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8 Sivan, 5775 / Tuesday, May 26, 2015
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Compiled by Reb Manny Saltiel
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1 Adar

Rav Avraham Ibn Ezra (1089-1164). He was born in Tudela during the height of Spain’s Golden Age. There, he established a close friendship with Rav Yehuda Halevi. Three of his uncles were ministers in the royal palace. He moved to Toledo, during the benevolent rule of King Alfonso VI. After the Kinf died, however, the anti-semitic masses began to harass the Jews, so he headed south to Muslim Spain – to Granada, Cordova, and Lucena. In 1148, the barbaric Almohades overran Morocco and continued into Spain. He was forced to flee to Rome, Provence, and Rhodes (where he befriended Rabbeinu Tam and other grandsons of Rashi, as well as the Rosh). He traveled to Egypt and learned with the Rambam. He wrote a commentary on the Torah and Navi, based in large part on Hebrew grammar. He also wrote dozens of books on astronomy, astrology, and mathematics.

Rav Shabsai HaKohen Katz, (Shach) author of Sifsei Kohen, recognized as one of the most basic and authoritative commentaries on the Shulchan Aruch (1622-1663). Born in Vilna. He learned in Tyktizin, Cracow and Lublin. He married a great grand-daughter of the Rema. In 1648 the communities of Russian Poland were devastated by Chmielnicki, and Rav Shabsai haKohen was among the sufferers. He authored selichos in tragic memory of the events. He was nifter at the age of 41 in Holleschau, Germany, having completed his commentary to 2 of the 4 sections of the Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De’ah (at age 24) and Choshen Mishpat. Among his other works are Sefer Ha’Aruch on the Tur, Poel Tzedek on the 613 mitzvos, and Gevuros Anashim, on cases in which a wife can legally compel her husband to give her a get.

Rav Azariya Figu (Figo) of Venice(1579-1647). Author of Binah La'itim and Gidulei Terumah.

Rav Emanuel Chai Riki (1688-1743). Kabbalist; author of Mishnas Chassidim. He received semicha from Rav Chaim Abulafia in Tzefas. He is buried in Zento, Italy. He also wrote a commentary on Tehillim entitled Chozeh Tzion, and Yosher Leivav.

Rav Yitzchak Eizik Safrin of Komarna (or Komarno) (1800). He was the author of Heichal HaBrachah and Zohar Chai. One son was Rav Tzvi Hirsch Aichenshtein of Zhidachov, the Ateres Tzvi. Another son was Rav Yissochor Berish Aichenshtein of Zhidachov. A third son was Rav Moshe Aichenshtein of Sambor, a fourth was Rav Alexanfer Yom Tov Lipa Aichenshtein, a fifth was Rav Menachem Mendel Aichenshtein, and a sixth was Rav Eli Aichenshtein.

Rav Menachem Mendel of Shklov (1827). He was the leader of the aliya of the followers of the Vilna Gaon to Eretz Yisrael. This is significant because of the many Minhagei Yerushalayim that were established by that Ashkenazi community. His leading student, Yitzchak Eizak Chaver Wildmann (1789-1853), perceived that the obscurity of the kabbalistic system was a major factor in the flight of students and thinkers from Torah to science, secular philosophy and atheism. In Pischey She'arim, R. Yitzchak Eizak Haver vindicates the kabbalah against its detractors, showing that behind its metaphors lies the only system with the power to provide satisfying answers to man's deepest questions about the meaning and purpose of the universe.

Rav Yitzchak Meir of Zinkov, son of the Apta Rav (1855)

Rav Baruch Halberstam of Gorlitz (1830-1906). Born in Rudnick, Poland, to the second of the four wives of Rav Chaim of Sanz. At age 14, he married Pessel, the daughter of Rav Yekusiel Yehuda Teitelbaum, the “Yitav Lev” of Sighet. In his early 30s, he was appointed rav of Rudnick, and later rav of Gorlitz. In 1886, after his wife’s passing, he married Leah, a granddaughter of the Bnei Yissoscher.

Rav Uri Yalas of Sambur (1910)

Rav Yosef Tzvi Kalisch of Skrenevitz (1957)

Rav Baruch Rosenberg, Rosh Yeshiva of Keneses Yisrael, Slabodka in Bnai Brak (1924-2004). Born in Moholiev, Russia, to Rav Gershon Chanoch Rosenberg, whose father – Rav Michel Yechiel Rosenberg – was one of Rav Chaim Brisker’s chavrusos. In his teens, Rav Baruch attended Mir, where became close to Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz and Rav Yechezkel Levenstein. During World War II, Rav Baruch went to Vilna, and then to Shanghai with the yeshiva. In 1950, he continued his studies in Mir Yerushalayim. The year after his chasuna, he accepted an invitation to be magid shir at the Slabodka Yeshiva in Bnai Brak, where he stayed for 50 years.

Rav Yitzchak Isaac Eichenstein, the Kiviashder Rav of Forest Hills, Queens (1913-2004). Born in Kashau, Czechoslovakia to Rav Meir, the Zhidichov Rav of Kashau. As a youth, he learned under the Kashauer Rav, Rav Shaul Brach. Upon his marriage, he replaced his father-in-law (who had moved away) as Rav of Kishiavd and established a yeshiva. He staued for six years, until the Nazis arrived in 1944. The Rav was sent to Auschvitz and Bergen-Belsen, where he lost his parents, his wife, and his three young children. Despite his nisyonos, he spent his time, infusing others with chizuk. Following the War, he married his father-in-law’s younger dauther, established a beis din to be matir hundreds of agunos, and arranged for the education of many orphans. He moved to America and settled in Queens in 1950. In 1953, under the auspices of the Satmar Rav, he established the Central Rabbinical Council of the United States and Canada.

Rav Simcha Bunim Waldenberg, only son of Rav Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg (the Tzitz Eliezer), Rav of the Ezras Torah neighborhood of Yerushalayim and of the Beis Yisrael Beis Midrash for over 30 years (1937-2005)

2 Adar

Rav Meir Paprish, the Ohr Tzadikim (1624-1662). At the young age of 13, Reb Meir began learning Kabbalah as a student of Rav Yaakov Tzemach who studied under Rav Shmuel Vital, the son of Rav Chaim Vital.

Rav Dovid ben Moshe Madjar of Yerushalayim (1800), author of Chesed Dovid.

Rav Yom Tov Algazi, the Maharit Algazi (1727-1802), one of the main students of the famed kabbalist Rabbi Shalom Sharabi. Stemming from a long line of great Torah sages originating in Spain, his father, Rav Yisrael Yaakov was av beis din in Izmir, Turkey for over 40 years before being appopinted Rishon Letzion in Yerushalyim. Rav Yom Tov was born in Izmir, and studied together with Rav Chaim Yosef Dovid Azulai (the Chida) as a youth. In 1758, he was appointed rosh yeshiva of Neveh Shalom. In 1782, after the petira of Rav Shalom Sharabi, Rav Yom Tov was appointed rosh yeshiva of Beis Kel and served as Rishon LeTzion following the petira of Rav Rephael Meyuchas. He left behind a legacy of piskei halacha – Shu”t Simchas Yom Tov, Hilchos Yom Tov, and Kedushas Yom Tov. He left one son (Rav Yaakov) and 3 daughters.

Rav Aaron Hagadol of Premishlan, son of Rav Meir the Great and disciple of Rav Yechiel Michel of Zlotschov

Rav Binyomin Zev Lev Rokeach (1777-1851). He was born in the small town of Vadislav, and his father, the Shemen Rokeach, sent him to the yeshivos of R' Eliezer Kempne of Prostitz, and of his brother-in- law R' Yirmiyohu of Mattersdorf. He married Feigele, the daughter of Rav Yitzchak Eisik Elkish, Rav of Ushpitzin from the dynasty of the Rebbe R' Heschel and the Moginei Shlomo. He subsequently became rov in Amshinov. He is the author of Shaarei Torah. His son, Yirmiyahu, was author of Divrei Yirmiyahu.

Rav Yaakov Yechezkiya Grunwald of Pupa, the Vayaged Yaakov (1941). Son of Rav Moshe Grunwald, Rav and Rosh Yeshiva of Chust, and author of several works, each entitled Arugas Habosem. Rav Moshe's brother, Rav Eliezer Dovid Grunwald, known as the Keren Le'Dovid, also headed an important yeshiva. Although Rav Yaakov Yechezkiya’s father was not born into a chassidic family, he had gravitated towards the Shiniva and Belzer Rebbes and had taken his son on his many visits to those rebbes. Rav Yaakov Yechezkiya studied under his father until his marriage. In 1929, Rav Yaakov Yechezkiya was chosen as Rav of Pupa, Hungary. He established a yeshiva there which soon numbered 300 students. Rav Yaakov Yechezkiya's son, Rav Yosef Grunwald, succeeded his father in 1951.

