Rav Yitzchak Shapiro of Krakow
Rav Avraham Meshulam Zalman of Ostraha (1777), son of the Chacham Tzvi.
Rav Shlomo Lichtenstein (1783), author of Chochmat Shlomoh.
Rav Natan Nata ben Avraham Broide of Chelem, the Neta Shaashuim (1812). He was a chasid of Reb Baruch of Mezhibuzh, Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk, and the Chozeh of Lublin. He set up his own chassdut in Voldova. Later, he was asked by the people of Chelem to settle in their town. His sole remaining manuscript was published posthumously by his grandson in 1891.
Rav Elazar Lazi (1814), author of Mishnat De’Rabi Eliezer.
Rav Moshe ben Yosef Schick, the Maharam Shick (1807-1879). His “last name” was created by his family in response to a demand by government agencies; it is an acrostic for “Shem Yehudi Kodesh.” Born in Brezheva, a small town in Slovakia. His father was niftar when Moshe was just 6 years old. When he was 14, he was sent to learn under the Chatam Sofer in Pressburg, where he stayed for six years. When he was 20, he married his cousin, Gittel Frankel. He was appointed Rav in Yargen in 1838, the year of the Chatam Sofer’s petirah. He opened a yeshivah there. In 1861, he became Rav in Chust and moved his 800-student yeshivah there. He is most famous for his she’elot u’teshuvot on all four chalakim of Shulchan Aruch, over 1000 responsa published in 3 volumes. Other works include Chidushei Maharam Shick al Ha’Shas, Drashot Maharam Shick, and a peyrush on Taryag Mitzvot.
Rav Moshe Yechiel Halevi Epstein from Ozerov (1890-1971), great-grandson of Rav Leibish, the first Ozerover Rebbe. In 1912, he became Rav of Ozerov and in 1918, he replaced his father as Rebbe. During World War I, Ozerov burned down, with only 22 houses left standing (only 11 of Jewish inhabitants). In 1920, he traveled to America to publicize the importance of Agudat Israel, and in 1927, he moved his family to the Bronx. He moved to Eretz Yisrael in 1949 and settled in Tel Aviv. Rav Moshe Yechiel wrote two monumental works, Aish Daat, comprised of 11 volumes, and Be’er Moshe, 12 volumes on Chumasah and Tanach. Each volume contained at least 500 pages, over 10,000 pages in all. Two biographies have been written about him, “Balabat Aish” and “The Aish Daat of Ozerov.” Rav Moshe Yechiel was succeeded by his son-in-law, Rav Tanchum Binyamin Becker.
Rav Avraham Yehudah ben Yaakov Farbstein (1917-1997), Rosh Yeshivah of Chevron. Rav Farbstein's father was one of the founders of Bnei Brak and was head of its first city council. As a youth, Reb Avraham Yehudah studied with Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer and the Chazon Ish. He then learned in the Chevron Yeshivah and the Mir Yeshivah in Europe. In 1942, Rav Yechezkel Sarna took him for a son-in-law for his daughter, Chana. He taught in the Chevron Yeshivah for 50 years.
Rav Binyamin Rabinowitz, chaver bet din of Eida Hachareidit (2002)
Rebetzin Menucha Ettel bat Avraham Nekritz (1914-2006), granddaughter of the Alter of Novardok, and the daughter of Rav Yaffen, the Rosh Yeshivah of Novardok in Poland. Born in 1914 in Bialystock, Poland. She was named after Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz's mother Ettel — the sister of her mother — with the name Menuchah added because her aunt had died young. The Alter was niftar when she was six years old, and her father, Rav Yaffen, ran the large network of Novardok yeshivat that were spread out all over Poland. Its nerve center was in Bialystock. She married Rav Yehuda Leib Nekritz in 1935.
Rav Yaakov Yeshayah ben Baruch Yehudah Blau (1929-2013). Born in Yerushalayim, he married when he was 18 and served as a mechanech at Talmud Torah Belz. Fifty years ago, he was asked by the Minchat Yitzchak to head the Eidah Hacharedit Kashrut organization. In 1989, after the petirah of the Minchat Yitzchak, Rav Blau became a dayan on the Bet Din of the Eidah Hacharedit. He was among the most eminent experts in the laws of ribit and Choshen Mishpat. His sefer, Brit Yehudah (and the abridged version, Kitzur Brish Yehudah) are considered indispensible for paskening hilchot ribit she’elot. His sefer, Pischei Choshen is a nine-volume set on Choshen Mishpat. He also published Chovat Hadar on mezuzah, Melo Ha’Omer on hilchot challah, Pischei Mikvaot on hilchot mikveh, and Birkat Yaakov on hilchot brachot.
Rav Chaim ben Yosef Dov Epstein, Rosh Yeshivah of Zichron Melech in Brooklyn for 42 years (1936-2015). One of the most prominent talmidim of Rav Ahron Kotler, Rav Epstein was well-known as a powerful maggid shiur, as well as an impassioned musar discourses. He transmitted the Torah of his rebbeim in Mir and Lakewood to the next generation for nearly 50 years, most of them as Rosh Yeshivah of Zichron Melech in Boro Park.
Other events on this day:
- Jews of Genoa, Italy, were expelled, 1598.
- A tragedy was narrowly averted in the Jewish ghetto of Rome after a mob set fire to the ghetto gates, 1793. The fire would likely have swallowed the entire ghetto if not for a downpour of rain.
- Sultan Abdul Mejid, under pressure from the Montefiore delegation sent in response to the Damascus blood libel, issued a Firman against blood libels, 1840. He also unconditionally released the nine Jewish accused who had survived their tortures. (Four had already succumbed.)
- The beginning of the BILU movement (Bet Yaakov Lechu Ve’nelcha) in Russia, 1882. The movement was formed by Russian students at the University of Kharkov, creating their own Zionist group which called for active colonization of Israel.
Rav Menachem Mendel Krochmahl of Nikolsburg, the Tzemach Tzedek (1600-1661). He learned in Krakow at the yeshivah of the Bach, his rebbi muvhak and had a close relationship with the Taz. In 1631, he fled Krakow because of the uprisings of the Cossacks and settled in Moravia, becoming Rav in Krezmir. He later became Rav in Prosnitz, then in 1648 of Nikolsburg. There is a sefer called Pi Tzadik which has been attributed to him, but research has determined that the author is his son, Rav Aryeh Yehudah Leib.
Rav Meshulam Zusha (Rebbe Reb Zusha) from Anapoli (Hanipol) (1718-1800). Disciple of Magid of Mezritch; younger brother of the Noam Elimelech.
Rav Simchah Bunim ben Menachem Mendel Kalish of Otvotzk and Tiveria, son of the Vorker Rebbe. (1907)
Rav Tzvi Hersh Rabinowitz (1910)
Rav Yisrael Chaim Kaplan, talmid at Mir, son-in-law of Rav Yerucham Levovitz, mashgiach at Bet Midrash Elyon in Monsey from mid-1940s until his petirah (1970).
Rav Mansour Ben Shimon, author of Shemen Ha’Maor (1998).
Rav Chaim Yoel ben Yosef Tzvi Laks (1921-2011). He served in the Rabanut for over 60 years in New Haven, Philadelphia, and finally in Kew Garden Hills, he served as Rav of Kehillat Torat Emet.
Rav Ephraim ben Avraham Baruch Greenblatt (1932-2014). He was born in Yerushalayim, the oldest of eleven children in a one-bedroom apartment. At the age of 19, he was advised to America to help support his family in Israel. Instead, Rav Greenblatt became a talmid at Metivta Tiferet Yerushalayim in New York City, where he formed a relationship with Rav Moshe Feinstein. In 1952, he was sent by Rav Moshe to Memphis, where he served as mora de’atra of the community for 58 years. In 2010, he became one of the many whose trust in Bernie Madoff led to financial ruin. Moneyless, he lived out the rest of his days in Har Nog, Yerushalayim. He left behind his Torah library of 26,000 sefarim in Memphis. He authored the heralded ten-volume She’elot U’teshuvot Rivevot Ephraim, an encyclopedic work with thousands of teshuvot addressing virtually every topic in contemporary halachah. He also authored the two-volume Revivot Ephraim Al Ha’torah, the two-volume Revivot Ve’Yovlot, and numerous teshuvot and articles published in Torah journals and other publications.
Other events on this day:
- Death of King Alexander Yanai, noted as a holiday in Megillat Taanit (76 or 73 BCE)
- Simon dias Solis, a Jew who had converted to Christianity, was arrested for allegedly stealing a silver vessel from a church in Lisbon, 1630. After his hands were cut off, he was dragged through the streets and then burned. The real culprit, a common (Christian) criminal, admitted to the crime one year later. As a result, Solis’ brother, a friar, fled to Amsterdam and reconverted to Judaism.
- Simon Petliura, a Ukrainian nationalist and commander of the Cossacks and Haidamaks, begins his attack against the Jews accusing them of supporting the communist regime, 1919. In Berdichev, Uma, Zhitomir and 372 other Ukrainian cities about a hundred thousand Jews were killed and an equal number wounded in 998 major and 349 minor pogroms. He was murdered by a Jew in Paris in 1926.
