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Compiled by Reb Manny Saltiel
Reb Abba Shaul, one of the Talmudic sages
Rav Yaakov Beirav, born neat Toledo, in Spain. After serving as a rabbinical leader in Fez, Morocco, and Cairo, Egypt, he became the chief rabbi of Tzefas. He reinstituted semicha in Eretz Yisrael (1474-1546)
Rav Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk (1720 or 1730 -1788). A close talmid of the Maggid of Mezritch, he – along with Rav Avraham of Kalisk – led a contingency of 300 chassidim to Eretz Yisrael in what was the first large aliya of the talmidim HaBesht.
Rav Tzvi Hirsch Ashkenazi, the Chacham Tzvi (1660-1718); learned in Salinka at 14 years of age under Rav Eliyahu Covo; married the daughter of the Av Beis Din of Altuna-Hamburg-Wandsbeck (AHU) in 1689, and succeeded him in 1705; became Azhkenazi Rav of Amsterdam in 1710; went to Temishlev, Poland in 1714; then to Lemberg (Lvov); father of Rav Yaakov Emden.
Rav Akiva Yosef Schlesinger, the Lev Ha’ivri (1922)
Rav Avraham of Slonim, the Beis Avraham (1889-1933), grandson of the founder of Slonimer Chasidus, the Chesed L’Avraham.
Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira (1914-2006). Born to Rav Aryeh, the dayan of Bialystok and grandson of Rav Refael (the Toras Refael) of Volozhin, who himself was a grandson of the Netziv. As he was born during WW I, his family had fled from Bialystok to Minsk, where his uncle, Rav Chaim of Brisk, lived at the time. In 1933 Rav Moshe Shmuel left home and set out for Yeshivas Ohel Torah of Baranovitch headed by Rav Elchonon Wasserman. In the summer 1936, he moved to Mir, where became a talmid muvhak of Rav Baruch Ber Lebowitz of Kaminetz. In 1938 he fled to Eretz Yisrael. His father eventually joined him. His mother and two brothers remained behind and perished in the Holocaust. His cousin, the Brisker Rav, arrived in Eretz Yisrael around the same time. Rav Moshe Shmuel became one of his closest talmidim. After his marriage in 1946 he learnt in Kollel Chazon Ish for a year and then served as a maggid shiur in Yeshivas Kol Torah in Yerushalayim for three years. The Chazon Ish, to whom he became very close, requested him to open a yeshiva in Beer Yaakov together with the renowned mashgiach, Rav Shlomo Wolbe. In 1963 Rav Moshe Shmuel published the first volume of his sefer "Kuntrus HaBiurim". It included his shiurim on Gittin, Kiddushin and Nedarim. He printed ten additional volumes over the years. He also wrote the seforim "Shaarei Shemu'os" and "Zahav Misheva." Most of his voluminous writings are, however, still unpublished. Rav Moshe Shmuel was a member of the Vaad HaYeshivos for fifty years. In 1968 Rav Yechezkel Sarna and the Beis Yisrael of Ger invited him to join the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudas Yisrael.
Rav Shmuel Shmelke Horowitz of Nikolsburg, known as the Rebbe Reb Shmelke (1726-1778). The firstborn son of Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh of Chortkov, Shmuel Shmelke traced his ancestry back to the Baal HaMaor and to Shmuel HaNavi. As a teenager, he and his brother Pinchas - who was to become the Ba’al HaFla’a of Frankfurt – would study bechavrusa; their chidushim were printed by Rav Pinchas in a kunterus called “Sheves Achim.” In their early years, Shmuel Shmelke and Pinchas studied Torah in nonchasidic Lithuanian yeshivos; but after traveling to Mezritch and meeting the Maggid, they became his ardent followers. After becoming a chasid, he became Rav of Ritchval, the site of his famous yeshiva that produced his many famous talmidim. After serving there for 10 years, he became Rav of Shiniva. Then, in 1773, he was invited to become Rav of Nikolsburg in Moravia. Although he was there only 5 years, he made a powerful impact, an dhe remains associated with that city to this day. Among his disciples are the Chozeh of Lublin, Reb Menachem Mendel of Rymanov, Reb Yisrael of Koznitz, Reb Mordechai Banet and Reb Moshe Leib of Sassov. His homilies and novellae were published in Divrei Shmuel, and anthologies of his Torah thoughts were published under the titles Imrei Shmuel, Nazir Hashem and Shemen Hatov. [Yated 2006 and 2007 says 1 Iyar]
Rav Moshe Zakan Mazuz of Djerba (1851-1915). Rav and Av Beis Din in Djerba, he authored Tzadik Venisgav; Shaarei Moche (a collection of responsa); Shem Moche.
Rav Avraham Badush of Mexico, author of Me'oros Avraham
Rav Yehuda Meir Abromowitz (1915-2007). He was the chairman of the Agudath Israel World Organization for many years (co-chairman with Rabbi Moshe Sherer when he was alive). He was one of the last Talmidim of Rav Meir Shapira.
Choni Hama'agal (see see Menachot 94b, Rashi).
Rav Aryeh Leib Tzintz of Plotzk, the Maharal Tzintz (1833). Author of Get Mekushar, Maayanei Hachachma on Bava Metzia, Yayin Hamesameyach on Hilchos Yayin Nesech, and a peyrush on Pirke Avos.
