יום ראשון ד' בניסן תש"פ 29/03/2020
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  • The Mission Continues

    As in the past so it remains today - we were and still are under the selfsame commitment to adhere to the directions of the Gedolei Yisrael, who stand guard against breaches of purity threatening our camp. When we were required to ask – we asked. When we were instructed to depart – we left. The moment we are summoned back to raise the flag, every other consideration is pushed to the side and we answer: We are ready!

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בראי היום

  • Harav Yisrael Friedman zy”a, the Rebbe of Husyatin

    מוטי, ויקיפדיה העברית

    The ancestral chain of Harav Yisrael Friedman, the founder of the Husyatin chassidic court, originates with the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Husyatin chassidus has its roots in Galicia and eventually came to Tel Aviv, during the turbulent years between the two World Wars.

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  • Maccabi'im Gravesite

    In honour of Chanukah, we will discuss a fascinating, ongoing investigation attempting to establish the place of burial of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol and his family.

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Reflections

Harav Yitzchak Hutner ztz”l

Harav Yitzchak Hutner was one of the American gedolim of recent times, a rosh yeshivah and the author of the series of sefarim “Pachad Yitzchak” – consisting of long profound essays on matters of machshavah and hashkafah.

David Sofer 09/12/2009 08:35
Harav Yitzchak Hutner was born in the year 5666 in Warsaw, the capital city of Poland, to his father Harav Chaim Yoel. In his youth he learned Torah from his father, and in the year 5681, when he was fifteen years of age, he went to learn in the Lomza yeshivah, and then in Yeshivas Slabodka which was in the city of Kovno in Lithuania. There in Slabodka he was one of the younger talmidim, but despite this, he became recognised as an ilui. When the Slabodka yeshivah moved to the city of Chevron in Eretz Yisrael in the year 5685, Harav Hutner accompanied it and arrived in the City of our Forefathers in the month of Iyar, 5685, where he learned for four years.

Harav Hutner made the most of this period, endeavouring to forge connections with the Sages of Eretz Yisrael and to draw from the wellsprings of their Torah. He became especially close to Harav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld ztz”l, the head of the Old Yishuv, to Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer ztz”l, and also to Harav Avraham Yitzchak haKohen Kook ztz”l, the first chief rabbi of the State, who had a great influence on the formation of his way of thinking and his spiritual development. From all these giants and others, Harav Hutner absorbed Torah and yiras Shamayim.

It is related that once one of the rabbanim of Yerushalayim saw him as a young man, learning alone and talking to himself. When the rav questioned him as to why he was learning without a chavrusa, to his amazement, Harav Hutner replied that the rosh yeshivah had asked him to arrange a chavrusa only with someone who never comes late to seder – and so he had found the perfect chavrusa – the yetzer hara – who never comes late…

Before the riots of 5689, when the Arabs unleashed terrible pogroms in Chevron and other areas that shook the Old Yishuv and caused the yeshivah to flee Chevron for Yerushalayim with its wounded, Harav Hutner returned to his parents’ home in Warsaw. For the next few years he wandered from place to place, travelling to Germany, back to Poland, to Lithuania and to Eretz Yisrael.

In the year 5692, when he was twenty-six years of age, Harav Hutner wrote his sefer “Toras haNazir” – chiddushim on maseches Nazir. He received haskamos to this sefer from many of the gaonim of Lithuania, and also Harav Chaim Ozer Grodzensky ztz”l of Vilna; Harav Avraham Dov Kahane-Shapira ztz”l, author of “Dvar Avraham”; and Harav Avraham Yitzchak haKohen Kook ztz”l. In the year 5694, when he was twenty-eight years old, he emigrated to the United States where he was determined to endeavour to make Torah flourish.

In the year 5698, when he was thirty-two years of age, Harav Hutner founded the “Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin” yeshivah in New York. He devoted his energies to this yeshivah all the ensuing days of his life in the United States. The yeshivah blossomed under his charismatic leadership, and became a world-renowned institution, recognised as an American yeshivah that could compare to the yeshivos of eastern Europe. Harav Hutner combined chassidic and litvishe approaches in the yeshivah, which was particularly noticeable on Shabbos and Yomim Tovim, when he would conduct a form of ‘tish’ for his talmidim at which he would both speak words of machshavah and hashkafah, as well as sing chassidishe niggunim.

Harav Hutner was extremely active for the benefit of the Bais Yaakov institutions for girls’ education in the United States. In addition, he was one of those who fought against the Reform and Conservative movements, and made extensive efforts to draw the youth close, that they might eventually come to study in authentic Torah institutions. In general, there was no communal problem in any of the Jewish communities of the United States that was not brought before him, in order to benefit from his wisdom and insight. Harav Hutner was also a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudath Yisrael of America.

In the year 5730, when he was sixty-four years of age, the airplane on which he was travelling together with his wife, daughter and son-in-law, was hijacked by members of the “Black September” terrorist organisation. He was taken by force to Jordan, where he and the other captives remained until they were freed from their ordeal. The terrorists stole a sheave of papers of his chiddushei Torah, and all efforts at recovering them failed. Having no other choice, he began to try and recall them, with the help of those who had heard his shiurim, and he managed to restore the shiurim and eventually have them printed.

In the year 5734, Harav Hutner began to divide his time between the United States and Yerushalayim. In the year 5739, when he was seventy-three years of age, he founded the beis medrash “Pachad Yitzchak” in Yerushalayim. Harav Hutner also served as the president of “Machon Yerushalayim” – an institution for the promotion of ancient sefarim, and he was one of those who organised the “Otzar Mefarshei haTalmud” – an orderly presentation of a compilation of commentaries on the tractates of the Talmud.

Harav Hutner was niftar in Eretz Yisrael at the age of seventy-five, on the 20th of Kislev 5741. He was buried in the “Chelkas haNevi’im” on Har haZeisim in Yerushalayim, near his rebbeim from Yeshivas Chevron.

CIRCUS TENT
  Rabbi Hutner and Rabbi Moshe Feinstein [צלם]

Harav Hutner is best known for his series of sefarim “Pachad Yitzchak,” which combine profound explanations and original logical thinking in a manner reminiscent of the Maharal of Prague. This sefer was written in a rich poetic Hebrew, although the droshos upon which the sefarim were based had been given in Yiddish. Harav Hutner left behind an only daughter, who married his talmid, Harav Yehonosan David, who is currently rosh yeshivah of Yeshivas Pachad Yitzchak in Yerushalayim.