Wasserman, Elhanan

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Ḥafets Ḥayyim (1838—1933)



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Foremost Lithuanian Talmudist (1875–1941). Wasserman studied in his youth in the Yeshivah of Telz and for several years in the house of his father-in-law, Rabbi Meir Atlas. He later spent some years in the town of Radin, the home of the famous Hafetz Hayyim, whom Wasserman considered to be his chief mentor in his religious approach to the Jewish problems of the day. His main official position was as principal of the Yeshivah in the town of Baranowitz in Poland, to which students flocked from many parts of the Jewish world. Wasserman was active in the ultra-Orthodox Aggudat Israel movement. Essentially a kind and gentle man, Wasserman was none the less fearless and outspoken in his struggle against Reform, Zionism, and secularism, all of which, he believed, were preventing the coming of the Messiah by attempting to take Jewish destiny into their own hands instead of relying on God to save His people.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.

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