web analytics
December 23, 2014 / 1 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Tales Of Rav Kook, Ben-Gurion, the Chazon Ish, And More: An Interview With YU’s Rabbi Zevulun Charlop


Rabbi Zevulun Charlop

Rabbi Zevulun Charlop

Rabbi Zevulun Charlop is a mind rich with fascinating stories and historical anecdotes.

The son and grandson of distinguished rabbis, Rabbi Charlop was head of Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) from 1971-2008. He is currently special adviser to YU President Richard Joel on yeshiva affairs and rav of Young Israel of Mosholu Parkway. The financially strapped Bronx congregation – which once boasted hundreds of members – has not davened together since July due to extensive water damage to its synagogue. But Rabbi Charlop has not entirely given up hope of it meeting once again.

The Jewish Press recently met with him in his Washington Heights office.

The Jewish Press: What’s your background?

Rabbi Charlop: I was born in the Bronx, and I think the Yankees and I are the only ones who never left.

My father, Rav Yechiel Michel Charlop, was one of the most famous rabbis in the country. He was born in Yerushalayim and studied in some of the finest yeshivas there. He also had a special chavrusah with both Rav Kook and Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld and was the conduit between them.  Each one used to ask about the other and would send his regards through my father.

Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer wrote a kuntrus for my father. I met Rav Shneur Kotler – Rav Meltzer’s grandson – and he said, “It’s impossible! My grandfather never wrote a kuntrus for anybody.” But I found it and showed it to him.

When my father left Eretz Yisrael, my grandfather said he never knew anyone who left to America knowing all of Bavli and Yerushalmi be’al peh…. My father wrote three sefarim on one amud of Shas.

When did your father leave to America?

In 1920. In America he studied in [RIETS]. In fact, he received the first Rokeach Award. Rokeach, the famous company, was founded by a very religious man who came from Kovno. He’s famous for making kosher soap [since soap is usually made with tallow]. Many rabbanim gave heterim because soap is eino ra’ui l’achilas kelev, but Rav Yitzchak Elchanan, the rav of Kovno, felt [soap needed to be kosher]. So he sent a call out to all the chemists, and Yisrael Rokeach made this soap. The bars were blue and red – for milchig and fleishig.

It was such a successful business that the Russian government was going to put Rokeach in jail in order to take over his business. Rav Yitzchak Elchanan found out about it and told him to run to America. So he came here and many years later he offered a $5,000 prize for getting the highest yoreh yoreh, yadin yadin. My father won the first one.

Later, my father served as a rabbi in Canton, Ohio and Omaha, Nebraska and, in 1925, he became the rabbi of the Bronx Jewish Center, which was the largest synagogue in the Bronx. The Bronx had close to 700,000 Jews at the time – more than the entire Jewish population in Israel when Israel was created in 1948.

What schools did you attend growing up?

Yeshiva Salanter, which was the only yeshiva in the Bronx, TA [Talmudical Academy], Yeshiva College, Columbia University, and RIETS. From there I became the rabbi of the Young Israel of Mosholu Parkway. This year would have been my 60th in that shul.

Is it true that the teachers in Yeshivas Salanter taught in ivris b’ivris?

Yes, not ivrit b’ivrit, but ivris b’ivris.

I found a remarkable letter signed by all the rebbeim of [RIETS] which was sent to Yeshivas Salanter – I think it was instigated by Rav Moshe Soloveitchik – and it stated that the only way to learn Gemara is in Yiddish. [They stated their opinion] as a halacha. They said Yiddish has been used for centuries, the thinking is in Yiddish, and that Yeshivas Salanter therefore has to teach Gemara in Yiddish, not ivris.

About the Author: Elliot Resnick is a Jewish Press staff reporter and author of “Movers and Shakers: Sixty Prominent Personalities Speak Their Mind on Tape” (Brenn Books).


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Tales Of Rav Kook, Ben-Gurion, the Chazon Ish, And More: An Interview With YU’s Rabbi Zevulun Charlop

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Yaron Sidman, (center) Israel's Consul General for Philadelphia and the 5 state surrounding area, spoke to a hundreds strong crowd at Adath Israel in Suburban Philadelphia, Dec. 17, 2014. State Senator Anthony Williams (left, rear), waiting to speak.
Philly Ties Har Nof Victims’ Shloshim to Hanukkah Theme of Rededication
Latest Indepth Stories
Hanukiyah created world famous Venetian Glass Blower
Maestro Gianni Toso

Let us become modern day Maccabees and seize the day. Embrace the challenge. Fight for Hashem.

Motta Gur overlooks the Old City with his troops during the Six Day War

Har HaBayit is still Biyadein; Through our actions, its fate is in our hands


What does the way we count the days of Chanukah come to teach us about living in the present?

Knesset and Menorah

Israel projects global material illumination not always the light of “morality” meant by the Navi

“Mr. Prime Minister, declare a unilateral ceasefire! Remember, Blessed is the peacemaker!”

“D-e-t-e-r-m-i-n-a-t-i-o-n!”

Hamas is continuing to prepare its next war against Israel instead of improving conditions in Gaza

If the UN Grants national recognition to Palestine, why stop there? Tibet, Chechnya, Basque…

The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.

Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

More Articles from Elliot Resnick
Joseph Berger 
(Photo: James Estrin)

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

Rav Dov Katz

To many Orthodox Jews the issue is “Permitted & Prohibited;” “Right & Wrong” barely considered,

You can’t say “Jewish French,” “Jewish British,” “Jewish Italian.” They are “French Jews,” “British Jews,” and “Italian Jews” – because they’re seen as Jews first and residents or citizens of their countries second.

Another thing they have been covering up is the nature of the building that was attacked. To this day people refer to it as a consulate or an embassy, but it wasn’t.

The reality is that civility is less important than clarity, and right now only very few people on the Left are interested in having a civil conversation about the merits of particular policy solutions.

Rabinovich is the author of several popular books on Israel’s wars, including The Battle for Jerusalem, The Yom Kippur War, and The Boats of Cherbourg.

I think Seth Lipsky is amazing, but it just drives home the point that newspapers have a lot of moving parts.

Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/tales-of-rav-kook-ben-gurion-rav-shneur-kotler-and-more-an-interview-with-yus-rabbi-zevulun-charlop/2014/04/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: