On Wednesday, April 28, talmidim in the MTA Honors College were privileged to hear from Rabbi Yosef Blau, Rosh Yeshiva and Mashgiach Ruchani at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, who discussed the topic of “Torah U’Madda.” Rabbi Blau began by describing how the study of Madda was originally a practical decision made to enable Jewish immigrants to survive in America. Rabbi Blau then explained how several prominent figures, such as Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, advocated for the value of studying worldly knowledge in addition to Torah. They argued that Madda is necessary to help us appreciate Torah, contribute to society, and improve the world around us. Rabbi Blau shared that while Torah is the ultimate focus, Madda does not diminish it, but rather enhances our learning and appreciation of Hashem’s creations.
Rabbi Blau’s seminar was the final event of the year for the MTA Honors College, which has spent the past semester studying the philosophy and writings of Torah U’Madda, the main tenet of Yeshiva University and its high school, MTA. Rabbi Blau helped the Honors College finish off strong, and set the stage for continued in-depth study next year.
An enriched academic program, the Honors College offers seminars with renowned speakers, cultural and religious experiences, the utilization of MTA’s location in New York City as an integral part of the classroom experience, and monthly programs and trips to enhance the understanding of religious, historical, artistic, and scientific issues. Another major component of the Honors College is a commitment to comprehensive academic mentoring, where talmidim are paired with a mentor, from either the MTA or YU faculty, who meet with them on a regular basis and help guide their academic growth.