19th Century Gedolim
The dates of the birth and death of Rav Chaim Mordechai Margoliyot are unknown. His Sha'arei Teshuva is one of the more popular commentaries on the Shulchan Aruch (and should not be confused with the earlier work of the same name by Rabbeinu Yona of Gerona).
Rav Yoseif Ben Moshe Babad was born in 1801 in Tarnopol. His Minchat Chinuch is a collection of essays on the 613 mitzvot through the perspective of the Talmud and Rishonim, structured as a commentary on the Sefer HaChinuch. He passed away in 1874 in Tzfat.
Rav Yoseif Shaul ben Aryeh Leibush HaLevi Nathanson was born in 1810 in Lvov. His works include his Sho'el U'Meishiv, a collection of responsa, as well as a commentary on the Yerushalmi. He passed away in 1875.
Rav Yaakov Tzvi Hirsch ben Yaakov Eisenstadt was born in 1813. His Pitchei Teshuva is a running commentary on the Shulchan Aruch, and is notable for the wide range of later responsa that are collected in it. He passed away in 1863.
Rav Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin
Among the most prolific scholars of the 19th century was rav Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin, known by the acronym NeTZiV. Among his many works are commentaries on the Chumash (plus a supercommentary on that commentary), a commentary on the She'iltot of Rav Achai Gaon, a collection of responsa (Meishiv Davar), and a commentary on the Yerushalmi. Among his numerous students were Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohein Kook and Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer, and he was the father-in-law of Rav Chaim Soloveitchik. He was the final Rosh Yeshiva of the famed Volozhin Yeshiva, and closed it in 1892 due to problems with the Russian government concerning the curriculum of the Yeshiva. He passed away in 1892.
Rav Yechiel Michel Epstein was born in 1829 in Bobroysk. His main work, Aruch HaShulchan, is based on the Shulchan Aruch and analyzes the halachic issues through the perspective of the major Rishonim. This work leaves out the sections dealing with vows, agriculture, and ritual purity, which are discussed in a second work known as Aruch HaShulchan HaAtid. His students included his son, Rav Baruch Epstein, the author of the Torah Temimah. He passed away in Navardok in 1888.
Rav Chaim Chizkiya HaLevi Medini was born in 1833 . His Sdei Chemed is an encyclopedia of halachic and Talmudic issues, which draw heavily off of responsa of Acharonim. He passed away in Chevron in 1885.
Ben Ish Chai
Rav Yoseif Chaim ben Eliyahu was born in 1835 in Baghdad. One of the foremost Sephardic Rabbis of the 19th century, he was the author of numerous works, including his responsa Rav Pe'alim and the Ben Ish Chai. He passed away in 1909.
Rav Yisrael Meir HaCohen
One of the best known Rabbinic figures of the past two centuries is undoubtedly Rav Yisrael Meir HaKohein, known most commonly as the Chafetz Chaim. Born in 1839 in Vilna, his prolific output includes the twin works Chafetz Chaim and Shemirat HaLashon, which focused on lashon ha-ra (slanderous or false speech), as well as the triad of Mishne Berura, Bi'ur Halacha, and Sha'ar HaTzion. This latter group served as commentaries to the Shulchan Aruch, with the first of them being the main commentary, the second one elaborating on various points, and the third providing references to other commentaries. His students included Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer. He passed away in 1933 in Radin.
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