YU Professor: Chasidim Defeated Misnagdim

Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff, Professor of Rabbinic Literature at Yeshiva University in Jerusalem, dedicated his (English) Shiur on May 19, 2013 to Reb Leibel Bistritzky, the founder of the Crown Heights Hatzalah, who had recently passed away.


  • 1. Halashon wrote:

    Defeated? Conquered? Maybe annihilated?
    Lo zu darkenu.
    We survived.
    Overwhelmed them, if you need tough talk to maintain your chassidisheh shtoltz.
    Me say: Ke’ayin necheshovuh.

    P.S. Not every Litvak is a misnaged. In fact few are. Most are just too timid to grab a shtikel ahavas Hashem. It’s all about Me being afraid of Him (or fear of His rooms for bad boys.)

  • 2. Pinchos Woolstone wrote:

    The Professor said ” aza varmer Yid” to describe Reb Laibel Bistritzky, may we all emulate those middos toivos in our dealings with all the people we meet.
    May HaShem show His rachmonus and send Moshiach now

  • 3. Fan wrote:

    You go rabbi Rakefet. He has a wonderful Jewish history series and speaks beautifully about the Rebbe and Chabad on yutorah.org.

  • 4. defeated Ignorance of chasidus wrote:

    Misnagdim were defeated? Or Hisnagdus? Was defeated??

  • 5. :-) wrote:

    Rabbi Aaron (Arnie) Rakeffet-Rothkoff is phenomenal teacher and person. I’m so glad that CH.info is sharing him with the broader Lubavitch world.

    I (BH?) went through the entire system (Morah Faigue, OT, Zal, Shlichus, Smicha…and so on) never did I come across a teacher – who is this honest.

    He has 1,086 lectures/shiurim posted on YU’s website. I heard about 400 of them.

    If you are one of those Lubavitcher which is scared to acknowledge that there’s Torah life outside of us than don’t worry, his shiurim wont hurt your frail confidence.

    I wish…wish, wish, wish that I had a teacher like this in Zal.

    He knows Torah and bring out the greater imagery through it all – Gemara, Halacha, Chasidus, Science, Economics, Politics, the great social jewish sphere of our people’s future both in Israel and chutz l’aretz.

    If you wanna get a good opening sample, and you’re from CH like me, than listed to him hesped on Joe DiMaggio (that was not a typo).

    Just listen and you’ll see what I mean.

    Part One


    Part Two


  • 6. zalman wrote:

    I love his talks
    been a big fan of his talks one of my favorites

  • 7. To #5 wrote:

    I fully agree. I got hooked on his stuff a couple of years ago. He’s a phenomenal speaker and is truly well versed in all areas of Torah and well beyond.

  • 8. Rakeffet is a Mizrachist, he is biased and wrong here wrote:

    Rakeffet is part of the Mizrachi-YU world. He is disappointed that his type of Yiddishkeit (kipah srugah -YU – no beard), is on the decline, and mistakenly speaks, based on that, as if Litvaks-Misngadim have disappeared.

    But he makes a big mistake. Maybe his YU-clean shaven-kipah srugah world has lost, but the Litvish-Misnaged world is very much alive, outside YU. Lakewood, Bnei Brak, elsewhere.

  • 9. john wrote:

    I heard this when it came out ages ago. He always uses the terminology “chassidus defeated misnamed” its not a praise per se rather a fact, look at Pre war Europe etc. Rabbi Rakefet has incredible respect for chassidim bichlal and chabad bifrat, I have heared probably 250+ shiurim from him, and you can see his shtolts clearly being a LITVAK but he takes the good from all groups. There is a huge group of lubavitchers (mainly bochurim) across the world who continuously listen every week to his shiurim. He gives great shiurim (though admittedly, once you have listened to a lot of his shiurim he starts repeating most of his content)

  • 10. Are professors our Rebbes? wrote:

    What does a “Professor of Rabbinic Literature” know about such things?

  • 11. To All Commentators wrote:

    wow! this is so old! and he’s said that statement many times in the past. he’s a very good guy, but be careful! his hashkafos are diffeernt than ours! only for the open minded!

  • 12. Wolfson wrote:

    In a recent shiur, Rabbi Rakeffet-Rothkoff testified that when he arrived in Lakewood (before transferring to YU) in the early days of the Lakewood Yeshiva, he found bochurim standing guard on the dormitory steps to alert the students upstairs if R’ Aharon Kotler was coming. When he asked the guards what the students were doing that R’ Aharon Kotler would disapprove of, the guards told him that the students upstairs were shaving.

  • 13. Be mekarev Rabbi Rakeffet, make him a chossid of the Rebbe, its never too late! wrote:

    Was he ever by the Rebbe for yechidus or dollars?

    Tell him to make a shiur in Tanya for his students, like his Rebbe, Rabbi Soloveitchick, taught the Alter Rebbe’s Torah to his students in Boston.

    Even though Rabbi Rakeffet is not a youngster, maybe he could still become a mekurav. He is in America now, maybe someone take him to the Ohel and 770.

  • 14. Yossel wrote:

    What was that “Messianic” business? How would one Yid run another over with a car, just because they didn’t agree on an opinion? Sounds kind of weird…


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