Rabbi 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 Rabbi 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.
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Zaks, son-in-law of the Chafetz Chaim
Rabbeinu Moshe ben Maimon, the Rambam (1135-1204). Born in Cordova, Spain, the Rambam received his rabbinical instruction at the hands of his father, Maimon. Considered by many as the greatest post-Talmudic scholar of the Jewish people, he was foremost among the shapers of religious law. He was also one of the most important philosophers of the Middle Ages; was a scientist, researcher, and physician, and was a leader of the Jewish communities of Egypt. Moshe was only thirteen years old when Cordova fell into the hands of the fanatical Almohades, and Rabbi Maimon and the other Jews were compelled to choose between Islam and exile. Rabbi 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 the Rambam's father, Maimon, Moses' brother David supported the family by trading in precious stones. David 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.” On 20 Tevet 1204, Rambam passed away in Brody during a fundraising trip to print his commentary on tractates Zera’im, Berachot and Pe’ah of the Jerusalem Talmud. Before his death, he instructed his son Abraham to bury him not in Egypt, but in Eretz Israel. Next to him they buried the remains of his father (who died in 1166), his son Abraham, and his grandson David the Nagid (who died in 1292). Rambam was a spiritual giant whose influence spread far beyond his time and place.
Rabbi Yaakov Abuchatzera (1880), grandson of the founder of the Abuchatzera family, Rabbi Shmuel (Elbaz), and son of Rabbi 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 Rabbi Yisrael, the Baba Sali, and his great-grandson is Rabbi Meir Abuchatzeira. In 1880, he attempted to move to Eretz Yisrael, but was nifter in Damanhur, Egypt, where he is buried.
Rabbi Simcha Yissacher Dov of Chechenov (1914)
Rabbi Yisrael Reich of Budapest (1933)
Rabbi Raphael Eliyahu Eliezer Mishkovski (1917-1981). Rabbi of the town of Rechasim and Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Knesses Chizkiyahu in Kfar Chassidim, both in northern Israel). Author of Mishnas Eliyahu
Rabbi 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.
Birthdate and Hilula of Shimon ben Yaakov Avinu (1567 BCE)
Rabbi Shlomo, Rav of Vilna at the time of the Vilna Gaon (1791)
Rabbi 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 Rabbi Noach Shimanowitz. Six years later, it moved to its permanent residence in Kfar Chassidim, under the guidance of the mashgiach, Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian and the rosh hayeshiva, Rabbi Mishkovsky. Some say the Hilula is 20 Tevet.
Rabbi Yisrael Dov of Vilednik, the She’eiris Yisrael (1789-1849 or 1850). Also known as the Maggid of Vilednik, he was a disciple of Rabbi 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 in Vilednik, Ukraine, on his Hilula. From the Rabbi’s writing: "The Torah was given over in seventy languages clearly explained" . . . "The holy Torah itself is (written using) holy letters. They are initially enclothed in the holy tongue (Hebrew). Afterwards they are enclothed in sackcloth in thousands of different vestments and it contains the entirety of those seventy languages. ...I heard from my master the Holy rebbe of Czernoble that it was revealed to him from heaven in a dream that for three hundred years they are preparing and organizing the limbs of the Moshiach. He was told that it is hinted to in a Rashi that this preparation and organization is using La'az, foreign languages, meaning to say that Moshiach's limbs are are prepared specifically through foreign languages, this is a very deep thing indeed. This is because Moshiach's concept is to cause all the nations to call out clearly in their language in Hashem's name (Tzefania 7:15) because Moshiach is revealed once the seventy languages have been gathered together from among the seventy angelic princes which are sackcloth garments for Torah, and become nullified to the Torah as we all call out in Hashem's name. Not so when the Torah was given when there were seventy distinct languages, and they were including at that time in the holy Torah. However in the future all the power of the seventy languages will be nullified completely as it says in Tzefania above. Truthfully the final task of refinement called Birurim is achieved trough languages, since every word and idea contains a spark of holiness and that spark is refined and uplifted through true unifications and combinations using foreign languages to elucidate and explain the holy Torah this is the purpose of the unifications and upliftment of the holy sparks. Therefore when you study and learn you should translate all you learn specifically into La'az - a foreign language. This rectifies sinful thoughts and evil thoughts which cause the holy sparks to fall into the realm of the broken vessels."
