The Torah world was saddened and bereft by the passing of
HaRav Chaim Moshe Yehuda Blau zt"l in Brooklyn on 3
Iyar at the age of 90.
Born in Hamburg, Germany in 5673 (1913), HaRav Blau attended
the Mir Yeshiva, fleeing with it across Soviet Russia to stay
in Shanghai, China during the war years. Reportedly, he was
the one who suggested using the Goral HaGra to decide if the
whole yeshiva should attempt to leave Russia for the Far
He was well-known for his efforts in searching out and
preparing for publication the lost works of Rishonim. His
vast learning and persistence enabled him to identify and
recover many works that were known to have existed but were
lost. Among the many important works that he brought to the
Torah world for the first time were the Ritva on Bovo
Basra as well as the Sefer Hazikoron, Hilchos
Brochos and teshuvos from the Ritva. Another
volume included the Sefer Habatim on the Rambam and
the Meiri on Pesochim. He published dozens of other
important sifrei rishonim.
Generations of yeshiva students in America remember his
visits to their yeshiva to sell his seforim. All the
roshei yeshiva knew him well and helped him in his
endeavors. He would discuss his exploits and adventures in
searching out old manuscripts and bochurim would buy
as many of his seforim as they could afford. Many a
yeshiva and a private library all over the world sport a
shelf or two of his published Rishonim.
For the past 30 years he served as a rov in Boro Park of the
Congregation Avrohom uTzvi Hirsch.