Today’s Yahrtzeits – 23 Teves


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

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