Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin
Rabbi Yitschak RudominCourtesy

Two of my recent articles on Arutz Sheva, The Changing of an Era: Remembering Rav Yitzchok Hutner's Disciples (Aug 2, 22) and The Changing of an Era, Part II: Rav Hutner's Disciples (Aug 8, 22) dealt with the impact of Rav Yitzchok Hutner (1906–1980) on a new generation of disciples who were his juniors. Just as powerful and impactful was the history of Rav Hutner's relationships with his seniors and contemporaries.

The last fifty years and more has seen an earth shattering change-over of eras with the passing of the European-born Gedolim (great Torah scholars) that pioneered the building of Yeshivas, Hasidic communities, and Jewish day schools in North America and Israel. These Torah giants were for the most part born in Europe. They played a key role in transferring the standards and way of life of pre-Holocaust Europe to American shores and to Israel where they eventually succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Rav Yitzchok Hutner (1906–1980) was one of these personalities and he, together with a number of other like-minded rabbinical colleagues, were instrumental in transplanting the intense Orthodoxy they had witnessed and lived in Europe to America and Israel.

This article will deal with events in America.

Virtually all of these great rabbis have passed away over the course of the last fifty-plus years. They were an elite and select group and they knew it. Saved from the flames of the Holocaust either directly or by coming to America and Israel right before the onset of the Holocaust. They certainly knew about each other and in most cases knew each other personally as close friends sharing a common mission: To rebuild Torah-true Yiddishkeit in America and Israel where, in the case of America, assimilation and intermarriage by regular America Jews was on the rise.

These Torah greats were tireless builders of yeshivas for boys and Bais Yaakov schools for girls and Jewish communities (Kehillas) that sought to practice unadulterated Halakhic Judaism. They were also successful and vigorous recruiters of either native born American Jewish children to their educational institutions or bringing in new arrivals from Europe as well as welcoming Holocaust survivors to join them in building up Torah in the New World of America.

Rav Yitzchok Hutner arrived in America in the early 1930s after spending time in Eretz Yisrael and Europe, and by 1936 he was employed as the Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin that established a high school for boys in 1936, a post-high school Bais Medrash yeshiva for young men in 1940, and a Kollel division for married students in 1956 all during Rav Hutner's tenure and under his ever-present and constant involvement with the students, faculty, lay boards and its rabbinic leadership. Rav Hutner had strong relationships with many men and women who, like him, were pioneering what is today called stringent Orthodox Judaism, and haredi and hasidic Judaism in America.

Through the prism of Rav Hutner's relationships with other famous Marbitzei Torah (those who spread Torah teachings) who many have heard about and researched over the decades we can gain both a periscope into and bird's eye view of the great men who have since passed away with whom Rav Hutner had strong relationship and with whom he often formed personal, educational, social, communal, spiritual, ideological and political partnerships:

* Rav Moshe Feinstein Zt"l (1895–1986) who became the Gadol Hador (greatest of the generation) in America also arrived in America during the 1930s and became the Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim in Manhattan, New York. Rav Hutner would direct his disciples to call Rav Moshe Feinstein to ask him Halakhic questions. Rav Feinstein was the guest of honor at the marriage ceremony of Rav Hutner's only daughter Bruria Hutner to Rav Yonosan David. Rav Hutner preferred to focus on building up the Talmudic learning skills and the character and personality development of his disciples and tried to avoid answering specific Halakhic Shaylos (questions) because he felt that each person had their own unique needs and required a personal approach and therefore for anything to do with specific questions in Halakha Rav Hutner preferred that they receive their answers from an acknowledged Posek (halakhic descisor) like Rav Feinstein. In his latter years Rav Hutner differed with Rav Feinstein on some issues but mostly went along with his general direction in Halakhic matters. Rav Hutner served in the Agudath Israels' Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah (Council of Torah Sages) when Rav Moshe Feinstein was its leader.

* Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky Zt"l (1891–1986) was like Rav Hutner, an alumnus of the Slabodka Yeshiva and they were both students of its famous Mashgiach Ruchani, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel (1849–1927) known as the Alter [Elder] of Slabodka that forged a strong common lifetime bond between them. Rav Hutner venerated Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky and supported him in his personal internal leadership struggles within Yeshiva Torah Vodaas where he was appointed as the Rosh Yeshiva. Rav Hutner held that Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky was a true Gadol Hador (great of the generation). Rav Hutner and Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky were a study in opposites. While Rav Hutner was gregarious and outgoing, Rav Kaminetsky was shy and withdrawn. But in the field of Torah learning Rav Hutner held that Rav Kaminetsky was a giant of Torah learning and for giving Torah counsel. One of Rav Hutner's closest disciples Rav Heshi (Hirsch) Diskind Zt"l (d. 2013) who became the head of the Baltimore Bais Yaakov married Rivka the daughter of Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky, so in a sense they became like lifelong "family" as well. Rav Hutner and Rav Kamenetsky served at the same time in Agudath Israel's Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah.

* Rav Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman Zt"l (1900–1987) was also an alumnus of the Slabodka Yeshiva in Lithuania and like Rav Hutner was a disciple of the Alter of Slabodka. Rav Ruderman established the Yeshiva Ner Yisroel in Baltimore, MD in the early 1930s making him a pioneer of Torah Judaism in America. Both Rav Ruderman's Ner Yisroel Yeshiva in Baltimore and Rav Hutner's Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin allowed their students to attend secular college. In Rav Ruderman's case his yeshiva made formal arrangement with local colleges and universities: "Ner Israel is a Maryland state accredited college through the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools – Accreditation Commission (AARTS), and has agreements with Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, Loyola College in Maryland, University of Baltimore, and University of Maryland, Baltimore County allowing undergraduate students to take night courses at these colleges and universities in a variety of academic fields. The agreement also allows the students to receive academic credits for their religious studies. Ner Yisrael also has a pre-med program in association with Stevenson University" (as reported on Wikipedia).

Rav Hutner too allowed his students who wished to, to attend mostly Brooklyn College and even tried to set up a university in conjunction with Yeshiva Torah Vodaas that would be an accredited college officially sanctioned by the New York Board of Regents, but the plan was aborted upon the insistence of Rav Aharon Kotler (1891–1962), head of the famous Bais Medrash Gevoha (BMG), the Lakewood Yeshiva in New Jersey. The entire saga is described in great detail in sociologist William Helmrich's (1945–2020) important book The World of the Yeshiva (1982). The bond between Rav Hutner and Rav Ruderman was further solidified and cemented when one of Rav Hutner's top student's Rav Yaakov Weinberg (1923–1999) married Rav Ruderman's only daughter Shaina Chana and so, like in the case of Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky, they became "family" for life. Both Rav Hutner and Rav Ruderman served together in Agudath Israel's Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah. They had something else in common, each had only one daughter, and both married disciples of Rav Hutner who would become Rosh Yeshivas.

* Rav Aharon Kotler Zt"l (1891–1962) arrived in America in the early part of World War Two when the Holocaust in Europe was at its height. He arrived with few surviving followers who were trapped in Europe, Siberia and Eretz Yisrael during the war years and afterwards. At this point Rav Hutner was on a roll with the successful growing Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin that had attained a very high level of Talmudic learning in its years of existence under Rav Hutner and the other Rebbeim (Torah teachers) at Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin such as Rav Yaakov Moshe Shurkin (1902–1963) who together with Rav Hutner led the Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin and taught its students who reached great heights in their Talmudic studies.

So when Rav Aharon Kotler decided to open his Bais Medrash Gevoha in Lakewood, New Jersey in 1943 Rav Hutner was one of the Rosh Yeshivas who sent a nucleus of his own disciples to help get Rav Aharon Kotler's yeshiva off the ground and running. Among those Chaim Berliners who helped the Lakewood yeshiva get going were disciples of Rav Hutner: Rav Moshe Homnick Zt"l and Rav Ahron Schechter Shlit"a, there were others as well. Like in the case of Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky and Rav Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman, Rav Aharon Kotler was a disciple of the Alter of Slabodka having learned in the Slabodka Yeshiva. Rav Hutner was in awe of Rav Kotler and his devotion to Torah Lishma (learning Torah for its own sake only) and after Rav Kotler passed away he noted the reverence with which Rav Kotler would intone the word "Torah" in awe-inspiring fashion.

