Rav Mordechai Meisel, the Parnes of Prague, a great Jewish philanthropist who saved many Jewish lives in pogroms (1601).
Rav Shlomoh Zalman ben Yitzchak of Volozhin, brother of Rav Chaim Volozhin (1756-1788)
Rav Menachem Mendel ben Shmuel Stern (1759-1834). He was a talmid of Rav Yaakov Lorberbaum of Lissa (author of Netivot Hamishpat, Chavaat Da'at, and Derech Chaim). He succeeded Rav Yehudah Ha’Kohen Heller (author of Kuntres Ha’Sefeikot and brother of the Ketzot Ha’Choshen) as Rav of Sighet, Hungary. Rav Stern was a chasid of Rav Moshe Leib of Sassov and of Rav Mendel of Kossov. Among his works is Derech Emunah.
Rav Shmuel Klein (1875; Adar II), Rav and Av Bet Din of Chust and Selish; author of Tzror Ha’Chaim. He was a leading rav in Romania.
Rav Aharon Menachem Mendel of Radzimin (1934)
Rav Shmuel David ben Yosef Moshe Ha’Levi Ungar (1945), Nitra Rav and Rosh Yeshivah and father-in-law of R' Michael Ber Weissmandel.
Rav Yechiel Schlesinger, Rav and Posek for Kehal Adat Yeshurun (1948). In his youth, he learned at Slobodka and Mir Yeshivot. After his marriage in 1930, he set off for Ponevezh. During his time there, he also trained to become a Dayan, doing shimush in the Bet Din of the Ponevezher Rav. He was called to serve as a Dayan on the Frankfurt Bet Din, and as the head of Rav Breuer's Yeshivah there. In 1938, he decided that life as a Jew in Germany was becoming too intolerable. Although he was offered the prestigious position of Rosh Yeshivah of Torah V’daat Yeshiva in New York, he preferred to move to Eretz Yisrael. Once he reached Yerushalayim, a few days after Pesach (1939), he founded Kol Torah Yeshivah, setting a clear Torah path for German Jewry.
Rav Chaim Ephraim Zeitchek, Mashgiach of Novardok, Yerushalayim and Rosh Yeshivat Ohr Chodosh (1989)
Rav Yehudah Zerachiah Mordechai Leib Chaim ben Shaftiyah Ha’Levi Segal (1924-2001). After learning at the Lomza Yeshivah in Petach Tikvah, he was asked by the Lelover and Lubavitcher Rebbes to serve as Rav of Kiryat Shalom in Tel Aviv. He held this position for the rest of his life, despite many offers over the years. He was buried in Har Hamenuchot.
Rav Shammai Zahn (2001), Rosh Yeshivat Netzach Yisrael, Sunderland, and President of Agudat Yisrael of England.
Rav Elazar ben Yosef Yehoshua Aharon Adler, Zvhiller Rebbe of Los Angeles (1921-2007). Originally of Yeushalayim, he emigrated to America in early June 1938 and settled in the West Adams section of Los Angeles, California; later relocating to the Beverly-Fairfax area. He was a beloved and revered figure in Los Angeles. His home was a source of hospitality and his assistance critical to many immigrants who settled in Los Angeles after World War II.
Rav Shmuel ben Shlomoh Zalman Auerbach (1931-2018), Rosh Yeshivat Kol Torah. In his younger years, Rav Auerbach was Rosh Yeshivah of Shem Olam, affiliated with Amshinov. He was a Ra”m in Yeshivat Itri, led by Rav Mordechai Elefant, before moving to Yeshivat Kol Torah in the Bayit Vegan neighborhood of Yerushalayim. In 5742 he established Yeshivat Maalot Ha’Torah in the Shaarei Tzedek neighborhood. Rav Shmuel authored the sefer, Darchei Shmuel as well as the set of sefarim Ohel Rachel (named after his wife), and Musar Sichot published by his talmidim. Rav Shmuel was opposed to the establishment of Nachal Chareidi. He was among the Gedolei Yisrael, together with Ha’Gaon Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira, who led the opposition to the Tal Law and to efforts to make changes to the arrangement that existed regarding drafting of Bnei Torah. He instructed his talmidim not to report to IDF induction centers, accepting a different approach than Gedolim in Bnei Brak, leading to the so-called Peleg Yerushalmi.
Other events on this day:
- The German Wermacht marched into Austria for the Anschluss (annexation). The campaign against the Jews of Austria began immediately with plundering of homes and shops and Jews made to wash the streets. By the end of 1941, 131,000 Jews had left Vienna (30,000 to the US), leaving behind all their possessions but nonetheless having to pay a steep exit tax. Of the 65,000 Jews that stayed, only 2000 survived the war.
- First controversy of Beis Hillel and Bet Shamai, commemorated as a taanit tzadikim (Megilat Taanit; Orach Chayim 580:2).
Rav Pinchas of Voldova, author of Brit Shalom (1663).
Rav Yosef Yoel ben Yaakov Aharon Helperin of Stefan (1685-1770). He replaced his father as Rav in Stefan when his father was appointed Rav in Lutzk. A gaon in Torat Nigleh and Kabalah, he was one of the first talmidim of the Baal Shem Tov, despite initially being a fierce opponent. His son-in-law, Rav Aharon Shmuel Ha’Kohen of Ostroha, succeeded him as Rav in Stefan and was also a talmid of the Magid of Mezritch. Rav Yosef Yoel was buried in Stefan.
Rav Yosef Baruch ben Klonymos Kalman Ha’Levi Epstein, the Gutteh Yid of Neustadt (1867). He was the son of the Maor Vashemesh.
Rav Alexander Moshe ben Tzvi Lapidus (1819-1906). A talmid of Rav Yisrael Salanter, he authored Divrei Emet. Engaged at 12, and married at 13 years, he traveled to Salant at the age of 14 to learn with Rav Tzvi Hirsh Braude, where Rav Yisrael Salanter was a Magid Shiur teaching Seder Nezikin. Beginning at the age of 17, he served as Rav in many towns. In 1866, he became Rav of the city of Rassein, a position he held for forty years until his petirah. She’elot were sent to him from throughout the Jewish world. At the time of his petirah it was reported that a collection of teshuvot was ready to be printed, but for unknown reasons this did not materialize. In more recent times, a number of his teshuvot was collected and published by Rav Pinchas Lipschutz (editor of Yated Ne'eman) in a sefer titled, Ikvei Brachah. His collected writings were published in 2006.
Rav Shalom ben Yechezkel Shraga Goldstein (1923-1984). Born in Romania, his father immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Williamsburg when Reb Shalom was eight. The youth was a popular activist of Zeirei Agudat Yisrael, who did kiruv work with children from less religious homes. In 1944 Shalom married Leah Necha Scheiner of Pittsburgh, and a year later he moved to Detroit in 1945, where he remained to build Torah for the following 40 years.
Rebetzin Alta Chayah Hirschsprung (2012). Wife of the Rav Ha’Rashi of Montreal, Rav Pinchas Hirschsprung, who served as the Chief Rabbi of Montreal from 1969 until his petirah in 1998 and served as Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivat Tomchei Temimim in Montreal. The Rebetzin served as the consummate eizer kenegdo, assisting her husband and doing whatever she could to allow him to devote himself to his learning and harbatzat ha’Torah and communal activities.
Rav Avraham ben Yehudah Tzvi Brandwein (1945-2013). The Admor of Stretten, his family tree includes the Magid of Mezritsch, Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk and Rav Levy Yitzchak of Berditshev. He was the seventh generation in his family to live in Eretz Yisrael. A widely respected scholar, he edited more than twenty volumes of classical Kabalistic texts. Rav Brandwein served as Rosh YeshivaH of Kol YehudaH Yeshiva, founded by his father, in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Yerushalayim. As a young man, he served in the Israel Defense Forces in artillery and was among the soldiers that crossed the Suez Canal into Egypt during the Yom Kippur war.
