Rav Nota of Chelm, the Neta Shaahuim (1812)
Rav Moshe Schick, the Maharam Shick (1807-1879). His “last name” was created by his family in response to a demand by government agencies; it is an acrostic for “Shem Yehudi Kodesh.” Born in Brezheva, a small town in Hungary, he was sent at the age of 11 to learn with his uncle, Rav Yitzchak Frankel, av beis din in Regendorf. When he was 14, he was sent to learn under the Chasam Sofer in Pressburg, where he stayed for six years. When he was 20, he married his cousin, Gittel Frankel. He was appointed Rav in Yargen in 1838, the year of the Chasam Sofer’s petira, then became Rav in Chust.
Rav Moshe Yechiel Halevi Epstein from Ozerov (1890-1971), great-grandson of Rav Leibish, the first Ozerover Rebbe. In 1912, he became Rav of Ozerov and in 1918, he replaced his father as Rebbe. During World War I, Ozerov burned down, with only 22 houses left standing (only 11 of Jewish inhabitants). In 1920, he traveled to America to publicize the importance of Agudas Israel, and in 1927, he moved his family to the Bronx. He moved to Eretz Yisrael in 1949 and settled in Tel Aviv. Rav Moshe Yechiel wrote two monumental works, Aish Daas, comprised of 11 volumes, and Be’er Moshe, 12 volumes on Chumasah and Tanach. Each volume contained at least 500 pages, over 10,000 pages in all. Two biographies have been written about him, “Balabas Aish” and “The Aish Das of Ozerov.” Rav Moshe Yechiel was succeeded by his grandson, Rav Tanchum Binyamin Becker.
Rav Avraham Yehuda Farbstein (1917-1997), Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Chevron. Rav Farbstein’s father was one of the founders of Bnei Brak and was head of its first city council. As a youth, Reb Avraham Yehuda studied in the Chevron Yeshiva and the Mir Yeshiva in Europe. Rav Farbstein’s wife was a daughter of Rav Yechezkel Sarna, He taught in the Chevron Yeshiva for 50 years.
Rav Binyamin Rabinowitz, chaver beis din of Eida Chareidis (2002)
Rebbetzin Menucha Ettel Nekritz (1914-2006), granddaughter of the Alter of Novardok, and the daughter of Rav Avraham Yaffen, the rosh yeshiva of Novardok in Poland. Born in 1914 in Bialystock, Poland. She was named after Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz’s mother Ettel – the sister of her mother – with the name Menucha added because her aunt had died young. The Alter was nifter when she was six years old, and her father, Rav Yaffen, ran the large network of Novardok yeshivas that were spread out all over Poland. Its nerve center was in Bialystok. She married Rav Yehuda Leib Nekritz in 1935.
Today in History – 1 Shvat· Jews of Genoa, Italy, were expelled, 1598.
· A tragedy was narrowly averted in the Jewish ghetto of Rome after a mob set fire to the ghetto gates, 1793. The fire would likely have swallowed the entire ghetto if not for a downpour of rain.
· Sultan Abdul Mejid, under pressure from the Montefiore delegation sent in response to the Damascus blood libel, issued a Firman against blood libels, 1840. He also unconditionally released the nine Jewish accused who had survived their tortures. (Four had already succumbed.)
· The beginning of the BILU movement (Bais Yaakov L’chu V’nelcha) in Russia , 1882. The movement was formed by Russian students at the University of Kharkov, creating their own Zionist group which called for active colonization of Israel .