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Compiled by Reb Manny Saltiel
Select Month:  
 
1 Teves
 

Avraham Avinu (1638 BCE) (Bava Basra 91a). [According to others, his yahrtzeit is 1 Tishrei or Nissan (Moed Katan 28a)]

Rav Yair Chaim Bachrach (1638-1702), author of Chavos Yair. His grandmother Chava was a granddaughter of the Maharal of Prague Her husband, Rav Samuel, the rabbi of Worms, was murdered during a pogrom in 1615, and she never remarried. Chava lived in Worms until her grandson Yair Chaim’s thirteenth birthday at which time she undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land but died on the way. R Yair Chaim esteemed her to such an extent that the title of his most famous work, Chavos Yair, is based on her name. One of his works, Mekor Chaim, a major commentary on the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim was ready to be printed when the commentaries of Taz and Magen Avraham were printed. Sadly, R. Yair Chaim withdrew his own commentary. Besides his halachic expertise he had complete mastery of all the sciences, music and had a deep interest in history. He also wrote poetry. He compiled a 46 volume encyclopedia on many topics. In 1689 the Worms community was decimated by the French. Gradually, it was rebuilt. In 1699 he was finally appointed rabbi of Worms where his father and grandfather had served before him. He served for only three years until his death in 1702.

Rav Masoud Raphael Alfasi. Born in Fez, Morocco. Leader of the Tunisian Jewish community. Died in Tunisia (1774).

Rav Avraham Moshe of Peshischa (1828), son of Rebbi Simcha Bunim.

Rav Yosef Hamaaravi, baal mofes, buried in Kfar Elchamama in Tunisia.

Rav Yitzchak Eizk Langner, sixth Strettiner Rebbe (1906-1979). Born to Rav Moshe Langner, the fifth Strettiner Rebbe, his sister became the Tolner Rebbetzin. In 1921, his father moved the family from Galicia to Toronto. He married in 1929, but he and his wife never had children. In 1959, he succeeded his father.

Rav Mordechai Shlomo Berman. Born in Russia to the mekubal, Rav Yehuda Leib Berman, who authored a commentary to the Arizal’s Eitz Chaim, Rav Mordechai Shlomo and his family moved to Tel Aviv when he was still young. He attended Yeshiva Chabad before his Bar Mitzvah and learned under Rav Dovid Povarsky. When his teacher became Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevezh, he took his little talmid with him. When the Chazon Ish found out about the young illui, he had him move into his hoem and cared for himn as a son. At Ponevezh, he became the talmid muvhak of the Roshei Yeshiva, Rav Dovid Povarsky and Rav Shmuel Rozovsky. In time, the Chazon Ish married him off to his niece, the daughter of the Steipler Gaon. He became Rosh Mesivta of Ponevezh at the age of 20, and later became Rosh yeshiva (1931-2004)

 
2 Teves
 

Rav Yaakov Tzvi of Porisov (1888)

Rav Yitzchak HaLevi Kroiz, Yerushalmi, grandson of Rav Eliezer Yosef, Belzer Rebbe.

 
3 Teves
 

Rav Avraham Brandwein of Stretyn (1864), the second of four sons of Rav Yehuda Tzvi of Stretyn, who was the foremost student of Rav Uri of Strelisk. Rav Avraham succeeded his father as the Rabbi of Stretyn, after his father's death in 1854. Rav Avraham left four daughters, and many of the Stretyner Chasidim followed his son-in-law, Rav Uri Rohatyner, and Rav Uri’s son, Yehuda Tzvi, after him. Other Chasidim of Rav Avraham followed Rav Nachman of Bursztyn, who was nifter in 1914.

Rav Yaakov HaCohen Gadisha (1851-1909), Rav and Av Beis Din of Yerba, Tunisia, wrote Kochav Yaakov, Ma'il Yaakov and Halichos Yaakov.

Rav Yechezkel Ezra Yehoshua, Rav of the Iraqi community in Yerushalayim (1941)

Rav Chaim Leib Shmulevitz, rosh yeshivas Mir (1902-1979), born in Stutchin, Poland, where his father, Rav Alter Raphael, was Rosh Yeshiva. His mother, Ettel, was the daughter of Rav Yosef Yoizel Horowitz, the Alter of Novardok. In 1920, both of his parents suddenly died, and Reb Chaim was left to care for his younger brother and two younger sisters. When Rav Chaim was 22, Rav Shimon Shkop, Rosh Yeshiva in Grodno invited him to join his yeshiva. Within three years, Chaim was appointed to a lecturing post in the yeshiva. Reb Chaim continued his studies in Mir where the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, chose him as a suitable match for his daughter. With the outbreak of World War II, he remained with the Mirrer Yeshiva in its exile in Shanghai for five years. After the war, he lived for a short while in America. With the establishment of the Mirrer Yeshivah in Yerushalayim, he immigrated to Eretz Yisrael and served as its Rosh Yeshivah. Rav Chaim authored Sichos Mussar.

 
4 Teves
 

Rav Moshe Zev of Bialystock, author of Maros Hatzovos and Agudas Aizov (1729). He was the founder of Gemilas Chassadim Beis Medrash, Bialystock’s most prominent Torah center, where Rav Meir Simcha of Dvinsk learned after his marriage. [NOTE: Rav Ze’ev Nachum of Bendin, the father of Rav Avraham Borenstein of Sochatchov, authored a sefer called Agudas Eizov.]

Rav Yehoshua Eizel Charif of Slonim (1801-1872). Born in Glovanka, near Minsk. After many years of learning under the enthusiastic support of his father-in-law, Rav Yitzchak Fein, he became Rav Kalavaria, then Kutno, and finally Slonim (near Grodno). He was mechaber of many sefarim, including Emek Yehoshua, Nachlas Yehoshua, Noam Yerushalmi, Sefas Hanachal, and Atzas Yehoshua.

Rav Gershon Henoch Leiner of Radzin (1839-1891), the Baal Hatecheles. His grandfather was the Rav Mordechai Yosef Leiner of Ishbitz, founder of Ishbitz chassidus after leading a group of disciples from the Court of Reb Menachem Mendel of Kotzk. He replaced his father as Rebbe of Ishbitz after the former’s petira in 1878. Rav Gershon Henoch travelled from Radzin to Italy in search of the Chilazon, the marine source from which the dye was obtained. The Chilazon carried the dye in a special sac located in its pharynx. In the famed aquarium at Naples he saw the Chilazon and studied the way in which the dye was removed and prepared. He discovered that it was used by artists in their paintings because it would never fade.
Rav Yaakov Shaul Katzin, head of New York Aleppo community (1900-1994). Born in Yerushalayim, he learned at Yeshiva Ohel Mo’ed and at Yeshiva Porat Yosef. In the midst of World War I, Yaakov’s father and sister died of typhoid fever. His mother died soon after, and Yaakov was an orphan at 16. At 18, he married Mazal, the daughter of Rav Shalom Hedaya, a noted kabbalist and Talmudic scholar, and was appointed Rosh Yeshiva in the then-newly-erected Yeshiva Porat Yosef building. During the course of his life, Yaakov wrote several books on the science of Kabbalah. In 1925, he published Ohr HaLevanah, which consisted of three parts – Ohr HaLevanah, Ohr Hadash and Ohr HaHayyim – a commentary with novella from the teachings of Rashash. He also wrote Yesod Ha’Emunah, which included arguments that dispelled doubts about the authenticity of Kabbalah, as well as responsa. In 1931, he published Pri Eitz Hagan, which included biographies of prominent tzadikkim and discussions of their ethical teachings, solutions to problems posed by Gaon Rabbi Yosef Hayyim of Baghdad and the order of prayers for Rosh Hashanah, along with explanations. From 1928 to the end of 1932, Rabbi Jacob served as a Dayan in the Supreme Beit Din of the Sephardic Community of Jerusalem. In 1933, Rabbi Jacob accepted an offer from Magen Dovid Congregation of Brooklyn, New York as Chief Rabbi and Chief Dayan. On August 10, 1933, Jacob, Mazal and their first four children - Shaul, Shulamith (Charlotte), Abraham, and Itzhak - came to New York. (They had nine children who reached adulthood in all.) Shaul became Chief Rabbi of the Brooklyn community after the death of his father.

