Moshe Feinstein

Moshe Feinstein

Overview
Moshe Feinstein was a Lithuanian
Lithuanian Jews
Lithuanian Jews or Litvaks are Jews with roots in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania:...

 Orthodox
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

, scholar and posek
Posek
Posek is the term in Jewish law for "decider"—a legal scholar who decides the Halakha in cases of law where previous authorities are inconclusive or in those situations where no halakhic precedent exists....

 (an authoritative adjudicator of questions related to Jewish law
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

), who was world-renowned for his expertise in Halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 and was regarded by many as the de facto supreme halakhic authority for Orthodox Jewry of North America during his lifetime. In the Orthodox world he is widely referred to simply as "Reb Moshe", and his halakhic rulings are widely quoted in contemporary rabbinic literature.

Feinstein was born, according to the Hebrew calendar
Hebrew calendar
The Hebrew calendar , or Jewish calendar, is a lunisolar calendar used today predominantly for Jewish religious observances. It determines the dates for Jewish holidays and the appropriate public reading of Torah portions, yahrzeits , and daily Psalm reading, among many ceremonial uses...

, on the 7th day of Adar
Adar
Adar is the sixth month of the civil year and the twelfth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It is a winter month of 29 days...

, 5655 (traditionally the date of birth of the Biblical Moshe
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

) in Uzda
Uzda
Uzda -History:The town was first mentioned in 1450. From 1938 it had the status of "urban-type settlement" and received its town status in 1999.-Geography:...

, near Minsk
Minsk
- Ecological situation :The ecological situation is monitored by Republican Center of Radioactive and Environmental Control .During 2003–2008 the overall weight of contaminants increased from 186,000 to 247,400 tons. The change of gas as industrial fuel to mazut for financial reasons has worsened...

, Belarus, then part of the Russian empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 to his father Rabbi David Feinstein, rabbi of Uzdan.
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Encyclopedia
Moshe Feinstein was a Lithuanian
Lithuanian Jews
Lithuanian Jews or Litvaks are Jews with roots in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania:...

 Orthodox
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

, scholar and posek
Posek
Posek is the term in Jewish law for "decider"—a legal scholar who decides the Halakha in cases of law where previous authorities are inconclusive or in those situations where no halakhic precedent exists....

 (an authoritative adjudicator of questions related to Jewish law
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

), who was world-renowned for his expertise in Halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 and was regarded by many as the de facto supreme halakhic authority for Orthodox Jewry of North America during his lifetime. In the Orthodox world he is widely referred to simply as "Reb Moshe", and his halakhic rulings are widely quoted in contemporary rabbinic literature.

Biography


Feinstein was born, according to the Hebrew calendar
Hebrew calendar
The Hebrew calendar , or Jewish calendar, is a lunisolar calendar used today predominantly for Jewish religious observances. It determines the dates for Jewish holidays and the appropriate public reading of Torah portions, yahrzeits , and daily Psalm reading, among many ceremonial uses...

, on the 7th day of Adar
Adar
Adar is the sixth month of the civil year and the twelfth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It is a winter month of 29 days...

, 5655 (traditionally the date of birth of the Biblical Moshe
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

) in Uzda
Uzda
Uzda -History:The town was first mentioned in 1450. From 1938 it had the status of "urban-type settlement" and received its town status in 1999.-Geography:...

, near Minsk
Minsk
- Ecological situation :The ecological situation is monitored by Republican Center of Radioactive and Environmental Control .During 2003–2008 the overall weight of contaminants increased from 186,000 to 247,400 tons. The change of gas as industrial fuel to mazut for financial reasons has worsened...

, Belarus, then part of the Russian empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 to his father Rabbi David Feinstein, rabbi of Uzdan. His father was a descendant of Rabbi Yom Tov Lipman, Rabbi of Kapolye, whose glosses on the Talmud have been published in the back of the Gemarah; and also the author of other Talmudic works.

He studied with his father and also in yeshiva
Yeshiva
Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim and in study pairs called chavrutas...

s located in Slutsk
Slutsk
Slutsk is a town in Belarus, located on the Sluch River south of Minsk. As of 2010 its population is of 61,400).-Geography:The town is situated in the south-west of its Voblast, not too far from from the city of Soligorsk.-History:...

