Rebbes/Kabbalists/Sages Biographical Briefs

[In alphabetical order according to first name] A-C,D-L, M-R, S-U, Y-Z

 

 

Rabbi Aharon ("the Great") of Karlin; (1736- 19 Nissan 1772) was a disciple of Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezritch. He was the pioneer of Chasidism in Lithuania, as is evidenced by the fact that in contemporary sources, "Karliner" became a local synonym for "chasid". He is remembered for the ecstatic and unrestrained fervor of his prayer, for his solicitude for the needy, and for the moral teachings embodied in his Azharos ("Warnings"). He was succeeded by his disciple R. Shlomo of Karlin, after whose death the succession reverted to R. Aharon's son, R. Asher of Stolin (d. 1823). The dynasty still thrives today; the Chasidim are known for the volume of their communal prayers.

Rabbi Aharon of Belz [1900 - 21 Av 1957], the fourth rebbe in the Belz dynasty, was considered one of the purest holy men of his generation. In 1944 he miraculously escaped from the Nazis and moved to Israel, where after a brief time in Jerusalem he set up his court in Tel Aviv. The current Belzer Rebbe, who has established a huge center in Jerusalem, is his nephew.

Rabbi Aharon of Chernobyl (1787- 8 Kislev 1871), eldest son and successor of Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl, studied closely with his grandfather, Rabbi Nachum of Chernobyl. He became the Rebbe of thousands of Chasidim in the Ukraine.

Rabbi Akiva Eiger [1761- 13 Tishrei 1837], the chief rabbi of Posen, Prussia for 23 years, was an acclaimed scholar whose analyses of and innovative insights into the Gemora are studied in nearly all yeshivas.

Rabbi Aryeh Leib [25 Kislev 1725 - 6 Tishrei 1811], known as the Shpoler Zeide ('grandfather'-a nickname given to him by the Baal Shem Tov at his circumcision), is famed as a miracle worker and devoted to the succor of poor Jews in distress. In his early years, he was a disciple of Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz, a leading figure in the first generation of chassidim.The Lubavitcher Rebbe stated the possibility that the Shpoler Zeide and Rabbi Leib Sarah's are the same person.

Rabbi Asher-Yeshaya (Rubin) of Ropshitz (?-1845 or 1855) was the son-in-law of Rabbi Naftali of Ropshitz, whom he succeeded as Rebbe. He authored Or Yeshai.

Rabbi Avraham Azuli (1570-1643), authored the well-known Kabbala work, Chesed l'Avraham. He is the grandfather of one of the most famous Sephardic sages ever, the Chida (Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai, 1724-1806).

Rabbi Avraham the Malach ("the Angel") (1739- 12 Tishrei 1776). Son of Rabbi Dov Ber (the Maggid) of Mezritch. While still a young man he committed to an ascetic and secluded lifestyle. Upon his father's passing in 1772 he declined to assume leadership of the chassidic movement, even though he was held in high esteem by all of hisfather's main disciples. He wrote a work entitled Chesed L'Avraham. His son, R. Shlomo Shachna of Probisht, was the father of the famed Chasidic leader, Rabbi Yisrael of Ruzhin.

Rabbi Avraham Landau of Chechanov[1784 - 5 Adar 1875], a disciple of R. Fishel of Strikov and R. Simcha Bunim Of Pesishcha, was a renowned scholar and rabbinical judge. He served as Rav and Rebbe in his community for 56 years, refusing all offers to serve in larger, more prestigious posts. He authored _Zechuta d'Avraham, Ahavas Chesed_, and many others. In 1943 his grave was dug up, and his body and even his burial shrouds were completely intact!

Rabbi Avraham of Trisk (1802 - 2 Tammuz 1889) was one of eight sons of Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl. was one of the eight sons of Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl, all of whom became chasidic rebbes in their own right. In addition to being wee known because of the success of his blessings, his approachability and friendliness to all comers drew thousands of Chassidim to the court which he conducted for some fifty (50!) years at Trisk. His book, Magen Avraham on the Torah and festivals, enjoys great popularity among Chasidim, and among ywshiva students for whom it offers many guidelines.

Rabbi Avraham Wienberg, the Slonimer Rebbe [1804-11 Cheshvan 1883], was active in the spread of the Chasidic movement in Lithuania, the stronghold of the opposition to the Chasidism. He was also a main organizer of support for the religious communities in the Holy Land. His books include Chesed L"Avraham, a deep mystical work, and Be'er Avraham on the Mechilta.

Rabbi Avraham Dov Auerbach of Avritch [1765-12 Kislev 1840], a Rebbe in Europe for forty years and in Zefat for ten, was a disciple of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev and the first two Rebbes of the Chernobyl dynasty. One of his disciples was Rabbi Shmuel Heller, the chief rabbi of Zefat. His famous book, Bas Ayin, was written in Europe, but he refused to allow it to be printed until he could 'expose' it to the air of the Holy Land and refine it there. His meeting with the philanthropist Sir Moses Montifiore in 1840 led to the beginning of modern Jewish agricultural settlement in Israel. He is buried in the old cemetery of Tsfat.

Rabbi Avraham Mattisyahu Fridman of Shtefanesht [1848 - 21 Tamuz 1933], in Romania, was the grandson of the holy Rabbi Yisroel of Rhzhin. He succeeded his father, Rabbi Menachem Nochum, to be the second Rebbe in the dynasty, in 1869. While famed for his miraculous powers and having thousands of followers and admirers, he was also considered one of the true hidden tzadikim of his generation. In 1969 his remains -- which witnesses alive today testify were still as whole and fresh as the day he died! -- were exhumed and transferred from Romania to Nachlas Yitzchok in Tel Aviv, where his grave is still a holy site of prayer for thousands of Jews.

Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Alter (1866 - 6 Sivan 1948), the son of the Sfas Emmes, was the third Rebbe in the Gur dynasty. He was the spiritual leader of over 250,000 Chassidim in pre-WW II Poland. In 1940, he managed to escape with three of his sons to Israel (then Palestine), although the vast majority of his followers did not survive. He began to rebuild the Gerrer community in Jerusalem, but he died there during the siege of Jerusalem on Shavuos, 1948. He was known as the Imrei Emmes, after the title of his major book.

Rabbi Avraham Shalom Halberstam, a descendant of the Divrei Yehezkiel, son of the Divrei Chayim of Sanz, is the present day Stropkov Rebbe in Jerusalem, living in Meah She'arim. He runs several yeshivas and kolels in Jerusalem and other cities in Israel. He is known for devoting himself to helping many who need to return to their Jewish roots.

Rabbi Avraham Yaakov Friedman (20 Cheshvan 1819-11 Elul 1883), the first of the Sadigorer dynasty, was the second son and successor of his famous father, the holy Rabbi Yisrael of Rhyzhin (1797-1850), who passed away in Sadigora. His elder son, Yitzchak (1849-1917), became the first Boyanner Rebbe. His younger son, Yisrael (1853-1907), succeeded him in Sadigora as the rebbe of tens of thousands.

Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heschel (1755- 5 Nissan 1825) the Apter Rebbe, was a main disciple of the Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhinsk. He is also often referred to as "the Ohev Yisrael," both after the title of the famous book of his teachings, and also because its meaning ( "Lover of Jews") fits him so aptly.

Rabbi Avrohom Yehoshua Heschel of Kopischnitz [4 Iyar 1888 - 16 Tammuz 1967], a great-grandson of the Ruzhiner Rebbeon his mother's side, was named after his paternal ancestor, the Apter Rebbe. After WWI he moved to Vienna and after WWII to New York on the Lower East Side. Wherever he lived he was renowned for his supreme kindness and great ahavas Yisroel (love of ones fellow Jew). His dedication to refugees of the wars was especially extraordinary. In Israel, he opened an orphanage in Petach Tikveh, called Beit Avraham, which exists until this day.

Rabbi Benyamin (ben Menachem Mendel) Mendelson [?-24 Iyar1979] was born in Plotzk, Poland. He emigrated to Israel after WWII, where he became the founding rabbi of Komemiyut, a religious moshav in the south, which under his guidance and rabbinical leadership became one of the first settlements to observe all the biblical and rabbinical agricultural laws which apply to the Holy Land. He is still is considered a foremost authority on the laws of the Sabbatical Year.

Rabbi Ben Zion Halberstam of Bobov (1874- 4 Menachem Av 1941) at age thirty-one succeeded his father, the first of the dynasty, as Rebbe of Bobov. He is often referred to as the Kedushas Tzion, after the commentary on the Torah that he wrote. He was murdered by the Nazis in 1941. His successor was his son Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam (1907-2000), who rebuilt Bobov in the United States.

Rabbi Boruch of Kosov* [?-13 Cheshvan 1782], an important disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch, and of R. Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk, worked actively to propagate and publicize the ways and teachings of Chassidism. He is the author of "Yesod HaEmunah" and "Amud HaAvoda."
*Not to be confused with Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kosov, founder of the Vihznitz and Kosov dynasties.

Rabbi Boruch of Mezhibuz [1753 - 18 Kislev, 1811] was the son of R. Yechiel Ashkenazi and Adel, the daughter of the Baal Shem Tov.He moved from Tulchin to assume the Chasidic leadership in Mezhibuz, the town of his holy grandfather. He was one of the pre-eminent Rebbes in the generation of the disciples of the Maggid of Mezritch and had thousands of Chassidim.

Rabbi Chaim (ben Moshe) Ibn Atar (1696 - 15 Tammuz 1743) is best known as the author of one of the most important and popular commentaries on the Torah: the Ohr HaChaim. He established a major yeshiva in Israel, after moving there from Morocco. Chassidic tradition is that the main reason the Baal Shem Tov twice tried so hard (and failed) to get to the Holy Land was that he said if he could join the Ohr HaChaim there, together they could bring Moshiach. His burial site outside the Old City of Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives, is considered a propitious place to pray.

