(By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5TJT.com)

It is a little known fact, but Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l did not just learn under the Alter zt”l and Rav Moshe Mordechai Epstein zt”l in Slabodka.  He also learned under Rav Boruch Ber Leibowitz zt”l.

The Talmud tells us that there is an obligation to greet one’s Rebbe on Yom Tov (Rosh haShana 16b).

Rav Yitzchok said: A person is obligated to visit his Master on the holiday as it is stated (Malachim II 4:23 – regarding the Shunamite woman when her husband asked her):  “Why will you go to him today; it is neither the New Moon nor Shabbos?” (II Kings 4:23). [Shabbos in this context means a day of rest Yom Tov].


Strangely, enough, however, the obligation is not cited in the Shulchan Aruch.  It is cited by the Rambam (Hilchos Talmud Torah 5:7) and also in the Mogain Avrohom (301:7 and 554:12).



The Noda BiYehudah (MT OC Siman 94) explains that since there is no obligation of Aliyah l’regel in modern times because there is no Beis HaMikdash – it should not be that the honor due to flesh and blood is greater than the honor due to Kavod Shamayim.  This is how he explains why the author of the Shulchan Aruch left out this halacha.


Rav Shternbuch, however, cites the Yaaros Dvash (Vol. I #12) that the fact that there is no Beis haMikdash would make it even more obligatory – not less.  Rav Shternbuch suggests (Likutei Teshuvos v’hanhagos p. 234) that the reason for the omission is that it is only an ethical obligation and not a full blown one.


What is the nature of the obligation?  Does it benefit the student or is it to extend honor to the Rebbe?  The Nodah BiYehudah writes that it can influence the student positively because the Rebbe has Tosefes Kedusha.  The Divrei Malkiel (Vol. II # 75), however, writes that it is on account of the obligation to extend honor to one’s Rebbe.  The Ramban in Parshas Yisro writes that it is for the benefit of the student.  In Yisa Yoseph (Vol. I Siman 126), Rav Elyashiv is cited as ruling that one only need to go see him alone in order to fulfill the Mitzvah.

The Pnei Yehoshua (Rosh HaShna 16b) writes that it does not have to be his Rebbe per se – one fulfills the Mitzvah by seeing the Gadol haDor as well.

Some say, however, that it is not a full obligation, but all agree that if one does so he has fulfilled a Mitzvah.

As reported by Vos Iz Neias