Rav Avraham Kalmanowitz (1891-1965), Av Beis Din of Tiktin, Rosh Yeshivas Mir-U.S. He was a talmid of Slobodka, a Rav of Rakov, and a close friend of Reb Chaim Ozer Grodzenski of Vilna. He was also the founder and head of a kollel, and a leader of Agudath Israel of Poland. After the First World War, the Mirrer Yeshivah appointed him as its president. His wife’s grandfather was Rav Betzalel HaKohen, a dayan in Vilna and author of Mareh Kohen. At the beginning of World War II the Rav and his family reached the United States, while his beloved Mirrer Yeshivah escaped from Mir to Vilna, to avoid Soviet persecution. During the War, the Rav was was one of the leading personalities of the Vaad Hatzalah.

Rav Yisrael Alter, the Beis Yisrael of Ger (1895-1977). The 3rd son Rav Avraham Mordechai, the Imrei Emes, he celebrated a double simcha on his Bar Mitzvah, as he became engaged to his cousin, Chaya Sara. They married two years later. In 1940, the Imrei Emes escaped the Nazis and reached Eretz Yisrael, along with his sons, Rav Yisrael, Rav Simcha Bunim, and Rav Pinchas Menachem. Tragically, Rav Yisrael’s wife, daughter, and son perished, a fact he didn’t learn until 1945. He remarried in 1948, but had no children from his second wife. After his father’s petira, Rav Yisrael assumed the mantle of leadership as the 4th Rebbe of Ger. For the next 29 years, he rebuilt Ger and was a major force in the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudas Yisrael. After his passing, Ger was led by his brother, Rav Simcha Bunim, until his petira in 1992. After that, his other brother, Rav Pinchas Menachem led Ger for four years. Since then, Ger has been led by Rav Yaakov Aryeh, the son of Rav Simcha Bunim.

Rav Moshe Schwab (1918-1979). Born in Frankfurt-am-Mein to R’ Yehuda (Leopold) and Hanna (nee Erlanger) Schwab, the younger brother of Rav Shimon and Rav Mordechai. He was sent to learn in Kaminetz under Rav Baruch Ber Leibowitz and in Baronovich under Rav Elchonon Wasserman. In 1938, he moved to England and accepted a position at the Kollel in Gateshead. In 1942, he married Rochel Baddiel, daughter of Rav Dovid Baddiel, one of the founding members of the Gateshead kehilla. In 1946, he joined the Yeshiva and became very close to Rav Dessler. He authored Ma’archei Lev on the Yomim Tovim.

Rav Mordechai Wulliger (1895-1995), born in Bishtina-Marmoresh to Rav Moshe Wulliger, one of the greatest students of the Yetev Lev of Sighet, Rav Z.L. Teitelbaum (the Great grandfather of The Satmer Rebbe). His primary teacher was Rav Chaim Zvi Teitelbaum, Rav of Sigher and author of Atzei Chaim. Rav Wulliger settled in the United States in 1938 and was a member of the Yeshiva and Mesivta Torah Vodas for about 50 years. He authored a myriad of seforim, the first of which was Pardes Mordechai (1927).

3 Adar

Rav Mordechai Yaffe, author of Levush Mordechai, and known as the Baal HaLevushim (1530-1612). Born to the Rav of Prague, he was sent to Poland to study under the Maharshal and Rama in his youth. Married in 1553, he founded a yeshiva in Prague. However, in 1559, King Ferdinand decreed that the Jews of Prague be evicted. Despite the successful efforts of Pope Pius IV on behalf of the Jews (which resulted in a 2-year delay), the Jews of Prague left the city in 1561. Rav Mordechai settled in Venice, where he learned with Rav Avraham Abuhav and Rav Mittsyahu Delcorte. He became Rav of Horodna (Grodno) in 1572, then Lublin in 1588. In 1598, when the Maharal left Posen for Prague, Rav Mordechai became rabbi of Posen until his death. Two important peirushim on the Levush were written many years later: In Elya Rabba, Rav Eliyahu Shapiro answers many refutation of the Levush brought in the Malbishei Yom Tov, (written by the author of Tosefos Yom Tov), and in Levushei Tzedakah, Rav Tzadok Hakohen answers difficulties raised by the Smah in Levush Choshen Mishpat.

Rav Noach of Krakow, author of Toldos Noach on Midrash (1638)

Rav Noach Chaim Berlin of Altuna, author of Atzei Almogim and Atzei Arazim and Av Beis Din of AH”U (1802).

Rav Binyamin Zev Lev, Rav of Verboi and author of Shaarei Tefilah (1851)

Rav Dovid Morgenstern of Kotzk (1866), the eldest son of Reb Mendel of Kotzk

Rav Eliyahu Mezhritch, author of Midreishei Eliyahu (1868)

Rav Eliyahu Dovid Rabinowitz-Teumim, the Aderes (1843-1905). The last part of his name, Te'omim denotes the fact that he was a "te'om," or twin. His mother, Chana, was a descendant of the Baal Halevushim and the Chacham Tzvi. After his marriage, Rav Eliyahu Dovid moved to his wife's birthplace, Ponovezh. He served as Rav of Ponovezh from 1872 to 1890 and of Mir from 1890 to 1898. He was then asked to assume the position of chief rabbi of Yerushalayim, at the recommendation of Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky. There, he assisted the 80 year old Rav Shmuel Salant. Rav Eliyahu Dovid served as the rav of Yerushalayim for four years.

Rav Chaim Yaakov Goldvicht, founder (1952) and rosh yeshiva, Kerem B'Yavne (1994). Born in Yerushalayim, he attended Yeshiva Etz Chaim under Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer. Thereafter, he learned under the guidance of Rav Zev Soloveitchik, the Brisker Rav. After marrying his wife, Miriam, he moved to Bnei Brak where he studied under the Chazon Ish and was also close to Rav Isaac Sher.

Rav Yechiel Malach (1922-2006). Born in Ostrolenka, Poland, he was a talmid muvhak or Rav Avraham Yoffen, he went on to learn in Slobodka, then settled in Brooklyn after the War. He became 9th grade rebbi and manhig ruchani at Yeshivas Be’er Shmuel. At about 1986, he moved to Yerushalayim, where he was marbitz Torah in the Gerrer Yeshiva Ner Yisrael.

4 Adar

Rav Achai bar Rav Huna of Rabanan Soverai, 506 CE

The body of R. Meir (MaHaRaM) of Rotenburg's was released for burial in 1307, fourteen years after his death in the fortress of Ensisheim. He was buried in the old Jewish cemetery of Worms. Next to him was buried R. Alexander Susskind Wimpfen, who gave away his entire fortune to ransom the body. Both graves miraculously escaped Nazi ravaging of the cemetery (born 1215).

Rav Mordechai Leib Mann, rosh yeshiva Beis Hillel in Bnei Brak

Rav Leib Sarah's (1730-1796). Considered one of the hidden tzadikim by the Baal Shem Tov, he spent his life wandering to raise money for the ransoming of imprisoned.

Rav Avraham Blumenkrantz (1944-2007). Born in Palestine four years before the founding of the state of Israel, Reb Avraham and his family were abroad at the outset of the War of Independence. In the early 1950s the family settled in Bogotá, Colombia. His father, Rav Chaim Menachem Bentzion, became chief rabbi. Reb Avraham came to New York as a teenager to study at Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim under Rav Moshe Feinstein, with whom Rabbi Blumenkrantz maintained a close relationship until Rabbi Feinstein's death in 1986. Under the guidance of Rav Moshe, Rav Avraham took positions at Staten Island and Brooklyn. He also became Rav in Far Rockaway. He also became well-known for his Pesach guide.

5 Adar

Rav Ze’ev Wolf (Velvele) of Ostracha (also known as Tcharni-Ostraa) (1823). He was a close talmid of Rav Dov Ber (the Maggid) of Mezritch and Rav Pinchas of Koritz. Thereafter, he became a follower of Rav Meshulam Feivish of Zhebariza, the Yosher Divrei Emes. He married the daughter of Reb Zushe of Hanipoli. Three years after the petira of the Yosher Divrei Emes, he made aliya (in 1798) and settled in Teveriya.

Rav Shmuel Abba Shapira of Slavita (1864). Printer of the famous "Slavita Talmud"; grandson of Rav Pinchas of Koretz.

Rav Avraham Landau of Tchechenov (1875). Born in Prantzav, he married at 16 and had 4 children. Lodz and Lublin fought for the honor of hiring Rav Avraham as their rav, but he instead chose to lead the small rural community of Tchechenov. Only after the Kotzker Rebbe and Rav Yitzchak Meir had passed away, and hundreds of their followers turned to Rav Avraham for blessings and advice, did he finally agree to became a Rebbe.

