Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Child of the Yeshivah

Yisroel Besser

Rav Aharon Kotler’s grandson and namesake — Beth Medrash Govoha’s CEO Rabbi Aaron Kotler — took an unlikely path to the executive office. Having successfully weathered fiscal, political, and communal challenges from his position at the reins ofAmerica’s largest yeshivah, Reb Aaron is girded by his grandfather’s fire and his own tenacity.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

grandsonIt was the mid 1980s and the young student, new to all things Orthodox, made himself comfortable on the inter-Jerusalem city bus. An elderly white-bearded American scholar boarded and took the seat next to him, and within minutes, the two English speakers struck up a cordial conversation.

The student shared that he had left university two months before in order to learn at Aish HaTorah.

The visiting rav politely asked who his rebbi was.

Rabbi Aaron Kotler,” said the young man.

The rav, an early talmid of Beth Medrash Govoha, was overcome with reverential silence, transported to a different time. Finally, he spoke. “Your rebbi carries a great name.”

 

Sitting in the home of the grandson and namesake of Rav Aharon Kotler, I attempt a psychoanalytical question: Were his years as a rebbi at Aish, perhaps the one yeshivah in the world where most students weren’t aware of his yichus, really an attempt to make it on his own?

He shrugs. “When you’re young you don’t really think about these things.… No, honestly, Aish’s anonymity was not its draw — I was pulled there through remarkable siyata d’Shmaya. My name is a very special subtle backdrop to my life; however, gifts are no substitute for hard work.”

The subsequent return of the young kiruv rebbi toLakewood during the turmoil of the mid 90s, his  steady development, his impact on the yeshivah and his more recent influence on the greater yeshivah world, is its own intriguing story. Few would have predicted that he would take this particular path, but none would deny that Rabbi Aaron Kotler is dedicated to his grandfather’s yeshivah.

And anyone who remembers that difficult era can certainly appreciate the chain of events that led him home.... 

 

 To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha. To sign up for a weekly subscription click here.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you