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Moshe Heilprin (Halperin)

Birthplace: Głusk, lubelski, Lublin Voivodeship, Poland
Death: Died in Minsk, Belarus
Immediate Family:

Son of Yechiel Heilprin (Seder Hadorot) and Rachel Rochel Heilprin
Husband of ? Heilprin
Father of Aharon's grandfather Halperin and unknown Halperin
Brother of Shaina Tema ?; Yeshaye AB"D Vitkev Halperin; issac aisek Yitzhak Aisek Heilprin; ? Halperin; ? ניימארק and 3 others

Managed by: יחזקאל פישער
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About Moshe Heilprin

With the death of Rabbi Leibl Baal HaTosafot (approximately 5468 – 1708) a vacancy arose in the rabbinate of Minsk for several years until the year 5472 (1712) when the Gaon rabbi Yechiel Heilprin was appointed as the rabbi of the city. He came from good lineage, the scion of Gaonim tracing their ancestry back to the Talmudic sages. He wrote many important books on Torah subjects (Rabbi Ch. D. Azulay wrote about him in his book “Shem Gedolim” that he had mastered both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds. “We have seen his strength and expertise in Talmud… that is astonishing and a great wonder…”) His book “Seder HaDorot”, an important historical work that has helped historians, is especially famous. Excellent students, great in Torah, came to study in the Yeshiva that he directed in Minsk.

Along with him, the position of district rabbi was filled by Rabbi Menachem Mendel the son of the previous rabbi, Rabbi Moshe Zeev. Not long thereafter, Rabbi Asher, the son of Rabbi Leibl Baal HaTosafot was chosen to take his place. However he settled in nearby Smilovichi rather than Minsk (for the district rabbi was allowed to set up his residence in any place that he chose).

The rabbinical tenure of Rabbi Yechiel Heilprin did not go smoothly. His fortunes turned for the worse and he aroused the ire of the sharp Gaon Rabbi Aryeh Leib the author of “Shaagat Aryeh”, who also founded a Yeshiva in Minsk and who was not satisfied with the style of learning of Rabbi Yechiel which focused on the simple interpretation of the texts. Despite the fact that he was younger than Rabbi Yechiel, he publicly opposed his teaching methodology and refuted his words of Torah. Thus a major dispute broke out in the city between the supporters of Rabbi Yechiel and the supporters of Aryeh Leib. Peace and rest were lacking throughout the years of the rabbinate of Rabbi Yechiel Heilprin. He died sated in years and vexation, when he was over 80 years old, around the year 5502 (1742). The district rabbi Rabbi Asher died at around the same time.

The dispute continued on after the death of Rabbi Yechiel and even strengthened, for many people promoted the merits of his son Rabbi Moshe Heilprin to take the place of his father, in accordance with the will that was given over in the name of the deceased. However, a certain portion of the city wished to appoint Rabbi Aryeh Leib as the replacement for his father Rabbi Asher as district rabbi, and his brother Rabbi Yitzchak Avraham as the rabbi of the city. The supporters of Rabbi Moshe Heilprin finally prevailed, and he was appointed as rabbi of the city of Minsk in the year 5504 (1744).

The position of district rabbi remained vacant for several years. In the year 5509 (1749) Rabbi Yitzchak Avraham was appointed as district rabbi in place of his father. However, he quickly found that the burden was too great and took most of his time. He gave up his position in 5516 (1756). He then dedicated himself to Torah and teaching in Minsk, and died in the year 5536 (1776). The young Gaon Rabbi Rafael the author of “Torah Yekutiel” was appointed as district rabbi in his place. He had formerly served in the rabbinate in Rakov and Wilkomir. He was already known as a wondrous genius in his youth. His relative and rabbi, Rabbi Aryeh Leib the author of “Shaagat Aryeh” predicted a bright future for him and appointed him as a Rosh Yeshiva in his Yeshiva when he was only 20 years old He also settled in Smilovichi, and later in Dukora. He was very successful in his important position, and he succeeded in obtaining various benefits from the government for his flock.

