Rav Chaim Cheikel of Amdur (Indura) (1787). Born to Rav Shmuel in Karlin, he was a disciple of the Vilna Gaon, and later became a student of Rav Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mazerich. Rav Chaim became one of the first Chassidic Admorim in 1772-73. He authored Chaim Vochesed. Amdur is about 25 miles south of Grodno (Hrodno). Amdur and Grodno are located in the northwest corner of what is now the independent country of Belarus, close to the Lithuanian and Polish borders. During the Cossack revolt of 1648 against Polish landowners and gentry, over 100,000 Jews, mostly in Ukraine and southern Belarus, were murdered. However, the marauders did not advance north to the Grodno region. Jews comprised 80% of the population in Grodno at that time. Rav Chaim’s daughter married Moshe, the brother of Aharon, founder of Karlin Hassidism. Rav Chaim was succeeded by his son, Rav Shmuel of Amdur.
Rav Yitzchak Meir Alter of Ger, the Chidushei HaRim (1799-1866). The founder of Gerer dynasty, grandfather of Sfas Emes, Reb Yitzchak Meir was able to trace his lineage back to Rav Meir ben Baruch (the Maharam) of Rottenberg (1215-1293). His mother, Chaya Sarah, was orphaned early in life and was raised by her relative, the Kozhnitzer Maggid. The Maggid had a great influence on Yitzchak Meir during the latter’s early years. As he grew, he became a disciples of Rebbi Simcha Bunem of Pryschicha and then R’ Menachem Mendel of Kotzk. At the insistence of the Chassidim, the Rim became leader after the death of the Kotzker. At the first Chassi dic gathering over which he presided he declared, “Reb Simchah Bunem led with love, and R’ Menachem Mendel with fear. I will lead with Torah!” He had 13 children and outlived them all , a tremendous personal tragedy. Yet, he accepted it all with love.
Rav Yitzchak Yaakov Rabinowitz of Biala (Divrei Bina) (1905), youngest son of Rebbe Nathan Dovid, son-in-law of Rebbe Yehoshua of Ostrovoh (the Toldos Adam), and great-grandson of Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowitz, the Yid Hakadosh of Peshischa.
Rav Raphael Shapiro, the Toras Raphael, rosh yeshivas Volozhin (1837-1921). After the Volozhin Yeshiva was closed down in 1892 by order of the Russian government, he reopened it, on a smaller scale in 1899. He was also a son-in-law of the Netziv and the father-In-Law of Rav Chaim Soloveichik of Brisk
Rav Michel Dovid Rozovsky (1869-1935). Born in Svarjen, near Stoibetz, he learned in Mir and Volozhin. After his marriage, he was appointed Rav in Grodna, in which capacity he remained for 40 years. He was the father of three sons: Rav Yehoshua Heschel, who served as Rav in Grodna, until he was murdered by the Nazis; Rav Yosef, who served as Rosh Yeshiva of Ohr Yisrael in Petach Tikva; and Rav Shmuel, who would become Rosh Yeshiva in Ponevezh in Bnai Brak.
Rav Shlomo Zafrani (1970), born in Aram Soba (Aleppo). He became a close disciple of Rabbi Ezra Sha’in. Together with Rav Moshe Tawil, he founded the Degel HaTorah yeshiva. His community supported him as well as the yeshivah. At the age of 68, he moved to Eretz Yisrael and settled in Tel-Aviv. He lived there for nine years, until his death.
Rav Yehuda Moshe Danziger, Alexandria Rebbe of Bnai Brak (Emunas Moshe) (1973)
Rav Yisrael Grossman (1922-2007). Born in the old city of Yerushalayim, Reb Yisrael studied at the yeshiva of Rav Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, where he learned meseches Kiddushin 30 times. He later learned at Yeshivas Kaminetz. After Rav Baruch Shimon Schneerson became Rosh Yeshiva in Tchebin, Reb Yisrael replaced him as Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshivas Chabad, where he remained for 30 years. He also served as a dayan for the beis din of Agudas Yisrael for over 40 years and later opened a beis din for monetary laws with Rav Betzalel Zolti and helped found Mifal Hashas. He was also very involved with Chinuch Atzmai.
Today in History – 23 Adar
· Second Beis HaMikdash was dedicated, 516 BCE
· Massacre of the Jews of Estella, Spain, 1328.
· Jews were excluded from public office and dignities in the Roman Empire, 1418.
· The republic of Czechoslovakia was dissolved, opening the way for Nazi occupation of Czech areas and the separation of Slovakia, 1939
· The Knesset approves the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty, by a vote of 95 for, 18 against, 1979.