Hanoch Teller

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Hanoch Teller
BornHanoch Teller
1956 (age 62–63)
Vienna, Austria
OccupationAuthor, lecturer, producer, tour guide
EducationYeshiva University, Mir yeshiva (Jerusalem)
GenreTrue, contemporary stories conveying inspirational and ethical themes
Biographies of gedolim
Notable awardsMy Jerusalem Prize, 1982

Hanoch Teller (born 1956)[1] is an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, author, lecturer, and producer who popularized the Jewish literary genre of true, contemporary stories to convey inspirational and ethical themes. Author of 28 books,[2] Teller is also a tour guide in Jerusalem, Israel.

Early life[edit]

Teller was born in Vienna, Austria, to Shlomo Meir Teller and his wife Edna (née Lichtenstein).[1][3] His father had fled to the United States after the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938, but returned to Vienna after World War II to recover the family business. When Teller was a young boy, he and his parents moved to Stamford, Connecticut.[2][1][4]

Teller attended the New England Academy of Torah in Providence, Rhode Island and completed his ninth-grade year in a high school in Israel. He received his bachelor's degree in history after only 18 months of study by combining CLEP examinations with studies at five different universities simultaneously.[1] He earned a liberal arts degree from Yeshiva University of New York.[5] He has studied at the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem for more than three decades.[6][7] He received rabbinic ordination from the previous Rav of the Kotel, Rabbi Meir Yehuda Getz.

He and his wife, Aidel, reside in the Arzei HaBira neighborhood of Jerusalem.[2][8]


Teller began his writing career in 1977[2] when he submitted an article to The Jewish Observer and Moment magazine about his encounter with American college students in Kiryat Shmona, whose program bypassed the traditional religious and cultural centers of Israel in favor of community service in a development town.[8] In the beginning he wrote under the pen name Abba Eidelman.[8] He has also written for the Jewish Women's Outlook and The Jerusalem Post. He received the My Jerusalem Prize of 5742 (1982) in an international essay competition marking the fifteenth anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.[6]

His first series of books in the mid-1980s, Once Upon a Soul, Souled! and Soul Survivors, introduced the genre of true, contemporary stories promoting the themes of hashgacha pratis (Divine Providence) and human kindness. Teller later branched out into biographies of contemporary Orthodox Jewish personalities — such as Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (whose shiur he attended for 14 years[1]), Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Horowitz (the Bostoner Rebbe[9]), Baltimore Torah day school principal Rabbi Binyamin Steinberg, Toronto philanthropist Joseph Tanenbaum, and Mir rosh yeshiva Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel (under whom he studied for over 30 years[7]) — using anecdotes to convey moral and ethical lessons.[1] A large section of his corpus presents stories on specific ethical concepts, such as judging others favorably (Courtrooms of the Mind), integrity (Above the Bottom Line), and avoiding argumentation and strife (Give Peace a Stance).[9]

He is known for the high-level vocabulary and witty turns of phrase that he employs in his writing.[8] Several of his books have been translated into Hebrew, Russian, and Spanish. Teller also works closely with graphic designers of his book covers;[2] the cover of Heroic Children: Untold Stories of the Unconquerable (2015) received the 2016 Ben Franklin Book Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association in the category of nonfiction cover design.[10]


Teller's teaching career began as a result of his first article about the American college students in northern Israel, which attracted the interest of the directors of the newly created women's division at Ohr Somayach.[8] His folksy and entertaining style, combined with his anecdotal stories of Gedolim (Torah leaders),[8] made him a popular instructor at the Ohr Somayach women's division and other English-speaking Jerusalem seminaries for American students. He is currently a faculty member at Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim College of Jewish Studies for Women,[11] Darchei Binah Women's School,[12][13] Afikei Torah Women's School for Advanced Torah Studies,[14] Midreshet Moriah,[5] Michlala-Jerusalem College, Bnot Torah Institute, Neve Yerushalayim, and Naaleh Online Torah School.[15] He is also an instructor at Yeshivat Hakotel for men.[16] Teller has made over 100 shidduchim among his students and other young people.[1]

Teller is an international speaker[8] for schools, women's groups, synagogue functions, learning seminars, fundraising dinners, and organizational meetings in North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Israel, and Australia. In his talks, he teaches Torah topics interwoven with inspiring stories about Gedolim and other Jewish heroes.

