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1 Adar - Rosh Chodesh Adar
Mishenichnas Adar Marbin B'Simcha (Taanit 29).
Today is the second day of Rosh Chodesh Adar.
According to Rabi Shimon, this date is the beginning of the season referred to as kor - “cold.”
On this day, in the times of the Beit Hamikdash, a call would go out asking the Jews to bring their Machatzit Hashekel to the Beit Hamikdash. Likewise, a reminder was disseminated to uproot any kilayim from their fields. (See more in Masechet Shekalim.)
1 Adar - 1312 B.C.E.:
The Egyptians were smitten with the Plague of Choshech (Darkness) . The 9th plague to strike the Egyptians for their refusal to release the Bnei Yisrael / Children of Israel from slavery -- a thick darkness that blanketed the land so that "no man saw his fellow, and no man could move from his place" (Shmot / Exodus 10:23) -- commenced today on the 1st of Adar, six weeks before Yetziat Mitzrayim / the Exodus.
1 Adar 3341 - 420 B.C.E.:
Yechezkel HaNavi lamented Pharaoh the king of Egypt (see Yechezkel 32).
1 Adar - Feb 19, 1539:
The Jews were expelled from Tyrnau, Hungary.
1 Adar - 1570:
Jews miraculously escaped violent earthquake in Italy.
1 Adar 5403 - Feb. 20, 1643:
The Tosfot-Yom Tov's (HaRav Yom Tov Lipmann Heller, Rav of Cracow), descendants
celebrate a private Purim to commemorate his release from prison. See 30 Shvat - 1644.
1 Adar 5600 - Feb. 5, 1840:
A priest vanished in Syria, and the Jewish community was blamed, prompting imprisonment of the city's Rav, HaRav Yaakov Entebi, the seven community elders, and a number of young children. Ultimately, Sir Moses Montefiore interceded on their behalf and they were freed.
1 Adar 5690 - March 1, 1930:
Adolph Hitler, ym"s, was appointed chancellor of Germany.
1 Adar 5707 - Feb. 21, 1947:
Edwin H. Land first publically demonstrated his Polaroid Land camera, which could produce black and white photos in 60 seconds.
1 Adar 5720 - Feb. 29, 1960:
An earthquake in Agadir, Morocco killed 5000 people, including hundreds of Jews.
1 Adar II 5763 - Mar. 5, 2003:
Seventeen people were killed and 53 wounded in a suicide bombing of Egged bus No. 37 in the Carmel section of Haifa, en route to Haifa University. The suicide bomber was a member of Hamas and a computer student from the Chevron Polytechnic Institute. The women of the Al-sheikh neighborhood in the city of Chevron / Hebron swarmed around the suicide bomber's mother in order to praise her. She went on to say "I am proud of my son's deed." The victims were Maryam Atar, Smadar Firstater, Kamar Abu Hamed, Daniel Haroush, Mordechai Hershko, Tom Hershko, Meital Katav, Elizabeth Katzman, Tal Kehrmann, St.-Sgt. Eliyahu Laham, Abigail Litle, Yuval Mendellevich, St.-Sgt. Be'eri Oved, Mark Takash, Asaf Zur (Zollinger), Anatoly Biryakov, and Moran Shushan. Hy'd.
1 Adar Yahrtzeits
Rabbeinu Avraham (ben Meir) Ibn Ezra, zt"l, (C. 4849 / 1089 - 4924 / 1164), the famed biblical commentator. He was born in Tudela, Navarre, during the height of Spain's Golden Age. There, he established a close friendship with Rav Yehuda Halevi. Three of his uncles were ministers in the royal palace. He moved to Toledo during the benevolent rule of King Alfonso VI. After the king died, however, the anti-semitic masses began to harass the Jews, so he headed south to Muslim Spain - to Granada, Cordova, and Lucena. In 1148, the barbaric Almohades overran Morocco and continued into Spain. He was forced to flee to Rome, Provence, and Rhodes (where he befriended Rabbeinu Tam and other grandsons of Rashi). He traveled to Egypt and learned with the Rambam.
During his time in those countries, the Ibn Ezra created a rich literary legacy. In the first period of his life, he was chiefly occupied with poetry; the greater number of his poems was probably produced during that era. He often calls himself “the poet,” or “father of poems.”
In his homeland, he had already gained a reputation as a distinguished poet and thinker, but apart from his poems, all his other works, in Lashon Hakodesh, were written in the second period of his life. With these works, which cover the field of Jewish philology in Tanach, he fulfilled a great mission: making accessible to the Jews of Europe the treasures of knowledge in the Arabic works he had brought with him from Spain.
His grammar books were the first expositions of Lashon Hakodesh grammar written in Hebrew, in which the system of Rav Yehudah Halevi and his school prevailed. He also translated into Hebrew the two works of Rav Yehudah Halevi in which the foundations of the system were laid down.
Of greater original value than his sefarim on grammar are his peirushim on most of the books of Tanach. The Mikraot Gedolot editions of the Tanach with the leading commentaries include that of the Ibn Ezra on Yeshayah, Trei Asar, Tehillim, Iyov and Daniel.
The Ibn Ezra also wrote the well-known Shabbat zemirot Ki Eshmerah Shabbat and Tzamah Nafshi; the Chasam Sofer testified that they were written with ruach hakodesh.
All his life, the Ibn Ezra lived in poverty. Every business venture that he tried failed dismally; he is quoted as saying that had he sold candles, the sun would never set, so there would be no need for artificial light, and if he were to sell tachrichim, nobody would die…
The Ibn Ezra was niftar on 1 Adar 4924/1164. There are various opinions as to when and where he was niftar.
He also wrote dozens of books on astronomy, astrology, and mathematics. (others 4954 / 1194)
HaRav Azariya Figu (Figo, Fogo) of Venice, zt”l, (1579 - 5407 / 1647). Author of Binah La'itim and Gidulei Terumah.
HaRav Shabsai (ben Meir) HaKohen Katz, zt”l, the Shach, the great Halachist (circa 1622 - 5423 / 1663), author of the Sifsei Kohen, recognized as one of the most basic and authoritative commentaries on HaRav Yosef Caro's Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch). He is known as the "Shach" -- an acronym of the name of his work, which serves to this day as a primary source of Halacha.