Other events on this day:
- Byzantine Emperor Justinian ordered the public reading of the Greek translation to the parshas ha’shavuaH on Shabat and prohibited Rabanim from giving derashot on the sidrah.
- Massacre of the Jews of Freiburg and Worms, Germany, 1349, in the Black Death riots.
- The first complete Hebrew Sefer Torah with Rashi was printed by Abraham ben Garton, in Reggio de Calabria, Italy, 1475. It was soon followed in Piovo di Sacco near Padua by a printing of the Arbah Turim of Rav Yaakov ben Ha’Rosh.
- Jews of the Austrian Empire were granted equal civil and political rights, 1849.
Rav Gershon ben Yitzchak Ashkenazi (1618-1693). Born in Ulf, Germany, he left home to learn in the yeshivah of Rav Yoel Sirkes, the Bach, in Krakow, Poland, and under the Maharam Schiff. He was also a close talmid of Rav Yehoshuah, the Maginei Shlomoh. Rav Gershon lost his first wife in 1649, and his second wife in 1654. His third wife, Rebetzin Raizel, was zocheh to arichut yamim, outliving her husband by 30 years. Rav Gershon served as Dayan in Krakow, and in 1650 served the kehilah of Prussnitz, Moravia.
With the passing of his father-in-law, the Tzemach Tzedek in 1661, he became Rav in Nicholsburg and a year later of the entire province of Moravia. He served as chief Rabbi of Austria until the expulsion of 1670. At that point, he became Rav of Metz, Germany, where he remained until his death. He fiercely opposed the Sabbatian messianic movement. During his lifetime, Rabbi Ashkenazi had begun to prepare his more than 1,000 responsa for publication, but by the time of his petirah, only 124 of these were published, as Avodat Ha’Gershuni. Much of what we know about the Chmielnicki massacres are based on this work. A prolific writer, he also composed Tiferet Ha’Gershuni comprising his drashot on the Torah, and Chidushei Ha’Gershuni on halachah.
Rav Leib ben Meir, son of Reb Meir of Premishlan, Rab Leib was known as the Shomer Shabat (1799).
Rav Chaim Yosef David ben Rephael Yitzchak Zerachia Azulai, (the Chida), (1724-1806). Arguably the Sephardic equivalent to the Vilna Gaon, the Chida, was born in Jerusalem. At the age of 18, he learned under Rav Chaim ben Atar (the Ohr Ha’Chaim), and he later under the Rashash. His works include a collection of responsa known as Yosef Ometz, the Shem Ha’Gedolim (a biographical work on 1300 authors and 1200 writings, dating back to the Geonim), and many others. He passed away in Livorno, Italy.
Rav Eliezer Lipman Weisblum, father of Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk and Reb Zusha of Annipoli.
Rav Mordechai Posner, Rav of Ursha and brother of the Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1823)
Rav Yehoshuah Moshe ben Mordechai Zev Orenstein, author of Yam HaTalmud (1824).
Rav Moshe Yehoshuah Heshel of Rohatin (1825)
Rav Shmuel ben Yosef Strashun, the Rashash of Vilna (1794-1872). He was a Rav and a very wealthy banker in Vilna; he also administrated a free loan fund. His commentary on virtually the entire Talmud is printed in most editions of the Talmud.
Rav Avraham ben Zev Nachum Borenstein of Sochatchov (1839-1910), author of Avnei Nezer (seven volumes of response) and Eglei Tal (encyclopedia of the laws of Shabat). He was born in Bendin to the author of the Agudat Eizov, a descendent of the Rema and the Shach. In 1853, he married Sarah Tzinah, one of the two daughters of the Kotzker Rebbe, with whom he learned almost daily for almost 7 years. After the petirah of his father-in-law in 1859, Rav Avraham accepted the Chidushei Ha’Rim of Ger as his Rebbe. After the petirah of the Chidushei Ha’Rim in 1866, he accepted Rav Chanoch Henich Ha’Kohen of Alexander as his new Rebbe.
In 1883, he became Rav of Sochachov. His lectures in the yeshivah lasted six to eight hours, often starting at midnight and continuing until morning, except for a 15-minute break when he napped. Rav Bornstein is frequently quoted in his son's classic work Shem Mishmuel.
Rav Avraham ben Yaakov Abuchatzera of Tiverya (1913). Uncle of the Baba Sali.
Rav Yosef ben Fishel Rosen of Dvinsk, the Gaon of Rogatchov, author of Tzofnat Paneach (1858-1936). His father was a leader of the Jewish community of Rogatchov in general, and of the Lubavitcher Chasidim in particular. When he was bar mitzvah, his father brought Reb Yosef to the Rav of Slutzk, Rav Yosef Dov Soloveichik, the Bet Ha’Levi. Together with Rav Chaim (Rav Yosef Dov’s son), Rav Yosef learned with the Bet Ha’Levi for an entire year. He then learned with Rav Yehushuah Diskin in Shklov. When he was 18, he married the daughter of Rav Moshe Garfinkel, a Gerer chasid in Warsaw, who supported the couple for 8 years. In 1891, he took the position of Rav in Dvinsk, a position he kept until his death.
Rav Menachem David of Chodorov (1980)
Rav Shmuel Brudny, Rosh Yeshivat Mir (1915-1981). Born in Smorgon, Lithuania, between Oshmina and Vilna. At 14 years of age, he entered the Rameilles Yeshivah in Vilna under Rav Shlomoh Heiman. Three years later, he entered the Mirrer Yesihvah under Rav Eliezer Yehudah Finkel. Whereas his parents and siblings were murdered by the Nazis, he escaped to Shanghai. After the yeshivah was relocated in New York, he was appointed Rosh Yesihvah.
Other events on this day:
- Pope prohibits anti-Jewish sermons, 1434.
- First printing of Rashi al Ha’Torah, Italy 1475. (This first printing of Rashi was without the text of the Torah. All subsequent printings were done with Rashi’s commentary under the Torah’s text.)
- First printing of the entire Tanach, 1488.
- Haifa was captured by Napoleon, which marked the greatest extent of Napoleon’s conquest of Eretz Yisrael, 1799.
- Alexander II of Russia assassinated, 1881, ending a relatively peaceful period for the Jews. He was succeeded by Alexander III who returned to traditional Russian oppression of the Jews. Newspapers in Moscow, Kiev, and Odessa incited anti-Jewish pogroms throughout Russia beginning in 1881 and continuing until 1905, sparking mass emigration of Jews from Russia to the Western Hemisphere at more than 50,000 Jews a year until 1914. By the beginning of World War I, 2,500,000 Russian Jews had left.
- James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick announced they had discovered the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule that contains the human genes.
Rav Moshe Pardo, founder of Or Hachaim Seminary in Bnei Brak
Rav Mordechai Rotblatt of Slonim (1916)
Rav Moshe Yehoshuah ben Asher Zelig Bezhilianski (known as Reb Alter Tepliker) (1919). Wrote ten sefarim, including Hishtapchut Hanefesh, Meshivat Nefesh, Sichat Hanefesh, Ohr Zoreiach Hagadah and Mei Hanachal (on Likutei Maharan). He was murdered during a Cossak uprising while seated next to a Sefer Torah.
Rav Shlomoh of Sassov-Levov (1919)
Rav Alter Eliezer Horowitz, the Beitcher Rebbe (1937)
Rav Pinchas ben Baruch Hager of Borsha (1869-1941). He was raised not only by his father, the Imrei Baruch of Vizhnitz, but also by his grandfather, Rav Menachem Mendel, the Tzemach Tzedik of Vizhnitz. When he was only eighteen, Rav Pinchas was thrust into the position of a Rebbe in Borsha, a town on the Vishiva River by the foot of the Carpathians. Borsha was one of the 160 Jewish communities of the approximately 500-square kilometer Maramures district of northwestern Romania. After the outbreak of the First World War, the Rebbe fled to Budapest, and then to Vishiva and Sighet after the war.
