Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

11 Tishrei 5767 - October 3, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Aryeh Carmell zt"l

by Professor Yechiel Domb

HaRav Aryeh Carmell zt"l is known throughout the Torah world for his skilled and careful editing of R. Dessler's zt"l Michtav MeEliyohu, probably the most widely consulted mussar work of our generation.

The book had its origin in discussions which Rav Dessler conducted with an elite group of talmidim during his period in London and Gateshead, and R. Aryeh took charge of the notes which Rav Dessler prepared, and worked through them carefully for many years to come. In the beautifully presented English version, Strive for Truth, he often provided further details of the origin of various discussions.

But there are many other aspects of R. Aryeh's life and work which allow him to be described as a Torah personality of unique character. He was born and educated in England, and his fluency in the English language and familiarity with all aspects of Western thinking were used to great effect in his pioneering activities with baalei teshuvoh.

He came from a background of Torah im Derech Eretz, and was steeped from his youth in Hirsch's writings and ideas. But he was able to synthesize this outlook harmoniously with the Yeshiva tradition which ultimately dominated his thinking.

R. Aryeh came from an affluent background and received professional training in Estate Management. For many years he was an active partner in the real estate company of Ord, Carmell and Kritzler. Then gradually, as his Torah activities widened, he took the role of a sleeping partner. He was an outstanding baal chesed, and dedicated both time and money to activities like the East End Scholarship Centre which engaged in kiruv activities.

Although he had no formal scientific training, R. Aryeh was well versed in all aspects of modern scientific progress. He considered it of prime importance to provide a Torah point of view relating to these developments to counter the prevailing secular outlook. When the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists was formed in the USA, he was one of the leading activists in initiating a British branch. He provided office facilities for the Association, without which it could not have functioned. It exercised a vital influence on the Anglo Jewish community in relation to communal problems during the crucial 1960-1980 period.

Finally, when he moved to Eretz Yisroel in the 1970s, he quietly initiated a number of educational and chesed projects which flourish to the present day.

He published and lectured widely, and recorded many of his shiurim on tape. All of his work was characterized by scrupulous attention to detail — nothing was dismissed as of minor importance. He has left a written and oral legacy which Torah Judaism can put to good use for many years to come.

Professor Domb is a long-time friend of HaRav Carmell and collaborated with him on the book Challenge.


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