He was born in the year 5382 / 1622 in Amstibiva. His father, Harav Meir, was the city’s Rav. Until the age of 12 he learned Torah from his father; after that his father sent him to study in the yeshivah of Reb Yehoshua, the Maginei Shlomo. Subsequently, the latter established a yeshivah in Cracow, and his devoted talmid accompanied him. Later, he became a talmid of the famed Rebbe, Reb Heshel of Cracow, and of Harav Naftali Katz, the Semichat Chachamim. He resided in the home of the saintly Megaleh Amukot, who also taught him hidden aspects of Torah.
After a number of years in Cracow, where at a very young age he became famed as a phenomenal gaon and tzaddik, Rav Shabsai moved to Vilna, where there were many established yeshivot. He continued growing immensely in Torah. He married the daughter of Harav Binyomin Wolf Tauber, a noted nagid and talmid chacham, son-in-law of the Maharsha and a great grand-daughter of the Rema.
After his marriage he was supported by his father-in-law, which assured him the peace of mind to author his vast work, the Sifsei Kohen on Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De’ah and Choshen Mishpat). His chibbur is crowned with haskamot of many Gedolim who were astounded by his vast knowledge. The Taz, who was much older, printed his sefer on Shulchan Aruch the same year as the Shach’s sefer appeared, and in various places he argues with him in psak halachah. The Shach later printed his answers to the Taz in Nekudot Hakesef.
During the infamous era of Tach V’tat (5408–9 / 1648–49), the communities of Russian Poland were devastated by Chmielnicki and his Cossack hordes, and Rav Shabsai haKohen was among the sufferers. [The murderous rampages went on for about 10 years.] At that time he had begun writing his chibbur on Choshen Mishpat. Evil Cossack gangs, led by the infamous Chmielnicki, burned down the entire city of Vilna; 25,000 Jews, including the Shach’s wife, perished, Hy”d. The remaining Jews, among them the Shach, fled, and he arrived in Lublin in Tammuz of the year 5415 / 1655. But peace did not last; on the following Sukkot, the Cossacks attacked that city, too. The Shach succeeded in evading them once again, and he fled to Deznitz, Czechoslovakia, where he served as Rav.
He authored selichot in tragic memory of the events. He recorded the many tzarot that the Yidden experienced during the period of Tach V’tat in Megaleh Aifa. Remarkably, a number of these sefarim were completed during the years that he was in constant flight.
His acclaimed sefer, the Sifsei Kohen, was accepted as dvar Hashem by all poskim after him. He also authored Tokfo Kohen, Gvurot Anashim and Nekudot Hakesef.
Eventually, he was asked to serve the esteemed kehillah of Halishi, Moravia.Unfortunately, he was not zocheh to arichut yamim; He was niftar at the age of 41 in Holleschau, Germany, on 1 Adar Rishon, having completed his commentary to 2 of the 4 sections of the Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah (at age 24) and Choshen Mishpat. Among his other works are Sefer Ha'Aruch on the Tur, Poel Tzedek on the 613 mitzvot, Takfu Kohen on the sugya of the same name in Bava Metzia, and Gevurot Anashim, on cases in which a wife can legally compel her husband to give her a get. (others 5422 / 1662)..
HaRav Refael Emanuel Chai (ben Avraham) Riki [or Reiki], zt”l, (1688 - 5503 / 1743). Kabbalist; author of Mishnat Chassidim.
Harav Refael was born in Ferrara, Italy. His parents were Harav Avraham and Rebbetzin Miriam.
After his father’s passing, his mother’s brother, Harav Yedidyah, supported the family. Following his uncle’s petirah, Rav Emanuel became a melamed in Gorizia, Italy, for two years.
He later met and married his wife, Miriam, in Florence. He accepted a position as Rav in the kehillah of Trieste. There, he wrote his first sefer, Hon Ashir on Mishnayot.
Rav Emanuel returned to Gorizia as a melamed for another two years, then he traveled to Eretz Yisrael and settled in Tzefat. He received semicha from Rav Chaim Abulafia
An epidemic broke out in 5480/1720, forcing him to return to Europe. On his way to Italy he, his wife and their two sons were captured by pirates. They were to be sold as slaves, but through the intervention of Rav Shlomo Kalfon, they were released. His belongings were ransacked; only his sefer Hon Ashir was left, which he hurriedly published.
Rav Emanuel settled in Livorno, Italy, for three years. During this time he wrote the famous Kabbalah sefer Mishnat Chassidim and is known by the name of this sefer.
Eventually Rav Emanuel decided to return to Eretz Yisrael. There, Rav Emanuel was chosen to serve as a Rosh Yeshivah, but soon had to travel to Italy to raise funds for the yeshivah.
In winter 5503/1743, Rav Emanuel headed back to Eretz Yisrael. On the second day of Rosh Chodesh Adar, he was attacked by robbers who killed him and stole all the money.
The Jews of Modena arranged to transfer Rav Emanuel’s body for proper burial; on 7 Adar, his body, still whole, was buried in Ginten, Italy.
He also wrote a commentary on Tehillim entitled Chozeh Tzion, and Yosher Leivav.((others 5505 / 1745).
HaRav Yitzchak Eizik Safrin of Komarna, zt”l, (or Komarno) (5560 / 1800). He was the author of Heichal HaBrachah and Zohar Chai. One of his sons was Rav Tzvi Hirsch Eichenshtein of Zhidachov, the Ateret Tzvi. Another son was Rav Yissochor Berish Eichenshtein of Zhidachov. A third son was Rav Moshe Eichenshtein of Sambor, a fourth was Rav Alexander Yom Tov Lipa Eichenshtein, a fifth was Rav Menachem Mendel Eichenshtein, and a sixth was Rav Eli Eichenshtein.
HaRav Menachem Mendel of Shklov, zt"l, (1827) [some say 30 Shvat]. He was the leader of the aliya of the followers of the Vilna Gaon to Eretz Yisrael. This is significant because of the many Minhagei Yerushalayim that were established by that Ashkenazi community. His leading student, Yitzchak Eizak Chaver Wildmann (1789-1853), perceived that the obscurity of the kabbalistic system was a major factor in the flight of students and thinkers from Torah to science, secular philosophy and atheism. In Pischey She'arim, R. Yitzchak Eizak Chaver vindicates the kabbalah against its detractors, showing that behind its metaphors lies the only system with the power to provide satisfying answers to man's deepest questions about the meaning and purpose of the universe.
