Tenth Yahrzeit of Rav Nachman Bulman zt”l
Many of our readers, I’ve been told, turn to Cross-Currents for a balanced view on issues. They look here for commentary faithful to Torah values, free of extremism, and admitting to nuance.
If we succeed at times in living up to this expectation, much of the credit belongs to a remarkable individual who taught all of the above, and was responsible for much of the Torah weltanschauung of an inordinate number of mechanchim and Torah personalities of our generation. Two of the senior writers on Cross-Currents – Rabbi Rosenblum and myself – owe so much to Rav Bulman.
It is hard to believe that we have missed him for an entire decade. His memory is eternally fresh in the minds of so many whose thinking he shaped. Sunday evening, the yahrzait will be commemorated by a leyl iyun in Sanhedria Murchevet. We hope that those in Yershalayim can join.
I would humbly like to add my name to those who consider themselves as having been positively influenced by Rav Bulman zt”l. I had the good fortune to live near him during his years in Migdal Ha-Emek and often made the trip from Kfar Chassidim on a motzaei Shabbat or during the week to “pick” his mind. And what a delectably eclectic mind it was. Was there another Torah personality who was made up of so many different influences; from Rav Soloveitchik, to Rav Hirsch, to Sfas Emes and Izbhitz. Chaval al d’avdin … yehi zichro baruch.
Although it has been over 50 years since my upbringing in Newport News, Va. my memory of the Rav is still so vividly clear to me as it was just yesterday.
He was the one who spoke to our souls. That is why his teachings and style of teaching is not easily forgotten. May our memory of him be a blessing to his soul.
Interestingly, the only really regular contributors to this blog that consistently take a centrist view which does not just parrot whatever the Charedi world tells them to say and think are Rabbis Adlerstein and Rosenblum. Rabbi Dovid Landesman similarly is reliable to provide a balanced view free of extremism whenever he does contribute, and Rabbis Leff and Malinowitz both publicly supported Rabbi Slifkin when he was banned.
I feel privileged to have known Rav Bulman when I lived in his kehilla in the 1980’s.
His depth of understanding and his vision for a better and more unified Klal Yisrael are etched on my mind and heart. It was an honor to know such a Torah scholar,thinker and writer.
I was not privileged to have had a long relationship with Rav Bulman zt”l. However, when I was invited in 1990 to travel to America to participate in a Bnai Noach conference in Texas, I preceded my trip with what turned out to be a very long and significant telephone consultation with the rav. His wisdom, clarity, patience, realism and many more wonderful midos came home to me from that conversation. The experience of having communicated with someone truly great is with me to this day.