Rabbi Chaim Hager of Kosov (1768 - 25 Iyar 1854) succeeded his father, R. Menachem Mendel, as Rav and Rebbe in Kossov in 1827. He is the author of Toras Chayim. A prominent synagogue in Tsfat is named after him. His son, Menachem Mendel, became the first Rebbe in Vishnitz.

Rabbi Chaim (Ben Baruch) Of Antunia [1863 - 25 Kislev 1931], had many followers. He also served as the head of the Bukaviner Kollel. Many of his teachings are published in "Tal Chaim."

Rabbi Chaim Chizkiya Medini [1832 - 24 Kislev 1904] was born and raised in Jerusalem. After many years in Turkey, Buchara and the Crimea, he returned to the Holy Land in 1878 and became the head of the rabbinical court and main yeshiva in Hebron in 1880, where he successfully revitalized the Jewish educational and social institutions. He is best known for his monumental, universally-acclaimed 18-volume Talmudic and halachic encyclopedia, S'dei Chemed (the only non-Chabad book ever published by the official Chabad publishing company). Even the Arab inhabitants of Hebron accepted him as a holy man. After his burial they tried to steal his body and bury him in a mosque, but were unsuccessful.

Rabbi Chaim Tirar of Chernowitz [1760 - 27 Kislev 1817] was a leading disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch and of Rabbi Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov. He authored a number of important books, including Siduro Shel Shabbat, which explains the exaltedness and holiness of the Seventh Day according to mystical principles of Kabbalah, but is best known for -and by!-- the name of his esoteric commentary on the Torah, Be'er Mayim Chaim. Towards the end of his life he moved to Safed, where he is buried.

Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz [1793 - 25 Nissan 1876] was the first Rebbe of the Sanz-Klausenberg dynasty. He is famous for his extraordinary dedication to the mitzvah of tzedaka and also as a renowned Torah scholar; his voluminous and wide-ranging writings were all published under the title Divrei Chaim. His eldest son founded the famous Sanzer synagogue in Tsfat in the middle 1800's.

Rabbi Chaim Toledano (circa. 1700-1783) was the Rabbi of Sali in Morocco in the generation after the Ohr HaChaim left for Israel. In the book Tehila l'David he is described as being "the glorious adornment of the sages...pleasing to G-d and man."

Rabbi Chaim Vital (1543 - 30 Nisan 1620) Student of Rabbis Moshe Alsheich and Moshe Cordevero, but best known as the main disciple of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria and the authoritative redactor of his doctrines, as recorded in Etz Chaim ("Tree of Life"). Pri Etz Chaim ("Fruit of the Tree of Life"), and Shmoneh Sha'arim ("Eight Gates"). Author of several books of his own as well. (For a fuller biography) (For teachings of Rabbi Chaim Vital translated into English)

Rabbi Chaim Meir Yechiel Shapira of Mogelnitz (?-5 Iyar 5609/1849) was raised and taught by his maternal grandfather, the Koznitzer Maggid. He married the granddaughter of the Rebbe R. Elimelech of Lyzhinsk. He was also the disciple of four leading figures of his generation: the rebbes of Lublin, Pesichah, Apta, and Ruzhin.

Rabbi Chaim-Yosef-David Azulai (circa 5484-5566; 1724-1806), better known as the "Chida," which are the initials of his name, is a highly respected Halachist, Kabbalist, historian and bibliographer. Born in Jerusalem, his teachers included Rav Shalom Sharabi [the Rashash], and Rav Chaim ben-Atar (the Ohr HaChaim). Eventually he wrote and published 71 works! His Shem HaGedolim is one of the most important source books of Jewish literature and history. Several times he traveled abroad for periods of over five years each, usually as an emissary of the communities of the Holy Land, and once to serve as the Rav of Cairo. He lived the last third of his life in Livorno (Leghorn), Italy, where he wrote most of his major works and where he passed away at age 82 and was buried.

Rabbi Chaim Zanvil Abramowitz (1890's-24 Tishrei, 1995), the Ribnitzer Rebbe, was a main disciple of Rabbi Avrohom Matisyohu of Shtefanesht, grandson of the "holy Rhyzhiner." The Ribnitzer was aacknowledged by all Jews across the spectrum as a renowned performer of miracles. After emigrating from Russia in 1973, he subsequently lived in Jerusalem and Monsey, NY. It is known that from the 1930s until the end of his life he fasted on all days when it is permitted to do so under Jewish law.

Rabbi Chaim-Elazar Spira, the Munkaczer Rebbe (Dec 17, 1871- 2 Sivan, 1937) wrote and published over twenty books on the Jewish Law, Torah, chasidism, and religious philosophy and customs. His most notable work which made him world famous was the scholarly work, Minchas Elazar, which contains six volumes.

Rebbetzin Chaya Moussia ("Mushka") Schneerson (25 Adar 1901 - 22 Shevat 1988) was the daughter of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yotzchak Schneersohn, and the wife of our Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

Rabbi David Twerski of Tolna [1808-10 Iyar 1882], son of the famed tzadik, Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl, had thousands of chasidim that relied on his leadership. His works include Magen David. There is a Tolner Shul in Safed even today.

Rabbi David Moshe Friedman (20 Cheshvan 1828-21 Tishrei1903), the first Chortkover Rebbe, was the fifth of the holy six sons of the famed R. Yisrael of Rhyzhin (1797-1850), who attracted a large following after the death of his father. He is the author of Divrei Dovid.

Rabbi David Biederman of Lelov (1746 - 7 Shvat 1814) was a close follower of the "Seer" of Lublin. He was known for his extraordinary compassion for, and inability to see faults in, his fellow Jews. His main disciple was Rabbi Yitzchak of Vorki, whose son, Yaakov David, was the first Amshinov Rebbe. Two printed collections of stories about him are Migdal David and Kodesh Halulim.

Rabbi David Zvi Shlomo Biederman (1844-5 Elul 1918) was one of the most respected rabbinical figures in old Jerusalem through World War I, and the leader of its Chassidic community. He was the official head of Kollel Warsaw, and in 1883 succeeded his father as Lelover Rebbe.

Rabbi David of Zubeltov (1797 - 25 Iyar 1846) was the son of Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Kosov and the son-in-law of Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov. He became a rebbe in his own right at the young age of 29. He was held in great respect for his wisdom, even by the other rebbes of his generation.

Rabbi Dov Ber (c.1700-19 Kislev 1772), the son of Avraham and Chava, known as the Maggid of Mezritch, succeeded his master, the Baal Shem Tov, as the head of the Chasidic movement. Most of the leading chasidic dynasties stem from his disciples and his descendents. The classic anthologies of his teachings are Likutei Amarim and Torah Ohr (combined by Kehos Publishing as Maggid Devorav l'Yaakov), and Ohr HaEmmes.

Rabbi DovBer Shneuri [9 Kislev 1773 - 9 Kislev 1827] was the eldest son and successor to Rabbi Shneur Zalman, founder of the Chabad movement. The author of numerous deep, mystical texts, he is known in Lubavitch circles as "the Mittler (Middle) Rebbe."

Eliezer Ascari (1533-1600), a disciple of the Ramak (Rabbi Moshe Cordevero), subsequently became famous as the author of Sefer Chareidim. He also authored a commentary on the tractate of Brachot in the Jerusalem Talmud, and is the composer of the popular Shabbat prayer-hymn: Yedid Nefesh.

Rabbi Elazar Menachem-Mendel (ben Moshe Biderman) of Lelov (1827 - 16 Adar 1883), moved to Israel at age 24 with his father in 1841. After his father passed away that same year, he became the chasidic leader of the Jerusalem Old City community for the next 42 years, and was also highly respected by all the non-chasidim as well.

Rabbi Elazar of Reishe (1839-15 Tamuz 1910), a city in Galicia, Poland, was a great-grandson of the Rebbe Elimelech of Lyzhinsk. He was best known for miraculous healings, and for his book, Mishna Lemelech, on the weekly Torah readings.

Rebbe Eliezer Zusia Portugal [1 Cheshvan, 1898 - 29 Av 1982], the Skulener Rebbe, immigrated to the USA in 1960, after imprisonment in Rumania and international efforts to secure his release. He is the author of Noam Eliezer and Kedushas Eliezer, and was a prominent follower of the Shtefaneshter Rebbe, but is best known for his superhuman efforts to rescue Jewish orphans and refugees in Eastern Europe before, during and after WWII and his continuing support of them, and his Chessed L'Avraham network of schools for children that continue until today. Those who merited to be in his presence were astonished by the length of his prayers and the beauty and intensity of the tunes that he composed, many of which have become internationally famous today.

Rabbi Elimelech of Lyzhinsk (1717 - 21 Adar 1787), was a major disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch, successor to the Baal Shem Tov, and the leading Rebbe of the subsequent generation in Poland-Galitzia. Most of the great Chassidic dynasties stem from his disciples. His book, Noam Elimelech, is one of the most popular of all Chassidic works.

Rabbi Eliyahu Hakohen of Izmir, Turkey [1650 - 1 Adar B 1729], is best known as the author of Shevet Mussar, a major work of Torah ethics and morality. He also wrote Midrash Talpiot. In the historical work, Shem HaGedolim, it states, "Rabbi Eliyahu HaKohen of Izmir wrote almost 40 books and turned many away from sin with his public lectures."