Rav Chaim Shaul Dveik, Rosh Yeshiva Hamekubalim of Yerushalayim and author of Eifo Shleima (1933)

Rav Shalom Rokeach, Rav of Skohl (1961)

Mr. Yitzchak Meir (Irving) Bunim (1901-1981). Born in Volozhin, Lithuania to Rav Moshe and Esther Mina Buminowitz, Irving moved to the Lower East Side of New York with most of his family in 1910. (His father moved in 1905.) He and his two brothers were enrolled in Yeshiva Yaakov Yosef, and his father joined the family of Torah Vodaas. As a youth, he joined the fledgling Young Israel movement and made significant inroads from within. In the 1940s, he accepted the presidency of Yeshiva Yaakov Yosef, a position he held for 30 years. He threw himself in the founding of Beis Midrash Govoha and Kollel in Lakewood. He also devoted much time and energy to Chinuch Atzmai and Torah Umesorah. He and his wife, Blanche, raised three children, Rav Amos, Chana, and Judith.

Rebbetzin Recha Schwab (1908-2003). Married in 1931, she moved with Rav Schwab to the United States in 1936, and settled in Washington Heights in 1958. She left this world with 180 descendents, all Torah-observant.

 
5 Teves
 

Rav Mordechai Pinchas Teitz, Rav of Elizabeth, NJ. (1908-1995) Born in Latvia and arrived in USA in 1934. [Hamodia 2005: 4 Teves]

Rav Shlomo Molcho (1500-1532). Born in Lisbon, Portugal, a descendant of Portuguese Marranos. He published 22 essays on the topic of redemption according to the secrets of Kabbalah in his work, Sefer Hamefoar. He met with the Pope and asked him to stop the campaign against the Marranos. He also met Rabbi Yossef Karo in Tzfas and the Kabbalist Rabbi Yosef Taitzik of Salonica who taught R' Molcho Kabbalah. His speeches inspired many Marranos to publicly return to their faith. Arrested by the officers of the Inquisition, he recited Shema with great joy, as he was burned at the stake by Roman Emperor Charles V in Mantua, Italy.

Rav Aharon of Titiov, grandson of the Baal Shem Tov (1828)

Rav Avraham Yaakov of Sadiger (1884-1961), named for his grandfather, the first Sadigerer Rebbe. When Reb Avraham Yaakov turned 18, he married Bluma Raizel, the daughter of the Kapischnitzer Rebbe, Reb Yitzchak Meir Heschel. With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the Rebbe fled to Vienna, Austria, and lived there for 24 years. When the Nazis entered Vienna in 1938, the Rebbe was seized and forced to sweep the streets clean, to the amusement of the onlooking Germans. After WW2, he lived in Tel Aviv, where he continued the Sadigerer line. He authored Abir Yaakov.

Rav Yerachmiel Tzvi Rabinowitz, the Biala-P’shischa Rebbe (2003). Born ~1923, the first-born son of the previous Biala Rebbe, the Chelkas Yehoshua. He became Rebbe after his father was nifter in 1982 and opened his beis midrash in the Har Nof section of Yerushalayim.

 
6 Teves
 

Rav Yaakov Reischer, author of Minchas Yaakov, Chok Yaakov, Iyun Yaakov (peirush on Eyn Yaakov), and Shevus Yaakov (1661-1733). Born in Prague. Served as Rav in Reische, Worms, and Metz. [9 Shvat, according to Yated 2007, 2008].

Rav Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam, the Shinover Rav (1815-1899). He was born in Rudnick, Galicia, eldest son of Rav Chaim of Sanz. He was an ardent follower of Rav Asher of Ropshitz, and a chassid of Rav Tzvi Hirsh of Rymanov, Rav Shalom of Belz, and Rav Meir of Premishlan. Tragically, he was married and widowed 5 times. His first wife was the grand-daughter of the Yismach Moshe, Rav Moshe Teitelbaum of Mujehly, Hungary. He is known as the Divrei Yechezkel.

Rav Chaim Shlomo of Koson (1919)

Rav Alter Yisrael Shimon Perlow of Novominsk (1873-1933). Author of Tiferes Ish. Scion of the dynasties of Ustila, Koidanov, Lehovitch, Karlin, Apt, Czernobyl and Berdichev, Rabbi Alter Yisrael Shimon settled in Warsaw in 1917. He knew the whole Mishna by heart and to the end of his life he reviewed eighteen chapters every day.

Rav Chaim Meidanik (1954). Rav in Chicago and author of Mazkeres Chaim and Hegyonei Chaim.

Rebbetzin Beila Morgenstern (1908-2006). First-born daughter of the Admor of Ozerov-Chenchin, Rav Moshe Yechiel Epstein, author of Aish Das and Be’er Moshe. She married Rav Tzvi Hershel Morgenstern, a descendent of the Kotzker Rebbe. Her husband served as a principal of the Bronx Bais Yaakov. She always recited the entire sefer tehillim on the yahrtzeit of every one of her noble forefathers and asked Hasehm that their merit should protect all of klal Yisrael. Among her grandchildren are Rav Dovid Altusky and Rav Yechiel Altusky.

 
7 Teves
 

Rav Moshe Dovid Walli (Vally; Vali) (1697-1777). The foremost talmid of Ramchal in Padua, Italy, he practiced as a physician in Padova. When the Ramchal was forced to leave Italy, Rav Moshe Dovid was appointed head of the his academy in Padova. Also known as the Rama"d Vali, he wrote a commentary on commentary on Chumash (Ohr Olam on Breishis; Bris Olam on Shemos; Avodas Hakodesh on Vayikra; Shivtei Kah on Bamidbar; Mishna Lamelech on Devarim), Na"Ch, Likkutim.

Rav Tzvi Hersh, son of the Baal Shem Tov (1779)

Rav Raphael Shlomo Laniado (1740-1793). Originating from Spain through their progenitor, Rav Shmuel, the Laniado family was among the most famous and well-established in the Syrian city of Chaleb. Rav Raphael Shlomo Laniado was a prolific writer, and he is well-known for the several halachic works: HaMaalos LeShlomo, Beis Dino Shel Shlomo, Lechem Shlomo, and Kisei Shlomo.

Rav Mordecai Yosef Leiner of Ishbitz (1800-1854 [1878, according to Yated 2007]), founder of the Chassidic Court at Ishbitz after leading a group of disciples from the court of Rav Menachem Mendel of Kotzk. Born in Tomashov, Poland in 1800, he was a childhood friend of Reb Menachem Mendel Morgenstern, later to become the Kotzker Rebbe, and they studied together in the school of the Chasidic Master, Reb Simcha Bunim of Pshiske. His sefer. Mei HaShiloach, is considered a fundamental work of Izhbitz and Radziner chasidus. Among his talmidim were Rav Tzadok HaCohen miLublin and Rav Leibel Eiger.

Rav Shalom Yosef Friedman of Husyatin (1879 [1851, according to Yated 2007]). Sone of the 1st Rebbe of Husyatin, Rav Mordechai Shraga (the youngest son of the Rizhiner Rebbe, who had moved to Husyatin in 1865 and was nifter in 1894. He was the father of Rav Moshe of Boyan-Cracow (“Reb Moshenu”).

