Rabbi Chaim "Brisker" Soloveitchik

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Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik, A.B.D. Brest-Litovsk

Hebrew: רבי חיים סולובייצ'יק, הלוי
Also Known As: "Rav Chaim Soloveichik", "Reb Chaim Brisker"
Birthplace: Vałožyn, Valozhyn District, Minsk Region, Belarus
Death: July 30, 1918 (65)
Otwock, Otwock County, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland
Place of Burial: Warsaw, Warszawa, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland
Immediate Family:

Son of Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik and Tzirel Soloveitchik
Husband of Lifshe Soloveitchik
Father of Rabbi Yisrael Gershon Soloveitchik; Rabbi Moses Soloveichik; Sara Rasha Glickson and Rabbi Yitzchak Zev (Velvel) Soloveitchik
Brother of Shaindel Kraines; R' Avrohom Boruch Soloveitchik, A.B.D. Smolensk, Russia; Relka (Rella) Pocker and Chavalkeh Schapira
Half brother of Menia Wilner; Pesha Rivka Jaffe and Rabbi Simcha Soloveitchik

Occupation: רבי חיים מבריסק
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Rabbi Chaim "Brisker" Soloveitchik

Chaim (Halevi) Soloveitchik (Hebrew: חיים סולובייצ'יק), also known as Reb Chaim Brisker, (1853-July 30, 1918) was a rabbi and Talmudic scholar credited as the founder of the popular Brisker approach to Talmudic study within Judaism. He was from Brest, Belarus (Brisk in Yiddish), then in Imperial Russia, now in Belarus. A member of the Soloveitchik-family rabbinical dynasty, he is most commonly known as Reb Chaim Brisker ("Rabbi Chaim [from] Brisk").

He is considered the founder of the "Brisker method" (in Yiddish: Brisker derech; Hebrew: derekh brisk‎), a method of highly exacting and analytical Talmudical study that focuses on precise definition/s and categorization/s of Jewish law as commanded in the Torah with particular emphasis on the legal writings of Maimonides.

His primary work was Chiddushei Rabbeinu Chaim, a volume of insights on Maimonides' Mishnah Torah which often would suggest novel understandings of the Talmud as well. Based on his teachings and lectures, his students wrote down his insights on the Talmud known as Chiddushi HaGRaCh Al Shas. This book is known as "Reb Chaim's stencils" and contains analytical insights into Talmudical topics.

He married the daughter of Rabbi Refael Shapiro and had two famous sons, Rabbi Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik (also known as Rabbi Velvel Soloveitchik) who subsequently moved to Israel and Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik who moved to the United States and subsequently served as a Rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva University in New York and who was in turn succeeded by his own son Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (1903-1993). Rabbi Velvels sons; Rabbbis Yosef Dov, Meshulem Dovid, and Meir all head renowned Yeshivas in Jerusalem.

He had six main students; his sons Rabbi Moshe Soloveitchik and Rabbi Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik, Rabbi Baruch Ber Lebowitz, Rabbi Isser Zalman Meltzer, Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman, and Rabbi Shimon Shkop.

A witty anecdote is used to illustrate how the three of them differed in their studies and related to their teacher: it is said that had Reb Chaim said, "This table is a cow," Rabbi Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik would say that the table had the same Talmudic laws as a cow, Rabbi Shimon Shkop would say the molecules in a table could be rearranged into a cow, but Rabbi Boruch Ber Leibowitz would go milk the table.

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Rabbi Chaim "Brisker" Soloveitchik's Timeline

March 25, 1853
Vałožyn, Valozhyn District, Minsk Region, Belarus
Vałožyn, Valozhyn District, Minsk Region, Belarus
Воложин, Minsk Province, Belarus
October 19, 1886
Vałožyn, Valozhyn District, Minsk Region, Belarus
July 30, 1918
Age 65
Otwock, Otwock County, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland
Warsaw, Warszawa, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland