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His Father’s Son

Yisroel Besser

Rav Meir HaLevi Soloveitchik hid much more than he revealed. His neighbors knew him for his gentle demeanor and open hand. Regulars at Kever Rochel knew him for his mastery of prayer. His small group of talmidim got a glimpse of his astounding Torah prowess, but the hours upon hours spent learning at his dining room table stayed far from the public eye. Who was this quiet gadol, trusted confidant of the Brisker Rav and transmitter of his Torah, who never sought to be anything other than his father’s son?

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Rav Meir HaLevi Soloveitchik was a mysterious figure: heir to a legacy revered in the halls of every yeshivah on earth, bearer of a name that embodied the heights of scholarship and intellectual precision, yet he rarely ventured out of his apartment. His home at Chazanovitch 3 in Yerushalayim was a hub of its own, just as his father’s apartment on Rechov Press had been in its time. Behind the humble door, Brisk was preserved in its authentic form — the tefillos and krias haTorah, the Shalosh Seudos gatherings that drew hundreds of searching bnei Torah each week, and the incredible warmth with which visitors were received. Rav Meir was comfortable there. He would walk to his yeshivah to deliver the shiur, of course. Sometimes, he might appear in the Zichron Moshe shtieblach, on a mission to hear some davar shebikdushah — perhaps a Bircas Kohanim or particular kriah. And frequently, he could be seen on a white plastic Keter chair off to the side atKeverRochel, just one of her children come to pray. You looked at him and you felt a tremor. His countenance, his bearing, his luminous eyes, his beard — every feature was a reflection of his father, the Brisker Rav. ForRavMeir had never sought to be anything other than his father’s son. And while the Brisker Rav was a father to several children,RavMeir was special. Because the Brisker Rav was both his father and mother.

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