- The Wannsee Conference, 1942, convened by Adolf Eichmann, Y”S, at which the “final solution” – the destruction of Europe’s 11 million plus Jews was discussed and organized.
- Solomon Mikhoels, a Russian and Yiddish actor was murdered by the secret police under Stalin’s orders, as part of a campaign to eradicate Jewish intellectuals and culture, 1948.
- The last 52 US hostages were freed after intense diplomatic activity, 1980. Their release came a few hours after US President Jimmy Carter left office. They had been held for 444 days.
Rav Yosef Katz, brother-in-law of the Rema and author of She’erit Yosef (1591).
Rav Yosef Rakover, Rav of Eibeshetz, author of Mirkevet Ha’mishnah (1703)
Rav Pinchas of Plotzk, talmid of the Vilna Gaon, and author of Magid Tzedek (1823)
Rav Moshe Yehudah Leib Zilberberg, Rav of Kutna and Yerushalayim, author of Zayit Raanan and Tiferet Yerushalayim (1865)
Rav Yechezkel Shraga ben Yehoshuah Heshel Frankel-Teumim (1885). The grandson of Rav Baruch (the Baruch Taam), Rav Yechezkel Shraga was a close of chasid of his uncle, the Divrei Chaim of Sanz. He was appointed Rav of Klasna-Vielitshke, two towns which were located close to each other. His thoughts on Chumash and halachah are written in the sefer, Divrei Yechezkel. He was succeeded by his son-in-law, Rav Shmuel Shmelke Azriel Frankel-Teumim.
Rav Yosef ben Menachem Kalish, Rebbe of Amshinov (1878-1935). A grandson of Rav Yaakov David of Amshinov, and great-grandson of Rav Yitzchak of Vorka. Rav Yosef was appointed Rav of Ostrova at the age of 27. He then succeeded his father in 1918. His son, Rav Yaakov David (1906-1942), became Rebbe of Amshinov, upon Rav Yosef’s petirah.
Rav Moshe ben Chaim Ha’levi Soloveitchik (1879-1941). Born in Volozhin where he learned under his father. He served as Rav of Rasin and Choslovitz before he became Rosh Yeshivat of Bet Midrash Le’Rabanim in Warsaw. In 1929, he came to the US where he became Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivat Rabeinu Yitzchak Elchanan, serving for 12 years. His son, Rav Yosef Dov, succeeded him. His chidushim were published in sefer, Kovetz Chidushei Torah.
Rav Yerachmiel ben Meir Mordechai David Unger (1916-1999). In 1909, Rav Yerachmiel’s father moved his family from Melitz, Galicia, to New York. Rav Yerachmiel married a daughter of the Kamarna Rav in 1934, and he served as Magid Shiur at Yeshivat Chatam Sofer for many years. He moved to Boro Park in 1962, and became a mitpalel at the Amshinover shul, where he became to be the official posek.
Other events on this day:
- Jewish mourners attacked in Fostat, Egypt, 1012.
- King Philip Augustus of France arrests large numbers of Jews in shuls on the Shabbos, 1180.
- Jeronimo Jose Ramos, a merchant from Braganza, Portugal, was the last known Jew to be burned alive for secretly practicing Judaism, 1755.
- Date that Adolf Hitler (y”s) became Chancellor, 1933.
- Beginning of the evacuation of Auschwitz concentration camp, 1945
- Soviet and Polish forces liberate Warsaw, 1945.
- Former U.S. State Department official Alger Hiss, accused of being a Soviet spy in 1948, was found guilty of lying to a Grand Jury. He served 44 months in prison. Hiss maintained his innocence and fought his perjury conviction until his death at age 92 on November 15, 1996.
- Twenty-three people, including 15 Israelis were killed and about 120 wounded when two Palestinian suicide bombers blew themselves up on a pedestrian mall in the Neve Sha'anan neighborhood in Tel-Aviv, adjacent to the old central bus station. The mall was packed with shoppers and laborers returning home from work in the early evening. The attack was apparently carried out by two members of the Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, with the help of the Islamic Jihad. The victims included Moshe Aharfi, Mordechai Evioni, Andrei Friedman, Meir Haim, Hannah Haimov, Avi Kotzer, Ramin Nasibov, Staff Sgt. Mazal Orkobi, Ilanit Peled, Viktor Shebayev, Boris Tepalshvili, Sapira Shoshana Yulzari-Yaffe, Lilya Zibstein, Amiram Zmora, and Igor Zobokov.
Asher ben Yaakov Avinu (1562-1439 B.C.E.)
Rav Yisrael Charif from Satanov, author of Tiferet Yisrael, disciple of the Baal Shem Tov.
Rav Moshe Leib of Sassov (1745-1807). Moshe Leib was a student of Shmuel Shmelke of Nickolsburg, Dov Baer (the Magid of Mezhirech), and Elimelekh of Lezhynsk. His teachings are contained in the books, Likutei RaMal, Toras ReMaL Ha’shalem, and Chidushei RaMal.
Rav Avraham ben Alexander Katz of Kalisk (1810). Originally a disciple of the Vilna Gaon, he was advised to visit the Maggid of Mezritch and subsequently became his follower. His prayers were noted for their fervor. In Adar of 1777, he joined his close friend, Rav Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk, in leading 300 chasidim to Eretz Yisrael. They settled in Tiveria. On the death of Rav Menachem Mendel, Rav Avraham became the leader of the chasidic community in Israel.
Rav Avraham Eliezer ben Shelomoh Mintzberg (1834-1904). Born in Ostrovtza, he moved to Pshedborzh after his marriage, in order to comply with the wishes of his new grandfather, Rav Moshe of Lelov. At the age of 23, Rav Avraham was appointed Rav of Chaplov. A few years later, he took the position of Rav of Yosefov (Jozerfow), a post he kept for 20 years. After a fire destroyed house and all of his possessions in 1879, he moved to Yerushalayim, where he was appointed Dayan on the Chasidish Bet Din.
Rav Avraham Aharon Yudelevitch (1850-1930). Born in Novardok, White Russia, his mother was a sister of Rav Meir Marim Saphit (d. 1873), Rav of Kobrin, White Russia, and author of "Nir," a famous commentary on the Talmud Yerushalmi. Beginning in 1874, he served as Rav in several Russian towns before moving to Manchester, England, and from there to Boston and finally New York. He was a prolific author. His works include the multi-volume Darash Av, on Chumash and the festivals, and the multi-volume halachic responsa, Bet Av. In Av Be'chochmah, he defends what was probably his best-known and most controversial ruling, that the chalitzah act could be performed al yedei shaliach. Among those who opposed his ruling were Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer and the Rogatchover.
Rav Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg, author of Seridei Aish (1885-1966). A student of the Mir and Slabodka yeshivot. When World War 1 broke out he went to Germany and studied at the University of Giessen, receiving a Ph.D. for a thesis on the masorectic text. He subsequently taught and eventually became rector of the Berlin Rabbinical Seminary founded by Rabbi Ezriel Hildeshimer.
Rav Yisrael ben Masoud Abuchatzeira, the Baba Sali (1890-1984). Born in Tafillalt, Morocco, he moved to Eretz Yisrael in 1964, eventually settling in Netivot in southern Israel in 1970.
Rav Yaakov Elazar Friedman (2002), son of Rav Shelomoh Zalman Friedman, Rav of Rakoshegy, Hungary. He was a descendent of the Shaarei Torah, Shemen Rokeach, Yeriat Shelomoh, Panim Me’irot, Chacham Tzvi, Bach, Tosfot Yom Tov, Maharshal, and Levush.
Rav Yehoshuah Yonasan ben Moshe Shmuel Lustig (2015). As a young boy in Pressburg, his father gave him instructional guidelines to preserve his Yiddishkeit and included him the Kindertransport. Coming to the United States after the Holocaust, Rabbi Lustig became a regular in the household of Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky. In 1957, just 12 years after the Holocaust, he published Kuntress Davar Be’Ito. Rabbi Lustig served as principal of Yeshiva Chatan Sofer; Rosh Yeshivat Kos Yeshuot; Rav of B’nei Israel of Linden Heights in Boro Park; and Igud Dayan. He also authored sefer Li Yehoshuah.
Other events on this day:
- Islamists encourage the local population to attack the Jewish community of Zanzur, Libya, 1946. Rioting spread to a number of small towns near Tripoli leaving 180 Jews dead and 9 synagogues destroyed.
- Yeshivas Kol Yaakov was established in Moscow in 1957 with the approval of the Soviet government, after the Communists had destroyed all Jewish religious life during the 1920s and 30s. According to Soviet propaganda, this showed the world that the Communists were not anti-Semitic.
- Khomeini takes over Iran, 1979.
Rav Chaim David Chazan, Rishon L’tzion (1869).