Rav Eliezer (“Lazer”) Gordon (1841-1910). Born in Chernian, Lithuania, to Rav Avraham Shmuel Gordon, a talmid of Rav Chaim of Volozhin. He learned at Rav Yisrael Salanter’s yeshiva in Kovno with Rav Yitzchak Blazer, Rav Simcha Zissel Ziv, and Rav Naftali Amsterdam. He succeeded his father-in-law as rav of Kovno, but left after three months to become rav of Kelm, where he opened a yeshiva. Then he went to Slobodka and stayed for 6 months, then he went to Telshe, which had been started in 1877 by Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel and Rav Eliezer Chavas. In 1897, he hired Rav Leib Chasman as mashgiach to fight off the influences of haskala. Rav Lazer was nifter in London on a fun-raising mission after a fire destroyed the yeshiva in Telshe. [According to Yated 2006, it’s 4 Adar]

Rav Mordechai Shlomo Friedman (1891-1971), Boyaner Rebbe in New York. He was the son of the first Boyaner Rebbe, Rav Yitzchak Friedman, the Pachad Yitzchak, and the brother of Rav Menahem Nahum Friedman (1869-1936), Boyanaer Rebbe of Chernovitz, Rav Yisrael Friedman (1878-1951), Boyaner Rebbe of Leipzig and Tel-Aviv, and Rav Abraham Yaakov Friedman (1884-1941), Boyaner Rebbe of Lemberg. His grandson, Rav Nachum Dov Brayer, is the present Boyaner Rebbe of Yerushalayim

Rav Yosef Farbstein (1947-2006). Grandson of Rav Yechezkel Sarna, he became Rosh Kollel of Beis Shmuel under Rav Horowitz, the Av Beis Din of Ungar. In 1970 he married Rebbetzin Gittel, daughter of Rav Akiva Ehrenfeld, founder of Yerushalayim's Mattersdorf neighborhood and nasi of its institutions, and the granddaughter of Rav Shmuel Ehrenfeld, the Gavad of Mattersdorf, Austria. In 1988, he was appointed Ram in Yeshivas Ohr Elchanan under Rav Moshe Chodosh.

6 Adar

Rav Shmuel ben Natronai, one of the Baalei Tosefos, was tortured and martyred (1197).

Rav Daniel Prostitz (1759-1846). Rav of Pressburg and colleague of the Chasam Sofer.

Rav Naftali Amsterdam, disciple of Rav Yisrael Salanter (1916). He immigrated to Eretz Yisrael in 1902.

Rav Yosef Baumgarten, Av Bais Din Schiffschule in Vienna

Rav Dovid Povarsky, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Ponovezh (1902-1999). When he was twelve years old, he learned with Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer in Slutzk. Afterward, he transferred to Poltova, where he became deeply attached to his rav muvhak, R' Yeruchom Levovitz, whom he followed to Kelm and Ponovezh. From Ponovezh, he transferred to Mir yeshiva and became very close to Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz. One of his chavrusas in Shulchan Oruch was Rav Aharon Kotler. A while after his marriage, he transferred to the yeshiva in Baranowitz, where he studied under Rav Elchonon Wassermann. Later, Reb Yeruchom sent Rav Dovid to be a ram in Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin headed by Rav Meir Shapira of Lublin. Rav Dovid merited to form a special bond with Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky.

Rav Chanoch Tzvi HaKohen Levin, the Bendiner Rav (1935).

7 Adar

Birthday of Moshe Rabbeinu [1393 BCE (Sotah 12b)] and his yahrtzeit [1273 BCE] (Kiddushin 38a)

Rav Shlomo Ephraim of Lunshitz, author of Kli Yakar (1550-1619). After serving as rosh yeshiva in Lemberg, he became the Rav of Prague. He was well-known as an inspiring speaker. In addition to Kli Yakar, Rav Shlomo Ephraim also wrote special selichos to be said in memory of the Jews of Prague who suffered horribly during the pogroms of 1611.

Rav Avraham Tzvi Patznovski of Piotrokov (1819)

Rav Yitzchak Eizik Taub of Kalev, founder of Kuliver Chassidic line in Hungary (1744 (or 1751)-1821). Born to Rav Yechezkel, in Szerencs, Hungary. According to stories of Hungarian Chassidim, Rav Leib Sarahs received permission from the boy’s widowed mother to raise him and took him directly to Rav Shmelke of Nikolsburg. Rav Yitzchak Eizik also learned Chassidus from Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk. After his marriage to Feige, Rav Yitzchak Eizik's wife remained in her hometown of Tertzel while Rav Yitzchak Eizik continued away from home for many years. His wife's financial needs were supplied by a wealthy Kaliv Jew, Yaakov Fisch. In gratitude, Rav Yitzchak Eizik blessed Yaakov with good health and he lived for over a hundred years. When Rav Yitzchak Eizik returned home 1781, the Jews of Szabolcs county appointed him as their leader, and he moved to Nagykálló, or Kaliv as it known to Jews. For the next forty years, Rav Yitzchak Eizik pioneered the spread of Chassidus throughout Hungary from Kaliv, and he is regarded as the first Admor to take up permanent residence in Hungary. Rav Yitzchak Eizik is remembered as "the sweet singer of Yisrael" and is famed for his niggunim.

Rav Menachem Mendel Landau of Zabeirtze (1935)

Rav Tzvi kinstlicher, author of Sheilos u’teshuvos Be’er Tzvi (1965)

8 Adar

Rav Shmuel Dovid Ungar of Neitra, a descendent of Don Yitzchak Abarbanel.

Rav Gershon of Lotzk, a talmid of the Mezritcher Maggid (1788).

Rav Aryeh Leib Hanover (1715-1789). Son of the Pnei Yehoshua, he married the daughter of Rav Yechiel Michel Haplerin, Rav of Berzhan. After posts at Skohl and Sevirz, he was asked to serve as Rav at Hanover at the age of 41. He was a fierce opponent of the supporters of Shabtai Tzvi. His chidushei Torah are printed in the sefer Pnei Aryeh on Maseches Bava Kamma.

Rav Yosef Yedid, author of Yemei Yosef (1930).

Rav Avraham Noach Paley of Shklov-Yerushalayim (1932).

Rav Moshe Aharon Stern (1926-1998). Born in New York, he was a grandson of the famed tzaddik, Reb Yaakov Yosef Herman (subject of the book All for the Boss). In his youth, Rav Moshe Aharon studied at Yeshiva Torah Vodaas. At age 18, he traveled to Eretz Yisrael and enrolled in the Kamenitz Yeshiva, where he remained for the rest of his life, serving as Mashgiach for the last 20 years of his life.

  • Jews of Barbados were granted permission to take an oath on the “Old Testament,” 1674. This was a first for the New World. 151 years later, in 1825, also on 8 Adar, Jews of Maryland were allowed to take a non-Christian oath. A declaration of belief in Schar v’Onesh in Olam Haba was part of their oath.
  • Yeshiva Eitz Chaim, the first elementary school with secular studies in the U.S., established 1886.
  • Deportation of the Jews from Thrace, 1943.

9 Adar

Rav Mordechai Meisel, the parnes of Prague, a great Jewish philanthropist who saved many Jewish lives in pogroms (1601).

Rav Shlomo Zalman of Volozhin, brother of Rav Chaim Volozhin (1756-1788)

Rav Menachem Mendel Stern (1759-1834). He was a talmid of Rav Yaakov Lorberbaum of Lissa (author of Nesivos Hamishpat, Chavas Da'as, and Derech Chaim). He succeeded Rav Yehuda Hakohen Heller (author of Kuntres Hasefeikos and brother of the Ketzos Hachoshen) as Rav of Sighet, Hungary. Rav Stern was a chassid of Rav Moshe Leib of Sassov and of Rav Mendel of Kossov. Among his works is Derech Emunah.

Rav Aharon Menachem Mendel of Radzimin (1934)

Rav Yechiel Schlesinger, rav and poseik for Kehal Adas Yeshurun (1948). In his youth, he learned at Slobodka and Mir Yeshivos. After his marriage in 1930, he set off for Ponevezh, Lithuania. During his time in Ponevezh, Rav Yechiel Michel also trained to become a dayan, doing shimush in the beis din of the Ponevezher Rov. He was called to serve as a dayan on the Frankfurt beis din, and as the head of Rav Breuer's Yeshiva there. In 1938, he decided that life as a Jew in Germany was becoming too intolerable. Although he was offered the prestigious position of rosh yeshiva of Torah Vodaas Yeshiva in New York, he preferred to move to Eretz Yisroel. Once he reached Yerushalayim, a few days after Pesach (1939), he founded Kol Torah Yeshiva, setting a clear Torah path for German Jewry.

Rav Chaim Ephraim Zeitchek, Mashgiach of Novardok,Yerushalayim and Rosh Yeshivas Ohr Chodosh (1989)

Rav Shmuel Dovid Ungar, Nitra Rav and Rosh Yeshiva (1945)

10 Adar

Rav Pinchas of Voldova, author of Bris Shalom (1663).

Rav Yosef Baruch Epstein, the Gutteh Yid of Neustadt (1867). He was the son of the Maor Vashemesh.

Rav Alexander Moshe Lapidus (1819-1906). A talmid of Rav Yisrael Salanter, he authored Divrei Emes.