Rav Yeshaya Steiner of Kerestir (1851-1925). Born in Zbarav, Hungary, he lost his father at the age of 3. When he was 12, he was taken by his mother to Rav Tzvi Hirsch of Liska, the Ach Pri Tevua, whom he succeeded as Rav of Liska. He himself was succeeded by his son, Rav Avraham. (Yated 2007 says 1825)
Rav Abba Berman, Rosh yeshiva Iyun HaTalmud (1919-2005). Born in Lodz, Poland to Rav Shaul Yosef, who considered the Chafetz Chaim his primary rebbi. He was a descendant of the Kli Yakar. After his Bar Mitzvah, Reb Abba began to learn at the Mir and became very close to Reb Yerucham Levovitz. He fled to Sanghai with the yeshiva at the outset of WW2, then migrated to America. He was one of the founders of the Mir in Brooklyn. In Brooklyn, he married Rebbetzen Itka Greenberg. After several years, he moved to Eretz Yisrael and founded Yeshiva Iyun HaTalmud in Bnai Brak. He also lectured frequently at Ponevezh. The yeshiva relocated to Yerushalayim, then to Kiryat Sefer in Modiin Ilit. His many shiurim were published in five sefarim, also named Iyun HaTalmud. He is survived by his Rebetzen and 6 daughters.
Rav Yosef Breuer (1882-1980). Born to Sophie Breuer, youngest daughter of Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch and Rav Salomon Breuer, then rabbi of Papa, Hungary. Rav Hirsch died in 1888 in Frankfurt, and in 1890, when Rabbi Salomon Breuer was chosen to succeed him, the family moved to Frankfurt. Joseph became his father's talmid and was ordained by him in 1903. He attended the universities of Giessen and Strasbourg, earning his Ph.D. in philosophy and political economy in 1905. In 1911, Rabbi Breuer married Rika Eisenmann of Antwerp. He assumed his first rabbinical position in 1919 when he was appointed rabbi of Frankfurt's Klaus Shul. Following Kristallnacht in November 1938, Rabbi Breuer and his family emigrated to Antwerp, and then to the Washington Heights section of Manhattan.
Rav Yosef Dov (Yoshe Ber) Solevetchik of Brisk, the Beis Halevi, father of Rav Chaim Solevetchik. Yosef Dov (1820-1892) was born in Nisvizh, near Minsk, to Reb Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik. Rav Yitzchak Zev was a grandson through his mother of Rav Chaim of Volozhin. Although Reb Yitzchak Zev was not a Rav he was known as a baki in Shas and Shulchan Aruch. By the time Yosef Dov was ten he knew Mesechtas Bava Kama, Bava Metzia, Bava Basra, Brachos, Gittin and Kiddushin by heart and was already writing his own chiddushim. When he was 11 his father brought him to Volozhin to learn under his uncle, Rav Itzeleh, the Rosh Yeshiva and son of Rav Chaim of Volozhin. After his marriage, his father-in-law supported him for thirteen years. In 1849, Rav Itzeleh of Volozhin passed away. Less than four years later, his successor, Rav Eliezer Yitzchak Fried also passed away. The Rabbanim decided that two descendants of Rav Chaim of Volozhin, the Netziv and the Beis Haleivi, would lead the yeshiva. The Netziv would be Rosh Yeshiva and the Beis Haleivi would be assistant Rosh Yeshiva.The sefer Beis Haleivi is comprised primarily from the shiurim he gave in Volozhin. His derech halimud was something that was completely new and original to the Volozhiner Yeshiva and was very different from the traditional way that shiurim were given there. His sefer Beis Haleivi was published in 1863. In 1865, a delegation from the city of Slutzk came to the Beis Haleivi to present him with a ksav rabbanus that was signed by all of the respected members of the community and recommended by Rav Yitzchak Elchonon Spektor, the Kovno Rav. The Beis Haleivi served as Rav of Slutzk for close to ten years, but his unbending battle against the maskilim and the wealthy eventually forced him from the city. In 1865, a delegation from Brisk came to him and offered him the position of Rav to replace Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin who had just moved to Eretz Yisrael. The Beis Haleivi served as Rav in Brisk for 17 years until his passing. Rav Yaakov Sasportes, Rav of Amsterdam and antagonist of Shabtai Tzvi (1695). He served as envoy to the Spanish court in Morocco and later became head of the yeshiva in Amsterdam. In his battle against Shabsaism, he produced Tzitzis Novel Zvi in which he collected vast material, including pamphlets and letters, and refuted Shabsi Tzvi's messianism in detail.
Rav Moshe Zorach Eidelitz of Prague, author of Ohr La’yeshorim, Berurei Hamiddos, and Meleches Machsheves, and Ohr LaYeshraim (1780 or 1755). Orphaned as a youth and raised by Rav Yonasan Eibeshutz, Rav Zorach grew to become a dayan and darshan in Prague. His great, great-grandson, Rav Eliezer Eidletz of Los Angeles, is one of the leading authorities on kashrus in the world. [according to some – 12 Iyar]
Rav Yeshaya Pick, author of Haga'os to Mesores Hashas and She’ailas Shalom (1799).
Rav Chaim Meir Yechiel Shapira of Mogelnitz (1849). Raised and taught by his maternal grandfather, the Koznitzer Maggid, he was the disciple of the rebbes of Lublin, Pesichah, Apta, and Ruzhin. He married the granddaughter of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lyzhinsk.
Rav Meir Auerbach (1815-1878). Born in Dobri, he became the Rav of Kalisch, then made aliya to Eretz Yisrael in 1860, replacing Rav Shmuel Salant (who was traveling) as Rav of Yerushalayim. Upon the latter’s return, they shared the position. Rav Meir played a central role in the establishment of the neighborhood of Meah She’arim. He is the author of Imrei Binah on Shulchan Aruch.
Rav Eliezer Chaim Rabinowitz of Yompoli (1916).
Rav Levi ben Gershon (Ralbag), philosopher, and commentator on Chumash. Though a distinguished Talmudist, Levi never held a rabbinical office. He earned a livelihood most probably by the practice of medicine. (1288-1344).
