Today is five years since the passing of my teacher and rosh yeshiva Rav Yehuda Amital. Both his personality and his message are so sorely missed. He taught us that ethics and natural morality come before and underpin all other commitments – whether to Halacha, the land of Israel or anything else. He had the courage to change his mind and to critique his own community when he felt they were pursuing a wrong path even when doing so brought opprobrium and ostracisation. He taught us never to take ourselves too seriously but to take what we do very seriously. Honesty with oneself and simplicity in the service of Hashem and personal conduct were his trademarks.
In this shiur, given six months after his passing, I try to sketch the connection between the life he lived (Shoah survivor, soldier, rosh yeshiva, politican) and the Torah that he taught – focusing first upon his religious teachings and then upon his politics.
May his memory be a blessing in a very literal sense – that we may merit to see a society where limmud Torah and Jewish tradition go hand in hand with social justice and concern for those beyond our own immediate demographic, and where a belief in the purposefulness of history is combined a sense of reality and the ability to question.
יהי זכרו לברוך