The Rav Was Not A Zionist?

Marc B. Shapiro writes: To give one example of his many polemics, readers of the journal will never forget how he targeted R. Elya Svei. Yet he wouldn’t mention him by name. Instead, and as a way to show how little he thought of Svei, he referred to him as “the melamed in Philadelphia.”[12]

The March-April 1993 issue of Ha-Maor, in which he responded to me, is of broader interest for another reason. It contains his hesped for R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, who had recently passed away. In this hesped he mentions a few things, among them that the Rav told him that he wasn’t really a Zionist, and that while Yeshivat R. Yitzhak Elhanan was not in accord with his family’s philosophy, nevertheless he taught there as it provided intellectual freedom.

In the next issue (June-July, 1993), Amsel printed a letter he received from R. Norman Lamm, thanking Amsel for what he wrote about the Rav, and also criticizing him for mentioning the point about the Rav not feeling connected to RIETS. Note how Lamm specifically asked Amsel not to publish his letter, and Amsel published it anyway.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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