Joseph B. Soloveitchik Net Worth

Joseph B. Soloveitchik was born on February 27, 1903, is Rabbi. Joseph B. Soloveitchik was a major American Orthodox rabbi and Modern Jewish philosopher. He served as an advisor, guide, mentor, and role model for many Modern Orthodox Jews as their favorite Talmudic scholar and religious leader. Born into a rabbinical dynasty, he was destined to become supreme leader from an early age and received his Jewish education alongside a systematic secular teaching. After his graduation, he went to Berlin from where he received his doctoral degree, also undertaking a rigorous schedule of Talmud studies. Then he traveled to the United States and founded one of the first Hebrew day schools in the country which later promoted co-education. Subsequently, he succeeded his father as the head of the rabbinical school at Yeshiva University and also served as the chief decision-maker of Modern Orthodoxy in America. He was an acknowledged rabbinic leader and leading ideologue of American Modern Orthodoxy for much of the 20th century. He also made a great impact through his theological works such as ‘Halakhic Man’ and ‘Lonely Man of Faith’ which presented a sophisticated religious anthropology. Through public lectures, writings, and his policy decisions for the Modern Orthodox world, he emerged as the spiritual leader of Modern Orthodoxy in America and one of the 20th century's greatest Jewish thinkers
Joseph B. Soloveitchik is a member of Spiritual & Religious Leaders

Age, Biography and Wiki

Who is it? Rabbi
Birth Day February 27, 1903
Birth Place Pruzhany, American
Died On April 9, 1993(1993-04-09) (aged 90)\nBoston, Massachusetts, United States of America
Birth Sign Pisces
Position Rosh Yeshiva
Yeshiva R.I.E.T.S. Maimonides School
Buried West Roxbury, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
Denomination Orthodox Judaism
Parents Moshe Soloveichik and Peshka Feinstein Soloveichik
Spouse Tonya Lewit, Ph.D. (1904-1967)

💰 Net worth: Under Review

Some Joseph B. Soloveitchik images

Famous Quotes:

"Ish Ha-halakhah? {Halakhic man}? Lo haya velo nivra ela mashal haya {There never was such a Jew}! Soloveitchik's study, though brilliant, is based on the false notion that Judaism is a cold, logical affair with no room for piety. After all, the Torah does say 'Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and soul and might'. No, there never was such a typology in Judaism as the halakhic man. There was - and is - an Ish Torah {a Torah man} who combines halakhah and aggadah, but that is another matter altogether. When I came to Berlin I was shocked to hear my fellow students talking about the problem of halakha as a central issue. In Poland it had been a foreign expression to me. Halakhah is not an all-inclusive term, and to use it as such is to restrict Judaism. 'Torah' is the more comprehensive word.



According to the CV, among his "highly honored" teachers in university, bearing the title "Geheimrat" (literally: Privy Counselor), were Professor Dr. Heinrich Maier (1867-1933) and Professor Dr. Max Dessoir, along with Professor Dr. Eugen Mittwoch and Professor Dr. Ludwig Bernhard. He studied the work of European Philosophers, and was a life-long student of neo-Kantian thought.


Joseph Ber Soloveitchik was born on February 27, 1903, in Pruzhany, then Russia (next Poland, now Belarus). He came from a rabbinical dynasty dating back some 200 years: His paternal grandfather was Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik, and his great-grandfather and namesake was Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, the Beis HaLevi. His great-great-grandfather was Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin (The Netziv), and his great-great-great-great grandfather was Rabbi Chaim Volozhin. His father, Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik (note different spelling of last name), preceded him as head of the RIETS rabbinical school at Yeshiva University. On his maternal line, Soloveitchik was a grandson of Rabbi Eliyahu Feinstein and his wife Guta Feinstein, née Davidovitch, who, in turn, was a descendant of a long line of Kapulyan rabbis, and of the Tosafot Yom Tov, the Shelah, the Maharshal, and Rashi.


Soloveitchik's daughters married prominent academics and Talmudic scholars: his daughter Tovah married the late Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein, former Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel (who had a PhD in English Literature from Harvard University); his daughter Atarah married the late Rabbi Dr. Isadore Twersky, former head of the Jewish Studies department at Harvard University (who also served as the Talner Rebbe in Boston). His son Rabbi Dr. Haym Soloveitchik is a University Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University. His siblings included Dr. Samuel Soloveichik (1909-1967), Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik (1917-2001), Mrs. Shulamith Meiselman (1912-2009), and Mrs. Anne Gerber (1915-2011). His grandchildren have maintained his heritage and also hold distinguished scholarly positions.


Soloveitchik was educated in the traditional manner at a Talmud Torah, an elementary yeshiva, and by private tutors, as his parents realized his great mental powers. According to a curriculum vitae written and signed in his own hand, in 1922, he graduated from the liberal arts `Gymnasium' in Dubno. In 1924, he entered the Free Polish University in Warsaw, where he spent three terms, studying political science. In 1926, he came to Berlin, Germany, and entered the Friedrich Wilhelm University. He passed the examination for supplementary subjects at the German Institute for Studies by Foreigners, and was then given full matriculation at the University. He took up studies in philosophy, economics, and Hebrew subjects, simultaneously maintaining a rigorous schedule of intensive Talmud study.


