Rabbi Yehoshua Hutner, the long-time Director of the monumental Talmudic Encyclopedia project, passed away early Monday morning at the age of 98. Though physically disabled, he was lucid and aware, and contributed words of Torah at the recent Passover seder with his grandchildren.
It was announced that the deceased will be buried in the Sanhedria cemetery in
The Talmudic Encyclopedia
The Talmudic Encyclopedia project, headquartered in Jerusalem, was the initiative of Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan, son of the famed Netziv (Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin) and brother of Rabbi Chaim Berlin. He developed the concept of summarizing the Talmudic discussions in encyclopedic form, and, together with Rabbi Shlomo Yosef Zevin, founded the project.
Rabbi Hutner, who ran the monumental project for 50 years, 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 28, covering topics as diverse as the Kol Nidrei prayer and the k'zayit measure of food, was published four months ago.
In addition, two volumes of indices have been published, as have special volumes on topics such as the Passover Haggadah, the
The renowned Rabbi Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg, a leading
Hundreds of top Torah scholars have taken part in the encyclopedia over the years, but none played as important a role as Rabbi Zevin (pictured to the right of Rabbi Hutner). Rabbi Hutner wrote that Rabbi Zevin personally reviewed and largely rewrote every entry in the first 12 volumes.
Rabbi Hutner’s sister Chava Leah was the wife of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, son of the renowned saintly Rabbi A.I. Kook.
The deceased was a second cousin of the late Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner - but not through the Hutner side. Rabbi Yitzchak's paternal grandmother was a sister of Rabbi Yehoshua's maternal grandfather, Rabbi Yehuda Segal of Warsaw. Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner authored the Pachad Yitzchak works and the song Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, and headed Yeshivat Rabbi Chaim