Haym Soloveitchik - Biography
Rabbi Dr. Haym Soloveitchik (b. September 19, 1937) is the only son of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. He graduated from the Maimonides School which his father founded in Brookline, Massachusetts and then received his B.A. degree from Harvard College in 1958 with a major in History. After two years of post-graduate study at Harvard, he moved to Israel and began his studies toward an M.A. and PhD at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, under the historian Professor Jacob Katz. He wrote his Master's thesis on the Halakha of gentile wine in medieval Germany. His doctorate, which he received in 1972, concentrated on laws of pawnbroking and usury.
Soloveitchik taught at Hebrew University until 1984, and reached the rank of full Professor. During that period, he also taught at and served as Dean of the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University and served as a Rosh Yeshiva (dean) at its affiliate, the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. In the early 1980s, he left Hebrew University and began teaching at Yeshiva University on a full-time basis, serving as University Professor. He taught there until 2006, when he was appointed University Research Professor.
Soloveitchik is known as a very demanding teacher. Rabbi Michael Rosensweig, Rosh Yeshiva and Rosh Kollel at Yeshiva University, wrote his Ph.D. (Debt Collection in Absentia: Halakhah in a Mobile and Commercial Age) under Dr. Soloveitchik, and is one of the few students mentored by him.
Haym Soloveitchik is acknowledged as a leading contemporary historian of Halakha, the collective body of Jewish religious law. Much of his work focuses on the interaction of Halakha with changing economic realities. Specifically, he has produced major studies of usury and pawnbroking and the multiple ramifications of Jewish involvement in the manufacture and sale of wine. A major theme of his writing is the positing of an essential integrity to the Jewish Legal process in its interaction with contemporary challenges. In addition, his oft-cited essay Rupture and Reconstruction is viewed as a major statement on the state of contemporary Orthodox Judaism.
Halakha, Economy and Self-Image, Jerusalem 1985.
Responsa as an Historical Source, Jerusalem 1990.
Principles and Pressures: Jewish Trade in Gentile Wine in the Middle Ages. Am Oved (Tel Aviv, 2003).
'Pawnbroking: A Study in "Ribbit" and of the Halakah in Exile,' PAAJR 38-39(1970–1971)203-268.
'Three Themes in Sefer Hassidim,' AJS Review 1 (1976), 311-358
'Can Halakhic Texts Talk History?" AJS Review 3 (1978), pp. 153-196
'Maimonides’"’Iggeret Ha-Shemad" - Law and Rhetoric,'Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Memorial Volume, New York 1980, 281-319.
'Rabad of Posquières: A Programmatic Essay,' Studies in the History of Jewish Society Presented to Jacob Katz, Jerusalem 1980, vii-xl.
'Religious Law and Change: The Medieval Ashkenazic Example,' AJS Review 12(1987), 205-221.
'History of Halakhah - Methodological Issues: A Review Essay of I. Twersky’s "Rabad of Posquières,"' Jewish History 5(1991), 75-124.
'Catastrophe and Halakhic Creativity: Ashkenaz - 1096, 1242, 1306 and 1298,' Jewish History 12(1998), 71-85.
'[On] Yishaq (Eric) Zimmer, "Olam ke-Minhago Noheg"'AJS Review 23(1998), 223-234.
'Rupture and Reconstruction: The Transformation of Contemporary Orthodoxy,'Tradition, 28(1994) 64-130.
'Responsa: Literary History and Basic Literacy,'AJS Review, 24(1999),343-357.
'Piety, Pietism and German Pietism : "Sefer Hasidim I" and the influence of "Hasidei Ashkenaz," Jewish Quarterly Review 92(2002), 455-493.
'Halakhah, Hermeneutics, and Martyrdom in Medieval Ashkenaz,' Jewish Quarterly Review 94,1 (2004) 77-108; 2: 278-299.
'The Midrash, "Sefer Hasidim" and the Changing Face of God,' Creation and Re-Creation in Jewish Thought, New York 2005, 165-177.
- Merkin Family Chair in Jewish History and Literature at Yeshiva University first held by Haym Soloveitchik