Rabbi Eliyahu Kramer, the Gaon of Vilna (1720 - 19 Tishrei 1797) was one of the most prominent figures in the Torah world of recent centuries, his erudition covered the entire field of Torah scholarship (as well as natural sciences and mathematics) on which he wrote some 70 works. Despite his extreme seclusion - his ascetic assiduity has become proverbial - he exerted a powerful influence on Jewish affairs.

Rabbi Feivish (Meshulam Feivish) HaLevi of Zabriza (Zebariz) studied under R. Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov and R. Dov Ber of Mezritch. He was an authority on the laws of writing Torah scrolls. His disciples included R. Menachem Mendel of Kosov. His Yosher Divrei Emes is a basic work on chasidic thought, and his teachings appear also in Likutim Yekarim.

Rabbi Fischel ("Fisheleh") Shapira of Strickov (1743 - 17 Tevet 1822) was a disciple successively of the Magid of Mezritch, the Rebbe Elimelech and the Seer of Lublin. He was known for his extreme modesty and humility. His colleagues referred to him as "Oleh Temimah" - "the unblemished offering.

Rebbetzin Freyda [1764 - 16 Sivan 1813], the daughter of Rabbi Shneur Zalman, was an erudite and pious woman. As his first-born, and a special soul, she was especially dear to her father and he would frequently deliver Chasidic discourses just for her. One of her sons, Rabbi Aharon Zaslavski of Kremenchug, married Rebbetzin Chaya, the daughter of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov.

Rabbi Gershon of Kitov [? - ca.1760] was the brother-in-law of the Baal Shem Tov and subsequently an important disciple. He was the recipient of the famous letter from the Besht about his visit to the heavenly abode of Moshiach, as well as other important correspondence. In 1747 he moved to the Land of Israel, living first in Hebron and then in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Hillel of Paritsh (1795-13 Av/Shabbat Nachamu 1864) was a chassid of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, the Tsemach Tsedek, and as the chassidim used to say, "half a rebbe" in his own right. He served as the Rabbi of Bobruisk for many years, and authored Pelach HaRimon, a work of deep chassidic thought.

Rabbi Klonymos Kalman Halevi Epstein (?-1823), better known as the Maor Vashemesh ("Light and Sun"), the title of his mystical Torah commentary, was among the most celebrated of the followers of Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk. The Seer of Lublin said that R' Klonymos was the reincarnation of the Tana Rabbi Eliezer ben Charsom, who was a Kohen Gadol (high priest) during the Second Temple. In 1785 he started heading the Jewish community of Cracow. AT the end of his life he moved to the Holy Land. He is buried in the old cemetery of Tsfat.

Rabbi Leib Sarah's (1730-4 Adar 1796) was held in high esteem by the Baal Shem Tov. One of the "hidden tzaddikim," he spent his life wandering from place to place to raise money for the ransoming of imprisoned Jews and the support of other hidden tzaddikim. The Lubavitcher Rebbe stated the possibility that Rabbi Leib Sarah's and the Shpoler Zeide are the same person.

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak (Deberamdiger) of Berditchev [of blessed memory: 5500 - 25 Tishrei 5571 (1740 - Oct. 1810)] is one of the most popular rebbes in chassidic history. He was a close disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch. He is best known for his love for every Jew and his active efforts to intercede for them against (seemingly) adverse heavenly decrees. Many of his teachings are contained in the posthumously published, Kedushat Levi.

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson [1878-20 Av 1944], father of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, was considered by the Rebbe Reshab to be one of his three greatest chassidim. An outstanding scholar and one of the leading Kabbalists of the first half of the 20th century, he was the Chief Rabbi of Yekaterinoslav (a major Ukrainian city, today called Dniepropetrovsk)
until his arrest on the day before Passover in 1939. He was sentenced to exile in Kazakhstan, in the village of Chi'ili, where his health rapidly deteriorated. His extensive writings while in exile crammed into the margins of his books, were rescued, smuggled out, and brought to his son in Brooklyn. A number of volumes in the projected multi-volume set called Toldot Levi Yitzchak have already been published.

Rabbi Meir of Primishlan [of blessed memory: ? - 29 Iyar 5610 (? - May 1850 C.E.)], lived in abject but uncomplaining poverty, yet exerted himself tirelessly for the needy and the suffering. His divine inspiration and his ready wit have become legendary. He wrote no works, but some of his teachings were collected and published by his Chassidim after his death.

Rabbi Meir Yechiel of Ostrovtze (1851-19 Adar 1928) was a disciple of R. Elimelech of Grodzinsk, who said that he would account it a privilege if after his death R. Meir Yechiel would refer to him as his rebbe. An outstanding scholar who lived an ascetic lifestyle, he led a following of learned chassidim. His intricate sermons, which drew heavily on gematria, came to be known as "Ostgrovotze pshetlach." They have been collected in Meir Einei Chachamim, and his teachings on Bereishit in Or Torah.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk/Horodok [1730 - 1 Iyar 1788] was an elder disciple of the Magid of Mizritch and one of the earliest Chasidic rebbes. He led the first modern aliyah to Israel, in 1777, where he and three hundred Chasidim and others settled in Tsefat (Safed). After a few years they moved to Tiberias, where he is buried in the "students of the Baal Shem Tov" section of the Old Cemetery. His works include Pri HaAretz and Likutei Amarim.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Hager of Kosov (1768 - 17 Cheshvan 1826) was the son of a close disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, and himself a disciple of R. Moshe Leib of Sasov. He conducted a modest business until persuaded by his contemporaries to become rav of Kosov, to which thousands of Jews then flocked. Both the Vizinitz and Kosov dynasties stem from him. His teachings are collected in Ahavas Shalom.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Riminov [?-19 Iyar 1815],.was an important Rebbe in the third generation of hassidism. His was a main disciple of the Rebbe Elimelech, and many rebbes of the succeeding generation studied with him. His teachings are collected in Menachem Zion and other works.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn [29 Elul 1789-13 Nissan 1866], the Third Rebbe of Chabad, was known as the Tsemech Tzedek, after his books of Halachic responsa and Talmudic commentary called by that name. He was renowned not only as a Rebbe, but also as a leading scholar in his generation in both the revealed and hidden aspects of Torah.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe (11 Nissan 1902 - 3 Tammuz 1994), became the seventh Rebbe of the Chabad dynasty after his father-in-law, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, passed away in Brooklyn on 10 Shvat 1950. He is widely acknowledged as the greatest Jewish leader of the second half of the 20th century. Although a dominant scholar in both the revealed and hidden aspects of Torah and fluent in many languages and scientific subjects, the Rebbe is best known for his extraordinary love and concern for every Jew on the planet. His emissaries around the globe dedicated to strengthening Judaism number in the thousands. Hundreds of volumes of his teachings have been printed, as well as dozens of English renditions.

Rabbi Menachem-Mendel ("Reb Mendel") Futerfas (1906 - 4 Tammuz 1995), was a near legendary Lubavitcher chasid, even for those who knew him personally. In 1947 he was arrested for administrating networks of underground yeshivas and Jewish schools, and for facilitating the repatriation of thousands of Soviet Jews to Poland after WWII, and sentenced to 8 years in Soviet prisons and labor camps, which he went through without compromising any religious observances, despite the cruel pressure to do so. After another six years in Siberian exile he was allowed to emigrate to England, thanks to an appeal for family repatriation made by prime minister Harold Wilson during his summit meeting in Moscow with Chairman Nikita Khrushchev. In 1973 settled in Kfar Chabad, Israel, for the rest of his life.

Rabbi Menachem Nachum, the Maggid of Chernobyl [1730-11 Cheshvan 1787] and founder of the Chernobyl dynasty, was a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov and senior disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch. He is the author of Meor Enayim.

Rabbi Menachem Kalish of Amshinov [of blessed memory: 5620 - 16 Kislev 5578 (1860 - Dec. 1917 C.E.)], succeeded his father, Rav Yaakov Dovid Kalish, the first in the Amshinov dynasty, in 1878, at the young age of 18. Highly active and effective in deeds of kindness on behalf of the Jewish community, he was referred to by the Sefas Emmes Rebbe of Gur as "a remainder from the greatest supreme rabbinical court" (in the early years of the Second Temple--see Avot 1:2). One of his sons, Rabbi Yosef, became Rebbe in Amshinov, while a second son, Shimon-Shalom, became a Rebbe in Otvotsk. The latter's great-grandson, Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Milikowski, is the current Amshinover Rebbe in Jerusalem (his father around that time was the Head of a Yeshiva in Tsfat!).

Rabbanit Menucha-Rachel Slonim, for many decades the matriarch of the Ashkenazic Jewish community in Hevron, was the daughter of the second Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi DovBer Schneuri. She and her husband, Rabbi Yaakov Slonim, were sent to Hevron by the Rebbe in the early 1800's to bolster its fledging Chabad congregation (originally started by fifteen Chabad fanilies who moved there from Zefat!). Her grave there is today a place of pilgrimmage.

Rabbi Meshulam-Zushya of Anapoli (see Zushya)

Rabbi Chaim Michoel Dov Weissmandl [1903 - 6 Kislev 1957] made extraordinary but ultimately unsuccessful efforts to save the Jews of Slovakia during the Holocaust. A survivor himself, he subsequently moved to USA and in 1946 founded the Nitra yeshiva in Somerville New Jersey, an attempt to inaugurate a Talmudic agricultural community. He subsequently moved the yeshiva to Mt. Kisco, NY, where it still exists and flourishes. Today he is best known for his pioneering work on Torah Codes in an era before computers.

Rebbetzin Miriam-Chaya Moscovitz was the daughter of the well-known chasidic rebbe, Rabbi Meir of Primishlan. She married Rabbi Yoel Moscovitz, who became the first Rebbe of Shotz. Her third son, named Meir after his illustrious maternal grandfather, became the second Rebbe of the dynasty. She herself was known to have the power to bless, and helped countless number of people.