Rav Shalom Goldstein (1923-1984). Born in 1923 in Romania to Reb Yechezkel Shraga Goldstein, a Deizher chossid and a descendant of Rav Yaakov Koppel Chossid. R' Yechezkel Goldstein immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Williamsburg when his son was eight. The youth was a popular activist of Zeirei Agudas Yisrael, who did kiruv work with children from less religious homes. In 1944 Shalom married Leah Necha Scheiner of Pittsburgh, and a year later he moved to Detroit in 1945, where he remained to build Torah for the following 40 years.

Rav Yosef Halevi Epstein, the “Gutter Yid” from Neustadt

11 Adar

Rav Gershon Ashkenazi (1625-1693). Born to Rav Yitzchak Ashkenazi in Holtz, Germany, he left home to learn in the yeshiva of Rav Yoel Sirkes, the Bach, in Krakow, Poland. He was also a close talmid of Rav Yehoshua, the Maginei Shlomo. Rav Gershon lost his first wife in 1649, and married the daughter of Rav Menachem Mendel Kruchmal, the Tzemach Tzedek. But she too was niftar young, in 1654. His third wife, Rebbetzin Raizel, was zocheh to arichas yamim, outliving her husband by 30 years. Rav Gershon served as dayan in Krakow, and in 1650 served the kehila of Prussnitz, Moravia. With the petira of his father-in-law, the Tzemach Tzedek in 1661, he became Rav in Nicholsburg and a year later of the entire province of Moravia. He served as chief Rabbi of Austria until the expulsion of 1670. At that point, he became Rav of Metz, Germany, where he remained until his petira. He is the author of Avodas HaGershuni, which deals with a wide range of Halachah. Much of what we know about the Chmielnicki massacres are based on this work. A prolific writer, he also composed Tiferes HaGershuni comprising his drashas on the Torah, and Chidushei HaGershuni on Halacha.

Rav Chaim Yosef Dovid Azulai, (the Chida), (1724-1806). Arguably the Sephardic equivalent to the Vilna Gaon, the Chida, was born in Jerusalem. At the age of 18, he learned under Rav Chaim ben Atar (the Ohr Hachaim). His works include a collection of responsa known as Yoseif Ometz, the Shem HaGedolim (a biographical work on 1300 authors and 1200 writings, dating back to the Gaonim), and many others. He passed away in Livorno, Italy.

Rav Eliezer Lipman, father of Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk and Reb Zusha of Annipoli.

Rav Mordechai Posner, Rav of Ursha and brother of the Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1823)

Rav Shmuel Strashun (Shtershun; Shtrasson), the Rashash of Vilna (1794-1872). He was a Rav and a very wealthy banker in Vilna; he also administrated a free loan fund. His commentary on virtually the entire Talmud is printed in most editions of the Talmud. (12 Adar, per Yated 2006; 13 Adar 1885 per Yated 2008)

Rav Avraham Borenstein of Sochatchov (Sochaczew, near Warsaw) (1839-1910), author of Avnei Nezer (seven volumes of response) and Eglei Tal (encyclopedia of the laws of Shabbos). He was born in Bendin to Rav Ze’ev Nachum, author of the Agudas Eizov, a descendent of the Rema and the Shacha, and the Rav of Elkush and Biala. In 1853, he married Sarah Tzina, one of the two daughters of the Kotzker Rebbe, with whom he learned almost daily for almost 7 years. After the petira of his father-in-law in 1859, Rav Avraham accepted the Chidushei HaRim of Ger as his rebbe. After the petira of the Chidushei HaRim in 1866, he accepted Rav Chanoch Henich HaKohen of Alexander as his new reebbe. In 1883, he became Rav of Sochachov. His lectures in the yeshiva lasted six to eight hours, often starting at midnight and continuing until morning, except for a 15-minute break when he napped. Rav Bornstein is frequently quoted in his son's classic work Shem Mishmuel.

Rav Yosef Rosen of Dvinsk, the Gaon of Rogatchov, author of Tzofnas Paneach (1858-1936). His father, Reb Fishel Rosen, was a leader of the Jewish community of Rogatchov in general, and of the Lubavicher Chasidim in particular. When he was bar mitzvah, his father brought Reb Yosef to the Rav of Slutzk, Rav Yosef Dov Soloveichik, the Beis Halevi. Together with Rav Chaim (Rav Yosef Dov’s son), Rav Yosef learned with the Beis Halevi for an entire year. He then learned with Rav Yehushua Diskin in Shklov. When he was 18, he married the daughter of Rav Moshe Garfinkel, a Gerer chasid in Warsaw, who supported the couple for 8 years. In 1891, he took the position of Rav in Dvinsk, a position he kept until his death.

Rav Shmuel Brudny, Rosh Yeshivas Mir (1915-1981). Born in Smorgon, Lithuania, between Oshmina and Vilna. At 14 years of age, he entered the Rameilles Yeshiva in Vilna under Rav Shlomo Heiman. Three years later, he entered the Mirrer Yesihva under Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel. Whereas his parents and siblings were murdered by the Nazis, he escaped to Shanghai. After the yeshiva was relocated in New York, he was appointed Rosh Yesihva.

Rav Yehoshua Moshe Orenstein, author of Yam HaTalmud

12 Adar

Rav Moshe Pardo, founder of Or Hachaim Seminary in Bnei Brak

Rav Pinchas Hager of Borsha (1869-1941). He was raised not only by his father, the Imrei Baruch of Vizhnitz, but also by his grandfather, Rav Menachem Mendel, the Tzemach Tzaddik of Vizhnitz. When he was only eighteen, Rav Pinchas was thrust into the position of a rebbe in Borsha, a town on the Vishiva River by the foot of the Carpathians. Borsha was one of the 160 Jewish communities of the approximately 500-square kilometer Maramures (Marmerosh) district of northwestern Romania. After the outbreak of the First World War, the Rebbe fled to Budapest, and then to Vishiva abd Sighet after the war. In 1926, his son, Rav Alter Menachem Mendel succeeded him as rebbe in Borsha. He and his two brothers perished in the Holocaust.

Rav Yosef Adler, the Turda Rav (1977). Turda is a city with a history of over 2000 years. It is famous for its salt mine (Salina Turda), whose origins date back to the Roman times. In June 1942, following impressive German victories in Russia and following the Romanian army's advance in the Caucasus, Antonescu agreed to implement the 'Final Solution' with regard to Romanian Jews. The first transports were to depart from southern Transylvania, from the districts of Arad, Timisoara, and Turda.

Rav Chaim David Halevy (1924-1998). Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv for the last 25 years of his life, he was known to many as the author of the multi volume responsa Aseh Lecha Rav, on many contemporary halachic and hashkafic issues, and a six-volume halachic work entitled Mekor Chaim.

13 Adar

Rav Yehuda HeChasid, author of Sefer Chasidim (1150-1217). His father, Rav Shmuel (1120-1175), led a famous yeshivah in Speyer, and served as Rav Yehuda’s rebbe. (Yated 2007 says 8 Adar)

Rav Moshe Langner, the fifth Strettiner Rebbe (1959). Born to Rav Yehuda Hersch Rebbe in the town of Strettin. In 1921, he moved the family from Galicia to Toronto.

Rav Shmuel Strashon of Vilna, the Rashash (1885)

Rav Moshe Feinstein (1895-1986). Born in Uzda (near Minsk), Belorussia, he was the son of R' Dovid Feinstein, who was a grandchild of the Be'er Hagolah. His mother was Feige Gittel, daughter of R' Yechiel, rov of Kopolia. He joined the yeshiva of R' Isser Zalman Meltzer in Slutzk at the age of twelve. At the age of sixteen, R' Moshe completed Shas and Shulchan Oruch. He was rabbi of Lyuban from 1921 to 1936. He escaped the Stalinist regime in 1936 and settled in New York as rosh yeshiva of Tiferes Yerushalayim. He authored Igros Moshe, Darash Moshe, and Dibros Moshe.

14 Adar

Rav Ze’ev Wolf of Zhitomer, student of the Maggid of Mezeitch, author of Or Hameir, one of the early foundation texts of Chassidus (1800).

Rav Shimon Schwab (1908-1995). Born in Frankfurt-am-Main, Rav Schwab learned at Mir and Telz before becoming dayan in Darmstadt and Rav in the district of Ichenhausen in Bavaria. Escaping nazi Germany in 1936, Rav Schwab served as Rav in Baltimore, then in New York in the Washington Heights area, following Rav Joseph Breuer.

Rav Menashe Frankel of Lizhensk (1903-1965). Born in Yadlowa in eastern Galicia to Rav Shlomo Zalman Frankel, Rav of the town. He married the daughter of Rav Yechezkel HaLevy Landau, Rav of Lizhensk and remained in Lizhensk. He was elected Dayan, and when his father-in-law was nifter in 1938, he became Rav of the city. Lizhensk was one of the first cities to fall to the Nazis in 1939. Rav Menashe escaped, but was sent to Siberia , then to Uzbekistan (Buchara). He settled in new York in 1948 and founded his own congregation, Ateres Shlomo.