The Vilednik Story, sung by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
Rabbi Matzliach Mazuz, the Ish Matzliach (1912-1971). The son of Rabbi 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 Rabbi Rachamim Chai Chavitah HaKohen. After his marriage in 1930, Rabbi 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, Rabbi Rachamim Chai Chavitah. Years later, his sons reestablished this yeshivah in Bnei Brak. In 1971, while Rabbi Matzliach was returning from a pre-dawn minyan, clad in tallis and tefillin, a number of Arabs attacked and killed him. Among Rabbi 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. Rabbi Matzliach is survived by his sons: Rabbi Mayer, rosh yeshivah of Kisei Rachamim in Bnei Brak and the leader of the Tunisian community in Eretz Yisrael; Rabbi Yosef Tzemach, the director and mashgiach ruchani of the yeshivah; and Rabbi Rachamim, also a mashgiach ruchani. One of Rabbi Matzliach's daughters is married to Rabbi Yitzchak Barda, author of Yitzchak Yeranen, and another to Rabbi Chanan Kablan, a dayan.
Rabbi Isaiah HaLevi Horovitz (Hebrew: ישעיה הלוי הורוויץ), (c. 1565 – March 24, 1630), also known as the Shelah ha-Kadosh (the holy Shelah) after the title of his best-known work. He was a prominent German Levite rabbi, Kabbalist and mystic, born in Prague around 1565. His first teacher was his father, Avraham ben Shabtai Sheftel Horowitz, a notable scholar and author, and a disciple of Moses Isserles (Rema). Horowitz then studied under Meir Lublin and Joshua Falk. He married Chaya, daughter of Abraham Moul, a wealthy resident of Vienna, and enjoyed comfortable circumstances during his whole lifetime, devoting a large part of his income to charity, to supporting Torah study, especially in Jerusalem, and to the acquisition of a library. In his many Kabbalistic, homiletic and halachic works, he stressed the joy in every action, and how one should convert the evil inclination into good, two concepts that influenced Jewish thought through to the eighteenth-century, and greatly influenced the development of the Chassidic movement. Following the Fettmilch uprising In 1621, and after the death of his first wife, he left his current post in Frankfurt, and moved to Palestine. There he was appointed rabbi of the Ashkenazic community in Jerusalem, and married Chava, daughter of R. Eleazer. In 1625, he was kidnapped and imprisoned, together with 15 other Jewish rabbis and scholars, by the Pasha Ibn Faruh. He was released after payment of a ransom. One of the Rabbi’s most important works, Shenei Luḥot HaBerit (Hebrew: שני לוחות הברית, Two Tablets of the Covenant, abbreviated Shelah של"ה), is an encyclopedic compilation of ritual, ethics, and mysticism. Horowitz also wrote the Sha'ar ha-Shamayim siddur (prayer book) which had an influence on the later Ashkenazi Nusach, and he composed a special prayer, Tefillat HaShlah - The Shelah's Prayer, to be said on the first of Sivan. After 1626, Horowitz moved to Safed, a center of Kabbalah, and later died in Tiberias on March 24, 1630 (Nissan 11, 5390 on the Hebrew calendar) where he is buried next to the grave of the Ramban.
Rabbi Shmuel Heller, Azhenazi Rabbi of Tzefat for 40 years (1884). On the 24th of Tevet 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. Rabbi Shmuel was a disciple of Rabbi Avraham Dov Auerbach of Avritch [1765-1840], who spent ten years as Rabbi in Tzefat. He is buried in Tzefat.
Rabbi Yehuda Leib Eiger (1816-1888). A grandson of Rabbi Akiva Eiger, Rabbi Leibel was born in Warsaw. He learned under Rabbi 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 Rabbi 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, Rabbi Avraham, printed his sefarim Toras Emes and Imrei Emes.
