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Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan    

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan

Date of Passing: 14-Shevat. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan had a background in both physics and Judaism. He is widely viewed as a prolific and original teacher...


Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
(1934 - 1983) A noted rabbi and author, Rabbi Kaplan had a background in both physics and Judaism. He is widely viewed as a prolific and original teacher; his work ranged from studies of the Torah, Talmud and works of mysticism to outreach and philosophy.
Rabbi Kaplan was born in the Bronx, New York City, and studied in the Torah Voda'at and Mir Yeshivot in Brooklyn. He then studied at Mir in Jerusalem, and was ordained by some of Israel's foremost rabbinic authorities including Rabbi Eliezer Yehudah Finkel. He also earned a masters degree in physics. As a graduate student, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan was described in a scientific "Who's Who" as the most promising young physicist in America. Later "he decided to devote his overflowing heart and massive intellect to the writing and teaching of traditional Torah values". His works are often regarded as a significant factor in the baal teshuva movement. He died suddenly on January 28, 1983, at the age of 48.
He was described by Rabbi Pinchas Stolper, his original sponsor, as never fearing to speak his mind. "He saw harmony between science and Judaism, where many others saw otherwise. He put forward creative and original ideas and hypotheses, all the time anchoring them in classical works of rabbinic literature". Rabbi Kaplan's works continue to attract a wide readership, and are read and studied by both novices and the newly religious, as well as by scholars where the extensive footnotes provide a unique resource. His works have been translated into Russian, Modern Hebrew, French and Spanish.
Rabbi Kaplan produced works on topics as varied as prayer, marriage and meditation. In researching his books, Rabbi Kaplan once remarked: “I use my physics background to analyze and systematize data, very much as a physicist would deal with physical reality.” This ability enabled him to undertake monumental projects, producing close to 50 books, "celebrated for their erudition, completeness and clarity". His introductory and background material contain much scholarly and original research.

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