Rav Yosef Meir Weiss, Admor of Spinka, disciple of Rav Yitzchak Eizik of Ziditchov and of Rav Chaim of Sanz, author of Imrei Yosef (1838-1909)
Rav Dov Berish Zeitlyn of Vilna (1920)
Rav Yaakov Chaim Perlow of Stolin, buried in Detroit (1946)
Rav Menachem Mendel Halberstam of Stropkov, author of Divrei Menachem, uncle of Rav Yechezkel Shraga Lifshitz (1954). During the Holocaust, the Rebbe initially hid in Budapest, then, with the Nazi occupation of Hungary, was taken to Bratislava, Slovakia--along with his wife, a granddaughter, and one son. He lived in New York after the war, teaching at the Stropkover Yeshiva in Williamsburg. He authored the sefer Divrei Menachem.
Rav Raphael Binyomin Levine, Rosh Yeshiva of Beis Aryeh-Yerushalayim
Rav Tzvi (Hersh) Tevel (1916-2006). Born in Dinov, Galicia, he began learning at Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin when he was 17 where his chavrusa was Rav Chaim Kreiswirth. At the age of 22, he became Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshiva Divrei Chaim in Cracow. After his father was murdered by the Nazis, Rav Tevel escaped to Russia with his mother and six siblings. After his marriage, his moved to Boro Park in 1951, establishing a shul – Siach Hasadeh – in 1966. For two years, he also ran a yeshiva, Zichron Yaakov. He authored several volumes of Tzion L’nefesh and another sefer called Gilyonei Tzvi.
Rav Shlomo Ephraim of Luntchitz, author of Kli Yakar and Ololos Ephraim. Rav Shlomo Ephraim was born in Lunchitz in Poland. He was a disciple of Rav Shlomo Luria (Maharshal), the famous talmudist and author of Yam Shel Shlomo. After leading the yeshivah in Lvov, Rav Shlomo Ephraim was appointed Rav of Prague. He sat on the Beis Din of that city with Rav Yeshayah Horowitz (the "Shelah Ha'kadosh"). Among Rav Shlomo Ephraim's prominent students was Rav Yom Tov Lipman Heller, author of the Mishnah commentary Tosfos Yom Tov. The Kli Yakar died in Prague, Bohemia, (1550-1619).
Rav Chaim Moshe Reuven Elazary was a student of the Slobodka Yeshiva, first in Europe and then in Chevron. He began his rabbinic career in the Bronx, and also taught at a yeshiva in Brooklyn. After 1929, he succeeded his father-in-law, Rav Ephraim Pelcovitz, as rabbi of Congregation Agudas Achim in Canton, Ohio. (His father had been in Canton since 1914, and in 1929 moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut.) In 1972, Rav Elazary settled in Petach Tikva. He left numerous published and unpublished works and articles, many of them exhibiting the influence of Rav Nosson Zvi Finkel, the Alter of Slobodka. Rav Elazary's brothers, Rav Betzalel and Rav Yisrael, were among those murdered by Palestinian Arabs in the 1929 Chevron massacre. (1984)
Rav Yerachmiel Rabinowitz of Peshischa (1831)
Rav Moshe Mordechai Twersky of Trisk (1943)
Rav Raphael Binyamin Levine, son of Rav Aryeh Levine. Rav Refael studied in the Eitz Chaim Talmud Torah, and was very close to its rosh yeshiva, Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer. He continued his studies in the Chevron yeshiva in Yerushalayim and the Lomza yeshiva in Petach Tikvah, where he studied bechavrusa with Rav Reuven Katz, the rov of Petach Tikva. He married Channah Liba, daughter of Rav Chaim Shraga Feivel Frank, the rav of the Yemin Moshe neighborhood in Yerushalayim. After his marriage, he continued his studies in the Mirrer yeshiva under Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel. When the Beis Aryeh yeshiva opened, Rav Refael's father, Rav Aryeh Levine asked him to serve as its menahel ruchani, a position he occupied until his final day. He was also a dayan in the beis din tzeddek of the Ashkenaz-Perushim community founded by Rav Shmuel Salant. (1925-2002)
Rav Moshe Hager, Rosh Yeshiva of Seret-Vizhnitz, Haifa (1999)
Eli Hakohen and his sons Chofni and Pinchas. The Bnei Yisrael were defeated by the Plishtim, 30,000 soldiers were slaughtered, the Aron Kodesh was taken into captivity, and Chofni and Pinchas, the two sons of Eli Kohen Gadol killed, 864 BCE. Eli dies at age 98 in shock on hearing the news. The Mishkan at Shilo was destroyed.
Rav Yitzchak Alfasi (RiF), codifier of the Gemara, author of Sefer Hahalachos (1013-1103). The period of the Geonim began in 589, and ended in 1038 with the petira of Rav Hai Gaon. Rav Chananel's father, Rav Chushiel Gaon, had set out from Bavel to collect funds for a needy bride and was seized by pirates. He was sold as a slave in Africa, but was later redeemed by the members of its Jewish communities. From Africa, he headed to Kairuan, where he became a rosh yeshiva. His son, Chananel, was born in Kairuan. A young student from the Algerian city of Kal'a asked to be admitted to Rav Chananel’s yeshiva. His name was Yitzchak Hakohen. As Rav Yitzchak advanced in his studies, he became keenly aware of the fact that many people were unable to elucidate the halacha from the Gemara due to the vast amount of material it contains. As a result, he conceived of the idea of compiling a comprehensive and extensive halachic work that would present all of the halachos and the practical conclusions of the Gemara in a clear, definitive manner. To achieve this goal, he retreated to his father-in-law's attic, where he worked on his sefer for 10 consecutive years. During this period, however, a Moslem tyrant gained control of Tunisia, and persecuted all those who did not accept his faith, especially the Jews of Kairuan. As a result, all of the city's Jewish residents fled to places controlled by the Elmuhides, who were more tolerant of the Jews. Among the fugitives was Rav Yitzchak who, with his wife and two children, moved to the Moroccan city of Fez. Rav Yitzchak remained in Fez for 40 years, during which time he completed his Sefer Ha'halachos, which is considered the first fundamental work in halachic literature. Eventually, he became known as Rav Yitzchak Alfasi, or the Rif. Rav Yitzchak was niftar at the age of 90 in 1103. He was succeeded by the Ri mi'Gaash. [some say 11 Iyar]
Rav Yosef Teumim, author of Pri Megadim, on the Shulchan Aruch, Rav of Frankfurt (1727-1792). Pri Magadin is actually a 2-part commentary: (a) Mishbetzos Zahav on the Tur, and (b) Aishel Avraham on the Magen Avraham. He also wrote a commentary on the Torah entitled Rav Peninim, as well as Porat Yosef and Rosh Yosef, chidushim on various mesechtas. (some say 11 Iyar).
