Yehoshua Leib Diskin

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Moshe Yehoshua Yehudah Leib Diskin
Yehoshua Leib Diskin.jpg
Born(1818-12-08)December 8, 1818
DiedJanuary 23, 1898(1898-01-23) (aged 79)
ParentBinyamin Diskin

Moshe Yehoshua Yehuda Leib Diskin (1818–1898),[1][2][3][4] also known as the Maharil Diskin, was a leading rabbi, Talmudist, and Biblical commentator. He served as a rabbi in Łomża, Mezritch, Kovno, Shklov, Brisk, and, finally, Jerusalem, after moving to Eretz Yisrael in 1878.[5] He opened what today is known as the Diskin Orphan Home in 1881.[6]


Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin was born on December 8, 1818,[4] in Grodno, then part of the Russian Empire. His father, Binyamin Diskin, was rabbi of[7] that city,[8] then Volkovisk,[9] and later Łomża.[10][11]

He married Hinda Rachel,[12] daughter of Rabbi Broder, and lived with his father-in-law in Wolkowitz. He received rabbinic ordination at the age of 18, and inherited his father's rabbinate of Łomża at the age of 25.

Rabbi Diskin's second wife, Sarah, was known as the "Brisker Rebbetzin". She had a very strong mind, and came from a prestigious family descended from Rabbi Yechezkel Landau (the Nodah bi-Yehudah) and Joshua Zeitlin. She died in 1907.[13] Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin had a brother, Avraham Shmuel, born 1827 in Łomża, later a rabbi. The brother pre-deceased his older brother.[14]

Rabbinic career[edit]

In 1878, Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin left his rabbinical position in Brest-Litovsk and moved to Palestine,[6] where he became recognized as a leading rabbinic figure in the Ashkenazi community of Jerusalem. In the 1880s, Rabbi Diskin was offered the position of Chief Rabbi of New York City, which he declined. Rabbi Diskin established a yeshiva by the name of Ohel Moshe (Tent of Moses).[10][15] He held the line against attempts by maskilim to introduce secular institutions to Jerusalem. His son was Rabbi Yitzhak Yerucham Diskin.[12]

Diskin Orphanage[edit]

The city's large religious community was then living under near impossible conditions. The persecution and disease from which the Jews of the Holy Land suffered moved Diskin to open a home for orphans in the Old City,[6] after bringing needy children into his own home. The Diskin Orphanage (initially known as the Diskin Orphan Home[6]) was formally established in 1881. From the Jewish Quarter, it moved to Street of the Prophets outside the walls of the Old City.[16] Rabbi Diskin's second wife, Sarah (Sonia Rotner),[9][17] known as the Brisker Rebbetzin, brought 40,000 rubles into the marriage which was used for the support of this institution.[13][18]

Death and legacy[edit]

Rabbi Diskin died on January 23, 1898 (29 Tevet 5658).[4] He is buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Israel.

Y.L. Diskin Street in Jerusalem is named after him.


  1. ^ "Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Yehuda Leib "The Maharil"". Find a Grave.
  2. ^ "Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Yehuda Leib Diskin (1817 - 1898)". Also Known As: "Maharil Diskin"
  3. ^ Aaron Levine (2010). The Oxford Handbook of Judaism and Economics. ISBN 978-0199889655. R. Moses Joshua Judah Leib Diskin (Palestine, 1818–1898)
  4. ^ a b c "Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Yehuda Leib Diskin". Born: Dec 8 1818, In: Grodno, Belarus. Died: Jan 23 1898 ...In: Jerusalem, Israel
  5. ^ "World of the Sages: Fiery furnaces - Jewish World". (Jerusalem Post). August 20, 2009. The tale is told of Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin (1818-1898), one of the leaders of the Old Yishuv, after arriving in Jerusalem in 1878 from Russia. Rabbi Diskin ...
  6. ^ a b c d "Pushke Boxes". (Jewish Women's Archive). Retrieved October 23, 2018. The Diskin Orphan Home was founded in Palestine in 1881 to care for Russian children fleeing persecution, and it still exists.
  7. ^ "Rabbi Benjamin "the Great" Diskin". Benjamin Diskin (1798 - 1844)
  8. ^ Rabbi Moshe Grylak (October 23, 2013). "The Wise Will Keep Silent". (Mishpacha Jewish Family Weekly). ..the home of the Gaon Rav Binyamin Diskin (the father of Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin), the Rav of Horodna. (also known as Grodno)
  9. ^ a b Shalom Me'ir ben Mordekhai Valakh (ha-Kohen); Yocheved Allswang (2004). The Seraph of Brisk: The Life of the Holy Gaon Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin. ISBN 1583307087. No matter how great the rabbi was, he would only permit an agunah to remarry if Rabbi Binyamin Diskin of Vilkovisk signed a letter stating that ...
  10. ^ a b "Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin - The Rav of Brisk".
  11. ^ "|quote=Our Rav, Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin, was born on Kislev 10, 5579 (1818), to the Gaon Rabbi Binyamin, the Rav of Grodno and later of Lomza.
  12. ^ a b "Rav Yitzhak Yeruham Yerucham Diskin (1839 - 1925)". Rav Yitzhak Yeruham Yerucham Diskin ... son of R. Yehoshua Leib Diskin, A.B.D. Lomzha, Mezeritch, Kovno, Brisk and Hinda Rachel.
  13. ^ a b "The Last Rabbis of Brest". 2005-08-18. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  14. ^ Herman Rosenthal; J. G. Lipman; S. Janovsky. "Lomza (Lomzha)". Abraham Samuel Diskin, another son of Benjamin Diskin, was born at Lomza in 1827, and became rabbi of Volkovisk (government of Grodno), where he died in 1887.
  15. ^ "Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Yehuda Leib "The Maharil" Diskin". Find a Grave. He established the Diskin Orphanage in Jerusalem and a yeshiva, Ohel Moshe.
  16. ^ "Orphanage which became a youth village". 1995-06-20. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  17. ^ p. 9
  18. ^ Aviram, Nitza (1995-06-20). "Jerusalem's ten most beautiful buildings". Ynetnews. Retrieved 2014-03-11.

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