Rav Yosef Elyashiyov (2007). Born in the former Soviet Union to Rav Tzion, who was killed by the authorities for his efforts to promote Judaism, he moved from Samarkand to Tashkent after marrying; there he and his wife raised their seven children. While living in Tashkent he had to spend seven years away from home — four years in custody on suspicion of underground religious activity and three years hiding from the KGB, who had him under surveillance for his activities to promote Judaism. In 1971, he managed to secure an exit visa and left his home and his family, traveling to Eretz Yisroel. He opened the first Shaarei Tzion institutions in 1980, naming them after his father. He then started a kollel with the goal of drawing avreichim from Bukharan families as well as a school in Kiryat Ono for Bukharan immigrants. Today, a total of 4,500 students, from kindergartners to avreichim, study at Shaarei Tzion institutions.

 
8 Teves
 
 
 
9 Teves
 

Ezra Hasofer (313 BCE or 320 BCE?) and Nechemya

Rav Ezra of Gerona (1227), the Ramban’s teacher in Kabalah. He himself learned Kabbalah from Rav Yitzchak Sagi Nahor, son of the Ravad III.

Rabbeinu Yosef, son of Shmuel Hanaggid, and son-in-law of Rav Nissim Gaon of Kirouan was murdered in an Arab pogrom with another 1500 Jews in Spain (1067).

Rav Yehuda (“Reb Yiddel”) Weber (1920-2006). Born in Vodkert, Hungary to Rav Yissacher Weber, a descendent of the Bach, and Rebbetzin Chana, a niece of the Arugas Bosem. After his Bar Mitzvah, Yehuda was sent to learn in Pupa under Rav Yaakov Yechezkel Grunwald, the Vayaged Yaakov, the Pupa Rebbe, who was his rebbi muvhak for 7 years. When he was nifter at the age of 59, he was succeeded by his son, Rav Yosef Grunwald, the Vayechi Yosef. Rav Yehuda then served as mashgiach of Pupa. When the yeshiva was closed in 1944, Rav Yehuuda spent 6 months in the local work camps before being deported to Bergen Belsen. In 1946, his sister introduced him to his Rebbetzin, Batsheva. A year later, his sister, Miriam, married the Pupa Rebbe. Both families settled in Antwerp, then moved to Williamsburg, in New York, in 1950. In 1952, he was appointed Rosh Yeshiva of the newly established Pupa Yeshiva , first located in Queens, then in Ossining, in Westchester County. Although his family stayed in Williamsburg, Reb Yiddel made the 40-mile drive for four decades.

 
10 Teves
 

Zecharia ben Berachya ben Ido Hanavi (320 or 313 BCE)

Malachi Hanavi (320 or 313 BCE). His death ended the era of prophecy.

Rav Yehuda Eilenberg, author of Minchas Yehudah (1610)

Rav Nosson Sternhartz (or Sternberg) of Breslav, author of Likutei Halachos (1844). As a young man, he lived in Nemirov, nine miles north of Breslav. Despite family opposition, Nosson became the disciple who recorded Nachman's thoughts, edited his writings and wrote the early history of the Breslaver Hasidim.

Rav Meir Shalom Rabinowitz of Kalushin (1851-1901). Born to Rav Yehoshua Asher of Zelichov, the son of the Yid Hakadosh of Peshischa, he became a son-in-law of his older brother, Rav Yaakov Tzvi of Porisov, author of Atarah Lerosh Tzadik. He served as Rav of the kehhillos of Porisov, Gravlin, and Kalushin. He became Rebbe after the petira of his brither in 1889. Many of his ideas in Torah and Chassidus were recorded by his son and successor Yehoshua Alter in the sefer Nahar Shalom.

Rav Noach of Hordishitz (1903)

Rav Raphael Wexelbaum, Rosh Yeshiva of Itri

Rav Yechezkel Halshtuk, the Ostrovtzer Rebbe (1887-1942). Born to Rav Meir Yechiel, founder of the court of Ostrovtze (Ostrowiec), a town which lies along the Kamienna River, a tributary of the Vistula, and which is situated in the Polish highlands just north of the Swietokrzyskie Mountains. At 18, Reb Yechezkel married Rebbetziin Beila Mirel, daughter of Rav Naftali of Meilitz, who was a grandson of Rav Naftali of Ropshitz. In 1911, he was appointed Rav of the town of Inovlodz, and 10 years later, he was appointed Rav of Nashelsk. He succeeded his father as Rebbe after the latter’s petira in 1928. He founded a yeshiva named Beis Meir, in honor of his father. He and 20 of his Chasidim were murdered by the Nazis during davening on the night of Asesers BeTeves. His Rebbetzein, 7 sons, and one son-in-law were all murdered by the Nazis.Some of his writings were published after the war under the name Kodshei Yechezkel. (8 Teves, according to Yated 2006 and Yated 2007)

Rav Shabsai Yogel, born in Piask, Russia (1875-1957). After studying in Eishishock as a youngster, he learned at Volozhin until it was closed by the Russian authorities, at which time he returned to Piask until he married Liba Kletzkin from Slonim. He then moved to Slonim and learned in one of the Novardok kollelim. In 1906, he was asked to head the Slonim yeshiva, founded by Rav Shlomo Zalman Kahana in 1816. The yeshiva’s first rosh yeshiva was Rav Avraham Weinberg, who later became the founder of the Slonimer chassidic dynastry. In 1929, Rav Shabsai visited Yisrael for the first time; two months later, his son Shlomo perished in the Chevron massacres. During the early years of WW2, Rav Shabsai and his family moved to Eretz Yisrael. Since the yeshiva in Slonim was destroyed by the Nazis, he rebuilt in. He decided to do so in Ramat Gan, which at that time was a spiritual wasteland.

Rav Avraham Abba Leifer, the Pittsburgher Rebbe, the Admor of Petersburg-Ashdod (1989). Author of Emunas Avraham, son of Rav Yosef (Tzidkas Yosef), and son-in-law of Rebbe Issamar of Nadvorna. His son, Mordechai Yissacher Dov Ber Leifer of Pittsburg, is author of Pisgamei Oraisa.

 
11 Teves
 

Rav Moshe of Ostraha, author of Arugas Habosem (1784).

Rav Shlomo Eiger, author of Gilyon Maharsha, son of Rav Akiva Eiger. (1851)

Rav Shlomo Zalman Ullman of Makava, author of Yerios Shlomo (1865). Son of Rav Shalom Charif, Rav Shlomo Zalman served as Rav of Rendick for two years and of Makova, Hungary, for 39 years. He fought against any inroads of the Reform movement for much of his life. At the end of his sefer, Rav Shlomo Zalman added Kuntres Beis Yad, where he expounds on fourteen differences in the sugya of eid echad neeman b’issurim. This kuntres is the basis of many of the halachos os issur ve’heter.

Rav Yehoshua Horowitz of Dzikov, author of Ateres Yeshua. (1912)

Dovid Twersky of Zlatipoli (1914). The oldest son of Rav Tochanan of Rachmistrivke, the son of Rav Mordechai of Chernobyl. Reb Dovid married Rebbetzin Bas-Tzion Tzipora Feiga, daughter of Rav Aharon of Karlin. With his father’s petira, Rav Dovid became Rebbe in Rachmistrivke, along with his brothers, but moved his court to Zlatipoli.

Rav Shalom Moskovitz, the Shotzer Rebbe of London (1958).

Rav Moshe Bergman, Rosh Yeshiva, Rashbi Yeshiva (1977)

Rav Yaakov Yosef Shlomo Halperin (1984), the Vasloi Rebbe, grandson of the first Vasloier Rebbe, Rav Shalom Halperin. His father, Rav Chaim Dov Halperin, was the Rebbe’s only son and moved from Romania to Eretz Yisrael in 1950 and was nifter in 1957. Rav Yaakov Yosef himself was succeeded by his son Rav Avraham Shimshon Shalom, who lives in Bnei Brak.

