Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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18 Adar 5767 - March 8, 2007 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Yosef Buchsbaum zt"l

By Yechiel Sever

HaRav Yosef Buchsbaum zt"l, founder and head of Machon Yerushalayim, was laid to rest in Jerusalem. The levaya set out from his regular place of tefilloh at Beis Knesses HaGra in Jerusalem's Shaarei Chessed neighborhood.

The first of the hespeidim was given by HaRav Shmuel Auerbach shlita, who lamented the Torah world's loss of one of the great disseminators of Torah who published so many works by the Rishonim and Acharonim. He also noted the close ties the deceased had with his father, Maran HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l.

He was followed by HaRav Yehoshua Meir Rosenthal, the rov of Shaarei Chessed, who parted from the niftar in the name of the kehilloh, saying he had been one of the lights of the neighborhood.

Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau spoke of him as a conveyor of the words of the past generation, noting there is not a single beis medrash in the world without Machon Yerushalayim books gracing its shelves.

The deceased's eldest son, R' Mordechai Osher, offered words of parting, saying the tremendous endeavor his father built up would serve as a living monument for eternity.

Yosef Buchsbaum was born in Jerusalem in 5703 (1943) to R' Mordechai and Rivka Buchsbaum. His father served as deputy mayor of Jerusalem for Agudas Yisroel. As a young man Yosef studied at Yeshivas Kol Torah and Yeshivas Hevron. During this period his creative abilities as well as his talent in writing and editing began to come to light as he developed a penchant for Torah literature, studying and investigating the history of various works.

In 5727 (1967) he married Malkoh Pines of Switzerland.

As a young man he published dozens of articles on gedolei Yisroel and their works. He edited dozens of books, such as the responsa of the Maharit Tzahalon and Rav N. Treibitch, Otzar Meforshei HaTalmud, Yad Dovid, a dozen memorial volumes and various editions of Moriyoh. His editing was considered extremely professional, both in terms of his ability to precisely decipher handwritten manuscripts and his expertise in text editing, including citations and notes. He also wrote some 150 introductions for various books, some of which are significant works in their own right. Over a thousand other books were edited under his guidance.

In 5728 (1968) he compiled all of the Talmudic commentary from thousands of different books in a single work, a monumental project called Otzar Meforshei HaTalmud. One project led to another until his life's work, Machon Yerushalayim, took root.

Today Machon Yerushalayim is considered the world's largest Torah research institute, with a network of branches at locations around the country and a total of approximately 150 staff researchers and rabbonim.

The institute has published some 800 books, including top- notch works that have become standard texts in Torah libraries. The institute's major works include Otzar Meforshei HaTalmud (16 volumes), Shulchan Oruch Hasholem (11 volumes), HaTur Hasholem (22 volumes), Teshuvos Rishonim (13 volumes), Yalkut Shimoni Hasholem (six volumes), Sifrei HaMaharal MiPrague (24 volumes), Minchas Chinuch Hasholem (three volumes) and Noda BeYehuda Hasholem (four volumes).

During the course of his work at the institute, HaRav Buchsbaum learned of the enormous number of books and other writings by gedolei hadoros that are still available only in handwritten manuscripts. To address this issue he set up the Manuscripts Department, whose task is to locate these manuscripts. Manuscripts published for the first time include Teshuvos HaRashbo Mikisvei Yad (400 new responsa), Pnei Shlomo (five volumes) by HaRav Shlomo Ganzfried, author of the Kitzur Shulchan Oruch, Maharam Shick (nine volumes), R' Mordechai Bennett (three volumes), Maharal MiPrague Bovo Metzia, Mekor Chaim by the Chavos Yo'ir (three volumes) and hundreds of other books from the teachings of the gedolim of Germany, Lithuania, Hungary, Turkey, Morocco and elsewhere.

In addition to the deceased's vast activity in the fields of Torah research and book production, he served as a member of numerous boards and councils for educational institutions, tzedokoh and chessed organizations and research projects. A few years ago he spent a year heading the Jerusalem Religious Council's Committee.

He maintained close ties with gedolei Yisroel, especially HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l.


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