So I said to him, "Okay, show me my mistakes." I then listed for him the way of creation according to secular physics and showed him why all of these steps contradict the very basis of the laws fo physics. At the end, we parted amicably, and he thanked me for teaching him about the Anthropic Principle. About my other proofs he would say, "Well, we are working on that" or "there are different ways of understanding entropy."

    Steven Gould the great of Harvard and a famous evolutionist, stated that there was never a gradual process of evolution from lower to higher creature. He says that all of the fossil remains prove that the ancient animals and the present animals have not changed and evolved. If so, he says, how did higher animals come about? An accident. Now, anyone who believes that is either lying or is terrified of G-d. Horses suddenly grew long necks? And what animal suddenly turned into an elephant? Accidentally? Ridiculous.

    In my family we talked science from the earlier times and we have no fear of it. But for somebody who lived his whole life in a ghetto and starts dabbling with science is quite a different story. Thus, today we survive because of ghettos but some people are destroyed by them. I studied under the greatest Gedolim fo the past and present generation, and I am what I am, and I am not the slightest bit worried that they would not approve of my interest in science.

    Reb Elchonon Wasserman spread out a Russian newspaper in the Beis HaMedrash regularly, and when he did it the first time the Mashgiach rushed and seized the newspaper. But in the end, he was allowed by the Rosh Yeshiva to do this. Later he would show that the newspaper reveals what HaShem is doing to the Jewish people, and why Jewish suffering is rooted in Jewish sins. I spoke to a major Dayan who told me that his father did the same thing in Reb Elchonon's Yeshiva! But today Reb Elchonon would probably not get away with this. Today we are too weak for these things.

  6. Chaim,
    You should speak to the talmidim of Rav Twersky zt'l and ask them. While I personally was not a talmid, I still had many interactions with him. While he was someone who kept things close to the chest and rarely discussed things like this, it was quite clear from the few times id did come up that he personally viewed himself as a departure from his grandfather's path. While his boss, Rabbi Meiselman, and colleague, Rabbi Shurkin, are well known for their unique interpretation of the Rav's shittos, Rabbi Twersky never cared to try to go down that route.

  7. Imho coming from 2 such illustrious families shows what they had in
    common , the great learning and love of Torah, commitment to עם ישראל
    and the love of people, the tremendous middos etc , etc was
    more important than what divided them

  8. The matzav eulogy is very weird indeed. If it is true, then it is somewhat problematic. Why was the work of the Rambam and other rishonim not included in the list of tragedies akin to the golden calf? For that matter, the father of RMT ztl, who combined secular and jewish philosophy at a center of apikorsus - Harvard university, would also be in such a list of disasters. so the veracity of the matzav article is highly questionable.

  9. That is RAV Soloveichik.

  10. Dovid Eidensohn

    I'm not quite sure why you addressed your comment to me. I don't know what I wrote that in any way relates to your comments.

    Nevertheless, I'll respond very briefly. Having translated Rabbeinu Yonah on Pirkei Avos, I'm pretty sure that he was not from France, but from Gerona (Cataolonia). I'm also pretty sure that the story you relate is aprocryphal. The strongest opponents of Rambam were the Baalei Tosefot, not the Spanish Rabbis.

    I can't comment on your understanding of physics. Though having glanced quickly at the link, it seems to me that you have not understood entropy. While it is true that the total entropy in a system always increases (i.e. more disorder), within parts of the system randomness will necessarily lead to greater order (the total system is entropic, not every part of it).

    Also (and this is semantic, but important) your phrase: "The dot expanded throughout the universe" is incorrect. Since the "dot" (as you call it) contained all the matter of the universe, it could not expand throughout the universe. As it expands, the universe expands with it.
    I will not bother going through your other points, but it does not appear from them that you have studied science at tertiary level, or fully understood the terms you use.
    With all due respect, you have completely misunderstood Stephen Jay Gould. While it is true that he holds of punctuated equilibrium (and is basically a da'as yachid in this - see for example Richard Dawkins' critique) nowhere (as far as I know) does he say that evolution was/is not gradual. I have not seen anywhere that he says that the animals have not changed (but please refer me to the source if you know it - I don't have all of his books, and it is possible that I have missed it somewhere). He certainly is a strong proponent of evolution. (And if you read A Wonderful Life you will see that his punctuated equilibrium theory relates primarily to the Cambrian explosion.)