HaRav Yitzchak Meir (ben Avrohom Yehoshua Heschel) of Zinkov, zt”l, eldest son of Harav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel, the Ohev Yisrael of Apta (5615 / 1855). He was born in 5536/1776.
Reb Yitzchak Meir married the daughter of Harav Chaim Yaakov Strum of Dukla, one of the foremost Chassidim of Harav Menachem Mendel of Rimanov.
He served as Rav — during the lifetime of his father — in Kolbasov, and later in another city. He then returned to the court of his father in Mezhibuzh. Reb Yitzchak Meir was very close to his father, and would bring all issues to his table.
Following the petirah of his father, on 5 Nisan 5585/1825, Reb Yitzchak Meir was appointed Rebbe in Mezhibuzh. A while later he moved to nearby Zinkov, where a large crowd was attracted to his court and from where his fame spread across Ukraine.
Like his father, Reb Yitzchak Meir was also famed for his ahavat Yisrael and for his outstanding acts of chessed. He was also known for his positive and favorable view of all Yidden, no matter their situation.
Reb Yitzchak Meir was close with many of the generation’s Rebbes. Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin said that were there eight tzaddikim in the generation the likes of Harav Moshe of Kobrin and Reb Yitzchak Meir, Moshiach would already have arrived.
Reb Yitzchak Meir was niftar on Rosh Chodesh Adar 5615/1855, at the age of 79. He was buried in Zinkov.
Some of Reb Yitzchak Meir’s divrei Torah were printed in Yalkut Ohev Yisrael.
His son and successor was Harav Meshulam Zusha, who succeeded him as Rebbe in Zinkov. Another son, Harav Mendel, who was the son-in-law of Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin, was niftar young, childless.
His sons-in-law were Harav Yisrael Ashkenazi and Harav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Baziliyah.
HaRav Baruch (ben Chaim) Halberstam of Gorlitz, zt"l, (5590 / 1830 - 5666 / 1906). Born in Rudnick, Poland, to the second of the four wives of the Sanzer Rav (Divrei Chaim). At age 14, he married Pessel, the daughter of Rav Yekusiel Yehuda Teitelbaum, the Yitav Lev of Sighet. In his early 30s, he was appointed rav of Rudnick, and later rav of Gorlitz. In 1886, after his wife's passing, he married Leah, a granddaughter of the Bnei Yissoscher. In 1860, he was appointed Rav in Rudnick, a position previously held by his father. Rav Baruch served in this capacity for 30 years. In 1876, after his father's petira, Rav Baruch took over the chassidut, and in 1890, he moved to Gorlitz, from where he led his chassidim for the rest of his life.
(ed; This is my wife's maternal Great Grandfather.)
HaRav Uri Yalas of Sambur, zt”l, (5670 / 1910).
HaRav Yosef Tzvi Kalisch of Skrenevitz, zt”l, (5717 / 1957).
HaRav Baruch Dovid (ben Gershon Chanoch) Rosenberg, zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva of Keneset Yisrael, Slabodka in Bnai Brak (5684 / 1924 - 5764 / 2004). Born in Moholiev, Russia, his grandfather was Rav Michel Yechiel Rashes-Rosenberg, one of Rav Chaim Brisker's chavrusot.
When he was about two years old, the family moved to Brisk, where they formed a tight bond with the Soloveitchik family. His parents’ home was often filled with visitors from yeshivot who had come to meet the famed Brisker Rav.
In his teens, Rav Baruch attended Mir, where became close to the Rosh Yeshivah, Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz and the Mashgiach, Rav Yechezkel Levenstein.
He was noted for his extraordinary hasmadah and gained renown as one of the top talmidim.
During World War II he stayed with the yeshivah when it was exiled to Vilna, then moved to Kaidan before arriving in Shanghai in the summer of 5701 / 1941. For the next five years, the yeshivah remained in Shanghai under the leadership of Harav Shmulevitz and Harav Levenstein.
In 5710 / 1950, Reb Baruch followed his rebbeim to Eretz Yisrael — to Yeshivat Mir in Yerushalayim. There the Mashgiach took care of all his needs and even arranged his marriage to the daughter of Harav Avraham Grodzensky, Hy”d, the Menahel Ruchani of Yeshivat Slabodka in Lithuania. The wedding took place in the summer of 5710 / 1950.
In 5711/1951, Harav Mordechai Shulman asked Reb Baruch to deliver shiurim at Yeshivat Slabodka; for the next five decades — until just a few weeks before his petirah — he delivered a weekly shiur to hundreds of talmidim.
His shiurim were renowned for their depth. He analyzed and elucidated the Gemara, teaching his talmidim by example how to delve into the sugya and extract its meaning.
Reb Baruch’s whole being was dedicated to serving Hashem heart and soul and elevating kvod Shamayim. He constantly prepared new shiurim, which he would toil over as if learning the sugya for the very first time. His chiddushim were printed in Leket Shiurim.
Following the petirah of Harav Moshe Tikoczinsky, he began to deliver mussar shmuessen. Using his gift for words, he found the way to his listeners’ hearts and helped guide them along the path of serving Hashem.
Although stricken with illness, until a few weeks before his petirah he would enter the beit medrash every day to talk to the talmidim of the yeshivah about the sugya being learned.
He was niftar on 1 Adar 5764/2004, at the age of 80.
Thousands of talmidim from Yeshivas Slabodka, along with many Roshei Yeshivah, accompanied Reb Baruch on his final journey from Yeshivat Slabodka to the Ponevezher cemetery.
HaRav Yitzchak Isaac (ben Meir) Eichenstein, zt”l, the Kiviashder Rav of Forest Hills, Queens (1913-2004). Born in Kashau, Czechoslovakia to the Zhidichov Rav of Kashau. As a youth, he learned under the Kashauer Rav, Rav Shaul Brach. Upon his marriage, he replaced his father-in-law (who had moved away) as Rav of Kishiavd and established a yeshiva. He staued for six years, until the Nazis arrived in 1944. The Rav was sent to Auschvitz and Bergen-Belsen, where he lost his parents, his wife, and his three young children. Despite his nisyonot, he spent his time, infusing others with chizuk. Following the War, he married his father-in-law's younger daugther, established a beit din to be matir hundreds of agunot, and arranged for the education of many orphans. He moved to America and settled in Queens in 1950. In 1953, under the auspices of the Satmar Rav, he established the Central Rabbinical Council of the United States and Canada.
HaRav Simcha Bunim (ben Eliezer Yehuda) Waldenberg, zt”l, (1937-2005), the only son of the Tzitz Eliezer. He was Rav of the Ezrat Torah neighborhood of Yerushalayim and of the Beit Yisrael Beit Midrash for over 30 years
2 Adar 4313 - 553 C.E.:
The Byzantine Emperor Justinian ordered that under his jurisdiction, instead of reading the Torah on Shabbat, the Greek translation
must be read. He also prohibited Rabbanim from speaking in public
on the parsha or teaching Torah. (others 10 Adar)
10 Adar II 5109 - March 1, 1349:
Massacre of the Jews of Freiberg, Germany, in the Black Death riots. See 10 Adar
2 Adar I 5442 - Feb. 10, 1682:
Anti-Jewish riots erupted in the city of Cracow, Poland.
2 Adar 5702 - Feb. 19, 1942:
The Nazis confiscated all Sifrei Torah (Torah scrolls) and other sefarim that belonged to the inhabtants of the Kovno ghetto.
2 Adar 5702 - Feb. 19, 1942:
Hitler devised a plan for a Museum of Judaism, to remember the dead Jewish religion, culture and people. Millions of Jewish treasures -- Sifrei Torah (Torah scrolls), ritual objects, books and art -- were looted by the Nazis and taken to warehouses. In Czechoslovakia, the objects were taken to the Jewish Museum in Prague, where the Jews themselves were forced to sort, label, and pack the items for use in the Nazi's future museum. After the war, many of these items were recovered, including thousands of Sifrei Torah and nearly one million books. These were distributed to Jewish communities worldwide, as a living testimony to the indestructibility of the Jewish people.
2 Adar I 5703 - Feb. 7, 1943:
The Jews of Solonika, Greece were transported to Nazi extermination camps. Of
the 50,000 Jews who lived in Solonika, only 1,200 survived the Holocaust, Hy"d.
2 Adar 5720 - Mar. 1, 1960:
Hundreds of Jews were among the thousands of victims to perish in a devastating earthquake that struck Agadir, Morocco.
2 Adar I 5730 - Feb. 2, 1970:
Knesset bill passed Mi Hu Yehudi - defining a Jew as one born to a Jewish mother or one converted
to Judaism. (Over 40 years later, there are still fights over the definition.)
2 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Meir Paprish, author of Ohr Tzadikim, Hy”d, (1624-1662). At the young age of 13, Reb Meir began learning Kabbalah as a student of Rav Yaakov Tzemach who studied under Rav Shmuel Vital, the son of Rav Chaim Vital.
HaRav Dovid ben Moshe Madjar of Yerushalayim, zt”l, (1800), author of Chesed Dovid.
HaRav Yom Tov (ben Yisrael Yaakov) Algazi, zt”l, the Maharit Algazi (5487 / 1727 – 5562 / 1802), one of the main students of the famed kabbalist Rabbi Shalom Sharabi. Rav Yom Tov was born in Izmir, Turkey, stemming from a long line of great Torah sages originating in Spain. His father was av beit din in Izmir, Turkey for over 40 years before being appointed Rishon Letzion in Yerushalyim.
In Yerushalayim, he learned under Harav Yehudah Navon, author of Kiryat Melech Rav, and later under Harav Yonah Navon, mechaber of Nechpah B’Kessef, together with the famed Chida.
His fame in learning spread and he was soon recognized as a budding talmid chacham and genius. He began to learn Kabbalah with the group called Ahavat Shalom, which was established by Harav Shalom Sharabi in his yeshivah Beit Kel. Rav Yom Tov, then still only in his twenties, was nevertheless recognized by the Kabbalists as a member of their elite group; his signature appears on their shtar hiskashrut (binding contract), the first name on the list being that of the Rashash, Harav Shalom Sharabi.
In 1758, he was appointed rosh yeshiva of Neveh Shalom.
In 5530/1770, the financial situation of the religious community in Eretz Yisrael was in a very bad state. It was decided to send a delegation to chutz laAretz to raise money for the Yishuv. The two Rabbanim chosen to represent the community were Harav Yom Tov Algazi and Harav Yaakov Chazan. They went to many places, returning to Eretz Yisrael some six years later, in 5536/1776, after a successful journey for the benefit of the local Jews.
In 5537/1777, with the petirah of the Rashash, Rav Yom Tov was appointed Rav of Beit Kel. He was then 50 years old. This position added to his stature in the community, which grew even more when he was appointed Rishon LeTzion — Rav of Yerushalayim, following the petira of Rav Refael Meyuchas. Whenever he saw a problem, he did not hesitate to correct it and reprimand those who were at fault. He also initiated many takanot on behalf of the Jews of Yerushalayim and his authority was accepted by all. He was Rav of Yerushalayim for 28 years.
Rav Yom Tov suffered many health complications in his last years. On 2 Adar I 5562/1802, Rav Yom Tov was niftar. He was buried on Har Hazeitim in Yerushalayim, near the kever of his rebbi, the Rashash.
He left behind a legacy of piskei halacha - Shu"t Simchat Yom Tov, Hilchot Yom Tov on hilchot Bechorah and Challah, and Kedushat Yom Tov. He left one son (Rav Yaakov) and 3 daughters.
HaRav Binyamin Zev Lev (ben Elazar Leib) Rokeach, zt”l, (1777-1851). He was born in the small town of Vadislav, and his father, the Shemen Rokeach, sent him to the yeshivot of R' Eliezer Kempne of Prostitz, and of his brother-in- law R' Yirmiyohu of Mattersdorf. He married Feigele, the daughter of Rav Yitzchak Eisik Elkish, Rav of Ushpitzin from the dynasty of the Rebbe R' Heschel and the Moginei Shlomo. He subsequently became Rav in Amshinov. He is the author of Shaarei Torah. His son, Yirmiyahu, was author of Divrei Yirmiyahu.
HaRav Aaron Aryeh Leib (ben Meir) Hagadol of Premishlan, zt”l, disciple of Rav Yechiel Michel of Zlotschov, (5573 / 1913).