Rav Shalom Shachna ben Naftali Yelin, Rav of Bielsk and author of Yefeh Einayim (1874). Bielsk is a town, 52 km south of Bialystok, in northeastern Poland, which had a substantial Jewish presence before World War II. Bielsk became part of the Russian Empire in 1807 after the partitioning of Poland. In the 1840s, the town was absorbed into Grodno Gubernia, a province of the Russian Pale of Settlement allowing Jewish residency. Bielsk became part of the Russian Empire in 1807 after the partitioning of Poland. In the 1840s, the town was absorbed into Grodno Gubernia, a province of the Russian Pale of Settlement. In 1898, a large wooded synagogue was built and called Yefeh Einayim in honor of Rav Yelin.
Rav Aryeh Yehuda Leib Alter of Ger, the Sefat Emet (1847-1905). Since his father, Rav Avraham Mordechai, died when he was 8 years old, Rav Yehudah Aryeh Leib was raised by his grandfather, the Chidushei Harim. He became Admor of Ger at the age of 23 in 1870. On 18 Elul 1901, his wife, Yocheved Rivkah, passed away. He then married Raizel, daughter of Rav Baruch of Gorlitz, the son of the Sanzer Rav. He fathered a total of ten children. Four passed away in childhood and the surviving children were: his eldest son the author of the Imrei Emet, Rav Moshe Betzalel, Rav Nechemyah of Lodz, and Rav Menachem Mendel of Pavinezh.
Rav Shelomoh ben Meir Auerbach (1905). The son of the Imrei Bina and grandson of Divrei Chaim on Shulchan Aruch, Rav Shelomoh was appointed Rav of Luntschitz in 1873, a post he kept for three decades. He authored Divrei Shelomoh and Imrei Shelomoh.
Rav Avraham Eliezer Alperstein (1853-1913). Born in Kobrin, White Russia he studied under R' Yaakov David Willowsky (the Ridvaz) and in yeshivot in Kovno and Vilna. R' Alperstein moved to New York in 1881, then Chicago in 1884, where he was rabbi of the Kovner and Suvalker congregations. In 1899, he relocated to St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1901, R' Alperstein returned to New York. There, he was an early leader of Yeshiva Rabeinu Yitzchak Elchanan (RIETS), which later evolved into Yeshiva University. The following year, he participated in the organizing convention of the Agudat Harabanim / United Orthodox Rabbis of America and signed its Constitution as one of its 59 charter members. Rav Alperstein published a commentary on Masechet Bikkurim with a haskamah from the Bet Ha’Levi.
Rav Shelomoh Zalman Friedman, Rachover Rav (1980). He was mechaber of Kedushat Yom Tov and a follower of the Rebbe of Sziget. He survived the Holocaust after experiencing the horrors of the death camps of Auschwitz. After the war he settled in Satmar. In 1947, he left Romania and settled in Logano in Switzerland where he served as Chief Rabbi and Av Bet Din. His last years were spent in the home of his son-in-law, Rav Menahem Mendel Horowitz, in Bnei Brak.
Other events on this day:
- According to one opinion, the last of the zekeynim, who continued an unbroken chain in the mesorah, were niftar on this date, 1245 BCE. [According to another opinion, it was on 8 Shvat 1245 BCE (see Shulchan Aruch 580:2 and commentaries there. Others say that this occurred 17 years later, in 1230 BCE. See Shabbos 105b and Seder Hadoros, under “Yehoshua.”)]
- The Jews of Sicily and Naples were invited to return by Charles the Bourbon, having been previously expelled, 1740.
- Death of Moses Mendelsohn, 1786. In 1783, Mendelsohn and his pupil, Naftali Wessely, translated the Torah into German to teach Jews German and give them an entry to the non-Jewish world. He founded Ha Me’asef, a Hebrew magazine, and tried to convince his fellow Jews to seek to integrate with the modern world with his famous motto “Be a Jew at home and a man outside.” Sadly, his ideas rapidly led to assimilation and disdain of traditional Judaism.
- A state of siege was declared in Yerushalayim, 1799, as Napoleon approached Gaza and Yaffo.
- Russian government closed the Volozhin yeshiva, 1892.
- The Red Army captured Lodz and Tarnow, 1945.
- Russian army liberated Auschvitz, freeing 2819 Jews, 1945.
- 35 members of the Hagana were ambushed and killed in the Gush Etzion area, 1948.
- By a vote of 60-2, the Knesset adopts a proclamation declaring Jerusalem the capital of the State of Israel, 1950.
- The Dakar submarine disappeared in the Mediterranean, 1968. Built in 1943, the submarine was purchased by Israel in 1965. On January 9th 1968, following a refitting and further testing in Portsmouth, INS Dakar left Portsmouth and started her ill-fated journey. Six days later, on the morning of January 15th Dakar entered Gibraltar. Ya'acov Ra'anan, skipper of the Dakar, received approval to enter Haifa on January 29th. Later Ra'anan requested to enter yet another day earlier, on January 28th. This request was denied by the HQ, as the welcoming ceremony had already been planned. At 0610 hours, on the 24th of January 1968, Dakar just passed Crete and transmitted her last known position. Two minutes after midnight on the 25th of January 1968, Navy HQ received the last coded telegram from the Dakar. No further signals came from Dakar. On the morning of the 26th of January an international Search And Rescue operation was launched. All available Israeli ships and airplanes joined the SAR efforts. Navy and air units from Great Britain, the USA, Greece, Turkey and even Lebanon took part in the SAR efforts. On March 6th, Israel's defense minister, Moshe Dayan gave an official statement at the Kenesset about the loss of INS Dakar and her crew. A day of national mourning was proclaimed. The IDF Chief Rabbi declared that all of the sixty-nine missing sailors would be considered dead according to the halachah.
Rav Raphael Yom Tov ben Yisrael Lipman Halpern of Bialystock, the Oneg Yom Tov (1816-1879)
Rav Chaim Tzvi ben Chananyah Yom Tov Lipa Teitelbaum of Sighet, the Atzei Chaim (1879-1926), oldest son of the Kedushat Yom Tov and brother of Rav Yoel Teitelbaum, the Satmer Rav. He succeeded his father as Rav of Sighet in 1904.
Rav David Yitzchak Rabinowitz, the Skolya Rebbe (1898-1979). Author of Tzemach David.
Rav Chaim Tzvi Teitelbaum of Sighet (Atzei Chaim)
Rav Naftali Hersh Shor (1587), Dayan of Brisk and Lublin.
Rav David Nito (1725)
Rav David Biderman (first Lelover Rebbe)
Rav Yisrael Charif of Satinav (1781), author of Ateret Tiferet Yisrael.
Rav David ben Shlomoh Biderman, the first Lelover Rebbe (1746-1814). A close follower of the Chozeh of Lublin, he was known for his extraordinary compassion for, and inability to see faults in, his fellow Jews. His main disciple was Rav Yitzchak of Vorki, whose son, Yaakov David, was the first Amshinov Rebbe. Two printed collections of stories about Rav David are Migdal David and Kodesh Halulim.
Rav Mordechai David ben Tzvi Hersh Ungar, Dombrover Rebbe (1770-1846). Reb Mordechai David was a disciple of Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk, Rav Avraham Yehoshuah Heshel of Apt, the Chozeh Mi’Lublin, and the Kozhnitzer Magid. He was succeeded by his son, Rav Yosef of Dombrov.
Rav Yitzchak Aharon Itinga of Lvov (1891), author of She’elot U’teshuvot Maharya Ha’Levi.
Rav Yerucham Yehudah Leib ben Shlomoh Zalman Perlman of Minsk (1835-1896). Born in Brisk, he married the daughter of the Dayan of Brisk at the age of 13. At the age of 15, he moved to Kovno to learn under Rav Yitzchak Avigdor, mechaber of Pardes Rimonim. While there, he lost his first wife and his son. After a few positions of leadership, he became Rav in Minsk in 1883. Many of his halachic decisions were published in She’elot U’teshuvot Ohr Gadol.
Rav Natan David ben Yitzchak Yaakov Rabinowitz, the oldest son of the Divrei Binah of Biala (1866-1930). He became the Partzever Rebbe. He left manuscripts, but none were published until his grandson and namesake released V'elah Ha'devarim She'Nemru Le'David in 2012.
Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Neiman, the Pupa Rav and the Belzer Dayan in Montreal (1919-2007)
Rav Mordechai ben Yekutiel Zalman Korn (1945-2012). Born in London, he moved to South Africa and became the posek of Johannesburg for 32 years before returning to live in Stamford Hill.
Rav Tzvi of Butchatch, author of Neta Shaashuim (1814)
Rav Yitzchak ben Benyamin Teib of Tunis (1753-1830). A Rav in Tunis for 40 years, he served as Av Bet Din for the last 28 years of his life. He authored Erech Hashulchan (6 volumes on Shulchan Aruch), Vavei Ha’amudim (on the Yere’im), Chukat Ha’Pesach, Sefer Hazikaron on Shas, Vayizra Yitzchak (chidushim on chumash), and Shitah Shleimah (on Bava Metzia).