    A final point - for you to point out the flaws and faults of science (rightly or wrongly) is not reconciling Torah and science. It is simply rejecting science (again, rightly or wrongly). You are certainly entitled to your approach, and I respect you for it. However, it will not satisfy a large number of people who do believe in evolution (or physics, or science in general). Those people do not have the option of rejecting science as being false (because they hold that it is true), so they must either reject Judaism, or find some way of reconciling the two (there are many such approaches).

    Finally, your last line "Today we are too weak for these things" is the antithesis of an answer. If we are too weak, please explain. Perhaps it is modern Judaism that is too weak? Perhaps it is science that is too strong? What evidence is there that we are too weak? I suspect it is simply your way of admitting that science does present all sorts of difficulties for which your answers (and those of others) are not sufficient.
    I am not taking sides, and have no axe to grind (nor do I have any answers). But if you want to write things, please try to get your facts right. Otherwise others will also feel bad for you that you are making a spectacle of yourself.

  11. Rambam famously said "accept the truth from wherever it comes". He was open to disagree with Chazal,if science proved them wrong, eg in calculations of the Moon. Even on aggadic issues such as astrology, he rejected views of Chazal. Today, if someone wrote a book doing this, he would be called an apikorus by the right wing. And it applies to other areas as well. Is psychology all wrong, and only the scant and poor insights into human behaviour by haredi Gedolim is acceptable? Science has moved a long way, and it can't all be wrong. Having said that , some theories can and will be updated or modified.
    Is the newspaper enough? I find the story to be very sad, that reading a newspaper is such a sign of intellectual openess, but the same hashkafa was so opposed to studying in university.

  12. Very well said, Milton.

  13. RaP: You continue to be unrepentantly offensive (primarily to the others who were killed). Perhaps you are zocheh to gilui Eliyahu, and he is telling you who is the greatest, and who is not. If not, please keep quiet. Perhaps you do not remember the Gemara in Taanit (22a), so I'll quote it for you here:

    אדהכי והכי אתו הנך תרי אתי א"ל הנך נמי בני עלמא דאתי נינהו אזל לגבייהו אמר להו מאי עובדייכו אמרו ליה אינשי בדוחי אנן מבדחינן עציבי אי נמי כי חזינן בי תרי דאית להו תיגרא בהדייהו טרחינן ועבדינן להו שלמא:

    It was not the "Rosh Yeshiva" or the "Adam Gadol" that Eliyahu was impressed by, but the clown, who was completely unoticed by all the "important" people.
    In case you can't read the Hebrew (blogs can be funny like that) here is the Soncino English:

    Whilst [they were thus conversing] two [men] passed by and [Elijah] remarked, These two have a share in the world to come. R. Beroka then approached and asked them, What is your occupation? They replied, We are jesters, when we see men depressed we cheer them up; furthermore when we see two people quarrelling we strive hard to make peace between them.

    There are many other stories like that in the Gemara.
    It is right and proper that you revere your late Rebbe and mentor. But if you can only do that by putting down other people then there is something clearly lacking. Ask your Rabbi whether you need to go to the graves to ask them for mechila, and how you can best do teshuva for maligning them in this way.

  14. Thank you for your reply. There are a lot of "unique interpretations" of the Rav's views - remember what his daughter said about RHS's Nefesh HaRav?

  15. Rav Moshe Soloveitchik 1879-1941:

  16. @RaP - it would have been helpful if you actually brought examples of Rav Twersky's views. I don't see any evidence that he viewed secular studies any different than the Israeli branch of the family. You are painting with broad strokes and implying somehow that he was influenced and agreed in some way with his father , grandfather and great grandfather - where is the evidence?

  17. Rap, I think you are mistaken about the YU RIETS structure.
    First, they call everyone there Rosh Yeshiva. however, RYBS ztl was Rosh yeshiva. Rav Revel ztl, R' Belkin ztl were presidents, as was R Lamm and now R' Joel. In 1975/6 R' Rackman was competing with R Lamm to take the position of President, whilst RYBS was RY. Rackman was not succesful, and he instead went to bar ilan University , i think first as Provost and then Chancellor. FYI, it was suggested that Rackman was prevented

    from being President because of his radical views. I asked Rackman about this, when he was at Bar ilan. he told me that there was actually a deal offered, where he would become president for 5 years, then retire, and it would then go to lamm. Lamm did not accept the deal, so hence Rackman went to BIU.
    Since that story has not appeared in writing anywhere, i thought I might throw it in :)

  18. @RaP in terms of elementary derech eretz I agree with Rabbi Sedley on this point. There is no need to make gratuitous comparisons. It is highly unlikely that Rav Twersky would have approved and it doesn't make any impact on the points you are making. In fact it would be better to spend more time and clarifying what evidence there is for your points in the first place.