He fulfilled his role with dedication and faithfulness, and did not forego the truth before any person. He excelled in his sermons and in admonishments. As he traveled in his role from city to city and from town to town, he taught the people the opinions of the Torah, morality and the fear of Heaven. His directed words and his reproofs bore fruit, and he met with success in his work. However, he too saw that this position prevented him from dedicating himself appropriately to Torah. After six years (in the year 5523 – 1763) he left his position. He was accepted as a rabbi in Hamburg one year later.

Rabbi Shmuel of Amdur, the author of the response book “Teshuvat Shmuel” was appointed as district rabbi in place of Rabbi Rafael. He became famous as a great rabbi. Even the Gaon of Vilna attested to his power and greatness in Torah. When he entered his role, he set up his home in Minsk, and then moved to Rakov where he lived until he died there in the year 5537 (1777). He was the final chief rabbi of the district, for the position of district rabbi was annulled by the government in the wake of slander and protests.

The Gaon Rabbi Aryeh Leib, the author of “Shaagat Aryeh” wandered in the meantime from city to city in Lithuania and Poland. Rabbi Leibl the Rosh Yeshiva of Minsk became known as a great Gaon. He finally reached Volozhin, where he was appointed as a rabbi and where he published his famous book “Shaagat Aryeh”. He founded a large Yeshiva there that produced Gaonim who were great in Torah, including the two famous brothers Rabbi Chaim and Rabbi Shlomo Zalman of Volozhin, who later became students of the Gaon Rabbi Eliahu of Vilna. However, there too rest eluded him, and he returned to his city of Minsk.

The community of Minsk received him with great honor after word about his greatness in the Jewish world reached their ears. Jewish Gaonim in every city waited to hear his words, and he was revered and honored by everybody. He was appointed as rabbi in Minsk along with their former rabbi, Rabbi Moshe Heilprin. However this “pair” did not work out well and a great dispute broke out once again in the city due to the opposition of Rabbi Aryeh Leib to Rabbi Moshe. The vast majority of the residents opposed him and caused trouble for him. Only isolated families remained faithful to him and offered him support and assistance. Among those who excelled in their support for him was the renowned benefactress Blumka Vilnikin, who supported him and even built a Beis Midrash for his Yeshiva.

However, Rabbi Aryeh Leib was finally forced to leave Minsk. He traveled abroad and was appointed as the rabbi of the city of Metz in France, where he succeeded. He served honorably as the rabbi there, and his name was revered by everyone.

Legend states that after Rabbi Aryeh Leib left Minsk (some say that they hired a farmer's wagon, seated him therein, and sent him from the city); a sort of curse enveloped the city. It came down drastically from its honorable status, and large fires broke out. The opponents of Rabbi Aryeh Leib died, and Rabbi Moshe Heilprin died as well. Many saw the hand of G-d in this, avenging the honor of Rabbi Aryeh Leib. He died at an old age, when he was about 90, in the year 5545 (1785).

After the death of Rabbi Moshe Heilprin, Rabbi Yosef HaKohen Rappaport was appointed as the rabbi of the city. He was a great genius in Torah and had a fine background. He served in the rabbinate in Minsk until about the year 5538 (1778). Following him was the Rosh Yeshiva of Minsk at that time, Rabbi Gershon Charif, who was well known for his knowledge. He served in the rabbinate for approximately 15 years until the year 5553 (1793).

june 6,1762 - a big fire in the central part of Minsk

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Moshe Heilprin's Timeline

Głusk, lubelski, Lublin Voivodeship, Poland
Age 30
Age 30
Age 62
Minsk, Belarus
Age 62
Minsk, Belarus
1930 год стал последним годом существования древнего захоронения. На его месте начали строить стадион ОГПУ «Динамо». Точнее, строили на холме над кладбищем. Но заодно и кладбище снесли. Кроме профессиональных строителей, в возведении спортивного сооружения принимали участие тысячи работников органов госбезопасности: каждый должен был отработать на строительстве сто часов. Не было ни экскаваторов, ни бульдозеров — все делали вручную: вручную раскачивали и «с корнями» вырывали из земли памятники, вручную заравнивали дыры в земле. Судьбу мертвых вершили лом и лопата.