In alphabetic order
Born in Petach Tikvah in 1928, Rabbi Ben-Shem studied at the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Lomza in Petach Tikvah and Ponevezh in Bnei Brak. He assisted at the Harry Fischel Institute for Talmudic Research in editing Chukah al-pi HaTorah (“A Constitution according to the Torah”), based on the works of Rabbi Isaac Halevi Herzog. For forty years he was an editor of Torah Sheleima, from Parshat Terumah onward, and he also edited Sefer HaNer on Tractate Berakhot, and Yesod VeShoresh HaAvoda. His writings include Talmud Rashi; Torat HaRambam al HaTanakh (“Maimonides’ approach to the Bible”); Musaf Rashi al HaTalmud ve’al HaTanakh (“Addenda to Rashi’s commentary on the Talmud and the Bible”), and Rashi’s Haggadah. He began working on the Encyclopedia Talmudit in 1961; the first entry he edited was hitchaivut (“obligation”). He continued in this capacity until his death on February 1, 2009, during which time he wrote and edited 140 entries, the last of which was karpas (“celery”).
Born in Lyuban, in White Russia, in 1906, Rabbi Strelitz studied at the Slutsk and Kletsk yeshivot, from Rabbi Isser Zalman Meltzer. He immigrated to Israel in 1926 where he learned in Jerusalem at the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva with Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook and at the Harry Fischel Institute. His works include editing the commentary of the Meiri on tractates Makkot and Mo’ed Katan, and he was one of the editors of Berur Halakha to Tractate Beitza. He also authored the work Shem MiShimon. The book Me’hamakor (“From the Source”) was published in his memory. Rabbi Strelitz was one of the first editors in the Encyclopedia Talmudit, and he was responsible for, amongst others, the entries: Baal keri (“a man who has had a seminal emission”); Bar mitzra (“owner of a border area”); Basar bechalav (“meat and milk”); Batei avot (“patrilineal families”); Cheilev (“forbidden fat”); Chalipin (“acquisition by exchange”); Chatzi eved ve’chatzi ben chorin (“half slave and half freeman”), and Chatzer (“courtyard”). He died on January 1, 1955. Words of appreciation for him, written by Rabbi Shlomo Yosef Zevin, appear at the beginning of volume 7 of the encyclopedia.
Rabbi Raphael Shmuelevitz was born in 1938 in the town of Mir. His father was Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz zt”l, the head of the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and his mother was Rebbetzin Chana Miriam of the Finkel family, the only daughter of the head of the Mir Yeshiva, Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel zt”l.
During the Second World War, Raphael and his parents fled, together with many of the students of the Mir yeshiva, from the ravages of Europe to the city of Kobe, Japan, and from there to Shanghai, China. After the war he immigrated with his parents to Jerusalem.
Rav Shmulevitz studied at the Mir yeshiva in Jerusalem, where he learned regularly with his father until the latter’s passing. In the winter of 1962 he married Rebbetzin Edna, daughter of Rabbi Avraham Farbstein, zt”l, head of the Hebron Yeshiva. He served as a rabbi in the yeshivot of Hebron, Kol Ya’akov and Mir, and later served as Rosh Yeshiva of Mir alongside Rabbi Natan Tzvi Finkel zt”l.
Under the influence and with the recommendation of his father-in-law Rabbi Avraham Farbstein, who served as the chief editor of the Encyclopedia Talmudit after the death of the founder and first editor, Rabbi Shlomo Yosef Zevin, Rabbi Shmuelevitz joined the Encyclopedia Talmudit team. Later he was appointed head of the editorial board, and his meticulous, precise and comprehensive writing became a cornerstone of the unique and excellent composition of the entries of the Encyclopedia Talmudit. For decades, Rabbi Raphael contributed invaluably to the encyclopedia. His genius in all areas of Torah and Halakha, and his extraordinary talent for concise and accurate writing, along with his pleasant manner and exemplary personal traits, left an indelible impression on all employees of the Encyclopedia Talmudit.
Rabbi Raphael Shmuelevitz passed away on January 18, 2016 in Jerusalem, at the age
Rabbi Shmuelevitz was born in 1948 in Jerusalem. His father was Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz zt”l, head of the Mir Yeshiva, and his mother Rebbetzin Chana Miriam Shmuelevitz, daughter of the Gaon Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, head of the Mir Yeshiva. Rabbi Shmuelevitz grew up in his parents’ house and initially learned Torah
from his father at the Mir Yeshiva, before moving to the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak during the years 1967-1968, where he studied mainly from Rabbi Rozovsky, of blessed memory, and Rabbi Dovid Povarsky. In 1972 he married Rebbetzin Mina, daughter of Rabbi Ya’akov Nissan Rosenthal, head of the rabbinical court of Haifa.