  19. Chaim, B'H we are in agreement on this one. I think your comments and questions are highly valid.
    In the Hesped for the Rav I heard from talmidim of his in London, each was trying to claim and project their own hashkafa onto the Rav. The hareidi school were claiming he was Hareidi, and brought proofs by his psak agasint davening in Conservative shuls ; the modern/clean shaven rabbis were claiming his moderness etc.
    If one looks at his pictures, we see he had one of the mini-beards and dressed stylish for his time, in contrast to Hareidi RYs then and now.
    R Rackman ztl told me a story about "mixed" dancing at some wedding they were at. There wasn't mixed dancing, but men were checking out women as they went to dance separately. the Rav joked to Rackman, that if they were mixed dancing in rock n roll style, the men would be too exhausted to think impure thoughts! he emphasised that this was not a heter, but a joke, or irony.

  20. Daas Torah said: "it would have been helpful if you actually brought examples of Rav
    Twersky's views. I don't see any evidence that he viewed secular studies
    any different than the Israeli branch of the family. You are painting
    with broad strokes and implying somehow that he was influenced and
    agreed in some way with his father , grandfather and great grandfather -
    where is the evidence?

    Let me be honest, until the time of the killings I had never heard about Rav Moshe Twersky. He was a hidden person, as was his way it seems. Then the Haredi and Orthodox media started to flood us with all sorts of stories about the people who were murdered. It was obvious that RMT was someone important, even though the media painted him as just one of 4 or 5 victims.

    The Haredi media have themselves to blame for trying to paint him as just another worthy subject for minor hagiography. But alarm bells go off when they try to slip his father Rabbi Dr. Isadore "Yitzchok" Twersky, and Rav J.B. "Yoshe Ber" Soloveitchik as "just another" set of "regular" rabbonim when they clearly were not.

    Then there is no mention of his presumed namesake Rav MOSHE Soloveitchik. Just drivel from any source that is willing to write a few words that would not even make it into the kiddies sections of Mishpacha and Ami, but now gets billed in headlines covered in heavy black type and splashed red blood dripping on them. Just makes an intelligent person recoil and start to think about what really is going on here and who is this man RMT really?

    At this point we can only go by what we are told and NOT TOLD, and undertake a sort of "historical archaeological dig" as we try to put the pieces of his life's puzzle together. Son of PhD parents. Son of famous rabbis. married to daughter of famous rabbi. Went to Harvard. What were his majors and minors? Like all humans he has to be a product of his upbringing, family and much more.

    What RMT truly believed and held by in his inner sanctums and heart of hearts is still unknown. To say that he was just another "run of the mill" Israeli Brisker is far fetched. Just what he did and who he aspired to learn from disproves this. Israeli Briskers would NEVER run to learn Mussar and Avoda from masters of that like the late Manchester Rosh Yeshiva. Israeli Briskers are not Harvard grads. They would not run to learn Kabbalah of all things from someone like the late Rav Weintraub who was himself an early disciple of Rav Hutner. Rav Hutner was an opponent of the Briskers. So how much of that filtered down to RMT? We cannot know for now.

    What did RMT truly believe, what did he say? Did he write Seforim, or does anyone known what his real intellectual interests were since he was so broad?

    So at this point it is a detective search....

  21. David Sedley,
    Wonderfully written, but I am not wrong. Let's start from the beginning. There was a dot from nothing. Now, does physics allow something to emerge from nothing? No. Matter can not be created or destroyed. So, this is against science. The idea that the dot that contained the entire universe expanded is a violation of gravity, as it was the ultimate black hole, a force similar to a star that collapses. That dot continues to get smaller, not larger.
    Now, do you disagree with me that such a dot does not expand? Let's begin with these two matters, and show me what spectacle I present.
    Shalom, and I do like the skill in your writing, but answer my questions.

  22. David Sedley said: "You continue to be unrepentantly offensive (primarily to the others who were killed)."

    RaP: You are the one that is being combative and argumentative. So stop it please. Please do not give "mussar" and you are 100% wrong! We do not mourn the millions killed by the Romans and we do not know who they were. As a nation we only know and mourn for the "Asara Harugei Malchus" and they are infinitely greater than all those who were killed at Betar! This point should be obvious. A great Talmid Chochem by dint of being that is due respect both in life and in death, as hard as that may be for you to swallow.