Rabbi Mordechai ("Mottel") of Chernobyl [of blessed memory: 5530 - 20 Iyar 5697 (1770 - May 1837 C.E.)], successor to his father, Rabbi Nachum, was the son-in-law of Rabbi Aharon the Great of Karlin and subsequently of Rabbi David Seirkes, an important disciple of the Baal Shem Tov. His eight sons all became major Chasidic leaders. One of them Yaakov Yisrael Twerski of Cherkassy, the first Hornsteipel Rebbe, married Devora Leah, one of the six daughters of Rabbi DovBer of Lubavitch, son of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (match arranged by the two grandfather-Rebbes), in order to maximize the possibilities for fulfillment of the prediction, "the Moshiach will be born of the elder disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch or the youngest."

Rabbi Mordechai of Lechovitch (? - 15 Tishrei 1810), disciple of R. Shlomo of Karlin; known for the fervor of his prayers. Exceedingly charitable, particularly toward the poor of Eretz Yisrael.

Rabbi Mordechai of Nadvorna [?-15 Tishrei 1895], the great grandson of Rabbi Meir "The Great" of Premishlan, was orphaned early and raised by his uncle, the famous Rebbe, Meirl of Premishlan (see below). Chassidim from all over Rumania and Hungary streamed in to receive his blessings. An extraordinarily large number of his descendents became Chassidic leaders and Rebbes, including dozens in the world today. His teachings are collected in Gedulas Mordechai.

R. Mordechai of Neshchiz [1740 - 8 Nissan 1800] was descended from the Maharal of Prague and Don Yitzchak Abarbanel. He was a disciple of R. Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov. The ill and the unfortunate came to visit him from long distances. It is recorded that he never uttered a negative word about another person. He actively supported settlement in Eretz Yisrael. He was succeeded by his son, R. Yitzchak of Neshchiz. His sayings were collected in Rishpei Eish.

Rabbi Mordechai Dov Twerski of Hornisteipel [1840-1904] was named after his two maternal great-grandfathers, Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl and Rabbi DovBer of Lubavitch. He was also a direct descendant of Rabbi Zusha of Anipoli and the son-in-law of Rabbi Chaim of Sanz. A highly respected Talmudic scholar, he was also the author of a popular book of Chasidic guidance, Pele Yoetz.

Rabbi Mordechai-Tzemach (ben Suliman) Eliyahu (1929-25 Sivan 2010), the former Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, was born in Iraq. A noted sage in all areas of Torah study, as well as a significant kabbalist, he was considered to be one of the leading authorities on Jewish law in Israel. His son, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, is currently the Chief Rabbi of Tsfat.

Rabbi Mordechai ("Mottele") Twersky from Rachmistrivka (?- 17 Iyar 1921) moved to Jerusalem from Europe in 1908. He was known for his sharp mind and many business men used to seek his advice. He himself was a skilled craftsman, who did complex engravings from silver and copper. His father, Rabbi Yochanan Twerski, son of the famous Rebbe Mottele of Chernobyl, was the first Rebbe of the Rachmistrivka dynasty.

Rabbi Mordechai Shraga of Husyatin (20 Iyar 1834 - 22 Iyar 1894) was one of the six sons of Rabbi Yisrael of Ruzhin who became the head of a dynasty in Galicia. His thousands of Chassidim included many prominent scholars.

Rabbi Moshe Al-Sheich (1508-1593) was the author of many works, including important analytical explanations of Scriptures, which are highly regarded even today (and in recent years have become available in English). He was a student of R. Yosef Caro and member of his Beit Din in Tsfat. He is buried in the old cemetery of Tsfat. (For a fuller biography)

Rabbi Moshe De Leon (1238-1305) of Guadalhajara, Spain, is best known as the first publisher of the Zohar (the teachings of second century mishnaic sage, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, as recorded by his students that constitute the primary text of Kabbalah). He is also the author of the Kabbalah tome, Shekel HaKodesh.

Rabbi Moshe Kordevero (1522-23 Tammuz 1570), known by the anacronym of his name: Ramak, was considered the head of the Tsfat Kabbalists until his death shortly after the arrival of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria. Author of many major works of Kabbalah, including Pardes Rimonim ("Orchard of Pomegranates"), in which he systematized all kabbalistic knowledge that had been revealed until then. (For a fuller biography)

Rabbi Moshe ben Mordechai Galante [1540-1614] was one of four (along with Rabbi Yosef Caro, author of Shulchan Aruch) to receive semicha from Rabbi Yaakov Beirav in the 'renewal of semicha' controversy. He and his brother Avraham (1540-1588), who subsequently became the city's chief rabbi, lived in Tsfat in the 1500's.

Rabbi Moshe ben Yonatan Galante moved from Tsfat to Jerusalem around the year 1655. He was the grandson of Rabbi Moshe ben Mordechai Galente, who was one of four scholars of Zefat (along with Rabbi Yosef Caro, author of Shulchan Aruch) to receive semicha from Rabbi Yaakov Beirav in the 'renewal of semicha' controversy.

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sudylkov [1748 - 17 Iyar 1800 was the son of R. Yechiel Ashkenazi and Adel, the daughter of the Baal Shem Tov. He authored one of the first primers of Chasidic thought, Degel Machaneh Ephraim ("Banner of the Camp of Ephraim"), and thereafter was popularly known as "the Degel." His holy grandfather testified about him that he was a Talmudic genius. He served as the rabbi of Sudylkov for several decades, but then retired to Medzibuz, the town of the Baal Shem Tov, at the end of his life, where he passed away and is buried.

Rabbi Moshe Pallier of Kobrin [1784 - 29 Nisan 1858] was a close follower of the Rebbe, R. Mordechai of Lechovitch and afterwards of his son, R. Noach. In 1833 he became the first Rebbe of the Kobrin dynasty, with thousands of chassidim, many of whom subsequently moved to Eretz Yisroel. His teachings are collected in Imros Taharos.

Rabbi Moshe Shreiber [1762-1839], was a giant of Torah known as the 'Chasam Sofer,' after the title of his volumes of responsa which have been significant to a high degree in the modern development of Jewish law and thought. The yeshiva he founded in Pressburg was the largest in Europe for many decades.

Rebbe Moshe of Peshevorsk (1720 - 12 Tevet 1806) was the predecessor of the Peshevorsk dynasty (which since 1956 has been based in Antwerp). He was held in high esteem by the brothers R. Elimelech and R. Zusha, and many other chassidic giants. It is said of him that Rabbi Moshe Alshich often appeared to him and taught him Torah. His was famous for the perfection and purity of the Torah, tefilin and mezuzah scrolls that he scribed, which were eagerly sought after and are extremely valuable. He is the author of the acclaimed Ohr Penei Moshe, commentary on the Five Books of Moses and the five Megillot, and a subsequent volume on the Talmud.

Rabbi Moshe-Leib of Sossov (1745-4 Shvat 1807) was the leading disciple of Reb Shmelke of Nicholsburg. He also received from the Maggid of Mezritch and from Elimelech of Lyzhinsk. Subsequently a Rebbe in his own right with many followers, he was famous primarily for his love of his fellow Jews and his creative musical talent. His teachings are contained in the books, Likutei RaMal, Toras ReMaL Hashalem, and Chidushei RaMal.

Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum [1759-28 Tammuz 1841], known as the Yismach Moshe after the title of his book of Torah commentary, was famed both as a scholar and wonderworker. A disciple of the Seer of Lublin, he was instrumental in the spread of Chasidut in Hungary. His descendants founded the dynasties of Satmar and Sighet.

Rabbi Moshe Biederman of Lelov [? - 13 Tevet 1851] was the son of R. David of Lelov and the son-in-law of "the Holy Yid " of Pshischah. He declined to officially succeed his father as rebbe, considering himself unworthy of the position. He moved to Israel in 1851, where he helped to strengthen the Chassidic community in Jerusalem, although he passed away shortly after his arrival. He is buried on the Mount of Olives, near the prophet Zacharia.

Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Biderman (1903 - 24 Tevet 1987), sixth-generation Rebbe of Lelov, lived in Tel Aviv for many years, then moving to Bnei Brak in 1964. He was accepted also by many Karliner chasidim as the new Rebbe after the passing of Rabbi Yochanan of Karlin-Stolin in 1956. When the sacred Kotel was recaptured in 1967, of all the Chassidishe Rebbes, he visited it most. His prayers there lasted most of the day. Because of his attachment to the Kotel, he moved back to Jerusalem and remained there until 1981, at which time he became too weak to visit the Kotel and returned to Bnei Brak. He is the author of Kedushas Mordechai.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (1895 - 13 Adar B 1986) was born in Uzdan, near Minsk, Belorussia. He became rabbi of Luban while young and remained there till 1937. After that he immigrated with his family to the United States, to the Lower East Side of Manhattan. There he became Rosh HaYeshivah of Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim, which became world-famous because of his presence. He also became the most important halachic authority in the Americas, and his rulings were accepted worldwide. They have been published in a multi-volume collection called Igrot Moshe.