Rav Shmuel Dovid Tzvi Mayer (known as Rav Dovid Hersh), menahel of Yeshiva Beis Binyomin in Stamford, Connecticut. (2003)

 
12 Teves
 

Rav Moshe Margulies, author of Pnei Moshe on the Yerushalmi (1781)

Rav Moshe of Pshevorsk, author of Ohr Pnei Moshe. (1805)

Rav Mordechai Chaim Kastelantiz of Teveria, known as “Reb Mottel Slonimer” (1953)

 
13 Teves
 

Rav Moshe ben Dovid Biderman, the Lelover Rebbe (1776-1850 or 1851). Born in abject poverty, he married Rachel Rivka, a daughter of the Yid Hakadosh of P’shischa. After the latter’s petira in 1813, he became a chasid of Rav Simcha Bunim of P’shischa, along with his friend, Rav Yitzchak of Vorki. In 1843, he finally agreed to a leadership position, agreeing to be rav of the community of Przedborz, Poland. In the last years of his life, he decided to move to Eretz Yisrael. He and many of his Chasidim arrived at Akko on Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan. He traveled to Yerushalyim, but immediately took ill. Tragically, between the illness and the Arabs, he was never able to daven at the kosel, his life-long dream. He was succeeded by his son, Rav Elazar Mendel, and a vibrant community of Lelover Chasidim still exist in Eretz Yisrael today. Sadly, the community in Przedborz – about 4500 Jews – was liquidated at Treblinka.

Rav Menachem Mendel of Vishiva, the She’eris Menachem. (1941)

Rav Yechiel Mordechai Gordon, Rosh Yeshivas Lomza (1965). Among the roshei yeshivos who travelled to the United States to raise funds during WW2 were Rabbis Eliezer Yehuda Finkel from Mir, Yechiel Michael Gordon from Lomza, Aaron Kotler from Kletzk, Shimon Shkopf from Grodno, Elchanan Wasserman from Baranowitz, and Baruch Ber Leibowitz from Kamenetz.

Rav Yitzchak Hakohen Huberman, the tzadik of Raanana. (1896-1977). He was born in Tomashov (Tomaszow Lubelski), near Lublin. An 1895 census reveals that, out of a population of 6,077, over half the citizens, 3,646 were Jews. The first shul in this town was built in 1594, but after the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648-49, only 18 of the original 200 families still remained. The most famous Jew of the town was the Kotzker Rebbe, Rav Menachem Mendel Morgenstern of Tomashov, who lived here until he left for Kotzk. Rav Yitzchak became a follower of the Imrei Emes of Ger and, after his mentor's petira, of his son, the Beis Yisrael. In 1940, Josef Stalin deported 200,000 Polish Jews, including Rav Yitzchak, to forced labor camps in Siberia and elsewhere. This saved their lives, since most of those left behind were murdered by the Nazis when they invaded Russia, a year later. After the war, Rav Yitzchak served as a rav for six years in Germany before moving to Eretz Yisrael, and settling in Raanana. Rav Yitzchak wrote a collection of chiddushim on Megillas Esther and entitled it Higidah Esther, in his mother's memory.

 
14 Teves
 

Reuven ben Yaakov Avinu.

Rav Raphael Meir Penijel (1804-1894). Born in Bulgaria, he moved with his family to Eretz Yisrael when he son was 3 years old. When Raphael Meir was 15, his father died. When he was 17, he married the daughter of Rav Asher Halevi. In the early 1940s, he was chosen as one of the “shadarim” (sheluchei de’rabbanan) and sent to Northern Africa to collect funds for the yeshuv. Following stints in Morocco and Tunisia, he traveled to Italy. While there, he befriended the Pope, who offered to show him the Vatican’s archives. There, he saw some of the sacred vessels that Titus had stolen from the Beis Hamikdash. The visit is described in his sefer, Lev Hamarpei. When he returned to Eretz Yisrael, he founded the Doresh Tzion Yeshiva in 1868 and was instrumental in helping to found the Tiferes Yerushalayim institutions. In 1881, he succeeded Rav Avraham Ashkenazi as Yerushalayim’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi, the Rishom LeTzion. In addition to the sefer noted above, he also authored Sheilos U’Teshuvos Leshon Marpei.

Rav Reuven Dov Dessler (1863-1935), father of Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler, the Michtav Eliyahu. Born in Libau, Lithuania to Rav Yisrael Dovid and Chinke Hinde, who (along with Rav Yisrael Dovid’s brother, Rav Eliezer) were great philanthropists and who helped Rav Simcha Zissel move his yeshiva from Kelm to Grubin, a small town near Libau. When he was 12, Rav Reuven Dov was sent to Rav Simcha Zissel’s yeshiva and stayed there for 11 years. When it closed, he moved to Kelm to continue learning with the Alter. In 1891, he married Henne Freidel Grodnensky, daughter of Rav Eliyahu Grodnensky, a leading dayan in Vilna. Her maternal grandfather was Rav Yisrael Salanter. She gave birth to Rav Reuven Dov’s only son, Rav Eliyahu Eliezer. Sadly, she was nifter 4 years after they wed, and Rav Reuven Dov married Fruma Rachel Rabinowitz of Telz. A few years later, he moved to Homel, on the Okraine-White Russia border. Although he was very successful in business, he maintained a rigid learning schedule, and he took off every Elul and Tishrei to travel to Kelm to learn. In 1923, the Communists gained control of the area, and Rav Reuven Dov lost all of his assets. His final years were trying. In 1931, he moved into his son’s home in London and immersed himself in Torah study.

Rav Alter Elazar Menachem of Lelov (1935-2001). Born to the Admor of Lelov, Rav Moshe Mordechai, he learned with the Chazon Ish in Bnei Brak as a youth. In 1958, he married the daughter of Rav Shimon Aharon Hershkowitz, the ga'avad of Slavita. In 1965, he founded his beis medrash on Rabbi Akiva Street in Bnei Brak. After the petirah of his mother in 1978, he established the Or Menachem network of kollelim. He also founded Kehal Ateres Moshe of the Lelover Chassidim of the United States, now headed by Rav Alter Elazar Menachem's son, Rav Dovid Tzvi Shlomo.

Rav Leib Bakst, studied at Mir from the age of 13 under Rav Eliezr Finkel and Rav Yeruchom Levovitz; he also studied with the Brisker Rav and Rav Baruch Ber Leibovitz in Kaminetzk. He was involved the miraculaous escape of the Mir Yeshiva to Kobe, Japan, and Shanghai, China, and eventually came to Detrot. There, he became the Dean of the Yeshiva Beis Yehuda rabbinical college. In 1985, he founded the Yeshiva Gedola Ateres Mordechai as an independent high school. (1915-2004).

 
15 Teves
 

The Amora, Mashrisha bar Pekud of Bavel

Rav Raphael of Bershed, a talmid of Rav Pinchas of Koritz (1827)

Rav Chaim Mordechai Rosenbaum of Nadvorna (1904-1977). Born to Rav Issamar of Nadvorna, he learned with his father in his youth, and married a first cousin ag age 19, then learned full-time, supported by his father-in-law. He took a position as Rav of Seret in 1928. In 1941, Romania allied itself with Germany. Of the 420,000 Jews of Romania, 160,000 were murdered by German and Romanain soldiers, and another 150,000 were shipped by cattle cars to Transnitra in the Ukraine; 10,000 died on the trip and another 80,000 died in the camps there. In 1942, Rav Chaim Mordechai and his family arrived in the Djurin camp in Transnitra. They survived and arrived in Yerushalyim on Sukkos 1948, but moved to Tel Aviv because of the war. He established Yeshivas Ma’amer Moredechai in Yaffo and moved his yeshiva to Bnei Brak in 1961. He was succeeded by his only son.