, Shklov and Amstislav, before being appointed rabbi of Lubań
Lyuban
Lyuban is a town in Tosnensky District of Leningrad Oblast, Russia, situated on the Tigoda River southeast of St. Petersburg. Population: -History:...

 where he served for sixteen years. He married Shima Kustanovich in 1920 and had 4 children (Pesach Chaim,Fay Gittel, Shifra, and David) before leaving Europe. Under increasing pressure from the Soviet regime
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, he moved with his family to New York City in 1936 where he lived for the rest of his life.

Settling on the Lower East Side
Lower East Side, Manhattan
The Lower East Side, LES, is a neighborhood in the southeastern part of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is roughly bounded by Allen Street, East Houston Street, Essex Street, Canal Street, Eldridge Street, East Broadway, and Grand Street....

, he became the rosh yeshiva
Rosh yeshiva
Rosh yeshiva, , , is the title given to the dean of a Talmudical academy . It is made up of the Hebrew words rosh — meaning head, and yeshiva — a school of religious Jewish education...

 of Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem
Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem
Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem, is one of the oldest existent yeshivot in New York City, and is renowned for being the institution led by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein.-Location:The yeshiva has two campuses....

. He later established a branch of the yeshiva in Staten Island, New York, now headed by his son Rabbi Reuven Feinstein
Reuven Feinstein
Reuven Feinstein is an Orthodox Jewish rabbi and rosh yeshiva of the Yeshiva of Staten Island, New York. He is the son of Moshe Feinstein, the leading posek of post-war America.-Biography:...

. His son Rabbi Dovid Feinstein
Dovid Feinstein
Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, son of the late Moshe Feinstein, is an acknowledged Torah scholar and halachic authority...

 heads the Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

 branch.

He was president of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada and chaired the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah
Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah
Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah refers to the supreme rabbinical policy-making council of any of several related Haredi Jewish organizations....

 of Agudath Israel of America
Agudath Israel of America
Agudath Israel of America , is a Haredi Jewish communal organization in the United States loosely affiliated with the international World Agudath Israel.-Functions:...

 from the 1960s until his death. Rabbi Feinstein also took an active leadership role in Israel’s Chinuch Atzmai
Chinuch Atzmai
Chinuch Atzmai was founded in 1953 by the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah to serve as an alternate school system for Orthodox children in Israel. It was initially led by Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin....

.

Feinstein was revered by many as the Gadol Hador
Gadol
Gadol or godol גדול , is a Hebrew term used mostly by Haredi Litvish Jews to refer to the most revered rabbis of their generation. These rabbis are usually held in high esteem by other Haredi or Orthodox Jews, though not necessarily to the same degree as by Litvish Jews...

(greatest Torah sage of the generation), including by Rabbis Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky
Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky
Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky, known as The Steipler or The Steipler Gaon , was a rabbi, Talmudic scholar, and posek .-Biography:...

, Yonasan Steif
Yonasan Steif
Rabbi Yonasan Steif was a senior dayan of Budapest, Hungary, before the Second World War, a man whom Rabbi Moshe Feinstein referred to as the gadol hador . He was a world-renowned posek and halachic authority....

, Elyah Lopian
Elyah Lopian
Eliyahu Lopian , known as Reb Elyah, was among the most prominent rabbis of the Mussar Movement. As a disciple of the Kelm Talmud Torah method, he was known for his strict keeping of order and strong self-control...

, Aharon Kotler
Aharon Kotler
Aharon Kotler was an Orthodox Jewish rabbi and a prominent leader of Orthodox Judaism in Lithuania, and later the United States, where he built Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood Township, New Jersey.- Early life :...

, Yaakov Kamenetsky
Yaakov Kamenetsky
Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky , was a prominent rosh yeshiva, posek and Talmudist in the post-World War II American Jewish community....

 and Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, even though several of them were far older than he. He was also recognized by many as the preeminent Torah sage and Posek
Posek
Posek is the term in Jewish law for "decider"—a legal scholar who decides the Halakha in cases of law where previous authorities are inconclusive or in those situations where no halakhic precedent exists....

of his generation, and people from around the world called upon him to answer their most complicated Halachic questions.