Rav Baruch ben Shmuel of Pinsk (1834). In 1830, Rav Yisrael of Shklov, one of the closest of the disciples of the Vilna Gaon, began an effort to locate the "Ten Lost Tribes." Rav Baruch ben Rav Shmuel of Pinsk served as the messenger and departed from Tzefat with a letter of introduction to the king of the Lost Tribes. (The Ten Tribes were believed to have an independent kingdom where they practiced true semichah of rabbis as handed down from Moshe Rabeinu until the Fourth Century CE) Rav Baruch traveled through the Middle East for almost three years before he was murdered in Yemen.
Rav Shmuel of Shinova, author of Ramasayim Tzofim (1873)
Rav Natan Aminadav Yonah ben Moshe David Cassuto of Florence (1909-1945). The son of the Florence Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Natan became an ophthalmologist after receiving semichah. When the Mussolini government forbade Jews to serves as doctors, Rav Natan became the Chief Rabbi of Milan. He returned to Florence as their Rav in 1943. When the Nazis overran northern Italy in September of 1943, he hid his three children in a monastery, but he and his wife were arrested. He was transferred to Aushwitz in February 1944 and shot to death on a death march one year later. His wife, Chana, survived the war but was murdered by Arabs on 4 Nissan 1948.
Rav Yisrael Ephraim Fishel ben Shmuel Yaakov Roth (1900-1945). Born in Kisvarda, on the northeast corner of Hungary, he was a grandson of Rav Yoel Tzvi Roth, Av Bet Din of Chust. After his wedding, he taught in Rav David Meisels’ yeshivah. In 1930, he was appointed Rav and Av Bet Din of Vajdacska, near Sarospatak. In the years preceding WWII, he focused on preparing his grandfather’s manuscripts – Bet Hayotzer (drashot), with an appendix, Ohel Ephraim, which he himself wrote, Yotzer Or (derashot on Chanukah), again with his own appendix, Or Yisrael. After the Nazis overran Hungary, Rav Roth and his family were sent to Auschwitz. According to one account, he and thousands of others were taken to the forest at Gleiwitz and shot. Two of his sons survived the war, whereas his wife and four other children were murdered.
Rav Yosef Meir ben Tzvi Hirsch Kahana, the Spinka Rebbe of Yerushalayim (1978). Rav Yosef Meir was succeeded by his son, Rav Mordecai Dovid Kahana.
Rav Menachem Shmuel Dovid Raichik (1918-1998). Born in the Polish town of Mlava, he was considered an ilui. In 1936, he enrolled in the Lubavitcher yeshivah in Otwock where he became attached to the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rav Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn. With the outbreak of the war in late 1939, Raichik and his fellow yeshivah students were forced to flee. After spending close to a year in Kobe, Japan, the yeshivah relocated to Shanghai. There, he served as the foundation for the uprooted Lubavitch yeshivah, acting as a surrogate parent to the younger students and not leaving until the very last student was able to leave, in 1946. When Raichik reached the United States, the Rebbe put him under the wing of his son-in-law and later successor, Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
For months, Rabbi Raichik criss-crossed the United States, dining on sardines and fruits and vegetables, visiting Jews in places like Chattanooga and Cheyenne, setting up schools and mikvahs. After his marriage in 1948, he was dispatched to Los Angeles. For close to fifty years, Rav Raichik brought the teachings of the Torah and Chabad philosophy into Jewish homes, offices and synagogues across the state. In 1990, Rav Raichik was appointed to the executive boards of Merkos Le'Inyanei Chinuch, Machaneh Israel, and Agudat Chasidei Chabad. He was survived by his wife, Leah, and ten children and their families.
Rav Menachem Breier, father of the Boyaner Rebbe (2007)
Rav Shlomoh Zalman ben Michel Ulman (2018), Rav of the Mishkenot Yaakov neighborhood in Bnei Brak and as a Dayan on the bet din of Harav Nisim Karelitz.
Other events on this day:
- The last of the Zekeynim, who were responsible for accurately carrying on the mesorah, were niftar, 1245 BCE (2516). A taanis tzadikim was set to commemorate this event. [According to some, this took place on 5 Shvat. Still others claim that it occurred 17 years later.] See Shulchan 580:2, Shabbos 105b, Seder Hadoros under Yehoshuah.
- Jews of Colmar, France, arrested for well-poisoning, 1348. They were burned to death several months later.
- According to the terms of the capitulation protocol, Portugal which recently regained control of Brazil from the Dutch, decreed that Jewish and Dutch settlers had three months to leave Brazil. Approximately 150 Jewish families of Portuguese descent fled the Brazilian city of Recife, in the state of Ernambuco. By September, twenty-three of these refugees had established the first community of Jews in New Amsterdam.
- Herzl met Pope Pius X and unsuccessfully tried to convince him to support the vision of Zionism, 1904.
- The first General Assembly of the United Nations convened in London, January 10, 1946
- Nine Jews publicly executed in Damascus, 1969.
Rabeinu Nisim ben Reuven, the Ran (1308-1376), author of a commentary to the Talmud and a halachic commentary to the work of Rabeinu Yitzchak Alfasi (the Rif). His extant commentaries on the Rif cover mesechtot Shabat, Pesachim, Ta'anit, Rosh Ha’Shanah, Beytza, Sukah, Megillah, Ketubot, Gittin, Kiddushin, Shevu'ot, and Avodah Zara. He wrote in reply about 1,000 responsa, of which only seventy-seven have been preserved.
Rav Eliyahu Yisrael ben Moshe, Rav of Alexander and author of Ar’a DeYisrael (1784)
Rav Yisrael Yaakov ben Menachem Mendel of Vilkomir, son of Rav Menachem Mendel of Rimanov (1827)
Rav Yaakov Heilbrun, Rav of Zenta (1849)
Rav Yehosef ben Menachem Schwartz (1805-1865). Born in Bavaria (Germany), he studied in the yeshivah of Rav Natan Adler. (This was not the same Rav Natan Adler as the teacher of the Chatam Sofer, but perhaps his nephew, who later became Chief Rabbi of the British Empire).
Rav Schwartz also attended university where he studied languages, geography and astronomy. In 1829, he published his first map of the Holy Land, and in 1833, he settled in Yerushalayim. His sefer, Divrei Yosef, contains two parts - Tevuot Hashemesh about the proper way to calculate sunrise and sunset, and Tevuot Ha'aretz about the borders of Eretz Yisrael, its cities, and its flora and fauna. He claimed to have stayed awake for 3000 nights in order to check the time of Netz. He also wrote Pri Tevuah and Pardes.
Rav Avraham Aminov, Chief Bucharian Rabbi of Shechunat Habucharim in Yerushalayim (1939)
Rav Yeshayahu Zev ben Pinchas Mordechai Winograd (1883-1956), born in Stuchin, Lithuania. His father was one of Poland’s gedolei Torah and the author of Toldot Aharon on Pirke Avot. When Yeshayahu Zev was 8 years old, his family moved to Yerushalayim. In 1912, he was sent to Europe by the City’s sages to raise funds for city’s needy. He made lengthy stops at Brisk, Biala, and Warsaw. In 1920, he returned to Yerushalayim and dedicated himself to expanding Yeshivat Etz Chaim, the oldest educational institution in the Ashkenazik community (founded 1855). His major work was a sefer called Shaarei Ziv, with chidushim on all of shas.
Rav Eliezer ben Bunim Tzemach Silver (1882-1968). Born in Kovno, Lithuania, Rav Silver studied in Dvinsk with Rav Yosef Rosen, the Rogotchover Gaon, and Rav Meir Simcha, the Ohr Sameach. At the age of 24, he received his Semichah from Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinski. A year later he immigrated to the United States. Rav Silver held several Rabbinical positions in New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. In 1931 he accepted an invitation to become Rav in Cincinnati, where he remained until his passing. He founded the American branch of Agudat Yisrael and established the Vaad Hatzalah to aid Jews in Europe during WW II.
Rav Nachum Abba Grossbard, Mashgiach of Ponovezh (1993). He was one of the leading students of Rav Shimon Shkop of Grodno and Rav Baruch Ber Leibowitz of Kamenitz. He joined Yeshivas Mir in exile, and he formed a close bond with Rav Yechezkel Levenstein in Shanghai. Rav Grossbard is considered one of the leading rebuilders of the yeshiva world of America after the Holocaust. His son is Rav Shmuel Grossbard, Rosh Yeshiva of the Telstone Yeshivah Gedolah in Israel.
Rav David ben Yitzchak Twersky of Skver-Boro Park (2001). Succeeded his father, known as Reb Itzikl Skverer, when the latter died prematurely. Rav David was succeeded by his son, Yechiel Michel Twersky, the Skverer Rebbe of Boro Park.
Rav Zechariah Fendel (1928-2011). Rav Fendel received semichah from Yeshivat Chafetz Chaim in 1955, and was appointed the founding principal of the Chafetz Chaim Yeshivah High School in Forest Hills in 1956 by Rav Henoch Leibowitz. In 1977, his first book – “Anvil of Sinai,” was published. Patterned on Rabbi Shamshon Raphael Hirsch's classic The Nineteen Letters, he sought to address the basic questions of faith of any searching young person.