HaRav Yaakov Yechezkiya (ben Moshe) Grunwald, zt”l, of Pupa, author of Vayaged Yaakov (5622 / 1882 - 5701 / 1941). Second son of Rav Moshe, the Arugat Habosem, Rav of Chust.
He was very attached to his father, becoming his prime disciple studying under his father until his marriage.
As a child, he accompanied his father on his visits to Harav Yechezkel Shraga of Shineve and Harav Yehoshua of Belz, and the memories of those trips remained vivid in his mind all his life. Even after he became a Rebbe, he often visited Harav Yissachar Ber of Belz and his son Harav Aharon.
Rav Yaakov Yechizkiya married his cousin, daughter of Harav Yisrael Menachem Braun of Brezovitch, and he remained in Brezovitch for several years.
Afterward he served as Rav and Rosh Yeshivah in several different communities, following his father’s tradition that the main purpose of being a Rav is to teach Torah and yirat Shamayim. He explained that sponsoring a yeshivah is the key to the survival of Yiddishkeit in our times.
In 5689 / 1929, Rav Yaakov Yechezkiya was chosen as Rav of Kehillat Adat Yisrael Pupa, Hungary. He established a yeshiva there which soon numbered 300 bachurim from across Europe, each one a paragon of Torah and yirat Shamayim.
Reb Yaakov Yechezkiya delivered two shiurim a day, one delving deeply into the sugya being studied and the other covering an amud of Gemara with Tosafot, Maharsha and the Pnei Yehoshua. Each shiur was prefaced by 15 minutes of mussar. The yeshivah soon gained a reputation for instilling lamdanut and chassidic values in its talmidim.
Despite his intense involvement with the yeshivah, Rav Yaakov Yechezkiya’s influence in the community was strong. In 5684 / 1924 he established the Tiferet Bachurim society, pairing each bachur with a baal habayit to learn at least once a week.
He strongly discouraged giving girls a secular education, explaining that this exposed them to many dangerous ideas and movements that adversely affected their mitzvah observance and tzniut. Instead, he proposed teaching them to be literate in Yiddish and to study the sefarim that had been written in Yiddish especially for women, such as Tzenah U’renah.
For most of his life Rav Yaakov Yechezkiya suffered from illness and on several occasions he became dangerously sick. Despite this, he never missed delivering shiurim.
News of the war in Europe and the suffering of the Polish Jews affected Reb Yaakov Yechezkiya and his health deteriorated. Realizing the situation, he wrote a will for his sons and talmidim, naming it Tzeidah Laderech. It was published along with the collections of his drashot, Vayaged Yaakov on the Torah and Agudat Eizov on the Haggadah.
Reb Yaakov Yechezkiya was niftar on 2 Adar 5701 / 1941, at age fifty-nine. His son, Harav Yosef Greenwald, assumed leadership of the yeshivah and continued in his father’s path. ]
HaRav Avraham Kalmanowitz, zt”l, (1891-1965), Av Beit Din of Tiktin, Rosh Yeshivat Mir, America. He was a talmid of Slobodka, a Rav of Rakov, and a close friend of Reb Chaim Ozer Grodzenski of Vilna. He was also the founder and head of a kollel, and a leader of Agudath Israel of Poland. After the First World War, the Mirrer Yeshiva appointed him as its president. His wife's grandfather was Rav Betzalel HaKohen, a dayan in Vilna and author of Mareh Kohen. At the beginning of World War II the Rav and his family reached the United States, while his beloved Mirrer Yeshiva escaped from Mir to Vilna, to avoid Soviet persecution. During the War, the Rav was was one of the leading personalities of the Vaad Hatzalah. (others 5724 / 1964).
HaRav Yisrael (ben Avraham Mordechai) Alter, zt”l, the Beit Yisrael of Ger (1895 - 5737 / 1977). The third son of the Imrei Emet, he celebrated a double simcha on his Bar Mitzvah, as he became engaged to his cousin, Chaya Sara. They married two years later. In 1940, the Imrei Emet escaped the Nazis and reached Eretz Yisrael, along with his sons, Rav Yisrael, Rav Simcha Bunim, and Rav Pinchas Menachem. Tragically, Rav Yisrael's wife, daughter, and son perished, a fact he didn't learn until 1945. He remarried in 1948, but had no children from his second wife. After his father's petira, Rav Yisrael assumed the mantle of leadership as the 4th Rebbe of Ger. For the next 29 years, he rebuilt Ger and was a major force in the Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah of Agudat Yisrael. After his passing, Ger was led by his brother, Rav Simcha Bunim, until his petira in 1992. After that, his other brother, Rav Pinchas Menachem led Ger for four years. Since then, Ger has been led by Rav Yaakov Aryeh, the son of Rav Simcha Bunim.
HaRav Moshe (ben Yehuda) Schwab, zt”l, (5677 / 1917 – 5739 / 1979). Born in Frankfurt-am-Main on 15 Nisan 5677/1917, he was the younger brother of Rav Shimon and Rav Mordechai. His parents were Harav Yehudah (Leopold) and Chanah Schwab (née Erlanger).
As a bachur, Rav Moshe learned first in Kaminetz under Rav Baruch Ber Leibowitz and then in Baronovich under Rav Elchonon Wasserman.
During his last year in Baranovitch, Rav Moshe asked the Mashgiach, Harav Yisrael Yaakov Lubschansky z”l, where he should spend Elul, and his mentor advised him to go to the Mir. The short time Rav Moshe spent there, including the last Elul that Harav Yerucham Levovitz, zt”l, was alive, affected all the sichot he would later deliver.
When his parents were forced to leave Germany and move to England, they let Reb Moshe make his own decision. On Simchat Torah, a day of great spiritual hisorerut in the Mir, Rav Yerucham would honor each talmid with the opportunity to hold a sefer Torah. When Rav Moshe’s turn came, he held onto it with all his might and made a resolution that he would devote his entire life to Torah.
In 5698/1938, Rav Moshe returned to Kamenitz. Because he was a citizen of Germany, he was ordered to leave the country and moved to England.
In London, he entered Rav Schneider’s yeshivah. When war broke out, due to his German citizenship he was interned on the Isle of Man. There he set up a yeshivah. Reb Moshe delivered shiurim based on those of his rebbi, Reb Baruch Ber. Eventually, he returned to his parents in London.
