Memories of Akiba and Bar Yochai this past week during Lag B’omer set me to thinking about the greatest in Jewish history. Here’s my top 10 in terms of enduring legacy (up to the 19th century). I’m not sure if any since then would crack the list; it may be too soon to tell.
And here now is the Rabbi's top 10 rabbinical list:
1. Hillel: Beloved sage, compassionate spirit and legal innovator.
2. Ben Zakkai: Revered sage and establishment of Yavneh key to post-destruction survival.
3. Akiba: Brilliant mind, compelling life story, and martyr.
4. Sa’adia Gaon: First great philosophic mind of medieval period.
5. Maimonides: “From Moses to Moses, none like Moses.”
6. Nachmanides: Great debater, commentator, and defender of the faith.
7. Rashi: Prince among the commentators.
8. Joseph Karo: His code, Shulchan Aruch, second only to Maimonides Mishneh Torah.
9. Isaac Luria: First among equals in Safed Kabbalistic circles.
10. Ba’al Shem Tov: Founder of the Chasidic movement and anti-establishment leader.
And here are our previous postings of Rabbi Schwartz's top ten lists:
The Rabbi’s Top Ten: The Best of Everything Jewish
The Rabbi’s Top 10 Jewish Foods
The Rabbi’s Top 10 Jewish Modern Events
The Rabbi's Top Ten Israeli History Events
The Rabbi’s Top 10 Zionists
Of course, you don't have to be a rabbi to make a top 10 list, so please feel free to share your own with us here on the Congregation Adas Emuno blog.