About the Rav

 "I am writing now to send my blessing to the editors of the Jubilee volume that the students of the great consummate Torah ­scholar, our teacher, Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, may he live a long and good life ('HaGaon HaGadol Moreinu HaRav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik Shlita'), arranged in his honor, to mark his 80th birthday. And [I also write] to express my prayer that G-d lengthen the days and years of my great  friend, with a good 'old age, vigorous and fresh they shall be,' and  that he should continue to disseminate Torah publicly and to occupy himself with the needs of the community, for the sake of the honor of G­d and His Torah, and for the splendor ('Tiferes') of our families.  With friendship and esteem. Moshe Feinstein." K'vod HaRav

( In 1983, the Student Organization of Yeshiva University published a volume of Torah works to honor HaGaon RavYosef Dov HaLevi Soloveitchik, Zatzal, on his 80th birthday. It was entitled, K'vod HaRav. The volume contained works by Torah-scholars from within and without Yeshiva.)


Documentary Film: Lonely Man of Faith 
A Novice Filmmaker Profiles a ‘Lonely Man of Faith'
Rav Soloveitchik Documentary Airs At Yeshiva University




Torah Dimensions Bio (Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff)


Great Leaders of Our People (Orthodox Union)
Jewish Virtual Library
Re-writing the Biography of Rav Soloveitchik (Manfred R. Lehman)
Memorial Service at YU April 1993, Rabbi Norman Lamm, Dr. Haym Soloveitchik, Talner Rav
A Eulogy for the Rav (Rabbi Norman Lamm)
Mail-Jewish on the Rav: The Hespedim
Maran HaRav Zt'l (Chavrusa)
New York Times (by Ari Goldman)
Rav Soloveitchik and the Lubavitcher Rebbe: An Unlikely Friendship


Articles by Rabbi Elan Adler
19th Yarzheit
18th Yarzheit

YU Commentator Series

A Special Zechut: Serving as the Rav's Shamosh (Rabbi Yosef Adler)
Learning from the Rav (Shmuel Boylan)
Ma'aseh Rav ~ V'dok (Daniel Greer)
Memories of Kindness (Dr. Rivkah Teitz Blau)
My First Year in the Rav's Shiur (Rabbi Menachem Genack)
My Memories of the Rav (Rabbi Abba Bronspigel)
On Translating Ish ha-Halakhah with the Rav (Dr. Lawrence Kaplan)
The Impact of the Rav's Presence on Yeshiva (Rabbi Yosef Blau)
The Lonely Man (William Herskowitz)
The Rav and Rav Ahron (David Luchins)
The Rav and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel (Rabbi Charles Weinberg)
The Rav and the High Holidays (Rabbi Shlomo H. Pick)
The Rav as a Personal Rebbe (Rabbi Kenneth Brander)
The Rav as an Aging Giant (1983-1985) (Rabbi Howard Jachter)
The Rav at Revel - The Rav at RIETS (Rabbi Robert Blau)
The Rav: In and Out of the Classroom (Rabbi Aaron Rakeffett)
The Rav: My Rebbe (Rabbi Hershel Reichman)
Tuesday Evenings with the Rav (Morris Laub)
Yosef Eynenu va'Ani Ana Ani Ba: A Bostonian Memoir (Rabbi Jeffrey R. Woolf)


Video of Rabbi Sholem B. Kowalsky Discussing a Meeting Between the Rav and the Lubavitcher Rebbe


Letter from Moshe Soloveitchik zt'l
On the Importance of the Rav, Menachem Genack
My Long Lonely Journey to the Rav, Yisrael Kashkin, Tradition


 25th Yahrzeit of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik - Machshava from OU - OU Torah

Two discussions commemorating the Rav's life and legacy, held on the occasion of his 25th yahrzeit at Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Englewood, NJ.