Rabbi Moshe Weber [5 Kislev 1914 - 18 Adar I 2000] was a central and beloved figure in Jerusalem's religious community. Nearly every day he went to the Western Wall from his home in Meah Shearim to pray and to help visitors wrap tefillin. Less publicly, he distributed enormous sums of tzedakah to the city's poor. It is known that, decades ago, the Lubavitcher Rebbe said of him that he is one of the holiest and kindest people in the world. He published several volumes of Torah insights in Yarim Moshe. There is an ongoing periodical of his teachings distributed weekly called Shemu V'Techi Nafshechem, which also offers for sale his audio recordings.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772 - 18 Tishrei 1810) was the great grandson of the Baal Shem Tov. From early youth he set out on his distinctive path in divine service -- ascetic study, solitary mediation, fiery worship. His chasidim learned from him as well their lifelong quest for atonement, the impossibility of despair for the man of faith, and a unique concept of the nature and role of the tzadik. After a brief stay in the Holy Land the controversial young Rebbe settled in Breslov in 1800, and then in Uman in 1802. His burial place there in the Ukraine is a popular place of pilgrimage for his chasidim (and many others), especially on Rosh Hashana. Most of his teachings were recorded by his disciple R. Nasan Stenhartz. His books include Likkutei Maharan (kabbalistic and moral teachings), and Sippurei Maasiot (stories). A large amount of his teachings have been translated into English.

Rabbi Naftali of Ropshitz (6 Sivan 1760 [the same day as the Besht's passing!] -11 Iyar 1827) became the rebbe of many thousands of chassidim. He was noted for his sharp wit and humor and his elusive sparkling aphorisms. Some of his teachings are collected in his works, Zera Kodesh, Ayalah Sheluchah, and Imrei Shefer. Many stories about him appear in the book, Ohel Naftoli.

Rabbi Nosson Dovid (ben Yerachmiel Rabinowitz) of Shidlowitz (1814 - 7 Cheshvan 1866) was the grandson of the "Holy Yid" of Peshishcha and a miracle-working Rebbe of thousands in his own right. His sons and several of his disciples also became rebbes.

Rabbi Nota of Chelm [17??-18??], a disciple of Rebbe Elimelech of Lyzhinsk, became a Rebbe in his own right and acquired many followers. He is the author of Nota Sha'ashuim.

Rabbi Pinchas (ben R. Avraham Abba Shapiro) of Koretz (1726 - 10 Elul 1791) was considered to be one of the two most pre-eminent followers of Chassidism's founder, the Baal Shem Tov (along with his successor, the Maggid of Mezritch). His teachings appear in various collections (such as Midrash Pinchas), and are cited in the classic Bnei Yissaschar.

Rabbi Pinchas HaLevi Horowitz (1730-7 Tammuz 1805) was a follower of the Maggid of Mezritch, along with his older brother, Rabbi Shmuel ("Shmelke") of Nicholsburg (1726-2 Iyar 1778). He attained scholarly repute as the author of Hafla'ah (on Talmud and halacha), HaMikneh (same) and Panim Yafos (on Scripture), and became the chief Rabbi of Frankfurt. Like many rabbinical authors, he is commonly referred to by the title of his most famous work, in this case as the Ba'al Hafla'ah. His most illustrious student was R. Moshe Schreiber, the famed Chattam Sofer.

Rabbi Raphael HaKohen of Hamburg (1722-1803) was a prominent scholar and author of Toras Yekusiel. He was the chief rabbi of several major towns in Lithuania. He is famed for his saintly conduct. His disciples included the celebrated Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin.

Rebbetzin Rivka Schneerson (1833- 10 Shvat 1914) a granddaughter of Rabbi DovBer, the 2nd Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, at age 16 married her first cousin, Rabbi Shmuel, who later became the fourth Lubavitcher Rebbe. Surviving her husband by 33 years, for many years she was the esteemed matriarch of Lubavitch, and chasidim frequented her home to listen to her accounts of the early years of Lubavitch. She is the source of many of the stories recorded in the talks, letters and memoirs of her grandson, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak (the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe). The Beis Rivka network of girls' schools are named after her.

Rabbi Salman Mutzafi (1900 - 17 Tevet 1975) was a descendant of an illustrious family of Torah scholars who first arrived in Baghdad during the Spanish expulsion. After serving many years as the city's chief rabbi, he moved to Israel where he founded the Bnei Zion Yeshiva. Recognized as one of the great kabbalists of his generation, he is also the compiler of Siftei Tzaddikim: a guide for visiting the graves of special righteous Jews buried in Israel.

Rabbi Sar Sholom of Belz [1779-27 Elul 1855] was the first of the Belz chassidic dynasty. He became the main rebbe of Galician jewry, and had tens of thousands of chassidim. His teachings are collected in Dover Shalom.

Rabbi Shalom Shachna (Friedmann) of Probisht (1766-1803) was the son of R. Avraham the Malach and grandson of Rabbi Dov Ber (the Maggid) of Mezritch. His wife was the granddaughter of Rebbe Nachum of Chernobyl. One of their sons was the famed chasidic leader, Rabbi Yisrael of Ruzhin.

Rabbi Shaul Yedidya Elazer Taub [21 Tishrei 1886 - 16 Kislev 1947], the second Modzitzer Rebbe, succeeded his father, Rabbi Yisrael, in 1920. At the outbreak of WWII he left Poland and eventually arrived in New York in 1940. He traveled extensively, bringing Torah and niggunim to many communities, of which he composed close to 1000 compositions! On his fourth and last trip to the Land of Israel in 1947 he fully intended to remain and settle, but he passed away that same year. He was the last person buried on the Mount of Olives until after the 6 Day War.

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, one of the most important sages in Jewish history, lived over 1800 years ago. Teachings in his name abound throughout the Mishnah, Gemorrah, and Midrashim, while the Zohar, the primary source text of Kabbalah, is built around Rabbi Shimon's revelations to his inner circle of disciples. During the hours before his passing, on Lag b'Omer, he disclosed the "most sublime" secrets of Torah, in order to ensure that the day would always be an occasion for great joy, untouched by sadness because of the Omer period and mourning for him. The seminal importance of the Zohar in Jewish thought and the annual pilgrimage to Meron on Lag b"Omer are testimonies to his success

Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz (1500-1580), a major kabbalist in 16th century Tsfat, was the author of many important commentaries on Torah and Kabbala. He is best known as the composer of the famous liturgical poem "Lecha Dodi" (Come My Beloved"), sung by Jews worldwide to welcome the Shabbat. (More about Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz; a new translation and commentary for Lecha Dodi)

Rabbi Shlomo Luria, the "Maharshal," was one of the leading Torah scholars of the sixteenth century. His writings are studied and venerated still today. He served as Rabbi and head of the Rabbinical court in Lublin, one of the most important centers of Jewish life at that time. He was a relative of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, apparently his great uncle.

R. Shlomo of Karlin [1738-22 Tammuz 1792], was also a student of the Maggid, as well as of Reb Aharon the Great of Karlin, whom he succeeded in 1772, as well as adopting his orphan son. Most of the Chassidic leaders of the next generation in the Lithuanian region were his disciples. He died Kiddush HaShem, stabbed by a Cossack while in the midst of the Amida prayer. His adopted son, Rabbi Asher, became the first Rebbe of Stolin.

Rabbi Shlomo of Bobov [1848 - 1 Tammuz 1906] was the first rebbe of the Bobover dynasty, which he became shortly following the death of his renowned grandfather, the Divrei Chaim of Sanz. He was noted for strengthening the Judaism of the younger generation and founding numerous yeshivas. His chasidim numbered in the thousands.

Rabbi Shlomo (ben Benzion) Halberstam of Bobov, [1907 - 1 Av 2000], survived the Holocaust along with only 300 chasidim, succeeding his father who was among those martyred. Settling in Manhattan and then different locations in Brooklyn, he served as the third rebbe in the Bobover dynasty for over 50 years, rebuilding Bobov to an even more thousands than his father had before the war. In addition to being wise and pious, he was noted for his steadfastness in not taking sides in disputes. Interestingly, he passed away on the same Hebrew date as Aharon the High Priest, who was the first Jew to be known for "loving peace and pursuing peace" (Avot 1:12).

Rabbi Shlomo HaKohen Rabinowitz of Radomsk [1803-29 Adar 1866] was the author of Tiferet Shlomo. His speaking ability and musical voice attracted thousands of Chasidic followers.

Rabbi Shlomo-Eliezer Alfandri (1820 - 22 Iyar 1930) was born in Istanbul, Turkey, where his reputation for piety and wisdom was established at a young age. He served as the chief rabbi in Istanbul (unofficially) and Damascus, and subsequently in Safed for 20 years toward the end of his life. He passed away at age 110 (!) in Jerusalem. Eight days before, the world-renowned Rebbe of Munkacz, Rabbi Chaim-Elazar Shapira, made a special trip from Hungary to meet with him, calling him the "the top tzadik of the generation." Many of his rabbinical correspondence on topics in Jewish law are included in his book, Sabba Kadisha. For more information on his life and writings, see his entry in "Sages of Safed" on our website.

Rabbi Shlomo-Zalman Lifshitz (1765-1839) was appointed Chief Rabbi of Warsaw in 1821. In his influential book Hemdat Shlomo, he deals with the problems of his generation, including assimilation. His rulings about conversion still hold great weight today.

Rabbi Shlomo (Shlom'ke) of Zivhil (?-26 Iyar--yesod of yesod--1945) was the first one of the dynasty to be based in Israel. For a long time after he came to Jerusalem, no one knew his true identity as the Rebbe to whom thousands had flocked in his native land, until a chance visitor from his hometown revealed his secret to the stunned worshipers in the shul he was attending. So once again he acquired thousands of followers and admirers. Famed for his remarkable deeds of kindness, he particularly concentrated on rescuing youths from missionaries and inculcating the importance of the laws of family purity to the masses, while still finding time to answer complicated questions in Jewish Law.