Over the next three decades, he authored nearly twenty books - six volumes on the mesorah of Torah, works aimed at providing an entire Torah world view, books on mussar and ethics, on the Chagim, on Chumash, all written in clear, crisp English. Each work was a collaborative effort with his wife Chavah, who transcribed his hand-written pages into type. A New York City public school teacher decided to use Rav Fendel's “From Dusk to Dawn” to teach the Holocaust to a class drawn from 25 different nations around the globe. Despite the book's "Jewish, G-d-centered point of view, unapologetic to a hostile world," the students read the book "with passion and heart…the words of a rabbi resonat[ing] like the word of G-d he truly represented to them."
Rebetzin Rivkah Hacarmi (2012), a daughter of Rav Zalman Bloch, menahel ruchani of the Telz Yeshivah in Lita and the oldest son of the Telsher Rav, Rav Yosef Leib Bloch. She was the wife of Rav Akiva Hacarmi, Rav of Kiryat Shmuel, a suburb of Haifa. Her sisters were Rebetzin Shoshana Gifter, wife of Rav Mordechai Gifter, Rosh Yeshivah of Telshe Yeshivah in Cleveland, and Rebetzin Stein, wife of Rav Pesach Stein, Rosh Yeshivah of Telshe Yeshivah in Cleveland. For over 50 years, Rebetzin Hacarmi served as a dedicated eizer kenegdo to her husband, assisting him and doing whatever she could to allow him to devote himself to his learning and his klal activities.
Ha’Rav Avraham David ben Shlomo Atik, Rosh Yeshivah, Yeshivat Be’er Shlomo (1944-2015). Born in Yerushalayim, he learned at Etz Chaim, Mir and Brisk. After marriage, he served as a magid shiur in Yeshivat Lifalgus Reuven. He also taught for many years in Yeshivat Tchebin, after which he resided in America for several years acting as the first Rosh Yeshivah of the Satmar Yeshivah of Monsey. In 1990, Reb Avraham David founded his own yeshivah, Be’er Shlomoh, which bears his father’s name.
Other events on this day:
- Rav Isaac Males was burned at the stake by the Inquisition for allowing the burial of a ger tzedek in the Jewish cemetery, 1278. The severity of his punishment was to deter other converts who might feel drawn to Judaism.
- First transport of French Jews to Nazi Germany, 1942.
- Pravda article touched off a wave of virulent anti-Semitism throughout Russia, 1953.
- Moshe Beker, 61, was murdered at his orchard by three terrorists, who had slept on site and waited for him, 1994. They attacked him, stabbed him to death with a knife and a pair of pruning shears, and fled. One of the murderers, Barbakh Faiz Rajab Madhat, was released in 2013 as part of a “good-will gesture” of the “peace process.”
Rav Meir ben Yitzchak Katzenellenbogen, the Maharam Padua (1482-1565). Born in Ellenbogen, Germany, founder of the Katzenellenbogen family. After studying in Prague, he went to Padua, Italy, and studied under Rav Yehudah Minz, whose grand-daughter he married. He succeeded his father-in-law, Rav Avraham Minz, as Rav of Padua. Among his contemporaries who sent him she’elot were Rav Ovadyah Seforno and Rav Moses Iserles, the Rema.
Rav Shalom ben Yitzchak Mizrachi Dida Sharabi, the Rashash (1720-1777). Born in Sharab, Yemen, he traveled to Yerushalayim, where he learned under Rav Gedalyah Chiyun of Yehivat Bet Kel. He married Rav Gedalyah’s daughter, Chanah, and after his Rebbi’s petirah, led the yeshiva for 30 years.
Among his greatest students are the Chida (Rav Chaim Yosef David Azulai) and Rav Gershon Kitover (the Ba’al Shem Tov’s brother-in-law). His sidur was known as the "Sidur HaKavanot," and is still used by the mekubalim today for prayer.
Rav Natan Azhkenazi, son of the Chacham Tzvi (1778).
Rav Shlomo Flam of Lutzk, known as the Lutzker Magid (1813). One of the closest talmidim of the Maggid of Mezritch, he gathered his own notes and compared those to other talmidim of his Rebbe, and compiled Magid Dvrav L’Yaakov. In 1777, he and the Rav of Koretz established a printing press for Sifrei Chasidut and Kabalah. One of his greatest talmidim was the Sar Shalom of Belz. He was the author of Dibrat Shlomo. He was niftar in the town of Skohl, where he had served as Maggid and Rav after he had left Koretz.
Rebetzin Rivka Schneersohn (1833-1914) a granddaughter of Rav Dov Ber, the 2nd Rebbe of Lubavitch, at age 16 married her first cousin, Rav Shmuel, who later became the fourth Lubavitcher Rebbe. Surviving her husband by 33 years, for many years she was the esteemed matriarch of Lubavitch. She is the source of many of the stories recorded in the talks, letters and memoirs of her grandson, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak (the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe). The Bet Rivkah network of girls' schools are named after her.
Rav Yissachar Shlomo ben Yitzchak Teichtal (1885-1945). Rav of Pishtian and author of Eim Ha’Banim Semeichah and She’elot U’teshuvot Mishneh Sachir. Rav Teichtal was one of the few European rabbis to break ranks with Ashkenazi Orthodox Judaism to support an active effort to settle Eretz Yisrael. He was murdered on a transport train during the closing days of World War II.
Rav Yosef Yitzchak ben Shalom Dov Schneerson, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe (1880-1950). Born in Lyubavichi, Russia, he was appointed as his father's personal secretary at the age of fifteen. After his marriage at age 17, he was appointed head of the yeshivah network founded by his father, Tomechai Hatemimim. He spent many years fighting to keep Torah Judaism alive from within Russia (and later the Soviet Union), efforts that included his incarceration 4 times between 1902 and 1911. In 1920, he replaced his father as Rebbe of Lubavitch Chasidut.
In 1927, the Rebbe was arrested and imprisoned in the Spalerno prison in Leningrad. Accused of counter-revolutionary activities, he was at first sentenced to death, a sentence that was overturned due to world-wide outrage and pressure from Western governments and the Red Cross; on 3 Tammuz, the Soviets banished him to Kostroma in the Urals, then banished him to Riga in Latvia, in 1928, from where he continued his efforts on behalf of Russian Jewry. He moved to Warsaw in 1933, and refused to leave during the German bombardments in 1940. Instead, he assisted as many Jews as possible to flee the invading armies. He finally left Eastern Europe and arrived in the United States in March of 1940. Over the last ten years of his life, he developed Lubavitch into a dynamic force in the United States, based in Crown Heights.
Rav Yitzchak Eizek ben Yosef Chaim Sher of Slabodka (1875-1952). Born in Halusk, he studied in Volozhin under the Netziv's son-in-law, Rav Refael Shapira, before moving to Slabokdka. There he studied b'chavruta with Rav Avraham Grodzinski. In 1903, Rav Yitzchak Eizek married the Alter's youngest daughter, Mariasha Guttel, and moved to Kelm where he continued to learn diligently. He also studied for a brief period in the Mir, where his brother-in-law, Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, served as Rosh Yeshivah.
In 1911, the Alter appointed Rav Yitzchak Eizek to the position of rebbi in the yeshivah. In 1928, Rav Natan Tzvi Finkel went to Eretz Yisrael, along with the majority of Slabodka's students, and settled in Chevron. At that point, Rav Yitzchak Eizek was appointed Rosh Yeshivah of Slabodka's European division, with its mashgiach, Rav Avraham Grodzinski. On Shabat morning, the sixteenth of Av, 1929, the Arab massacred Chevron's Jews. After the massacre, the survivors reestablished the Chevron Yeshiva in Yerushalayim. Rav Yitzchak Eizek, at the advice of the Chazon Ish, reestablished the European branch of the Slabodka Yeshivah in Bnei Brak.
Rav Rachamim Chai Chavitah, Rav of Djerba, Tunisia, author of Minchas Cohen and Simchas Cohen (1959)
Other events on this day:
- Seven German Jews were tortured and burned at the stake, 1235.
- Inquisition established in South America, 1569.
- The Church burned seforim and manuscripts in Rome, 1601.
- Death of Rav Shalom Shabazi, famous Yemenite community leader (1619-1720). Shabazi was born in Southern Yemen where he worked as a weaver. Approximately 550 of his poems and hymns are still in existence, written in Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic.
- With the second partition of Poland in 1793, additional territory was added to the Pale Settlement where Jews were allowed to live, including parts of the Ukraine and the city of Kiev.
- In his annual speech, Hitler announced his intention to murder the Jewish people in the event of a war in Europe, 1939.
- Daniel Pearl, a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, was abducted in Karachi, Pakistan, by a group demanding the return of prisoners in Afghanistan. He was later slain nine days later. In July 2002, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British national of Pakistani origin, was sentenced to death by hanging for Pearl's abduction and murder. In March 2007, at a closed military hearing in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said that he had personally beheaded Pearl.
Rav David Natan ben Yosef Yoel Deutsch, second Rav of Kretchenif (1879). He authored Nefesh David on Chumash.