. In 1942, he married Rochel Baddiel, daughter of Rav Dovid Baddiel, one of the founding members of the Gateshead kehilla.
Reb Moshe moved to Letchworth, where he met Harav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler, zt”l, who asked him to join him in his new kollel in Gateshead. Ultimately, he became the beloved Mashgiach of the Gateshead Yeshivah. He became very close to Rav Dessler and absorbed not only his teachings but his entire way of life.
In 5739/1979 Reb Moshe was diagnosed with a serious illness. His situation deteriorated rapidly, yet he continued to greet every visitor with his warm smile.
Rav Moshe was niftar on 2 Adar of that year.
He authored Ma'archei Lev on the Yomim Tovim.
HaRav Yosef Dov (ben Yitzchak Zev) Soloveitchik, zt”l, (5741 / 1981), Rosh Yeshivat Brisk, Yerushalayim, son of the Brisker Rav. Rav Berel, as he was fondly known, was the recipient of the derech halimud of his famous forebearers. During World War II, he fled with his father and the rest of the family to Warsaw, and from there to Eretz Yisrael. After the petira of his father, Rav Berel took over Yeshivat Brisk in Yerushalayim. It was said that he knew Talmud Yerushalmi baal peh. He was buried in Har Hamenuchot. He was succeeded as Rosh Yeshiva by his son Rav Avraham Y. Soloveitchik.
HaRav Mordechai (ben Moshe) Wulliger, zt”l, (1895-1995), born in Bishtina-Marmoresh, his primary teacher was Rav Chaim Zvi Teitelbaum, Rav of Sigher and author of Atzei Chaim. Rav Wulliger settled in the United States in 1938 and was a member of the Yeshiva and Mesivta Torah Vodaath for about 50 years. He authored a myriad of seforim, the first of which was Pardes Mordechai (1927).
3 Adar 3413 - 348 B. C. E.:
After four years of work, the joyous dedication of the Second Beit HaMikdash on the site of the 1st Beit HaMikdash was celebrated today. (Ezra 6:15-16)
The First Beit HaMikdash, built by Shlomo HaMelech / King Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians . At that time, the Navi / prophet Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah prophesied: "Thus says the L-rd: After seventy years for Babylon will I visit you... and return you to this place." The Persian emperor Cyrus, who took over the Babylonian empire, permitted the Jews to return to Judah and rebuild the Beit HaMikdash. The re-building was then interrupted for 18 years, when the Samarians persuaded Cyrus to withdraw permission. Achashverosh II (of Purim fame) upheld the moratorium. Only exactly 70 years after the destruction -- did the building of the Beit HaMikdash resume under Darius II, the Persian king whom is said to be the son of Esther (of Purim fame).
The Second Beit HaMikdash lacked much of the glory of the First Beit HaMikdash: There was no Ark of the Covenant, and the daily miracles and prophets were no longer part of the scenery. The Second Beit HaMikdash would stand for 420 years, before being destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.
3 Adar - 1699:
Jews of Lubeck, Germany, were expelled.
3 Adar - March 4, 1949:
David Ben Gurion formed the State of Israel's first government..
3 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Mordechai Yaffe, zt”l, author of Levush Mordechai, and known as the Baal HaLevushim (5290 / 1530 – 5372 / 1612) [Adar II]. His father, Harav Avraham, the Rav of Prague, was, as the S”mah wrote: “Rav of the entire Polish and Bohemian Kingdom and was famous for his righteousness and piety.”
Harav Mordechai was a primary talmid of the Rema and the Maharshal, two of the most prominent scholars of that time. He was also a devoted talmid of Harav Matisyahu Delacrot, author of the peirush called Shaarei Orah, and a well-known mekubal.
He married in 5313/1553.
The Levush served for a while as Rosh Yeshivah in Prague, where he also began writing his great chibbur.
In 1559, King Ferdinand decreed that the Jews of Prague be evicted. Despite the successful efforts of Pope Pius IV on behalf of the Jews (which resulted in a 2-year delay), the Jews of Prague left the city in 1561. Rav Mordechai settled in Venice, where he learned with Rav Avraham Abuhav and Rav Mattisyahu Delcorte.
In 5332/1572, after the petirah of Harav Nassan Shapiro, mechaber of Mevo Hashe’arim, Harav Mordechai was asked to succeed him as the Rav of Horodna (Grodna), Lithuania. There he continued to disseminate Torah, establishing a large beit medrash that was later named after him.
When the Maharam of Lublin moved to Cracow in 5348/1588, the Levush was invited to assume the crown of Lublin’s rabbanut. He established a large and eminent yeshivah there. In Lublin, he strengthened the power of the Vaad Shalosh Aratzot (Council of Three Lands), whose gatherings were held in Lublin, and under his influence the Jewish communities of Lithuania joined the Vaad, ultimately turning it into the Vaad Arba Aratzot (Council of Four Lands).
His next rabbanut was in Kremenitz, from 5352/1592. In 5359/1599, when the Maharal returned to Prague after serving as Rav in Posen, Rav Mordechai went on to become Rav in Posen and remained there until his petirah.
The Levush’s mesirut nefesh for Torah was legendary, and despite his many pressing communal responsibilities he continued his Torah-related tasks unabated.
While on his deathbed, he answered a complex question in hilchot gittin, as cited in Teshuvot Maharam of Lublin Responsa 122. In response to a question sent to him two days before his petirah, he wrote a teshuvah to the Vaad Arba Aratzot, saying: “I am now on my deathbed, lo aleichem. and am dependent on the Melech Malchei Hamelachim.”
The tzaddikim of the Vorka and Amshinover dynasties, who are descendants of the Levush, used to tell this story:
Once a wealthy noblewoman wanted to incite him to a dvar aveirah. Harav Mordechai fled by jumping into a sewer pipeline and was miraculously saved, although all of his garments, 10 in number, were ruined. He was rewarded for this great mesirut nefesh by being granted the zechut of writing the 10 sefarim called Levushim (“Garments”). (In another version, he promised that if he would be saved he would author 10 Levushim.)
After this incident, to protect his children from nisyonot, the Levush davened to Hashem that his children should be dark-skinned and unappealing. (The sefer Ish Chasidecha cites that this bakashah was fulfilled for 10 generations.)
