Two More Clips from Rav Soloveitchik zt”l on Torah

I am grateful to Rabbi Mark Dratch for having shared these very important clips with RCA membership:

Clip 1

Clip 2

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17 Responses

  1. Allan katz says:

    I didn’t know that his shiurim were in Yiddish , not English ? why

    • Nachum says:

      Yiddish was his native language, and the one he was most comfortable in.

      He switched his regular shiurim to English in the 1960’s, but his big public lectures generally remained in Yiddish.

      (He wrote all his shiurim in Hebrew before delivering them in Yiddish.)

      • Mycroft says:

        The yahrzeit shiurim and Tshuva shiurim were in Yiddish. IIRC the Rav after 1967 started saying a shiur in English in memory of wife’s yahrzeit. One can’t forget that the Rav spoke in English often, not only in Boston Saturday night hashkafa shiurim, Sunday morning Gemarrah shiur. Certainly the Rav often spoke in English going way back. It is the shiurm that the Rav kept to Yiddish

      • Mycroft says:

        The Rav continued to give his Tshuva shiurim and Yahrzet shiur for father in Yiddish, but certainly spoke in Englidh even lectures at YU see eg lecture against Beitarniks who were threatening to be impolite at a potential visit by UK Ambassador to UN certainly in English. Certainly IIRC his lectures published in English were originally spoken in English. There were quite a few in 60 s and 70 s.
        One can’t ignore his Boston area speeches, I first heard him in a speech in very early 60s in Boston area and heard him at least occasionally over the next couple of decades and recall them being in English. There certainly, is no doubt the the Rav thought in learning in Yiddish, but had no difficulty in speaking English fluently..
        Sadly my relatives who would have remembered hearing him in Boston in 30s,40s, 50s are now in Olam haemet but certainly he spoke English in one on one conversations with those who did not have Yiddish as first language even if they understood Yiddish and could speak Yiddish fluently.

      • Mycroft says:

        The Rav was fluent in many languages, a cute story showing his fluency in Latin is that the Rav as a leader of Klal, Israel would read Catholic encyclicals and discuss with those who dealt in those issues how to respond. The Rav did not rely on the Vatican English translation but translated the document from the original Latin and compared it with the Vatican translation and was especially interested in any differences of even small nuances between his translation and the official translation.

      • dr. bill says:

        a good example of why members of the Sanhedrin had to be fluent in 70 languages. Kuloh Torah is an interesting lifestyle for an iconoclast, but not for a posek or RY.

      • dr. bill says:

        Mycroft, if my memory serves me, I wrote up the Rav ztl’s first shiur in memory of his wife given in English for the Commentator. I remember the Rav asked me if I had snuck in a recorder; I had not. His language was so dramatic, it was not that hard to abbreviate and/or remember.

        That shiur or perhaps another given around that time is the final essay in the Family Redeemed.

        Absent from all writeups AFAIK is a hysterical philosophical hamaivin yavin comment that the Rav jokingly made.

    • Raymond says:

      Thank G-d that there are so many Rav Soloveitchik books in English, as my Yiddish is a bit rusty to say the least (to the lament of my Yiddish-speaking father)

  2. dr. bill says:

    in shiur, he abruptly changed to English around 1960 to accommodate a student from Princeton, who did not understand Yiddish. his yartzeit and teshuvah shiurim were always in Yiddish.

  3. Steve Brizel says:

    Awesome ! Note the emphasis on the unity between head and heart and that HaShem Yisborach is the Malamud Torah Lamo Yisrael anywhere Torah is learned . More videos please!

  4. joel rich says:

    can u post the english transcripts?

  5. Reuven Ungar says:

    The first clip (La’asok BaTorah, not Lilmod Torah) is masterfully recorded in Reshimot Shiurim on Masechet Brachot by Rav Reichman and his son. The Torah She’ba’al peh expressed here profoundly drives the point home. Even without the translation (which is excellent and very appreciated) one merits to receive Torah directly from the torchbearer of Volozhin/Brisk. Thanks to Rav Dratch and Rav Gordimer for a tremendous zikuy of the rabbim.

  6. Arnie Lustiger says:

    The video in Rabbi Gordimer’s previous post as well as the first video here are from a siyum the Rav gave in November or December 1957 on the first half of Brachos at Moriah. The second clip was from the end of the 1970 Yahrzeit shiur. I hope to have more videos ready in a month or two.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Looking forward to more videos that will give us more inspiration to be Laasok Bdivrei Torah and to be Hagisa Bah Yamim Valailah!!

  7. Shades of Gray says:

    In time for Daf Yomi learners, below is a link to a post containing an audio link to a shiur on Berachos 36-37 in Yiddish, which Rabbi Soloveitchik gave weekly at the Moriah Synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

    The shiur is from the Spring, 1958, a time when American Orthodoxy was on the cultural defensive. Rabbi Basil Herring has summarized in English the homiletic parts of the final 20 minutes of the shiur in an August, 2013 Torah Musing post titled “The Rav on Remaining True to Ourselves”, linked below.

    A week or so after the above shiur was posted, I was staying overnight in Tannersville, NY on the way to Hunter Mountain. My friend and I davened Mincha/Maariv in the main shul, and after Maariv, we noticed a few chasidim had remained to ask a Kashrus question to Rabbi Herschel Schacter, who stays in the area during the summer. When the chasidim left, my friend and I introduced ourselves, and I said that we had a connection to a certain rav whom he knew through the kashrus field. Rabbi Schacter turned to me, I think with a sly smile, and said, “oh, so you know all about Kashrus.” I answered, “that was a number of years ago”, and he smiled again.

    I then mentioned that we were learning together the above Gemara in Keitzad Mevorchim, and having just listened to some of the above-linked audio, I liked the way Rabbi Soloveitchik tied the halacha question of what blessing to make on changed fruit(“bemilsa kai/tzuras hapri kayemes”, some of the original fruit remains visibly intact), into the drush/homiletics portion at the end of the lecture. While I don’t think Rabbi Schacter was at that particular shiur at the Moriah Synagogue–someone later told me he would have been in the yeshiva during this time– I remember him describing to me in general how “Rabbi Soloveitchik used to give very nice derashos”.

    In this vein, see 49:30 in the linked audio where R. Soloveitchik transitions from the halacha portion to the drush portion by saying, “We learn important moral and hashkafic lessons from the Halachah, not just from the Midrash”(as translated by R. Herring).

  8. Shades of Gray says:

    Besides Daf Yomi, Rav Soloveitchik’s shiur from Torah Musing on Berachos 36, linked above, is appropriate to the upcoming day of Tu B’Shevat, as R. Soloveitchik says in the shiur, “the status of fruit grown on a tree is particularly significant, as the Torah compares man to trees”, a theme of Tu B’Shevat thought(Berachos 36 is studied this year by Daf Yomi 2 days before Tu B’Shevat).

  9. Baruch Nissonovich says:

    The translation has some serious mistakes. The Rov did not say that the formula of the hadran is not from gedolei yisroel but just the opposite.

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