Soloveitchik was proud of his connections to the Soloveitchik rabbinic dynasty, speaking fondly of his "uncle" Rabbi Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik (the "Brisker Rov"). To his relatives and namesakes who now lived in Jerusalem, where they had established their own branch of the Brisk Yeshiva, he was respected for his genius in Talmudic scholarship which few could challenge or disparage, despite their very differing views on Zionism (the "Briskers" in Jerusalem being staunch anti-Zionists). See the paragraph on "Zionism" below for a discussion of Soloveitchik's Zionist viewpoint. Recent research published by Shlomo Pick indicates that his father, Rabbi Moshe Soloveitchik, maintained a close relationship with Religious Zionist (Mizrachi) circles in Warsaw, prior to the father's departure for Yeshiva University and the son's departure for the University of Berlin in 1923.


He wrote his Ph.D. thesis on the epistemology and metaphysics of the German Philosopher Hermann Cohen. Contrary to most biographies, which erroneously state that in 1931, he received his degree, he actually passed his oral doctor's examination on July 24, 1930, but graduated with a doctorate only on December 19, 1932, as he had requested an extension to allow him to expand his thesis. Documents exist to support this assertion, located by Marc B. Shapiro in the University of Berlin archives.


In 1931, he married Tonya Lewit (1904-1967), who had earned a Ph.D. in Education from Jena University. Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinski served as his mesader kiddushin in Vilna.


In 1932, Soloveitchik emigrated to America and settled in Boston, where he referred to himself as "The Soloveitchik of Boston". He pioneered the Maimonides School, one of the first Hebrew day schools in Boston in 1937. When the school's high school was founded in the late 1940s, he instituted a number of innovations in the curriculum, including teaching Talmud to boys and girls studying in classes together. He involved himself in all manner of religious issues in the Boston area. He was at times both a rabbinical supervisor of kosher slaughtering - shechita - and gladly accepting invitations to lecture in Jewish and religious philosophy at prestigious New England colleges and universities. His son-in-law, Rabbi Professor Isadore Twersky, was an internationally renowned expert on the writings of Maimonides, and succeeded Professor Harry Austryn Wolfson to the Nathan Littauer chair of Jewish History and Literature at Harvard University.


Soloveitchik was the pre-eminent leader of politically conscious pro-Zionist modern Orthodox Judaism. Out of respect for his stature, many Leaders and politicians from Israel sought his advice and blessings in state affairs. Reputedly, he was offered the position of Chief Rabbi of Israel by Prime Minister Ben Gurion, but quietly declined. Despite his open and ardent support for the modern State of Israel, he only visited Israel - then called Palestine - once, in 1935, before the state was established. Rabbi Yosef Blau has written that Soloveitchik's non-messianic Zionism was philosophically similar to that of Rabbi Yitzchak Yaacov Reines (see Tradition 33.2, Communications).


Joseph Soloveitchik succeeded his father, Moses (Moshe) Soloveichik, as the head of the RIETS rabbinical school at Yeshiva University in 1941. He taught there until 1986, when illness kept him from continuing, and was considered the top Rosh Yeshiva (never, however, a formally recognized position at YU) from the time he began teaching there until his death in 1993. He was the first occupant of the Leib Merkin Distinguished Professorial Chair in Talmud and Jewish Philosophy at RIETS.


In his major non-Talmudic publications, which altered the landscape of Jewish philosophy and Jewish theology, Soloveitchik stresses the normative and intellectual centrality of the halakhic corpus. He authored a number of essays and books offering a unique synthesis of Neo-Kantian existentialism and Jewish thought, the most well-known being The Lonely Man of Faith which deals with issues such as the willingness to stand alone in the face of monumental challenges, and Halakhic Man. A less known essay, though not less important, is "The Halakhic Mind - An essay on Jewish tradition and modern thought", written in 1944 and published only 40 years later, without any change, as the author himself stresses.


During the 1950s and 1960s, until his wife's death in 1967, Soloveitchik and some of his students would spend summers near Cape Cod in Onset, Massachusetts, where they would pray at Congregation Beth Israel.


In 1954 Soloveitchik issued a responsum on working with non-Orthodox Jews, Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jews in the United States: Second article in a series on Responsa of Orthodox Judaism in the United States. The responsum recognized the leadership of non-Orthodox Jews in Jewish communal institutions (but not their rabbis in the Orthodox sense of the term), and concluded that participation with non-Orthodox Jews for political or welfare purposes is not only permissible, but obligatory.


On Yom ha-Atzma'ut (Israel's Independence Day), 1956, Soloveitchik delivered a public address at Yeshiva University entitled: Kol Dodi Dofek; The Voice of My Beloved Knocks. The address, which has become a classic of religious Zionist philosophy, enumerates, and elaborates upon, the instances of God's tangible presence in the recent history of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. It also issues a clarion call to American Orthodoxy to embrace the State of Israel, and to commit itself and its resources to its development.