He authored ten Levushim:
Levush HaTecheilet on Ohr Hachaim; Levush HaChur on Ohr Hachaim; Levush Ateret Zahav on Yoreh Deah; Levush Habutz V'ha'argaman on Even Haezer; Levush Ir Shushan on Choshen Mishpat; Levush HaOrah, a peiruah on Rashi al HaTorah; Levush Simchah VeSasson, drushim; Levush Pinat Yikrat, a peirush on Sefer Moreh Nevuchim of the Rambam; Levush Even Yekarah, a peirush on the Recanati al HaTorah; and Levush Eider Hayakar, a peirush on the Rambam's Hilchot Kiddush Hachodesh.
During his lifetime his sefarim were reprinted three times; they were accepted as basic by all the Rabbanim and mechabrim after him. The Chida writes that in some places people preferred to learn Levush over Shulchan Aruch, due to its lengthy and explanatory style.
Two important peirushim on the Levush were written many years later: In Elya Rabba, Rav Eliyahu Shapiro answers many refutation of the Levush brought in the Malbushei Yom Tov, (written by the author of Tosefot Yom Tov), and in Levushei Tzedakah, Rav Tzadok Hakohen answers difficulties raised by the Smah in Levush Choshen Mishpat.
HaRav Noach of Crakow, zt“l, author of Toldot Noach on Midrash (5398 / 1638).
HaRav Noach Chaim Tzvi Berlin, zt”l, Rav of Altona, Hamburg, and Wandsbeck and author of Atzei Almogim and Atzei Arazim and Av Beit Din of AH"U (5562 / 1802).
HaRav Binyamin Zev Lev, zt”l, Rav of Verboi and author of Shaarei Tefilah (5611 / 1851). (Adar II).
He was born in Vodislav in 5537 / 1777. His father, Harav Elazar Lev, the Shemen Rokeach, sent him to the yeshivot of Harav Eliezer Kempne of Prostitz, and of his brother-in-law Harav Yirmiyahu of Mattersdorf.
Reb Binyamin Zev married the daughter of Harav Efraim Zalman Margulies.
His first appointment as Rav was in Verboi, where he headed a yeshivah. Among his more famous talmidim were Harav Chaim Tzvi Mannheimer; Harav Chaim Sofer, the Machaneh Chaim; and Harav Avraham Yehudah Schwartz, the Kol Aryeh.
Reb Binyamin Zev was known for his greatness not only in Torah but in midot, too. It is told that one time during a shiur, he asked a talmid to bring the Rambam on hilchot Me’ilah. The talmid didn’t hear clearly and brought hilchot Milah. Instead of asking him to exchange the volumes, thus embarrassing him, Reb Binyamin Zev leafed through the volume quickly and found a halachah connected to the shiur.
Reb Binyamin Zev wrote Shaarei Torah at the age of 26. Harav Akiva Eiger quotes it in his noted sefer on Shulchan Aruch.
Reb Binyamin Zev was niftar on 3 Adar II 5611/1851 at the age of 74.
His son, Rav Yirmiyahu, was the author of Divrei Yirmiyahu.
HaRav Binyamin (ben Mendel) Morgenstern of Kotzk, zt”l, (5600 / 1840 - 5626 / 1866). Son of Reb Mendel of Kotzk and his zivug sheini, the daughter of Harav Moshe Chalfan of Warsaw. (Harav Chalfan was also the father-in-law of the Chidushei Harim of Ger.)
Reb Binyamin, renowned for his charifus, was respected by the chassidim.
Shidduchim were proposed with the daughters of leading Gedolim, but all offers were turned down by his father, the Kotzker Rebbe. However, the Rebbe agreed to a shidduch with Frumtche, the daughter of Harav Avraham Mordechai Alter, zt”l (son of the Chiddushei Harim and father of the Sfat Emet) and, in a short time, it was concluded.
The seudat hatena’im was held in the beit medrash in Kotzk, and the chassidim were delighted by the possibility of seeing the Rebbe, who barely left his room during those years. After many hours, the Rebbetzin went to ask the Rebbe if he would be coming out to the beit medrash. He let out a deep sigh and said, “Oy! We don’t see the arichat yamim of our dear mechutan.”
The wedding was held on 4 Adar 5616 / 1856 in Kotzk, with the brothers-in-law — and now mechutanim — the Chiddushei Harim and the Kotzker Rebbe in attendance. Although it was extremely cold and the snow was deep, many Kotzker chassidim attended the wedding; all wished to take part in the simchah of the marriage of the Rebbe’s son.
Later that year, on 27 Av, Reb Avraham Mordechai was niftar at the age of 40. He was buried in Warsaw. Then the words of the Kotzker Rebbe at the tena’im were explained.
On 22 Shevat 5619 / 1859, the Kotkzer Rebbe was niftar. While some chassidim chose his son Harav Dovid as the new Rebbe, many flocked to the Chiddushei Harim, then in Warsaw, and appointed him Rebbe. Among those who journeyed to the Chiddushei Harim were Reb Binyamin and his brother Reb Moshe Yerucham, and the sons-in-law of the Kotzker Rebbe, the Avnei Nezer and Harav Zev Rapaport, Rav of Kotzk.
Reb Binyamin was very close with his grandfather by marriage, the Chiddushei Harim.
On the second day of Sukkot 5626 / 1865, the Chiddushei Harim said: “Initially I thought that I would bring the hearts of Am Yisrael close to our Father in Heaven and then the Geulah would arrive, but now I see that this is to be left for someone else. An avreich, free of aveirah, will arise, who will only be able to tolerate those who are yirei chet, and through him the Geulah will come. Maybe I will be zocheh that this person will be among my descendants.”
Sitting next to the Chiddushei Harim were his grandsons; the Sfat Emet and Reb Binyamin. The Chiddushei Harim turned to Reb Binyamin and said, “I didn’t mean you, but another avreich.”
Later that winter, when Reb Binyamin returned to his home in Kotzk, he took ill. The doctors could not cure him; his condition worsened and he was niftar on Motzoei Shabbat Parashat Terumah, 3 Adar 5626 / 1866, at the age of 26.
When a messenger arrived in Ger with the tidings, the family looked for a way to inform the Chiddushei Harim of the tragedy, for they hadn’t told him how serious the situation was. When they entered his room, he didn’t inquire about Reb Binyamin. Instead, he said, “When the chassid Reb Peretz of Peshischa was niftar, the Yehudi Hakadosh said, ‘Really Reb Peretz should have become Rebbe after me, but since they knew in Heaven that if Reb Peretz became Rebbe, he would turn the hearts of all to Heaven, he was taken from this world before me.’ And the Yehudi Hakadosh himself was niftar a short while later.”