In 1926, his son, Rav Alter Menachem Mendel succeeded him as Rebbe in Borsha. He and his two brothers were murdered in the Holocaust. He was niftar in Sighet. On 26 Tishrei 1965, his coffin was brought to Eretz Yisrael and was buried in the Vizhnitzer ohel in Bnai Brak.
Rav Chananya Yom Tov Lipa ben Chanoch
Henoch Dov Teitelbaum, the Sassover Rebbe (1906-1966). He became a son-in-law of the Satmar Rav, when he married his daughter, Reizel, and headed his father-in-law’s yeshivah. He was buried in Tiveria. He was succeeded by two sons (through his second wife), Rav Yosef David – Sassover Rebbe in Kiryat Yismach Moshe in Eretz Yisrael – and Rav Chanoch Heinich – Sassover Rebbe in Monsey.
Rav Shmuel ben Yeshayah Ha’Levi Horowitz (1972). Born in Eretz Yisrael, he first became interested in Breslov Chassidut after reading Reb Alter Tepliker's Hishtapchut Hanefesh (whose yahrtzeit he shares). He went to Uman for Rosh Hashanah for three years and spent three months in a Russian jail after being caught.
Rav Yosef Adler, the Turda Rav (1977). Turda is a city with a history of over 2000 years. It is famous for its salt mine, whose origins date back to the Roman times. In June 1942, following impressive German victories in Russia and following the Romanian army's advance in the Caucasus, Antonescu agreed to implement the 'Final Solution' with regard to Romanian Jews. The first transports were to depart from southern Transylvania, from the districts of Arad, Timisoara, and Turda.
Rav Chaim David Ha’Levy (1924-1998). Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv for the last 25 years of his life, he was known to many as the author of the multi volume responsa Aseh Lecha Rav, on many contemporary halachic and hashkafic issues, and a six-volume halachic work entitled Mekor Chaim.
Rav Naftali Tzvi ben Shlomoh Halberstam of Bobov (2005).
Rav Levi ben Benzion Dicker (1935-2011). He attended RJJ and Lakewood, the latter under Rav Aharon and Rav Shneur Kotler. He married a niece of Rav Yaakov and Rav Noach Weinberg and became a Rebbi at the Yeshivah of Long Beach. After 20 years, he founded Yehivah Merkaz Ha’Torah in Belle Harbor, in 1987.
Other events on this day:
- The remains of Rav Mordechai Banet, Chief Rabbi of Nikolsburg, Hungary, were transferred from Lichtenstadt Nikolsburg, on the psak of the Chatam Sofer.
- After a priest was hit with a few grains of sand thrown by small Jewish boys playing in the street, he insisted that the Jewish community purposely plotted against him. In the pogrom that followed, hundreds of Jews were murdered, the shul and the cemetery were destroyed, and homes were pillaged, 1389
- Czar Alexander II, the leader of Russia, was assassinated in St. Petersburg when a bomb was thrown into his carriage, 1881
- Mufti of Jerusalem Rejects Majority Palestinian Arab State (1939). The Mufti had enormous power in his hands, yet he chose not to engage politically with the British, 1939
- Nasrallah takes over Hezbollah after Israel kills the group’s leader, Abbas Musawi, 1992 (Adar I)
- With the help of Iranian intelligence, Hezbollah bombs the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 and injuring over 200, 1992 (Adar II)
- A suicide bomber blew himself up at the Apropo Coffee House on Ben Gurion Blvd. in Tel Aviv, killing three women and injuring more than 40 other patrons, 1997. Many were dressed in costumes to celebrate Purim. Among the injured was a 6-month-old baby, who was burned over a large portion of his body. The explosion was the first after a yearlong lull in suicide bombings.
Rabeinu Yehudah ben Shmuel He’Chasid, author of Sefer Chasidim (1150-1217). His father (1120-1175), led a famous yeshivah in Speyer, and served as Rav Yehudah’s Rebbe.
Rav Yisrael Isserlish (1568), father of the Rema.
Rav Meir ben Yaakov Azhkenazi (1717-1795). The oldest son of Rav Yaakov Emden and grandson of the Chacham Tzvi and the Baal Semichot Chachamim, he was born in Brodie and sent to Hamburg to continue his learning when he was 15. Married in 1732, he was asked to serve as Rav of Old Konstantin in Vohlyn, Ukraine, in 1743, serving there over 40 years. Of his many works, the ones that remain are a peirush on Mishnayot Nashim and Ha’Maor Ha’Gadol on the Rambam.
Rav Betzalel Margulies (1821), author of Keter Shabat.
Rav Nachman ben Tzvi Aryeh Goldstein of Tcherin (1894), one of the greatest Breslov leaders. Grandson of Reb Aharon, the Rov of Breslov. His sefarim include Parparot Le’chochmah on Likutei Maharan, Leshon Chasidim and Derech Chasidim on teachings of the Baal Shem Tov and talmidim, Likutei Eitzot Ha’meshulash and more.
Rav Yehoshua Seigel, the Sherpser Rav of New York (1910).
Rav Yechezkel Lifshitz of Kalisch (1932)
Rav Menachem Mendel Landau of Gombin (1939)
Rav Moshe ben Yehudah Hersch Langner, the fifth Stretiner Rebbe (1959). In 1921, he moved the family from Galicia to Toronto.
Rav Moshe ben David Feinstein (1895-1986). Born in Uzda (near Minsk), Belorussia, he was a great-grandchild of the Be'er Hagolah. His mother was Feige Gittel, daughter of R' Yechiel, Rav of Kopolia. He joined the yeshivah of R' Isser Zalman Meltzer in Slutzk at the age of twelve. At the age of sixteen, R' Moshe completed Shas and Shulchan Aruch. He was Rabbi of Lyuban from 1921 to 1936. He escaped the Stalinist regime in 1936 and settled in New York as Rosh Yeshivah of Tiferet Yerushalayim. He authored Igrot Moshe, Darash Moshe, and Dibrot Moshe and was universally acknowledged as the posek of the American Litvish community.
Rav Yechiel Leifer of Nadvorna-Arad (1993)
Other events on this day:
- Jews fought against their enemies in the Persian Empire during the days of Esther and Mordechai, 355 BCE
- Nikonor Day, in which Antiochus Epiphanes's General Nikonor, leading the elephant infantry against the Jews, was defeated and killed, 161 BCE.
- (Adar I) A group of 1,228 refugees came to Palestine via Tehran, 1943, among who were 800 children who had fled Poland into the USSR at start of the War, along with their parents. A debate ensued about the education of these children. Ultimately, Mizrachi was given jurisdiction over 278 of the children, and Agudat Israel 32. The remainder was sent to secular institutions.
- Adolph Hiter, y”s, gave orders to march into the Rhineland, thus breaking the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact, 1936.
- The Germans entered Sighet and set up a ghetto, 1944.
14 Adar (PURIM)
Rav Zev Wolf of Zhitomer, student of the Magid of Mezeitch, author of Or Ha’meir, one of the early foundation texts of Chasidut (1800).
Rav Yaakov ben Avraham Kahana (1826), author of Gaon Yaakov.
Rav Yitzchak ben Natan Sternhartz of Tulchin of Breslov (1870). He was buried in Tzefat near the Arizal and Bet Yosef.
Rav Dov Beirish ben Moshe Zlatman Ashkenazi (1862), Rav of Slonim, and author of Noda Be’Shearim and Shaarei Yerushalmi.
Rav Shimon ben Yehudah Schwab (1908-1995). Born in Frankfurt-am-Main, Rav Schwab learned at Mir and Telz before becoming Dayan in Darmstadt and Rav in the district of Ichenhausen in Bavaria. Escaping Nazi Germany in 1936, Rav Schwab served as Rav in Baltimore, then in New York in the Washington Heights area, following Rav Joseph Breuer. He authored Maayan Bet Ha’shoeivah. Additionally, several books contain his derashot – including “Selected Writings,” and “Selected Speeches.”
