Friday, May 14, 2010

R' Chaim Brisker and the Rogatchover on Chinuch

A very moving letter from R Chaim Brisker on Jewish education. I have not seen this letter reproduced anywhere else. This seems to be written in response against the Maskilim who proposed a "method" (i.e. curriculum) which would involve minimal Talmud study.

Also very interesting is the Rogatchover's letter written in his unique style. A greater Talmud Chacham then I can perhaps let us know what he is trying to tell us. (Presumably the textbooks of the "Methodists" paraphrased the Torah and this is what he refers to as "לכנות פסוק" but I am not sure.)

The note of the "Bucher Zetzer" mentions some parody of these letters in HaMelitz and HaZefirah but I did not have time to try track them down.

This issue is bound together with a short biography of Ridvaz.

[Update: I see now that they must be referring to the same Chumash banned by the Chafetz Chaim posted by S. here]


Bar Uryan said...

a) re R. Chaim: I found doubtful that he actually authored that letter; presumably it was ghostwritten.

b) re the Rogotchover: he's addressing the question of 'censoring' sections of chumash 'inappropriate' for children; the argument for this being that certain verses were not translated during Talmudic times for this very reason.

See the letter of the Tzemach Tzedek I linked to in my comment here for similar arguments.

Wolf2191 said...

Thanks. Your nickname is well deserved.

Bar Uryan said...

Thank you!

As an aside, when I wrote "similar arguments", I was implying that they were "similar to the Rogotchover's arguments", not vice versa.

mba said...

this sefer/kuntrus is also available on in at least two editions last time I checked. Additionally it was recently republished together with R. Bentzion Sternfeld of Bilsk's teshuvot. Eliezer Brodt blogged about it here

Tzurva said...

The Maamar from Reb Chaim is quoted in Birchas Shmuel Kiddushin in the letter to Rabbi Shimon Schwab. I wish I knew where Reb Baruch Ber saw what he quotes in Reb Chaim's words.

Tzurva said...

Bar Uryan,
Reb Chaim's style of writing is unique in that it has beautiful prose without being flowery. It isn't even poetic like Chazon Ish.
In plain and concise language he is able to convey his point movingly and perfectly. This has all the quality of Reb Chaim's writings.

Anonymous said...


I doubt he wrote the letter himself. Compare it to all the letters appearing before his, and after his.

1) Everyone else uses the word "I" or a conjugate implying the individual writer's view. Whereas, in RCB's letter, the individual "I" does not appear.
2) The other letters sign their name. RBB's letter has the word "naum" [name] in fron of his name, implying that this was simply the blank space where he signed his name.

Neither of these points are conclusive by themselves, but together I think they are. Notice also he doesnt use the "Hakoisev Vichoseim" phrase.


Tzurva said...

Dear Wolf2191,
we are awaiting your weighing in on some of the issues raised. Your always-on-target would be greatly appreciated.

Wolf2191 said...

Thanks! That is very kind of you.

I don't know of any similar documents written by R' Chaim which would lead me to view this one with some suspicion.

As far as I know all R' Chaim wrote was some Haskamos and Grach Al HaRambam?

Wolf2191 said...

Here is another letter of R Chaim:

there are some expressions in common with the letter in this post (the abbreviation דתה"ק and ending off with an Ashrei) I am not sure how much you can build on this.

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