Weekly Freebies: R Chaim Heller


R. Chaim Heller was a unique genius, combining mastery of Torah and ancient Semitic languages. His biography on the YU website is as follows (link):


Rabbi Heller was born in Bialystok, Poland. A young prodigy, he became known throughout Russia and Poland as the Illui of Warsaw. He advanced so rapidly that, after age 10, he no longer studied under a teacher or rosh yeshiva. With his keen mind and extraordinary memory he acquired a rare, comprehensive knowledge of the entire Torah.

In 1912, he was appointed as rabbi and Av Beit Din in Lomza. In 1922, he moved to Berlin and founded Beit Midrash HaElyon, which attracted many rabbonim and gaonim, but the Nazi persecutions compelled him to come to America.

He published the classic edition of Sefer HaMitzvot L’Rambam and a two-volume work on Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat entitled LeChikrei Halachot. He also published writings in the various Torah journals. Rabbi Heller authored the sefer Nusach HaShomroni, as well as other works. He gave shiurim at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary for a number of years covering all facets of Torah knowledge.

The following of his writings can be found on HebrewBooks.org:

See prior freebies here: link


Share this Post


Related Posts

About the author

Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Torah Musings.

The opinions and facts here are presented solely by the author. Torah Musings assumes no responsibility for them. Please address religious questions to your rabbi.

21 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    He was born in 1878

  2. strange that YU bio doesn’t mention that the rav was his student in berlin.

    gil, thanks for those links. i had some r. heller books that were destroyed last week by sandy. one work i see missing in the links is his masoret ha-tanakh (4 vols.), probbaly not on hebrew books

  3. moshe shoshan says:

    the rav was very close woth rch. he thoughr rch was the gadol hador and felt he never got the kavodd he deserved.

  4. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    The Rav once described to me Rav Hayyim Heller’s Beit Midrash ha-Elyon as a type of “think tank.”

  5. James says:

    Did Rav Heller have a family?

  6. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Didn’t the Rav give a famous hesped of Rav Heller? Does anyone know if it’s been translated into English?

  7. Shalom Rosenfeld says:

    Rabbi Rakeffet likes to mention how after the Moriah lectures, Rabbi Soloveichik would go visit R’ Heller’s widow.

    The biographers say R’ Heller as a major influence on RYBS; just curious — is that visible from studying their writings?

  8. James:

    he had at least a daughter, whose husband was a pulpit rabbi for many years in manhattan beach.

  9. Superintendant Chalmers says:

    The Rav’s hesped for Rav Chaim Heller was titled “Pleitas Sofreihem” and is included in the Divrei Hagut volume.

    Rabbi Charlop told me that Rav Heller’s daughter had an entire closet full of his unpublished writings, but unfortunately she never allowed anyone access to them, and they were eventually lost when she passed away. Chaval al deavdin…

  10. ” Rav Heller’s daughter had an entire closet full of his unpublished writings”

    his son-in-law published a tanach that reproduced the marginal cross-references that r. heller wrote in his own tanach. unfortunately there is no annotation or commentary and one can only guess what r. heller alluded to.

  11. ruvie says:

    Joseph Kaplan – it was translated and available in shiurei harav edited by joseph epstein titled: A eulogy for R. hayyim heller.

  12. efrex says:

    One of the underappreciated greats of YU, R’ Meir Fulda, Shlita, was a talmid of both R’ Chaim Heller and R’ Soloveitchik. (Because he’s spent his entire life modestly teaching in the TI/JSS/Mechina programs, he’s never attained the public acclaim of other YU Roshei Yeshiva). In his wonderful Kollel Yom Rishon Pesach shiur, he gives some fascinating insight into R’ Heller’s derech halimud.

  13. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Ruvie and Joseph: IIRC, only part of the hesped was translated by Rabbi Carmy. I don’t have the volume with me right now.

  14. ruvie says:

    Lawrence Kaplan – i am sure you are correct. However, in the acknowledgements of the book – on this article states: adapted translation by shalom carmy from shanah b’shanah, heichel shlomo, jerusalem, 5730(1970) pp.197-221. there is no indication that its a summary or a synopsis or a partial translation. in the short intro on p.46 it does note that ” several footnotes of halakhic interest can be found in the original hebrew version, published in Divrei Hagut veHa’arkha.”

  15. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Ruvie: In the Rav sometimes the footnotes are the the most interesting part! For example, the “monster” footnote 4 in Halakhic Man. I also seem to remember that certain parts of the hesped proper were left out as well. But I do believe that R. Carmy translated most of it. What really needs to be translated is the Rav’s very important essay ” Al Ahavat ha-Torah u-Geulat Nefesh ha-Dor.”

  16. Steve Brizel says:

    R Fulda, who was a rebbe of mine in JSS and our Msader Kiddushin, truly was one of the unappreciated greats of YU. See my article in the YU Judaica book re R Fulda.

  17. Saul Mashbaum says:

    I was very happy to see R. Meir Fulda mentioned here. A brilliant and inspiring teacher, R. Fulda was indeed, as written above,
    tuly one of the unappreciated greats of YU. I consider myself fortunate to have been his student.

  18. moshe says:

    does anyone know how R. Fulda is doing these days?

  19. Steve Brizel says:

    Moshe-The last that I heard was that R Fulda needed a Refuah Shlemah of no small proportions.

  20. Y. Aharon says:

    The last number of posts about Rav M. Fulda brought back fond memories as well as sadness at the report of his health situation. He was a mentor as well as teacher for my wife when she attend TI many years ago. His involvement in our life continued for a while after we married. Unfortunately, we lost contact after we moved out of NYC. I fervently hope for his recovery (what is his full name?)


Submit a Response


You must be logged in to submit a response.