Moreinu HoRav Henoch Leibowitz zt”l – Reflections From Outside the Inner Circle

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12 Responses

  1. mb says:

    Thanks for this extrmely moving eulogy. I’m priviliged to be his student’s student and now have a greater appreciation of both.

  2. David says:

    Thank You for such honest and thoughtful words about your Rosh Yeshiva, obm.

  3. Moish says:

    Zechuso yagen aleinu.

    The RY’s tolerance for sartorial diversity might have been a bit more limited than you recall. When I showed up for high school one day in bell-bottoms (I can’t imagine what I was thinking, but somehow it made sense at the time), one of the shamashim (I think, Zorch Powers) brought me a note written by the RY himself, the gist of which was to either find new pants or a new yeshiva.

    I’m not sure which memory makes me cringe more, the pants or the note.

  4. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    R. Yitzhak,
    I was at Dvar Yerushalayim in its first year of existence in which it was sharing facilities with Chofetz Chaim (J-m). I had the privilege of encountering the RY in a visit of his and felt his greatness. I was at the time prior to accepting the basic premises of the Torah, which I felt was a precursor to being able to deal with the whole bag of mussar. My encounter with the proximity of Chofetz Chaim impressed me with its menschlichkeit and thoughtfulness in learning. I visited the Jerusalem campus a number of times thereafter. I also spent a wonderful Yom Kippur at the main campus of CC a couple of years later. As even more of an outsider than yourself, I share in your grief. At this point in my life I believe in mussar very deeply. Of course as Rabbi Chait used to say, I am often wont to duck and sincerely appreciate when it lands on the head of the guy sitting in the row behind me. But there is almost no moral failure which I have criticized in others that I have not found at some point in myself. Long live mussar!

  5. Danny Rubin says:

    Rav Adlerstein,

    As a talmid of the Rosh Yeshiva, I deeply thank you for this moving article.

    I will never forget walking into Rav Henoch z”tl’s office with frustration anguish, and even a bit of defiance about people and institutions in the frum world. I always left uplifted, with a newfound sense of peace of mind. Rav Henoch did not change my attitude about these items. Instead he provided an intellectual maturity about emunas chachamim that changed my life.

    Tehe Nishmaso zror Btror hachaim

  6. sima ir kodesh says:

    It has always been pleasurable to invite bochurim from Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva in Sanhedria Murchavet for shabbos. They are menshim, quick to lend a helping hand, ready with a dvar torah, and very respectful of their Rosh Yeshiva zt”l. When table talk centered around Eretz Yisroel, politics, and the Medinah, we were told that the Rosh Yeshiva is not one to use ‘bitul’, and teaches his talmidim that hakaros hatov is primary. The yeshiva would display the flag on Yom Haatzmaus as a show of hakaras hatov to the state, for allowing the Yeshiva to build and expand in Yerushayalim. What a zechus for talmidim to have such a mentor as Rav Henoch zichranan levracha.

  7. Chananya Berman says:

    I would like to thank the auther for his hesped of my rebbi. Even though i came to RSA last year as a Bais Medrash Bochur I Have been in the “network” for 7 Years. I was privlidged to hear discourses from Rebbi and be Mishamash Him personnaly on a few Occassions. I remember rebbi always Dancing at the “engagment announcments” in the old building outside the Bais Medrash. The amount of people that rebbi influneced is unimaginable. My father went to Hamilton Canada to teach becuase of the profound impact that Rebbi had on him. My father didn’t go through the whole system but still felt the sence of responsability. We will all sorely miss rebbi but take comfort in the fact that we as students or students of students can carry on rebbi’s path and try to spread his ideas and ideals to the world.

  8. Shlomo Goldberg says:

    Dear Rav Yitzchak,

    You said I would probably disagree with something in this article. I do not know what it is though, unless it is that the Rosh Yeshiva, ztz”l, was a little harder on the “frummer” than you allude to. Yasher Koach on a beautiful recollection.

  9. Bernard S. Antin says:

    Dear Jeff AMUSH,
    The article about the Rosh HaYeshiva ZTZ’L was particularly meaningful to me as it was not from the inner circle of talmidim whose whole worldview of Torah is limited to the Yeshiva.
    Many of the impresins you recorded reflect my own as one of not quite fit the mold types who attended the Yeshiva.
    Thank you on behalf of the other also were theres
    Yashar Kocha

  10. Raymond Blum says:

    What a beautiful tribute to clearly a great man so admired by such an admirable person himself, Rabbi Adlerstein. I only have two brief comments to make about this article as a response.

    One is, I liked the great Rosh Yeshiva’s respect for individual differences. I have long abhorred the herd mentality, that uses strong social disapproval and intense pressure on people to conform. I think one of the reasons that I so admire Rabbi Adlerstein himself, is that he is such an independent thinker. He manages to be a Chareidi Rabbi while always thinking things through for himself. I think back on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s most famous expression: Whosoever would be a man, must be a non-conformist.

    My other response is that while I know nothing about these Chovetz Chaim Yeshivot mentioned by Rabbi Adlerstein in his article, they sure sound like they are doing a good job in producing religious Jews in the best sense of the term. I have long lost count of how often I have been turned off of living the religious Jewish life when experiencing unsavory behavior from so-called religious Jews. Learning Torah and following the intricacies of Jewish law is all fine and good, but nothing makes it or breaks it for me as does the actual moral behavior of people. I will go even farther than that, by saying that any so-called religious Jew who does not act even minimally decent in their behavior toward others, is a person only masquerading as a Torah Jew.

    How is that for being a non-conformist?

  11. Zvi Freund says:

    To Moish, who wasn’t accepted because of his bell-bottoms, I would like to say that someone inside the system, who has heard the RY, has thought things through, and has come to different conclusions, is welcome. Someone who enters with defiance written down his legs or across his scalp (i.e., long hair) may not hear the Yeshiva’s teachings in the first place. (This may not have been correct, but it is the perception that bell-bottoms projected in those days.)

    To Raymond Blum, I would like to say that the RY has said many times that we must all project the beauty of Torah wherever we might find ourselves. A rabbi who lives among us in Kew Gardens (where a major percentage of the Yeshiva family have settled over the years) once said it all at a Chofetz Chaim breakfast fundraiser. He said, “I don’t know every Talmid of the Yeshiva, but every one that I know is a mentsch.”

    Finally, to Rabbi Adlerstein I would like to say thank you for a beautiful hesped of the RY. I also have a greater appreciation today for the assistance you gave me back in 1977 when I needed guidance and the RY — and most of the Yeashiva — were out of reach.

    Zvi Freund

  12. Allan Jacob says:

    Make no mistake–the Rosh Hayeshiva was a conformist of the highest degree…He conformed to the 19th Century Lita Torah world!

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