Rav Hutner deferred to Rav Aharon Kotler's decisions for the Torah community. However, even though Rav Aharon Kotler absolutely banned the attendance at secular colleges by his students in Lakewood (a policy that is still enforced to this day), on the other hand, Rav Hutner to his dying day allowed students at his own Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin to attend secular college which he deemed necessary for Parnassa (earning a livelihood). Rav Kotler served as the leader of Agudath Israel's Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah on which Rav Hutner subsequently served as well.

A further interesting connection between Rav Kotler and Rav Hutner is that following the divorce of Rav Kotler's daughter Rebbetzin Sarah Pesha from Rav Dov Schwartzman (1921–2011) Rav Hutner gave Rav Schwartzman refuge at Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin where he served as a Magid Shiur (lecturer) for a short while and later established the Yeshiva Bais HaTalmud together with Rav Hutner in Jerusalem, after which Rav Hutner and Rav Schwartzman had a parting of the ways.

* Rav Yaakov Moshe Shurkin Zt"l (1902–1963) was the Rosh Mesivta, head of the yeshiva high school and yeshiva from the time the Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin high school was founded in 1936 until his passing in 1963. This was a conjoint position that he shared with Rav Hutner and they were partners in educating and guiding their flocks of students who came to the yeshiva when it was in Brownsville, NY. A brief biography about him says that: "Harav Yaakov Moshe Shurkin was the younger son of Harav Michel Zalman, born in 5662/1902. He was born in Podobranka, a small village deep in White Russia. His original surname was Shur...He was descended from a prominent Chabad family in Podobranka. ...

When Yaakov Moshe became bar mitzvah, Rav Michel Zalman [his father] was suddenly niftar. Now a young orphan, Reb Yaakov Moshe decided to go to Radin, where he learned with extraordinary hasmadah under the Chofetz Chaim for the next 15 years. During his years in yeshivah, his mother also passed away....Reb Yaakov Moshe was a Rosh Mesivta in Yeshivah U’Mesivta Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin from its founding in 5698/1938 until he was niftar on Rosh Chodesh Av 5723/1963, at 62. He was buried in Beth David cemetery in Elmont, Long Island. Several volumes of his shiurim on masechtos have been published as Shiurei Reb Yaakov Moshe.

His son Harav Michel, shlita, is a Rosh Yeshivah in Toras Moshe in Yerushalayim." (Geni) The date for the start of the Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin high school is 1936 while 1938 to 1940 were the years they were preparing to build a post-high school yeshiva. Rav Hutner had cordial relations with Rav Shurkin even though their pedagogical styles differed. They both had great senses of humor although quite different. While Rav Hutner was of a more serious nature, Rav Shurkin had the ability to create fun with the boys as well. But there was a rivalry between the two men and eventually Rav Hutner emerged as the sole authority and final voice in command of the yeshiva after the passing of Rav Shurkin in 1963.

* Rav Yoel Teitelbaum Zt"l (1987–1979) was the founding Rebbe or Admor of the Satmar Hasidic dynasty and had the utmost reverence and respect of Rav Hutner who regarded the Satmar Rebbe as the "last of the lions" of the previous era from old-time Eastern Europe. Even though Rav Hutner was a leading member of the Agudah that agrees with its Israeli counterparts by sitting in the Zionist Knesset (that's opposed by Satmar) and Rav Hutner was a leading member ofthe American Agudath Israel's Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, (the governing Council of Torah Sages) at the time headed by Rav Moshe Feinstein who faced some fierce criticism from the Satmar Rebbe for some of his Halakhic rulings, nevertheless Rav Hutner easily overcame the differences, as he had done in a previous era when in his early years learning in Eretz Yisrael he was the messenger between Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld (1848–1932) and Rav Avraham Yitzchok Kook (1865–1935).

