(Courtesy of Touro College) HaGaon HaRav Asher Weiss, shlita, will address “Timeless Faith: Eternal Torah Perspectives and the Coronavirus” on Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. ET, as he receives the inaugural Rabbi Raphael Zalman Levine HaCohen Endowed Distinguished Talmudic Scholar Award, presented by Touro. To register for the lecture visit www.touro.edu/ravweiss
“Rav Asher Weiss is one of our generation’s leading Halachic authorities and Torah scholars,” said Dr. Alan Kadish, president of Touro College. “He has played an historic role in providing clear and decisive Halachic guidance from the onset of the COVID crisis. He is a most appropriate inaugural selection for this award, generously endowed by Mr. Joel Margolis of Albany to honor ‘individuals who have made exceptional contributions in the field of Torah scholarship and Torah dissemination.’”
HaRav Weiss will be introduced by HaRav Yonasan Sacks, shlita, rosh yeshiva of Beis Medrash L’Talmud of Touro’s Lander College for Men, who noted that “Through his Torah and personal example, HaRav Weiss has inspired a generation of talmidim throughout the Torah world. He honors us by receiving this award.”
Mr. Margolis added that “Rabbi Levine, of blessed memory, used to painfully describe his frustration during the great Spanish Flu pandemic of 1919-20, when he had no way to receive Halachic guidance from his beloved teachers while recuperating in a Polish infirmary. How very appropriate that this award, in his honor, goes to an extraordinary scholar who provided lucid and timely guidance to so many people in the current pandemic a century later.”
Rav Asher Weiss, a revered American-born Israeli posek, rosh kollel and dayan, is a towering figure in the world of timeless Torah scholarship and its impact on contemporary society. A devoted disciple of the Klausenberger Rebbe zt”l, his classic commentary, Minchas Asher on the Torah, is found in homes across the spectrum of the Orthodox community. His remarkable range of knowledge, soaring oratory and ahavat Yisrael made him one of the leading poskim to whom Jewish communities around the world turn for Halachic guidance. HaRav Weiss is the author of 30 volumes of acclaimed rabbinic responsa, including hundreds of cutting edge teshuvot dealing with the interface of modern medicine and Halacha. His unique expertise in this area led to his central role in providing crucial Halachic guidance to Jews throughout the world from the earliest days of the COVID-19 crisis.
Zalman Levine, a musmach of Rabbi Chaim Soloveichick of Brisk and Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinski, and devoted student of Rabbi Baruch Ber Leibowitz, came to the United States in 1923. After a brief teaching career at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, he married in 1929 he moved to Albany. Eschewing any rabbinic titles, he spent the next six decades deeply involved in studying and teaching Torah, while first supporting his family as an insurance salesman and later, for several decades, as a deeply-respected staff member of the New York State Controller’s Office.
When Zalman Levine arrived in Albany, the very concept of a Torah scholar serving as a lay communal leader was unheard of. While it certainly was not his intention, his pioneering role set an example for others to emulate. Not only was Zalman Levine a devoted communal lay leader and an accomplished Torah scholar, but he also enjoyed the deep friendship of several generations of North American Torah luminaries.