Rabbi Shlomo-David Kahane (1868 - 27 Kislev 1943) was onsidered a leading rabbinical authority in his generation. He was the Chief Rabbi of Warsaw and its rabbinical court for many years until the early years of WWII, when he managed to escape the deadly clutches of the Nazis who were hunting him and eventually arrive in Israel. He became the chief rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem until his death in 1943. His "Committee of Polish Rabbis in Israel" and his "Committee of Polish Rabbis for Freeing Agunot" saved literally thousands of Jewish women whose husbands' whereabouts were unknown as a result of WWII horrors, and enabled them to remarry.

Rabbi Shmuel Schneersohn (2 Iyar 1834-13 Tishrei 1882), the fourth Lubavitch Rebbe, known as "the Rebbe Maharash," was the seventh and youngest son of his predecessor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, "the Tsemach Tsedek".

Rabbi Shmuel Aceda (1538-1602) became in 1578 the head of a major yeshiva in Tsfat for the study of Talmud and Kabbalah, and the author of a classical commentary on Pirkei Avot, Midrash Shmuel.

Rabbi Shmuel Vital (1598-1677) was the son of Rabbi Chaim Vital, the foremost student of The Holy Ari and the only one permitted to record his teachings. R. Shmuel inherited these manuscripts and arranged the publication of many of them. Born in Damascus where he officiated as a rabbinical judge for most of his life, he moved in 1663 to Cairo, Egypt, where he remained till his passing. He wrote a commentary on the siddur, according to the system of the Holy Ari, which contained kabbalistic mediations for the prayers. He also wrote many other works, most of them unpublished, and collected his own and his father's novel insights on the Talmud.

Rabbi Shmuel of Kaminka (? - 1831), a senior student of the Baal Shem Tov, was known as "Ish Elokim Kodesh Maod," - "a very holy G-dly man." He lived the latter part of his life in the Holy Land, settling first in Tsfat, and was nearly 100 years of ge when he passed away. Many of his teachings are printed in Chesed L'Avraham.

Rabbi Shmuel (ben Avraham Yeshaya) of Karov-Vinagrov (? -15 Iyar 1820), a major disciple of the Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhinsk and then the "Seer" of Lublin, became a rebbe in his own right upon the passing of the Seer in 1815. Many rebbes of the next generation were his students.

Rabbi Shmuel Abba Zikelinsky of Zichlin [19 Kislev (!) 5570 - 26 Elul 5639] was an important disciple of Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Pshischah, and subsequently a Rebbe in his own right with a large following].

Rabbi Shmuel Shmelke HaLevi Horowitz of Nikolsburg (1726 - 2 Iyar 1778) was a major disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch along with his younger brother, Rabbi Pinchas, who became the Rabbi of Frankfort (see above). Many of the leading rebbes in Poland and Galitzia were originally his disciples. Among the books he authored are Divrei Shmuel and Nazir HaShem.

Rabbi Shmuel Munkes (1834-1882)], an elder disciple of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Chabad, was known for his fervent and creative Chasidic service. Stories abound.

Rabbi Shnuer Zalman [18 Elul 1745-24 Tevet 1812], one of the main disciples of the Maggid of Mezritch, is the founder of the Chabad-Chassidic movement. He is the author of Shulchan Aruch HaRav and Tanya as well as many other major works in both Jewish law and the mystical teachings.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman Fradkin of Lublin [1830-1902], A chasid of the Tzemech Tzedek and Maharash of Lubavitch, was chief rabbi in Polotsk and then Lublin. When he made aliyah to the Holy Land, he became a major rabbinical figure in the Jerusalem community. He is best remembered for his important scholarly book, Toras Chesed.

Rabbi Sholom-Dovber Schneersohn (Cheshvan 20, 1860 - Nissan 2, 1920), known as the Rebbe Reshab, was the fifth Rebbe of the Lubavitcher dynasty. He is the author of hundreds of major tracts in the exposition of Chassidic thought.

Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Peshischa (1765 - 12 Elul 1827) spent many years as a business man and a pharmacist. He was a beloved disciple of "the Seer" and of "The Holy Yid" whom he succeeded. Known as "a rebbe of rebbes," his major disciples included the Kotsker and the first Rebbes of Ger and Alexander.

Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech Shapira of Dinov (1785 - 18 Teves, 1841), a renowned scholar, nephew of Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk and disciple of the "Seer" of Lublin and of Menachem Mendel of Rimanov. Best known for his scholarly and mystical work, Bnei Yissaschar, which includes a chapter for each month of the year.

Rabbi Tzvi-Hirsh of Chortkov was the father of the well-known Chassidic Rebbe, Reb Shmelke of Nikolsburg.

Rebbe Tzvi-Hirsh of Riminov [1778-29 Cheshvan 1847] was the attendant of the well-known Rebbe, R. Menachem Mendel of Riminov, and subsequently his successor. He had a reputation as a miracle worker. Some of his teachings are collected in Mevasser Tov and in Be'erot HaMayim.

Rebbe Tzvi-Hirsh Eichenstein [1785 - 11 Tammuz 1831], founder of the Zhidachov dynasty, was a prominent disciple of the Seer of Lublin. He championed the position that the practice of Chasidism had to be firmly based on the study of the Kabbala of the holy Ari of Safed. He wrote and published numerous commentaries on Kabbala, including Ateret Tzvi on the Zohar, and several on the weekly readings. The Malbim was a student of his. He was succeeded by three nephew-disciples, including Yitzhak-Isaac of Zhidachov and Yitzhak-Isaac-Yehuda-Yechiel of Komarno.

Udel, the only daughter of the Baal Shem Tov (in addition to his one son), married one of her father's disciples, Rabbi Yechiel Ashkenazi. Their children were Rabbi Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sudylkov, author of the major Chassidic work, Degel Machne Ephraim; Rabbi Boruch of Mezhibuzh, one of the leading rebbes of his generation; and Feige, mother of Rabbi Nachman of Bretzlov.

Rabbi Uri ("the Saraph") of Strelisk (? - 23 Elul 1826) was the disciple of Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin and of Rabbi Mordechai of Neshchiz, and the brother-in-law of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kosov. He was called "the Saraph" ["fiery angel"] due to the ecstatic fervor of his prayers. He authored Imrei Kadosh. His main disciple was Rabbi Yehudah Zvi Hirsch, the first of the Stretyn dynasty.

Rabbi Yaakov Beirav [1474- 1 Iyar 1546] was born near Toledo, Spain. As a young man, he studied with Rabbi Yitzchak Abuhav. Subsequently, he wrote commentaries on the four sections of the Rambam and on Talmudic subjects and published a volume of responsa. After serving as a rabbinical leader in Fez, Morocco, and Cairo, Egypt, he became the chief rabbi of Tsfat.

Rabbi Yaakov Yehuda ("J.J.") Hecht (24 Cheshvan 1923 - 15 Av 1990) was sometimes described as the Lubavitcher Rebbe's Foreign Minister. In 1945, he was appointed the official director of the National Committee for the Furtherance of Jewish Education (NCFJE). In 1953 he started one of the first camps for religious Jewish girls, Camp Emunah. In the 1970's he became the administrative head in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, of both Hadar HaTorah Yeshiva and Machon Chana Seminary. Rabbi Hecht also was the official translator of the Rebbe's talks to children and for the farbrengens on the radio. The Rebbe once described him publicly as one of "the chasidim who share deep soul bonds with him."

Rabbi Y Yaakov Yisrael (Twersky) of Cherkas (1794 - 13 Elul 1876) was the son of R. Mordechai of Chernobyl, son-in-law of R. Dov Ber of Lubavitch, and grandfather of R. Mordechai Dov of Hornisteipl.

Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Horowitz (1745 - 9 Av 1815), known as 'the Chozeh (Seer) of Lublin', was the successor to R. Elimelech of Lizensk (1717-1787), and leader of the spread of chassidus in Poland. Many great Rebbes of the next generation emerged from his followers, including: the Yid HaKodesh, Simcha Bunim of Peshischa, Meir of Apta, David of Lelov, the Yismach Moshe, the Sabba Kadisha of Radoshitz, the Bnai Yisasscher, Rabbi Naftali Zvi of Ropshitz, the Maor Vashemesh and Sar Shalom of Belz. Many of his insights were published posthumously in Divrei Emmes, Zichron Zos, and Zos Zichron.

Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak of Peshischa, 1766-1813, The "Holy Jew" was the leading disciple of the "Seer" of Lublin, but subsequently split off to form the famous Peshischa movement of Chassidut. Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Peshischa and Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotsk were among his many disciples who became great Rebbes in their own right.

Rabbi Yaakov Yosef HaKohain of Polnoye (?-1784) was one of the earliest and closest rabbinical disciples of the Baal Shem Tov. He was the first to author a book of Chassidic teachings, called Toldos Yaakov Yosef, which had a revolutionary effect immediately upon publication. Other chassidic classics followed.

Reb Yaakov Leizer (6 Tevet 1907 - 27 Cheshvan 1998) became the second Pshevorsker Rebbe in 1976. Like his father-in-law and founder of the dynasty, Rabbi Moshe Yitzchak Gevirzman, great-grandson of the Rebbe Elimelech, "Reb Yankele" did not seek to open a network of institutions. Even so, specially chartered planes would bring hundreds of chasidim to Antwerp for every Yom Tov and occasion. Among the visitors were often those who had come seeking salvation of one type or another. Hundreds of stories abound about his Divine inspiration and the miracles that he performed. His only son, Rabbi Leibish Leizer, is the current Pshevorsker Rebbe.

Rabbi Yechezkel of Kuzmir [? - 17 Shvat 1856], a disciple of the Seer of Lublin, was the grandfather of the first Modzitzer Rebbe, a famous chassidic dynasty best known for its creative and exciting chassidic music.

