20th Century Gedolim
Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohein Kook
The first Chief Rabbi of Israel in the 20th century (before the establishment of the state), Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohein Kook was born in 1865. He is perhaps the best known philosopher of religious Zionism, with numerous writings on all aspects of Jewish thought. He also authored Da'at Kohein, Mishpat Kohein, and Ezrat Kohein, all collections of responsa. His Halacha Berura serves as a halachic commentary on the Talmud, and editions of the Talmud with this commentary are now available on some tractates. He was a student of Netziv, and his students included his son, Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook. He passed away in Jerusalem in 1935.
Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank was born in Lithuania in 1873. A student of Rav Eliezer Gordon and Rav Shmuel Salant, his main work is a set of responsa known as Har Tzvi. He passed away in Jerusalem in 1961.
Rav Ben Tzion Meir Chai Uziel was born in 1880. He was the first Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel (before the establishment of the state). His Piskei Uziel B'She'eilot Ha-Zman is a collection of extended responsa on various contemporary issues. He passed away in 1953.
Rav Moshe Feinstein
Perhaps the leader of American Jewry in the 20th century, Rav Moshe Feinstein was born in Russia in 1895. He served as Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta Tiferet Jerusalem in New York City. He authored Dibrot Moshe, a collection of glosses on the Talmud, and is best known for his Igrot Moshe, a collection of thousands of responsa that now fill eight volumes (the most recent two volumes being published posthumously). He passed away in New York in 1986 and was buried in Israel.
Rav Ovadiah Yoseif
Born in Baghdad in 1920, Rav Ovadiah Yoseif is currently the leading Sephardic poseik (halachic decisor) in the world. Now virtually blind, he is the author of two sets of responsa, Yechaveh Da'at and Yabia Omer, and a collection of his writings known as Yalkut Yoseif is still being produced by his son. He currently resides in Jerusalem.
Rav Eliezer Waldenberg, one of the great poskim of the twentieth century, is perhaps best known for his medical responsa. As the head of the Beit Din in Jerusalem, he was frequently called upon by local hospitals to rule in various situations, and thus his collection of responsa, Tzitz Eliezer, included many essays about medical issues.
Rav Aharon Lichtenstein
Born in France in 1933, Rav Aharon Lichtenstein currently serves as the co-Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shvut, Israel. The son-in-law of Rav Yoseif Dov HaLevi Soloveitchik, Rav Lichtenstein has assumed the mantle as his generation's eminent Torah U'Madda personality. He holds a doctoral degree in English Literature from Harvard University, and served on the faculty of Yeshiva University in New York before making aliya in 1971. Many of his students are eminent figures in Jewish education in Israel and abroad.
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