Can we all be the Rav?

In response to a beautiful homage to Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik’s contribution to Modern Orthodoxy at Harry’s Place, I posted the following comment. Discuss.

R. Harry,  

I certainly agree with you about the Rav’s importance. However, I have to question whether his model is sustainable for more than a select few. In an article on TIDE in Germany, Prof. Mordechai Breuer pointed out that few, if any of the graduates of this system truly arose to the level of synthesis and living in two connected worlds. Most simply became “compartmentalized” Jews, being Western in one context and Jewish in another.  

The same appears to be happening here in Israel, and I wonder whether its happening there too. Increasingly, Jews growing up in an MO context are split-personalities with little contact between them. The more intelligent ones gave up any kind of synthesis, generally basing themselves on pragmatist or post-modern thought. In short, much of the next generation has despaired of the idea of the synthesis and live a bifurcated life.  

So, while I admire the Rav greatly and learn much from him, the crisis of faith in the synthesis (or even A synthesis), was not solved by him, and continues to revarbrate to this day.


Hi, my name is Avi Woolf. I'm an American-Israeli MO Jew living in Israel. I have a background in Israeli (as in Land of Israel) and Jewish History and an insatiable need for knowledge. I also have professional experience as an editor, translator and indexer. Enjoy the ride! If you are interested in using my services or just want to drop me a line, contact me at:
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