Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 

R. Naftoli Zvi Yehuda Berlin (1816-1893), best known by the acronym Netziv, led the famed Volozhin Yeshiva for almost forty years. His first wife was the daughter of R Yitzchok Volozhin, son of R Chaim Volozhin, regarded as the spiritual successor to the Vilna Gaon, according to whose suggestion the yeshiva had been founded. Weathering multiple fires that destroyed the town, as well as internal struggles, the yeshiva flourished under the leadership of the Netziv. He reluctantly closed it rather than submit to demands of the Czarist government that would have banned Torah study between the hours of 9 and 3 as well as evenings.

His Torah labors extended beyond the traditional curriculum of the yeshiva. He responded in the Jewish press to attacks on tradition. His collection of responsa (Meishiv Davar) showed his willingness to address matters of applied halachah, which was not a specialty of the yeshiva. He involved himself in the nascent movement to reclaim the land of Israel, as a supporter of Chivas Tziyon, although he drew back somewhat in his later years. Nonetheless, several secret religious Zionist cells operated in the yeshiva.

He wrote extensively on Tanach, and gave a regular parshah shiur each morning in the yeshiva. His work on Chumash, Ha'amek Davar, is the source of this ongoing shiur. R. Nachman Bulman zt"l suggested to me decades ago that the Netziv should be included in the group of outstanding gedolim of late 19th century Europe who responded head-on to the challenge of haskalah and Biblical criticism by showing the organic relationship between the Written Law and the Oral Law. (The others were R. Yaakov Mecklenburg, R. Samson Raphael Hirsch, and the Malbim.)

Ha'amek Davar has become a modern classic. It should be of interest to us, I believe for a number of reasons:

  • Netziv will not entertain any separation between Torah She-b'al Peh and Torah She-b'ksav. Importing seemingly unrelated sugyos in Torah She-b'al Peh is Netziv's chief tool with which to explain textual anomalies or difficult passages in Torah text. He does this seamlessly, and seemingly effortlessly. His product is thus a chizuk emunah against those who took a heretical position about Rabbinic Judaism.
  • More often than not, an approach of Netziv to any episode in Chumash will have to do with the primacy and importance of limud Torah. Ha'amek Davar is an important source of understanding the love for Torah and its centrality in pre-War Lita.
  • Netziv similarly reads gemara and midrashim into Nach, taking difficult or obscure passages and suggesting elegant approaches that account for every phrase and word.
  • Netziv was an original thinker. In many places, he offers what he concedes are approaches to text and topics that vary with the giants who preceded him. They are often breathtaking in their originality

Each week, this shiur will sample some text from Ha'amek Davar on the parshah, and offer it in paraphrase, rather than translation. Over the year, it will sample all of the areas of interest given above. Where possible, it will concentrate on the larger elaborations that the Netziv provided in his Harchev Davar footnotes to Ha'amek Davar.

If you'd like, you can see the list of all archived Netziv articles on the Parsha, or the index to all archived Torah Portion articles.




 

ARTICLES ON VAESCHANAN AND TU BEAV:

View Complete List

No Disappointments
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Addressing Concerns Part 1
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

The Wiser We Will Be
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

> Reducing The Distance From Head To Heart
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

How Ironic
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Taking the Tefillin Test
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Humility
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

Closure and Consolation
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

Seeing the Blessing
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

ArtScroll

The Basis for Moshe Being Denied Entry into the Land
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5771

Serving and Deserving
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

How Wise We Would Be
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Making Connections
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Heaven and Earth
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5766

Enough! Chill Out!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

Living Proof
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information