Rav Yitzchak Yehuda Yechiel Eizik of Komarna, author of Shulchan Hatahor (1806-1874)
Rav Dovid Twersky of Tolna (1808-1882), son of Rav Mordechai of Chernobyl. His works include Magen Dovid. There is a Tolner Shul in Tzefas even today.
Rav Hillel Lichtenstein of Kalamei, in the Ukraine (1814-1891). Born near Pressburg (present-day Bratislava, Slovakia), he became one of the leading students of the Chasam Sofer. After his marriage, R' Lichtenstein studied in Galante, Hungary. His rabbinic career in 1846, first as rabbi of Margareten, Hungary, then as rabbi of Klausenberg (today, Cluj, Romania). Eventually, he became rabbi of Kolmyya, Galicia (today in Ukraine). He was among the fiercest opponents of the Haskalah and a strong supporter of settlement in Eretz Yisrael. He helped his son-in-law, R' Akiva Yosef Schlesinger, buy up land for what became the city of Petach Tikva. He wrote numerous books including Avkas Rochel (mussar), Beis Hillel (letters regarding strengthening observance), Maskil El Dal (derashos), Teshuvos Beis Hillel (responsa), and others.
Rav Naftali Tzvi of Ropshitz, author of Ayalah Sheluchah and Zera Kodesh, (1760-1827). When R' Naftali decided to join the chassidic movement he chose Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk as his mentor. He subsequently became a dedicated chasid of the Chozeh of Lublin, the Maggid of Koznitz, and Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Rymanov. Foremost among his talmidim is Rav Chaim of Sanz. His son, Rav Yaakov, was the author of the sefer Zerah Yaakov.
Rav Aaron Pfeffer, rav in South Africa
Rav Yitzchak of Radwill, son of Rav Yechiel Michel, the Zlotchover Maggid (1832)
Rav Yehuda Tzvi Eichenstein of Dolima (1909)
Rav Masoud bar Yaakov Abuchatzera, the father of the Baba Sali (1908) [12 Iyar according to Hamodia 2006 and Yated 2007]
Rebbe Meir Baal Haness (121 CE). A descendant of proselytes, Rebbe Meir was a talmid of Rebbi Akiva, Rabbi Yishmael, and Elisha ben Avuyah. There are 335 halachos are mentioned in the Mishnah with Rabbi Meir's explanations. His wife was the famous wise woman, Beruriah. She advised him wisely when neighboring wicked people disturbed him (Berachos 10a), and when their two sons died she broke the news gently and comforted him. He was one of the five scholars ordained by R' Yehuda ben Bava during the persecutions following the Bar Kochva revolt (Sanhedrin 14). Rabbi Meir was buried in Teveria.
Rav Shmuel of Karov (1820). Born in Neustadt, he became a close chassid of Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk and later the Chozeh of Lublin. From the year 1815, he became Rebbe in Karov and Wangrob.
Rav Leib of Zelikov, talmid of the Chozeh of Lublin and author of Lekutei Maharil (1826)
Rav Yehudah Tzvi of Stretin (1907)
Rav Eliyahu Chaim Meisel, av beis din of Lodz (1821-1912). Born in Horodok, he became the Rav of the city from 1840 to 1843. Later Rav of Drazin 1843-1861, Prozan 1861- 1867 (were he showed heroic dedication during a deadly epidemic), and Lomza.1867-1879 where he was able to reduce by 500 a year the number of people called for army service. He was Chief Rabbi of Lodz from 1873 until his petira.
Rav Tuvia Goldstein (2003). Rav and Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Emek Halacha in Boro Park.
Rav Chaim Meir Yechiel Shapira of Mogelnitz (or Moglonitza) (1849). He was raised and taught by his maternal grandfather, the Koznitzer Maggid. He married the granddaughter of the Rebbe R. Elimelech of Lyzhinsk. He was also the disciple of four leading figures of his generation: the rebbes of Lublin, Pesichah, Apta, and Ruzhin. [5 Iyar, according to others]
Rav Meir ben Gedaliah of Lublin, author of Maharam on Shas, also known as Meir Einai Chachamim. He was invited to the rabbinate of Cracow in 1587, before the age of 30. In 1591 he became rabbi at Lemberg. In 1613 he became rabbi at Lublin and established a Yeshiva (1558-1616)
Rav Yechiel Michel Feinstein (1906-2003), born to Rav Avraham Yitzchak in Uzda, Lithuania. At the age of seven Yechiel Michel lost his father and went to live with his grandfather, Rav Dovid Feinstein, the rov of Stravin, Byelorussia. There he learned with his grandfather and uncles, Rav Moshe and Rav Mordechai. After his bar mitzvah he traveled to Slutsk to learn under Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer. When the Bolsheviks arrived, the yeshiva was forced to flee Lithuania, to Kletsk, Poland. There, he continued his studies with Rav Meltzer and Rav Aharon Kotler. After three years, he moved to Mir to learn with Yeruchom Leibovitz. He also learned in Brisk, Grodno, and Vilna. He escaped Europe for America in 1941, traveling together with Rav Aharon Kotler. Upon his arrival he opened a yeshiva in Boston for the talmidim of Yeshivas Mir. Six months later his uncle, Rav Moshe Feinstein, summoned Rav Yechiel Michel to serve at his side as head of Yeshivas Tiferes Yerushalayim in New York. He was to spend the next sixty years there. During a brief trip to Eretz Yisrael in 1946, he married a daughter of the Brisker Rav, Lifsha. [17 Iyar, according to Yated 2004]
Rav Yechezkel Landau, the Noda Beyehuda (1713-1793). Born in Apta, Poland, learned and served in Brody, then Prague. He also wrote Dagul Meirevavah on the Shulchan Aruch and Tzelach on Shas, as well as Doresh Tziyon and Ahavas Tziyon. He was able to trace his family lineage back to Rashi.