Rav Yisrael Noach ben Yitzchak Mattityahu Weinberg (1930-2009). Born in the Lower East Side of New York, he learned at Chaim Berlin and Ner Yisrael, and completed undergraduate work at Johns Hopkins University and post-graduate studies at Loyola Graduate School. He always considered his older brother, Rav Yaakov Weinberg, his Rebbi Muvhak. He married Denah Goldman and moved to Eretz Yisrael in 1958, where they raised their 12 children. Disturbed by the high rate of assimilation and lack of Jewish knowledge among Western youth, he opened his first yeshiva for assimilated young men in 1966. That short-lived effort was followed by several others before he co-founded Yeshivat Shma Yisrael (later renamed Ohr Somayach) with Rabbis Nota Schiller, Mendel Weinbach and Yaakov Rosenberg in 1970.
His difference in philosophy led to his creation of Aish Hatorah in 1974, which over the next 35 years had expanded to 25 branches over five continents. Tens of thousands have attended seminars or listened to recordings, especially his widely-circulated "The 48 Ways to Wisdom." He also co-authored a book, What the Angel Taught You: Seven keys to life fulfillment.
Other events on this day:
- The town of Colmar in northern France expels its Jews, 1510.
- British troops occupied Baghdad and brought relief to the local Jews, 1917. Their freedom lasted until 1929 when the British granted independence to Iraq and the new rulers passed a series of decrees against them.
- Birth of Rav Yisrael Meir Kagan Hakohen of Radin, the Chofetz Chaim (1838-1933).
- On this night, a Yugoslavian DC-9 jet flying 33,330 feet high over Czechoslovakia suddenly exploded and plunged to the ground, 1972. All 28 passengers perished except one flight attendant (Vesna Vulovic), perished. Responsibility for this horrific crime was claimed by the Ustashe organization, the same group responsible for some of the worst atrocities of World War II. A few of its demented members still dream of an independent, ethnically pure Croatia free of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies.
Rav Chaim Kapusi (1540-1631). Born in Algiers, he moved with his family to Egypt in his early years. He became Rav and Dayan in Egypt and is buried in the Cairo Jewish cemetery. He authored Siftei Chaim (unpublished) on the Sifri and the Mechilta, and Be’or Hachaim on Chumash, which was published about 300 years after his petirah.
Rav Tzvi Hersh Shor (1635), author of Toras Chaim.
Rav Baruch Kapilish of Lublin (1739).
Rav Zev Dov ben Tzvi Hirsh Shiff of Zamoshitz (1767-1842). He married on the day of his Bar Mitzvah, and at the age of 20, he opened a perfume business to provide for his parnasah. In 1809, the Polish government ransacked Zamoshitz, and her relocated to Levov and Cracow.In 1840, he devoted all of his time to limud Hatorah and wrote his chidushim on Shas. His chidushim on Mesechet Eiruvin were published under the name of Minchat Zikaron.
Rav Meir Atlas (1848-1926). He helped found the Yeshivah of Telshe in 1875 and brought Rav Eliezer Gordon to head it. One of Rav Meir's daughters was married to Rav Elchanan Wasserman (Rosh Yeshivah of Baranovich) and another was married to Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky. Rav Meir first served as Rav in Libau, Kurland, and subsequently in Salant, Kobrin, and Shavli.
Rav Shmuel Chamoula (1942-2004). A well-known mohel of the Flatbush Sephardic community who made high-quality tapes of many of the Rav Avigdor Miller’s shiurim with great dedication, perseverance and mesirut nefesh.
Rav Shabtai ben Ben-Tzion Aton, Rosh Yeshivat Reishit Chochmah (1925-2006). Born in Yerushalayim's Old City to one of the ten founders of Yeshivas Porat Yosef in the Old City, Reb Shabtai learned at his father’s yeshiva and was appointed as Rav of the Yerushalayim neighborhood of Malcha.
In 1957, he was appointed as the spiritual leader of Yeshivat Porat Yosef, under the Roshei Yeshivah, Rav Ezra Attiah and Rav Yaakov Addas. It was at this time that the Yeshiva moved from the Old City to Geulah. In Teves 1960, Rav Aton was widowed and left with four small children. In 1967, he opened Yeshivas Reishit Chochmah. At first, the Yeshiva was located in the Yerushalayim neighborhood of Mekor Baruch, after which it moved to its present location in Sanhedria Murchevet.
Other events on this day:
- The French extend active citizenship to the Sephardic Jews of Bordeaux, 1790. Their poorer Ashkenazic brothers in Alsace-Lorraine continued to struggle for rights for another year and a half.
- Nazis provoked the first anti-Jewish riots in Amsterdam, 1941. The Jews successfully fought off their attackers.
- Jews in the Warsaw ghetto put up their first resistance to the Nazi effort at liquidation, 1943.
- The Russian army liberated the last 2,819 survivors of Auschwitz, 1945.
Rav Yaakov Shimon of Zaslov (1808).
Rav Mordechai of Lechovitz (1742-1810). Named for his grandfather, Rav Mordechai Yaffe (the Baal Ha’Levushim), Reb Mordechai lost his father while still a youth. Although a tutor was established by the townspeople, he preferred to alone while in the forest. He always told his chasidim that he first learned Torah from Rav Aharon of Karlin, who taught him Torah from the heart. Rav Mordechai began his own chasidut after the petirah of Rav Aharon in 1792. He was succeeded by his son Rav Noach. Many of his divrei Torah can be found in the sefer Torat Avot.
Rav Binyamin Eisenstadt (1920), Rav of Utyein and author of Masas Binyamin.
Rav Avigdor Pollack of Spinka-Sighet (1937).
Rav Rafael Baruch ben Zalman Sorotzkin, Rosh Yeshivah of Telshe in Cleveland (1917-1979). Born in Zhetl, Lithuania, where his father was Rav (and later known as the Lutzker Rav). Rav Baruch’s mother was the daughter of Rav Eliezer Gordon, Rosh Yeshivah of Telshe. As a young man, Rav Baruch studied under Rav Elchanan Wasserman, in Baranovich, and then under Rav Baruch Ber Lebovitz in Kamenitz. In 1940, he married Rachel Bloch, daughter of the Telsher Rav and Rosh Yeshivah, Rav Avraham Yitzchak Bloch. With the advent of WW2, they escaped to America and settled in Cleveland, where he joined his wife's uncles, Rav Eliyahu Meir Bloch and Rav Chaim Mordechai Katz who re-established Telshe in America. In 1943, Rav Baruch began delivering shiurim in the Yeshivah. In 1964, Rav Baruch, together with Rav Mordechai Gifter, assumed responsibility for the Yeshivah. He was also very active with Chinuch Atzmai, Torah U’mesorah, Agudat Yisrael of America.
Other events on this day:
- The French National Assembly granted full and equal citizenship to the Portuguese and Avignonese Jews, 1790. France was the first European country to pass such liberal legislation.
- Soviet forces entered Auschwitz, 1945. The death camp was nearly emptied of Jews by recent death marches. Along with 7600 prisoners, the Soviets found six store houses filled with 836,255 women’s dresses, 348,000 men’s suits, and 38,000 men’s shoes, an indication of the gravity of the crime that had taken place there. The SS had set fire to another 23 store houses before they had fled.
Rav Yaakov Yehoshuah ben Tzvi Hirsch Falk, the Pnei Yehoshuah (1680-1756). Born in Cracow, he studied at Lvov (Lemberg), where he became Rav in 1718, succeeding the Chacham Tzvi.; Rav of Berlin in 1730 and Metz in 1734, succeeding Rav Yaakov Rischer (the Shevut Yaakov); Rav of Frankfurt in 1740. He sided strongly with Rav Yaakov Emden in his controversy with Rav Yonatan Eibeshutz. On the 3rd of Kislev of 1702, he was trapped under fallen rubble following an explosion that killed a total of 36 Jews of Lemberg, including his wife, Leah, and their only daughter, Gittel. He vowed that if he got out alive, he would write a sefer. He was miraculously saved, and – after completing the learning of Shas 36 times (once per life lost) - wrote the Pnei Yehoshuah.
Rav Yechiel ben Shraga Feivel Danziger, first Rebbe of Alexander (1828-1894). He became a chasid of Rav Yitzchak Kalish of Vorki, then his son, Rav Menachem Mendel of Vorki. Following’s Rav Mendel’s petirah, Rav Yechiel became a follower of Rav Dov Ber of Biala. After his own petirah, Rav Yechiel was succeeded by his son Rav Yisrael.
Rav Aharon Aryeh Leib Leifer, Nadvorner Rebbe author of the Yad Aharon (1817-1897). The son of Reb Yisachar Dov Bertzi Leifer of Nadvorna, succeeding him as Rebbe.
Rav David Shapiro of Yerushalayim, author of Bnei Tziyon (1971).
Rav Aryeh Moshe Eliyahu ben Shmuel Kaplan (1935-1983). Born in New York City, Rav Aryeh had a prolific but tragically brief career, producing over 60 works. After his early education in Torah Va’daat and Mir Yeshivot in Brooklyn, he studied at the Mir Yeshivah in Yerushalayim. He also received a master's degree in physics and was listed in the Who's Who in Physics.