Notable decisions


Owing to his prominence as an adjudicator of Jewish law
Posek
Posek is the term in Jewish law for "decider"—a legal scholar who decides the Halakha in cases of law where previous authorities are inconclusive or in those situations where no halakhic precedent exists....

, Feinstein was asked the most difficult questions, in which he issued a number of innovative and controversial decisions. Soon after arriving in the United States, he established a reputation for handling business and labor disputes. For instance, he wrote about strikes, seniority, and fair competition. Later, he served as the chief Halakhic authority for the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists
Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists
The Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists is an organization of scientists that focuses on the interrelationships between science and Orthodox Jewish Halakha....

, which suited his growing involvement with Jewish medical ethics
Jewish medical ethics
Jewish medical ethics is a modern scholarly and clinical approach to medical ethics that draws upon Jewish thought and teachings. Pioneered by Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits in the 1950s, Jewish medical ethics centers mainly around an applied ethics drawing upon traditional rabbinic law...

 cases. In the medical arena, he fiercely opposed the early, unsuccessful heart transplants and, over time, it is unclear whether he shifted toward acceptance of brain death
Brain death
Brain death is the irreversible end of all brain activity due to total necrosis of the cerebral neurons following loss of brain oxygenation. It should not be confused with a persistent vegetative state...

 criteria; the last responsa, printed after he had died, suggests as much. On such matters, he often consulted with various scientific experts, including his son-in-law Rabbi Dr. Moshe Dovid Tendler who is a professor of biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 and serves as a rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University
Yeshiva University
Yeshiva University is a private university in New York City, with six campuses in New York and one in Israel. Founded in 1886, it is a research university ranked as 45th in the US among national universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2012...

.

As a leader of American Orthodoxy, moreover, Feinstein issued opinions that clearly distanced his community from Conservative
Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism,...

 and Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

. Nevertheless, he faced intense opposition within Orthodoxy on several controversial decisions, such as rulings on artificial insemination
Artificial insemination
Artificial insemination, or AI, is the process by which sperm is placed into the reproductive tract of a female for the purpose of impregnating the female by using means other than sexual intercourse or natural insemination...

 and eruv
Eruv
An Eruv is a ritual enclosure around most Orthodox Jewish and Conservative Jewish homes or communities. In such communities, an Eruv is seen to enable the carrying of objects out of doors on the Jewish Sabbath that would otherwise be forbidden by Torah law...

. In the case of his position not to prohibit cigarette smoking
Jewish law and history on smoking
This article addresses the history of, and Halakha that applies to, tobacco and cigarette smoking by Jews from the early modern period to the present day...

, other Orthodox rabbinic authorities disagreed. It should be noted that all his detractors while disagreeing with specific rulings still considered him to be a leading and venerated sage. The first volume of his Igrot Moshe, a voluminous collection of his halachic decisions, was published in 1959.Codex Judaica Mattis Kantor, Zichron Press, NY 2005, p.299 He made noteworthy decisions on the following topics:
  • Artificial insemination
    Artificial insemination
    Artificial insemination, or AI, is the process by which sperm is placed into the reproductive tract of a female for the purpose of impregnating the female by using means other than sexual intercourse or natural insemination...

     from a non-Jewish donor (EH I:10,71, II:11, IV:32.5)
  • Cosmetic surgery (HM II:66)
  • Bat Mitzvah for girls (OH I:104 (1956), OH II:97 (1959), OH IV:36)
  • Brain death
    Brain death
    Brain death is the irreversible end of all brain activity due to total necrosis of the cerebral neurons following loss of brain oxygenation. It should not be confused with a persistent vegetative state...

     as an indication of death under Jewish law (YD IV:54)
  • Cholov Yisroel
    Cholov Yisroel
    Cholov Yisroel refers to all dairy products, including cheese and non-fat dry milk powder, which have been produced under the supervision of a Rabbi....

     Permitted reliance on U.S. government agency supervision in ensuring that milk was reliably kosher (YD I:47). This was a highly controversial ruling disputed by prominent peers of Feinstein.
  • Cheating
    Cheating
    Cheating refers to the breaking of rules to gain advantage in a competitive situation. The rules infringed may be explicit, or they may be from an unwritten code of conduct based on morality, ethics or custom, making the identification of cheating a subjective process. Cheating can refer...

     for the N.Y. Regents exams
    Regents Examinations
    Regents High School examinations, sometimes shortened to the Regents, are mandatory in New York State through the New York State Education Department, designed and administered under the authority of the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York...