Rav Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sadlikov, grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, author of Degel Machaneh Ephraim (1748-1800). He was born and died in Medzibosh, and his grave is next to that of the Baal Shem Tov. His brother was the famous Reb Baruch of Medzibosh. After the Baal Shem Tov's passing, Moshe Chaim studied under the Maggid of Mezritch and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye, the author of Toledos Yaakov Yosef.
Rav Mordechai ("Mottele") Twersky of Rachmistrivka (~1830-1921). Born in Rachmistrivka, Podlia (Ukraine), his father Nachman was a grandson of Rav Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl. He moved to Yerushalayim from Europe in 1908 (or 1906). His father, Rav Yochanan Twerski, son of the famous Rebbe Mottele of Chernobyl, was the first Rebbe of the Rachmistrivka dynasty. When his father was niftar in 1895, Ran Menachem and his two brothers shared the Rachmistrivka court together for 11 years. On the first day of Chol Hamoed Pesach in 1921, Rav Mordechai was attacked by a mob of Arabs while on his way to the Kosel. He passed away a month later, due to complications of injuries sustained during that attack.
Rav Pinchas of Ostila Twerski. The son of Rav Mordechai of Rachmistrivka, both of Rav Pinchas’s parents were descendants of the Baal Shem Tov’s greatest talmidim – Rav Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl (on his father’s side) and Rav Pinchas of Koritz (on his mother’s side). After marrying Chana Rochel, the daughter of Rav Yissacher Dov of Belz, Rav Pinchas settled and learned in Blez for 23 years. In 1923, he became the Rav of Ostilla, and after a few years he moved to P’shemish. Rav Pinchas was deported to the Belzec Extermination Camp on the 17th of Iyar in 1943. Close to one million Jews were murdered at Belzec; it is lesser known that other camps since almost no one survived to tell of it. No one knows exactly when Rav Pinchas was niftar, so his yahrtzeits was established on the same day as that of his father. The only member of his family to survive the war was his daughter, who married Rav Yaakov Yosef of Skver. Together, they built Kiryas Skver and the Skverer Torah institutions (1880-1943).
Rav Tavi Hirsch Rosenbaum, the Kretchnif-Sighet Rebbe (1921-2005).
Lag Ba'Omer, yahrtzeit of Rav Shimon bar Yochai, author of the Holy Zohar, and a disciple of Rabbi Akiva. After Rabbi Akiva was murdered by the Romans, Rav Shimon bar Yochai, together with his son Rabbi Elazar, he went into hiding in a cave in the mountains near Peki'in in the Galilee, where they stayed for 13 years.Tere, he wrote the Zohar. This body of mystical knowledge was given orally by G-d to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai. With the passage of Israel's history, these teachings were lost to most people, until R' Shimon fearing a permanent loss of this knowledge recorded them in the Zohar. After being hidden for a 1000 years, the Zohar was rediscovered by Rabbi Moshe de Leon in Spain, in the 13th century.
Rav Moshe Isserles (the Rema), on the Shulchan Aruch (1520-1572). Born and died in Cracow, Poland. He composed glosses on those paragraphs of the Shulchan Aruch in which he differs from the author, stating the Halacha as it has been decided by the Ashkenazi authorities, which is binding on Ashkenazi Jews. Rema named his glosses Mappah ("Tablecloth"), as a "cover" for the Shulchan Aruch ("the Set Table"). These glosses have been incorporated into the text and are distinguishable in that they are printed in Rashi script. This consolidation of the two works symbolizes the underlying unity of the Sephardi and Ashkenazi communities. It is thru this unification that the Shulchan Aruch became the universally accepted Code of Law for the entire Jewish people. The Rema also wrote Darkei Moshe, a commentary on the Arba’ah Turim. He became a son-in-law of Rav Shalom Shachna, Rosh Yeshiva of Lublin. He was also related to Rav Meir Katzenelenbogen – the Maharam Padua – and to Rav Shlomo Luria – the Maharshal.
Reb Moshe Kohen Narol, Rav of Metz and author of Sefer Kel Molei Rachamim (1659)
Rav Moshe Eiseman, Rosh Yeshiva in Beis Meir-Vineland. He was sent by Rav Yechiel Schlesinger in the Frankfurt yeshiva to Ponevezh. He is a cousin to the Baltimore mashgiach by the same name.
Rav Dovid Hecksher, Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshiva Kol Torah
Rav Alter Eliyahu Rubinstein (1947-2005). Born in Siget, Hungary to his father Rav Fishel HaLevi Rubenstein. A few years later his parents moved to Eretz Yisrael and settled in the village Beit Gamliel near Yavneh. After his bar mitzvah, Rav Alter Eliyahu studied under the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe in Netanya . He married the daughter of Rav Yehoshua Deutch, the Av Beis Din of Katamon, Yerushalayim. After studying for a few years in Rechovot, the Rebbe appointed him head of "Kollel Sanz" in Yerushalayim where he served for twenty-two years, from 1970 until 1993. He also headed "Kollel Shomrei Hachomos" and was a member of the "Vaad Rabanei Sanz." In 1993 he was appointed as rav of the Shomrei Hachomos kehilla in Ramat Shlomo, Yerushalayim. In 2004, Rav Alter Eliyahu was appointed Av Beis Din of the 1,300 families of Kehillas Antwerp, to replace Rav Chaim Kreiswirth.
