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
 
Weekly Struggle
Shoshana Friedman Cover text: promise big and deliver what we promise
Only Through You
Rabbi Moshe Grylak A response to last week’s letter, “Waiting in Passaic”
Are You Making a Kiddush Hashem?
Yonoson Rosenblum In communal affairs, “one bad apple…” often applies
Chance of a Lifetime
Eytan Kobre I identify with the urge to shout, “No, don’t do it!”
Work / Life Solutions with Bunim Laskin
Moe Mernick "You only get every day once"
Seeking a Truly Meaningful Blessing
Dovid Zaidman We want to get married. Help us want to date
Shivah Meditations
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Equivalence between two such polar opposites is puzzling
Magnet Moment
Jacob L. Freedman Everyone’s fighting a battle we know nothing about
Secrets and Surprises
Riki Goldstein Top-secret suits Eli Gerstner just fine
Blasts of Warmth
Riki Goldstein Keeping the chuppah music upbeat in low temperatures
Behind the Scenes
Faigy Peritzman The intrinsic value of each mitzvah
Good Vision
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Good or bad, nice or not? What you see is what you get
Day of Peace
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz On Shabbos we celebrate peace within and without