On the Rav's Teachings

Resources detailing, summarizing, or analyzing teachings of the Rav


(partial list)

(Hebrew) Beit Yosef Shaul, edited by Rabbi Elchanan A. Adler, Yeshiva University, New York, 5754. Insights and Explanations in Teachings of Maran HaGaon Rabbi Yosef Dov HaLevi Soloveitchik zt"l on Matters of Sifrei Torah, Tefillin and Mezuzos.

Book Reviews

Reviews of books about the Rav or his teachings
Book Review of Commitment (Rabbi Moshe Meiselman)



Bikkurim (Hebrew)



10th Yarzheit (Yeshiva University)
Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff (Gruss Institute, YeshivaUniversity, 142 classes)
Rabbi Hershel Schachter (REITS, Yeshiva University, 4 classes)
Rabbi Alan Brill (Yeshiva University, class on Modern Orthodoxy)

Rabbi Beinish Ginsburg

YUTorah.org, 48 classes including the following:




Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff

(Gruss Institute, Yeshiva University, 149 classes, YUTorah.org)  Includes the following:

Rabbi Hershel Schachter   

(9 classes, YUTorah.org)


Rabbi Jeffrey Saks: Lonely Man of Faith

YUTorah.org and WebYeshiva.org

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9

For Video and course materials go to webyeshiva.org.


Rabbi Abba Bronspeigel

Rabbi Norman Lamm, Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik 10th Yahrzeit Webcast

Rabbi Alan Brill(YU class on Modern Orthodoxy)

Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb

Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein

The Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik
Rabbi Hanan Balk 

Memories of the Rav

Rabbi Aharon Kahn

Rabbi Hershel Reichman, 613.org

Chabura 1 in Gemora Kedushin based on Shuirim by Rav Yosef Soloveichik - Mitsvah Kedushin and Kesef Kedushin (59)

Chabura 2


Repent! A Survey of Al Ha Teshuva, Rabbi Hershel Reichman (Naaleh)

The Legacy of the Rav, Rav Hershel Schachter (Torahweb.org)

The Legacy of the Rav, Rav Meyer Twersky (Torah


The Soul of the Rav: Rabbi Soloveitchik's Halakhic Vision - Rabbi Hershel Schachter. 
From Brisk to Boston: The Sermons of Rav Soloveitchik - Dr. Arnold Lustiger.
Rav Soloveitchik and the Search for G-d - Rabbi Shalom Carmy.
Rav Soloveitchik and the Problem of Evil - Dr. David Shatz. Discussion: Lonely Man Of Faith - Ethan Isenberg.
Panel Discussion: Rav Soloveitchik: The Complex Legacy.
A recording of the lectures is available at Torah In Motion


ATID: The Lonely Man of Faith at 40
New Insights and Reflections

Rabbi Yitzchak Blau שרגא בר-און
Mali Brofsky ד"ר אביעד הכהן
Rabbi Shalom Carmy הרב חיים נבון
Dr. Chaim Cohen חנה קהת
Rabbi Zvi Grumet הרב יובל שרלו
Rabbi Jeffrey Saks 
Rabbi Mayer Schiller

An International Conference Commemorating the Centenary of his Birth
The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, December 29–31, 2003

Opening Session



Thought of Rabbi Soloveitchik, Stern and Yeshiva College Final Exam Questions, Shalom Carmy, YU.edu)
1995    1996

Talmudic Questions Blog

Past Events

Rabbi Jeffery Saks (Part II)
Nov.-Dec. 2011
Is mankind meant to master its surrounding or submit passively to God? What is the place of Jewish faith in the modern world? How does modernity pose a challenge to religious life? What is the viability of forming community today? These questions stand at the center of Rabbi Soloveitchik's masterful "The Lonely Man of Faith" and will be explored as we make a close reading of the essay and exploration of the sources on which the Rav zt"l drew in composing one of the 20th century's most significant treatments of religious philosophy and Jewish faith.

Nov. 14, 2011. The Jewish Center, 131 West 86th Street, in New York. 