Rav Meir ben Baruch, the Maharam MiRottenberg, teacher of the Rosh, (1215-1293). In 1286, Rudolf of Germany wanted to institute a new tax on the Jews of Germany. The Jews objected to this tax. The Maharam decided to leave Germany, but on the 4th of Tamuz, he was kidnapped by the Bishop of Bazil and handed over to the Emperor, who held Rav Meir captive in the Tower of Enzisheim in Alsace. Rav Meir composed “Shaali S'-rufa B'esh,” which is included in the kinos of Tisha B'Av. He was niftar in the prison and wasn’t properly buried until 4 Adar in 1307.
Rav Menachem Mendel of Rimanov (1755-1815). He was introduced to Chasidus at the age of 11 when he met the Maggid of Mezritch. He studied Torah and Chassidus under Reb Shmelke of Nikolsburg, together with two of his friends, the Chozeh of Lublin and the Maggid of Koznitz. His main teacher, however, was of Reb Elimelech of Lyzensk. Among his disciples were such outstanding Chassidic leaders as Reb Naftali of Ropshitz and Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov. His teachings are collected in Menachem Zion, Divrei Menachem, and Be'eros HaMayin.
Rav Pinchas Twersky of P’shemishel (1943).
Rav Yaakov Moshe Mordechai Soloveitchik of Lucerne (1915-1995). His father was Rav Yisrael Gershon Soloveitchik, son of Rav Chaim Soloveitchik of Brisk. Soon after his Bar Mitzvah, he traveled to Kamenitz to study under Rav Baruch Ber Leibowitz. He fled Poland to evade the draft, along with Rav Ahron Leib Shteinman, and the two stayed in Switzerland until the end of World War II. After the war, they traveled to Eretz Yisrael and studied at the Lomza Yeshiva in Petach Tikva, where he shared a room with Rav Chaim Kanievsky. He moved to Lugano and then Lucerne to head a Yeshiva and married Rivka Ruchama, daughter of Rav Shmuel Zanvil Neuman.
Rav Ezra Attia of Syria, Rosh Yeshiva of Porat Yosef, Yerushalayim from 1925 to 1970 (1885-1970). He was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1887, and was named after the prophet Ezra because his mother Leah had had several miscarriages before his birth and gave birth to him after praying at Ezra's grave in Tedef, Syria. Rav Attia began his studies in Aleppo under Rav Yehuda Aslan Attia (possibly a distant relative), but he soon moved with his family moved to Yerushalayim. After his father died when Rav Attiah was 20, three leading Sephardic sages took upon themselves to support him so he could continue his studies. In 1907, Rav Attia began studying in the new Yeshivat Ohel Moed (which later became Porat Yosef) under Rav Raphael Shlomo Laniado and Rav Yosef Yedid. His studies were interrupted by World War I, and he fled to Egypt to avoid being drafted into the Ottoman Army. While there, he established Yeshivat Keter Torah in Cairo, which continued to exist until 1948. Returning to Eretz Yisrael, Rav Attia was appointed to head Yeshivat Porat Yosef and also to serve on the Sephardic Bet Din. He continued to head Porat Yosef until his death, and among his students were Rav Ovadiah Yosef, Rav Ben Zion Abba Shaul, and leading rabbis of the Syrian communities in the United States and Panama.
Rav Moshe Kopshitz (1941-2004), great-grandson of Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld. Rosh yeshiva of Kol Yaakov and Rav of yerushalayim’s Romema neighborhood.
Rav Mordechai (“Mottel”) of Chernobyl (1770-1838). Successor to his father, Rav Nachum, the Meor Einayim, he became the son-in-law of Rav Aharon the Great of Karlin and subsequently of Rav Dovid Seirkes. His eight sons all became major Chasidic leaders. One of them married the daughter of Rav Dov Ber of Lubavitch.
Rav Chaim Avraham Gagin (1787-1848). Born in Constantinople, Turkey, to Rav Moshe, a descendent of Rav Chaim Gagin, a fugitive of the Spanish expulsion. Sadly, Rav Chaim Avraham’s father died when his son was just one year old. His second wife was the daughter of the, Rav Avraham Shalom Sharabi, grandson of the Rashash, Rav Shalom Sharabi. After his marriage, he became Rosh Yeshiva of Beis Kel, founded by Rav Gedaliah Chayun in 1737. He later became Rishon Letzion. His writings included Mincha Tehora on Gemara Menachos, Chukei Chaim (halachic responsa), and others.
Rav Yitzchak Eizik HaLevy Rabinowitz, author of Doros Harishonim, a Torah-true history of the Jewish People, written to counter the history of the maskilim. He was also an important figure in the founding of Agudas Yisrael. (19th century)
Rav Yosef Valtuch, the tzadik nistar (1983)
Rav Yitzchak Eizik Segal, author of Raza Meihemna (1783).
Rav Yaakov Yosef Hakohen Rabinowitz (1873-1902). The son of the Chessed L’Avraham of Radomsk, who in turn was the son of the Tiferes Shlomo. During his abbreviated life, he served as Rav of two towns, Breznitza and Klobitz. His older brother, the Keneses Yechezkel included a lengthy hakdama in his sefer, Emes L’Yaakov, about the greatness of his brother, Rav Yaakov Yosef.
Rav Shlomo Eliezer Alfandri, the Maharsha Alfandri (1820-1930). Born in Istanbul, Rav Shlomo Eliezer served as the chief rabbi in Istanbul, Damascus, and subsequently in Tzefas for 20 years. He passed away at age 110 in Yerushalayim. Many of his halachic responses are included in his book, Saba Kadisha.