Rabbis Herschel Schacter, Sholem Kowalsky, Julius Berman; Menachem Genack; and Fabian Schoenfeld (all students of Soloveitchik) have asserted that Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the late Lubavitcher Rebbe and Soloveitchik met for the first time while they both studied in Berlin. They met many times at the home of Hayyim Heller. Soloveitchik told Kowalsky he "was a great admirer of the Rebbe". Schoenfeld quoted Soloveitchik as having told him that while both he and Schneerson were studying at the University of Berlin, "I can testify that he never missed going to the mikva one single day." In 1964, Soloveitchik paid a lengthy visit while Rabbi Schneerson was mourning the death of his mother. Their conversation during this visit lasted approximately two hours. Soloveitchik later visited again following the death of Rabbi Schneerson's mother-in-law. In 1980, accompanied by his student Herschel Schacter, Soloveitchik visited Schneerson at Chabad headquarters in Brooklyn on the occasion of a celebration marking the 30th anniversary of his leadership. The visit lasted close to two hours after which Soloveitchik told Schacter his opinion of Schneerson: "He is a gaon (genius), he is a great one, he is a leader of Israel."


After the passing of his wife in 1967, Soloveitchik began giving additional lectures, open to the public, during the summer months in Boston.


For a number of reasons, the project did not succeed. According to Orthodox Rabbi Bernstein, the major reason for its failure was that the Orthodox rabbis insisted that the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly expel some Conservative rabbis for actions they took before the new Beit Din was formed, and the RA refused to do so (Bernstein, 1977). According to Orthodox Rabbi Emanuel Rackman, former President of the RCA, the major reason for its failure was pressure from right-wing Orthodox rabbis, who held that any cooperation between Orthodoxy and Conservatism was forbidden. In an account prepared in 1956, Rabbi Harry Halpern of the Rabbinical Assembly's Joint Conference wrote that negotiations between the Orthodox and Conservative were completed and agreed upon, but then a new requirement was demanded by the RCA: that the RA "impose severe sanctions" upon Conservative rabbis for actions they took before the new beth din was formed. The RA "could not assent to rigorously disciplining our members at the behest of an outside group". Per Halpern, subsequent efforts were made to cooperate with the Orthodox, but a letter from eleven Rosh Yeshivas was circulated declaring that Orthodox rabbis were forbidden to cooperate with Conservative rabbis (Proceedings of the CJLS of the Conservative Movement 1927-1970 Vol. II, pp. 850-852).


Shortly after Soloveitchik's passing, Lamm, in a eulogy for Soloveitchik delivered on April 25, 1993, urged his auditors to "guard...against any revisionism, any attempts to misinterpret the Rav's work in both worlds [the world of Torah and the world of Madda(Science)]. The Rav was not a lamdan who happened to have and use a smattering of general culture, and he was certainly not a Philosopher who happened to be a talmid hakham, a Torah scholar.... We must accept him on his terms, as a highly complicated, profound, and broad-minded personality.... Certain burgeoning revisionisms may well attempt to disguise and distort the Rav's uniqueness by trivializing one or the other aspect of his rich personality and work, but they must be confronted at once." (Lawrence Kaplan Revisionism and the Rav: The Struggle for the Soul of Modern Orthodoxy, Judaism, Summer, 1999).


Soloveitchik declined to sign the proclamation, maintaining that there were areas, particularly those relating to problems that threatened all of Judaism, that required co-operation regardless of affiliation. His refusal emboldened other Modern Orthodox rabbis, and the Rabbinical Council of America and Union of Orthodox Congregations then joined the Synagogue Council of America, a group in which Orthodox, Reform and Conservative denominations worked together on Common issues. (The Synagogue Council of America ceased operating in 1994.)


Professor Yitzchak Twersky, a son-in-law of The Rav, pointed out in a eulogy published in the journal Tradition in 1996 that Soloveitchik's philosophy could be paraphrased as follows: "When you know your [Jewish] Way—your point of departure and goals—then use philosophy, science and the humanities to illumine your exposition, sharpen your categories, probe the profundities and subtleties of the masorah and reveal its charm and majesty; in so doing you should be able to command respect from the alienated and communicate with some who might otherwise be hostile or indifferent to your teaching as well as to increase the sensitivity and spirituality of the committed."


In the first chapter, Adam I is created together with Eve, and they are given the mandate to subdue nature, master the cosmos, and transform the world "into a domain for their power and sovereignty". Adam I is majestic man who approaches the world and relationships—even with the divine—in functional, pragmatic terms. Adam I, created in the image of God, fulfills this apparently "secular" mandate by conquering the universe, imposing his knowledge, Technology, and cultural institutions upon the world. The human community depicted in Genesis 1 is a utilitarian one, where man and woman join together, like the male and female of other animals, to further the ends of their species.