Rav Yaakov Asher Kopf, grandson of the Lelover Rebbe, Rav Moshe Mordechai Biderman (1955-2005).

15 Adar

Rav Zvi Hirsch Kaidanover of Vilna and Frankfurt, author of Kav Hayashar (1712)

Rav Yosef Leifer of Pittsburgh, the Tzidkas Yosef (1891-1966). Born to Rav Ber of Satmar, Rav Yosef was a descendant of Rav Meir HaGadol of Premishlan. After marrying and living in Krula for seven years, he traveled to America in 1924 to raise funds for his orphaned sisters (his father died when Rav Yosef was 15 years old). One of his stops was Pittsburgh, and he decided to stay. His brothers, Rav Meir and Rav Shalom, also came to America, taking positions in Cleveland and Brighton Beach, respectively. His youngest son, Yitzchak Eizik, passed away when he was elevn. Two other sons, Rav Yissachar Ber and Rav Mordechai were murdered by the Nazis in 1944. Only his oldest son, Rav Avraham Abba, escaped and succeeded him after his petira. Rav Avraham Abba moved to Eretz Yisrael in 1970 and founded Yeshivas Tzidkas Yosef in Ashdod.

Rav Chaim Kamil, Rosh Yeshivas Ofakim, one of the prime builders of Torah in the Negev (1933-2005). As a bachur, he learned in Yeshiva Slobodka in Yerushalayim. Following his marriage to the daughter of Rav Mordechai Porush, he learned at the Mir and became a talmid muvhak of Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz. After many years, he was appointed Rosh Yeshiva of Me’or Einayim of Rachmistrivka in Yerushalayim, and from 1979 at Ofakim. He was survived by his daughter.

16 Adar

Rav Shalom Charif (1825). Having learned under Rav Pinchas Halevi Horowitz (the Baal Haflaah) in Frankfurt for many years, Rav Shalom became Rav and Rosh Yeshiva in Ansbach, a town in Bavaria, Germany. He later moved to Hungary and served as Rav in Stampen, Frauenkirchen, and Lankenbach. Only one of his manuscripts, Divrei Rash, on several mesechtas, has been published.

Rav Eliezer [Eleazar] Menachem Mendel Biederman, Lelover Rav in Yerushalayim, the son of Rav Moshe Biederman (1827-1883)

Rav Yitzchak Friedman of Boyan, founder of the Boyaner Chasidim, author of Pachad Yitzchak (1849-1917). He was the third son of Rav Avraham Yaakov of Sadigora, the son of Rav Yisrael of Rizhin. (17 Adar according to Yated 2007 and 2008)

Rav Pinchas Menachem Alter, the Pnei Menachem of Ger (1926-1996). The fifth son of Rav Avraham Mordechai Alter (the Imrei Emes), Rav Pinchas was born in the resort town of Palinitz, Poland when his father was 60 years old. Along with his father and other family members, he escaped to Erezt Yisrael during World War II. In 1946, he married his cousin, and two years later, his father passed away. Three of the Imrei Emes’ sons became Rebbe of Ger: Rav Yisrael (the Beis Yisrael, nifter 1977), Rav Simcha Bunim (the Lev Simcha, nifter 1992), and Rav Pinchas Menachem (the Pnei Menachem). However, Rav Pinchas Menachem was Rosh Yeshiva of Sefas Emes of Ger in Yerushalayim from the time he was 30, and was head of Agudas Yisrael after the petria of Rav Yitzchak Meir Levine.

17 Adar

Rav Chaim Davidson (1760-1854). Born in Pinchov, he lost his father at an early age. Soon after his bar mitzvah, the Warsaw gevir, Rav Naftali Tzvi Tzinimer, made the shidduch for Rav Chaim to marry his daughter Rochel. Rav Chaim moved to Warsaw, making it his home for the next 80 years. When Hoffmann, the chief Prussian administrator of Warsaw, insisted that every Jew adopt a surname for use on official documents 1795, Reb Chaim took the name Davidson, in honor of his father. In addition to studying at the yeshiva of the Nesivos in Lissa, Rav Chaim often visited and studied with Rabbi Akiva Eiger. In the early 1800s, the Jewish population of Warsaw was skyrocketing, largely because of refugees coming in from the Ukraine and other places. From 2,519 Jews in 1765, the Jewish presence shot up to 15,000 by 1816. In 1802, the maskilim were numerous enough to open their own shul, which they named the "German Synagogue." After 1815 when Russia annexed Warsaw, a deadly partnership developed between the autonomous Polish government and Haskala Jews. An edict in 1821 decreed the abolition of the kehillos, and substituted them with "Congregational Boards" consisting of the rav, his assistant, and three trustees. In 1822, Rav Chaim was chosen as one of Warsaw's three trustees and held this position for two years. After the passing of the Chemdas Shlomo in 1839, a council appointed Rav Chaim to be the new Rav of Warsaw. Thereafter, his wealthy son, Rav Naftali, supplied him with funds to continue the numerous chesed projects he had financed while he himself was a wealthy man.

Rav Shimon Sofer, Rav and Av Beis Din of Cracow (1821-1883). Born in Pressburg, the second son of the Chasam Sofer

Rav Yisrael Ze’ev Mintzberg (Minzberg), Av Beis Din of K'hal Chassidim (or K’hal Masmidim) in Yerushalayim (1962)

Rav Avraham Menachem Danziger, the ninth Admor of Alexander (1921-2005). The earliest Chasidim of Alexander followed Rav Shraga Feivel of Gritza (d. 1848) who was a close talmid of Rav Simcha Bunim of Peshischa. After Rav Shraga Feivel’s petira, they followed Rav Menachem Mendel of Vorki. . After his petira in 1864, they followed Rav Yechiel (1828-1894), the son of Rav Shraga Feivel. He set up court in Alexander near Lodz, Poland. Rav Yechiel had 3 sons. One of them, Rav Yerachmiel Yisrael Yitzchak, led the Alexander Chassidim from 1894 to 1910 and was the mechaber of Yismach Yisrael. After his passing, his younger brother, Rav Shmuel Tzvi (the Tiferes Shmuel) led the court until 1924. The third brother, Rav Betzalel Yair, followed. Rav Shmuel Tzvi’s son, Rav Yitzchak, took over leadership until the Holocaust. The Alexander Chassidim, which outnumber all others in Europe except for Ger, all but perished. The broken pieces were put together by Rav Yehuda Moshe, son-in-law of Rav Betzalel Yair; he had departed Poland for Eretz Yisrael in 1934. Of his 9 sons, only one survived., Rav Avraham Menachem. He was survived by 3 sons, 4 daughters, and thousands of pages of chidushei Torah yet to be published.

18 Adar

Rav Alexander Ziskind, born in Brzhen, but lived most of his life in Horodna (Grodno, Belarus), Lithuania, the product of the teaching of Rav Aryeh Leib Epstein, Rav of Nikolsberg. He authored the mussar work, Yesod V'shoresh Ha'avoda, which contains how one should behave every hour of the day and kavanos for tefillos and mitvos, as well as Karnei Ohr, a commentary on the Zohar. (1700-1794)

Rav Chanoch Henoch HaKohen (1798-1870), Alexander Rebbe. He was a disciple of Rav Simcha Bunam of Pshis'cha, Rav Menachem Mendel of Kotzk and the Chidushei Harim.

Rav Nachum Mordechai Friedman (1946), Tchortkover Rebbe

Rav Yechezkel Levenstein, mashgiach of Ponevezh (1885-1974). Born in Warsaw in 1896 to Osminer
Chassidim,, he he lost his mother at age 5. At 13, he joined the yeshiva at Lomza. Early in life, he moved to
Radin to learn with the Chafetz Chaim. There, he met the mashgiach, Rav Yerucham Levovitz, who wasa
talmid of the Alter of Kelm. He then learned in Kelm, where he was fortunate to enjoy the close attention
of Rav Tzvi Hirsch Broide (son-in-law of the Alter), at whose table he ate his Shabbos meals. In 1919,
while Reb Yeruchom was serving as mashgiach, the Mirrer Yeshiva was exiled from its hometown of Mir,
Poland, into Russia and then to Vilna. Reb Chatzkel, who was then learning in Mir, was asked by the rosh
yeshiva, Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, to supervise the yeshiva's spiritual welfare until Reb Yeruchom
returned. Reb Chatzkel was approached by Rav Aharon Kotler, who headed Yeshivas Eitz Chaim in
Kletsk, to come and serve as mashgiach ruchani in his yeshiva. Reb Chatzkel accepted. In 1935, he moved
to Eretz Yisrael to serve as mashgiach of Yeshivas Lomza in Petach Tikvah, which was headed by Rav
Reuven Katzl, but he moved back to serve as mashgiach in Mir after the petira of Reb Yerucham. After
2 years in America, he served as mashgiach at the Mir in Israel, then – upon the passing of Rav Dessler –
at Ponevezh.

