The Rav in Boston

Maimonides School in Brookline

For many summers, the Rav taught a six-week Talmud class to a group of forty-fifty people in the Beit Midrash at Maimonides. The  class took place Monday through Thursday from 4 PM to 7 PM. Rabbi Jeffrey R. Woolf, Yosef Eynenu va'Ani Ana Ani Ba: A Bostonian Memoir, YU Commentator.



Every Motzei Shabbat (Saturday evening), the Rav lectured on Jewish thought at Maimonides. The class frequently centered on Chumash and sometimes on the Rambam. The lecture started at 8:15 PM and lasted frequently until midnight. Rabbi Jeffrey R. Woolf, Yosef Eynenu va'Ani Ana Ani Ba: A Bostonian Memoir, YU Commentator.

"The Rav would hold forth, reading from his hand-written notes, and frequently departing there from. The room was almost always packed to the gills, even in the worst weather. Men and women, rabbis and professors, Harvard undergraduates and MIT graduate students, artists and poets, business people and professionals, came together to hear the Rav. I distinctly recall one woman who drove ninety minutes from New Hampshire in order to attend." Rabbi Jeffrey R. Woolf, Yosef Eynenu va'Ani Ana Ani Ba: A Bostonian Memoir, YU Commentator.

On Sunday morning, the Rav taught a Talmud class for the Boston Hevrah Shas. On Shabbos, the Rav davened at Maimonides. Between Mincha and Maariv, he answered questions for congregants.


The Rav's shtender (prayer lectern) at Maimonides

Talner Shul in Brighton, MA

The Rav davened (prayed) during the week at the Talner Shul where his son in law, Rabbi Isadore Twersky was the Rebbe. Rabbi Twersky was also the head of the Jewish studies department at Harvard University. The Talner shul was in operation from 1961-2011.The Rav lived in the Talner Shul in his last years.

(Photo by Jesse Hefter, used with permission.)

Comments about his mechutan, Isadore Twersky's father, the Talner Rebbe: "Who was the Talner Rebbe? He was the saint-teacher par excellence. He represented with great dignity and sacrificial action six generations of saint-teachers, the great maggidim. He personified the chesed tradition of the Tchernobil maggid with dedication and sincerity. I never saw him alone. I always saw him in company: R. David Talne on his right and R. Nochum of Tchernobil on his left. He bore such a striking resemblance to his great grandfather, I always felt as if his illustrious ancestors were protecting their saintly great grandson, who was so humble, so shy, so honest, so gentle, and so kind, from the vicissitudes of the cold, insensitive world of today. He epitomized to me the great message of the saint-teacher, the message of universal love and unlimited truth, of being close to God and feeling his presence." Eulogy given by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Iyyar, 1972, from
In earlier years, the Rav lived on Hancock Street in Brookline and 142 Homestead Street in Roxbury, MA.

 140 and 144 Homestead St. Roxbury, MA

©Google 2011, used according to Google's fair use policy

He also spent a portion of the summers from 1950 until the mid-1960s in Onset, MA on Cape Cod where he gave classes at Congregation Beth Israel.

7 Locust St., Onset, MA

©Google 2011, used according to Google's fair use policy



Keverim of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik and Rebbetzin Tonya Lewit Soloveitchik
If you would like directions to the cemetery, please email us or visit

New York City

Yeshiva University

Furst Hall


Morgenstern Beis Midrash
The Rav gave Gemara classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on the fourth floor of Furst Hall and in Zysman Hall. He also gave classes in the Beis Midrash of the Morgenstern dormitory.
Chair upon which the Rav sat for many of his lectures at YU.

"When the Rav gave shiur it was like angels were descending from heaven. It came together like a symphony orchestra." Hershel Schachter YU Commentator
Lamport Auditorium


In this beautiful hall, the Rav gave his yearly public yerzheit lectures in honor of his father's memory. The lectures would last for hours. The audience often numbered as many as 2,000 people, including those listening to a simulcast in an adjacent room. Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky was known to comment on the enormous kiddush Hashem produced by such well-attended (unheard of in those days) Torah discourses.

"The breadth and depth of the Rav's grasp of Torah in all its diversity--Tanach, Talmud, Rishonim, Poskim, Aggadah. Piyut - was dazzling. Concerning R. Yosef ibn Megash, the Rambam writes that 'his mind was frightening and awesome.' So may it be said of the Rav. A mind like the Rav's appears only rarely in each century. His impact on peoples' thinking was powerful and many who heard a single shiur were dramatically influenced. Great lomdim and laymen alike, were captivated by the force of his logic and presentation, which left a permanent mark on their future study. " (Rabbi Menachem Genack, Jewish Action) 

Morgenstern Dormitory


The Rav stayed here in room 102 on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for decades. In earlier years, he stayed in the Rubin Dormitory, also on the first floor. He would commute from Boston on Tuesday mornings and return to Boston on Thursday evening.

