Rav Naftali Katz, author of Semichas Chachomim (1660-1719), descendent of the Maharal. Born in Ostracha, Ukraine and died in Istanbul. His faher, Yitzchak, a Rav in Stefan and a darshan in Prague, died in 1670. Reb Naftali married Esther Sheindl, daughter of Shmuel Shmelke Zak of Ostraha, and headed the Yeshiva that his father-in-law built for him. After Rabbi Shmuel died he succeeded him as Rabbi and Av Beis Din. In 1704 he became Rav of Frankfurt until 1711, when a fire broke out in his home and spread from there burning down several hundred homes. Rav Naftali was jailed and accused of setting the fire. When he was released, he left for Prague and Breslau and stayed with Zvi Ashkenazi (the Chacham Zvi). They both excommunicated Nechemia Chayun who wrote a book in favor of Shabetai Zvi. He had 14 children, 7 sons and 7 daughters. Rav Yaakov Emden, the son of the Chacham Zvi, married Rav Naftali’s daughter Rachel.
Rav Yosef of Yampula, son of the Zlotchiver Maggid (1812).
Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1813), Baal Hatanya. Became a talmid of the Maggid of Mezritch at the age of 30, studying with him for 12 years, and becoming the leader of Chasidus in Lithuania following the Maggid’s petira in 1772. Following his incarceration in St. Petersburg, he moved to Liadi. In addition to Tanya, he also authored the Shulchan Aruch HaRav.
Rav Meir Eisenstadt, also known as Meir Ash (Dec. 2, 1861). His responsa were published by his son under the title Imrei Eish. He died at Ungvár.
Rav Avraham Dov Berish Flamm (1804-1873). R’ Flamm is considered to be the leading disciple of the Dubno Maggid, R’ Yaakov Kranz, although, in fact, the two never met. R’ Flamm was, however, the leading student of the Maggid’s writings, and it was he, together with the Maggid’s son, Rav Yitzchak Kranz, who edited these and prepared them for publication. R’ Flamm was himself a popular maggid, and he held that post in several Polish and Lithuanian cities. Besides publishing the Dubno Maggid’s Ohel Yaakov and Sefer Hamiddos, R’ Flamm wrote several works of his own. His Yerios Ha’ohel and Sefas Ha’yeriah were printed together with Ohel Yaakov, while his Shemen Ha’mor is a free-standing work.
Rav Moshe Yosef Teitelbaum (1842-1897). The son of Rav Yekusiel Yehuda Teitelbaum, he was was appointed Rav and Av Beis Din of Stropkov when Rav Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam returned to Sienawa in 1880. In 1891, he left the town for a post in Ujhely, Hungary.
Rav Shmuel Borenstein, the Shem MiShmuel from Sochatchov (1855-1926). He was born in Kotzk to Rav Avraham Borenstein, the Sochatchover Rebbe and mechaber of Avnei Nezer. His grandfathers were Rav Nachum Ze’ev of Biala, the Agudas Eizov and Rav Menachem Mendel, the Lotzker Rebbe. Rav Shmuel considered Rav Chanoch Henoch of Alexander to be his Rebbe. After the petira of the Alexander Rebbe in 1870, the Avnei Nezer was made Rebbe, and his son followed him as his Rebbe. He was married in 1873, but his wife died in 1901. He remarried in 1903. Rav Shmuel served as maggid shiur in his father’s yeshiva in Sochatchov and helped him write Eglei Tal on the 39 malachos of Shabbos, as well as Avnei Nezer. After his father was niftar in 1910, the Chassidim crowned Rav Shmuel their Rebbe. His sefer contains the thoughts of his famous father.
Rav Avraham Shmuel Binyamin Sofer, the Divrei Sofer (1948)
Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler (1892-1953). His father, Rav Reuven Dov Dessler, was a talmid muvhak of Rav Simcha Zissel of Kelm, and his mother was a grand-daughter of Rav Yisrael Salanter and a niece of Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinski. After learning at Kelm, he married a grand-daughter of Rav Simcha Zissel. During the Bolshevik revolution, he moved to London in 1927. In 1941, he founded the Gateshead Yeshiva and kollel. In 1948, he was asked by Rav Yosef Kahaneman to join the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnai Brak. Many of his thoughts and discourses are collected in Michtav M’Eliyahu.
Rav Moshe Mordechai Biederman, the Lelover Rebbe (1904-1987). Son of Rav Shimon Nosson Nota Biederman, Moshe Mordechai was born in Yeryshalayim. When he was just 10 years old, his mother passed away and his father moved to Krakow, Poland, leaving him to the care of his grandfather, Rav Dovid. Five years later, after the petirah of his grandfather, he traveled to Europe and established his place of learning at the Radomsker shtiebel in Krakow. He became very close to the Stoliner Rebbe, the Yenuka. When his father was niftar 1930, the Chassidim looked to Moshe Mordechai to become their new Rebbe. He stayed in Poland until right before the onset of the War, settling in Tel Aviv in 1944.
Rav Mordechai Gifter (1915-2001). Born in Portsmouth, 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. Rav Gifter studied together with Rav Nosson Wachtfogel, 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. (23 Teves, according to Yated 2007)
Rav Moshe Akiva Tikochinsky (1988). Mashgiach of Slobodka Yeshiva.
Today in History – 24 Teves
· Religious disputation at Tortosa arranged by Pope Benedict XIII. between Geronimo de Santa F. and Rav Yosef Albo, 1413.
· The first Jewish printing press in the Netherlands was set up by Menashe ben Yisrael, 1627.
· Earthquake kills 2000 Jews in Tzefas and 700 in Teveria, 1837
· Israel and Egypt sign and agreement for the disengagement of forces in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur war, 1974. Israel agrees to withdraw from the Suez Canal.