     (HM II:30)
  • Classical music in religious settings (YD II:111)
  • Commemorating the Holocaust, Yom ha-Shoah (YD IV:57.11)
  • Conservative Judaism
    Conservative Judaism
    Conservative Judaism is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism,...

    , including its clergy and schools (e.g., YD II:106–107)
  • Donating blood for pay (HM I:103)
  • Education of girls (e.g., YD II:109, YD II:113 YD III:87.2)
  • End-of-life
    Euthanasia
    Euthanasia refers to the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering....

     medical care
  • Eruv
    Eruv
    An Eruv is a ritual enclosure around most Orthodox Jewish and Conservative Jewish homes or communities. In such communities, an Eruv is seen to enable the carrying of objects out of doors on the Jewish Sabbath that would otherwise be forbidden by Torah law...

     projects in New York City
  • Financial ethics (HM II:29))
  • Hazardous medical operations
  • Heart transplantation
    Heart transplantation
    A heart transplant, or a cardiac transplantation, is a surgical transplant procedure performed on patients with end-stage heart failure or severe coronary artery disease. As of 2007 the most common procedure was to take a working heart from a recently deceased organ donor and implant it into the...

     (YD 2:174.3)
  • Labor union and related employment privileges (e.g., HM I:59)
  • Mehitza (esp. OH I:39)
  • Psychiatric care
    Psychiatry
    Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders. These mental disorders include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities...

     (YD II:57)
  • Separation of Siamese twins
  • Shaking hands
    Handshake
    A handshake is a short ritual in which two people grasp one of each other's like hands, in most cases accompanied by a brief up and down movement of the grasped hands.-History:...

     between men and women (OH I:113; EH I:56; EH IV:32)
  • Smoking marijuana (YD III:35)
  • Tay-Sachs fetus abortion, esp. in debate with Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg
    Eliezer Waldenberg
    Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg was known as the Tzitz Eliezer after his monumental halachic treatise Tzitz Eliezer that covers a wide breadth of halacha, including Jewish medical ethics, as well as ritual halachic issues from Shabbat to kashrut...

  • Smoking cigarettes
    Tobacco smoking
    Tobacco smoking is the practice where tobacco is burned and the resulting smoke is inhaled. The practice may have begun as early as 5000–3000 BCE. Tobacco was introduced to Eurasia in the late 16th century where it followed common trade routes...

  • Veal
    Veal
    Veal is the meat of young cattle , as opposed to meat from older cattle. Though veal can be produced from a calf of either sex and any breed, most veal comes from male calves of dairy cattle breeds...

     raised in factory conditions (EH IV, 92:2)

Note: Responsa in Igrot Moshe are cited in parentheses

Death


Feinstein died on the March 23, 1986 (13th of Adar II, 5746 on the Hebrew calendar). It has been pointed out that the 5746th verse in the Torah reads, "And it came to pass after Moshe had finished writing down the words of this Torah in a book to the very end." (Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

 31:24). This is taken by some as a fitting epitaph for him.

At the time he was regarded as Orthodoxy's foremost halkhic authority and Posek
Posek
Posek is the term in Jewish law for "decider"—a legal scholar who decides the Halakha in cases of law where previous authorities are inconclusive or in those situations where no halakhic precedent exists....

. His funeral in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 was delayed by a day due to mechanical problems to the plane carrying his coffin, which had to return to New York. His funeral in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 was said to be the largest among Jews since the Mishnaic era, with an estimated attendance of 300,000 people. Among the eulogizers in America were Rabbis Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman
Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman
Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman was a prominent Talmudic scholar and Rabbi who founded and served as Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Ner Yisroel in Baltimore....

, Dovid Lifshitz
Dovid Lifshitz
Rabbi Dovid Lifshitz was a distinguished Rosh yeshiva in the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary for almost fifty years. He was appointed upon the invitation of Rabbi Samuel Belkin in 1944. He was also known as the "Suvalker Rav", due to his previous position as the Rabbi of the European...