    "Perhaps you are zocheh to gilui Eliyahu, and he is
    telling you who is the greatest, and who is not.

    RaP: Neither you nor I have this, so why joke around. But what he do have, hopefully, is BRAINS and a good mind and the capacity to THINK and REASON.

    "If not, please keep quiet."

    RaP: Screaming "shut up" is not a substitute for logic and being rational. You lose right now with that irrational outburst, and I should not respond to your rudeness, but I will plow on a little more since I have your attention.

    "Perhaps you do not remember the Gemara in Taanit (22a), so I'll quote it for you here: It was not the "Rosh Yeshiva" or the "Adam Gadol" that Eliyahu was impressed by, but the clown, who was completely unoticed by all the "important" people. In case you can't read the Hebrew (blogs can be funny like that) here is the Soncino English:"

    RaP: Now it is YOU that is invoking Eliyahu! What a guy! Please stop with the condescension, it is annoying and childish, not worthy of an adult response quite honestly.

    "There are many other stories like that in the Gemara. It is right and proper that you revere your late Rebbe and mentor."

    RaP: You jump to conclusions and obviously you have no clue what you are saying. RMT was NOT my mentor, and I had never heard of ANY of those murdered until after the day it happened, I am basing my analysis on what I have been reading in the mainstream Haredi media. That's it.

    "But if you can only do that by putting down other people then there is something clearly lacking."

    RaP: Now you exaggerate and focus on the LEAST part of what I focus on. I have nothing to say about the others because they are minor people relative to a great Rosh Yeshiva and Talmid Chochem. If you cannot grasp that notion I cannot teach it to you now, It just shows lack in your Chinuch which I cannot fill or correct, unless of course you wish to pay attention to what I am saying.

    "Ask your Rabbi whether you need to go to the graves to ask them for mechila, and how you can best do teshuva for maligning them in this way."

    RaP: Very funny! You should write jokes for the late night shows. To repeat this has nothing to do with them. This is ONLY about RMT.

  23. @RaP you can make your point about someone's greatness without pointing out that others were not as great.

    Rabbi Friefeld once mentioned that Chazal say not to say Torah before a meis because he is not able to participate. Similarly that in mixed company one does not show off Torah learning that makes some feel uncomfortable that they don't understand.

    Likewise Chazal teach us that one does not treat one child differently than the other children because of the pain it causes the other children.

    There is no need to praise - in contrast to the other. As I noted before I agree with Rabbi Sedley on this and I censored one of your comments to reflect it.

    Let's stick to you hypothesis - where is the supporting evidence. So far you have just provided conjecture.

  24. I don't really think this is the time or place for a discussion of physics. Perhaps you are not wrong. You are certainly going against all of mainstream science.

    Without wishing to get into a fruitless discussion with you, I would suggest that you use the term "singularity" rather than "dot". Dots do not expand. Singularities apparently do very peculiar things.

    As for matter not being created or destroyed, can you please cite a source for this. I am not an expert, but there is a wikipedia page which explains the creation of matter: Matter Creation. I do not claim to understand it. Perhaps you can explain it to me. (I am not being facetious. I do not understand it. But neither do I claim to be an expert on the subject. If you can explain it to me then we can have a discussion about it).

    Furthermore, if all matter was contained within the singularity, there was no creation of matter from nothing. It was all contained within that singularity.
    Also, please explain what gravity means in relation to a singularity. If it truly was a singularity, laws of physics would break down (or be unknowable). Of course, there are many other theories about the creation of the universe which avoid the singularity issue.
    As for black holes, I would have to reread Stephen Hawking's book (I read it more than 25 years ago, and don't remember). Black holes are not very well known. There is certainly room for more research there.
    As you know, gravity is a very weak force, compared to the strong and weak nuclear forces. It is they (I think) which would have forced the singularity to expand. If they were not stronger than gravity, there would be no atoms in the universe (and no universe). I'll stop there. I really have to get back to work.
    I am not really looking to continue this discussion. I answered your questions as best I can. If you can please give me the reference to Stephen Jay Gould where he rejects evolution that would be very useful.
    Thank you

  25. Eddie said: "I think you are mistaken about the YU RIETS structure. First, they
    call everyone there Rosh Yeshiva. however, RYBS ztl was Rosh yeshiva.
    Rav Revel ztl, R' Belkin ztl were presidents, as was R Lamm and now R'