Rabbi Shalom Moskowitz of Shatz, a Romanian town in the Bukovina district (1878-1958). A direct descendent (fifth generation) of Rabbi Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov and a great-grandson of Rabbi 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 (Rabbi Shalom Schwadron) of Berzhan to study practical halacha and receive semicha. After leading a group of chassidim in Cologne, Germany, Rabbi 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). He is buried in Enfield, London England
Rabbi Yehuda Aryeh Leib HaLavi Epstein, known as Reb Leibush of Ople (1837). Orphaned of his father, Rabbi 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 Rabbi of Ozerov in 1812. His most famous descendent was Rabbi Moshe Yechiel Michel Halevi Epstein, the Aish Daas of Ozerov.
Rabbi 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 Rabbi Shimon Shkop. After marrying in 1935, he moved 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 Yeshivas Chidushei Harim; Rabbi Gedalia was chosen Rosh Yeshiva while still in his early 20's. After the state of Israel was founded, 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, Rabbbi Gedalia became the Rav of the newly established “yeshiva’ kehilla in Sydney, Australia. In 1963, he returned to Yisrael.
Rabbi Naftali Katz, author of Semichas Chachomim (1660-1719), descendant of the Maharal. Born in Ostracha, Ukraine and died in Istanbul. His father, Yitzchak, a Rabbi in Stefan and a darshan in Prague, died in 1670. Rabbi 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 Rabbi of Frankfurt until 1711, when a fire broke out in his home and spread from there burning down several hundred homes. Rabbi Naftali was jailed and accused of setting the fire. When he was released, he left for Prague and Breslav 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. Rabbi Yaakov Emden, the son of the Chacham Zvi, married Rabbi Naftali's daughter Rachel. Some say his hilula is 5 Tishrei, 1645; Others say it is 24th Shevat.
Rabbi Yosef of Yampula, son of the Zlotchiver Maggid (1812).
Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1813), Baal Hatanya. The Rabbi was a talmid of the Magid of Mezritch at the age of 30, studying with him for 12 years, and became the leader of Chasidus in Lithuania following the Magid’s petira in 1772. While raising money for the release of Jewish prisoners from Czarist jails, he was arrested on charges of treason and incarcerated in Peter-Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg. There he astonished jailers and courtiers with his wisdom and piety. Eventually he was released, and moved to Liadi. In addition to Tanya, he also authored the Shulchan Aruch HaRav. The Rabbi was a mystic, a communal activist, a philosopher, a halachic authority, a composer, a talmudist - but he was primarily a spiritual guide, who created a practical path that allows anyone to approach divinity. Although Rabbi Schneur Zalman lived in an era of change and unrest on a global scale, his life and teachings have continued to inspire.
Here is a story from www.Ascentofsafed.com about the Rabbi and his spiritual leadership.
The Judgment and the Advice
Reb Noah was a devoted disciple of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the "Alter Rebbe" of Chabad, who lived in 18th century Russia. Reb Noah's son eventually married the Alter Rebbe's daughter and from that union came the Rebbe who was known as the Tzemach Tzedek. To this day, the memory of Reb Noah is well honoured among Lubavitchers, who tell this story about him.
After Reb Noah died and came before the Heavenly Court, they looked into his case and found that he had been a very good Jew. All his life he had observed the commandments as best he could and never missed any opportunity to perform an additional mitzvah.
Now, as is well known (Avot 4:11), when a Jew fulfills a mitzvah, a holy angel is born from that very act. These angels, it is said, will come to testify on behalf of the soul after death. And the more properly and sincerely he does the mitzvah, the stronger the angels will be. So it happened when Reb Noah stood before the Heavenly Court that thousands upon thousands of luminous mitzvah angels came to his trial, saying, "I was born from such-and-such a good deed performed by Reb Noah when he was alive on earth."
The Heavenly Court was very impressed by the testimony of all these mitzvah angels and was about to decide that Reb Noah should go immediately to Gan Eden ("Paradise"). But suddenly another angel appeared, a dark one. It stood before the Court and said, "I was born from a sin that Reb Noah committed during his life on earth." Then the angel revealed to the Court exactly what the sin had been.