, Shraga Moshe Kalmanowitz, Nisson Alpert
Nisson Alpert
Rabbi Nisson Alpert was one of the most outstanding and prominent students of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein.-Biography:Rabbi Nisson Lipa Alpert was born in 1927 in Polanka, a small shtetl in Poland. He was named after his maternal grandfather, Rabbi Nisson Lipa Joselowitz, rosh yeshiva in Lazday, Poland,...

, Moshe David Tendler
Moshe David Tendler
Moshe David Tendler is the rabbi of The Community Synagogue of Monsey. He is a senior Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University's RIETS and the Rabbi Isaac and Bella Tendler Professor of Jewish Medical Ethics and Professor of Biology at Yeshiva College. He has a Ph.D...

, Michel Barenbaum and Mordechai Tendler and the Satmar Rebbe
Moshe Teitelbaum (Satmar)
Moshe Teitelbaum was a Hasidic rebbe and the world leader of the Satmar Hasidim, which is believed to be one of the largest Hasidic communities in the world, with some 120,000 followers.-Early life:...

. The son of the deceased, Rabbi Reuven also spoke.

In Israel, Rabbis Elazar Shach
Elazar Shach
Elazar Menachem Man Shach also spelt Eliezer Schach, was a leading Lithuanian-born and educated Haredi rabbi in Bnei Brak, Israel. He also served as one of three co-deans of the Ponevezh yeshiva in Bnei Brak along with Rabbis Shmuel Rozovsky and Dovid Povarsky...

, Dovid Povarsky
Dovid Povarsky
Rabbi Dovid Povarsky is known for his erudite Talmudic lectures and his deanship as Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevezh Yeshiva. He was asked by Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman to join the previous two heads of the institute, Rabbi Elazar Menachem Shach and Rabbi Shmuel Rozovsky to create a triumvirate in...

, Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss, Yehuda Tzadka
Yehuda Tzadka
Yehuda Yehoshua Tzadka was a respected Sephardi rabbi and rosh yeshiva of the Porat Yosef Yeshiva in Jerusalem...

, Feinstein's son Reuven
Reuven Feinstein
Reuven Feinstein is an Orthodox Jewish rabbi and rosh yeshiva of the Yeshiva of Staten Island, New York. He is the son of Moshe Feinstein, the leading posek of post-war America.-Biography:...

, and Feinstein's nephew Rabbi Michel Feinstein, all tearfully expressed grief over what they termed a massive loss to the generation.

Feinstein was held in such great esteem that Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach
Shlomo Zalman Auerbach
Shlomo Zalman Auerbach , was a renowned Orthodox Jewish rabbi, posek, and rosh yeshiva of the Kol Torah yeshiva in Jerusalem, Israel...

, who was himself regarded as a Torah giant, Talmid Chacham
Talmid Chacham
Talmid Chacham is an honorific title given to one well versed in Jewish law, in effect, a Torah scholar....

 and posek
Posek
Posek is the term in Jewish law for "decider"—a legal scholar who decides the Halakha in cases of law where previous authorities are inconclusive or in those situations where no halakhic precedent exists....

, refused to eulogize him, saying "Who am I to eulogize him? I studied his sefarim; I was his talmid (student)."

Feinstein was buried on Har HaMenuchot
Har HaMenuchot
Har HaMenuchot is the largest cemetery in Jerusalem, Israel. It is located at the western edge of the city adjacent to the neighborhood of Givat Shaul, with commanding views of Mevaseret Zion to the north, Motza to the west, and Har Nof to the south.-History:...

 in proximity to his teacher, Rabbi Isser Zalman Meltzer
Isser Zalman Meltzer
Isser Zalman Meltzer, , was a famous Lithuanian Orthodox rabbi, rosh yeshiva and posek. He is also known as the "Even HaEzel" - the title of his commentary on Rambam's Mishne Torah....

; his friend, Rabbi Aharon Kotler
Aharon Kotler
Aharon Kotler was an Orthodox Jewish rabbi and a prominent leader of Orthodox Judaism in Lithuania, and later the United States, where he built Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood Township, New Jersey.- Early life :...