    Eddie I am glad you added in that qualifying phrase of "I think" because in my case it is I know 100%, based on reading, see for example "The Revel Era" to understand the background to all this as well as the biography about Belkin written by a YU graduate, that while many of the magidei shiur at RIETS are referred to UNOFFICIALLY as "Rosh Yeshiva" this and that, but the ONE and ONLY legal executive Rosh Yeshiva, and known as such, as appointed by the YU governing board of directors is also the President as well as Rosh Yeshiva of YU. In fact Belkin split off RIETS away from the rest of YU in order to be eligible for US government help since there can be "no discrimination based on race, sex, religion..." something that Rav J.B. Soloveitchik was opposed to. Yes, Belkin was Rav J.B. Soloveitchik's "boss" even though he was appointed after him, just as Revel was the "boss" of Rav Moshe Soloveitchik. It is not well known or understood but them's the facts! That was the case for Rabbis Revel, Belkin and Lamm they were all President of YU and Rosh Yeshiva of RIETS and all its other divisions. But YU broke with their own precedent in recent times when for the first time they split the two titles and duties, reluctantly, because Richard Joel is not a Talmid Chochem who can be a "Rosh Yeshiva" in any way, he is a lawyer by profession with executive experience. This is a big subject all of its own with its own fascinating history and politics.

  26. And you, sir, are taking advantage of the death of a righteous person to prove some kind of a point (Which happens to be completely misguided anyways). All within a week of his death. I bet that his almanah and yesomim really appreciate what you are doing.

  27. You can't, in my opinion, piece together fragments of eulogies in Haredi newspapers and believe you are getting the true character of a niftar because, to put it bluntly, the newspapers lie.

    It's not just newspapers. After the levaya of a distinguished Rov, his almonoh told a family friend "It's very nice what all the maspidim were saying, but who were they talking about?"

  28. Rap, this is all very interesting , but i am trying to fathom what you are saying, and if it is consistent.
    Was The Rav and his father Rav Moshe ztl, accepted by Brisker Rav, or were they in cherem?

    You here say you hadn't heard of RMT until he was murdered, HYD, so how do you manage to determine that he was the Gadol hador and the Ish Rimon, who knew everything?
    Next, the fact that RMT was more hareidi than his father and maternal Grandfather, doesn't say that much. Also the fact that he had such illustrious grandparents and great GPs, does nto mean he himslef was an intellectual superman. if this was the case, then each of R' Elyashiv's sons and grandsons would be gedolei hador in their own right, since they also have such great forefathers. But we hear next to nothing about them.
    I agree with one of your major points, and that is how the religious media make or break reputations. How do we really know that some Gadol x is really so great, and Gadol Y is less so or compromised? The media are tools of the people in power or the closed circles, and it is to their own benefit to give a particular image for someone. Years ago, before Chabad's messianic campaign came out of the closet, a number of MO rabbis were talking of the rebbe as if he is the closest thing to Moshiach , or the best candidate. This was even done on a shiur on Hilchot melachim. how can you ahve a candidate for Moshaihc, when there is no King, no Navi to appoint the King, no Beit Hamikdash, and the majority of Jews, especially in america, but everywhere else too, are secular or even intermarried?

  29. Actually, there is a classical law or principle in Chemistry that Mass cannot be created or destroyed. But it is within a closed system, meaning in its own "dalet amot".

    Now from what i remember about singularities, the mass was always the same, or the mass/energy equivalence.

    My Chemistry professor once said that we can say how things happen, i.e. describe processes of reactions, and other physical phenomena, but we cannot say why they happen.

  30. No. My point was not whether R. Moshe Twersky was Chareidi or not. Nor whether he was a tamid chacham and a tzaddik; I am sure he was. It was that R. Moshe Soloveitchick, R. Yosef Dov Ber Soloveitchik, and Rav Yitzchack Twersky were all tremendous talmidei chachamim whose Torah and influence on the Orthodox world stands in their own merit; they do not need to be justified by anything R. Moshe Twersky (or any of their other descendents) did or will do.

  31. Milton said: "This is silly. You spend hundreds of words discussing his yichus without
    a single mention of who he was. There's a simple solution to your
    original question: ask any talmid of his whether Rabbi Twerski was "100%
    charedi" (spoiler alert: he was).

    Milton you miss the main point here, that is precisely what RMT "became" that brings the Soloveitchik dynasty full-circle to it's original roots. Thus the circle is closed and the "American chapter" becomes just that, a "chapter, in a much longer and wider history of this well-known and illustrious Torah family and storied dynasty. That "RMT" was regarded as such by anyone is not the point, the point is that he "brought his family together" and healed a rift by "uniting" the "left" and "right" wings into more of a "whole" and in that way he is uniquely the "savior' of the split-asunder Soloveitchik dynasty...