 
16 Teves
 

Rav Chaim Kreiswirth, Rav and Av Beis Din of Antwerp and son-in-law of Rav Avraham Grodzinski. Rav Chaim was well-known to have memorized Talmud Bavli and Yerushalmi, as well as Rishonim and Acharonim (1920-2001).

 
17 Teves
 

Rav Yaakov Krantz, Dubna Maggid (1741-1804). Born in a province of Vilna, Jacob ben Wolf Kranz showed exceptional homiletical and Kabbalistic talents at an early age, and by the age of twenty became the darshan of his city. From there he began preaching through the cities of around Lublin in Poland, finally settling in Dubnow. His reputation as a maggid spread, bringing him in contact with the great rabbis of the period, including the Vilna Gaon. The majority of his works were in homiletics, using stories and parables to transmit deeper ethical and moral teachings.

Rav Ephraim Fishel Shapira of Strikov (1743-1822). A disciple of the Magid of Mezritch, the Rebbe Elimelech and the Chozeh of Lublin, he was called the "Oleh Temimah."

Rav Aryeh Leibush Lipschitz of Vishnitza, the Aryeh d’Bei Ilai (1849)

Rav Pinchas Epstein, Av Beis Din of Yerushalayim (1887-1969). Born in Griva, Lithuania, his primary teacher was R' Zalman Sender Kahana Shapiro in Bialystok. In 1904, he settled in Eretz Yisrael with his father and began studying at Yeshiva Toras Chaim in the Old City of Yerushalayim. R' Epstein was one of the founders and early leaders of the Eidah Ha'chareidis, a group which split from the established Yerushalayim community in 1919 in response to the growing influence of the Zionists on the existing religious council. In 1949, he was appointed to head the Eidah Ha'chareidis.

Rav Suleiman (Salman) Mutzafi of Yerushalayim (1900-1974); born in Baghdad. His father, Rav Tzion Meir, descended from an illustrious family of Torah scholars who first arrived in Baghdad during the Spanish expulsion.

 
18 Teves
 

Rav Huna bar Mar Zutra, Reish Galusa killed al kiddush Hashem (470)

Rav Tzvi Elimelech Shapira of Dinov (1783-1841), born to Reb Pesach and his wife, the niece of Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk. A talmid of the Chozeh of Lublin, Tzvi Elimelech was told by the Chozeh that he was from Shevet Yissascher, which explained the talmid’s special feelings towards Chanukkah, as it is known that the Sanhedrin of the Chashmonaim had many members from Shevet Yissascher. This is the source of the name of his sefer, Bnei Yissascher. [Hamodia 2005 says 1850]

Rav Moshe of Korestchov (1866). Born to the Chernobyler Maggid, Rav Mordechai, Rav Moshe was the grandson of the Meor Einayim of Chernobyl on his father’s side and Rav Aharon HaGadol of Karlin on his mother’s side. His brother was Rav Yochanan of Rachmistrivka. A few years after his father’s petira, he abided to the urging of the Chasidim and set up his court in Korestchov. He was succeeded by his son, Rav Mordechai.

Rav Chaim Shmuel Horowitz of Chentchin (1915)

Rav Moshe Chalfon of Djerba, Tunisia, author of Shoel Venishal and Bris Kehuna (1874- 1950)

Rav Mendel Geffner, initiator of mass Chol Hamoed Birchas Kohanim

Moshe Heller of Yerushalayim; only son of Rav Refoel Tzvi Mechel Heller (2002).

Rav Aryeh Leibish Halberstam, the Zhmigrader Rebbe (1912-2007). Two of his sons succeeded him – the Sanz-Zhmigrader Rebbe of Boro Park and the Sanz-Zhmigrader Rebbe of Europe.

 
19 Teves
 

Rav Aryeh Leib HaCohen Heller, author of Ketzos Hachoshen, Avnei Miluim, and Shev Shmaatsa (1813)

Avraham Shmuel Binyamin Sofer, the Kesav Sofer (1815-1872). Born and died in Pressburg, Hungary, oldest son of the Chasam Sofer and grandson of Rav Akiva Eiger via his mother, Rebetzen Sorel. After his father’s death in 1839, the Ksav Sofer succeeded him as Rav and Rosh Yeshiva in Pressburg, at the unusually young age of 24. He served Pressburg for 33 years, the exact number of years his father had served before him.

Rav Menachem Mendel Zaks, son-in-law of the Chafetz Chaim

 
20 Teves
 

Rabbeinu Moshe ben Maimon, the Rambam (1135-1204). Born at Cordova, Spain, the Rambam received his rabbinical instruction at the hands of his father, Maimon. Moshe was only thirteen years old when Cordova fell into the hands of the fanatical Almohades, and Rav Maimon and the other Jews were compelled to choose between Islam and exile. Rav Maimon and his family chose the latter course, and for twelve years led a nomadic life, wandering throughout Spain. In 1160 they settled at Fez, Morocco. In 1165 they went to Acre, to Jerusalem, and then to Fostat (Cairo), where they settled. After the death of Maimon, Moses' brother Dovid supported the family by trading in precious stones. Dovid perished at sea, and with him was lost not only his own fortune, but large sums that had been entrusted to him by other traders. These events affected Maimonides' health, and he went through a long sickness. After several years of practice, the Rambam’s authority in medical matters was firmly established, and he was appointed private physician to Saladin's vizier, who recommended him to the royal family. Between the years 1158 and 1190 Maimonides produced a commentary on the Mishnah, the Mishneh Torah, and the philosophical work "Moreh Nevuchim.”

Rav Yaakov Abuchatzera (1880), grandson of the founder of the Abuchatzera family, Rav Shmuel (Elbaz), and son of Rav Masoud, who was Rav of Tafelaletch (Tafilalt), Morocco. He took his father’s position upon the latter’s petira and built the yeshiva there, which produced thousands of students. He wrote many sefarim on all aspects of Torah, including Abir Yaakov. His grandson is Rav Yisrael, the Baba Sali, and his great-grandson is Rav Meir Abuchatzeira. In 1880, he attempted to move to Eretz Yisrael, but was nifter in Damanhur, Egypt, where he is buried.

Rav Simcha Yissacher Dov of Chechenov (1914)

Rav Yisrael Reich of Budapest (1933)

Rav Raphael Eliyahu Eliezer Mishkovski (1917-1981). Rav of the town of Rechasim and Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Knesses Chizkiyahu in Kfar Chassidim, both in northern Israel). Author of Mishnas Eliyahu

Rav Elimelech (Meilich) Izak (1943-2006). He was named after his mother’s ancestor, the Noam Elimelech. He was born in Yerushalayaim, learned at the Chayei Olam yeshiva, and became a leading chassid of Karin-Stolin. In his later years, he was appointed director of the Karlin Talmud Torah and Yeshiva and gabbai of the Beis Medrash.

