16th Century Gedolim


Rabbi David ben Zimra was born in 1480. He authored a set of responsa as well as a commentary on the Yad HaChazakah of Rambam. He served as the chief Rabbi of Egypt and passed away in 1573.


Shiltei Gibborim

Rav Yehoshua Boaz ben Shimon lived in Spain before the expulsion. This work appeared in the form of a commentary on the Rif. He was also the author of the Mesorat HaShas and Ein Mishpat, which provide on-the-page references to other gemarot and to halachic sources. He passed away in 1492.


Rav Yoseif Karo

One of the most authoritative personalities in the history of Rabbinic writings, Rav Yoseif Karo was born in 1488. His main work was the Beit Yoseif, a commentary on the Tur. This work was then published in digest form as the Shulchan Aruch. Additionally, he wrote a commentary on Yad Chazakah of Rambam known as the Kesef Mishna, and a set of responsa, Avkat Rocheil is attributed to him as well. He passed away in Israel in 1575.



Rav Yaakov Baruch ben Yehuda Landau Ashkenazi lived in Germany during the 1400's. He was the author of this halachic work, as well as a collection of responsa. He passed away in 1493.



Rav Moshe ben Yoseif of Trani was born in Salonika in 1505. His main work was Kiryat Sefer, an extended commentary on Rambam's Yad Chazakah. He was the student of Mahari Beirav, and was the teacher of Maharitatz. He passed away in 1560 in Tzfat, Israel.



Rav Shmuel ben Moshe di Modena was born in 1506 in Salonika. He authored a collection of responsa. He was the student of Maharalbach (the chief Rabbi of Jerusalem), and was the teacher of the author of the Lechem Mishne. He passed away in 1590.



Rav Shlomo Luria was born in 1510. He was the author of the Yam Shel Shlomo, a commentary on several tractates of the Talmud, as well as a commentary on the Shulchan Aruch. He passed away in 1573.


Rav Moshe Isserles

Born in 1530, Rav Isserles served as the Rosh Yeshiva of Cracow. His most famous work is the Mapah, a commentary on the Shulchan Aruch, and he also authored the Darchei Moshe, a commentary on the Beit Yoseif of Rav Yoseif Karo. He is the main halachic authority for Ashkenazic Jewry. He passed away in 1572.



Born in 1535, Rav Mordechai Yafeh followed the success of the Shulchan Aruch with this halachic codex of his own. His style mimics that of Karo's work which preceded his. He died in 1612.


Lechem Mishne

Rav Avraham ben Moshe di Boton was born in 1545 in Salonika. His main work was a commentary on the Yad Chazakah of Rambam. He passed away in 1588.


Rav Yehoshua Katz

Rav Yehoshua Falk Katz served as the Rosh Yeshiva in Lemberg. He was the author of the twin commentaries Perisha and Derisha on the Tur. He passed away in 1614.



Rav Shmuel Eliezer ben Yehuda Levi Adels was born in Cracow in 1555. His main work is a running commentary on both the legal and the aggadic sections of the gemara. He passed away in 1632.



Rav Yom Tov ben Moshe Tzahalon was born in Tzfat in 1558. He was the student of Mabit and Alshich, and published a collection of responsa. He passed away in 1611.



Rav Yoel Sirkis was born in 1561. He served as the Rav of Belz, Brest-Litovsk, and Cracow. His Bayit Chadash (Bach) is a major commentary on the Tur (second only to the Beit Yoseif). He was the father in law of the Taz (who frequently refers to him), and passed away in 1640.


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