"The Rav's modesty was astounding. His apartment in the Morgenstern dorm was the height of simplicity and he treated every visitor young and old with the utmost respect." Howard Jachter, The Rav as an Aging Giant (1983-1985) - Legacies (YU Commentator)

Moriah Synagogue

On Tuesday nights, the Rav lectured before a public audience of several hundred people from 8-10 PM at the Moriah Shul on the south east corner of Broadway and W. 80th street in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The lecture was organized by the Chevra Shas Haklalith of New York. (Maurice Laub, Tuesday Evenings with the Rav, YU Commentator)

"The Tuesday evening shiur follows an unwritten scenario. It is announced for 8:00 o'clock and everyone is seated at his seat, never assigned, but a regular seat nevertheless by dint of custom, before 8:00. We are not only students but worshippers, so there will always be a service or two or three before the shiur. The people around me converse about the events of the day, bust mostly I hear stock market talk, law court talk, and professional rabbinic talk. The Rav rarely comes at 8, usually ten minutes after 8. His arrival is ushered in by a sudden hush. Everyone rises and waits till he takes his seat next to the Ark. It is pro forma to rise when a rabbi enters, but our rising is not a mere formality; ours is so obviously a mark of respect, love and affection. The Rav strides in briskly, removes his coat, changes to a yarmulka, ascends the bimah around which all of us are seated in a flattened U pattern, waits patiently till the microphone is affixed to his jacket and begins with his opening question, "Where are we?" waits for no answer but proceeds immediately to where we left off last week.

"...I usually make a mental note about the ease or difficulty of a passage to come and I usually am wrong. What I think easy turns out to be an illusion, for the Rav uncovers meaning after meaning, each increasingly complex and my head begins to swim with the revealed intricacies and I look at myself in a befuddlement as a simpleton who cannot make a judgment as to what is hard and what is easy. Of course, all the complexities are eventually resolved and the passage suddenly is lucid and easy again, but only in the sense that a beautiful structure, so pleasing at first glace, takes on greater beauty after an examination of what went into it between blueprint and actuality. On the other hand, I am sometimes stumped by a passage that seems very hard to me and I try to work it out in advance, often without success. At the shiur I learn that it really is very easy - all it needed was a single reference to another passage or to a statement in a commentary, or another meaning to a key word. And what seemed so hard is now so simple! The Rav's shiur is a series of surprises, topsy-turvy Talmudic terms, and delightful astonishments. " (Maurice Laub, Tuesday Evenings with the Rav, YU Commentator)

Public Speaking and Lecturing

 (Photos by Rabbi Irwin Albert, used with permission)

The Rav Teaching Class (link to The Jewish Virtual Library, scroll down for picture)
The Rav Teaching Class circa 1960 (link to YU) 
Public Lecture (Photo from Yeshiva University)
Video from Maimonides School

Community Leadship

Video of the Rav Visiting with the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Crown Heights, January 28, 1980. Scroll to item entitled "Excerpts: the Rebbe and the Rav". The Rav was accompanied by Rabbi Herschel Schacter, former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of American Jewish organizations. (Note, this Rabbi Herschel Schacter is a different person than the Rabbi Hershel Schachter of RIETS. Note the different spelling of first and last names. Rabbi Schacter happens also to be father of Rabbi Jacob Schacter, the former director of the Soloveitchik Institute.
Photo: JEM

Yud Shevat Farbrengen10 Shevat, 5740 • January 28, 1980In honor of the Rebbe’s 30th anniversary of leadership, Rabbi Soloveitchik joins in the Yud Shevat Farbrengen. This is a shortened version of video in the preceding link.

Here's something from Rav Soloveitchik on the Rebbe as told by Rabbi Herschel Schacter.

"I said to the Rav. Was zuct der Rav? Nu what do you say about the Rebbe? So, and he's sitting in the front. I can't see his face. So he hesitated for a minute and he said, 'Erez a gaon. Erez a gadol. Erez a manhig yisroe.' (He is a genius. He is a greatman. He is a leader of Israel.)"

Courtesy of JEM Mobile
Rabbi Sholom Ber Kovalsky retells stories about the Rav and the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Julius Berman, Fabian Schoenfeld, Menachem Genack

Original Find by
Ship manifest for the Rav's re-entry into the United States after his visit to Eretz Israel. (Line 19) Click to enlarge.

Letter written by the Rav:

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