Yehoshua Yehudah Leib Diskin (1818–1898), also known as the Maharil
Diskin, was an important rabbi, Talmudist and Biblical commentator. He
served as a rabbi in ?om?a, Mezritch, Kovno, Shklov, Brisk and finally
Jerusalem after moving there in 1878, where he became the spiritual
leader of a part of the Yishuv haYashan and established the Diskin
Diskin was born in Grodno, then part of the Russian Empire, in 1817.
His father, Binyamin Diskin, was rabbi of that city, then Volkovisk
and later ?om?a. He was engaged before his Bar Mitzvah and at the age
of fourteen he married the daughter of Rabbi Brode 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 ?om?a at the age of 25.
In the 1880s, Diskin was offered the position of Chief Rabbi of New
York, which he declined.
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 brought 40,000 rubles into their marriage - a huge sum in those
days - with which the couple established the Diskin Orphanage in
Jerusalem in 1880. She died in 1907.
Diskin established a yeshiva by the name of Ohel Moshe, (Tent of
Moses). He held the line against attempts by maskilim to introduce
secular institutions to Jerusalem. He died in 1898, on 29 Teveth. His
son was Rabbi Yitzchok Yeruchem Diskin.