It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein zt”l, one of the most prominent rabbis in Modern Orthodoxy and the Israeli national-religious movement. He was 81.
Rav Lichtenstein led the Har Etzion Yeshiva. He was a son-in-law of Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, from whom he received semichah in 1959.
Rav Lichtenstein was awarded Israel’s highest civilian honor, the Israel Prize, in 2014.
Rav Lichtenstein was born in Paris in 1933, the year the Nazi party rose to power in neighboring Germany, but fled Vichy France with his family in 1941 for the United States. The family settled in New York in 1945.
Rav Lichtenstein grew up in the United States, where he learned at Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin under Rav Yitzchok Hutner. He earned a BA and semichah at Yeshiva University and a PhD in English Literature at Harvard University, where he studied under Douglas Bush.
After serving as rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University for several years, Rav Lichtenstein answered Rabbi Yehuda Amital’s request in 1971 to join him at the helm of Yeshivat Har Etzion, located in Gush Etzion, and moved to Yerushalayim. He maintained a close connection to Yeshiva University as a Rosh Kollel for the Gruss Institute in Yerushalayim, an affiliate of Yeshiva University and its Yeshiva Rabbeinu Yitzchok Elchanan.
In 2005, he and his wife Dr. Tovah (née Soloveitchik) moved to Alon Shvut, where Yeshivat Har Etzion is located. They were married in 1960 and had six children.
He is survived by his wife, Dr. Tovah, his children Rav Yitzchak, Rav Moshe, Rav Meir, Rav Shai, Esti and Tonya, and by two sisters, Hadassah Kleiman and Shoshana Lichtenstein, and thousands of talmidim.
The levaya will be held tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Har Etzion Yeshiva in Gush Etzion. Kevurah will follow at the Givat Shaul cemetery in Yerushalayim.