Introduction: Rabbi Moshe Genack

Speakers: Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Rabbi Menachem Genack

“Upon the reaching of the age of 80 by the Rosh Yeshiva, HaGaon Rav Yosef Dov HaLevi Soloveitchik, Shlita, I remember his arrival in the United States and his father's joy--my mentor, HaGaon Rav Moshe Soloveitchik, Zatzal--with a wise son that brings joy to his father... Upon his reaching the age of 80, may G-d strengthen him so that he can continue to disseminate Torah and to develop students who understand the Torah” ... Rav Mordechai Gifter, "K'vod HaRav

"The impact the Rav had was so profound. But you know when I think of it, I was always awestruck all the years I was in his shiur [class]. I'm saying from the moment I first saw the Rav, it was never diminished, not even for a moment, even in death. His genius was just so incomparable in every respect, in breadth and depth, and his eloquence. I was always awestruck by his genius, by such a seminal mind. But I loved him for his integrity, for the sanctity of his soul, for his sense of purpose and always, always that sense of mission. And therefore as we remember him today on the Rav zichron lebracha's [may his memory be for a blessing] third yerzheit we should always remember him and know that God sent him with a mission and we survive and generations untold will survive in terms of their commitment to Torah and mitzvos because he was always driven by this mission. This enormously gifted man, of such tremendous purpose and integrity, such extraordinary qualities, a man of such historic dimensions, we are all in his debt and are his beneficiaries." Transcript of comments by R. Menachem Genack on the Rav's third yirtzheit  

"When the Rav was hospitalized in Boston, R. Wurzburger saw a Catholic doctor leaving his room saying "thank you Rabbi, thank you." The Rav told R. Wurzburger that the man was a Catholic who had lost his faith, but in discussions, the Rav had convinced him he would be a better doctor if he returned to his religion." R. Walter Wurzburger, posted by Eitan Fiorino <fiorino@aecom.yu.edu>, Wed, 12 May 93. Vol. 7 #40.

"Toward the end of his tenure at YU, one of us would sleep in the Rav's apartment. The Rav would always wake up early, but I remember once waking up around three o'clock in the morning and realizing that the Rav was not in his bed. He was sitting in his chair in the living room. I asked him what was wrong. Apparently, that afternoon, some individuals had asked him a halachic question. He told them to return the next day for the answer. The Rav said that he knew what the halachah was but that it would be heartbreaking for them. Therefore, he could not sleep." Rabbi Kenneth Brander, "The Rav as a Personal Rebbe," YU Commentator

"Age nineteen. There were more religious students on campus, and I was introduced to the shiurim (lectures) of Rav Yosef Be’er Soloveitchik, zt”l, yet another revelation! The Rav was a brilliant rabbi, a true master of Talmud with a doctorate in secular philosophy from the University of Berlin! My new weekend schedule became: Shabbos at the Bostoner Rebbe’s followed by Rav Soloveichik’s weekly public shiur." Rabbi David Gottleib, "Coming Home"


From Pruzhan to Boston

The Rav lived in four countries through the course of his life: Poland, White Russia, Germany, and the United States. Cities he called home include Pruzhan (Poland), Khaslavichy (White Russia), Warsaw (Poland), Berlin (Germany), and Boston (United States). As Rosh Yeshiva of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) in New York, the Rav commuted weekly from Boston to New York City and may have logged as many as a million miles (certainly several hundred thousand). It is likely that no Torah sage in Jewish history ever travelled that much.

Original Discoveries  In 2009, TheRav.Info discovered a series of official documents recording the Rav's immigration to the United States.* As far as we can tell, these documents were previously unknown to scholars on the Rav's life. With gratitude to the Almighty, we proudly present them here.

First Entry into the US
Ship manifest for the Rav's first entry into the United States along with his wife Tonya and his daughter Atarah. Click to enlarge

The Rav, the Rebbetzin, and Atarah departed Liverpool, England and sailed aboard a ship called the Baltic. They arrived in New York on August 29, 1932.

The Baltic
The Baltic, built in 1904, was the largest liner in the world at the time of completion. Japanese ship-breakers destroyed it in 1933. Click to enlarge.

Second Entry After Trip to Eretz Israel
Ship manifest for the Rav's re-entry into the United States after his visit to Eretz Israel in 1935. (Line 19) Click to enlarge.

The Rav sailed aboard an Italian ship called the Rex which British aircraft later sunk during World War II.

The Rav's naturalization card, dated September 19, 1938

*These documents are from the collection of the national archives and are in the public domain. The photo of the Baltic from 1904 is assumed to be in the public domain.

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