The three judges who sit on the Heavenly Court deliberated thoroughly. On the one hand, Reb Noah was a pious man who had led a basically righteous life, so he deserved to go to Gan Eden. But on the other hand, he had committed the sin. Just as no good deed every goes unrewarded, so does no sin ever go unpunished. Finally, the Court decided to give Reb Noah two choices: he could spend a half-hour in Gehennom ("Purgatory") now, to atone for the sin, and then go straight to Gan Eden. Or, he could avoid the pain of purgatory by reincarnating on earth once again and making up for the sin there.
Reb Noah answered: "With all due respect to this Court, I would like to consult with my Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman, before I make a decision. All my life I never did anything concerning my spiritual life without first asking the Rebbe's advice. And so I would like permission to ask the Rebbe about this now."
The Court consulted the Heavenly Records and found that it was indeed true. Reb Noah never did anything important without first asking the Alter Rebbe's advice. "Very well," the Court replied. "You may return to earth in the spirit and consult with your Rebbe about your decision."
Back on earth, Rabbi Schneur Zalman was sitting at the table as usual, learning Torah with his chasidim. Then the soul of Reb Noah appeared to him in the spirit and posed the question: "Earth or Gehennnom?" The Rebbe turned to his chasidim and said, "Reb Noah is here right now, and he is asking what judgment he should choose: a half hour in Purgatory or to be reborn in this world another time."
The chasidim said nothing. What could they say? If the Rebbe wasn't prepared to decide, how could they presume to speak for him? So they sat there in silence, waiting to hear what the Rebbe's answer would be.
The Alter Rebbe put his hand on his forehead, then rested his elbow on the table and concentrated very deeply. For a long time he just sat there in silence, turning the question over in his mind, weighing all the consequences. Then came the answer: "Gehennom - to purgatory!"
As soon as the Rebbe had said the word "Gehennom," the chasidim all heard a voice cry out in anguish, "Oy, Rebbe!" At the same moment they saw, burned into the wall by the door, the outline of a human hand!
From this the chasidim understood what a spiritual danger it can be for a soul to be born into this world. Better to spend half an hour in the fires of Purgatory than a whole lifetime on earth once again!
Rabbi 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.
Rabbi Avraham Dov Berish Flamm (1804-1873). Rabbi Flamm is considered to be the leading disciple of the Dubno Maggid, Rabbi Yaakov Kranz, although, in fact, the two never met. Rabbi Flamm was, however, the leading student of the Maggid's writings, and it was he, together with the Maggid's son, Rabbi Yitzchak Kranz, who edited these and prepared them for publication. Rabbi 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, Rabbi 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.
Rabbi Moshe Yosef Teitelbaum (1842-1897). The son of Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Teitelbaum, he was was appointed Rav and Av Beis Din of Stropkov when Rabbi Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam returned to Sienawa in 1880. In 1891, he left the town for a post in Ujhely, Hungary.
Rabbi Shmuel Borenstein, the Shem MiShmuel from Sochatshov (1855-1926). He was born in Kotzk to Rabbi Avraham Borenstein, the Sochatchover Rebbe and mechaber of Avnei Nezer. His grandfathers were Rabbi Nachum Ze’ev of Biala, the Agudas Eizov and Rabbi Menachem Mendel, the Lotzker Rebbe. Rabbi Shmuel considered Rabbi 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. Rabbi 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 Rabbi Shmuel their Rebbe. His sefer contains the thoughts of his famous father.
Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Binyomin Sofer, the Divrei Sofer (1948). 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).
Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler (1892-1953). His father, Rabbi Reuven Dov Dessler, was a talmid muvhak of Rabbi Simcha Zissel of Kelm,and his mother was a grand-daughter of Rabbi Yisrael Salanter and a niece of Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinski. After learning at Kelm, he married a grand-daughter of Rabbi 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. Some say his Hilula is 25 Tevet.
Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Biederman, the Lelover Rebbe (1904-1987). Son of Rabbi 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, Rabbi David. 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. He is buried on haf Hatzetim Jerusalem, Israel.
