Rabbi Yehoshua Hutner z”l, Editor of Encyclopedia Talmudis


rabbi-hutner2Rabbi Yehoshua Hutner z”l, one of the editors of the Encyclopedia Talmudis, passed away yesterday morning at the age of 98. In addition to the monumental Encyclopedia Talmudis, Rabbi Hutner was involved with Yad HaRav Herzog in the field of manuscript studies of the Mishnah and Gemara through the Machon HaTalmud HaYisraeli HaShalem. This aspect of Rabbi Hutner’s work is lesser known.

Rabbi Hutner was born in Warsaw in 1911, scion of rabbinical families in Europe.

Rav Hutner learned as youngster in Radin, and was a talmid of the Chofetz Chaim and Rav Shimon Shkop zt”l. He moved to Eretz Yisroel in the 1930s and settled in Yerushalayim. He devoted the next 60 years of his life to various tzorchei tzibbur.  

Rabbi Hutner’s father, Rav Yehudah Leib Hutner, was one of the most respected dayanim in Warsaw.

His zaida was Rav Yosef Zundel Hutner, who authored various works on Shas and Shulchan Aruch. Another zaida of his was Rav Yehudah Halevi Segal, one of the elder rabbonim of Warsaw.

Rabbi Hutner was a cousin of Rav Yitzchok Hutner zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin.

Rabbi Hutner was a brother-in-law of Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, son of Rav Avrohom Yitzchok Kook, as his sister, Mrs. Chava Leah, was Rav Tzvi Yehudah’s wife.

Kevurah took place yesterday afternoon at the Sanhedria Bais Hakevaros in Yerushalayim.

Rabbi Hutner leaves behind his daughter, Dr. Avigayil Yinon, a psychologist in Bar Ilan University, and several grandchildren.

Rabbi Hutner with Rav Shlomo Yosef Zevin.
Rabbi Hutner with Rav Shlomo Yosef Zevin.

The Encyclopedia Talmudis was the initiative of Rav Meir Bar-Ilan, son of the Netziv and brother of Rav Chaim Berlin. He developed the concept of summarizing the Talmudic discussions in encyclopedic form, and, together with Rav Shlomo Yosef Zevin, founded the project. 

Rabbi Hutner, who ran the Encyclopedia Talmudis for five decades, succeeded in bringing it financial stability in its early years.

The first volume was published in 1947, followed by an additional volume every two or three years, and the project is now approximately half-completed. Volume 27 was published two years ago.

In addition, two volumes of indices have been published, as have special volumes on topics. The entire project appears in CD form as well, and six volumes have been published in English.                   

Rav Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg is the current editor-in-chief of the project. Some of the noted talmidei chachomim who have participated in the project are Rav Eliezer Waldenberg zt”l, the Tzitz Eliezer; Rav Refael Shmulevitz, a Rosh Yeshiva at the Mir Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, and Rav Azriel Levi, chief editor of the Oz VeHadar Shas.

Hundreds have taken part in the encyclopedia over the years. Rabbi Hutner wrote that Rabbi Zevin personally reviewed and largely rewrote every entry in the first 12 volumes.

Yehi zichro boruch.

{Dovid Bernstein-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Kudos to Matzav for being sure to honor this tzadik in his death.
    It is unfortunate that other yeshivishe/torah sites like this one chose not to even acknowlege or report on his petirah.

  2. This tzaddik is now in the olem haemes and receiving the secher due him, why would it matter which torah/yeshivishe sites acknowledge this petirah or not? It is their loss and the people who subcribe to those sites.