"Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner - The Vision Before His Eyes" By Matis Greenblatt
From the "Jewish Action" magazine,
Summer 2001. Volume 61. No 4
The following is a summery (weaved with my own notes and remarks) of an article that touched me, and I feel related to, and can be identify with, in many aspects. (My own notes are boarded with [xx]):
"In a time when ideas and individuals are classified and pigeonholes into neat boxes, it is well to study the life and thoughts of a towering figure... - Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner zt"l..."
"...In 1974 Rav Hutner took a trip to Europe and decided to stop off in Prague and visit the Maharal's grave. After drinking from the well of the Maharal for many years, interpreting his works and contributing greatly to the renewed interest in his sefarim, he reached the Maharal's final resting place. Here is how he described part of his feelings at this poignant encounter:
When tears well up into weeping, we know why we weep. My tears at this moment, however, surly and surly did not well up now. My tears are old and venerable now, having gathered in the subsoil of the soul now and ever time, in their own time. Hidden tears, the soul itself hid them by placing a concealing rock over the entrance to the well of the soul. Across time - their own time - there gathered types of tears, different tears. In this hidden spot of tears there are those of 'My eyes dropped streams of water for not having kept you Torah' and of 'Extend grace to me, wretched am I' - tears sharing the sorrows of man, of pitying an orphaned generation, of yearning for the countenance of parents and teachers whom I was privileged to view once upon a time, of yearning for the higher light in blessed hours of engagement with the secrets of Torah, of reciting the Song of Songs from out of the mighty sense of their loftiness - tears flowing as water libations upon the altar, the altar of love of God, tears of exaltation. All these types of tears sentenced to hiding across ages, across years, now coalesced into one unity beneath the concealing rock and behold! When my fingers just grazed Maharal's tombstone, the concealing rock on my breast split to smithereens and my tears came gushing, like a waterfall cascading, downward between clefts in the rock."
[for me it sounds familiar. I think we could share crying together. If not today, at least in the past, I experienced that deep sorrow, as the Rabbi says: "...for not having kept you Torah"]
[Rabbi Hutner was associated with particular institutions among them "Mesivta Rabbi Chaim Berlin". [Since September 1999, I live in Brooklyn, not far from the Yeshivah].
Sometime before my "Brooklyn's life Chapter". I have been by a Rabbi's house in Boro-Park. While there, I grabbed from the shelf a "Seifer" called "Pachad Yitzchak"... Opened it in a page... And was shocked to read there a short paragraph that like have been written for me. "Pachad Yitzchak" is Rabbi Hutnerís composition.
This past Shabbat I decided to open the magazine (I started getting it by mail, since I started to work for the OU; But usually I never really pay attention to it) & forced myself to read this article. While reading, I found as for why I'm reading it. First, because Rabbi Hutner special image. Second, I found he was close with Rav Avrohom Yitzchak Kook - Which I "discovered" about two years ago...][As Rav Kook in "Chadarav"... "kept Rav Hutner a diary of his inner life which he wrote in an astonishingly rich, mature, poetically introspective style"]]
"Many years later he told Rabbi Shlomo Freifeld that the root of his soul was the same as that of Rav Kook's. He was taken by the multidimensionality of Rav Kook... by his total mastery of both nigla (revealed) and the nistar (hidden) segments of Torah, by his sensitive, refined character, by his poetic nature, and by his fresh, dynamic spirituality; ...Perhaps the most important thing he learned from Rav Kook was the need to communicate the nishmas HaTorah, the soul of the Torah, including the whole gamut of non-halachic Torah: Jewish thought, musar, kabbalah ,and Chassidus. Rav Kook believed the failure to communicate this part of the Torah was responsible for many of the defections from Judaism. Rav Kook used the term Hilchos Deos V'chovos Halevavos, which became part of the title of Rav Hutner's magnum opus, Pachad Yitzchak".
"Rabbi Hutner disagreed with the political and Historical views of Rav Kook but this did not prevent him from gaining immeasurably from their close relationship".
("Rabbi Hutner married in Eretz Yisrael & left to America in 1934, not to be back for 30 years). Why did he leave the land he loved so? The answer is probably contained in a remark he made years later: "I must admit that have I remained in Eretz Yisrael and not come to America, the life there would not have permitted me the non-attachment which is so important to my spirit. I need to relate to everyone"".
"Rav Hutner wrote that Torah has two aspects: Knowledge of His commandments, which we call Halacha, and knowledge of His ways, which we call aggadah. Aggadah has the advantage of bringing us closer to Him".
"Rav Hutner once wrote that one is indeed fortunate if he is able to find happiness in the good deeds that he performs himself...".