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Great Rabbi’s

©Erlinda Cruz 2009

Yisrael Alter,

(12 October 1895 –

20 February 1977),
also known as the
Beis Yisroel after
the works he
authored, was the
fourth Rebbe of
the Hasidic
dynasty of Ger, a
position he held
from 1948 until
He escaped from
Poland during the
Holocaust and
settled in Palestine during 1940. In 1945 he learnt that
the Nazi regime had murdered his wife, daughter, son
and grandchildren. He remarried but had no children.
Rabbi Yisroel (Israel) ben Eliezer

August 27, 1698 (18

Elul) – May 22,
Often called Baal
Shem Tov or Besht,
was a Jewish
mystical rabbi. He is
considered to be the
founder of Hasidic
Judaism (see also
Mezhbizh Hasidic
Besht was born to
Eliezer and Sara in
Okopy (Ukrainian:
Окопи) a small village that over the centuries has
been part of Poland, Russia, and is now part of Ukraine,
(located in the Borshchivskyi Raion (district) of the
Ternopil Oblast). He died in Medzhybizh, which had once
been part of Lithuania, then Turkey, Poland and Russia,
and is also now in Ukraine, in the Khmelnytskyi Oblast.
Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira known as the Baba Sali
was a leading
rabbi and
kabbalist who
renowned for
his ability to
work miracles
through [1]
He was one of
the leaders of
the Aliyah of
Jewry to
Israel, which saw the transfer of nearly the entire
population of that community to the Holy Land. His
burial place in Netivot, Israel has become a shrine for
prayers and petitioners.
Rabbi Avrohom Yeshaya Karelitz,
popularly known
by the name of
his magnum
opus Chazon Ish,
was a
Belarusian born
Orthodox rabbi
who became
leader of Haredi
Judaism in
Israel, where his
final 20 years,
from 1933 to
1953, were
Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai (Chida)
Chida was one
of the most
fascinating and
figures in Jewish
history. Born in
Jerusalem, he
became a scholar
of the first rank
and wrote
classic works in
halacha such as
Shaar Yosef,
Birkei Yosef and
Beracha. He was associated with the kabbalist R.
Shalom Sharabi and studied under R. Chaim Ibn Attar.
He was interested and absorbed by all that he saw and
heard in the many places that he traveled and was
curious to learn about the new and exotic. He was
careful not to insult anyone and to avoid controversy.
Abraham Isaac Kook

was the first
Ashkenazi chief
rabbi of the British
Mandate for
Palestine, the
founder of the
Religious Zionist
Yeshiva Merkaz
HaRav, Jewish
thinker, Halachist,
Kabbalist and a
renowned Torah
scholar. He is
known in Hebrew
as HaRav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, and by the
acronym HaRaAYaH or simply as "HaRav." He was one
of the most celebrated and influential Rabbis of the
20th century.
Menachem Mendel Schneerson

(April 5, 1902 –
June 12, 1994)
known as The
Rebbe was a
prominent Hasidic
rabbi who was the
seventh and last
Rebbe (spiritual
leader) of the
Chabad Lubavitch
movement. He was
fifth in a direct
paternal line to the
third Chabad
Lubavitch Rebbe,
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn.
In 1950, upon the death of his father-in-law, Rabbi
Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, he assumed the leadership
of Chabad Lubavitch. He led the movement until his
death in 1994, greatly expanding its worldwide activities
and founding a network of institutions (as of 2006, in
70 countries) to spread Orthodox Judaism among the
Jewish people, with the stated goal of "Jewish unity".
Rabbi Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman,

(April 23, 1720, -

October 9, 1797)
known as the
Vilna Gaon or
Elijah of Vilna
and simply by his
acronym Gra
Gaon Rabbi
Eliyahu"), [2],
was an
Kabbalist, and
the foremost leader of non-hasidic world Jewry of the
past few centuries. He is commonly referred to in
Hebrew as ha'Gaon ha'Chasid mi'Vilna, "the saintly
genius from Vilnius."
Yosef Chaim

(1 September 1832 –
30 August 1909)
was a leading Hakham
(Sephardic Rabbi),
authority on Jewish
law (Halakha) and
Master Kabbalist. He is
best known as author
of the work on Halakha
Ben Ish Chai ("Son of
Man (who) Lives"), by
which title he is also
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
(born Abdullah
Youssef, 1920 Basra,
is a Mizrahi Haredi
rabbi, Talmudic
scholar, and
recognized halakhic
authority. He is the
former Sephardi Chief
Rabbi of Israel,
although he himself is
Iraqi, not Sephardi.
Yosef is also the
current spiritual leader
of the Shas political
party in the Israeli
Knesset. He is highly revered in the religious world,
especially in the Sephardi and Mizrahi communities, for
his erudition and Torah scholarship. He is among the
most important poskim of the past few generations and
is regarded by many as the foremost Rabbinical
authority and a source of Da'at Torah. He has been
referred to as the Posek HaDor ("Posek of the present
Generation"), Gadol HaDor ("great/est (one of) the
generation"), Maor Yisrael ("The Light of Israel") and
Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky,
Kanievsky known as The Steipler
Steipler or The
Steipler Gaon