Rabbi 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 Rabbi Yitzchak Elchonon Yeshiva of New York City under his rabbi, Rabbi Moshe Halevi Soloveitchik. HaRav Gifter studied together with Rabbi Nosson Wachtfogel, zt"l, former mashgiach of Lakewood and Rabbi Avigdor Miller of Flatbush in the Rabbi Yitzchak Elchonon Yeshiva. On the advice o his uncle, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Zer, one of the directors of the Rav Yitzchak Elchonon Yeshiva, Rabbi Gifter went to study in the Telz yeshiva of Lithuania in the winter of 1932. He became very close to the rosh yeshiva, Rabbi 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 Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman, Rabbi Gifter was asked to deliver chaburos to the students. In 1943, Rabbi Gifter became rav of the chareidi community in Connecticut, and one year later, his uncles, Rabbi Eliyahu Meir Bloch and Rabbi 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, Rabbi Baruch Sorotzkin, was nifter, and Rabbi Gifter returned to Cleveland to succeed him. And there he remained until his own petira. Some say his Hilula is 23 Teves.
Rabbi Moshe Akiva Tikochinsky (1988). Mashgiach of Slabodka Yeshiva.
Rabbi 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, in which he shows that the new day begins 12 hours to the east of Yerushalayim. His kever is in Haditch, Ukraine.
Rabbeinu Avraham bar Dovid miPosquires (Ra’avad) (c.1125 - 1198) was a Provençal rabbi, a prolific commentator on the Talmud, Sefer Halachot of Rabbi Yitzhak Alfasi and Mishne Torah of Maimonides, and is regarded as a father of Kabbalah and one of the key and important links in the chain of Jewish mystics. He was a product of the flourishing Jewish presence in Provence in the twelfth century CE, born in the south of France about 1125 and dying at Posquières (meaning "place of wells”) on November 27, 1198. In that era Christians and Jews created separate communities within the well-defended village of Posquières. RABaD (abbreviation for Rabbi Avraham ben David) acquired most of his Talmudic learning under the guidance of Moses ben Joseph and Meshullam ben Jacob of Lunel, and remained in Lunel after completing his studies, and subsequently became one of the rabbinical authorities of that city. Next he went to Montpellier, where he remained only a short time, and then moved to Nîmes, where he lived for a considerable period. Under the direction of RABaD the rabbinical school of Nîmes was considered the chief seat of Talmudic learning in Provence. Besides being an active teacher, he wrote answers to hundreds of learned questions as well as a commentary on the whole Talmud and several compendia of rabbinical law. He is best known for his Hasagos on the Rambam and the Rif, but many of his other works are lost. The RABaD is often considered to be the source of the commonly used diagram of the Sephirot of the Tree of Life that was ultimately written down by his son Isaac the Blind. He considered Judaism a spiritual practice of deed, not of dogma, and followed an ascetic mode of life which gained for him the title of "the pious”. In spite of his asceticism, the RABaD’s wealth and benevolence were famous. Not only did he erect and keep in repair a large school-building, but he cared for the material welfare of the poor students as well. It was his great wealth which brought him into peril of his life, however. In order to obtain some of it, Elzéar, the lord of Posquières, had him cast into prison, where he might have perished, had not his persecutor's superior intervened. When Elzéar was banished, Abraham ben David returned to Posquières (now named Vauvert) where he remained until his death.
Rabbi Avraham Chaim of Zlotchov, author of Orach LeChaim and P’ri Chaim (1816). There have been many Seforim written with the title Pri Chaim. See [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.]
Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, (1808-1888). Hirsch was born in Hamburg, Germany. His father, though a merchant, devoted much of his time to Torah studies; his grandfather, Mendel Frankfurter, was the founder of the Talmud Torah in Hamburg and unsalaried assistant rabbi of the neighboring congregation of Altona; and his granduncle, Löb Frankfurter, was the author of several Hebrew works, including Harechasim le-Bik'ah (הרכסים לבקעה), a Torah commentary. At the age of 18, Rav Shimshon Raphael went to Mannheim to learn at the yeshiva of Rabbi Yaakov Ettlinger, author of Aruch La’ner. Rabbi Hirsch received smicha from Rabbi Ettlinger after learning there for a year. Thereafter, he attended the University of Bonn. When he was 21, he was appointed Chief Rabbi of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg. Hirsch remained in Oldenburg until 1841, when he was elected chief rabbi of the Hanoverian districts of Aurich and Osnabrück, with his residence in Emden. During this five-year post, he was taken up almost completely by communal work, and had little time for writing. He did, however, found a secondary school with a curriculum featuring both Jewish studies and a secular program. 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 wife was Chana Judel. His best known works are the classic six-volume Commentary on Chumash. He is considered the intellectual founder of the Torah im Derech Eretz school of contemporary Orthodox Judaism and had a considerable influence on the development of Orthodox Judaism. Hirsch died in 1888 in Frankfurt am Main and is buried there.