So, likewise, Rav Hutner was able to navigate between the hotly anti-Zionist Satmar Rebbe and the more moderate leaders of Agudah and he also taught his disciples to admire the Satmar Rebbe and his accomplishments in building a broad Kehilla (Jewish community). Rav Hutner would teach that "Hakoras HaTov" (gratefulness) only applied to Middos (character traits) and not to Deios (ideology) and therefore no matter how much gratitude one had to others who had more lenient and moderate outlooks yet when it come to ideas and the correct outlook in Judaism one must be honest and admit to the truth even if one might not feel comfortable with some of those overwhelming ideas.

Rav Hutner very much liked the model of community building that the Satmar Rebbe undertook and tried to emulate the building of a similar Chaim Berlin community with himself at the center of it like the Satmar Rebbe was the center of the Satmar community. Rav Hutner has in fact been referred to as the first Litvish Rebbe because he ultimately by the end of his life synthesized the Lithuanian method of Torah scholarship symbolized by the Gaon of Vilna with the hasidic way of life of the Baal Shem Tov and the rational mysticism of the Maharal of Prague: Judah Loew ben Bezalel.

* Rav Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn Zt"l (1880–1950) the sixth Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch arrived in America in 1940 during the onset of the Holocaust in Europe. Soon after his arrival in New York, Rav Hutner sought Rav Shneersohn to pay his respects and also to study in private with him. When Rav Hutner's students would ask him why he went to study with the Rav Yosef Yitzchok, Rav Hutner is reputed to have told them that Chabad-Lubavitch has certain Kabbolas (traditions) from the Baal Shem Tov (1698–1760) that no one else has and that it is important to study them.

Rav Hutner sympathized with the plight of Rav Yosef Yitzchok and reported that his suffering and being tortured by the communists in Russian prisons had left its painful marks. When Rav Yosef Yitzchok arrived in Brooklyn after his escape from Europe the Lubavitch movement was tiny in America and had yet to be built up. Rav Hutner had more followers and students during the 1940s but eventually, by the time Rav Yosef Yitzchok's son in law Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson took over as the seventh Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch in 1950 Chabad had started to outstrip them in numbers of followers.

During the 1940s, Rav Hutner and Rav Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn shared common goals of encouraging the building of Jewish day schools all over America where it was possible. In those days Rav Hutner, like Chabad, was focused on encouraging as many of his followers and graduates from his yeshiva to go out into the wider Jewish world to do Kiruv (Jewish outreach) and Chinuch (education) and be in the Rabbonus (rabbinate), all goals that would be in line with the aims Rav Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn. According to expert scholars, Rav Hutner adapted many of the ideas and teachings of Lubavitch scholarship, the Tanya and other writings of the Alter Rebbe and hasidus in general in his own Ma'amorim (lectures) and eventually incorporated them into his published writings known as Pachad Yitzchok ("Fear [of] Isaac").

* Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson Zt"l (1902–1994) the seventh and last Rebbe of the Chabad-Lubavitch hasidic dynasty was a close friend of Rav Hutner stemming from the time they had met in Western Europe. Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson was the son in law of Rav Yosef Yitzchok Schersohn married to his daughter Chaya Mushka. Rav Hutner had studied philosophy for a while in the University of Berlin and Rav Schneerson had studied mainly engineering at the Sorbonne in Paris and had also been to Berlin where he met the young Rav Hutner.

When Rav Menachem Mendel arrived in America in 1941 Rav Hutner reconnected with him and they both went to learn with Rav Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn as well as being Chavrusas (learning partners). Rav Hutner and Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson kept up a life l;ong connection. They would write letters to each other on various topics where they would debate each other and pen their thoughts, points of view, and disagreements. Rav Hutner was impressed with the Lubavitcher Rebbe's knowledge of Chabad Chasidus and for his outstanding organizational skills in the way he was able to recruit, train, harness, motivate, inspire and assemble his Shluchim (emissaries) to go out all over the world to spread the teaching of Torah and Chasidus.