Rav Menashe ben Shlomoh Zalman Frankel of Lizhensk (1903-1965). Born in Yadlowa in eastern Galicia, he married the daughter of the Rav of Lizhensk and remained in Lizhensk. He was elected Dayan, and when his father-in-law was niftar in 1938, he became Rav of the city. Lizhensk was one of the first cities to fall to the Nazis in 1939. Rav Menashe escaped, but was sent to Siberia, then to Uzbekistan (Buchara). He settled in New York in 1948 and founded his own congregation, Ateret Shlomoh.
Rav Yaakov Asher Kopf, grandson of the Lelover Rebbe, Rav Moshe Mordechai Biderman (1955-2005).
Other events on this day:
- Celebration of the miracle of Purim, which occurred the previous day, 355 BCE.
- In Bray, France, eighty Jews were burned to death for trying to execute a non-Jew who had killed a Jew, 1191. After securing permission from a local lord, they tried to hang the accused on Purim, which fell out three weeks before Easter.
- Jews of Uberlingen, Switzerland were massacred, 1349
- Pope banned all social contact between Jews and Christians out of fear that Christians would be attracted to Judaism, 1451. A Christian who converted to Judaism and the Jews who helped him were usually subject to the death penalty in most Catholic and Eastern Orthodox countries.
- Turkish soldiers killed 60 Jews in Bucharest, 1822.
- The death of Czar Nicholas I of Russia, 1855. He had passed the Cantonist decree forcibly conscripting Jewish children for his army, with the intended goal to baptize them. Over 70,000 Jews were forced to serve in his army over the period of the 30-year decree (1827-1857), many of them taken as children of 8 or 9.
- A blood libel began after the death of a student in Konitz, Prussia, 1900. A Jew named Wolf Israelski was arrested, while Count Plucker promoted riots against the Jews. After Israelski was proven innocent, two other Jews, Moritz Lewy and Rosenthal, were arrested on the same charge. Rosenthal and Lewy were subsequently acquitted. All the evidence was based on the testimony of a petty thief, Masloff, who later received only one year for perjury.
- The Chief Rabbinate of Palestine was established, 1921. Rav Kook was appointed as first Chief Rabbi.
- Germany violated the Munich Agreement and marched into Prague, 1939.
- The Iraq attack against the Jews of Eretz Yisrael during the Gulf War (1991) came to an end. Miraculously, only one person died during at least 39 SCUD attacks into many densely populated areas which resulted in hundreds of homes destroyed.
- Baruch Goldstein, an American immigrant and member of the Kach party, opened fire at Muslim worshippers in the Cave of Machpelah of Chevron, killing thirty and wounding 125 before being beaten to death by survivors, 1994
Rav Zvi Hirsch ben Aharon Shmuel Kaidanover of Vilna and Frankfurt (1712). The son of the Birkat Shmuel, he himself was the author of Kav Ha’yashar, a sefer which Reb Elimelech of Lizensk learned through 102 times.
Rav Yosef Leifer ben Yisachar Dov Bertcha of Pittsburgh, the Tzidkat Yosef (1891-1966). A grandson of Rav Mordechai Leifer of Nadvorna, Rav Yosef was a descendant of Rav Meir Ha’Gadol of Premishlan. After marrying and living in Krula for seven years, he traveled to America in 1924 to raise funds for his orphaned sisters (his father died when he was 15 years old). One of his stops was Pittsburgh, and he decided to stay. His brothers, Rav Meir and Rav Shalom, also came to America, taking positions in Cleveland and Brighton Beach, respectively. His youngest son, Yitzchak Eizik, passed away when he was early twenties. Two other sons, Rav Yisachar Ber and Rav Mordechai were murdered by the Nazis in 1944. Only his oldest son, Rav Avraham Abba, escaped and succeeded him after his petirah. Rav Avraham Abba moved to Eretz Yisrael in 1970 and founded Yeshivat Tzidkat Yosef in Ashdod. He was buried on Har Hamenuchot.
Rav Chaim Kamil, Rosh Yeshivat Ofakim, one of the prime builders of Torah in the Negev (1933-2005). As a bachur, he learned in Yeshivat Slobodka in Yerushalayim. Following his marriage to the daughter of Rav Mordechai Parush, he learned at the Mir and became a talmid muvhak of Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz. After many years, he was appointed Rosh Yeshivah of Me’or Einayim of Rachmistrivka in Yerushalayim, and from 1979 at Ofakim. He was survived by his daughter.
Other events on this day:
- In Wurzburg, Germany, the Jews were accused of killing a Christian and dumping him in the river, and 22 Jews were murdered, including their Rav, Yitzchak ben Elyakim, 1147.
- In Berlin, Germany, riots and street fighting kill twenty Jews, 1848. Anti-Jewish riots also spread to Bavaria, Baden, Hamburg and many other cities.
- Birth of Rav Chaim Soleveitchik, Volozhin and Brisk, 1853
- Jews of Sweden were emancipated, 1870.
- 1500 Jews killed in the Proskorov pogroms in Ukraine in 1919, the largest among hundreds of "Petliura" pogroms perpetrated against Ukrainian and Russian Jews during 1919-1920 which ended in the deaths of tens of thousands of Jews.
- The Soviet tyrant, Josef Stalin died, 1953. His "Doctor's Plot"'s accusation against his Jewish doctors fell apart, and hundreds of thousands of Jews were miraculously saved from Stalin's plan to deport them to Siberia where they would have died of cold and starvation.
- Second U.S.-led war against Iraq commences, March 19, 2003. (Because of the time difference, it was March 20th in Iraq.) The invasion lasted 21 days. Four countries participated with troops during the initial invasion phase, which lasted from 19 March to 9 April 2003. These were the United States (148,000), United Kingdom (45,000), Australia (2,000), and Poland (194).
Rav Alexander ben Moshe Ziskind, born in Brzhen, but lived most of his life in Horodna (Grodno, Belarus), Lithuania, the product of the teaching of Rav Aryeh Leib Epstein, Rav of Nikolsberg. He authored the musar work, Yesod Ve'shoresh Ha'avodah, which contains how one should behave every hour of the day and kavanot for tefilot and mitvot, as well as Karnei Ohr, a commentary on the Zohar. (1700-1794) [Adar II]
Rav Chanoch Henoch ben Pinchas Ha‘Kohen of Alexander (1798-1870). A direct descendent of the Shach, he was a disciple of Rav Simcha Bunam of Pshis'cha, Rav Menachem Mendel of Kotzk and the Chidushei HaRim. [Adar II]
Rav Avraham Yehudah Leib Kozak, Rav of Bruk (1895)
Rav Avraham ben Yeshayah Steiner of Kerestir (1883-1927). After the petirah of his father on 3 Iyar 1925, Reb Avraham was appointed Rebbe. Sadly, he was niftar just two years later at the age of 44. His son-in-law, Rav Meir Yosef Rubin, succeeded him. He, in turn, was succeeded by his son, Rav Yisachar Beirush, who continued the Kerestir Chasidut in America. Rav Avraham’s other son-in-law, Rav Naftali Gross, also settled in America and was also known as the Kerestirer Rebbe.
Rav Nachum Mordechai (ben Yisrael) Friedman (1946), Tchortkover Rebbe [Adar II]
Rav Yechezkel ben Yehudah Levenstein, Mashgiach of Ponevezh (1885-1974). Having lost his mother at the age 5, he joined the Lomza Yeshivah at age thirteen. He moved to Radin to learn with the Chafetz Chaim. There, he met the Mashgiach, Rav Yerucham Levovitz, who was a talmid of the Alter of Kelm. He then learned in Kelm. Some years later, Reb Chatzkel was approached by Rav Aharon Kotler, who headed Yeshivat Etz Chaim in Kletsk, to come and serve as Mashgiach Ruchani in his yeshivah. Reb Chatzkel accepted. In 1935, he moved to Eretz Yisrael to serve as Mashgiach of Yeshivat Lomza in Petach Tikvah, which was headed by Rav Reuven Katz, but he moved back to serve as Mashgiach in Mir after the petirah of Reb Yerucham. After 2 years in America, he served as Mashgiach at the Mir in Israel, then – upon the passing of Rav Dessler – at Ponevezh.
