Eleazar Heilbut

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Rabbi Eleazar Lazi ben Joseph ben Lazi Heilbut (1740 – 1814) served as a Dayan in Posen, then as Rosh Beth Din (Chief Justice) of the "AHU" (an acronym for the threesome qehilla [Dreigemeinde] of Altona, Hamburg, and Wandsbek). He was author of Mishnas DeRebbi Eliezer (Hebrew: משנת דרבי אליעזר‎).


Rabbi Eleazar Heilbut was born in Berlin in 1740 to his father Rabbi Joseph Heilbut who was the son of the Kabbalist Rabbi Lazi Chosid of Halberstadt, after whom he was named. He had an ailing childhood, nevertheless was a child prodigy. In his teens he studied in the Yeshiva of Rabbi David Tebele Scheuer in Bamberg. He married Beila the daughter of Tauderes Mink, a respected member of the Jewish Qehilla in Posen. Then he studied for two years in the Yeshiva of Rabbi Gedalia Tiktin, rabbi of Schwersenz close by to Posen, and his father in law supported him.

In Posen he taught students, then was appointed as Dayan there. At that time Rabbi Refual Hacohen was rabbi of Posen. When Rabbi Refual Hacohen was accepted as Rabbi of the threesome qehilla "AHU", Rabbi Eleazar Heilbut followed him there. In 1784 he was appointed as Dayan of Wandsbek. In 1799, after Rabbi Refual Hacohen left his position as rabbi of "AHU", Rabbi Eleazar Heilbut was appointed as "Rosh Beth Din" (Chief Justice) there. In the Napoleonic wars, he was the liaison between "AHU" and Napoleon's general Louis Davout. He died in Hamburg in 1814 (1 Shevat 5574 on the Hebrew calendar) and because of the siege on the city he was buried on the grounds of the synagogue there.