Rabbi Shmuel Hillel Shenker (1956). His father, Rabbi Avraham Shenker, was one of Rabbi Yisrael's Salanter’s greatest disciples. Rabbi 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, Rebbe Simcha Zissel of Kelm. After a number of years, he traveled to Eretz Yisrael with his relative, Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank, who later became chief rabbi of Yerushalaim. In 1895, Rabbib Shmuel Hillel married Laya Genendle, the oldest daughter of Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld. On 9 Iyar 1944, his beloved son Rabbi Mendel Shenker passed away when he was only forty-six. Another year passed and another son was taken from him. Rabbi Yisrael, his youngest and most beloved son, passed away in the prime of his life on 27 Tevet 1945.
Rabbi 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 Rabbi Velvel Margulies. After Rabbi Velvel’s petira, he became Rav.
Rabbi Menashe Yitzchak Meir Eichenstein of Ziditchov -Petach Tikvah (1971)
Rabbi Avraham Simcha HaKohen Kaplan (1990). Chief Rabbi of Tzefat.
Rabbi Pinchas Hirschprung, Chief Rabbi of Montreal (1915-1998). At the age 15, he published a Torah journal, Ohel Torah, along with his friend, Rabbi Yeshaya Yosef Margolin, in Galicia. He then joined Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin, learning under Rabbi Meir Shapiro. At the outbreak of World War 2, Rabbi 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 Rabbi Kehillas Adas Yisrael. When Yeshiva Merkaz Hatorah was established, Rabbi Pinchas was made its Rosh Yeshiva. Eventually, he was Rav Ha’Ir of Montreal.
Rabbi Shmuel Berenbaum(1920 – January 6, 2008) was an Orthodox rabbi and rosh yeshiva of the Mir yeshiva in Brooklyn, New York. He was born in the small Polish-Lithuanian town of Knyszyn, and began his formal learning at Yeshiva Ohel Torah of Baranovitch in 1935 under the leadership of Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman. He later studied in the Mir Yeshiva located in the town of Mir, Poland. As the Nazis rolled across Eastern Europe at the onset of World War II, he traveled with the rest of the Mir Yeshiva to Vilna, Poland, where they remained for three weeks awaiting visas to travel abroad. After receiving destination visas to Curaçao, a Dutch protectorate in the Caribbean, they were given travel visas by the Japanese Consul in Kovno, Chiune Sugihara. The yeshiva traveled across the Trans-Siberian Railway to Vladivostok, Russia, in a trip that took over two months. From there they traveled to Kobe, Japan, where they remained for seven months before being settled by the Japanese Government in Shanghai, China where he spent six years in exile. In the early 1950s, Rabbi Avraham Kalmanowitz zt”l, who had sustained and saved the yeshiva in Shanghai and rebuilt it in America, took Rabbi Shmuel as a son-in-law. In 1964, after the passing of his father-in-law, he became the rosh yeshiva of the Mirrer Yeshiva together with his brother-in-law Rabbi Shraga Moshe Kalmanowitz. His diligence in Torah study was legendary and he was known to spend the entire day in the yeshiva's study hall discussing Torah topics with the students. His funeral, held on January 7 at the Mir yeshiva in Brooklyn was attended by tens of thousands of mourners, and his body was flown to Israel for burial in the Sanhedria Cemetery in Jerusalem.
This is erev Rosh Chodesh Shevat. Many people choose to do a day light fast in order to make Tikune.
Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin (1818-1898), the Rav of Brisk, Yerushalayim leader, son of Rabbi Binyamin Diskin, rav of Volkovisk. He was born in Horodno. Rabbi 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.