Rabbi Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam, (1813- 5 Tevet 1899), was the eldest son of the Divrei Chaim, Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz. As an emissary of his father, he founded the Sanzer synagogue in Tzefat. He served as the rabbi of Shinova from 1855 till1868, and then again from 1881 till his passing. Many of his Torah insights into Scripture, Law and Kabbalah are collected in Divrei Yechezkel.

R. Yechiel Meir Lifschitz of Gostynin [1816 - 21Shvat 1888] was sometimes known as Der Tilim Yid (the Psalms Jew) because of his constant instruction to those who came to him for advice and support that they turn to the reading of the Book of Psalms. He was a disciple of R. Menachem Mendel of Kotsk and of R. Yaakov Aryeh of Radzymin, after whose death he became chassidic leader in Gostynin. His selfless and unsophisticated mode of living induced people to refer to him as "one of the 36 hidden tzadikim." His teachings appear in Merom HaRim and Mei HaYam.

Rabbi Yechiel Michil of Zolotchov (1731-25 Elul 1786), son of Rabbi Yitzchak of Drohovitch, was introduced by his father to the Baal Shem Tov at a young age. He also became a disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch. It is said that his sermons consistently aroused his listeners to repentance. Many of his teachings are collected in Mayim Rabim.

Rebbe Yehoshua [Shia'leh] of Belz (1825 - 23 Shevat 1894) was the son and successor of the Sar Shalom, the first Belzer Rebbe. He became one of the most important leaders of Orthodox Jewry in Galicia.

Rabbi Yehuda-Aryeh-Leib Alter (1847 - 5 Shvat 1905), the Sefas Emes, succeded his grandfather the Chidushei Ha- Rim to become the Rebbe of the Gur-Alter dynasty at the tender age of 19. Over the decades, he became one of the most influential Chasidic leaders in Europe. His followers numbered in the tens of thousands.

Rabbi Yehuda Leib (Leibele") Eiger Of Lublin [1816 - 22 Shvat 1888] was the grandson of one of the eminent Talmudic scholars of the century, Rabbi Akiva Eiger. He became a chasid of R. Menachem-Mendel of Kotsk, and subsequently of R. Mordechai-Yosef Leiner of Izbitz, upon whose death he became a Rebbe in his own right, in Lublin. One of his close followers was Rabbi Tzadik HaCohen of Lublin. His published works include "Toras Emmes" and "Imrei Emmes", both on the weekly Torah readings and the holidays.

Rabbi Yehudah Leib of Kopust (1811- 3 Cheshvan 1866), an elder brother of Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch, established an independent branch of Chabad Chasidism in Kopust after the death of his father, R. Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch, the Tzemech Tzedek. Following his death in the same year, he was succeeded by his son, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman of Kopust, although many of the chasidim returned to Lubavitch.

Rabbi Yekutiel Yehuda Halberstam [1904-9 Tammuz 1994] the Klausenberger Rebbe, also became the post-war Rebbe of the Sanz Chassidim. One of the foremost Chasidic leaders of his generation, he is best known for his revitalization of the study of Talmud through "Mifal Shas" and the building of a hospital, Laniado in Netanya, that functions at the highest standards of Jewish law and medical practice.

Rabbi Yerachmiel Yisrael Yitzchak Danziger of Alexander [1853 - 29 Tevet 1910] was a popular Chasidic leader in Poland of a wide range of followers. His book Yismach Yisrael is studied by many different Chasidic groups.

Rabbi Yeshayahu Halevi Horowitz (1560-11 Nissan 1630] served many years as chief rabbi in Cracow, Frankfurt and then Prague, his birthplace. In 1621 he moved to Israel and became the chief rabbi of Jerusalem. He is best known as the author of Shnei Luchot HaBrit, a work of Scripture commentary and Jewish Law, and is usually referred to as "the SHeLaH", the acronym of its title. He lived the last years of his life in Tzefat although his burial place is in Tiberias, only a few meters from the tomb of the Rambam. It is a popular pilgrimage site, especially on Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan, which he himself recommended as a propitious time for saying the special prayer for success in educating one’s children that he composed.

Rabbi Yidele Horowitz, the Dzikover Rebbe (1905- 9 Cheshvan 1989), was raised by his maternal grandfather, Rabbi Yisrael Hager, Rebbe of Vizhnitz. After WWII, he moved to Tel Aviv, and then towards the end of his life, to London, for medical reasons. Although known as a formidable scholar and a man of exceptional character, he shunned the limelight and abhorred any reverence or treatment as a Rebbe. He lived a very frugal life. Absolutely all the monies forwarded to him by admirers and Chassidim were immediately distributed to orphans and widows.

Rabbi Yisrael ben Eliezer [of blessed memory: 18 Elul 5458- 6 Sivan 5520 (Sept. 1698 - June 1760 C.E.)], the Baal Shem Tov ["master of the good Name"-often referred to as "the Besht" for short], a unique and seminal figure in Jewish history, revealed his identity as an exceptionally holy person, on his 36th birthday, 18 Elul 5494 (1734 C.E.). He wrote no books, although many claim to contain his teachings. One available in English is the excellent annotated translation of Tzava'at Harivash, published by Kehos.

Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzira [1890 - 4 Shvat 1984] or Baba Sali, as he was affectionately known throughout the Jewish world, was born in Tafillalt, Morocco to one of Jewry's most illustrious families. From a young age he was renowned as a sage, leader, miracle maker and master kabbalist. In 1964 he moved to Eretz Yisrael, eventually settling in 1970 in the Southern development town, Netivot, where thousands of followers and admirers from all over the world and across the Jewish spectrum streamed to see him and ask his blessing. Even today his burial place there is a pilgrimmage site for tens of thousands of visitors. Since his passing, several biographies have been published, including two in English.

Rabbi Yisroel (Ben Baruch) Hagar of Vizhnitz, Bukovina [of blessed memory: 5620 - 2 Sivan 5697 (1860 - May 1936 C.E.)], had many thousands of followers over the 43 years he served as Rebbe. After WWI he headed a major yeshiva in Hungary. Because of his warmth and friendliness to every Jew, he was known as "the Ahavas Yisrael."

Rabbi Yisrael Friedmann of Ruzhin [of blessed memory: 5557 - 3 Cheshvan 5611 (1797 - Oct. 1850 C.E.)] was a great-grandson of the Maggid of Mezritch, at a young age was already a charismatic leader with an large following of chassidim. Greatly respected by the other rebbes and Jewish leaders of his generation, he was -and still is-referred to as "The Holy Rhyzhiner." Six of his sons established Chassidic dynasties, several of which -Sadigora, Chortkov, etc- are still thriving today.

R. Yisrael Haupstein, 1737- 14 Tishrei 1814, 'the Maggid' of Koznitz, a major disciple of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech, and author of the chassidic-kabbalistic work, 'Avodas Yisrael' and other books. His miraculous birth is the subject of a popular Baal Shem Tov story.

Rabbi Yisroel Friedman (10 Iyar 1854 - 13 Kislev 1934), the second Chortkover Rebbe, had chasidim numbering in the tens of thousands. These included quite a few famous Rebbes and Rabbonim. When World War I broke out he moved to Vienna, where he lived for the rest of his life. In the first international convention ('Knessia Hagedola') of Agudas Yisroel in 1923, he was elected to be the head, along with the Chafetz Chaim and the Gerer Rebbe, both of whom deferred to him. His books, Tiferes Yisroel, Yismach Yisroel, and Ginzei Yisroel, are considered classic works.

Rabbi Yisrael Alter (1895- 2 Adar 1977), known as the Bais Yisroel, was the fourth Rebbe in the Gur dynasty. Following the death of his father in 1948, Ger grew under his leadership to be the largest Chasidic group in Israel. He lost his wife, children and grandchildren in the Holocaust, and although he married a second time, had no further children. He was succeeded by his brother, Rabbi Simcha-Bunim Alter, and then his youngest brother, Rabbi Pinchas-Menachem Alter.

Rabbi Yisrael Taub (1849-13 Kislev 1920) was the first Rebbe of the Modzitz dynasty. He is best known for his creative output of more than two hundred melodies, many still sung today by Chasidic groups the world over. His most famous song was composed In 1913, while undergoing surgical amputation of a leg, without anesthesia! He is also the author of a book of Chasidic commentary on the first three books of the Torah, Divrei Yisrael, by which name he is often referred to.

Rabbi Yisrael Meir HaCohen Kagan (1838-24 Elul 1933), popularly known as the Chafetz Chaim after the title of one of his many influential books, was one of the most important and beloved rabbinical scholars and leaders of the 20th century. His other works include Mishna Berura, an authoritative, almost universally accepted compendium of Jewish Law, and Shmiras HaLashon, about proper and improper speech.

Rabbi Yissachar Dov [1765-18 Sivan 1843], the "Sabba Kadisha" (holy grandfather) of Radoshitz, was a disciple of the Seer of Lublin and of the Holy Yid of Peshischa. Famed as a miracle maker, he lived in poverty as a simple tutor.

Rabbi Yitzchak of Drohovitch--a leading kabbalist in his generation and father of R. Yechiel Michel Zlotchov (1731-1786), a major disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, who first went to the Besht as a boy with his father.

Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (1534-5 Av 1572), Known as "the holy Ari," revolutionized the study of Kabbalah and its integration into mainstream Judaism during the two years he spent in Zefat before his death at 38. Much of Chasidic thought is based on the Ari's kabbalah teachings, as recorded by his main disciple, Rabbi Chaim Vital.
(For a fuller biography) (For teachings of the Ari translated into English)

Rabbi Yitzchak Kalish [1779 died 22 Nissan 1848] was the founder of the Vorki dynasty in Poland. Previously, through travel with his teacher, R. David of Lelov, he became a disciple of R. Yaakov Yitzchak (the "Seer") of Lublin and of R. Simchah Bunem of Pshischah. Some of his teachings and stories involving him appear in Ohel Yitzchak and Hutzak Chein. His son R. Yaakov David founded the Amshinov dynasty, while his son R. Menachem Mendel continued the Vorki dynasty.