Rav Moshe Weber (1914-2000) would go to the Western Wall from his home in Meah Shearim nearly every day to pray and to help visitors wrap tefillin. Less publicly, he distributed enormous sums of tzedakah to the city's poor. The Lubavitcher Rebbe said of him that he is one of the holiest and kindest people in the world. He published several volumes of Torah insights in Yarim Moshe. There is an ongoing periodical of his teachings distributed weekly called Shemu Ve'Techi Nafshechem, which also offers for sale his audio recordings.
Yitzchak Shlomoh ben Avraham Moshe Zilberman (1928-2001), Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivat Aderet Eliyahu. Born in Berlin, he lost his mother when he was only three years old and his father when was eleven. Alone, he traveled to Eretz Yisrael before the war. There he learned at Yeshivat Kol Torah under Rav Yechiel Michel Schlesinger and thereafter at the Mirrer Yeshivah, under Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel.
Other events on this day:
- After being assisted by the Jews to overcome the Persians in return for a promise of amnesty, Byzantine Emperor Heraclius entered Yerushalayim as conqueror, 629. The local priests convinced him that killing Jews was a positive commandment and that his promise was therefore invalid. Hundreds of Jews were massacred and thousands of others fled to Egypt, bringing the sizable Jewish life in the Galil and Judea to an end. Three years later, Heraclius forced baptism on North African Jewish communities, in what may have been the first case of officially sanctioned forced baptism on Jews. The Jews in Constantinople suffered from anti-Jewish riots during his reign.
- Jews were expelled from Syria, 1496.
- The Pope reaffirmed a Church rule forcing Christianity upon a Jewish child who was baptized against the will of his parents and in violation of canonical law, 1747.
- David Emmanuel, the first Jewish governor in the United States, was sworn in as governor of Georgia, 1801.
- Napoleon I issued a decree suspending for a decade the emancipation of Jews in the French-occupied European countries, 1808.
- A Russian imperial decree ordered the expulsion of all Jewish artisans, brewers, and distillers from Moscow, 1891.
- Jews of Smyrna, Turkey were attacked by Greeks charging the Jews with ritual murder, 1901.
- War of Attrition Begins Between Egypt and Israel (1969). Egyptian forces launched a major offensive at Israeli positions on the eastern banks of the Suez Canal, starting the War of Attrition, which lasted until August 1970.
Rav David ben Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov (1804-1874). Rav David was the author of Tzemach David and Divrei David, and the son of the Bnei Yisaschar. He succeeded his father as Rebbe in Dinov following the latter’s petirah in 1841.
Rav Yaakov Shimshon ben Chaim of Kossov (1880)
Rav Yehuda ben Yehoshuah Greenwald, Av Bet Din of Satmar, author of Shevet Mi’Yehudah (1920)
Rav Meir Yechiel ben Avraham Yitzchak Ha’Levi Haldshtok, founder of the court of Ostrovtze (1851-1928). A talmid of Rav Elimelech of Grodzinsk, a scion of the Kozhnitzer dynasty. Ostrovtze was one of two courts in Poland known for their yeshivot and high level of learning; the other was Sochatchov. Rav Meir Yechiel’s intricate sermons, which drew heavily on gematria, came to be known as "Ostgrovotze pshetlach." They have been collected in Meir Einei Chachamim, and his teachings on Bereishit in Ohr Torah.
Rav Yosef Chaim ben Avraham Shlomoh Sonnenfeld, Av Bet Din and Rav of Yerushalayim before the State of Israel was established. (1848-1932) Born in Vrbové, Slovakia, He lost his father when he was just five years old. After learning by the Ktav Sofer, he moved to Yerushalayim in 1873. He was buried on Har Ha’zeitim.
Rav Shmuel ben Zev Engel (1853-1935 or 1932). Born in Tarno, Galicia. Rav and Av Bet Din of Radomishla from 1888. Authored Sheilot U’teshuvot Maharash.
Rav Emanuel Weltfried of Pabianetz-Lodz (1939)
Rav Yitzchak ben Yosef Kalish, Amshinover Rebbe, New York (1993). Grandson of Rav Menachem Kalish of Amshinov. He was buried in Tiveria.
Rav Mordechai ben Yehudah Schwab (1911-1994), younger brother of Rav Shimon Schwab. After spending three years at the Mir Yeshivah with his older brother, he learned at Kaminetz with Rav Baruch Ber Lebovitz. During World War II, he was one of the many who traveled across Russia to Japan and Shanghai. When he was over 50 years of age, he took a job as ninth grade rebbi at Bet Shraga in Monsey. About ten years later, this position developed into a full-time Mashgiach. After the passing of Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky, Rav Mordechai was approached to assume the position of Rav in Reb Yaakov’s shul. He refused, later confiding in someone that he would be forced to wear a rabbinical frock, which could inspire feeling of gaavah. He excelled at finding merit in all others he met.
Rav Yaakov Chaim ben Avraham Jofen, Rosh Yeshivah of Bet Yosef Novardok, his father’s father-in-law was the Alter of Novardok (1917-2003). Following his bar mitzvah he studied at Baranovich for one year under Rav Dovid Rapaport, and then for a year under Rav Elchanan Wasserman. During these two years he lived with his uncle, the Mashgiach, Rav Yisrael Yaakov Lubchansky. Later he returned to Bialystok to study under his father at Yeshivas Bet Yosef. In 1941, he arrived in the U.S. with his father. He began giving shiurim that year at Yeshivat Bet Yosef, and continued to do so for the next sixty years.
Other events on this day:
- Vincents Fettmilch (Vintznitz Patmilech), who had expelled the Jews from Frankfurt-on-Main half a year earlier on 27 Elul, was executed on this day, 1616. Frankfurt Jews for generations fasted and gave tzedaka on this day, called "Purim Vincents," and celebrated a seudas hoda'ah the following day.
- Peter the Great of Russia ends tax on “men with beards,” a category of people which certainly included Jews, 1722.
- The restriction of the sale of Arab land to Jews in Palestine, as stated in the MacDonald White Paper, went into effect on this date, 1940.
- Capture of Ein Gedi by Israel, 1949, brought to an end the military engagements of the War of Independence.
- Israeli fighter planes shot down Libyan Airlines Flight 114 over the Sinai desert, killing more than 100 people.
Rav Meir ben Yaakov Schiff, the Maharam Schiff (1608-1644). Born in Frankfurt am Main, he became Rav of the nearby town of Fulda at the age of 17. His chidushim on the Talmud are terse, incisive, and profound. In 1644, he was appointed Rav of Prague, but he died at the age of 36 shortly after his arrival there.
Rav Yoel ben Shmuel Sirkes of Cracow, (the Bach) (1561-1641), author of Bayit Chadash on the Tur, in which he traced each law to its source in the Gemara. In his youth, he studied under Rav Shlomo Leibush of Lublin and Rav Meshulam Feivush in Brisk. He had several rabbinic appointments throughout Poland, lastly as Chief Rabbi of Cracow in 1619. He was the teacher and father-in-law of Rav David Ha’Levy, the Taz.
Rav Shlomo ben Yaakov Ha’Kohen Aharonsohn of Tel Aviv (1861-1935). Following smaller posts, he became Rav of Kiev. While there, he collected funds and headed the community’s efforts for the defense of Menachem Mendel Beilis’ fight against a blood libel. In 1924, he left Russia for Eretz Yisrael and was chosen Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Yaffo, where he served for 11 years.
Rav Moshe ben David Landinski, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivat Radin (1862-1938). Born in Knishin, a small town northwest of Bialystok, he married at 22. As a youth, he learned in Volozhin. In 1897, he was appointed Rosh Yeshivah of Radin. He was replaced in 1903 by Rav Naftali Tropp. He stayed on with the yeshivah, outliving the Chafetz Chaim and Rav Tropp.
Rav Shlomoh Zalman ben Chaim Yehudah Leib Auerbach (1910-1995), born in the Shaarei Chesed neighborhood of Yerushalayim, his father authored Chacham Lev and was the Rosh Yeshivah of Shaar Ha’shamayim. Rav Shlomoh Zalman learned at Etz Chaim Yeshivah. During the next 19 years he wrote Meorei Eish on the laws of electricity, Maadeanei Ha’aretz on laws regarding agriculture in Eretz Yisrael, as well as a commentary on Shev Shmaatsa. In 1949, he left Etz Chaim to succeed Rav Yechiel Schlesinger as Rosh Yeshiva of Kol Torah Yeshivah in the Rechavyah section of Yerushalayim. He was the author of Minchat Shlomoh. His brother-in-law was Rav Shalom Schwadron. His piskei halachah on Shabat are found throughout the sefer Shmirat Shabat Ke’hilchatah, written by his talmid Rav Yehoshuah Neuwirth.
Rav Yeshayah ben Dov Meir Shimanowitz, Rosh Yeshivat Rav Yaakov Yosef (RJJ) (1908-1998). He was born in Rubizevitch, Poland. At the age of ten, Shayah was sent away to learn in the yeshivah in Bialystock, and after his Bar Mitzvah he enrolled in the yeshivah of Slutsk, where he became the favorite disciple of Rav Aharon Kotler. He also developed an especially close relationship with Rav Shach. At the age of fifteen, he moved to Kaminetz to learn with Rav Boruch Ber Leibowitz, remaining there until his early twenties, when he went to Radin to learn Kodshim b'chavruta with Rav Mendel Zaks, (the Chofetz Chaim's son-in-law) for over three years. When Rav Shaya was 25 years old, he was invited to join Rav Lezer Yudel Finkel’s select chaburah in Mir. Later he traveled with the yeshivah to Shanghai and Japan. After the War, Rav Aharon Kotler helped Rav Shaya obtain a position in Yeshivat Rabbi Yakov Yosef (RJJ) where he became one of the Rashei Yeshivah for the next 25 years. In Williamsburg Rav Shaya also became Rosh Kolel in Kolel Kerem Shlomoh. In 1990, Rav Shaya and his Rebetzin moved to Lakewood. Some of his chidushim were printed in a series of sefarim called "Amudei Shayish".
Rav Raphael ben Shmuel Blum (1910-2005) [Adar I], the Kashau Rav, who replanted his Chasidic community from Europe to Bedford Hills in Westchester County, NY. He also founded his yeshivah in Mount Kisco, far away from the crowds of the city.
Rav Eliyahu Meir ben David Weinberger (1925-2010). A mechanech in Yeshivat Torat Emet-Kamenetz for almost 50 years, Rav Eliyahu Meir founded Bikur Cholim of Kew Gardens.
Rav Moshe Yehoshua ben Chaim Meir Hager, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe (1916-2012). Son of the Imrei Chaim, he grew up in the house of his grandfather, the Ahavat Yisrael of Vizhnitz, in Romania. He moved to Eretz Yisrael after World War II. He succeeded his father as Rebbe in 1972 and later became president of the Moetzet Gedolei Ha’Torah.
Other events on this day:
- Uziah Hamelech was afflicted with tzora'as and was forced to abdicate his throne, 618 BCE
- Choni Hameagel's prayer for rain answered after a three-year draught (Megilay Taaniy)
- Commodore Uriah Phillips Levy, father of the law abolishing corporal punishment in the U.S. Navy, died, 1862. He restored Thomas Jefferson's estate in Monticello, and gave it to the people of America as a gift.
Rav Avraham ben Shlomoh ben Musa (1660-1733). Born in Tutiuan, Morocco, he moved to Saly, Morocco some time before 1706, and was probably Rav of the city. A learned mekubal, he later moved to Fez. His most famous sefer is Minchat Sotah. His only remaining work on kabalah are his notes on Kitvei Ha’Ari. In about 1720, he moved to Tunisia where he appointed Rav and Rosh Yeshivah.
Rav Elimelech ben Elazar Weissblum of Lizhensk, known as the “Rebbe Reb Meilich,” author of Noam Elimelech, (1717-1787). Learned under the Maggid of Mezritch. Among his students were Rav Avraham Yehoshuah Heshel of Apta, The Chozeh of Lublin, the Magid of Kozhnitz, and Rav Menachem Mendel of Rimanov.
Rav Aryeh Leib Halberstam of Dukla (1877) [Adar I]. Dukla is a town in southeastern Poland. However, the town was part of of Galicia (an Imperial Province of the Austrian Empire) from 1776 to1919. It is 8 miles west of Rimanov.
Rabbi Yisrael Yitzchak Gruner of Krakow (1881). Rav Gruner's ancestors were among the earliest Ashkenazim to settle in Poland. Upon his marriage to Liba Steiner (daughter of Rav Sinai Steiner, Av Bet Din of Ulanow and author of Sefer Har Sinai), Rav Gruner developed ties to the Sanzer Chasidim. His unpublished writings are cherished by descendants until this day.
Rav Yitzchak Elchanan ben Yisrael Isser Spector, Rav of Kovno (1817-1896), lived in Kovno 1866-1896. His father was the Rav of the Lithuanian town of Roush, located in the Grodno district. After he married, he moved to Volkovisk where his father-in-law comfortably supported him. The rav in Volkovisk at that time was Rav Binyamin Diskin. A great luminary in and of himself, he was also famous for his illustrious son, Rav Yoshuah Leib Diskin, the rav of Brisk, who later moved to Eretz Yisrael. Rav Binyamin Diskin was so impressed with Yitzchak Elchanan that he set up a special chavrusa to study with him Choshen Mishpat two hours a day. In 1837, when he was 20 years old, he accepted the offer to become rav of the small village of Zebelen, and then became rav in Baraze in 1839. He became rav of Novardok in 1851 and rav of Kovno in 1864. He held the position in Kovno for 32 years. He authored Be’er Yitzchak and Eyn Yitzchak (both teshuvot) and Nachal Yitzchak on Choshen Mishpat.
Rav Yitzchak Yaakov ben Shmuel Leib Rabinowitz (also known as Rav Itzele Ponevezher), Rosh Yeshivah in Slabodka and Ponevezh (1854-1919). At the age of 14, he married Chavah, daughter of Reb Yaakov Dov Eisenstadt, who supported him in full-time learning for 28 years. In 1889, he was appointed Rosh Yeshivah in Slobodka, where he stayed for 7 years. He was appointed Rav of the city of Gorzd, in the province of Kovno. After two years, he became the Rav of Ponevezh. In 19010, along with Rav Chaim Soloveitchik of Brisk and Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinski of Vilna, he founded an organization in Russia called Kneset Yisrael, which later merged with Agudat Israel in Frankfurt. He was forced to go into exile during World War I, returning in 1918. The Rav, who did not take his own health into account, spent a great deal of time visiting the sick, until he himself was struck by typhus. He wrote Zecher Yitzchak. After his petirah, he was succeeded by the 33-year old Rav Yosef Shlomoh Kahaneman.
Rav Moshe Shmuel Glasner (1924), a great-grandson of the Chatam Sofer, was born in Pressburg and later moved with his family to Klausenberg, where his father served as Rabbi. Rav Moshe succeeded his father in that post in 1878. His best-known work is Dor Revi'i on Tractate Chullin, in which he explains those places where Rambam's understanding differs from that of other Rishonim.
Rav Benyamin Fuchs ben Moshe Tzvi of Grossvardein (1936). In 1936, Rav Joseph ben Nafatali Ha’Kohen Schwartz (1877–1944), a Hungarian rabbi, published his hesped for Rav Benyamin and titled it Zichron Benyamin.
Rav Shlomoh Yosef Zevin, editor of the Talmudical Encyclopedia (1888-1978). After studying at the Mir Yeshivah under Rav Eliyahu Baruch Kamai, and later at Bobruisk under Rav Shemariah Noach Schneerson, Rav Shlomoh Yosef began to correspond on halakhic subjects with some of the greatest contemporary scholars when he was just 18 years of age. Rav Zevin was Rav of several Russian communities, including Kazimirov. On the eve of the establishment of the Soviet regime in Russia (1917-18), he participated in conferences and conventions in Vilna, Moscow, and Kiev, and was elected as a Jewish representative to the Ukraine National Assembly.