Rav Moshe Weber (1914-2000) would go to the Western Wall from his home in Meah Shearim nearly every day to pray and to help visitors wrap tefillin. Less publicly, he distributed enormous sums of tzedakah to the city's poor. The Lubavitcher Rebbe said of him that he is one of the holiest and kindest people in the world. He published several volumes of Torah insights in Yarim Moshe. There is an ongoing periodical of his teachings distributed weekly called Shemu V'Techi Nafshechem, which also offers for sale his audio recordings.

Yitzchak Shlomo Zilberman (1928-2001).

19 Adar

Rav Dovid of Dinov (1874), father of Rav Tzvi Elimelech Shapira. Rav Dovid was the author of Tzemach Dovid and the son of Rav Tzvi Elimelech, the Bnei Yissoschar.

Rav Meir Yechiel Haldshtok, founder of the court of Ostrovtze (1851-1928). A talmid of Rav Elimelech of Grodzinsk, a scion of the Kozhnitzer dynasty. Ostrovtze was one of two courts in Poland known for their yeshivos and high level of learning; the other was Sochatchov. Rav Meir Yechiel’s intricate sermons, which drew heavily on gematria, came to be known as "Ostgrovotze pshetlach." They have been collected in Meir Einei Chachamim, and his teachings on Bereishis in Ohr Torah.

Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, av beis din and Rav of Yerushalayim before the State of Israel was established. (1848-1932)

Rav Yehuda Greenwald, Av Bais Din of Satmar, author of Shevet MiYehuda

Rav Shmuel Engel (1853-1935). Born in Tarno, Galicia. Rav of Radomishla (Radimishla) from 1888. Authored Sheilos Uteshuvas Maharash.

Rav Yitzchak Kalish, Amshenover Rebbe, New York (1993). Son of Rav Yosef Kalish of Amshinov, grandson of Rav Menachem Kalish of Amshinov.

Rav Yaakov Chaim Jofen (Yaffen), Rosh Yeshiva of Beis Yosef and the son of Rav Avraham Jofen, the son-in-law of the Alter of Novardok. Following his bar mitzvah he studied at Baranovich for one year under Rav Dovid Rapaport, and then for a year under Rav Elchonon Wasserman. During these two years he lived with his uncle, the mashgiach, Rav Yisrael Yaakov Lubchansky. Later he returned to Bialystok to study under his father at Yeshivas Beis Yosef. In 1941, he arrived in the U.S. with his father. He began giving shiurim that year at Yeshivas Beis Yosef, and continued to do so for the next sixty years (1917-2003)

20 Adar

Rav Meir Schiff, the Maharam Schiff (1608-1644). Born in Frankfurt am Main, he became Rav of the nearby town of Fulda at the age of 17. His chidushim on the Talmud are terse, incisive, and profound. In 1644, he was appointed Rav of Prague, but he died at the age of 36 shortly after his arrival there.[6 Nissan according to Yated 2007]

Rav Yoel Sirkes of Cracow, (the Bach) (1561-1641), author of Bayis Chadash on the Tur, in which he traced each law to its source in the gemarah. In his youth, he studied under Rav Shlomo Leibush of Lublin and Rav Meshulam Feivush in Brisk. He had several rabbinic appointments throughout Poland, lastly as Chief Rabbi of Cracow in 1619. He was the teacher and father-in-law of Rav Dovid HaLevy, the Taz.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (1910-1995), born in the Shaarei Chesed neighborhood of Yerushalayim to Rav Chaim Yehuda Leib Auerbach, author of Chacham Lev and rosh yeshiva of Shaar Hashamayim. Rav Shlomo Zalman learned at Etz Chaim yeshiva. He married Chaya Rivka Ruchamkin on erev Purim 1930. During the next 19 years he wrote Meorei Eish on the laws of electricity, Maadeanei Haaretz on laws regarding agriculture in Eretz Yisrael, as well as a commentary on Shev Shmaatsa. In 1949, he left Etz Chaim to succeed Rav Yechiel Schlesinger as Rosh Yeshiva of Kol Torah Yeshiva in the Rechavia section of Yerushalayim. He was the author of Minchas Shlomo. His brother-in-law was Rav Shalom Schwadron. His piskei halacha on Shabbos are found throughout the sefer Shmiras Shabbos Kehilchasa, written by his talmid Rav Yehoshua Neuwirth. Rav Raphael Blum, the Kashau Rav, who replanted his Chasidic community from Europe to Bedford Hills in Westchester County, NY (1910-2005)

21 Adar

Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk, author of Noam Elimelech, (1717-1787). Learned under the Maggid of Mezritch. Among his students were Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apta, The Chozeh of Lublin, the Maggid of Kozhnitz, and Rav Menachem Mendel of Rimanov.

Rav Yitzchak Elchonon Spector, rav of Kovno (1817-1896), lived in Kovno 1866-1896. The 3rd son of Rav Yisrael Isser ben Elchonon, the rav of the Lithuanian town of Roush, located in the Grodno district. After he married (to Sara Raizel), he moved to Volkovisk where his father-in-law comfortably supported him. The rav in Volkovisk at that time was Rav Binyamin Diskin. A great luminary in and of himself, he was also famous for his illustrious son, Rav Yoshua Leib Diskin, the rav of Brisk, who later moved to Eretz Yisrael. Rav Binyamin Diskin was so impressed with Yitzchak Elchonon that he set up a special chavrusa to study with him Choshen Mishpot two hours a day. In 1837, when he was 20 years old, he accepted the offer to become rav of the small village of Zebelen, and then became rav in Baraze in 1839. He became rav of Novardok in 1851 and rav of Kovno in 1864. He held the position in Kovno for 32 years. He authored
Be’er Yitzchak and Eyn Yitzchak (both teshuvos) and Nachal Yitzchak on Choshen Mishpat.

Rav Itzele Ponevezher, Rosh Yeshiva in Slabodka and Ponevezh (1919)

Rav Moshe Shmuel Glasner, a great-grandson of the Chasam Sofer, was born in Pressburg and later moved with his family to Klausenberg, where his father served as Rabbi. Rav Moshe succeeded his father in that post in 1878. His best known work is Dor Revi'i on Tractate Chullin, in which he explains those places where Rambam's understanding differs from that of other Rishonim. (1924)

Rav Shlomo Yosef Zevin, editor of the Talmudical Encyclopedia (1976)

Rav Yitzchak Horowitz of Stetchin (1862-1940). His father was a direct descendent of Rav Naftali Tzvi of Ropshitz, and his uncle was the Imrei Noam of Dzikov. Rav Yitzchak was succeeded by his son Rav Yehuda, who moved to New York before passing away in 1982.

Tchaber Rav of London (1989)

Mr. Avraham Dov Kohn, Principal of Gateshead Seminary.

Rav Doniel Schur (2006). A strong presence in Cleveland’s Jewish community as a Rav, mohel, and educator. He was appointed Rav of Beth Midrash Hagadol-Heights Jewish Center.

22 Adar

Rav Yaakov of Novominsk (1902). Father of Rav Yehuda Aryeh Perlow of Vlodova (1878-1961) and Rav Alter Yisrael Shimon Perlow of Novominsk.

Rav Yechiel Michel Epstein (1829-1908). Born in Bobroysk, author of the Aruch Hashulchan, Rav of Novardok for 34 years, father of Rav Baruch HaLevy Epstein (author of Torah Temima) and grandfather of Rav Meir Bar-Ilan, with whom he learned in Novardok.

Rav Eliezer Dovid of Radoshitz (1927)

Rav Avraham Dov Ber Kahana-Shapiro, Chief Rabbi of Kovno before and during World War II (1870-1943). Born in Kobrin on Yom Kippur, his father, Shlomo Zalman was a descendant of Rav Chaim Volozhiner. Rav Avraham attended the Volozhin Yeshiva. He was president of the Agudas Ha-Rabbanim of Lithuania and came to the US in March 1924 with Rav Kook and Rav Moshe Mordechai Epstein, to collect funds for Torah institutions in Israel and Europe. He died in the Slobodka ghetto on. His piskei halacha can be found in the sefer Dvar Avraham.

Rav Reuven Grozovsky, Rosh Yeshivas Kamenitz and Torah Vodaas (1896-1958). Successor of Rav Baruch Ber Lebowitz at Kaminetz. When Rav Reuevn was a young man studying in the Slobodka Yeshiva, his father, the Dayan of Minsk, passed away. His colleagues at Slobodka included Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Halevi Ruderman, Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky, Rav Aharon Kotler and Rav Yitzchak Hutner.