 
21 Teves
 

Birthdate and yahrtzeit of Shimon ben Yaakov Avinu (1567 BCE)

Rav Shlomo, Rav of Vilna at the time of the Vilna Gaon (1791)

Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Mishkovsky, Rosh Yeshiva of Keneses Chizkiyahu in Kefar Chasidim, Israel (1981). The yeshiva Knesses Chizkiyahu was founded in 1949 at the behest of the Chazon Ish. It was first located in Zichron Yaakov and was headed by Rav Noach Shimanowitz. Six years later, it moved to its permanent residence in Kfar Chassidim, under the guidance of the mashgiach, Rav Eliyahu Lopian and the rosh hayeshiva, Rav Mishkovsky. (20 Teves according to Yated 2007)

Rav Yisrael Dov of Vilednik, the She’eiris Yisrael (1789-1849 [or 1850]). Also known as the Maggid of Vilednik, he was a disciple of Rav Mordechai Twersky (1770-1837), the Chernobler Rebbe. During his lifetime, thousands journeyed to the She’eris Yisrael for blessing, inspiration, and consultation. Before he passed away, he told his disciples that whoever would reach out and touch his door seeking help would be aided. Today, even thousands of non-Jews come to pray at his gravesite in their times of need. The She’eiris Yisrael’s reputation continues to endure amongst generations of Gentiles in the area, and many Jews from around the world travel to his kever on his yahrtzeit.

Rav Matzliach Mazuz, the Ish Matzliach (1912-1971). The son of Rav Raphael and Rachel Mazuz, Matzliach was born on the island city of Djerba. When he was eleven, he was accepted into the yeshivah of the eminent Rav Rachamim Chai Chavitah HaKohen. After his marriage in 1930, Rav Matzliach moved to Tunis, where he served as a mashgiach ruchani in the Chevras HaTalmud yeshivah for 13 years. He was later appointed to the position of dayan in the beis din of Tunis. 600 couples came to him for divorces between the years 1955-1958, and he managed to make shalom bayis between 75% of them. He founded the Kisei Rachamim yeshivah in Tunis, named after his mentor, Rav Rachamim Chai Chavitah. Years later, his sons reestablished this yeshivah in Bnei Brak. In 1971, while Rav Matzliach was returning from a pre-dawn minyan, clad in tallis and tefillin, a number of Arabs attacked and killed him. Among Rav Matzliach's writings are: Shu"t Ish Matzliach, on the four parts of Shulchan Aruch, three of which have appeared until now; Kuntress HaMaarachot, which discusses the rules of issuing halachic decisions; Matzliach Yeshuah, a collection of chiddushim on the Shas; and Magen u'Tzinah, answers to questions on the Maharsha. The rest of his writings are still in manuscript form. Rav Matzliach is survived by his sons: Rav Mayer, rosh yeshivah of Kisei Rachamim in Bnei Brak and the leader of the Tunisian community in Eretz Yisrael; Rav Yosef Tzemach, the director and mashgiach ruchani of the yeshivah; and Rav Rachamim, also a mashgiach ruchani. One of Rav Matzliach's daughters is married to Rav Yitzchak Barda, author of Yitzchak Yeranen, and another to Rav Chanan Kablan, a dayan.

 
22 Teves
 

Rav Shmuel Heller, Azhenazi Rav of Tsefas for 40 years (1884). On the 24th of Teves in 1837, he was discovered buried up to his neck in stones. He had been standing under the lintel of the Beis Midrash Ari at the moment of the earthquake. His wounds were so severe that he was bedridden for six months, and lost the use of one arm for the rest of his life. Rav Shmuel was a disciple of Rav Avraham Dov Auerbach of Avritch [1765-1840], who spent ten years as Rav in Tzefas.

Rav Yehuda Leib Eiger (1816-1888). A grandson of Rav Akiva Eiger, Reb Leibel was born in Warsaw. He learned under Rav Yitzchak Meir Alter, the Chiddushei Harim in Warsaw. At 20, he married and moved to Lublin where he davened at the Shul of the Chozeh. There, he befriended Reb Yisroel, the Chozeh's son. He then moved to Kotzk. He became a rebbe after the Rebbe of Izbitza passed away in 1854. After his death his son, Rav Avrohom, printed his sefarim Toras Emes and Imrei Emes.

Rav Shalom Moskowitz of Shatz, a Romanian town in the Bukovina district (1878-1958). A direct descendent (fifth generation) of Rav Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov and a great-grandson of Reb Michel of Premishlan, he was named after his mother's great-grandfather, the Sar Shalom of Belz. After learning at Shatz, he traveled to the famed Maharsham (Rav Shalom Schwadron) of Berzhan to study practical halacha and receive semicha. After leading a group of chassidim in Cologne, Germany, Rav Shalom arrived in London, in 1927, where he served for thirty years. Among the sefarim, he wrote is a commentary on Perek Shirah. He promised to help anyone who comes to his kever Friday morning and lights 3 candles (a tradition mentioned in Sefer Tikunim).

 
23 Teves
 

Rav Yehuda Aryeh Leib HaLavi Epstein, know as Reb Leibush of Ople (1837). Orphaned of his father, Rav Yechiel Michel Epstein, and his mother at a young age, Reb Leibush and his two younger brothers were supported by a simple Jew of Ostrovsta. He was a chasid of the Yid Hakadosh and the Chozeh of Lublin. He became Rav of Ozerov in 1812. His most famous descendent was Rav Moshe Yechiel Michel Halevi Epstein, the Aish Daas of Ozerov.

Rav Gedalia Hertz (1914-1977). Born in Ujazd, near Tomashov, Poland, he left for Lubavitcher Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim in Warsaw after his Bar Mitzvah. After some years, he went to Grodno to the yeshiva of Rav Shimon Shkop. After marrying in 1935, he moverd to eretz Yisrael and entered the Yeshivas Sfas Emes in Yerushalayim. The following year, the Gerrer Rebbe, the Imrei Emes, decided to open a branch in Tel Aviv, which was later named Yesahivas Chidushei Harim; Rav Gedalia was chosen Rosh Yeshiva while still in his early 20s. After the found of the state of Israel, he was chosen to be the representative of the Vaad of Yeshivos to government officials and was instrumental in getting Ben Gurian to accept a deference for all yeshiva students. In 1955, Rav Gedalia became the Rav of the newly established “yeshiva’ kehilla in Sydney, Australia. In 1963, he returned to Yisrael.

 
24 Teves
 

Rav Naftali Katz, author of Semichas Chachomim (1660-1719), descendent of the Maharal. Born in Ostracha, Ukraine and died in Istanbul. His faher, Yitzchak, a Rav in Stefan and a darshan in Prague, died in 1670. Reb Naftali married Esther Sheindl, daughter of Shmuel Shmelke Zak of Ostraha, and headed the Yeshiva that his father-in-law built for him. After Rabbi Shmuel died he succeeded him as Rabbi and Av Beis Din. In 1704 he became Rav of Frankfurt until 1711, when a fire broke out in his home and spread from there burning down several hundred homes. Rav Naftali was jailed and accused of setting the fire. When he was released, he left for Prague and Breslau and stayed with Zvi Ashkenazi (the Chacham Zvi). They both excommunicated Nechemia Chayun who wrote a book in favor of Shabetai Zvi. He had 14 children, 7 sons and 7 daughters. Rav Yaakov Emden, the son of the Chacham Zvi, married Rav Naftali's daughter Rachel. [Hamodia 2005 lists Naftali Katz as 5 Tishrei, 1645; Hamodia 2006 lists Naftali HaKoeh, the Semichas Chachamim as 24 Shvat]

Rav Yosef of Yampula, son of the Zlotchiver Maggid (1812).

Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1813), Baal Hatanya. Became a talmid of the Magid of Mezritch at the age of 30, studying with him for 12 years, and becoming the leader of Chasidus in Lithuania following the Magid’s petira in 1772. Following his incarceration in St. Petersburg, he moved to Liadi. In addition to Tanya, he also authored the Shulchan Aruch HaRav.

Rav Meir Eisenstadt, also known as Meir Ash (Dec. 2, 1861). His responsa were published by his son under the title Imrei Eish. He died at Ungvár.

