Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein (1933–2015) was born in Paris, France, and escaped the Nazi occupation with his family, arriving in the United States in 1941. After studying at Yeshivat Rabbi Chaim Berlin under Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner, he earned his rabbinic ordination at Yeshiva University and his PhD in English Literature at Harvard University. While at Yeshiva University, he became a close disciple of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, who was later to become his father-in-law. After serving as a Rosh Yeshiva and Rosh Kollel at Yeshiva University for several years, Rabbi Lichtenstein made Aliya to Israel in 1971 and joined Rabbi Yehuda Amital at the helm of Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shevut. Under their joint leadership over four decades, Yeshivat Har Etzion grew into a major center of advanced Torah study, graduating thousands of alumni – including hundreds of educators and community rabbis – and exerting a strong influence in Israel, the United States, and other centers of Jewish life.
Committed to intensive and original Torah study, Rabbi Lichtenstein also articulated a bold Jewish worldview that embraced elements of modernity within the framework of a Torah life. In recognition of his outstanding scholarship and contributions, Rabbi Lichtenstein was awarded in 2014 the State of Israel’s highest honor, the Israel Prize, in the category of Torah Literature. Alongside his genuine Torah greatness and the breadth and depth of his philosophy, he was renowned for his deep humility, nobility and love of humanity.
For a moving tribute by his students, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SI3dWibBxgYTweet
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