Rav Hutner did not take sides in the bitter disputes between the Lubavitcher Rebbe and those who opposed and attacked him in the Litvish world. Rav Hutner was himself an exponent of Kiruv, Jewish outreach to secular Jews of all walks of life, a goal that was not different to that of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

When Rav Hutner and his family were hijacked by the Black September terrorists in 1970 the Lubavitcher Rebbe publicly prayed for their peaceful release. As close and as friendly as they were their entire lives, Rav Hutner would not allow his students to attend the Farbrengens (celebrations) and Ma'amorim (lectures) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe! In some cases they shared students and this became moot!

* Rav Moshe Soloveitchik Zt"l (1871–1941) was long admired by Rav Hutner going back to the time when Rav Moshe Soloveitchik was living in Warsaw at the same time as the young Rav Hutner and when Rav Moshe Soloveitchik asked Rav Hutner to be the personal tutor of his younger son Rav Ahron Soloveitchik. (1917–2001). Subsequently when they all moved to America, Rav Hutner would invite Rav Ahron Soloveitchik to be the top Maggid Shiur (lecturer) in Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin for a long period of time. Rav Hutner was also very close with Rav Moshe Soloveitchik's older son Rav Yosef Dov (Joseph Ber) Solovietchik (1903–1993).

From 1920 to 1929 Rav Moshe Soloveitchik served as the Rosh Yeshiva (dean of religious studies) at the Tachkemoni Religious Seminary in Warsaw, Poland under the auspices of Mizrachi, the Religious Zionists. The following description about the Tachkemoni Seminary during the tenure of Rav Moshe Soloveitchik could also describe the history of Yeshiva University in America as well as the history of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin under the leadership of Rav Hutner in the years that it allowed college attendance from the 1940s until the 1980s when Rav Hutner handed over the yeshiva to his disciple Rav Aaron Schechter who eventually reduced the numbers of college attendance to a handful:

"This school was established in 1920 under the auspices of the Mizrachi. It was a higher education religious institution, combining the features of a yeshivah and a modern university (an academy). Its rector was Majer Bałaban, while the position of the Head of Talmudic Studies was held by Mojżesz Sołowiejczyk. Secular education took the form of a humanities-based university programme. Graduates received rabbinic certification and were eligible to enroll in the Humanities programme or the Oriental Studies programme at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The curriculum of the facility was approved by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Education, which enabled the school to receive financial support from the state. The Jewish community, on the other hand, perceived the Tachkemoni School as lesser than the most important yeshivot operating in the country. The facility experienced difficulties following the conflict between the school’s two founders, both of whom eventually resigned – Sołowiejczyk in 1929 and Bałaban in 1930. This undermined the position of the school, which nonetheless continued to operate until the end of the 1930s." (sztetl)

Another underlying dynamic in the connection between Rav Moshe Soloveitchik and Rav Hutner was Rav Hutner's own awed respect for Rav Moshe Soloveitchik's father Rav Chaim Soloveitchik (1853–1918). Rav Hutner had a contentious relationship with Rav Chaim's next son Rav Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchik (1886–1959) and maintained that Rav Moshe Solovitchik was the greater heir to the Brisk tradition and Soloveitchik dynasty.

* Rav Yosef Dov (Joseph Ber) Soloveitchik Zt"l (1903–1993) was the son Rav Moshe Soloveitchik and grandson of Rav Chaim Soloveitchik and the great grandson of his namesake Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik (1820–1892) known as the Beis HaLevi. After receiving an intense Torah education from his family, he subsequently went to study at the University of Berlin where he received a doctorate in philosophy. In 1941 he succeeded his father Rav Moshe Soloveitchik as the Rosh Yeshiva at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Rabbinical Seminary at Yeshiva University.