R' Avraham Dov Berish Flamm (1804-1873). R' Flamm is considered to be the leading disciple of the Dubno Maggid, R' Yaakov Kranz, although, in fact, the two never met. R' Flamm was, however, the leading student of the Maggid's writings, and it was he, together with the Maggid's son, R' Yitzchak Kranz, who edited these and prepared them for publication. R' Flamm was himself a popular maggid, and he held that post in several Polish and Lithuanian cities. Besides publishing the Dubno Maggid's Ohel Yaakov and Sefer Hamiddos, R' Flamm wrote several works of his own. His Yerios Ha'ohel and Sefas Ha'yeriah were printed together with Ohel Yaakov, while his Shemen Ha'mor is a free-standing work.

Rav Moshe Yosef Teitelbaum (1842-1897). The son of Rav Yekusiel Yehuda Teitelbaum, he was was appointed Rav and Av Beis Din of Stropkov when Rav Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam returned to Sienawa in 1880. In 1891, he left the town for a post in Ujhely, Hungary.

Rav Shmuel Borenstein, the Shem MiShmuel from Sochatshov (1855-1926). He was born in Kotzk to Rav Avraham Borenstein, the Sochatchover Rebbe and mechaber of Avnei Nezer. His grandfathers were Rav Nachum Ze’ev of Biala, the Agudas Eizov and Rav Menachem Mendel, the Lotzker Rebbe. Rav Shmuel considered Rav Chanoch Henoch of Alexander to be his Rebbe. After the petira of the Alexander Rebbe in 1870, the Avnei Nezer was made Rebbe, and his son followed him as his Rebbe. He was married in 1873, but his wife died in 1901. He remarried in 1903. Rav Shmuel served as maggid shiur in his father’s yeshiva in Sochatchov and helped him write Eglei Tal on the 30 malachos of Shabbos, as well as Avnei Nezer. After his father was niftar in 1910, the Chassidim crowned Rav Shmuel their Rebbe. His sefer contains the thoughts of his famous father.

Rav Avraham Shmuel Binyomin Sofer, the Divrei Sofer (1948) [Yated 12.28.07]. {Avraham Shmuel Binyomin Sofer was the oldest son of the Chasam Sofer and Sorel, daughter of Rabbi Akiva Eger, and was known as the Ksav Sofer (1815-1871). The only web source for the “Divrei Sofer” is

Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler (1892-1953). His father, Rav Reuven Dov Dessler, was a talmid muvhak of Rav Simcha Zissel of Kelm,and his mother was a grand-daughter of Rav Yisrael Salanter and a niece of Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinski. After learning at Kelm, he married a grand-daughter of Rav Simcha Zissel. During the Bolshevik revolution, he moved to London in 1927. In 1941, he founded the Gateshead Yeshiva and kollel. In 1948, he was asked by Rav Yosef Kahaneman to join the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnai Brak. Many of his thoughts and discourses are collected in Michtav M'Eliyahu. [25 Teves, per Yated 2007]

Rav Moshe Mordechai Biederman, the Lelover Rebbe (1904-1987). Son of Rav Shimon Nosson Nota Biederman, Moshe Mordechai was born in Yeryshalayim. When he was just 10 years old, his mother passed away and his father moved to Krakow, Poland, leaving him to the care of his grandfather, Rav Dovid. Five years later, after the petirah of his grandfather, he traveled to Europe and established his place of learning at the Radomsker shtiebel in Krakow. He became very close to the Stoliner Rebbe, the Yenuka. When his father was niftar 1930, the Chassidim looked to Moshe Mordechai to become their new Rebbe. He stayed in Poland until right before the onset of the War, settling in Tel Aviv in 1944. [Hamodia Jan. 3, 2007]

Rav Mordechai Gifter (1915-2001). Born in Richmond, Virginia, he moved to Baltimore with his family, when his father noted the difficulty in teaching his son in a city not noted for its strong Torah resources. As a youth, he studied in the Rav Yitzchak Elchonon Yeshiva of New York City under his rav, Rav Moshe Halevi Soloveitchik. HaRav Gifter studied together with Rav Nosson Wachtfogel, zt"l, former mashgiach of Lakewood and Rav Avigdor Miller of Flatbush in the Rav Yitzchak Elchonon Yeshiva. On the advice o his uncle, Rav Yehuda Leib Zer, one of the directors of the Rav Yitzchak Elchonon Yeshiva, Rav Gifter went to study in the Telz yeshiva of Lithuania in the winter of 1932. He became very close to the rosh yeshiva, Rav Avraham Yitzchak Bloch. In the summer of 1939, Rav Gifter became engaged to the daughter of Rav Zalman Bloch. The wedding date was set for a year later. The couple married in the United States. With the expansion of the Ner Yisrael yeshiva in Baltimore by Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman, Rav Gifter was asked to deliver chaburos to the students. In 1943, Rav Gifter became rav of the chareidi community in Connecticut, and one year later, his uncles, Rav Eliyahu Meir Bloch and Rav Chaim Mordechai Katz founded the Telz yeshiva in Cleveland. They asked him to join them as ram and mashgiach. He moved to Eretz Yisrael in 1976, founding the Telz yeshiva in Kiryat Telz-Stone near Yerushalayim. However, three years later, the rosh yeshiva of Telz in Cleveland, Rav Baruch Sorotzkin, was nifter, and Rav Gifter returned to Cleveland to succeed him. And there he remained until his own petira. (23 Teves, according to Yated 2007)

Rav Moshe Akiva Tikochinsky (1988). Mashgiach of Slabodka Yeshiva in Bnai Brak. Author of Bein Hashmoshos and Hayomam Bekadur Haaretz.

 
25 Teves
 

Rav Yechiel Michel Tukatchinsky [Tikochinsky], mashgiach of Slabodka in Bnai Brak, and founder of Yeshivas Mekor Chaim in Yerushalayim. In 1925, he published a sefer called Tekufas Hachamoh Uvirchosoh, in preparation for the bracha made when the sun returns to the point at which it began upon Creation. He wrote a sefer called Bein Hashmoshos, published in 1929, which dealt with the International Date Line. In 1941, he changed his mind altogether, as documented in his sefer, Hayomam Bekadur Haaretz.

 
26 Teves
 

Rabbeinu Avraham bar Dovid miPosquires (Ra’avad), author of Hasagos on the Rambam and the Rif

Rav Avraham Chaim of Zlotchov, author of Orach LeChaim and P’ri Chaim (1816). [Note: Rav Chaim Leib Epsztein was Rav and Av Beis Din at Czyzewo from 1729, then at Czyzewo, and finally at Kolszyn. He was mechaber of a sefer called Pri Chaim. There was also a Rav in Sokolow named Rav Chaim Leib from Kaluszyn author of Pri Chaim.]

 
27 Teves
 

Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (1808-1888). His father, Rav Raphael Aryeh (1777-1857), who changed the family name to Hirsch, was the son of Rav Menachem Mendel Frankfurter of Altuna (1742-1823). Rav Menachem Mendel was a talmid of Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz and was the Rav of three communities of Altuna, Hamburg, and Wandsbeck (“AHU”). At the age of 18, Rav Shamshon Raphael went to Mannheim to learn at the yeshiva of Rav Yaakov Ettlinger, author of Aruch La’ner. Rav Hirsch received smicha from Rav Ettlinger after learning there for a year. Thereafter, he attended the University of Bonn. That education would serve him well later in life as he combated the forces of Reform with eloquence. When he was 21, he was appointed Chief Rabbi of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg. There, he married Chana Judel. He also authored Iggros Hatzafon (The 19th Letters), under the pen name Ben Uziel. One year later, he published Chorev. In 1847, he became Chief Rabbi of Moravia, a region of 50,000 Jews in 52 communities, and which is now the Czech Republic. In 1851, he became the Rav of Frankfurt am Main, which he transformed into a Torah bastion. His best known works are the classic six-volume Commentary on Chumash.

