Professor Nechama Leibowitz, of Blessed Memory

Nechama Leibowitz Nechama (as she identified herself on the telephone, and as she was known to all her students and well-wishers) enriched the Torah world and its students in many realms:

A. She restored the glory of studying the written Torah, and of Bible study in general, following the Peshat, the literal meaning of the text, in according with the medieval commentators and the midrashim, both the halachic and the aggadic. She channeled her energies primarily into her great undertaking:the commentary of Rashi on the Torah.

B. She expanded the commentary library of the student by revealing many commentaries which were not known to the learner, and acquainted him with the supercommentaries, which imparted an additional, more profound, dimension to Torah study.

C. She introduced didactic methods for the teaching of the Torah that also influenced religious studies as a whole. the goal of these methods was to turn the pupil into a learner, employing the question, the difference, the shared and the disparate, synthesis, structure, form and content, precise definitions, and error as a basis for further effort.

D. She emphasized the meanings relevant to the contemporary learner: by citing modern commentaries, by her extraordinary sensitivity for the learner's problem, the ability to determine the message contained in the sources, and her sharp and clear formulation of these messages in a language and style that speak to every learner.

E. She caused everyone to fall in love with Torah study: young and old, layman and scholar, teacher and pupil, in Israel and in the Diaspora.

F. Following in her path, the regular study of parshat ha-shavua, the weekly Torah portion, was begun in Israel and the Diaspora. Every Shabbat, classes on parshat ha-shavua are held, using Nechama's "gilyonot" (sheets) and her collections of studies. The study of parshat ha-shavua has become an institution throughout the Jewish world.

G. She made an inestimable contribution by training generations of teachers, for all levels of study, in Israel and the Diaspora. These teachers transmit her insights and her method of study to their pupils, and to their pupils' pupils.

H. The Torah that she taught in such a glowing, open manner to every student, to whomever addressed questions to her, day or night, from throughout the world, the light within her, the Torah she taught, and her countenance - that are the reason why the Torah shall be taught by countless numbers of individuals, through love of the Torah.

Nechama's name shall be inscribed for all eternity among the greatest disseminators of Torah throughout the generations.

 

 

 

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01 Jan 2008 / 23 Tevet 5768 0