Rav Elazar Hendeles, close aid to the Gerrer Rebbes (1913-2004). Born in Lodz, Poland, he made aliyah in 1937. He was a confidante of the Lev Simchah and was a loyal messenger of the Bet Yisrael, establishing homes for refugees, working on hachnasat kallah, helping the sick and poor, and establishing Orthodox communities in Tel Aviv, Ashdod, and Arad.
Rav Daniel ben Naftali Frisch (1935-2005). Born in Nanosh, Hungary, he moved to Eretz Yisrael after suffering through the Holocaust. His peirush on sifrei Kaballah (including Otzrot Chaim and Shaar Ha’gilgulim), entitled Matok Midvash, has become a basic text for those studying Torat Nistar. In it, each day has two tracks. One track describes three ways for a person to improve in his relationship with Hashem, based on that day’s sefirot. The second track describes three ways that the sefirot relate to a person’s behavior bein adam le’chaveiro. The 34 page forward discusses the avodah of the days of Sefirah and the importance of Tikun Ha’Midot.
He also wrote a little booklet in Hebrew called “U’Sefartem Lachem,” which provides a day-by-day guide to the sefirah period, based on the 49 combinations of the seven sefirot. His Otzar Ha’Zohar is a 4-volume index of topics of the Zohar. His sefer Kavanot Ha’Brachot is a guide for having appropriate focus on each berachah. He also wrote a guide for the relationship between husband and wife called Kedushah Ve’Tzniyut, as well as a spiritual guide and musar for young boys reaching Bar Mitzvah, to help them ascend higher, called Yemei Ha’Bacharut ve’Bar Mitzvah. He headed Yeshivat Ha’mekubalim Mishkan Benyamin and also gave shiur at Yeshivat Shaar Ha’shamayim. He was buried at Har Hazeitim.
Rav Shlomo ben Naftali Margolis (1913-2012). Born in Driesse, White Russia, he attended the Navorda yeshiva and was exiled to Siberia in 1939. He was later sent to Kazakhstan, where he met his wife. After the War, they traveled to Lodz and Prague, setting up yeshivas for orphans and refugees in both cities. They then moved to America, eventually settling in Boston, where he was appointed Rav of the Chai Adom congregation, a position he held for almost 40 years before giving the reigns to his son-in-law, Rav David Moskowitz. In 1991, he moved to Bnei Brak with his wife.
Other events on this day:
- Yosef b. Yisachar Suesskind Oppenheimer, a court Jew, was executed in Vienna, 1738. Court Jews were pivotal in helping better the lot of their fellow Jews but were also at risk of falling into disfavor and being executed.
- A bill outlawing kosher slaughtering was introduced by Deputy Janina Prystor and passed by the Sejm of Poland.
- The armed militia of the Arab Ba’th Socialist Party, with the loyal support of the people, overthrew the Kassim government, 1963.
Rav Chaim Mordechai Margulies, author of Shaarei Teshuvah (1823)
Rav Gedalya Aharon ben Yitzchak Yoel of Linitz, author of Chen Aharon.
Rav Shlomoh David Yehoshuah Guterman of Radzimin (1903)
Rav Rafael Shlomoh Laniado, Rosh Yeshivat Porat Yosef (1925)
Rav Baruch ben Avraham Aryeh Kunstat, born in Pressburg, Hungary; a descendent of the Chatam Sofer. He studied in the yeshivah of Rav Simchah Bunim Sofer (the Shevet Sofer) and his son Rav Akiva Sofer (the Daat Sofer), he was appointed Rav of Fulda in 1907 at the age of 22. There, he married Tziporah, daughter of Rav Elchanan Moshe Emanuel, and he founded a yeshivah. After spending time in Buchenwald, he was released and moved to Eretz Yisrael. Along with Rav Yechiel Michel Shlesinger (who also escaped from the camps), he founded Yeshivat Kol Torah in 1939. It was the first Azhkenazi Yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael in which shiurim were delivered in Hebrew and not Yiddish, the format having been approved by the Chazon Ish. In his will, Rav Shlesinger, who was niftar in 1946, expressed the hope the rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach would replace him as Rosh Yeshivah. (1885-1967)
Rav Shmuel David Warshavchik (1909-1988) was a top talmid of Rav Elchanan Wasserman and Rav Baruch Ber Liebowitz of Kaminetz. He fled to Shanghai during WWII, and came to the USA after the war, serving as Rosh Yeshivah of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef (RJJ) from 1946-1976. From 1977 until his petirah, he lived in Eretz Yisrael and was Rosh Yeshivah Of Kfar Chasidim. He published the manuscripts of the former Rosh Yeshivah, Rav Noach Shimanowitz. He left over hundreds of talmidim.
Rav Yosef ben Yitzchak Isaac Tendler, Rosh Mechinas Ner Yisrael of Baltimore (2012). Rav Tendler was one of the first ten American-born talmidim of Rav Aharon Kotler, at a time when “Lakewood” had only 24 students. When just 32 years old, Rav Tendler became the menahel of Ner Israel’s Mechinah and remained in that post for 47 years. Many of his Divrei Torah were published in a set of sefarim on chumash titled “Od Yosef Chai.” His son, Rav Akiva Tendler, wrote about many of the lessons Rav Yosef taught his talmidim in the book, “I Am Your Servant” which was published by Art Scroll in 2013.
Mrs. Brenda Geldwerth (2012), wife of Rav Lipa Geldwerth, longtime maggid shiur at Yeshivat Torah Temimah and Rav of Kahal Kol Torah of Flatbush. Mrs. Geldwerth personified the regal and refined nature of an Em Be’Yisrael, always carrying herself with great dignity and modesty, and serving as the consummate ezer ke’negdo to her illustrious husband. Her mesirut nefesh for harbatzat ha’Torah and her husband’s kehillah, and the gevurah she displayed during the last period, served as a source of inspiration to so many people.
Other events on this day:
- The first Chumash with Megilot was printed in 1492.
- The forced races of near naked Jews through the streets of Rome during carnival time (the Palio) - first introduced by Pope Paul II in 1464 - was cancelled after the Jews of Rome agreed to pay a special tax, 1668
- Death of Adolphe (Isaac) Cremieux, a Jewish lawyer, orator, French Minister of Justice and founder of the Alliance Israelite Universelle (1796-1880). The most influential French Jew of his time, Cremieux was the paragon of the modern assimilated late nineteenth century. The Alliance was responsible for thousands of Jews abandoning Jewish observance.
- The completion of the first cycle of Daf Yomi was celebrated with a siyum in 1931.
- The Ghetto in Lodz was established by Nazi decree in 1941.
Rav David of Kolomai, a talmid of the Baal Shem Tov (1732)
Rav Yonah Navon, Rav of Yerushalayim (1713-1760). Appointed Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivat Gedulat Mordechai in Yerushalayim at the age of 19 years, he later moved to Italy due to the harsh poverty. Supported by relatives, he published Nechpah Ba’kesef, his sefer of responsa. He also authored Get Mekushar on the sefer Get Pashut of Rav Moshe ibn Chaviv, as well as Pri Mi’pri to refute the questions on Pri Chadash raised by the Pri Toar and the Simlah Chadashah. Among his many talmidim was Rav Chaim Yosef David Azulay, the Chida.
Rav Asher Tzvi of Ostraha, author of Maayan Ha’Chochmah (1817)
Rav Yaakov ben David of Zabeltov (1881). He was appointed Rebbe in Zabeltov after his father’s petirah in 1848. Some of his divrei Torah were published in Ateret Yaakov Ve’Yisrael and in Esser Atarot, both of which were sefarim of his grandson, Rav Yisrael Berger of Bucharest.
Rav Shalom Mordechai Ha’kohen Schwadron, the Maharsham (1835-1911), also known as the Brezaner Rav. He gave smichah to Rav Meir Shapiro of Lublin. He was the ultimate rabbinical authority not only for the rabbis of Galicia, Poland and even Lithuania, but for the entire Disapora. His writings include “Mishpat Shalom” on Choshen Mishpat, “Darchei Shalom” on Talmud and its commentators, “Da'at Torah” on the laws of kosher slaughter, “Galui Da'at” on sections 61-69 of Yoreh De'ah. One prominent opponent on the latter book was Rav Tzvi Hirsh Shapira, author of “Darchei Teshuvah,” head of the rabbinical court of Munkatch.
Rav Alter Yechezkel Horowitz (1930-1994). At the age of 15, he was deported with his father to Aushwitz, then to Gluzen in Austria. His mother passed away when he was 12, and his father did not survive the war. In 1946, he joined a yeshivah for refugees in Austria. When he was 19, he came alone to America. He met Rav Aharon Kotler and joined the yeshivah in Lakewood. At the same time, he also became a very close follower of the Satmer Rebbe. In the 1960s, he moved his family to Monsey and became part of the Kollel of Bet Midrash Elyon. In 1968, he opened his Bet Midrash, the Sanzer Kloiz. In 1984, the Viener Kehilah in Boro Park asked him to serve as their dayan. Thereafter, he also took on the position of Rosh Bet Din of Kehilas Adat Yereim.
