Yosef Dov Soloveitchik (Beis Halevi)

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Not to be confused with Joseph B. Soloveitchik or Berel Soloveitchik.
Yosef Dov Soloveitchik
Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveychik 1a.jpg
Born 1820
Nesvizh, Minsk Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 1892
Brest-Litovsk, Grodno Governorate, Russian Empire
Children Chaim Soloveitchik

Yosef Dov Soloveitchik (b. 1820 in Nesvizh, Minsk Governorate, Russian Empire; d.1892 in Brest-Litovsk, Grodno Governorate, Russian Empire[1]) was the author of Beis Halevi, by which name he is better known among Talmudic scholars. He was the great-grandson of Rabbi Chaim Volozhin.

Early years[edit]

His was born to Rivka,a granddaughter of Rabbi Chaim Volozhin. His father was Rev Yitchok Ze'ev.[2]

In his youth, Yosef Dov lived in Brod. One anecdote illustrates his early mastery of rabbinic learning. Rabbi Shlomo Kluger, the rabbi of Brod, enjoyed engaging in Talmud studies with him. When Yosef Dov was about to leave Brod, Rabbi Shlomo is reputed to have said to him, “You have always resolved my kushyos (difficult Talmudic questions). But I have one difficulty you cannot resolve. How will I manage to part from you?”

Rosh yeshiva[edit]

Yosef Dov Soloveitchik was reputed to have one of the great minds of his time. In 1854, he was invited to become co-rosh yeshiva of Volozhin yeshiva, together with Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin. However, they were temperamentally incompatible and, after ten years, Soloveitchik decided to leave.


In 1865, Yosef Dov became Rabbi of Slutsk. After assuming this position, he went to visit the cheder classes where the young boys received their education. When he observed the impoverished state of many children, he arranged for lunches to be served there, paid for by the community. His son, Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik, once said that while he himself responded to peoples’ needs, his father went further and discovered on his own what their needs were. His pupils in Slutsk included Yosef Rosen, later to gain fame as the Rogatchover Gaon, and Zalman Sender Shapiro.

He was a fierce opponent of the Maskilim, as a result of which he left Slutzk in 1874. He then moved to Warsaw where he lived in poverty. When the rabbi of Brisk, Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin left for the Land of Israel in 1877, Rabbi Soloveitchik was offered the rabbinate of Brisk. He continued to hold that position until his death in 1892, when he was succeeded by his son Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik.


Yosef Dov composed works on Jewish law (responsa) called Shu"t Beis Halevi, as well as a commentary on the first book and part of the second book of the bible (Beis Halevi al Hatorah).

Family tree[edit]

Yosef Dov was the great-grandfather of the eponymous Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik and another descendant, Rabbi Berel Soloveitchik who moved to Israel, both of whom are also known as "Yosef Dov Soloveitchik."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Russian Jewish Encyclopedia
  2. ^ Pascal Massry, Sarah (Sep/27/12). "Her Father's Legacy". Ami Living (88): 47.  Check date values in: |date= (help)