President Richard M. Joel’s Statement on Chancellor Norman Lamm’s Retirement
I would like to express my appreciation to Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm for his half-century of service to Yeshiva University. During his tenure he helped guide the University with steadfastness and vision. Dr. Lamm’s contributions to the Jewish world as a distinguished rabbi, philosopher and scholar are unparalleled. We wish Dr. and Mrs. Lamm health and fulfillment into the future.
A Message from Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm
July 1, 2013
When we celebrated the ninetieth birthday of my dear father, zikhrono liverakhah, I cited the Mishnah in Avot 5:21, ben tish’im la-shu-ach. Despite the standard explanation that at ninety years old a person is stooped and decrepit, and there is much truth to that, I offered a more sensitive and profound interpretation. Without going into all of the details, I observed that hishtachavayah, the prostration of the attendee at the Jerusalem Temple, was the final ritual performed at the culmination of the divine service. Through prostration pilgrims stopped to reflect on their heavenly encounter and offered their gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to serve God through the divine service. At ninety, I suggested, a person stops to reflect on a life well lived, a family raised, professional and personal achievements, spiritual growth, accomplishments, mistakes, successes and failures—and pauses for hishtachavayah, a moment of reflection, gratitude, and appreciation.
While I have yet to reach my father’s age, at this moment of transition in accordance with an agreement reached 3 years ago—as I step down from my positions as Chancellor of Yeshiva University and Rosh Hayeshivah, ending over sixty years of official affiliation with my beloved Yeshiva University as student, faculty member, Rosh Hayeshivah, President, and Chancellor—I use this moment for mishtachavim u-modim—pause, reflection, and expression of gratitude. Read the rest of this entry…