Living Legacy: Rav Nota Volf Lieber, Raavad of Pressburg

Living Legacy: Rav Nota Volf Lieber, Raavad of Pressburg

Yehuda Alter 

The tenth of Kislev marks the yohrtzeit of a great ga’on in Hungary of yesteryear, the Rosh Av Beis Din of Pressburg, Rav Nosson Binyomin, known as Rav Nota Volf, Lieber, zt”l. 

He was born in Fürth, Germany, in the year 1804. His father was an askan and leader in the community by the name of R’ Avorhom Shmuel Zanvil and his mother Sarah. 

From his early youth he was known for his greatness in Torah—with a complete command of Shas and Poskim. The gedolim of Fürth recognized this and called by the title “Moreinu,” and sent him their most difficult questions in learning. 

At eleven years of age, he entered the yeshiva in his home city, where he stood out among the talmidim. There was no limit to his cheishek in learning, and his rebbeim recognized and valued their prized student. 

At the age of nineteen, he journeyed to the great city of Pressburg and entered the yeshiva of the Chasam Sofer. He was one of the most prominent talmidim in the yeshiva, and he was drawn close to his holy Rebbe who would quote him in his writings. He also learned kabboloh with the Chasam Sofer at that young age. 

The memory of his illustrious Rebbe remained with him for all his life, and it was said that, although he was by nature reserved, and not prone to emotion, he would shed tears of emotion whenever discussing his Rebbe, the Chasam Sofer. 

In 1828, he married Rebbetzin Milka Beila Oppenheim of Pressburg who would dedicate her entire life for her husband’s learning. She would merit to have children who would be great talmidei chachomim. 

Even after his wedding, he could not tear himself away from his rebbi, the Chasam Sofer, and he remained to learn with him, and after his passing, he continued to learn under his son, the Ksav Sofer. 

With the passing of the Rosh Av Beis Din of Pressburg, Rav Nota Volf became a dayan in the city, and later the Rosh Av Beis Din of the city, a position in which he served for twenty-three years. The members of his beis din were illustrious ge’onim in their own right. 

In his position as a leading rov in the city of Presburg, he was known for his strength in leadership, but also his love. He was beloved by the residents—on account of his dedication to them— and respected by the gedolim of his era. 

As a result of his harbotzas Torah in the city, he shaped numerous illustrious talmidim, and his own children were likewise great talmidei chachomim—and their descendants continue the golden chain until this day. 

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