was a rabbi, Talmudic scholar, and posek ("decisor" of
Jewish law).
He was born in the Ukrainian town of Horensteipl, from
which his appellation, "the Steipler", was later derived.
He was the son of Chaim Peretz, who was a Chernobyl
Chassid and the local shochet. Around the age of 11,
Kanievsky entered the Novardok yeshiva, studying under
its famed dean, Rabbi Yosef Yoizel Horowitz.
Rabbi Aryeh Levin
(March 22, 1885 -
March 28, 1969),
known as Reb
Aryeh was an
Orthodox rabbi
dubbed the
"Father of
Prisoners" for his
visits to members
of the Jewish
imprisoned in the
Central Prison of
Jerusalem in the
Compound during the British Mandate. He was also
known as the "Tzadik ("saint") of Jerusalem" for his
work on behalf of the poor and the sick.
Chaim Hezekiah Medini
(born 7 Cheshvan
5593 (1833),
Jerusalem – died
24 Kislev 1904,
also known as the
Sede Chemed -
the title of his
chief halakhic
work - was a
rabbinical scholar
during the
century. His name
was originally
Chizkiyahu, Chaim was added during a period of serious
illness. This led to his initials spelling Chacham,
appropriately a play on words that also means a sage,
although spelled differently it was pronounced similarly.
Moses Maimonides,
Maimonides also known as Rabbi Moshe ben
Maimon or the acronym the Rambam
was born in
Cordoba, Spain on
March 30, 1135,
and died in Egypt
on December 13,
One of the
greatest Torah
scholars of all
time, he was a
rabbi, physician,
and philosopher in
Spain, Morocco
and Egypt during
the Middle Ages.
He was the preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher.
Rabbi Elazar Menachem Man Shach (or Rav Leizer
(January 22, 1898 -
November 2, 2001)
Was a leading
Eastern European-
born and educated
Haredi rabbi who
settled and lived in
modern Israel.
He was the rosh
yeshiva ("dean") of
the Ponevezh yeshiva
in Bnei Brak the pre-
eminent yeshiva of
Lithuanian Jewry,
and founded the
Degel HaTorah political party representing Lithuanian
Ashkenazi Jews in the Israeli Knesset, many of whom
considered him to be the Gadol HaDor ("great one of the
generation") and used the honorific Maran ("[our]
master") when referring to him.
He was recognized as a Talmudic scholar par excellence
by scholars such as Rabbi Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik (the
Brisker Rav) and Rabbi Isser Zalman Meltzer in their
approbations to his works; he authored the Avi Ezri a
commentary on the Mishneh Torah.
Sar Shalom Sharabi also known as the Rashash

(Jewish Sharab,
Yemen 1720 -
1777/(10 shevat
Was a
Yemenite Rabbi,
Chazzan and
Kabbalist. In
later life he
became the
Rosh Yeshiva of
Bet El Yeshiva.
He was one of
the Jewish world's foremost masters of Kabbalah,
Torah, Talmud and Halacha in the 18th Century, and one
of the first Yemenite Jews to have a major influence
on the wider Jewish world. He is now considered to rank
among the Acharonim, to be the direct successor to the
Ari and one of the most important Oriental Rabbis in
Jacob ben Meir Tam,
Tam universally known as Rabbenu
(c. 1100–c. 1171)
Was one of the
Baalei Tosafot
appears in every
edition of Talmud
opposite the
commentary of
Rashi. He was
also a renowned
authority and
Moshe Feinstein

(March 3, 1895–
March 23, 1986)
was a
Orthodox rabbi,
scholar and
posek (an
adjudicator of
questions related
to Jewish law),
who was
renowned for
his expertise in
Halakha and was regarded by many as the de facto
supreme rabbinic authority for Orthodox Jewry of
North America. In the Orthodox world, it is universal to
refer to him simply as "Rav Moshe" or "Reb Moshe."
Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman

was an Orthodox
rabbi and rosh
yeshiva of the
Ponevezh yeshiva.
He was a
renowned Torah
and Talmudic
scholar. Rabbi
Kahaneman was
born in Kuhl,
Lithuania, a small
town of about
500 of which
about a third were
Jews. At the age of 14 he went to study Talmud at the
Telshe yeshiva, where he studied Torah until he was
twenty, under the direct inspiration of Rabbi Eliezer
Gordon, who saw his potential. Another mentor of his in
Telshe at the time was Rabbi Shimon Shkop. He then
spent a half year in Novardok yeshiva, after which he
spent three years in Raduń Yeshiva studying under the
tutelage of the Chofetz Chaim and Rabbi Naftoli Trop.
He married the daughter of the rabbi of Vidzh, and
became rabbi there at the end of 1911, when his father-
in-law became the rabbi of Vilkomir (Ukmergė).
Joseph ben Ephraim Karo,
Karo also spelled Caro, or Qaro,

(Toledo, 1488 –
Safed, 1575)
was author of
the last great
codification of
Jewish law, the
Shulchan Aruch,
which is still
authoritative for
all Jews
pertaining to
their respective
communities. To
this end he is
often referred
ha-Mechaber (Hebrew: "The Author") and as
to as ha-
Maran (Aramaic: "Our Master")
Shneur Zalman of Liadi

(September 4,
1745 – December
15, 1812 O.S.),
was an Orthodox
Rabbi, and the
founder and first
Rebbe of Chabad,
a branch of
Hasidic Judaism,
then based in
Liadi, Imperial
Russia. He was
the author of
many works, and
is best known for
Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Tanya and his Siddur Torah Or
compiled according to the Nusach Ari. He is also known
as Shneur Zalman Baruchovitch, Reb Shneur Zalman,
RaZaSh, Baal HaTanya vehaShulchan Aruch,
Aruch the Alter
Rebbe ("Old Rebbe" in Yiddish), Admor HaZaken ("Old
Rebbe" in Hebrew), Rabbeinu HaZokein,
HaZokein Rabbeinu
HaGodol the GRaZ or The
The Rav.
Great Rabbi’s
©Erlinda Cruz 2009
Sages Biography
Ashkenazi or Sephardic