Rabbi Yitschok Twerski [1812 -17 Nissan 1885], also known as Reb Itzikl, the first Rebbe of Skver, was one of the eight sons of Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl. (Today, the Skverer Chasidim are famous for the entire town of their own, New Square, which they incorporated in upstate New York.

Rabbi Yitzchak-Isaac Taub of Kaliv (1744-7 Adar II 1821) was an orphan goatherd in his youth until he was "discovered by Reb Leib Sarah's and brought to study under Rebbi Shmelke of Nicholsburg. Subsequently he also studied under Rebbi Elimelech of Lizhinsk. Known as "the Sweet Singer of Israel," he became a seminal figure in the spreading of chasidism in Hungary.

Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac of Zhidachov (1804 - 30 Adar A, 1872) was descendent of the Tosfos Yomtov and the nephew and successor of Rabbi Zvi Hirsch of Zhidachov. He was a major scholar as well as a chassidic rebbe, who authored commentaries on Talmud, Midrash and Kabbalah. His thousands of followers included some of the leading scholars and rabbis of the generation. His four sons were all considered tsadikim, including the first rebbe of the Komarna dynasty.

Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac Yehuda Yechiel Safrin ben Alexander Sender of Komarno (25 Shvat 1806-10 Iyar 1874), was one of the most prolific and respected expounders of the Kabbalah teachings of the Baal Shem Tov. He insisted that every Jew should study the Zohar and the Writings of the Arizal, and emphasized the importance of Kabbalistic meditation. A close disciple of Rebbe Tvi Hersh from Zhiditchov (the Komarno dynasty is considered a branch of Zhiditchov), he was a hidden ascetic for many years, only later known for his genius, piety and ability to work wonders when he became the Rebbe of thousands of chasidim. He authored volumes of deep insights on Jewish mysticism, as well as on Mishnah and Jewish Law. His commentaries include Heichal HaBrachah on the Torah, Otzar HaChaim on the commandments, and Zohar Chai on the Zohar.

Rabbi Yitzchak-Isaac of Homil [1780-1857], author of Chanah Ariel, was such an outstanding disciple of Rabbi Shnuer Zalman and Rabbi DovBer, the first and second Rebbes of Chabad-Lubavitch, that when the latter passed away in 1827, Reb Isaac was seriously considered as a candidate for the succession. He refused, instead becoming the chasid of the eventual third rebbe, the Tzemech Tzedek, who was twenty years his junior.

Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Rothenberg/Alter (1789-23 Adar 1866) of Gur was the successor to Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotsk and the founder of the Gur dynasty. He was popularly known as the Chiddushei HaRim, the title of his classic work of Torah analysis and interpretation. His charisma and concern for the masses resulted in Gerrer chasidus having a very large following.

Rabbi Yitzchak-Meir of Kapichnitz (21 Kislev 1862 - 2 Tishrei 1936), the first in the dynasty, was a direct descendant of Rabbi Avraham-Yehoshua Heshel, the Apter Rebbe, for whom his son and successor was named.

Rabbi Yochanan Twersky, (1816 - 4 Nisan 1895) the first Rachmastivka Rebbe was known for his humility. He was the last to pass away of the eight sons of Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl and was highly respected among the righteous of the generation.

Rabbi Yochanan Twersky of Rachmastrivka (1903 - 20 Kislev 1981) became the 5th Rebbe in the Rachmastrivka dynasty in 1950, after having immigrated to Israel together with his father and grandfather in 1926. He rebuilt this branch of Chernobyl Chasidut almost from scratch, including founding the Meor Einayim Yeshiva in Jerusalem, after years of suffering and exile. His two sons, Yisrael-Mordechai and Chaim-Yitzchak, became the Rebbes after him, each with thousands of followers, in Jerusalem and Brooklyn respectively.

Rabbi Yoel Baal Shem of Zamostch (1613-1688?) studied five years with great success under Rabbi Joel Sirkes (the "Bach") and another five years under Rabbi Eliyahu Baal Shem of Wurms, the great kabbalist and founder of the "hidden tzadikim" movement, whom he eventually succeeded. He in turn passed the mantle to Adam Baal Shem, who designated Israel Baal Shem Tov as his successor, under whom the movement became revealed in 1734 and known as the "Chasidim."

Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum [1888-26 Av 1979], miraculously escaped from Bergen-Belsen in 1944, after which he went to the Holy Land. In 1947 he moved to the USA, where he established himself as the Satmar Rebbe, in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, doing extensive work in establishing Torah education networks. Famed as the leader of Hungarian Jewry and the largest Chassidic group in the world, and as the spiritual leader of the opposition to a secular-based Jewish government in Israel, he was also one of the greatest Torah scholars of his generation.

Rabbi Yomtov Lippman Heller [1579-1654], is known as the "Tosefos Yomtov," after his major commentary on the Mishna, the most famous of his many scholarly works. As a young man, he studied in Prague under the Maharal and subsequently under Rabbi Eliyahu Baal Shem, a predecessor of the Baal Shem Tov. In Cracow, he succeeded Rabbi Yoel Sirkis, the "Bach" as chief rabbi, and Yaakov Yehoshua, the Sema, as rosh yeshiva.

Rabbi Yonasan Eibeshitz (1660 - 21 Elul 1764) was chief rabbi of many cities, including Posen, Prague and Altuna. He died in Metz at over one hundred years old. He authored many important books on Jewish law, scripture and thought.

Rabbi Yosef Caro (1488-1575) was the chief rabbi of Tsfat from 1546. Author of several major works, including Shulchan Aruch ("The Prepared Table"--Code of Jewish Law), a compendium of the laws of the Torah governing a Jew's entire life: personal, social, family, business, and religious. Notwithstanding subsequent revisions, it remains the foremost authoritative work on Jewish law and practice and is universally accepted by Jews the world over.

Rabbi Yosef Saragosi (14xx-?) First chief rabbi in Tsfat's recorded history. Laid groundwork in 1490's-early 1500's for Zefat to subsequently become a major center of Torah scholarship. Sometimes known as "Tzadik HaLavan" because of a miracle that occurred in his name.

Rabbi Yosef Chaim of Bagdad, the Ben Ish Hai (27 Av 1834 - 13 Elul 1909), is one of the most important Sephardic Jewish sages in the last two centuries. At the age of 25, he succeeded to his father's rabbinical position and continued in it for 50 years. In 1869 he visited the Holy Land and was offered the position of Rishon LeZion (Sephardic Chief Rabbi), but he did not accept. A great scholar and Kabbalist and highly regarded as a pure and holy man, is rulings are adhered to still today by many Sephardim world-wide. He published many important books on Jewish law, Midrash, Kabbalah and Ethics.

Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld [1848 - 19 Adar A 1932] studied under the Katav Sofer at the renowned Pressburg Yeshiva in Austria-Hungary. He was a Torah leader of the Ashkenazi community in the Old City of Jerusalem for nearly sixty years, and became its official head after the death of Rabbi Shmuel Salant in 1909.

Rabbi Yosef Meir (ben Rabbi Samuel Tzvi) Weiss (18 Adar 1838- 6 Iyar 1909), founder of the Spinker dynasty, attended the Chasidic masters of Belz, Vizhnitz, Zhidichov and Sanz, and studied under several prominent rabbinical sages in his native Hungary. In 1876 he became a Rebbe in his own right, eventually attracting many thousands of followers including prominent Torah scholars. He authored a number of important books, of which the most well-known is Imrei Yosef on the Torah readings and the festivals. He was also famous as a miracle worker. After many years of being buried abroad, his remains were brought to Israel in 1972 and reinterred in Petach Tikvah; his body was completely intact!

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (12 Tammuz 1880-10 Shvat 1950), known as the Rebbe Rayatz, was the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, from 1920 to 1950. He established a network of Jewish educational institutions and Chassidim that was the single most significant factor for the preservation of Judaism during the dread reign of the communist Soviets. . In 1940 he moved to the USA, established Chabad world-wide headquarters in Brooklyn and launched the global campaign to renew and spread Judaism in all languages and in every corner of the world, the campaign continued and expanded so remarkably successfully by his son-in-law and successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

Rabbi Yossel of Torchin (1782-1818) was the son of the Chozeh of Lublin, and some say that the Seer viewed him as his successor. All respected him as a man of great piousness.

Rabbi Zalman Leib ("Yekutiel Yehuda" in Hebrew) Teitelbaum, the Sigheter Rav (? - 6 Elul 1883) and author of Yetiv Lev, was a chasid of Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz. He was a grandson of Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum of Ujheley, the author of Yismach Moshe, who was the forerunner of the Satmar and Sighet dynasties. The present Satmar Rebbe in Williamsberg, NY is his great-grandson and is named after him.

Rabbi Ze'ev Wolf of Zhitomir [?-(Purim) 14 Adar 1800] was one of the inner circle of disciples of the Maggid of Mizritch. He is the author of Ohr Hameir, one of the early foundation texts of general Chassidut.

Rabbi Zushya of Anapoli (?- 2 Shvat 1800), was a major disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch, successor to the Baal Shem Tov. The seemingly unsophisticated but clearly inspired "Reb Zusha" is one of the best known and most beloved Chassidic personalities. He and his famous brother, Rebbe Elimelech of Lizensk, spent many years wandering in exile, for esoteric reasons.


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