Rav Mordechai Shraga Feivish Friedman of Husiatin [Husyatin,Gusyatin] (1835-1894). The sixth and youngest son of Rav Yisrael of Ruzhin, he married in 1850 (just four months before the petira of his father) and established a Chasidic court in Husyatin in 1861. As a result, the city became one of the most important Chasidic centers in Galicia, Jews comprising 4197 of the town's 6060 residents in 1890. Sadly, the golden age did not last for long. Husyatin was heavily damaged during World War I, then destroyed during World War II.
Simcha HaKohen of Worms was slain by Crusaders in a church for stabbing the bishop's nephew after he had pretended to submit to baptism (1096)
Rav Yitzchak Feigenbaum, Rav in Warsaw (1911)
Rav Binyamin Mendelson, Rav of Kommemiyus, one of the most prominent fighters for kedushas sheviis (1979). Born in Plotzk at the end of the 19th century, his father was Rav Menachem Mendel Mendelsohn - a close chassid of the Alexander Rebbe – who served there as Rosh Yeshiva. After World War I, Rav Binyomin married and opened a yeshiva in Bodzanov. During his years there, he became a chassid of the Gerer Rebbe, the Imrei Emes. In fact, his notes were used to publish the sefarim of the Imrei Emes decades after the War, as tens of thousands of pages of the Imrei Emes' written chiddushei Torah were lost. With the bracha of the Gerer Rebbe, Rav Binyomin moved to Eretz Yisroel in 1933, and was offered the position as Rov of Kfar Ata not far from Haifa and served in that capacity for 17 years. In 1951, Rav Binyomin left Kfar Ata and its kehilla of 20,000 families and accepted the offer to become the Rov of a small, religious settlement in the Negev called Kommemius, serving the community for the next 27 years One of the most defining aspects of his rabbanus in Kommemius was the fact that all of the mitzvos hateluyos ba'aretz - land based mitzvos, were kept with great alacrity. Shemitta was adhered to according to the opinion of the Chazon Ish with no reliance on the heter mechira that was almost unanimously accepted in those years. Rav Binyomin felt that keeping Shemitta was a key to bringing about the geula. He was moser nefesh for Shmitta observance, not only in Kommemius, but in other places as well. His letters, masterpieces of hashkafa and emuna were published posthumously in the sefer Igros HaGrab.
Rav Akiva Moshe Gottlieb (1923-2005). Born to Rav Shlomo Gottlieb, Rav of the Ohr Hachaim shul in Philadelphia, the family moved to Yerushalayim in 1929. After learning at the Chevron Yeshiva, his family moved back to the United States, where he learned at Torah Vodaas. He married in 1946. In 1963, he moved back to Eretz Yisrael to help his parents. He was appointed general manager of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, which he held for 14 years. He also assisted his father in Yeshiva Rabbeinu Chiam Yosef, founded in 1942. After his father’s death, Rav Akiva Moshe was responsible for it. He wrote Beis Shlomo, a biography of his father, and Kerem Shlomo, six volumes on chumash and the moadim
Rav Yaakov Loeberbaum of Lisa, author of Chavas Daas and Nesivos Hamishpat (1832)
Rav Ozer of Klementov, author of Even Ha'Ozer on Shulchan Aruch
Rav Chaim Hager of Kosov, author of Toras Chaim (1795-1854). Son of Rav Menachem Mendel Hager of Kosov - author of Ahavas Shalom, grandson of Rav Yaakov Kopel, and father of the first Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Rav Menachem Mendel Hager, the Tzemach Tzaddik.
Rav Chaim Chori, Rosh Beis Din in Tunis, author of Motza Chaim
Rav Shaul Halevi, Rav of The Hague and author of Binyan Shaul
Rav Saadyah ben Yosef Gaon (882-942). Born in Fayum (the former name of Cairo), Egypt, he led an all-out war against the Karaites when he was just 23, criticizing their theories with articulately advanced arguments. In 915, he moved from Egypt to Teveria to further his studies. However, the yeshiva of Sura in Babylonia invited him there. Six years later, in 928, he was appointed Gaon of the yeshiva. Two years later, a rift between him and the Reish Galusa – Dovid ben Zakai – over a beis din decision prompted Rav Saadyah’s move to Baghdad. He returned 7 years thereafter, having mended the relationship. His most famous written work is Ha’Emunos veHaDeyos, the first Jewish philosophy book, originally written in Arabic and translated into Hebrew by Rav Yehuda ibn Tibbon. His translation of the Chumash into Arabic is used by Yemenite Jews to this day.
Rav Aharon Lapapa (1590-1667). Born in Magnesia (Manisa), Turkey, he was a disciple of Rav Avraham Motal and Rav Yosef Trani in the yeshivos of Salonika and Constantinople. Late in life, on Rosh Chodesh Iyar in 1665, he was appointed dayan of Smyrna (Izmir), effectively splitting rabbinical functions with Rav Rav Chaim Benveniste. On the 6th of Teves of that year, Shabsai Tzvi proclaimed Rav Benveniste “supreme rabbi” of Smyrna, no doubt having learned of Rav Aharon’s disbelief of Messianic claims. As such, he was forced to stay home-bound. Some of his response and chidushim to Tur Choshen Mishpat were published in Bnei Aharon.
Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, the Ramchal (1707-1747), author of Mesilas Yesharim, Derech Hashem, Pis'chey Chochmah (138 chapters on the entire scope of the Kabbalah in what many authorities consider the most systematic manner ever achieved), and Daas Tevunos. Born in Padua, Italy, the Ramchal was a student of Rabbi Yitzchak Lampronti, author of the Pachad Yitzchak, the first major Talmudic encyclopedia ever assembled. The novelty of his approach drew opposition from a number of his contemporaries. Partially as a result of this opposition, Luzzatto left his native Italy in 1735 and settled in Amsterdam. In 1743, he traveled to Eretz Israel and settled in Acco. He died in a plague only four years later, along with his wife and his son. The Vilna Gaon declared that the Ramchal had the most profound understanding of Yiddishkeit that any mortal human could attain. He furthermore stated that if Luzzatto were alive in his generation, he would go by foot from Vilna to Italy to sit at his feet and learn from him. According to a mesorah, the Gaon was going to Eretz Yisrael to be a talmid of the Ramchal but then found out that the Ramchal was niftar so he returned to Vilna. There is an interesting mesorah that the Ramchal was a gilgul of Rebbe Akiva. The two are buried right next to each other and the Ramchal was niftar when he was 40; it is said to make up for the first 40 years of Rebbe Akiva’s life, prior to his doing teshuva.
Rav Yitzchak ben Chaim of Volozhin (1779-1849 or 1851), the son of, and successor to, Rav Chaim of Volozhin. Rav Yitzchak's works include Mili D'Avos on Pirkei Avos and a Torah commentary entitled Peh Kadosh. Father-in-law of Rav Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin (the "Netziv").
Rav Shmuel Eliyahu of Zhvill (1888).
Rav Shlomo (“Shlomke”) Goldman, the Zhviller Rebbe (1870-1945). The younger of the two sons of Rav Mordechai of Zhvil, and a descendant of Rav Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov. When a pogrom in Zvhil targeted the his brother’s compound and killed the Rebbetzin along with many of the Jews of the area, his brother, Rav Yaakov Yisrael, moved to Boston, and Rav Shlomo moved to Yerushalayim in 1926. He was succeeded by his son, Rav Gedaliah Moshe.
Rav Eliezer Ze’ev of Kretchenif (1944)
Rav Shlomo Zalman Schneerson (1830-1900), Rebbe of of Kapust (Kopys) and author of Mogen Avos.
Rebbetzin Yocheved “Jackie” Wein (1934-2006). Born in Vaskai, Lithuania, the youngest child of Rav Lazer and Rebbetzin Sarah Menucha Levin. (Reb Lazer was a talmid of Kelm and learned with the Cofetz Chaim for five years.) The family moved to Detroit in 1938, to escape the growing terror in Europe. By the time of his petirah, fourteen years ago, he was respected as the Chief Rav of Detroit. In the mid 1950s, Jackie, a young woman trained as a qualified teacher (at the urging of the legendary Rav Simcha Wasserman,) married Rabbi Berel Wein, son of Rav Zev and Esther Wein, who was the daughter of Rav Chaim Tzvi Rubenstein, Rosh Yeshiva of Bais Medrash L'Torah. The young couple set up their new home in Chicago. In the early sixties, after several productive years in Chicago, Rabbi Wein's rebbi, Rav Chaim Kreiswirth advised the brilliant young scholar to go into rabbonus, where he could contribute so much to Klal Yisrael. When a position became available in Miami, the Weins packed up and moved South. But before they left, Rav Wein was instrumental in founding the Telshe Yeshiva in Chicago. The family remained in Miami for about a decade, until the early seventies, when Rabbi Wein became the Rabbinic Administrator of the OU, and then founded the kehilla of Bais Torah in Monsey, New York. In addition to raising her young family, Jackie, a trained teacher, accepted a fourth grade teaching job at Yeshiva Spring Valley, a position she held until they moved to Eretz Yisrael. In 1994, when the Weins moved to Eretz Yisrael she once again accepted the role of Rebbetzin with grace, reaching out from their new home in Rechavia, near the Shaarei Chesed neighborhood, where Rav Berel serves as a Rov.
Shmuel Hanavi (930-878 BCE)
Rav Yosef Yehuda Reiner, rosh yeshiva in Yeshiva Kol Torah
Rav Yitzchak of Corbeil (or Kurweil), the Baal HaChotem (1280). A student and son-in-law of Rav Yechiel of Paris, he authored a halachic compendium called Amudei HaGolah. Because it briefer than the Semag of Rav Moshe of Coucy, his work is referred to as the Sefer Mitzvos Kattan, or Semak. It lists all post-Temple mitzvos with pertinent halachic details. He also authored some of the writings of the Tosefos.
Rav Yerachmiel Yehuda Meir Kalish, the Amshinover Rebbe (1901-1976). Born in Peshischa, he learned with his grandfather, Rav Menachem, who was the grandson of the first Amshinover Rebbe, Rav Yaakov Dovid. When Rav Mencahem passed away in 1918, one of his sons, Rav Yosef, became the Rebbe of Amshinov, and the other son, Rav Shimon Shalom – Rav Meir’s father – became Rebbe in Otvotzk. Rav Shimon was a major driving force behind the exodus of thousands of bachurim in Mir, Kletzk, Radin, Novardak, and other yeshivos to Japan and Shanghai at the outbreak of World War II. By the time Shanghai came under Japanese control, it held 26,000 Jews. After the war, Rav Shimon immigrated to America. Upon his petira in 1954, Rav Meir accompanied the aron to Teveria in Eretz Yisrael. He later moved to Tel Aviv, and then to the Bayit Vegan section of Yerushalayim. Rav Meir was noted for his genius in Torah, as well as his warmth and sensitivity to all Jews. His grandson, Rav Yaakov Aryeh Milikowski, succeeded him as the Amshinover Rebbe. (27 Iyar, according to Yated 2007)
Rav Shlomo Avraham Eliyahu Green of Bnei Brak, the tailor mekubal
Rav Meir of Premishlan (1773), a talmid of the Baal Shem Tov. [(1850) lived in abject but patient poverty, yet exerted himself tirelessly for the needy and the suffering. His ruach hakodesh and his ready wit have become legendary. He wrote no works, but some of his teachings were collected and published by his Chassidim after his death.]