Heller, Judah

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HELLER, JUDAH (d. 1819), Hungarian talmudist. Heller was born in Kalisch, Galicia. He was a publican in one of the nearby villages but after losing his wealth and facing starvation, he moved to Lemberg, where he acted as tutor to the children of well-to-do parents. He met Joseph Teomim, author of the Peri Megadim, who was also a tutor in Lemberg. There Heller compiled his Kunteres ha-Sefekot and was in frequent contact with his brother, Aryeh Leib *Heller, author of the Keẓot ha-Ḥoshen, who at the time lived in Rozhnyatov near Lemberg. The brothers decided to publish the Kezot ha-Hoshen pt. 1 (Lemberg, 1788) and to attach to it the Kunteresha-Sefekot. The appearance of the work brought fame to the brothers, and as a result Judah was appointed rabbi in Hungary, first in Munkacs and then in Nagyszollos. In 1802 he was appointed rabbi of Sziget. In 1805 he refused an invitation to become rabbi of Grosswardein since, although it was a smaller community, he was unwilling to leave Sziget, where he remained for the rest of his life. Heller was an intimate of Moses *Sofer. Apart from his Kunteres ha-Sefekot, his Terumat ha-Keri, on the Tur and the ShulḤan Arukh, Ḥoshen Mishpat, has also been published (1858). He is also known to have compiled a work on the Bible, but the manuscript appears to have been lost.


P.Z. Schwartz, Shem ha-Gedolim me-Ereẓ Hagar, 1 (1914), 376 no. 12; A. Stern, Meliẓei Esh al Ḥodshei Nisan ve-Iyyar (1930), 129–33; N. Ben-Menahem, Mi-Sifrut Yisrael be-Ungaryah (1958), 295–329.

[Naphtali Ben-Menahem]