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Biographies In Brief

Brief biographies of some of our nation's greatest leaders.

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13 Facts About Leah Everyone Should Know
See how much you really know about our fourth matriarch, Leah!
14 Facts About Esau Everyone Should Know
Esau was the twin of Jacob, but his polar opposite in many respects. Read this article to learn more about him.
Who Were Bilhah and Zilpah?
Learn about the mothers of Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher, four of the 12 Tribes of Israel
12 Facts Every Jew Should Know About Eliezer
Eliezer, the faithful servant of Abraham, is mentioned by name only once in Scripture, but there is lots to know about him.
Women of the Bible Quiz
Take a minute to see how well you know the great women who shaped the destiny of our people.
12 Facts Every Jew Should Know About Rachel
Rachel is one of the four mothers of the Jewish people. How much do you know about her?
15 Facts About Aaron Every Jew Should Know
Want to learn more about the ancestor of virtually every Jew named Cohen? Here's your chance!
Who Was Elisheva?
Elisheba appears just once in the Torah. To learn more, we dig deep into rabbinic and kabbalistic texts…
Who Was Amram?
Amram, son of Kehot, led the Jewish people in Egypt and fathered three of the greatest leaders in Jewish history.
The Evil Babylonian King Who Destroyed Jerusalem
Nebuchadnezzar is notorious for decimating the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel, exiling the vast majority of its denizens to Babylon, and destroying the first Holy Temple.
The man who lived 969 years
Methuselah was one of the Seven Shepherds, i.e. spiritual leaders of their respective eras.
Who Were Dathan and Abiram?
The Eternal Antagonists of the Bible
They were descendants of Reuben, mentioned in the Torah in conjunction with Korah’s rebellion. The Midrash tells us a lot more…
Who Was Caleb?
Caleb (in hebrew, “Kalev”) was one of the most prominent and influential Jews to leave Egypt.
Nathan the Prophet
Nathan was a prominent prophet during the reign of King David and King Solomon.
Who Was the Prophet Malachi?
Malachi (d. 312 BCE) was a member of the Great Assembly during the beginning of the second Jewish commonwealth and was considered the last Jewish prophet.
Rabbi Moshe Schreiber (Sofer), known as the Chatam Sofer, was the preeminent leader of Judaism in the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the first part of the 19th century.
Who Was the Chofetz Chaim?
Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan (1839-1933) was a Talmudist, rabbi and decisor of Jewish law based in the town of Radin (today Radun', Belarus).