Rav Shmuel Hillel Shenker (1956). His father, Rav Avraham Shenker, was one of Rav Yisrael's Salanter’s greatest disciples. Reb Shmuel spent his early years in Slobodka, but he was orphaned of his father at an early age. He thus traveled to the Talmud Torah in Kelm to absorb the Torah and mussar of the Alter, Reb Simcha Zissel of Kelm. After a number of years, he traveled to Eretz Yisrael with his relative, Reb Tzvi Pesach Frank, who later became chief rabbi of Yerushalaim. In 1895, Reb Shmuel Hillel married Laya Genendle, the oldest daughter of Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld. On 9 Iyar 1944, his beloved son Reb Mendel Shenker passed away when he was only forty-six. Another year passed and another son was taken from him. Reb Yisrael, his you gest and most beloved son, passed away in the prime of his life on 27 Teves 1945.

Rav Kalman Avraham Goldberg (1895-1968). A devoted disciple of the Alter of Novardok, he became Rav in Vasilkov. He moved to America in 1926. In 1928, he was hired to head the beis din for Adas Yisrael, under Rav Velvel Margulies. After Rav Velvel’s petira, he became Rav.

Rav Menashe Yitzchak Meir Eichenstein of Ziditchov -Petach Tikvah (1971)

Rav Avraham Simcha HaKohen Kaplan (1990). Chief Rabbi of Tzefas.

Rav Pinchas Hirschprung, Chief Rabbi of Montreal (1915-1998). At the age 15, he published a Torah journal, Ohel Torah, along with his friend, Rav Yeshaya Yosef Margolin, in Galicia. He then joined Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin, learning under Rav Meir Shapiro. At the outbreak of War World II, Rav Pinchas fled to Vilna, which was still neutral territory. In 1942, he acquired a visa to travel to Canada with a group of students from Mir and Lubavitch. When he arrived in Montreal, he was offered the position of Rav Kehillas Adas Yisrael. When Yeshiva Merkaz Hatorah was established, Rav Pinchas was made its Rosh Yeshiva. Eventually, he was Rav Ha’Ir of Montreal.

 
28 Teves
 

Rav Shmuel Berenbaum (1920-2008). Rav Berenbaum was born in Poland and studied in Mir before World War II. As the Nazis rolled across Eastern Europe, he – along with many other yeshiva students - fled across the Soviet Union and resettled in Shanghai. From there, they eventually emigrated to the United States. He became the Rosh Yeshiva of the Mir Yeshiva in Brooklyn for more than 50 years.

 
29 Teves
 

Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin (1818-1898), the Rav of Brisk, Yerushalayim leader, son of Rav Binyamin Diskin, rav of Volkovisk. He was born in Horodno. Reb Yehoshua Leib was engaged before his bar mitzva and at the age of fourteen he married the daughter of HaRav Brode and lived with his father-in-law in Wolkowitz. He became rov in various cities such as Lomza, Mezritch, Kovno, Shklov, and finally in Brisk. Moved to Eretz Yisrael after Yom Kippur in 1876.

Rav Yerachmiel Yisrael Yitzchak of Alexander, the Yismach Yisrael (1853-1910). At an early age, his father, Rav Yechiel of Alexander, took him to Rav Menachem Mendel of Vorka, then Rav Beirush of Biala. After the latter’s passing, he became of a chasid of his father. After his father’s passing in 1894, he became the Alexander Rebbe.

Rav Marcus (Nosson) Adler, author of Nesina L'ger (1803-1890). He was Rav of Oldenburg, 1829-1830, and Hanover, 1830-1844, and Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, 1844-1890.

Rav Meir Chodosh, mashgiach of Yeshivas Chevron, Ateres Yisrael, and Ohr Elchanan (1898-1989). Born in Patrich, Lithuania, he was a talmid muvhak of the Alter of Slabodka, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel. He lived through the Arab massacre of Chevron's Jews on Shabbos morning, 16 Av, 1929.

Rav Daniel Levy (1935-2004). Born the youngest of nine children in Petersfield, England, he learned at Gateshead Yeshiva and Kollel before and for 12 years after his marriage. Following a trip to America, where he learned from Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky, he was chosen as Rav of the Khal Adas Yeshurun of Zurich.

Rav Chaim Shamshon Swiatycki (1914-2004), nephew of the Chazon Ish and scion of the Karelitz dynasty, whose patriarch and matriarch – Rav Shemaryahu Yosef and Rasha Leah, had 15 children. Her third child, Henya Chaya, married Rav Abba Swiatycki, who became Rav of Kosova, after the petira of Rav Shemaryahu Yosef during WW I. Their only child was Rav Chaim. Rav Chaim’s mentor was his uncle, Rav Yitzchak Zundel Karelitz, brother of the Chazon Ish. At the age of 14, he left for Mir, then learned with Rav Baruch Ber Lebovitz in Kaminetz, where he stayed for six years. In 1934, he followed his uncle to Eretz Yisrael to escape conscription. He learned at Yeshiva Chevron in Yerushalayim and Yeshivas Volozhin in Tel Aviv. He then moved to America in 1938 where he joined the faculty at Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim.

Rav Yitzchak Kaduri (1901-2006). Born to to Rab Zeev Diva in Baghdad. Upon his second visit to Eretz Yisrael in 1923, he changed his last name from Diva to Kadouri and fixed his place of study at Yeshivat Porat Yosef in the Old City. He studied Kabbalah under the tutelage of Rabbi Ephraim Cohen and Rabbi Salman Eliyahu (father of former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu). After marrying his first wife, Sarah, HaRav Kadouri lived in Shechunat Habucharim, one of Jerusalem's first neighborhoods built outside the Old City walls. He would stay at the yeshiva all week, coming home shortly before Shabbos. Following the petira of Rav Ephraim Hakohen, head of Jerusalem's mekubalim, toward the end of 1949, Rav Kadouri was selected to head the group. He found a new institution called Yeshivat Nachalat Yitzchak. Graced with a phenomenal memory, he was said to have known the entire Babylonian Talmud by heart. His closer students say that the blessing of the Ben Ish Chai and that of the Lubavitcher Rebbe - both of whom blessed him that he might live to see the Final Redeemer - came true. The students say that Rabbi Kaduri told them he met the Messiah on Cheshvan 9, 5764 (Nov. 4, 2003). He reportedly said that the Messiah is not promoting himself, and that a study of his [Rabbi Kaduri's] words in recent months would provide hints of his identity.

Rav Shmuel Berenbaum, Rosh Yeshiva of Mir in Brooklyn (1921-2008). Born in the small Polish-Lithuanian town of Kinishen, Reb Shmuel began his formal learning at Yeshiva Ohel Torah of Baranovitch in 1935 under the leadership of Rav Elchonon Wasserma. During his years in the Mirrer Yeshiva, he became very close with the famed Mashgiach of the Mir, Rav Yechezkel Levenstein. Rav Shmuel escaped from Europe together with the Mirrer Yeshiva and spent six years with the yeshiva in exile in Shanghai. He arrived in the United States with the yeshiva led by the mashgiach, Rav Chatzkel, in 1947, and continued to learn in the yeshiva. In the early 1950s, Rav Avrohom Kalmanowitz zt”l, who had sustained and saved the yeshiva in Shanghai and rebuilt it in America , took Rav Shmuel as a son-in-law. After his marriage, Rav Shmuel joined the kollel of the Mirrer Yeshiva. In 1964, with the passing of Rav Kalmanowitz, Rav Shraga Moshe Kalmanowitz, oldest son of Rav Avrohom, together with Rav Shmuel, became roshei yeshiva of the Mirrer Yeshiva.

 
 
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