    Malachi Chapter 3

    23 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD.

    24 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers; lest I come and smite the land with utter destruction.


    ג,כג הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי שֹׁלֵחַ לָכֶם, אֵת אֵלִיָּה הַנָּבִיא--לִפְנֵי, בּוֹא יוֹם יְהוָה, הַגָּדוֹל, וְהַנּוֹרָא.
    ג,כד וְהֵשִׁיב לֵב-אָבוֹת עַל-בָּנִים, וְלֵב בָּנִים עַל-אֲבוֹתָם--פֶּן-אָבוֹא, וְהִכֵּיתִי אֶת-הָאָרֶץ חֵרֶם.

    and it seems that this also goes with the last part that was also fulfilled here: lest I come and smite the land with utter destruction for the victims!

    What am I missing?

  32. I knew Rav Twersky z"l personally. We learned at the same time in the shiur of Hagaon Rav Gershon Zaks z"l. He did not exhibit anything but the image of a full fledged ben Torah totally immersed in his learning with no external trappings of mixing worlds or such. He would have fit well into the olam of the prime bnai Torah in Lakewood.

  33. Snag said: "You can't, in my opinion, piece together fragments of eulogies in Haredi newspapers"

    RaP: You are missing the point entirely! it is the fact that they are saying this at all that makes it so radical! If, as an example, Pravda the Communist mouthpiece, goes off it's regular pattern, and starts to praise Capitalists and Capitalism, and you multiply that by a few others all over the Totalitarian "Communist" world now praising Freedom, Democratic "Capitalism" you should right away know something is afoot and you sit up and pay attention!

    "and believe you are getting the true character of a niftar"

    RaP: You unfortunately assume that intelligent and well-read educated people do not know about the Soloveitchiks and the Twerskys, that would be absurd since they are a very public family with many of its main personalities not just well-documented but their words and works are famous and widely studied in Yeshivas and by serious students of Judaism. So it is not a "leap of faith" or a "blind guess" when one hears of yet another one of these storied people and it does not take much to put them in a framework that makes makes sense and can be explained, something that seem totally beyond you for some mysterious reason.

    "because, to put it bluntly, the newspapers lie."

    RaP That statement may at times be true or false or both. Yet we all read various newspapers and publications whether in print or online. Whether we agree with them or not. We do not read in print what we wish to hear. That is the magic of having an open society with the freedom to choose what we wish to read or not read. Just as we read hard-copy books as well as much stuff online. We are not stopped by the motivations or the points of view of the authors if the subject interests us, on the contrary we delve deeper and try to make sense and get at the truth and facts of what is really going on. Could you please point to any "lies" you have come across so far in my words. I would be glad to hear your views and if proven wrong I will gladly withdraw them. So far, I am on track as far as I can tell, even though it may be a little hard or unusual to hear this stuff. As they say, stay tuned.

    "It's not just newspapers. After the levaya of a distinguished Rov, his almonoh told a family friend "It's very nice what all the maspidim were saying, but who were they talking about?"

    RaP: You do realize how absurd that sounds don't you? No doubt any mourner is dazed and in shock following the loss of any beloved relative. The more famous the relative and the more humble they and their family are the more characteristically humble will be their responses. You only prove what great people they truly are.

  34. Nat said: "And you, sir, are taking advantage of the

    RaP: How so? Every last Orthodox and Charedi and general Jewish paper and publication is writing about this tragedy, are they too "taking advantage" for their own benefit of selling their papers and making a profit (I do not get paid for this by the way) and for foisting their own point of view agendas (I have no agenda beyond pointing out a VERY positive development that obviously goes way over your head since you have totally missed it, just by looking at your reaction here.). Please be rational and reasonable. If you don't like this subject no one is forcing you to read about it. Feel free to read about calmer more relaxing and soothing things that will not trouble you and that you will be in full agreement with. Try looking into a mirror, maybe you will enjoy looking at your own image, and no one will argue with you.

    "of a righteous person"

    RaP: Indeed, we agree, and if anything I have attempted to portray the amazing greatness and righteousness of Rav Moshe Twersky and his illustrious family, so I am not sure why you are having a problem right now.

    prove some kind of a point (Which happens to be completely misguided

    RaP: Please point out the exact problems you see and I will try to respond. So far all I see is just an emotional knee-jerk misunderstanding on your part.

    "All within a week of his death."