Monday 11/21/2011 at 6:00pm at the NYU Law School on “Can the Halakhah Suspend One’s Emotions?: Rabbi Soloveitchik, Maimonides, and Rashi on the Laws of Mourning.” Lawrence Kaplan

Sunday, Feb. 5, at 2 PM

Yeshiva University Seforim Sale, Panel discussion

Rabbi Michael Rosensweig ’73
Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter
Dr. David Shatz
Rabbi Reuven Ziegler


Rabbi Ziegler also spoke at book launches in the following cities:
  • Boston – at the Maimonides School, motza’ei Shabbat Feb. 4, 8 PM
  • Ra’anana – at Kehillat Shivtei Yisrael, Wed. Feb. 29, 8:30 PM.

Writings of Rav Soloveitchik  Jan 17 -31.  Tuesday 3:00PM EST, Rabbi Jeffrey Saks   A survey of some of the major themes in Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik's thought and religious philosophy as seen in his shorter essays. 

Lonely Man of Faith Comes to Passaic, NJ

Rav Soloveitchik's Yamim Noraim  
Rabbi Jeffrey Saks
Tues. 3 PM EDT
Sept. 2012

Rabbi Beinish Ginsburg
48 classes on the Rav including




Essays and Articles


The Mesorah Torah Journal

"Each issue of Mesorah contains two parts: The first part containsChiddushei Torah from Rabbi Yoseph Dov Soloveitchik, the Rav, zt"l, originally heard orally at Shiurim that were transcribed at the time by his students. The second section comprises original Torah articles about contemporary issues related to Kashruth."

Koltorah.org (Rabbi Chaim Jachter)



"An Index to Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik's Halakhic Man," Jeffrey Saks, The Torah U'Maddah Journal, Volume 11, 2002-3

Jeffrey R. Woolf

Article by Rabbi Dr. Yitzchok Boaz Gottleib (Mircaz Limudei Yahadut v'Ruach, In Hebrew)

Introduction to the Philosophy of Rav Soloveitchik (Rabbi Ronnie Ziegler, 25 essays)

J. B. Soloveitchik and the Lonely Self (Harold M. Schulweis, Valley Beth Shalom)

Lonely Man of Faith at 40 (ATID, Symposium)

"The Religious Philosophy of R. Joseph Soloveitchik", Dr. Lawrence Kaplan, Tradition 14/2 (Fall 1973)

"Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik's Philosophy of Halakhah", Dr. Lawrence Kaplan, The Jewish Law Annual vol. 7, Harwood Academic Publishers-The Institute of Jewish Law at Boston University Law School

"Models of the Ideal Religious Personality in the Thought of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik", Dr. Lawrence Kaplan, Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought IV (1984/85), in Hebrew

"On the Problem of Halacha's Status in Judaism: A Study of the Attitude of Rabbi Josef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik, R. Shihor, Forum (Spring and Summer 1987)

"Joseph Soloveitchik: Lonely Man of Faith", David Singer and Moshe Sokol, Modern Judaism vol. 2 no. 3, October 1982 (Johns Hopkins University Press)

"Halakhic Man: A Review Essay", Elliot Dorff, Modern Judaism vol. 6 no. 1, February 1986

David Hartman wrote a response to Elliot Dorff's review.

"The Halakhic Hero: Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik", David Hartman, Modern Judaism vol. 9 no. 3, October 1989

"Grief and Joy in the Writings of Rabbi Soloveitchik," Alex Sztuden, Tradition, Winter 2010

Review of Yiddish Drashos and Writings (Dr.  Arnold Lustiger)

"Grief and Joy in the Writings of Rabbi Soloveitchik," Alex Sztuden, Tradition, Winter 2010

Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik on Human Knowledge: Between Maimonidean and Neo-Kantian Philosophy

Aviezer Ravitzky Modern Judaism Vol. 6, No. 2 (May, 1986), pp. 157-188
The Man of Faith and Religious Dialogue: Revisiting "Confrontation" Modern Judaism, Volume 25, Number 3, October 2005, pp. 290-315 by: Korn, Eugene B., 1940-

Rabbis Joseph B. Soloveitchik and Abraham Joshua Heschel on Jewish-Christian Relations Modern Judaism, Volume 24, Number 3, October 2004, pp. 251-271, by: Kimelman, Reuven.

