(1934 - 1983)
Rabbi Kaplan was a prime force behind the teshuvah
phenomenon the return to Jewish observance. Throughout
history, Jews have always been observant, he once remarked. The
teshuvah movement is just a normalization. The Jewish people are sort
of getting their act together. Were just doing what were
supposed to do.
In culling Jewish sources for his books, he once remarked,
I use my physics background to analyze and systematize data, very
much as a physicist would deal with physical reality. This ability
enabled him to undertake monumental projects, producing close to 50
books, celebrated for their erudition, completeness and clarity.
His personal example of modesty, midos tovos,
great human warmth and sensitivity, and total dedication to Torah study and life of mitzvos,
was an inspiration to the thousands of individuals whom he touched.
His home was always open to visitors, great and humble, from every segment
of the Jewish community. His Shabbos table was always crowded with guests attracted to the beauty of the
Torah life that he lived, and to the endless stream of wisdom and Torah
insight which flowed from his lips.
He labored tirelessly, day and night, producing more
outstanding works of great and original Torah scholarship single-handedly
than teams of other authors working in the field. Yet, he somehow managed
to find time for the simplest Jew, perfect strangers, seeking the answers
to the spiritual questions in their lives. None were turned away empty-handed.