Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The Maichater Iluy

A recent article in the Commentator by R. Nosson Kamenetsky about R. Shlomo Polachek, aka The Maichater Iluy, brings to the fore an interesting phenomenon. R. Polachek was among the, if not the, top students of the illustrious R. Hayim Soloveitchik. Yet, this student, much like R. Soloveitchik's famous grandson, seemed to affiliate with Mizrachi and teach in a school that combined Torah with secular studies.

From R. Kamenetsky's article:

[R. Polachek] was invited in 1905 to head the Zionist Lida Yeshiva by its founder, Rabbi Yitzchok-Yaakov Reines, rabbi of Lida, initiator of the Mizrachi movement.
[The yeshiva in Lida is described here:
In 1883 [R. Reines] went to Lida where he served as Rabbi and Av Bet Din and by 1905 his established reputation gave him the ability to set up without opposition the yeshiva that he wanted under the name of Torah and Madah ('Torah and Science').]
And, of course, R. Polachek eventually accepted a position under R. Dr. Dov Revel at RIETS.

While it is clear that R. Soloveitchik remained opposed to both Mizrachi and the study of secular subjects (see Making of a Godol, p. 1269), it is certainly interesting that two such devoted students of his tradition should make this break with his views.

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