Rabbi Shmuelevitz has taught in the Vilna Ga’on Yeshiva in Haifa and in Yeshivat Otzem. He is currently a teacher in the Mir Yeshiva, Rosh Yeshiva of a kollel in Be’er
Sheva, and head of the Monetary Court of the Jerusalem Religious Council and the “Mishpat Shalom” Court in Ashdod. Rabbi Shmuelevitz joined the Encyclopedia
Talmudit some forty years ago, and since 2013 he has served as head of the editorial
Rabbi Ephraim Nachum Borodiansky
Born in 1910, in Kiev, Russia, Rabbi Borodiansky studied in the yeshivot of Mezritch, Radin and Mir. Later he taught at Yeshivat Etz Chaim and Mir in Jerusalem, Heichal Hatalmud in Tel Aviv, Lomza in Petah Tikva, and in HaYishuv HaHadash Yeshiva in Tel Aviv. He also headed the Shevet MiYehudah kollel in Tel Aviv. His teachings were collected in the volume Binyan Ephraim. Rabbi Borodiansky joined the Encyclopedia Talmudit team in 1956, from volume 8 onwards, in the capacity of a reviewer until his passing on February 10, 2010.
Born in Germany in 1901, Rabbi Merzbach was taught by Rabbi David Zvi Hoffman, rector of the Rabbinical Seminary of Berlin. In 1925 he was awarded a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Berlin. He was subsequently appointed rabbi of the ultra-Orthodox community in Darmstadt. In 1938 he immigrated to Israel, where he served as one of the heads of the Kol Torah Yeshiva from its founding in 1942, and one of the editorial heads of the Encyclopedia Talmudit from 1953 until his death, contributing to the entries of volumes 1-27 of the encyclopedia. A collection of his
works was published as Aleh Yonah. His biography is called Rabbi Yona Merzbach: Life, Path, and Deeds. He died on September 28, 1980.
HaRav Avraham Farbstein zt"l
Born in 1917 in Poland, Rabbi Farbstein immigrated to Israel with his parents in 1920, and in 1930 they settled in Bnei Brak. He studied at Yeshivat Hevron in Jerusalem and later in Mir Yeshiva in Poland. Rabbi Farbstein married the daughter of Rabbi Yechezkel Sarna, head of the Hebron Yeshiva, where he himself taught. His writings published after his death include Knesset Avraham, on the commandments and festivals and on Tractate Yevamot. He was part of the Encyclopedia Talmudit team from 1957; as Editor-in-Chief from 1977 until his death on January 8, 1997.
Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg was born in 1931 in Minsk, Belarus. His father, Rabbi Avraham Goldberg, a student of the Novardok Yeshiva, headed an underground yeshiva in Minsk before he was caught by the Soviet authorities and sentenced to ten years in Siberia. After much effort he was released, and in 1935 the family immigrated to Israel by means of a certificate that they received through the assistance of Chief Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook. In Israel they settled in Jerusalem. As a young lad, Zalman Nechemia learned in the Talmud Torahs Meah Shearim, Etz Chaim, and in Yeshiva Tiferet Zvi. Already at the age of 14, he began to learn at the Hebron Yeshiva, but on the advice of the Chazon Ish he moved to the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, where he studied for some four years, mainly under the tutelage of Rabbi Rosovsky, In 1951, he married Rachel, daughter of Rabbi Chaim Auerbach zt”l. In light of his greatness and Torah depth, and his ability to analyze topics in accordance with the halakha, Rabbi Isser Yehuda Unterman zt”l asked him to head the kollel Shevet Yehudah, for the training of dayanim, halakhic judges.
In 1889, he was appointed a dayan, halakhic judge, in the Rabbinical Court of Jerusalem by Rabbi Avraham Shapira, Chief Rabbi of Israel. From 1996 to 2005 he served as dayan in the Great Court. Since then he has been the head of the Hayashar Vehatov court.
Rabbi Goldberg is renowned as a great teacher of Torah, and over the years he has taught in a great variety of frameworks. He heads the kollel Da’at Moshe of Chasidut Sadigura and the kollel Shevet U’Mechokek at the Ariel Institute’s Harry Fischel Institute. He has also taught at the Kedumim and Beit-El Yeshivot, served as head of Machon Lev, the Religious College of the Jerusalem College of Technology, and regularly teaches at the Eretz Hemdah kollel, as well as Yeshivat Or Etzion and Kerem Yavneh, amongst others.
Since 1990, Rabbi Goldberg has served as editor of the Encyclopedia Talmudit and from 1997 has been Editor-in-chief. In 2004 he was also appointed chief reviewer of the Micropedia Talmudit.
His books include:
Chazon Kedumim – Classes that he delivered in the Kedumim Yeshiva on tractates Ketubot and Kiddushin.
Ginzei HaTorah – Lessons on several Talmudic tractates, published by his student Rabbi Netanel Berkowitz.
Or HaMoadim – Classes on the Laws of Festivals, summarized by his student Rav Koren, 2002.
Mishpat Arukh – A series of books that cite the halakhic rulings and opinions of the later authorities on the Shulchan Arukh, Choshen Mishpat. To date, eight volumes have been published, on sections 1-96.
Binyan Ariel – Responsa.
Netiv Mitzvotekha – On the halakhic significance of the reasons for the mitzvot, 2007, edited by Rabbi Yisrael Ben-Shachar.