Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Chaim G. has a guestpost on CIRCUS TENT - ציר ( which is worth reading.

Chaim G. is well known among the J-bloggers - one of the gang, in fact - despite having no blog of his own. He can frequently be found disagreeing with Dovbear (, or adding worthwhile content to the comment strings on that blog.

His posting discusses the autonomous yeshiva, which stood on its own as an institute of learning for several generations, versus the personality-yeshiva, which flourished during the life of the scholar at the helm but faded after his demise. More or less the contrast between methodology and charisma, or breadth and flexibility versus rigidity and a narrowness of vision. The division is one which is familiar to anyone with knowledge of the modern-day yeshiva-oilam. There are several points of interest in the post which I am sure you will notice.

Quote: "What Rav Chaim Volozhiner innovated was the concept of a free-standing institution that could transcend and outlive the intellectual and spiritual giants that incubated it.

E.g. the Maharsh"a and Rav Yonoson Eibschutz maintained gigantic Yeshivas. When they got a new rabbonus shtella the Yeshivas moved with them. One didn’t learn “in” Frankfurt-am-main but “by” the Rebbe Reb Yonoson. When Maharsh"a and Rav Yonoson Eibschutz were niftar the Yeshivas dissolved and most of the talmidim sought out new Rebbes, (kind of like the earlier, healthier generations of Chasidus, when Rabbisteve was not purely hereditary, and Chasidim did not sign lifetime affiliation contracts :-)

In contradistinction to this we find the Litvishe/Volozhiner Yeshiva revolution. Slabodka was not Mir, was not Grodneh, was not Telshe, was not Kelm, was not Kaminetz, was not Novardhok. Each Yeshiva INSTITUTIONALLY had its own wrinkle in Lomdus and, where applicable, in mussar. One was not a “vanilla” yeshiva man. Stating his Alma Mater could give you a pretty good notion of his Weltanschauung. At that time Brisk was just another (OK, perhaps the brightest) star in the Yeshiva constellation. It was not the totality of the constellation."

[End quote]

The rest of it you will have to read over there.

And you might want to earmark that blog for further reading, as it looks quite interesting.
Kudos and shkoiach.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your many kind words.

FYI I have a new handle. It is Knuckle-Dragging Barbarian

Search This Blog


There are times when I wished I had spent more time trying to learn Shanghainese. Years ago I knew several people from Shanghai, and if I ha...