By Yochanan Gordon
The author of “Rav and Rebbe,” “The Real Shlomo,” “Lakewood and Lubavitch,” and “Satmar and Lubavitch,” Rabbi Chaim Dalfin of Brooklyn, New York, has returned with another groundbreaking title in “Rabbi Hutner and Rebbe.”
Rav Yitzchok Hutner, zt’l, who passed away in 1980, was a contemporary of Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky, and Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, zt’l. It’s quite curious that Rabbi Hutner, of all the leaders of the yeshiva world of the previous generation, was left without a biographical legacy.
With the exception of the Sefer HaZikaron, which was written by his renowned daughter, Rebbetzin Bruriah David, never has a book been published, in English, on the life and times of Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner.
While this book is not a biography of Rabbi Hutner, but rather a historical journey exploring the relationship between Rabbi Hutner and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, many details of his life and upbringing are written about at length through its pages. The book, which is 300 pages, includes a chronology, addendum, bibliography, glossary, and 400 footnotes, and includes chapters such as “Respectful Differences,” “Students Versus Chassidim,” “Rosh Yeshiva Versus Chasidic Rebbe,” and “Understanding Opposition.”
Much of this book is dedicated to the relationship and correspondence between Rabbi Hutner and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, which began in the University of Berlin and carried on until Rabbi Hutner’s passing prior to Pesach in 1980.
The book contains significant approbations from Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff, a noted historian and professor of the Gruss Kollel, residing in Israel, as well as David B. Levy, PhD, chief librarian of Touro’s Lander College for Women. In his endorsement, Rabbi Rakeffet poses the question: “‘Who is the real Rabbi Hutner? Is he the disciple of Chief Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook or a devotee of the Satmar Rav, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum?’ It is contradictions similar to this that Rabbi Dalfin attempts to grapple with and ultimately resolve in this compelling volume and it is a must-read.”
The Gemara says that a person can’t fully understand and appreciate the words and wisdom of their teachers until forty years. It is no coincidence, then, that this first foray into the life and philosophy of Rabbi Hutner comes at an auspicious time, in preparation for his upcoming 40th yahrzeit.
If you are a student of one of Rabbi Hutner’s institutions, an enthusiast of his machshavah from his earth-shattering Pachad Yitzchak series, or just someone who has been enamored with him, the Rebbe, and their relationship, which has been kept under wraps for many years, this book is for you.
To pre-order the book, email Rabbi Dalfin at firstname.lastname@example.org. To arrange for Rabbi Dalfin to address your institution, please call 347-512-1429.