Rav Avraham Shlomo ben Moshe Mordechai Biderman, the Lelover Rebbe of Yerushalayim (1927-2000). Born in Cracow, Poland, on Rosh Chodesh Adar, he was only four years old when his father decided to take up residence in Eretz Yisrael, settling in the Botei Warsaw neighborhood in Yerushalayim. When his father moved to Tel Aviv in 1943, he transferred to the Bet Yosef Novardok yeshiva. He married the daughter of Rav Zundel Hager. In 1965, when his father moved from Tel Aviv to Bnei Brak, he was appointed rav of the Bet Midrash in Tel Aviv. With the passing of his father, Rav Avraham Shlomo was appointed Admor, and he moved to Yerushalayim.
Other events on this day:
- The Ramchal (Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzatto) formed his holy Chaburah in Padua, 1731.
- Emancipation for Jews is passed by the Diet in Hungary, 1867.
- Francisco Franco met with Jewish representatives to discuss the legal status of the Jewish community in Spain, 1965
- Opening of the Ivan Demjanjuk trial in Yerushalayim, 1987.
Rav Moshe of Kitov, a talmid of the Baal Shem Tov (1738).
Rav Yechezkel of Kazmir (1772-1856). Born in Plonsk, Poland a disciple of the Chozeh of Lublin, he was the grandfather of the first Modzitzer Rebbe. After opponents of chasidut drove Rav Yechezkel out of Plonsk, he moved to Shananah. Rav Yechezkel became an admor in 1827, later moving to Kuzmir. One of the most idyllic towns in Poland, Kuzmir lies next to the Vistula river, in the shadow of a fourteenth century castle, reputedly built by King Casimir the Great. A Jewish community existed there since 1406 and, by Rav Yechezkel's time, Jews comprised half the town's population.
Today, Jewish visitors to Poland pass through the town to visit the surviving shul and cemetery that date back to the sixteenth century. Rav Yechezkel’s Torah insights were collected by a son-in-law and published in the sefer, Nechmad Mi’Zahav, which was reprinted, along with other divrei Torah of the dynasty, in the sefer Torat Yechezkel, in 1973.
Rav Chaim Palagi, Rav of Izmir (1788-1868). Rav Chaim derived much of his Torah knowledge from his grandfather, Rav Rafael Yosef (the Chikrei Lev), and together with him, wrote the work, Semichah Le'Chaim. After his father's passing in 1828, he accepted the positions of Dayan and Mashgiach Ruchani in the Bet Yaakov Rabi yeshivah. In 1855, he was appointed to the position of rav ha’kolel, the highest rabbinical position in Izmir. During his life, he authored Kaf Ha’Chaim, Moed L'chol Chai, and at least 70 other sefarim. They consist of: twenty-four books on halachah, fifteen on midrashim and homiletics, nine on chidushim on the Talmud Bavli and Yerushalmi; seven on Tanach; five on various other subjects and three musar works. He also wrote a sefer titled, Tenufat Chaim.
Rav Yehudah Chitrik (1899-2006). A Lubavitcher chasid known for his encyclopedic memory, and for passing on the chasidic mesorah of previous Rebbes. A book of translations of his stories, "From My Father's Shabbos Table," was published in 1991. Rabbi Chitrik was born in Russia and was sent by his father at the age of 15 to study at the central Lubavitch yeshivha near Smolensk, Russia. After World War II, he moved to the Netherlands and then to Montreal. He moved to New York City in 1983 after the death of his wife. He is survived by well as over 300 children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Rav Eliezer Shlomo Schick (1940 – 2015) was a Chassidic rabbi and prolific author and publisher of Breslov teachings in books, pamphlets, and taped lectures distributed worldwide. He authored over 100 hardcover books and 1,000 booklets based on the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. He was the leader of the self-styled "Breslov City" in the Galilee town of Yavni'el, Israel. After his marriage in 1964, Rav Schick founded Metivta Heichal Ha’kodesh, an international outreach organization which disseminates Breslov teachings.
Other events on this day:
- Purim of Saragossa (Spain), celebrating the escape from destruction of the Jews, 1428.
- Franco met with Jewish representatives to discuss the legal status of the Jewish community in Spain, in 1965, for the first time since the expulsion in 1492.
Rav Yaakov Margulies, Av Bet Din Nuremberg (1492). Author of Seder Ha’get Ve'hachalitzah, which is quoted extensively by the Rema. His son, Rav Isaac, was a rav in Prague and was the one who compiled his father’s sefer.
Rav Benyamin Beinish Finkel, Mirrer Rosh Yeshivah (1911-1990). Born in Mir on Yom Kippur. In 1931, he studied under the Chafetz Chaim, and in 1934-35 under Rav Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik of Brisk. Rav Beinish married the daughter of Rav Shmuel Greineman, the Chazon Ish's brother-in-law. He took over as Rosh Yeshivah for his father, Rav Eliezer Yehudah Finkel after the latter’s petirah in 1965.
Other events on this day:
- King Alfonzo V ordered Sicily's Jews to attend conversion sermons, 1428.
- More than eighty New Christians were burned in an Auto Da Fe, including Francisco Maldonna de Silva, after the Inquisition discovered that they were holding regular Jewish services, 1639.
Rav Binyamin Zev ben Asher Anshel Shapiro of Prague (1718)
Rav Yitzchak Baruch Sofer, father of the Kaf Hachaim (1905)
Rav Shmuel Weinberg of Slonim, the Divrei Shmuel (1916). Grandson of Rav Avraham of Slonim, the Yesod Ha’Avodah. He was succeeded by his sons Rav Yissochor Leib and Rav Avraham, the Bet Avraham.
Rav Shimon Greenfeld of Somihali, the Maharshag (1860-1930). Born in Chust, he became a student of the Maharam Shick. Married at 16, he became Dayan in Munkacs when he was 34. He succeeded his father as Rav in Somihali in 1908. His three-volume She’elot U’Teshuvot Maharshag contains thousands of teshuvot. He also authored Zehav Shva on the Torah and Maharshag al Ha’Torah. His chidushim on Shas, hilchot mikvaot, and hilchot taaruvot remain in manuscript form. His nephew and talmid, Rav Shmaya, was the first Rav of the Satmar Kehilah in Montreal.
Rav Elimelech Menachem Mendel ben Dov Berish Landau, first Admor of Strikov (1859-1936). After the petirah of Rav Yitzchak of Vorka in 1848, the majority of Vorka Chasidim chose to follow Reb Menachem Mendel’s father. After his petirah in 1876, none of the sons were willing to accept leadership, so the Chasidim followed Rav Dov Berish’s primary talmid, Rav Yechiel of Alexander. Reb Menachem Mendel and his brothers moved to Alexander to follow Rav Yechiel, and after his petirah in 1894 – his son, the Yismach Yisrael. When the Yismach Yisrael died childless in 1910, Reb Menachem Mendel’s brother, Reb Aharon Tzvi founded a court. Only when he passed away, did Menachem Mendel accept leadership of the Chassidim and set up court in Strikov.
After World War I, he settled in the town of Zhgierzh, adjacent to Lodz, and founded Yeshivat Bet Aharon, named after his brother. During his time, 150 Batei Midrash of Strikover chasidim were scattered throughout Poland. When he visited Eretz Yisrael, he founded Yeshivat Zechuta De’Avraham. His Divrei Torah were printed in Magid Devarav Le’Yaakov and in Ba’yeshishim Chochmah.
Rav Shmuel Carlebach (1927-1999). Educational director of the Bnei Brak Or Ha’chaim Seminary and the Bet Yaakov Seminary of Ashdod. Born in Frankfort, Germany. He was sent to Belgium during the War. In 1939, the Carlebach family settled in Tel Aviv. Reb Shmuel merited to be one of the first students of Yeshivas Kol Torah under Rav Yechiel Michel Schlesinger, its founder. In 1946, he learned at Ponovezh and became close to Rav Abba Grossbard and Rav Eliyahu Dessler. After his marriage in 1951, he continued his studies at the Ponovezh Kolel In 1954, Rav Wolf asked him to direct the Or Ha’chaim Seminary for girls. He headed this institution for thirty years. In1985, he was appointed head of the Seminar Avot of the Ponovezh Institutions of Ashdod, and the educational director of Be'er Miriam in Bnei Brak, and remained in those capacities until his final day.
Rav Hershel Mashinsky (1925-2004), co-founder of Kupath Ezrah of Rockland County. He began teaching at Yeshivah of Spring Valley in 1947, then after marrying Malkah Leah Felsenburg and moving to Monsey, at the Talmud Torah and Metivta Ohr Reuven.
Rav Nachum Zev ben Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler (1921-2011). He built the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland into a nearly 7,000-strong student body.
Other events on this day:
- 700 Jews of Basel, Switzerland were burned alive in wooden houses constructed for that purpose in the wake of the Black Plague, 1349.
- King Alfonso V ordered the Jews of Sicily to convert to Christianity.
- Twelve Jews were killed al Kiddush Hashem in Mexico, as part of the Spanish Inquisition, 1639.
- After the occupation of Rome by General Berthier, the local republicans dethroned the Pope and Jews removed the yellow badge, 1798.