    RaP: Umm, please take that up with all the for-profit Jewish, Orthodox, Charedi and other news media that are writing in relative great detail and depth about all of this. So why do have trouble with some follow-up comments and posts on a blog? Makes no sense!

    "I bet that his almanah and
    yesomim really appreciate what you are doing.

    RaP: Not sure what this means. Are they reading all the papers and blogs right now? Hope not! I am sure they have more serious things to attend to right now. What is wrong with putting forth a presentation about a familly being reunited and with seeing the positive results coming out of very negative circumstances? Of light coming out of darkness? We are going full circle, some people have accused me of being a "talmid" of RMT and of giving "hespedim" and "eulogies" while others are saying I can't possibly know anything from newspapers that lie and its misguided and getting upset missing the main point and thrust of this subject. I guess I must be doing something right, somehow. Again, please point to specific points that you disagree with or that you feel are wrong or that would run counter to what is known about the very public Soloveitchik and Twersky families. That would be a lot more helpful than just an "oy vey iz mir" kvetchy emotional irrational response. Thank you.

  35. Mike_S2500 said: "No. My point was not whether R. Moshe Twersky was Chareidi or not. Nor
    whether he was a tamid chacham and a tzaddik; I am sure he was.

    RaP: Fine, no problem!

    "It was
    that R. Moshe Soloveitchick, R. Yosef Dov Ber Soloveitchik, and Rav
    Yitzchack Twersky were all tremendous talmidei chachamim whose Torah and
    influence on the Orthodox world stands in their own merit;

    RaP: Agreed 100%!

    "they do not
    need to be justified by anything R. Moshe Twersky (or any of their other
    descendents) did or will do.

    RaP: This is where it gets complex. Yes, you are right about their own great achievements in their own right. BUT, and it's a very big BUT, there is the "problem" shall we say, that in the so-called "Charedi" world (as you like to label it), they get no recognition and are even unknowns, are invisible in that world that there ancestors and they all originally grew out of. And there it has remained for ages. Until now. If you have followed the Charedi-worshipful media then you will realize that this lacuna is not "artificial" it is imposed with a strict code of "exclusion" from the top -- until NOW upon the reports of the tragic demise of RMT, all of a sudden, the media, while still tip-toeing, is mentioning the names of those three above in respectful terms. This has all been brought about by a great tragedy, the murder of RMT, and now the Charedi media with their public is at least open and willing to speak in moderately yet very significant reverential ways about the three "who shall/were not be mentioned" as some would put it. A great shift if you asked me and a Kiddush HaShem that is long overdue.

  36. So the fact that the newspapers do their thing somehow makes what you are doing ok? And in my eyes anyways Yated, Hamodia, et al are just a bunch of sheker mixed in with a little good stuff, so none of that means much to me anyways. And whether or not his family is reading your blog also makes no difference whatsoever. I hope that you can understand that.

    Regarding the content of your post, I know how to read, thank you very much. You are basically orgasmic over the fact that a person who is being eulogized by the Haredi news outlets was a grandson of Rabbi JB Soloveitchik, as if this somehow means that his greatness was some kind of vindication and perpetuation of the "great" "Brisker dynasty of America," when in fact RMT basically rejected everything that his maternal grandfather stood for.

    And here's a news flash: The charedi and Brisker community in America and in EY laugh at the mention of the Soloveitchiks of America as being the perpetuation of the Brisker dynasty. It is only the YU-nicks who make themselves feel good by thinking of themselves as Briskers. The only Brisker dynasty is the one that followed in the footsteps of R' Chaim Ztl in his hashkafos as well as his Torah, and that was the Brisker Rov, Zt"l, and his children. Sorry. In my eyes, the true perpetuation of the "Brisker" dynasty of America can be found in people like Dovid Linzer of YCT and his colleagues.

  37. Rav Moshe Meiselman's Tribute and Summary of Rav Moshe Twersky's Unique Torah Life

    For all those who have been following this post and the related discussions, please take the time to watch and listen this 29 minute Hesped (Eulogy) delivered by Rav Moshe Meiselman the Rosh HaYeshiva of Toras Moshe, and himself a nephew of Rav J. B. Soloveitchik and a grandson of Rav Moshe Soloveitchik the son of the famous Rav Chaim Soloveitchik of Brisk. In this powerful presentation that was delivered in clear direct English in the Yeshiva Toras Moshe in Jerusalem, Israel, Rav Moshe Meiselman affirms and confirms all the principles and points that were made in the above, and ongoing, points:

    Hespedim of Rav Moshe Twersky HYD - Hesped 1: Hesped by Rav Moshe Meiselman for Rav Moshe Twersky ( (YouTube, 29 minutes. Published on Nov 25, 2014)

    In his remarkable biographical Hesped, from the vantage point of a life-long family and subsequent working relationship Rav Moshe Meiselman stresses some of the following key points about the the life and greatness of Rav Moshe Twersky:

    * That he was very much the product of his immediate family, noting the ongoing connection from Rav Chaim Soloveitchik of Brisk, to his son Rav Moshe Soloveitchik, and he to his son Rav J. B. Soloveitchik and he to his grandson Rav Moshe Twersky.