Who Was Iyov? Hero of the Book of Job
The Book of Job explores the morality of Divine justice through the experience of human suffering, primarily the suffering of Job himself.
Who Was Jezebel?
Her tenure as queen of Israel is equated with that of Queen Vashti of Persia, who was renowned for her ruthless and hedonistic lifestyle.
Who Was Isaiah?
A scion of the royal Davidic dynasty, Isaiah became one of the preeminent prophets of Israel during the first Jewish commonwealth.
18 Incredibly Brave Women in Jewish History
Take a look at some amazing Jewish heroines spanning 3,000 years of history.
Who Was Queen Esther?
Heroine of the Purim Story
Learn all about Queen Esther, the reluctant heroine of the Purim story.
18 Amazing Converts to Judaism You Should Know
Throughout history the Jewish nation has been enriched by converts—upstanding men and women who opted to enter the covenant and become part of the Chosen Nation.
10 Inspiring Orphans Who Significantly Impacted Judaism
Meet 10 Jewish leaders who were orphaned at a young age and went on to add richness and beauty to Jewish life until this very day.
16 Amazing People Who Beat the Odds to Preserve Judaism
Time and time again, it appeared as if the plucky nation of monotheists would be swallowed up by the religion du jour
1565-1446 BCE
The Story of Joseph in the Bible
From Prisoner to Prince
Joseph was sold by his brothers to Egypt, where he ultimately became ruler of the land, second only to King Pharaoh.
The Israelite Prophet and Lawgiver Known as Moshe in the Bible
The greatest prophet who ever lived, Moses (Moshe) transcribed the Torah (also known as the Five Books of Moses), the foundational text of Judaism.
Maimonides: His Life and Works
Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, 1135-1204 ("Rambam")
Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, Talmudist, Halachist, physician, philosopher and communal leader, known in the Jewish world by the acronym "Rambam" and to the world at large as "Maimonides."
? - 139 BCE
The Rosh
Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel, 1250?-1327
Rabbi Moshe Cordovero
"The Ramak"
"I shall soon leave this world," said the great master. "The one who will take my place will say things that may seem to contradict what I have taught you, but do not oppose him, for his teachings stem from the same source as mine"
The Alter Rebbe
Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745–1812)
The life, teachings and works of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad.
Rabbi DovBer of Lubavitch
A brief biography of the second Chabad Rebbe.
The Ben Ish Chai
Chacham Yosef Chaim of Baghdad
Chacham Yosef Chaim understood that cut-and-dry Torah law would not appeal to many, so the bulk of his discourses were coupled with Kabbalah and Aggadah. He helped his followers make associations between Biblical lore and the law, so their hearts would be drawn to the wisdom of Torah...
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn
Sixth Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the sixth rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, was one of the most remarkable Jewish personalities of the twentieth century.
The Story of Adam and Eve in the Bible
Adam and Eve were the first humans, created by G‑d on the sixth day of Creation and ancestors to all of mankind.
Ishmael: Abraham's Other Son
Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, yet it was Isaac who was chosen to carry on Abraham’s legacy. Why?
Everything About Enosh
There is very little mention of him in the Torah, and most of what we know about him and his times is from Midrashic and Talmudic sources.
Nimrod, the Biblical Hunter
Before you go calling me names, it’s only fair that you familiarize yourself with all the details . . .
Memoirs of Og, the Not-So-Gentle Giant
I have undertaken to commit my life experiences to writing, so that my place in history is not forgotten.
Daniel the Prophet of the Bible, His Life and Accomplishments
Daniel (3304-3399 / 457-362 BCE) was a celebrated Jewish scholar and master interpreter of dreams who was exiled to Babylon after the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
Esau's Autobiography
A cautionary tale of violence and villainy
Diary of Leah
This is not the actual diary of Leah, wife of Jacob. To the best of my knowledge, no such document exists.
Nachshon ben Aminadav: The Man Who Jumped Into the Sea
When everyone else hesitated, he jumped into the swirling sea.
Jethro: Father-in-Law of Moses
As Described in the Bible, Midrash and Talmud
Jethro (or Yitro or Yisro) was a Midianite priest and the father-in-law of Moses. He is mentioned three times in the Pentateuch, once in the Prophets and in numerous places in rabbinic literature. Let us learn what we can about this fascinating figure.
The Dynamic Duo: Betzalel and Aholiav
The artisans who made the Mishkan and its equipment
Only when Betzalel and Aholiav work in unity can we forge a connection with G-d.
Korah: The Rebel of the Bible
Korah takes a stance against Moses and Aaron, which ultimately led to his downfall.
The Daughters of Zelophehad
“Why should our father’s name be eliminated from his family because he had no sons? Give us a landholding among our father’s brothers!”
Isaac: The Second Patriarch of the Bible
Isaac is the second of the patriarchs of the Jewish people. He is most famous for his central role when he was almost offered up as a sacrifice to G‑d
Balaam and Balak: The Full Story
The fascinating story of Balak and Balaam’s failed attempts to curse the Jewish people, in which a talking donkey and a sword-wielding angel also take starring roles.
King Solomon: The Story of His Reign and Kingdom
King Solomon was the third king of Israel, who ruled Israel for 40 years and, while ushering peace and properity in his era, built the First Holy Temple.
Sir Moses Montefiore
Sir Moses Who . . . ?
The Jewish world is scattered with institutions all named after Sir Moses Montefiore—and yet, how many Jews now know who he was?
Rebecca of the Bible
The sages likened her stalwart ability to rise above her environment to a rose growing among thorns
Aaron the High Priest
Aaron personified kindness. His life’s work was the endless and vigorous promotion of peace.
The Prophet Ezekiel
Ezekiel spent the bulk of his life in Babylonia, where he envisioned most of his prophecies.
Hillel the Elder
His teachings and lessons have become ingrained in Jewish culture, making a permanent mark on the ethos of Judaism today.
Joshua of the Bible
Joshua's mode had the unique advantage in that he achieved that the world itself should become G-dly.
Phinehas: The Zealot of the Bible
Phinehas was brazenly zealous when he slayed Zimri, the licentious leader of the tribe of Simeon.
Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik of Brisk
Marking 100 Years Since His Passing
In the latter part of the 19th century, in the small Russian (now Belarusian) town of Volozhin, a miniature revolution was brewing.
Elisha ben Abuyah: The Sage Called
Born into a prestigious Jerusalem family, Elisha was described by the Talmud as an extraordinary scholar who delved deep into the secrets of the Torah.
Nehemiah was appointed to be the governor of Israel during the beginning of the Second Temple period.
Ezra the Scribe
Ezra the Scribe headed the religious revival of the people living in Israel at the beginning of the Second Temple era.
Judah the Maccabee
Judah Maccabee was one of the leaders of the Jewish guerilla freedom fighters who drove the Seleucid Greek occupiers out of Judea in 139 BCE.
The High Priest in Jewish Tradition
The High Priest's role extended through history, from Aaron in ancient times until the destruction of the Second Temple.
Who Was Deborah the Nurse?
And Why Did Jacob Mourn Her Death?
Deborah was there because Rebecca was fulfilling a promise she made to Jacob 36 years earlier.
Judah Touro: Philantropist Par Excellence
Judah Touro was a Jewish philanthropist who gave generously to Jewish and non-Jewish causes in the US, the Holy Land, and beyond.
A Mini Profile of Pharaoh of the Exodus
What do we know of Pharaoh, the evil king of Egypt who played a key role in our formation as a nation, from the enslavement to the Exodus?
Who Was Oholiab?
The Vice-Architect of the Tabernacle
The chief architect was Bezalel, and he was helped by many wise-hearted people. But only one of his helpers gets a special mention: Oholiab.
Moses was born in Egypt during the enslavement of the Jews. His parents, Amram and Yocheved, were from the illustrious tribe of Levi.
Shabbatai Zevi: the Messianic Imposter
Shabbatai Zevi was a false messiah, who succeeded in deluding thousand of Jews into believing that he was the long-awaited redeemer.
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