In an effort to trace back Rabbi-to-student transmission of tradition, I've run into some dead ends, and I'm hoping the community can offer some leads. Under whom did the following Rabbis study?

  1. Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin (Netziv)
  2. Yosef Dov Ber Soloveitchik (Bais HaLevi)
  3. Aryeh Leib Ginzberg (Sha'agat Aryeh)

For the next two, I have their immediate mentor, but then the trail dries up:

  1. Eliyahu of Vilna (Vilna Gaon) studied under R. Moses Margalit
  2. Akiva Eger studied under his uncle R. Wolf Eger

I appreciate any information that can get my quest back on track. Thanks.

  • IIRC, the Vilna Gaon studied under R. Margolis (author of the Pnei Moshe) only until age 11.
    – Dave
    Dec 21, 2010 at 23:09
  • Under whom did Rabbi Chayim Ozer study? Jan 10, 2012 at 21:29
  • 6
    Religious Jews have, and have had for a very long time, a custom to refer to their Torah Giants using a prefix of Rav or Rabbi etc.
    – CB01
    Jan 24, 2012 at 11:17
  • @Dave That is a popular legend but there is reason to believe that is not the case.
    – mevaqesh
    Sep 4, 2016 at 2:16
  • 1
    @mevaqesh - that's a really weak proof. Gra doesn't usually cite Acharonim in general. (His commentary to Yerushalmi Zeraim doesn't refer to the peirush of R. Eliyahu of Fulda even though he presumably used the Amsterdam edition of Yerushalmi with that peirush.)
    – Dave
    Sep 6, 2016 at 19:06

3 Answers 3


When the Netziv was 11 years old he was sent to learn in Volozhin. Half a year after his Bar Mitzva, the Rosh Yeshiva Rav Itzele Volozhin the son of Rav Chaim Volozhin, saw him fit from all the other budding stars, to take him as a son-in-law.



In his youth Yosef Dov Ber Soloveitchik (Bais HaLevi) lived in Brod. One anecdote illustrates his early mastery of rabbinic learning. Rabbi Shlomo Kluger, the rabbi of Brod, enjoyed engaging in Talmud studies with him.



According to this article, the Shaagas Aryeh's father was the Rav in the suburbs of Minsk, and the Shaagas Aryeh served under him. So it would be likely that he was the Shaagas Aryeh's teacher.

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