Rabbi Yerachmiel Yisrael Yitzchak of Alexander, the Yismach Yisrael (1853-1910). At an early age, his father, Rabbi Yechiel of Alexander, took him to Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vorka, then Rabbi 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.
Rabbi Marcus (Nosson) Adler, author of Nesina L'ger (1803-1890). He was Rabbi of Oldenburg, 1829-1830, and Hanover, 1830-1844, and Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, 1844-1890.
Rabbi 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, Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel. He lived through the Arab massacre of Chevron's Jews on Shabbos morning, 16 Av, 1929.
Rabbi 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 Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky, he was chosen as Rav of the Khal Adas Yeshurun of Zurich.
Rabbi Chaim Shamshon Swiatyckid (1914-2004), nephew of the Chazon Ish and scion of the Karelitz dynasty, whose patriarch and matriarch Rabbi Shemaryahu Yosef and Rasha Leah, had 15 children. Her third child, Henya Chaya, married Rabbi Abba Swiatycki, who became Rabbi of Kosova, after the petira of Rabbi Shemaryahu Yosef during WW I. Their only child was Rabbi Chaim. Rabbi Chaim’s mentor was his uncle, Rabbi Yitzchak Zundel Karelitz, brother of the Chazon Ish. At the age of 14, he left for Mir, then learned with Rabbi 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.
Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri (1901-2006). Born to to Rabbi Zeev Diva in Baghdad, Lebanon, at that time under Ottoman Turkish rule, he was a renowned Mizrahi Haredi rabbi and kabbalist who devoted his life to Torah study and prayer on behalf of the Jewish people. He lived a life of poverty and simplicity. He ate little, spoke little, and prayed each month at the gravesites of tzaddikim. As a youngster, Kaduri excelled in his studies and began learning Kabbalah while still in his teens, a study that would last his entire life. Graced with a phenomenal memory, he was said to have memorized the entire Babylonian Talmud, and he knew all the writings of Rabbi Yitzhak Luria, the founder of modern Kabbalah, by heart.
He was a student of the Ben Ish Chai (Rabbi Yosef Chaim of Baghdad) and studied at the Zilka Yeshivah in Baghdad. Rabbi Kaduri moved to the British Mandate of Palestine (Eretz Israel, the Holy Land) in 1923 upon the advice of the elders of Baghdad, who hoped that his scholarship and piety would stop the incursion of Zionism in the post-World War I state. It was here that he changed his name from Diba to Kaduri, and fixed his place of study at Yeshivat Porat Yosef in the Old City, where he studied Kabbalah under the tutelage of Rabbi Ephraim Cohen and Rabbi Salman Eliyahu (father of former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu). He studied at the Shoshanim LeDavid Yeshiva for kabbalists from Iraq, where he learned from the leading kabbalists of the time, including Rabbi Yehuda Ftaya, author of Beit Lechem Yehudah, and Rabbi Yaakov Chaim Sofer, author of Kaf Hachaim.
The Rabbi later immersed himself in regular Talmudic study and rabbinical law, and became responsible for binding the yeshiva’s books and copying over rare manuscripts. When the Jewish quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem fell to the invading Jordanian Army in 1948, the Jordanians set fire to the yeshivah and all surrounding houses, destroying all the books and manuscripts that Rabbi Kaduri could not smuggle to Beit El Yeshiva (Yeshivat HaMekubalim) in Jerusalem. After the passing of the leading kabbalist, Rabbi Efraim Hakohen, in 1989, the remaining kabbalists appointed Rabbi Kaduri as their head, and he founded a new institution called Yeshivat Nachalat Yitzchak. Rabbi Kaduri did not publish any of the works that he authored on Kabbalah; he allowed only students of Kabbalah to study them, and believed that Kabbalah should not be taught to non-Jews. He died in Jerusalem in January, 2006, and an estimated 300,000 people took part in his funeral procession. He is buried at the Givat Shaul cemetery near the entrance to the city of Jerusalem. At the time of his death, estimates of his age ranged from 103 to 118, and his birth year is still disputed.
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