(1917 - 2001)
Rabbi Aharon Soloveitchik taught Torah
for nearly three score years, thirty-four in Chicago. He headed the
Hebrew Theological College in Skokie from 1966 until 1974, when he left
to found Yeshivas Brisk in Chicago, all while teaching a much sought-after
shiur, or lecture, in Talmud
at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University.
He commuted weekly from Chicago to New York, planting seeds of Torah
in two great cities in the United States, even as his brother, Rabbi
Yosef Dov Soloveitchik
, known as the Rabbi, did for Boston
and New York.
Aside from his scholarship in Torah, Rabbi Aharon was
known as a person of great humility and of profound love for his fellow
human beings. Those personal qualities came to the fore most during
his famous Hashkafah shiurim, classes in which he discussed
the weekly Parshah, its characters and their motivations, from the perspectives
of Jewish ethics and morality.
He was born in Russia in 1917 into a rabbinic dynasty that went back nine generations, and
included Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik, the founder of the Brisker
derech, a methodology of learning Torah that involved rigorous
definition and precise categorization of Torah Laws in many cases into
Two-Halachah dichotomies. His teacher in this derech
was his father, Rabbi Moshe Soloveitchik.
Rabbi Aharon was one of the three great Soloveitchik
brothers, sons of Rabbi Moshe (who had also taught there with great distinction):
the Rabbi, Rabbi Aharon and Dr. Samuel Soloveitchik, who made
his mark on the Mada side of Torah U-Mada, specifically
in chemistry, who graced the halls of Yeshiva University during the
latter half of the twentieth century.
Rabbi Aharon gained considerable fame as a posek,
or decisor, on modern applications of Jewish Law. As a single example
of many, he disagreed with many of his peers and espoused the view that
brain stem death is not sufficient to certify that a person is dead.
Together with his wife, Ella Shurin Soloveitchik, he
produced six children, the four sons all rabbis and the two daughters wives of rabbis. Rabbi Aharon had survived a debilitating
stroke, and had gone on teaching Torah for eighteen years. But only
two months after his beloved wife passed away, he suffered a heart attack,
and his holy neshamah was called to appear before the Heavenly Court.
This unassuming righteous individual, who combined compassion with great
Torah scholarship, was buried on the Mountain
of Olives in Jerusalem.