Rav Yisrael Moshe Dushinsky (1921-2003). Born in Chust, Hungary, to Rav Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, Rav of Chust (later to beomce Rav and Av Beis Din of the Eida Charedis of Yerushalayim), he was his father’s first son, when his father was 50 years old. After many years and many brachos, Rav Rav Yosef Tzvi received a bracha from Rav Yechezkel Shraga of Shinava, who also gave a him his sefer, Ayalah Sheluchah, printed in the memory of the Shonava Rav’s son, Naftali, who was nifter on the 21st of Kislev, 1864. The following year, on the exact date of Reb Naftali’s yahrtzeit, Yisrael Moshe was born. His middle name was in honor of his great uncle, the Maharam Shick. The family moved to Eretz Yisrael in Adar of 1930, one month before the petirah of Rav Yosef Chaim Zonenfeld. He was married to the daughter of Rav Dovid Yehoshua Gross, Rosh Hakohol of the Satmar Kehillah, in 1945. On Erev Sukkos of 1949, his father was niftar, and the 27-year-old Rav Yisrael Moshe was appointed Rosh Yeshiva of Dushinsky. In 1969, he was inducted as a member of the Eidah Charedis. He became S’gan Beish Din after the Satmar Rebbe’s petira and the Av Beis Din in 1996.

Rav Yeshaya Shimonowitz, Rosh Yeshivas Rav Yaakov Yosef, U.S.

23 Adar

Rav Chaim Cheikel (Chaikel) of Amdur (Indura) (1787). Born to Rav Shmuel in Karlin, he was a disciple of the Vilna Gaon, and later became a student of Rav Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mazerich. Rav Chaim became one of the first Chassidic Admorim in 1772-73. He authotred Chaim Vochesed. Amdur is about 25 miles south of Grodno (Hrodno). Amdur and Grodno are located in the northwest corner of what is now the independent country of Belarus, close to the Lithuanian and Polish borders. During the Cossack revolt of 1648 against Polish landowners and gentry, over 100,000 Jews, mostly in Ukraine and southern Belarus, were murdered. However, the marauders did not advance north to the Grodno region. Jews comprised 80% of the population in Grodno at that time. Rav Chaim’s daughter married Moshe, the brother of Aharon, founder of Karlin Hassidism. Rav Chaim was succeeded by his son, Rav Shmuel of Amdur.

Rav Yitzchak Yaakov Rabinowitz of Biala (Divrei Bina) (1905), youngest son of Rebbe Nathan Dovid, son-in-law of Rebbe Yehoshua of Ostrovoh (the Toldos Adam), and great-grandson of Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowitz, the Yid Hakadosh of Peshischa.

Rav Raphael Shapiro, the Toras Raphael, rosh yeshivas Volozhin (1837-1921). After the Volozhin Yeshiva was closed down in 1892 by order of the Russian government, he reopened it, on a smaller scale in 1899. He was also a son-in-law of the Netziv and the father-In-Law of Rav Chaim Soloveichik of Brisk

Rav Michel Dovid Rozovsky (1869-1935). Born in Svarjen, near Stoibetz, he learned in Mir and Volozhin. After his marriage, he was appointed Rav in Grodna, in which capacity he remained for 40 years. He was the father of three sons: Rav Yehoshua Heschel, who served as Rav in Grodna, until he was murdered by the Nazis; Rav Yosef, who served as Rosh Yeshiva of Ohr Yisrael in Petach Tikva; and Rav Shmuel, who would become Rosh Yeshiva in Ponevezh in Bnai Brak.

Rav Yitzchak Meir Alter of Ger (Chidushei HaRim) (1799-1866). The founder of Gerer dynasty, grandfather of Sfas Emes, Reb Yitzchak Meir was able to trace his lineage back to Rav Meir ben Baruch (the Maharam) of Rottenberg (1215-1293). His mother, Chaya Sarah, was orphaned early in life and was raised by her relative, the Kozhnitzer Maggid. The Maggid had a great influence on Yitzchak Meir during the latter’s early years. As he grew, he became a disciples of Rebbi Simcha Bunem of Pryschicha and then R' Menachem Mendel of Kotzk. At the insistence of the Chassidim, the Rim became leader after the death of the Kotzker. At the first Chassi dic gathering over which he presided he declared, "Reb Simchah Bunem led with love, and R' Menachem Mendel with fear. I will lead with Torah!" He had 13 children and outlived them all , a tremendous personal tragedy. Yet, he accepted it all with love.

Rav Shlomo Zafrani (1970), born in Aram Soba (Aleppo). He became a close disciple of Rabbi Ezra Sha'in. Together with Rav Moshe Tawil, he founded the Degel HaTorah yeshiva. His community supported him as well as the yeshivah. At the age of 68, he moved to Eretz Yisrael and settled in Tel-Aviv. He lived there for nine years, until his death.

Rav Yehuda Moshe Danziger (Danzcyger), Alexandria Rebbe of Bnai Brak (Emunas Moshe) (1973)

Rav Yisrael Grossman (1922-2007). Born in the old city of Yerushalayim, Reb Yisrael studied at the yeshiva of Rav Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, where he learned meseches Kiddushin 30 times. He later learned at Yeshivas Kaminetz. After Rav Baruch Shimon Schneerson became Rosh Yeshiva in Tchebin, Reb Yisrael replaced him as Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshivas Chabad, where he remained for 30 years. He also served as a dayan for the beis din of Agudas Yisrael for over 40 years and later opened a beis din for monetary laws with Rav Betzalel Zolti and helped found Mifal Hashas. He was also very involved with Chinuch Atzmai.

24 Adar

Rav Yitzchak Eizik Margulies of Prague (1525).

Rav Chaim Algazi of Kushta, author of Nesivos Hamishpot. Student of Rav Shlomo Algazi Rabbi of Rhodes. [Dr. Fred Rosner cites Rav Chaim Yitzchak Algazi in Responsa Derech Aitz Chaim]

Rav Eliyahu HaKohen Ha'Itamari of Izmir, author of Shevet Mussar (according to some - 22 Adar)
(c1650-1729). He was the son of Rav Shlomoh HaKohen the Itamari, whose lineage apparently dates back to Itamar, the son of Aharon HaKohen. In his book, Ve'lo Od Ela, Rav Eliyahu describes the earthquake that shook Izmir, on a Shabbos in 1688, and the many miracles that occurred to the Jews of the city. All of the synagogues and batei medrash in the city remained intact, while all of the Moslem mosques collapsed. An hour after the earthquake, a huge fire burst forth and spread throughout the city, destroying what remained of it. However, the fire ceased at the Jewish Quarter, and did not penetrate it. His other works included Me'il Tzeddakah on the importance of giving tzeddakah, Medrash Talpiyot, Yado BaKol, Medrash Eliyahu, Aggadas Eliyahu, a two-volume commentary on the aggados of the Talmud Yerushalmi, Chut shel Chessed on the Chumash, Dana Peshara, on Shir HaShirim, Rus and Esther, almost 40 sefarim in all.

Rav Betzalel Yair Danziger of Lodz (1761).

Rav Binyamin Diskin of Horodna and Vilna (1844)

Rav Yitzchak Meyer of Alesk (1829-1904). Born in Belz to Rav Chanoch Henach of Alesk, author of Lev Sameyach, and Rebbetzen Freide, daughter of the Sar Shalom of Belz. After learning with his maternal grandfather, he became a chasid of Rav Yisrael of Ruzhin, and later of his son, Rav Dovid Moshe of Chortkov. With his father’s petira in 1884, Rav Yitzchak became Rav in Alesk. He had one daughter, and his son-in-law succeeded him.

Rav Shlom Elyashiv, author of Leshem Shevo Ve’achlama (1927)

Rav Rav Yitzchak of Stutchin (1940)

Rav Chaim Osher of Radoshitz (1941)

Rav Yehoshua Menachem Ehrenberg (1904-1976). Born in Kemesce, Hungary. In 1921, he moved to Tarnow to learn in the yeshiva of Rav Meir Arik. Living in Cracow, Rav Ehrenberg published his first sefer, Rashei Besamim on the Rokeach, in 1937. During WWII, he was interned in the Cracow ghetto. He was included in the “Kastner train,” escaping to Switzerland. In 1945, he moved to Yerushalayim. In November of 1947, he heeded to request of Rav Herzog to be the Chief Rabbi of the internment camp on Cyprus; he stayed until the camp was entirely dismantled and came back to Eretz Yisrael on the last ship. He was appointed Av Beis Din in Yaffo. When Yaffo was joined to Tel Aviv, he served as a specialist on Gittin, and was widely regarded as the foremost posek in this area. He wrote the sefer Teshuvos Dvar Yehoshua.

Rav Gad (Godel) Eisner (1985), taught at the Talmud Torah of Rav Gershon Eliyahu Liz in Lodz before WWII, and for many years as maggid shiur and Mashgiach ruchani at Yeshivas Chidushei haRim in tel Aviv

25 Adar

Rav Gershon Kitover, brother-in-law of the Baal Shem Tov (1696-1761). His father, Efrayim, was a Rav and Av Beis Din in one of the four batei din in Brody, Poland. In 1747, he moved to Eretz Yisrael (becoming the first of the talmidim of the Besht to do so), living first in Chevron and then in Yerushalayaim.