Teller is a senior docent at Yad Vashem,[8] licensed to lead tours in its new Holocaust Memorial Museum.[15] His tours combine his knowledge of the events and lessons of the Holocaust with stories describing the experiences of individual victims.[1][8] He has produced an eleven-part CD lecture series on this subject, titled Comprehending the Incomprehensible: The History, Heroism and Lessons of the Holocaust.


In 1996 Teller produced a docudrama exploring miracles in everyday life (Do You Believe in Miracles?) which was seen by over 70,000 people in Jewish community centers, synagogues, and other venues around the globe.[8][17] In March 2012 he released a documentary about the Hasidic master Elimelech of Lizhensk and the Hasidic legacy of brotherhood,[18] which includes musical performances by Jewish music personalities Abish Brodt and Avraham Fried.[17]



Selected chapters[edit]

Audio tapes and CDs[edit]

  • The Righteous Live On: Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (2-tape set)
  • The Righteous Live On: Frau Sarah Schenirer and how the Mirrer Yeshiva escaped to Shanghai (2 tapes)
  • The Righteous Live On: Rabbi Aharon Kotler (2 tapes)
  • The Righteous Live On: Appease process (2 tapes)
  • The Righteous Live On: Breaking open the potential vault
  • The Righteous Live On: We're too small a people, to be a small people
  • The Righteous Live On: Remembering the Chofetz Chaim
  • The Righteous Live On: Paramount leaders of the Torah renaissance. Sameach Music. 2002.
  • Building Bene Brak: The vision, foundation and luminaries of a celebrated Torah community
  • Comprehending the Incomprehensible: The history, heroism and lessons of the Holocaust, 11-CD album, 2007


  • Do You Believe in Miracles?: True stories celebrating Divine Providence, 1996
  • Reb Elimelech and the Chassidic Legacy of Brotherhood, 2012


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Zuroff, Avraham. "Highway to the Heart: Tales of Rabbi Teller". Mishpacha, 8 February 2006, pp. 24–29.
  2. ^ a b c d e Levin, Menucha Chana. "Bookshelf: An interview with author Rabbi Hanoch Teller". Hamodia Inyan magazine, September 15, 2016, pp. 30-31.
  3. ^ Teller, Hanoch. "He Missed the Ring but Got the Call: A tribute for the shloshim of Reb Shlomo Meir Teller z"l". Mishpacha, December 28, 2016, pp. 36-37.
  4. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions About Stamford". Google. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Faculty". Midreshet Moriah. Archived from the original on 14 November 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Biography". hanochteller.com. Archived from the original on 24 December 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  7. ^ a b Amdurski, Noam (19 March 2012). "Rabbi Hanoch Teller Releases New Book On Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel zt"l". matzav.com. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Rabin, Miriam. "Traveling to Inspire: The Yated speaks with Rabbi Hanoch Teller". Yated Ne'eman, 30 September 2012, pp. 104–105. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  9. ^ a b Goldberg, Ann. "Behind the Bestsellers". Religious Life in Jerusalem supplement, The Jerusalem Post, 20 August 1993, p. 2.
  10. ^ "IBPA Announces Gold Medalists in the 2016 Benjamin Franklin Book Awards (press release)". Independent Book Publishers Association. 12 April 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Faculty". Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim. 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  12. ^ "Darchei Binah Faculty". Darchei Binah Women's School. 2002. Archived from the original on 1 July 2004. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  13. ^ Gersten, Betzalel (2 May 2007). "The Learning Experience in Eretz Yisrael". The Jewish Press. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  14. ^ "Faculty". Afikei Torah. 2002. Archived from the original on 6 July 2004. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  15. ^ a b "Our Faculty". naaleh.com. 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  16. ^ "Staff". Yeshivat Hakotel. 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  17. ^ a b Bachrach, Rachel. "The Master Storyteller Goes to the Movies". Mishpacha, 7 March 2012, pp. 82–83.
  18. ^ "Hanoch Teller Film – World Premiere Reb Elimelech and the Chassidic Legacy of Brotherhood". The Jewish Voice. 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2012.

External links[edit]