Rav Shalom Schnitzler, the Tchaba Rav of London (1989) [Adar I]
Mr. Avraham Dov Kohn, Principal of Gateshead Seminary.
Rav Daniel Schur (1922-2006). A strong presence in Cleveland’s Jewish community as a Rav, Mohel, and educator. He was appointed Rav of Bet Midrash Hagadol-Heights Jewish Center, a position he held from 1974 to his petirah.
Also on this day:
- The first dated edition of the Mishneh Torah was published, 1490.
Rav Yaakov of Novominsk (1902). Father of Rav Yehudah Aryeh Perlow of Vlodova (1878-1961) and Rav Alter Yisrael Shimon Perlow of Novominsk.
Rav Yechiel Michel ben Aharon Epstein (1829-1908). Born in Bobroysk, author of the Aruch Ha’shulchan, Rav of Novardok for 34 years, father of Rav Baruch Ha’Levy Epstein (author of Torah Temimah) and grandfather of Rav Meir Bar-Ilan, with whom he learned in Novardok. His wife was the sister of the Netziv.
Eliezer David ben Hillel Finkler of Radoshitz (1927). He succeeded his father as Rebbe in 1901. Known as a tzadik and a baal mofet, he always spoke to his Chasidim in Lashon Hakodesh, and on Shabat he would converse exclusively in that language. He was succeeded by his son Rav Chaim Asher as Rebbe and by his other son Yisrael Yosef as Rav of Radoshitz.
Rav Avraham Dov Ber ben Shlomoh Zalman Kahana-Shapiro, Chief Rabbi of Kovno before and during World War II (1870-1943). Born in Kobrin on Yom Kipur, his father was a descendant of Rav Chaim Volozhiner. Rav Avraham attended the Volozhin Yeshivah. He was president of the Agudat Ha’Rabanim of Lithuania and came to the United States in March 1924 with Rav Kook and Rav Moshe Mordechai Epstein, to collect funds for Torah institutions in Israel and Europe. He died in the Slobodka ghetto on. His piskei halachah can be found in the sefer D’var Avraham.
Rebetzin Miriam Freida bat Hillel Ha’Kohen Kagan (1946), wife of the Chaftez Chaim. She is buried in Queens, NY at Mt. Judah Cemetery, near her son, R' Aharon.
Rav Reuven ben Shimshon Grozovsky, Rosh Yeshivat Kamenetz and Torah Va’daat (1896 -1958). Successor of Rav Baruch Ber Lebowitz at Kaminetz. When Rav Reuven was a young man studying in the Slobodka Yeshivah, his father, the Dayan of Minsk, passed away. His colleagues at Slobodka included Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Ha’Levi Ruderman, Rav Yaakov Kamanetsky, Rav Aharon Kotler and Rav Yitzchak Hutner.
Rav Yisrael Moshe ben Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky (1921-2003). Born in Chust, Hungary, to the Rav of Chust, he was his father’s first son, when his father was 50 years old. After many years and many berachot, Rav Yosef Tzvi received a brachah from Rav Yechezkel Shraga of Shinava, who also gave a him his sefer, Ayalah Sheluchah, printed in the memory of the Shonava Rav’s son, Naftali, who was niftar on the 21st of Kislev, 1864. The following year, on the exact date of Reb Naftali’s yahrtzeit, Yisrael Moshe was born. His middle name was in honor of his great uncle, the Maharam Schick. The family moved to Eretz Yisrael in Adar of 1930, one month before the petirah of Rav Yosef Chaim Zonenfeld. He was married to the daughter of Rav David Yehoshua Gross, Rosh Ha’kahal of the Satmar Kehillah, in 1945. On Erev Sukot of 1949, his father was niftar, and the 27-year-old Rav Yisrael Moshe was appointed Rosh Yeshivah of Dushinsky. In 1969, he was inducted as a member of the Eidah Charedit. He became S’gan Bet Din after the Satmar Rebbe’s petirah and the Av Bet Din in 1996.
Rav Manis Mandel (1916-2006). In 1929, he became a talmid of Torah Va’daat under Rav Faivel Mendelovich. In 1937, he started to teach in a Talmud Torah on Avenue O while still in Torah Va’daat in the mornings. In 1942, he was sent by Rav Mendelovich to run the Yeshivah of Brooklyn on Willoughby Ave; there were a total of 23 students at the time. Two years later, Rav Mandel married Tzivia Delman; they had six children before she passed away in 1960. Later, the yeshivah moved to Flatbush, where Rav Mandel spent most of his time until his passing at the age 90.
Other events on this day:
- Jews of Uberlingen, Switzerland, were massacred, 1349.
- An earthquake rocked the city of Rome, leading to the immediate nullification of a decree that every Jew in the kehilla must either convert or be killed, 1430
- King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella signed a decree expelling the Jews of Spain, 1492.
- Anti-Jewish riots broke out in Lubny, Russia, 1881.
- The heavy cruiser USS Houston was sunk in the Battle of Sunda Strait, with 693 crew members killed, 1942.
- The Dachau concentration camp was established, originally designated as a prison camp for political prisoners. Over 200,00 Jews passed through its gates, most of whom were murdered. Although a gas chamber was built there, it was never used. Dachau was liberated in April 1945 by the U.S. army.
- A lynch in Ramallah, 1948. Sixteen Jewish fighters who left Atarot to attack Arab travelers in reaction to the slaughter of Jewish travelers, were caught. The six captured alive were brutally tortured to death.
- The Egyptian parliament unanimously approved a peace treaty with Israel, 1979.
- Seven female Jewish students were shot to death by a Jordan soldier while on a field trip in Bakura, Jordan, 1997
Rav Chaim ben Shmuel Cheikel of Amdur (Indura) (1787). A disciple of the Vilna Gaon, he later became a student of Rav Dov Ber, the Magid of Mazerich. Rav Chaim became one of the first Chasidic Admorim in 1772-73. He authored Chaim Va’Chesed. Amdur is about 25 miles south of Grodno. Amdur and Grodno are located in the northwest corner of what is now the independent country of Belarus, close to the Lithuanian and Polish borders. During the Cossack revolt of 1648 against Polish landowners and gentry, over 100,000 Jews, mostly in Ukraine and southern Belarus, were murdered. However, the marauders did not advance north to the Grodno region. Jews comprised 80% of the population in Grodno at that time. Rav Chaim was succeeded by his son, Rav Shmuel of Amdur.
Rav Yitzchak Meir ben Yisrael Alter of Ger (Chidushei HaRim) (1799-1866). The founder of Gerer dynasty, grandfather of Sfat Emet, Reb Yitzchak Meir was able to trace his lineage back to Rav Meir ben Baruch (the Maharam) of Rottenberg (1215-1293). His mother, Chayah Sarah, was orphaned early in life and was raised by her relative, the Kozhnitzer Magid. The Magid had a great influence on Yitzchak Meir during the latter’s early years. As he grew, he became a disciple of Reb Simchah Bunem of Pryschicha and then R' Menachem Mendel of Kotzk. At the insistence of the Chasidim, the Rim became leader after the death of the Kotzker. At the first Chasidic gathering over which he presided he declared, "Reb Simchah Bunem led with love, and R' Menachem Mendel with fear. I will lead with Torah!" He had 13 children and outlived them all, a tremendous personal tragedy. Yet, he accepted it all with love.
Rav Rafael Shapira of Volozhin, author of Torat Rafael (1899) [Adar II]
Rav Yitzchak Yaakov ben Natan David Rabinowitz of Biala (Divrei Bina) (1905). A direct descendent of the Yehudi Hakadosh of Peshis’cha.