"Rushing in Where Angels Fear to Tread": Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, The Rabbinical Council of America, Modern Orthodox Jewry and the Second Vatican Council Modern Judaism, Volume 29, Number 3, October 2009, pp. 351-385 by: Yigal Sklarin

Time Awareness as a Source of Spirituality in the Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik Modern Judaism, Volume 32, Number 1, February 2012, pp. 54-75 by: Jeffrey R. Woolf

Prayer and Religious Consciousness: An Analysis of Jewish Prayer in the Works of Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Yeshayahu Leibowitz, and Abraham Joshua Heschel Modern Judaism, Volume 23, Number 2, May 2003, pp. 105-125 by: Hartman, David, 1931-

Reproach, Recognition and Respect: Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik and Orthodoxy's Mid-Century Attitude Toward Non-Orthodox Denominations American Jewish History, Volume 89, Number 2, June 2001, pp. 193-214 by: Seth Farber

U-vikashtem Mi-sham: Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik's Response to Martin Buber's Religious Existentialism Modern Judaism, Volume 18, Number 2, May 1998, pp. 93-118 by: Berger, Michael S.

Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveitchik and the Role of the Ethical Modern Judaism, Volume 23, Number 1, February 2003, pp. 12-31 by: Spero, Shubert.

Incompatible Parallels: Soloveitchik and Berkovits on Religious Experience, Commandment and the Dimension of History Modern Judaism, Volume 28, Number 2, May 2008, pp. 173-203 by: Jonathan Cohen

From Cooperation to Conflict: Rabbi Professor Emanuel Rackman, Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik, and the Evolution of American Modern Orthodoxy Modern Judaism, Volume 30, Number 1, February 2010, pp. 46-68 by: Lawrence Kaplan

"Like Pebbles on the Seashore": J. B. Soloveitchik on Suffering Modern Judaism, Volume 24, Number 2, May 2004, pp. 150-164 by: Millen, Rochelle L., 1943

Transcending Time: Elements of Romanticism in the Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchk Modern Judaism, Volume 30, Number 3, October 2010, pp. 233-246 by: Moshe Sokol

"The students of the Maharil (Rabbi Yaakov Moelin, 1365-1427) offer a chilling story about their teacher in his collection of laws pertaining to Yom Kippur.2 The Maharil was once chazzan in the town of Regensburg during the Yomim Noraim, and decided to insert a piyyut into Mussaf composed by Rabbeinu Ephraim, who happened to be buried in Regensburg. Although the leaders of the town informed him that this was not their practice, he did not listen to them based upon his logic, saying that it would be an honor to Rabbeinu Ephraim to recite the piyyut. A few days later, on Yom Kippur, the Maharil’s daughter died. He understood that this was a punishment for changing the minhag hamakom (local tradition).3 This background provides a remarkable insight into why the Maharil emphasized the importance and centrality of minhagim, and how he became the single most influential and accepted codifier of Ashkenazi practices.

"Writing during the time of the sprouting of the Reform movement, the Chasam Sofer (Rabbi Moshe Sofer, 1762-1839) was a strong advocate of keeping minhagim. He felt that unorthodox practice began by “simply” changing a few minhagim. As such, he called those that change minhagim “violators of the Torah.”4 This remark is based upon Tosfos, Menachos 20b (s.v. Nifsal) — “minhag avoteinu…Torah” — the tradition of our forefathers is considered Torah.

"Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik explained that this phrase from Tosfos extends beyond the basic obligation to heed to the minhagim of one’s community. It also applies to the requirement to study and understand minhagim and their origins, just as one wrestles to understand each and every word and halacha mandated by the Torah to the best of one’s ability. It is based on this that the Rav dedicated much time from his shiurim teaching minhagim and their sources, with the same depth of methodology and rigor that he would use when teaching halachic concepts to his students."

