The righteous even in their death, they are called alive.

Berachoth 18b

Maimonides School

The Maimonides school, which the Rav and his wife Tonya founded in 1937, offers K-12 education in Jewish and secular studies in an Orthodox Jewish environment to 600 children each year. 


Boston Religious Community

The Rav served as a community Rav in Boston for more than half a century. He lead the community in achieving higher halachic standards, served as a posek, and taught Torah in weekly classes. His Motzei Shabbat class in Chumash and his Sunday morning class in Talmud went on for decades.


Yeshiva University

While Yeshiva University is the product of many hardworking people, the Rav served as a major force at YU for four decades. He served as Rosh Yeshiva of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, or RIETS, from 1941-1985. YU provides an Orthodox Jewish environment for young men and women who seek a college degree, thus serving the goals of Torah U'Maddah and Torah Im Derech Eretz. The US News and World Report ranks YU among the top 50 national research universities. YU's rabbinical seminary , or REITS, is one of the largest rabbinical schools in the world. YU has professional schools for medicine, law, business, social work, psychology, and education.

Torah Observance in the Modern World

The Rav drew upon his vast Torah knowledge to transport the Torah tradition from the old world to the new. While battling for halachic discipline and strict adherence to tradition, he created a vision of Torah observance that could flourish in modern Western society.


The Rav was a Talmudic and halachic genius. As Rosh Yeshiva of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanon Rabbinical Seminary (RIETS), he Rav ordained over 2,000 rabbis, among them are some of the leading poskim, Talmudic scholars, and Jewish philosophers in the Jewish world. They now serve as Jewish religious leaders and educators throughout the world. In addition, he served for many years as chairman of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Council of America.

 Photo courtesy of Yeshiva University

Torah Education

The Rav worked tirelessly for over half-a-century to teach Torah to top-level scholars and laypeople of both genders. He taught at YU for forty years and gave public classes in Boston and New York City for most of that period as well. His Tuesday evening class for the public at the Moriah Shul on the Upper West Side of Manhattan lasted from 1952-1982. There are in publication over fifty books that were either authored by the Rav or by other scholars about the Rav's teachings. Recorded tapes of the Rav's classes number in the hundreds. His public lectures attracted audiences of as many as 2,000 people, an extraordinary number for mid-Twentieth century American Jewry.

 Photo courtesy of Yeshiva University


The Rav's greatness in Torah, religious devotion, public service, charitable works, and refinement in character traits continue to serve as a model of excellence for people across the spectrum of Jewry and the larger human society.

Debate Over the Rav's Legacy and Teachings

Boston College: Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik on Interreligious Dialogue, Forty Years Later
Debate on Women's Prayer Groups
Revisionism and the Rav: The Struggle for the Soul of Modern Orthodoxy 

Portraying the Rav (Jewish Action)

Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik as Posek of Post-Modern Orthodoxy (Walter S. Wurzburger, Tradition Volume 29, 1994 in www.lookstein.org)

The Rav was motivated by the unity of klal yisrael -- he predicted that in America, there would be widespread dropping out of Judaism unless one spoke to Jews in a language they understood -- Zionism and secular studies.  The Rav often said that if Hakadosh Baruch Hu didn't bless klal yisrael with medinat yisrael after the shoah, then the number of Jews dropping out would have been much worse. (R. Hershel Reichman (given at Y.U. on May 10.), posted by Eitan Fiorino , Wed, 12 May 93, mail-jewish.org, Vol. 7 #38.)

His fear of G-d precedes his wisdom. His whole being is filled with the fear of G-d—he is a tzadik and full of piety in his conduct. He is like a live 'Mussar Sefer,' and can serve as an example and model in his Torah, wisdom and piety. He is a born leader of Jewish leaders. He is active in communal matters, and has accomplished great things in this field. His character is filled with excellent qualities and he always shows courtesy to his fellow man. He is modest and incorruptible. He receives everyone with a pleasant demeanor and has deep understanding for each person through his psychological insight. (Rav Moshe Soloveitchik, Letter to the Religious Council of Tel Aviv, 1935)

The Rav loved his audience.  Why did non-lumdisha Jews attend his shiurim? Even if the intellectual message was not always accessible to them, the Rav's love of Torah and his audience was clearly felt.  Thousands would come to his shiurim; unprecedented  for a magid shiur.  What was his secret? He made Torah accessible; his heart overflowed with love and was empowering to the audience.  Like a child who comes home from cheder to show a picture he made to his parents, the Rav shared his most precious discoveries with us, his audience. (R. Hershel Reichman (given at Y.U. on May 10.), posted by Eitan Fiorino , Wed, 12 May 93, mail-jewish.org, Vol. 7 #38.)

The former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Avraham Shapira shlita, told me the following story to which he was a personal witness. When the Rav came to visit Israel, the one and only time during his life, in 1935, it was the last year of the life of the elder Rav Kook. The Rav spoke at several places at Mercaz Harav, at the Harry Fischel Institute, and at several other yeshivot. At every sheur that he gave, Rav Kook's son, R. Zvi Yehuda, attended and listened attentively. When Rabbi Shapira asked R. Zvi Yehuda why he was doing so, he answered as follows: His father received Rabbi Soloveitchik and they "talked in learning." When Rabbi Soloveitchik left, the elder Rav Kook told his son that the experience of speaking with Reb Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik reminded him of his earliest years when he was a student at the Yeshiva of Volozhin, during the time that Rabbi Soloveitchik's grandfather, Reb Hayyim Soloveitchik, first started to give sheurim. I believe, Rav Kook said, that the power of genius of the grandfather now resides with the grandson- and therefore, he said to his son, you should not miss a single sheur by Reb Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik. (Rabbi Norman Lamm, A Eulogy for the Rav)  

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