    * That Rav J. B. Soloveitchik regarded Rav Moshe Twersky as the literal embodiment and continuation of himself, greater and more than any other talmid.

    * That there was a very close relationship between Rav Chaim Soloveitchik and his son Rav Moshe Soloveitchik, whom he guided in his Rabbonus to be a great Baal Chesed as the most important thing to be.

    * That Rav Chaim Soloveitchik was a mentor and close to his grandson Rav J. B. Soloveitchik and played an important role in guiding and shaping him.

    * Rav Moshe Soloveitchik was a great teacher and influence on Rav Moshe Meiselman himself.

    * Rav Moshe Meiselman compares Rav Moshe Twersky to Yaakov Avinu as the most perfect of the Avos, greater than Avraham and Yitzchak Avinu. Even though Avraham and Yitzchak were great in their own right and Yaakov learned from them, but Yaakov took it further and perfected it to to the maximum.

    * He compares the stages in Rav Moshe Twersky's life to the stages in Yaakov Avinu's life, that first he learned in his father's house, but then he went to learn in the "Yeshiva of Shem Ve'Ever" to learn how to learn how to actualize and implement what he had learned.

    * He stresses the roles of the women who nurtured and were the keys to Rav Moshe Twersky's growth and greatness, both his wife the daughter of Rav Abba Berman and the his mother the daughter of Rav J. B. Soloveitchik.

    * He stressed over and over again that Rav Moshe Twersky was the Ish Shalem, the Perfect Man, not just because he was continuing the family greatness and he had mastered all the areas facets of Torah, Shas, Avoda, Nistar and more, but that he brought it all to Sheleimus, Perfection.

    * A strong point made is that finally, as Hashem come to take Rav Moshe Twersky back to Gan Eden, that Rav Moshe Twerrsky is presented as the greatest final product of a great dynasty and prosess of incredible Torah growth.

  38. Thank you Rap, that is very interesting. Thanks for the correction!

  39. Regarding the problem that I had with your post, I'm not going to repeat myself again, since a number of people have already called you out on the carpet for it on this blog. Whether or not you got the message depends on you.
    Regarding the whole RJBS issue, instead of lengthy, obfuscating discourses, let's speak clearly in simple terms that hopefully most people who are not in dreamland can agree with:
    Whichever person named Soloveitchik who was descended from Rav Chaim Zt"l was the bigger iluy and said over more brilliant Brisker Chakiros is obviously a matter of debate (although not in my mind), and was not the subject of my discussion. I am also not claiming that Rav Chaim disowned RJBS in any way as a grandson. My point, in short, is this: Rav Chaim Zt"l was very strong on the perpetuation of the true Mesorah, and he definitely would have disagreed very strongly with RJBS's mehalach of perpetuation of the mesorah vis-a-vis what he held was necessary to enable the continuation of American Jewry. I think that we can all agree on that. I furthermore believe that Linzer and his ilk are outcomes of the hashkafos of RJBS, as they are all talmidim of talmidim of his, and all claim to be following in his mesorah.

  40. Rabbi Seedley,
    I just got a message from my brother with something you sent him for me and I thank you for it. I never thought I would agree with Jimmy Carter but he said it right. How can Gould believe that life is a product of an accident that has no human capacity to understand and never could happen again, as Gould himself said. I personally don't have any truck with anybody's thoughts or philosophies that are only right if we sit all day and all night and all month counting the numbers on the bottom of the 1, one chance in a billion, one chanc ein a billion billion. As I said in my reply to you and my brother, I am not invovled with any sphere if knowledge that could never happen naturally and had to be an accident that nobody who doesn't hate religion would believe in.
    But it was kind of you to send me that most interesting conflict between Jimmy Carter and Steven Gould. Anyway, Carter said it much better than I did.

  41. Sorry, I've been away for ages. Apparently she said that RHS was trying to portray the Rav in what she felt was a false light - I don't want to get into specifics.


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