During his studies in Berlin he met Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson of Lubavitch and Rav Yitzchok Hutner who was taking non-degree courses in philosophy at the University of Berlin. The three remained life-long friends and became seminal figures in the rebuilding of Orthodox (Rav Soloveitchik), haredi (Rav Hutner), hasidic (Rav Schneerson) Judaism on an unprecedented scale in North America and the world. All three eventually came to America from Eastern Europe via Western Europe and developed vast followings that impacted every corner of the Jewish world one way or another. Rav Hutner and Rav Soloveitchik were extremely close in the 1940s when Rav Soloveitchik was also on the Agudath Israel's Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, but after Rav Soloveitchik left that organization to support the Religious Zionist and Modern Orthodox oriented Rabbinical Council of America to become their guiding Halakhic leader, while Rav Hutner remained a life-long supporter of Agudath Israel and eventually also becoming a member of its Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah the Hashkafic (world view) divide between Rav Soloveitchik and Rav Hutner widened.

While Rav Soloveitchik at Yeshiva University was at the forefront of training and ordaining thousands of disciples to become pulpit and community rabbis, at Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin Rav Hutner did not institute a formal Semicha (ordination) program preferring rather to "outsource" the giving of Semicha to his students by rabbis outside of his own yeshiva. Rav Hutner was moving with the rising growth of learning Torah Lishma (learning Torah for its own sake) that was becoming popular with the rise of Rav Aharon Kotler's haredi BMG Lakewood Yeshiva.

There are reliable reports that Rav Hutner considered Rav Soloveitchik to be a genuine Torah Illui (genius) and Gadol (great), but as the world of Agudah grew and moved apart from the Religious Zionists and Modern Orthodoxy that Rav Soloveitchik became part of, their world views and closeness moved further apart as well. Interestingly, Rav Soloveitchik's daughter Atara married Rav Aharon Lichtenstein (1933–2015) who in his youth was a Talmid (pupil) at Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin and had a connection with Rav Hutner. Like in the case of Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rav Hutner forbade his students from attending the lectures of Rav Soloveitchik even though they were at one time very close.

* Rav Avigdor Miller Zt"l (1908–2001) was born in America and after attending Yeshiva College (University) and the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) where he was a student of Rav Moshe Soloveitchik (1879–1941) he went over to Lithuania in Europe to study at the famous Slabodka Yeshiva where he married Ettel Lessin the daughter of Rav Yaakov Moshe Lessin of Slabodka (later mashgiach in RIETS) in 1935. With the outbreak of World War Two Rav Miller returned to America where he became a practicing pulpit rabbi and yeshiva building pioneer in Chelsea, Massachusetts.

Evidently Rav Hutner knew about Rav Miller and there was an extra link between them in that Rav Miller had studied at Rav Hutner's alma mater the famous Slabodka Yeshiva and had become truly great in the Litvish Torah world. In 1944 Rav Hutner invited Rav Miller to become the Mashgiach Ruchani (spiritual supervisor) at Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin in Brooklyn, a post which Rav Miller held until 1964.

Many have been surprised by Rav Hutner's choice of the outspoken Rav Miller as co-faculty member of the same yeshiva headed by Rav Hutner but evidently Rav Hutner understood that it paid to have someone like Rav Miller who, unlike Rav Hutner, was born in America, had a bona fide college degree from Yeshiva College, spoke perfect American English without an accent, who understood the mentality of young Jewish American men, was an exceptional orator and Jewish pedagogue and was undoubtedly a true Torah scholar who had studied at one of the best yeshivas in Eastern Europe and could connect with his students and acolytes. Rav Hutner gave Rav Miller the space and the freedom to function independently and to develop his own style as a Mechanech (educator) in the yeshiva they both worked in. Twenty years is a long time to be in an influential position of Mashgiach Ruchani and Rav Miller made a strong impact on the students.

In some sense the relationship between Rav Hutner and Rav Miller was that of "good cop/bad cop" with Rav Miller being the tough taskmaster and disciplinarian pronouncing and enforcing the rules of the yeshiva to the students, while Rav Hutner took the route of the conciliatory compassionate philosopher and psychologist allowing the students a more free-wheeling style where they could come and open their hearts without any fears. They were definitely a team of opposites and it speaks to Rav Hutner's self-confidence, brilliance, and power as a grand master of the game of life not fearing that others would undercut him if he saw the value of it. In the end Rav Hutner and Rav Miller had a parting of the ways but kept up a personal connection.

