The warmth, pedagogical skills, and philosophical approach of Rabbi David Hartman
, President Emeritus of Shalom Hartman Institute, have been in the media and blogs recently.
(Elisha Porat, Haaretz, Jan. 27, 2012)
“That accursed war had stuck its claws deep inside me – even writing poems about memories of the war didn’t help. Until I took my friends’ advice and went up to Jerusalem to study with Rabbi Prof. David Hartman.
“…The first meeting with David Hartman was moving. Seated opposite me was a man with excellent diagnostic abilities, who within seconds understood who sat before him. He spoke freely in three languages – English, Hebrew and Yiddish – and was surprised that I didn’t know a word of our "mamaloshen." He made me a very generous offer, which included financial support for my studies. I found the man very interesting. I felt that he had a strong sense of mission in addition to a genuine passion for teaching. His words about the importance of secularism in Israeli life surprised me. As did his harsh criticism of the religious establishment. We sat in his spacious apartment on Graetz Street, and his wife and children passed through the room several times. He was very proud of them, and his gaze followed them even after they had left. On the spot he gave me a considerable sum of cash, and sent me off to purchase a basic library of Judaism….
“Hartman’s lessons soon became famous, and a class that would begin with a small group on the Mount Scopus or Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University would end up in a large auditorium. I had never seen anything like the students who would drag their chairs down the corridors in pursuit of their rabbi. His lectures were magical.
(Blog of Rabbi James Gibson, Senior Rabbi, Temple Sinai of Pittsburgh, Senior Rabbinic Fellow
of Shalom Hartman Institute
“David Hartman has always elevated us to tackle what is beyond the printed page of the text.
“In doing so, he is a living Torah, a treasure to be cherished for as long as he lives.
“When he entered, we rose and applauded out of respect. When the shiur was over, we rose and applauded again, this time out of gratitude and love.”
(From Neshamah.net, by Rabbi Barry Leff of Jerusalem)
“Rabbi Hartman’s theological basis for halachic boldness is centered on this last factor. As he puts it, do you favor “the God of rabbinic infallibility,” or do you favor “the God who hates lies?”
“Hartman develops much of his argument based on the changing role of women in society. Two thousand years ago, women were very nearly completely dependent on men. A woman alone was in a dangerous and difficult place. So it was not an unreasonable assumption in the legal system that a woman would prefer to be married, to anyone, rather than be alone.