The author of this book, a commentary on Pirkei Avos – the Ethics of the Fathers – was Rabbi (Later Dayan) Michoel Fisher. He was one of the most distinguished European Rabbis who came to Great Britain and added greatly to the British Rabbinate. He was born in Grodno and studied under the most important rabbinical teachers of his generation. He was a pupil of Rabbi Shimon Shkop in Grodno yeshiva and Rabbi Boruch Ber Leobowits in Kamenitz. Dayan Fisher went to Radin yeshiva in his late teens, serving the Chofetz Chayim as a personal assistant. He also studied in Bialystock yeshiva and under Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzenski of Vilna. In 1930 Dayan Fisher went to Mir yeshiva, staying for six years.
He married in 1937 and was brought to England by Rabbi Dr. Solomon Schonfeld, who appointed him as joint Principal of the Yeshiva Or Yisroel in Stamford Hill, which catered for 20 refugee boys who had also been rescued by Dr. Schonfeld. Thus, Dayan Fisher escaped the impending Holocaust, when almost his entire family was wiped out.
He was Rabbi for many years of the Ainsworth Road Federation Synagogue in Hackney. He wrote this book in 1953.
From 1957, Rabbi Fisher pushed for the Federation of Synagogues to form its own Beth Din, as an alternative to the Chief Rabbi’s London Beth Din. After some years of political discussions between the United Synagogue and the Federation, in 1966, Dayan Fisher was appointed one of the four Dayanim. He built up the Federation of Synagogues Beis Din into a significant and respected force. Dayan Fisher was appointed the “Rav Rashi” of the Federation of Synagogues in 1969, post which he held until he retired in 1980.
The Chief Rabbi, Israel Brodie, wrote an approbation to his book in Hebrew and English.
In his introduction, Dayan Fisher explains that he named the book Ateres Mordechai in memory of his father, Rabbi Chaim Mordechai:
This is the beginning of his erudite and comprehensive explanation of Pirchei Avos:
Finally, on the last page, he comes back full circle and mentions the famous Rabbi Shimon Shkop, with whom he had studied when he was young at Grodno Yeshiva:
3 thoughts on “Ateres Mordechai by Dayan Michoel Fisher, London 1953 (Narod Press)”
I was born in 1952 and spent a lot of time with my great aunties and their father, Chayim Ryback who all lived literally opposite Ainsworth road federation shul.
My main memory was being shoulder carried on simchat torah holding flag and apple topped with a little lit candle.