Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Chazon Ish and the Brisker Rav on Kerem B'Yavneh

When the late founding Rosh Yeshiva of Kerem B'Yavneh, R' Chaim Yaakov Goldvicht zt"l, was approached by a number of alumni of Yeshivot B'nei Akiva to head (what would soon become) the first of the Yeshivot Hesder, he asked his closest Rabbeim, the Chazon Ish zt"l and the Brisker Rav zt"l, whether he should accept. The hesitation was due to the general opposition to the Mizrachi by both of these Gedolei HaDor.

The Chazon Ish told Rav Goldvicht, "What they want to do with the Yeshiva, I do not know. But if they want Torah, one must give it to them."

The Brisker Rav said, "What does R' Avraham Yeshaya (the Chazon Ish) care if they do not have Torah?"

Rav Goldvicht followed the counsel of the Chazon Ish, and headed the Yeshiva established at the beginning of Choref Z'man, Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, 5714. (53 years ago today). I have read that the Chazon Ish told Rav Goldvicht to report back after two weeks of a trial period.

On the 15th of Cheshvan 5714, the Chazon Ish was Niftar.
And Rav Goldvicht, his support now gone, along with his incredibly close Kesher with the Brisker Rav, suffered his first, near-fatal, heart attack, while still in his twenties.
The Chazon Ish was of the opinion that Torah must be taught to those who seek it in truth, while the Brisker Rav, the way I understand it, held that the tradition of the Torah and of the Yeshivos, Torah K'Tzurasah, which, in the words of Rav Aharon Kotler, was in the hands of the Brisker Rav from Rav Chaim Soloveitchik, back to R' Chaim Volozhiner, to the GRA, all the way to Har Sinai, must be accessed from within, not by the creation of a separate "Mizrachi flavor" Yeshiva, by the Yishuv HaChadash.
Who was right?

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