Rav Menachem Mendel Hager (1885-1941). Rebbe of Vizhnitz for fourteen years. He published a monthly journal "Degel HaTorah."

Rav Yaakov Yisrael Fischer (1925-2003), head of the Eidah HaHareidis Rabbinical Court in Yerushalayim. Rav Fischer was born in Yerushalayim on the 21st of Tamuz, the day that Yisrael Yaakov Dehaan was killed in what many said was the first political assassination in modern Israeli history. Dehaan changed his lifestyle and became a chareidi Jew, and Rav Aharon Fischer named his newborn son Yaakov Yisrael after him. Rav Aharon’s father was Rav Shlomo, av beis din of Karlsburg, Hungary, and author of Neiros Shlomo and Korbanei lachmi. Rav Yaakov Yisrael learned at Etz Chaim under Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer, who became his chavrusa. In 1961, he was appointed moreh hora’ah in the Eidah Hachareidis, and in 1975 he joined its beis din. In 1963, he was appointed Rav of the Zichron Moshe shul, a position he kept for 40 years.

Rebbetzin Zahava Braunstein (2005)

26 Adar

Rebbe Eli (Eliyahu) Chaim Carlebach. Rabbi Citron's father-in-law, twin brother of singer Shlomo Carlebach and person for whom Aaron Gross's son is named (1989)

Sarah Schenirer, mother of the Bais Yaakov movement (1935)

Rav Eliezer Lippa, the son of Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk (1813).

Rav Avraham Chaim Brim of Yerushalayim (2002)

27 Adar

Tzedkiah, last king of Yehuda, died in captivity, in Bavel (561 BCE). [Hamodia 2005 says 396 BCE; Hamodia 2006 says 380 BCE]

Rav Yosef Shaul ben Aryeh Leibush HaLevi Nathanson (1810-1875). Born in Brezhan, he was married at the age of 16 to Rebbetzen Sara Eidel, daughter of Rav Yitzchak Aharon Intinge of Lvov and grand-daughter of Rav Mordechai Zev Orenstein, the Rav of Lvov. Her uncle was Rav Yaakov Orenstein, the Yeshuos Yaakov. Reb Yosef Shaul became very close to his brother-in-law, Rav Mordechai Zev Intinge, and together they authored several sefarim including Meforshei Hayam and Magen Giborim on Tur and Shulchan Aruch, Me’iras Eynayim on hilchos bedikas hareiah, and Ner Maaravi on the Yerushalmi. Many years before he became Rav, he founded a yeshiva in Lvov whose purpose was to train dayanim and rabbanim. In 1856, he was appointed Rav in Lvov, a position he held for almost 20 years. Sadly, his Rebbetzen was niftar in 1857. He married one year later but was never zocheh to have children with either wife. He founded a communal kitchen, and he himself would walk around town collecting tzedaka from the city gevirim. For this tzedaka, he wanted to take an active role. He is most famous for his sefer Sheilos uteshuvos Hashoel Umaishiv, but he authored many other sefarim, including Divrei Shaul on the Hagadadah, Divrei Shaul Yosef Daas, Yodos Nedarim, Divrei Shaul al Hatorah, and Divrei Shaul al Aggados haShas. He also authored a kuntres entitled Bitul Modaa, in which he argued that machine-made matzos are more mehudar than hand matzos. [Hamodia 2007 states his yahrtzeit is 26 Adar]

Rav Yeshayah Schorr (1879). His primary teacher was Rav Mordechai of Kremnitz, the son of the Maggid of Zlotchov. Rav Schorr's last rabbinical post, and the one for which he is best remembered, was in Iasi (on the present-day border between Rumania and Moldova). His best know sefer is Klil Tiferes on chumash.

Rav Moshe Meir Rosenstein of Berditchev (1821-1902). A chassid of the Rizhuner Rebbe in his youth, Rav Moshe Meir moved to Eretz Yisral and settled in Tzefas in 1853, living there for several decades. At the end of his life, he settled in Teveria. His insights have been published recently in a sefer called Avodas HaLevi’im.

Rav Shlomo Elyashiv (1841-1925). He was a great Kabbalist whose vast knowledge of all aspects of Torah and exceptional ability to clarify complicated concepts resulted in a few several Kabbalistic works, including Drushei Olam HaTohu (“Dayah”) and Hakdamos V’Sha’arim (“HaKadosh”). More recently, the more philosophical and less Kabbalistically technical sections of his works were assembled into a single book called Leshem Shevo Ve'achlama.

Rav Moshe Neuschloss, av beis din of New Square. New Square is the anglicized form of Skvira, a village in Ukraine, where the Skver Hasidim dynasty of Chasidism had its roots. The community began in 1954, when twenty Skver families moved from Williamsburg to a 130 acre farm north of Spring Valley, under the leadership of their Rebbe Rav Yakov Yosef Twersky. In 1961 New Square became the first village in New York state to be governed by a religious group. Over the years annexations have increased its size. Its population increased 78% between 1990 and 2000.

Rav Chaim Sinuani (1898-1979). Born in Sinuan, Yemen, to Chacham Yichya, of the eminent Bida family. As a youth, he left home for Jabal, to study in the yeshiva of Rav Shlomo ben Yosef Tabib and Rav Dovid Ya’ish Chadad. Both of the roshei yeshiva passed away in 1919. In 1921, at the age of only 23, Rav Chaim became Rav and Av Beis Din of Sinuan. He and his family participated in Operation Magic Carpet in 1949. He is buried in Yehud.

Rav Yisrael Bergstein, born in the Lithuanian city of Suvalk, studied in Grodno under Rav Shimon Shkop and Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz from age 11, then at age 14, under Rav Avraham Grodzinsky and the Alter of Slabodka at Chevron. Taught at Chafetz Chaim in Baltimore and founded a yeshiva in White Plains (1912-1998).

28 Adar

Rav Shmuel Halevi Klein (Kellin) of Boskowitz, author of Machtzis Hashekel, a super-commentary on the Magen Avraham on the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim (1738-1827) [Hamodia 2006 and 2007 says 1 Nissan]

Rav Moshe Chevroni, rosh yeshiva of Chevron (1986)

Rav Yechiel Michel Gutfarb, gabbai tzedaka of Yerushalayim (2002)

Rav Mordechai of Lecovitz, the father of the Slonim Chassidic dynasty, immigrated to Chevron in 1844

29 Adar

Rabbeinu Yitzchak ben Rabbeinu Asher, and grandson of the Riva, was murdered with numerouis other Jews because of a blood libel (1196).

Rav Shlomo HaCohen Rabinowitz of Radomsk, first Rebbe of the Radomsk dynasty, he first took the position of Rav of Radomsk in 1842. He was the author of Tiferes Shlomo on Chumash and the moadim (1801 or 1803 -1866)

Rav Chaim Shmuel Birnbaum, son-in-law of Rav Akiva Eiger and author of Maseh Choshev (1887).

Rav Chaim Welfried of Lodz (1942).

Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky (1891-1986). Born on the 21 Adar, in Dolhinov, he left for Minsk at the age of 11. Among his friends there were the future Rav Reuven Grozovsky, and the young Aaron Kotler. Shortly after Pesach in 1905, Reb Yaakov and Reb Aaron traveled to Slobodka to learn under the supervision of the Alter of Slobodka. Reb Yaakov also learned in Slutzk. During World War I he took refuge in Lomza in the yeshiva of Reb Yechiel Michel Gordon. On 22 Sivan, 1919, he married the Rebbetzin Ita Ettel. On 11th Av 1937, he left for America. In 1945, he accepted the request of Reb Shraga Feivel Mendelovitz that he take up the position of rosh yeshiva in Mesivta Torah Vodaas, a position he kept for the rest of his life. His chidushim were printed in his seforim Emes LeYaakov, on Torah and on Shas. As he requested, he was buried in Brooklyn, since he pointed out that most of his family live in America and would not always be able to travel to his kever in Eretz Yisrael. From this, his last request we learn yet another chapter of his feelings for others.

Dr. Joseph Kaminetsky (1911-1999). Born in Brooklyn, he attended Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin, and later Talmudical Academy High School on East Broadway. After high school, he became a member of the very first class of Yeshiva College, from which he graduated magna cum laude in 1932. He later earned his doctorate in education from Teachers College at Columbia University. When he began his tenure at Torah Umesorah, the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools, in 1946, he set as his goal that every town and city with a Jewish population of at least 5,000 have a Jewish day school. In those days, there was only a handful of yeshivos and day schools; there are now 600 such schools with 170,000 students all over the United States. In 1980, he retired and moved to Yerushalayim, to devote himself to full-time learning.

30 Adar

Rav Yitzchak Isaac of Zhidachov (1804-1872), a descendent of the Tosfos Yomtov and the nephew and successor of Rav Zvi Hirsch of Zhidachov. One of his four sons became the first Rebbe of Komarna dynasty.

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