Rav Rafael ben Aryeh Leib Shapiro, the Torat Raphael, Rosh Yeshivah of Volozhin (1837-1921). After the Volozhin Yeshivah was closed down in 1892 by order of the Russian government, he reopened it, on a smaller scale in 1899. He was also a son-in-law of the Netziv and the father-In-Law of Rav Chaim Soloveichik of Brisk
Rav Michel David Rozovsky (1869-1935). Born in Svarjen, near Stoibetz, he learned in Mir and Volozhin. After his marriage, he was appointed Rav in Grodna, in which capacity he remained for 40 years. He was the father of three sons: Rav Yehoshuah Heschel, who served as Rav in Grodna, until he was murdered by the Nazis; Rav Yosef, who served as Rosh Yeshivah of Ohr Yisrael in Petach Tikvah; and Rav Shmuel, who would become Rosh Yeshivah in Ponevezh in Bnei Brak.
Rav Shlomoh Zafrani (1970), born in Aram Soba (Aleppo). He became a close disciple of Rabbi Ezra Sha'in. Together with Rav Moshe Tawil, he founded the Degel Ha’Torah Yeshivah. His community supported him as well as the yeshivah. At the age of 68, he moved to Eretz Yisrael and settled in Tel-Aviv. He lived there for nine years, until his death.
Rav Yehuda Moshe Danziger, Alexandria Rebbe of Bnei Brak (Emunat Moshe) (1973)
Rav Aharon Zilberfarb of Koidenov (1994)
Rav Yisrael Grossman (1922-2007), Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivat Pinsk-Karlin in Yerushalayim. Born in the old city of Yerushalayim, Reb Yisrael studied at the yeshiva of Rav Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, where he learned Masechet Kidushin 30 times. He later learned at Yeshivat Kamanetz. After Rav Baruch Shimon Schneerson became Rosh Yeshivah in Tchebin, Reb Yisrael replaced him as Rosh Yeshivah in Yeshivat Chabad, where he remained for 30 years. He also served as a Dayan for the Bet Din of Agudat Yisrael for over 40 years and later opened a Bet Din for monetary laws with Rav Betzalel Zolti and helped found Mifal Ha’Shas. He was also very involved with Chinuch Atzmai. A sefer, “Kuntres Hatzavaah-Halichot Yisrael,” published after his petirah, contains many stories about Rav Yisrael.
Rav Yerachmiel Shlomo Rothenberg (2014), Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivah Zichron Mayir of Mountaindale.
Other events on this day:
- Second Bet Ha’Mikdash was dedicated, 516 BCE
- Massacre of the Jews of Estella, Spain, 1328.
- Jews were excluded from public office and dignities in the Roman Empire, 1418.
- The republic of Czechoslovakia was dissolved, opening the way for Nazi occupation of Czech areas and the separation of Slovakia, 1939
- The Knesset approves the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty, by a vote of 95 for, 18 against, 1979.
Rav Yitzchak Eizik Margulies of Prague (1525).
Rav Chaim Algazi of Kushta, author of Netivot Ha’mishpat. Student of Rav Shlomo Algazi Rabbi of Rhodes.
Rav Eliyahu ben Shlomoh Avraham Ha’Kohen Ha'Itamari of Izmir, author of Shevet Musar (c1650-1729). According to family tradition, he is descended from Itamar ben Aharon Ha’Kohen. In his book, Ve'lo Od Ela, Rav Eliyahu describes the earthquake that shook Izmir, on a Shabat in 1688, and the many miracles that occurred to the Jews of the city. All of the synagogues and Batei Midrash in the city remained intact, while all of the Moslem mosques collapsed. An hour after the earthquake, a huge fire burst forth and spread throughout the city, destroying what remained of it. However, the fire ceased at the Jewish Quarter, and did not penetrate it. His other works included Me'il Tzedakah on the importance of giving charity, Meirash Talpiyot, Yado Ba’Kol, Midrash Eliyahu, Agadat Eliyahu, a two-volume commentary on the Agadot of the Talmud Yerushalmi, Chut Shel Chesed on the Chumash, Dana Pesharah, on Shir Ha’Shirim, Rut and Esther, almost 40 sefarim in all.
Rav Betzalel Yair Danziger of Lodz (1761).
Rav Benyamin Diskin of Horodna and Vilna (1844)
Rav Yitzchak ben Chanoch Henach Meyer of Alesk (1829-1904). Born in Belz to the Lev Sameach and his Rebetzin Freide, daughter of the Sar Shalom of Belz. After learning with his maternal grandfather, he became a chasid of Rav Yisrael of Ruzhin, and later of his son, Rav David Moshe of Chortkov. With his father’s petirah in 1884, Rav Yitzchak became Rav in Alesk. He had one daughter, and his son-in-law succeeded him.
Rav Yitzchak ben Moshe Horowitz of Stutchin (1861-1940). Born in Dzikov, his maternal grandfather was the Yetev Lev. He was appointed Rav of Stutchin at the age of 22. He succeeded his father as Rebbe upon the latter’s petirah in 1894. After World War I, he established his court in Tarnow.
Rav Chaim Asher ben Eliezer David Finkler of Radoshitz (1941). He memorized the sefer Noam Elimelech at the age of 11. He was appointed Rebbe after the petirah of his father in 1927. In 1933, he was appointed Rav of the nearby city of Volshtzve. An ascetic, he was also a great matmid, never sleeping more than two hours per night; his daily learning seder began at 12 midnight. He also headed yeshivot in Radoshitz and Lodz. His son, Rav Yaakov, also was murdered in the Holocaust.
Rav Yehoshuah Menachem Ehrenberg (1904-1976). Born in Kemesce, Hungary. In 1921, he moved to Tarnow to learn in the yeshiva of Rav Meir Arik. Living in Cracow, Rav Ehrenberg published his first sefer, Rashei Besamim on the Rokeach, in 1937. During WWII, he was interned in the Cracow ghetto. He was included in the “Kastner Train,” escaping to Switzerland. In 1945, he moved to Yerushalayim. In November of 1947, he heeded to the request of Rav Herzog to be the Chief Rabbi of the internment camp on Cyprus; he stayed until the camp was entirely dismantled and came back to Eretz Yisrael on the last ship. He was appointed Av Bet Din in Yaffo. When Yaffo was joined to Tel Aviv, he served as a specialist on Gittin, and was widely regarded as the foremost posek in this area. He wrote the sefer Teshuvot Dvar Yehoshuah. [Adar II]
Rav Gad Eisner (1985), taught at the Talmud Torah of Rav Gershon Eliyahu Liz in Lodz before WWII, and for many years as maggid shiur and Mashgiach Ruchani at Yeshivat Chidushei HaRim in Tel Aviv.
Rav Avraham Rappaport (2012), Morah D’atra at Bet Midrash Ha’gadol of Washington Heights, and author of Sheelot U’teshuvot Bet Aba. He was buried in Monsey, NY.
Rav Meir ben Itzchak Zeev Soloveichik (1929-2016), Rosh Yeshivah of Brisk and part of the 7th generation of the descendants of Rav Chaim of Volozhin. In his youth, he studied at the Yeshiva Etz Chaim of Yerushalayim. (Adar II)
Other events on this day:
- Jews of Wurtzburg were massacred by the Crusaders, 1147.
- Jews of Mayence, Germany, were massacred, 1283.
- The Pope banned all social contact between Christians and Jews. 1451.
- Jews of Lithuania were granted permission to return to the country after a brief exile of 8 years, 1503.
- Lorenzo Bertran subjected to an auto-da-fe in Seville, 1799. He was the last person to be punished for Judaizing in Spain.
- Czar Alexander of Russia declared the infamous Blood Libel to be false, 1817. (Unfortunately, nearly 100 years later, the blood libel against Mendel Beilis in Kiev was officially sanctioned.)
- Jews of White Russia were forbidden to wear distinctive clothes which would set them apart from the rest of the population, 1856.
- First organized Arab assault on a Jewish settlement (Petach Tikva), 1886.
- Jews of Gluchor massacred by Ukrainian mob, 1918.
- German troops marched into Prague, 1939.
- Germany occupied Hungary, 1944