; his son-in-law Rabbi Moshe Shisgal and next to the Belzer
Belz (Hasidic dynasty)
Belz is a Hasidic dynasty named for the town of Belz in Western Ukraine, near the Polish border. The town has existed since at least the 10th century, with the Jewish community being established during the 14th century. The town became home to Hasidic Judaism in the early 19th century...

 Rebbe
Rebbe
Rebbe , which means master, teacher, or mentor, is a Yiddish word derived from the Hebrew word Rabbi. It often refers to the leader of a Hasidic Jewish movement...

.

Prominent students


Rabbi Feinstein invested much time molding some of his select students to become leaders in Rabbinics and Halacha. Those students, over the years, spent countless hours a day serving as apprentices to their great Rabbi. Most are considered authorities in many areas of practical Halacha and Rabbinic and Talmudic academics. Some of those students are:

  • Rabbi Nisson Alpert
    Nisson Alpert
    Rabbi Nisson Alpert was one of the most outstanding and prominent students of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein.-Biography:Rabbi Nisson Lipa Alpert was born in 1927 in Polanka, a small shtetl in Poland. He was named after his maternal grandfather, Rabbi Nisson Lipa Joselowitz, rosh yeshiva in Lazday, Poland,...

    , (New York City)
  • Rabbi J. David Bleich
    J. David Bleich
    J. David Bleich is an authority on Jewish law and ethics, including Jewish medical ethics. He is rabbi of Cong. B'nei Jehuda...

    , (New York City)
  • Rabbi Avrohom Blumenkrantz
    Avrohom Blumenkrantz
    Rabbi Avrohom Blumenkrantz was a prominent American Orthodox rabbi. He was a widely consulted authority on the laws of Passover kashrut and published an annual Passover guide for many years.-Early life:...

    , (Far Rockaway, NY)
  • Rabbi Elimelech Bluth, (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Rabbi Dovid Feinstein
    Dovid Feinstein
    Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, son of the late Moshe Feinstein, is an acknowledged Torah scholar and halachic authority...

    , (New York), his son
  • Rabbi Reuven Feinstein
    Reuven Feinstein
    Reuven Feinstein is an Orthodox Jewish rabbi and rosh yeshiva of the Yeshiva of Staten Island, New York. He is the son of Moshe Feinstein, the leading posek of post-war America.-Biography:...

    , (New York), his son
  • Rabbi Aaron Felder, (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Rabbi Moshe Dovid Tendler, (New York, NY), his son-in-law

Works


Rabbi Feinstein's greatest renown came from a lifetime of responding to halachic queries posed by Jews in America and worldwide. He authored approximately two thousand responsa
History of Responsa
History of responsa in Judaism spans a period of 1,700 years. Responsa constitute a special class of rabbinic literature, differing in form, but not necessarily in content, from Rabbinic commentaries devoted to the exegesis of the Bible, the Mishnah, the Talmud, and halakha...

 on a wide range of issues affecting Jewish practice in the modern era. Some responsa can also be found in his Talmudic commentary (Dibros Moshe), some circulate informally, and 1,883 responsa were published in Igrot Moshe. Among Rabbi Feinstein's works:
  • Igros Moshe; (Epistles of Moshe), a classic work of Halachic responsa, seven volumes were published during his lifetime, an eighth volume, edited posthumously by his granddaughter's husband Shabbetai Rappoport, and published by Rappoport, and Feinstein's grandson, Rabbi Mordecai Tendler, is not universally accepted as authoritative. A ninth volume was also published posthumously.
  • Dibros Moshe (Moshe's Words), an eleven-volume work of Talmud
    Talmud
    The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

    ic novellae.
  • Darash Moshe (Moshe Expounds, a reference to Leviticus
    Leviticus
    The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, and the third of five books of the Torah ....

     10:16), novellae on the Torah
    Torah
    Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

     (published posthumously).


Some of Feinstein's early works, including a commentary on the Talmud Yerushalmi
Jerusalem Talmud
The Jerusalem Talmud, talmud meaning "instruction", "learning", , is a collection of Rabbinic notes on the 2nd-century Mishnah which was compiled in the Land of Israel during the 4th-5th century. The voluminous text is also known as the Palestinian Talmud or Talmud de-Eretz Yisrael...

, were destroyed by the Soviet authorities.

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