There was an extra connection between Rav Miller and Rav Hutner because Rav Miller's oldest daughter Shaindy Miller married one of Rav Hutner's most devoted disciples RavShmuel Elchonon Brog (1928–2012) who was employed by Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin to teach a Kiruv, Jewish outreach Shiur (class) even after Rav Miller was no longer the Mashgiach Ruchani at Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin.

Rav Hutner had hundreds of disciples and kept up a close connection with many great rabbis and important men and women in all walks of life. This article mentions only a few of those in America, who like Rav Hutner have since passed away, with whom Rav Hutner had close relationships.

If one looks at the trajectory of Rav Hutner's career as a pioneering Torah educator and Rosh Yeshiva in America and Israel one can see various stages of his life and the development of his goals.

In the early stages starting from 1936 when he became one of the heads of the new Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin high school his goal was to draw close to himself and educate as many Jewish young men to come learn Torah in the yeshiva. As they grew older and time passed and with the establishment of the post high school Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin Bais Medrash, young Jewish men were encouraged to continue learning in the field of Talmud and Torah. Rav Hutner guided many of them to become great rabbis in their own right and encouraged many of them to go out into the field and influence American Jews in outlying communities both in the city of New York and all over America.

He also started to encourage lay leaders to take on positions of leadership and influence wherever they could. He encouraged some disciples to get involved in Jewish organizations and eventually take on positions of influence and leadership.

During the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s almost every young modern religious and Orthodox American-born Jews went to secular college to earn a degree and become a professional, and Rav Hutner saw no contradiction in allowing these type of students to go to college to earn degrees while at the same time keep on learning in yeshiva. As time went on, with the arrival of Holocaust survivors such as Rav Aharon Kotler who stressed only full-time Torah learning Lishma and the example of building intense religious communities and Kehillas such as by Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum of Satmar, Rav Hutner also encouraged this growing trend among his top disciples and growing numbers of them latched on to this "Frummer" (more religious) approach to life and Torah learning.

By the 1960s and 1970s Rav Hutner, who passed away in 1980, was intently focused not just on allowing his yeshiva to grow in multiple directions, allowing both college attendance as well as stressing full time Torah scholarship such as through the Gur Aryeh Kollel that he founded in 1956, but he also set his eyes on returning to Eretz Yisrael to build up his Yeshiva Pachad Yitzchok and Kollel in Jerusalem devoted exclusively to Torah learning in Israel where it was continued by his son law Rav Yonoson David after Rav Hutner's 1980 passing and burial in Jerusalem, Israel.

Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin was born to Holocaust survivor parents in Israel, grew up in South Africa, and lives in Brooklyn, NY. He is an alumnus of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin and of Teachers CollegeColumbia University. He heads the Jewish Professionals Institute dedicated to Jewish Adult Education and Outreach Kiruv Rechokim. He was the Director of the Belzer Chasidim's Sinai Heritage Center of Manhattan 19881995, a Trustee of AJOP 19941997 and founder of American Friends of South African Jewish Education 19952015.

He is the author of The Second World War and Jewish Education in America: The Fall and Rise of Orthodoxy. Contact Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin at[email protected]

The Series:

Part One: The Changing of an Era: Remembering Rav Yitzchok Hutner's Disciples (Aug 2, 22).

Part Two: The Changing of an Era, Part II: Rav Hutner's Disciples (Aug 8, 22).

Part Three: Remembering Rav Yitzchok Hutner's Relationships with Gedolim in America (Aug 17, 22).

Part Four: The Changing of an Era: Rav Yitzchok Hutner and the Gedolim in the Mandate of Palestine (Aug 29, 22).

Part Five: The Changing of an Era: Rav Yitzchok Hutner's Relationships with Gedolim in Israel (Sep 8, 22).

Part Six: The Changing of an Era, part VI: Remembering Rav Yitzchok Hutner's Legacy (Sep 20, 22).