Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan – Perhaps the Most Amazing BT of Our Time

As part of NCSY’s 60 year anniversary celebration, Rabbi Ari Kahn has penned, An Appreciation Of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan + Video.

The video is Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan & Dr. Russell Barber discuss Jewish Mysticism on The First Estate broadcast on WNBC-TV channel 4 in 1979.

The audio of the discussion above can be found at torahdownloads.com.

Here is an exceprt from Rabbi Kahn’s article:

“In a sense, Rabbi Kaplan may be seen as the Ramchal (Rabbi Moshe Haim Luzzato) of the 20th century. Like the great Italian scholar, Rabbi Kaplan’s writings are straightforward and clear, yet profound, with Kabbalistic doctrine always just beneath the surface. However, whereas the Ramchal was born into an aristocratic Jewish family and received the best education available, Aryeh Kaplan did not. His Jewish education did not begin until after his thirteenth birthday, when he was already recognized as a prodigy in the sciences.

As a young adult, he pondered, questioned and studied. Those who knew him in his teens recall a brilliant scholar—and a “hevreman” who had a twinkle in his eye. Despite his late start in Jewish learning, he quickly closed the gap with his better-educated peers and soon outpaced most of them. Eventually, he travelled to Israel, where he studied with and was ordained by the leading rabbis. He was, all agreed, destined for greatness as a rabbi and scholar.

But in a sense, he was always an outsider—and this became a defining element of his greatest achievements. Because he was raised in a non-observant home, he knew how to speak to young people who were searching; he, too, had searched. Although he eventually attended the most prestigious yeshivot, his early experiences equipped him to communicate and identify with teens and adults who came from backgrounds like his own.”

Here is Rabbi Kaplan’s wikipedia entry.

Lot’s of articles from his books on Aish.

Books of his on Amazon.