 Rabbi Yosef Kalinksy, Minhagim on Chanukah: Dreidel and Sufganiyo, from Chanuka to Go


"Adherence to the exact Mesorah (Tradition) of the congregation was emphasized by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik zt”l, who explained that the traditional musical nusach (rendition) provides the proper interpretation for the words of tefillah. Concerning the Yomim Nora’im, Rav Soloveitchik stated: “The Mesorah of the nefesh (soul), of experiencing God, is expressed in halachic terms by the Remo, who rules (אורח חיים תריט:א) that one may not alter the liturgy and tunes used by one’s congregation on the High Holidays. The liturgy and tunes employed by each community affect one’s emotional response to the High Holidays and constitute the Mesorah of the nefesh.“

R' Avraham Gordimer



A Statement by Rabbi Dr. Sholom Gold in Response to the CJCUC Initiated "Orthodox Rabbinic Statement on Christianity"

  • The Rav wrote in "Confrontation" that people confuse two concepts when they speak of a common tradition uniting two faith communities such as the Christian and the Judaic.
  • The Rav considered it "a betrayal of our faith and heritage" to "even hint to another faith community that we are mentally ready to revise historical attitudes, to trade favors pertaining to fundamental matters of faith, and to reconcile 'some' differences". The Rav warned against "displaying a servile attitude."
  • The Rav emphasized in "Confrontation" that, in order for us as Jews to "safeguard our individuality and freedom of action", we must make it very clear that the Jewish Nation is not related to any other faith community as "brethren" even though "separated."
  • The Rav was disturbed by the "naïve and equivocal" statements coming from Jewish leadership in their reckless attempts at dialogue and by "rushing in where angels fear to tread.” He reproached Jewish leaders in the strongest of language for having "...transcended the bounds of historical responsibility and decency by asking for a theological document on the Jews as 'brethren' in faith instead of urging the Church to issue a strong declaration in sociological-human terms affirming the inalienable rights of the Jew as a human being.” 

In closing I will end with a telling, if not prophetic, excerpt from the eulogy for Rav Jospeh B. Soloveitchik Z"L, delivered by Rabbi Dr.Norman Lamm:
“We must guard, therefore, against any revisionism, any attempts to misinterpret the Rav's work in both worlds, akin to the distortion that has been perpetrated on the ideas of R. Samson Raphael Hirsch. The Rav was not a lamdan who happened to have and use a smattering of general culture, and he was certainly not a philosopher who happened to be a talmid hakham, a Torah scholar. He was who he was, and he was not a simple man. We must accept him on his terms, as a highly complicated, profound, and broad-minded personality, and we must be thankful for him. Certain burgeoning revisionisms may well attempt to disguise and distort the Rav's uniqueness by trivializing one or the other aspect of his rich personality and work, but they must be confronted at once. When the late R. Yehezkel Abramski eulogized R. Hayyim Brisker, he quoted the Talmudic eulogy, "If a fire has blazed up among the cedars, what shall the hyssop do," and interpreted that as: after the giants have been taken from us, who knows what the dwarfs who follow them will do to their teachings….”


"My teacher, Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik זכר צדיק לברכה (who was once described by the founder of the Ponevezh Yeshiva as the greatest Rosh Yeshiva in the world), used to note that the amount that the Priests (for example) used to receive for their services was way out of proportion for what they actually did. According to both the Bible and the Talmud, the priests were divided into twenty-four divisions, which served for a week at a time. Each division was sub-divided into seven families. In other words, most priests worked for only two days a year!!! (Most Levites, I might add, never worked in the Temple). So, asked Rav Soloveitchik, how do the Priests and Levites come to deserve really munificent public support?
"The answer is provided by Maimonides himself, and conveniently ignored by the Haredi establishment. ‘This tribe was set apart to serve God and to minister to Him, to teach His straight ways and righteous ordinances to the multitudes.’ The Levites weren’t paid to study. They were paid to teach! They were paid to serve the Jewish people." 

Shirum on Succah according to Reshimos Shiurim, based on the notes of the Talmud classes of Rabbi Soloveitchik.

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