8 Thoughts and Sayings of Rav Hutner zt”l


    By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com

    Rav Yitzchok Hutner zt”l (1904-1980) was a talmid of the Alter of Slabodka, who emphasized Gadlus HaAdam – in dealing with all people.  Rav Hutner became the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Chaim Berlin and helped mold and shape thousands of talmidim and talmidim of talmidim.

    1. Loving Hashem, and loving people are one and the same. One cannot have love of Hashem without loving people.  And one cannot truly love people without also loving Hashem.
    2. It is a grave error that when we discuss the greatness of gedolim, we deal only with the end product. We discuss their complete perfection, omitting all mention of the inner battles which they overcame yet raged within them. The impression one gets is that they were created in full perfection. [PY Igros V’ksavim #128]
    3. Shlomo HaMelech said, (Mishlei 24:16), “The tzaddik will fall seven times and will rise.” The simple person thinks he meant, “Even though a tzaddik falls seven times, he will still rise.” A smart person, however, knows that he meant, “Because a tzaddik fell seven times, that is why he ultimately rose.” [ibid]
    4. There is a very special type of Ahavah that is unique that we must have for all geirim.
    5. When calling in a high school bochur from a very chashuva mishpacha who started becoming involved in girls, Rav Hutner did not call him out directly on it. Instead, he questioned the young man on the Mesechta he was learning, Bava Metziah. He then on last year’s Mesechta, Bava Kamma.  He then said, “I see that you are holding very well, k’nayna horah on seder Nezikin!  Why, then, pray tell, are you being oisek in seder Nashim?”  The bochur got the message right away and immersed himself in learning, stopping other extra-curricular activities. [Heard by YH from the bochur].
    6. Once in a discussion with Reb Pinchas Pele, Reb Pinchas said, for Eretz Yisroel – the hanhaggah should be like this, but for the golus, here in Brooklyn, the hanhaggah should be like that.. Rav Hutner responded, “No Reb Pinchas, when there is yet a structure on the makom beis habechirah – there is no greater reminder of the galus than that.  The hanhagah should be the same as here in Brooklyn.”
    7. For some Talmidim he told them not to attend college – even if their parents wished them to do so. For other Talmidim he told them bedavkah to attend college.  When questioned what was the criterion that he used to determine who he told what he responded, “I look at them in the future and ask if they will ever possibly have charata that they did not attend college.  If they possibly will have charatah – then they can chalilah become sonei hadas – and I tell them that they should go.”  [Heard from a close talmid]
    8. After setting up a bochur on a shidduch, the bachur did not wish to date a second time, and was hemming and hawing as to the reason. Rav Hutner was very intuitive and figured it out saying, “I see.. She did not have enough sheker and she also was lacking in Hevel..” [Heard from a talmid].

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    1. Wow I wish the principal of my daughter’s elementary school would’ve heeded #1. Instead of telling me “she’s not one of ours” because she switched in middle of elementary school she would have loved her and seen her tzelem elokim in her tween years. Hopefully one day she’ll rediscover yiddishkeit. Until then I bear the scars of my mistake.

    2. “When calling in a high school bochur from a very chashuva mishpacha who started becoming involved in girls…”

      Just curious why “chashuva mishpacha” should make a difference. Does a “stam yichus” bochur in the same situation deserve a potch?

      • There could be a number of differences, perhaps greatest among them that a boy from a prestigious household would likely know very well that what he is doing is silly and incorrect.

        Whereas one from a more typical home might not have been brought up with that awareness and, therefore, might require a different approach.


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