Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm z”l

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Matzav.com reports the passing of Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm z”l, president of Yeshiva University. He was 92.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1927, Dr. Lamm received his elementary and high school education at Yeshiva and Mesivta Torah Vodaas.

In 1945, he entered Yeshiva College, where he continued his learning and undertook a liberal arts program with a major in chemistry. He graduated summa cum laude in 1949 and was class valedictorian.

Upon graduation, Dr. Lamm pursued advanced scientific studies at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn while continuing his Judaic studies and rabbinic scholarship. He was ordained as a rabbi by YU’s affiliated Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchok Elchonon in 1951 and earned a PhD in Jewish philosophy from the University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School in 1966.

During the 17 years preceding his election as president of YU, Dr. Lamm served on the Yeshiva University faculty, culminating in his appointment as the Erna and Jakob Michael Professor of Jewish Philosophy in 1966.

Dr. Lamm was appointed as president of YU in August 1976, succeeding Dr. Samuel Belkin and Dr. Bernard Revel. He was the University’s third president and the first native-born American to head the instituition. He served as chancellor of the University and rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchok Elchonon from 2003 until his retirement in June of 2013.

A pulpit rabbi for 25 years, he served as rov of the Jewish Center in Manhattan. Prior to that, he served as assistant rov of New York City’s Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun and then as rov of Congregation Kodimoh in Springfield, MA.

Dr. Lamm penned many writings and discourses on interpretation of Jewish philosophy, hashkafah and halacha, especially in relation to science, law, technology and philosophy in the modern world. He authored 10 books, including The Religious Thought of Hasidism: Text and Commentary, which won the 1999 Jewish Book Award in Jewish Thought.

Rabbi Lamm edited or co-edited more than 20 volumes, including The Library of Jewish Law and Ethics. He was the founder and first editor of Tradition and associate editor of Hadarom, a journal of Jewish law; founder of the Torah U-Madda Journal; and founder of the Orthodox Forum.

Dr. Lamm’s wife, Mrs. Mindy Lamm a”h, passed away just six weeks ago. Mindella, as she was known, hailed from the Mehler family in Midwood, Brooklyn and worked in the New York public school system while being very involved in the chesed work of the Yeshiva University’s Women’s Organization.

Dr. Lamm is survived by his children, Dr. Chaye Warburg, Dr. Joshua Lamm, and Shalom Lamm. He was predeceased by his daughter, Sara Dratch a”h.

The levayah and kevurah will be held today as private ceremonies for Dr. Lamm’s family.

Yehi zichro boruch.



  1. BDE. A tzaddik yesod olam in so many ways.
    The eldest grandchild of the Emek Halacha, R’ Yehoshua Baumol. A talmid chacham, and a marbitz Torah extraordianaire.

  2. R. Nachum Lamm z”l was a talmid of Rav Avrohom Pam z”l at Torah Vodaath and recalled him fondly. His maternal grandfather, R. Yehoshua Baumol z”l, was a Rav in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, leader of Agudath Israel of America, and mechaber of שו”ת עמק הלכה (https://hebrewbooks.org/2279).

    He was also the first Hasidic President of Yeshiva University.

    • “He was also the first Hasidic President of Yeshiva University.”

      His father was from a Belzer background and his mother from a rabbinic dynasty close to Sanz, IIRC.

      Rav Meir Shapiro, the Lubliner Rav, of Daf Yomi fame, who was visiting the USA for fundraising purposes then, attended his parents wedding in 1926.

      “was a talmid of Rav Avrohom Pam z”l at Torah Vodaath”

      At the time Dr. Lamm z”l attended YTV (early 1940’s, in the WWII period), Rav Pam zy”a was not a Rosh Yeshiva, or Beis Medrash Rebbe there. Rather he was either teaching in H.S., or elementary school perhaps.

    • He did not consider himself to be Chassidish.

      At the time he learned in Torah Vodaas, Rav Pam was a ninth grade rebbi. Even so and even then Rav Pam had a life time impact on many of his talmidim. But I doubt he considered Rav Pam to have been his rebbi in haskafa issues.

      • “He did not consider himself to be Chassidish.”

        How do you know? Did you ask him?

        Just because he didn’t wear a shtreimel on Shabbos you conclude that?

        On the contrary, Chasidus features prominently in his writings, and it is not by accident.

        You think he would have done that if he was a Misnaged??

  3. Baruch Dayan Emes. He was a True mentch and spectacular Talmud Chachum. He was a brilliant person who understood people and possessed true integrity and character. He served and led Yeshiva University with dignity and vision. He was a Talmud of Rav Soloveichik and a Rebbi for so many. It is so sad that we don’t have people like this anymore who can bridge the modern world with authentic Torah and Yiras Shamayim. He saved the Yeshiva with sweat and blood during the difficult years after he became President. Mi Yiten Lanu Temuraseinu. If only our generation could be educated to understand and appreciate who he was and what he accomplished for Klal Yisroel. In addition to his magnificent legacy, he was zocheh to leave behind truly wonderful children who are Talmeid Chachamim, Yarei Shamayim, and distinguished Baalei Chesed. Yehi Zichro Baruch. We will miss you.

  4. R. Yehoshua Balkany just said on the radio with Zev Brenner (620 AM, Motzei Shabbos) that Dr. Lamm was bar mitzvahed in the Skolya shtiebel in Williamsburg. So there definitely is a Hasidic side there.


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