Only after relating this story did the Chiddushei Harim ask if any news had come from Kotzk.
Reb Binyamin was buried in the ohel in Kotzk with his father; later his brothers and brothers-in-law were also buried there.
Only three weeks later, on 23 Adar, the Chiddushei Harim was niftar, reminiscent of the story he had related about the Yehudi Hakadosh.
HaRav Eliyahu Mezhritch, zt”l, author of Midreishei Eliyahu (5628 / 1868).
HaRav Eliyahu Dovid Rabinowitz-Teomim, zt”l, the Aderet (1843 – 5665 / 1905).(Adar I). Harav Eliyahu Dovid was the son of Harav Binyamin and Chana Rabinowitz. He came to be known as the “Aderet,” which is the acronym formed by the initials of his name. The last part of his name, Teomim denotes the fact that he was a "te'om," or twin. His twin brother, Tzvi Yehudah, was also an outstanding talmid chacham.
His mother, Chana, was a descendant of the Baal Halevushim and the Chacham Tzvi.
In his youth, Eliyahu Dovid learned primarily with his father. As a mere boy of 12 he began to write chiddushim, which he jotted down in a small notebook. These he later called Nishmat Shabbat.
By the age of 13 he began to write sefarim. In his humility, he never showed those writings to anyone, and on the shaar blatt of each work he wrote, “If you have learned much Torah, don’t think highly of yourself.”
After his marriage to Feiga Minna, Rav Eliyahu Dovid moved to his wife's birthplace, Ponovez, where he delivered Gemara shiurim. When he was 29, he was invited to serve as the Rav of Ponevez, a position he held for 18 years.
In 5650/1890 he was asked to serve as Rav of the city of Mir. Rav Eliyahu Dovid accepted the offer because he felt that in Mir he would be able to devote more time to his Torah studies than he could in Ponevez.
He served as Rav of Mir from 1890 to 1898. He was then asked to assume a position as rabbi of Yerushalayim, at the recommendation of Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky. There, he would assist the 80 year old Rav Shmuel Salant, zt”, the revered Rav of Yerushalayim. Rav Shmuel was searching for an assistant who would work with him and eventually succeed him. Rav Eliyahu Dovid arrived in Yaffo on Friday morning, 26 Adar 5660/1900. He was greeted at the port by a large contingent of Yerushalayim’s most eminent residents, among them Dayanim, Roshei Yeshivah and Roshei Kollel.
Immediately after his arrival in Yerushalayim, Rav Eliyahu Dovid summoned the city’s finest yeshivah students to a meeting in his home, and asked them to help him take various measures to improve the city’s spiritual welfare. The Rav of Brisk, Harav Yehoshua Leib Diskin, zt”l, enthusiastically joined in this call.
Rav Eliyahu Dovid then appointed Harav Ben-Tzion Yadler, zt”l, to supervise the eruv and oversee the weights and measures used by merchants in the city.
Rav Eliyahu Dovid served as the Rav of Yerushalayim for only four years; on 3 Adar I 5665/1905, his productive life was cut short.
Among the 100 writings that Rav Eliyahu Dovid left behind are Zecher L’Mikdash on the mitzvah of hakhel; Teshuvah M’Yirah; and chiddushim on the Rambam. He also wrote an inspiring autobiography called Seder Eliyahu.
He had seven children. His daughter Batsheva married Rav Abraham Isaac Kook in 1886, however she died a few years later, whereupon Rav Eliyahu Dovid encouraged Rabbi Kook to marry his niece (the daughter of his twin brother Tzvi-Yehudah). Eventually he encouraged Rabbi Kook to become the Chief Rabbi of Jaffa.
HaRav Chaim Yaakov Goldvicht, zt”l, founder (1952) and rosh yeshiva, Kerem B'Yavne (1994). Born in Yerushalayim, he attended Yeshiva Etz Chaim under Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer. Thereafter, he learned under the guidance of Rav Zev Soloveitchik, the Brisker Rav. After marrying his wife, Miriam, he moved to Bnei Brak where he studied under the Chazon Ish and was also close to Rav Isaac Sher.
(Others 7 Adar).
HaRav Yechiel Malach, zt”l, (1922-2006). Born in Ostrolenka, Poland, he was a talmid muvhak of Rav Avraham Yoffen, he went on to learn in Slobodka, then settled in Brooklyn after the War. He became ninth grade rebbi and manhig ruchani at Yeshivat Be'er Shmuel. Around 1986, he moved to Yerushalayim, where he was marbitz Torah in the Gerrer Yeshiva Ner Yisrael.
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4 Adar 5067 - 1307:
The tragic saga of the imprisonment of Rav Meir ben Baruch ("MaHaRaM") of Rottenburg came to a close when his body was ransomed, 14 years after his petira (death), by R' Alexander ben Shlomo (Susskind) Wimpfen who gave away his entire fortune to ransom the body.
"MaHaRaM" (1215? - 5053 / 1293) was the leading Torah authority in Germany, and authored thousands of Halachic responsa as well as the Tosafot commentary of the Talmudic tractate Yoma.
In 5043 / 1283 he was imprisoned in the Ensisheim fortress and held for a huge ransom, but he forbade the Jewish community to pay it (based on the Talmudic ruling that exorbitant sums should not be paid to free captives, as this would encourage the taking of hostages for ransom).
For many years MaHaRaM's disciple, R. Shimon ben Tzadok, was allowed to visit him in his cell and recorded his teachings in a work called Tashbetz.
Even after theMaHaRaM's passing in 5053 / 1293, his body was not released for burial until it was ransomed by R. Alexander. He was buried in the old Jewish cemetery of Worms. Next to him was buried R. Alexander. Both graves miraculously escaped Nazi ravaging of the cemetery.
4 Adar 5558 - Feb. 20, 1798:
Ghetto in Rome legally abolished.
In 1555, Pope Paul IV segregated the Jews of Rome in a walled quarter surrounded by gates that were locked at night. The ‘ghettoed’ Jews were then subjected to various forms of degradation as well as restrictions on their personal freedoms. During the French Revolution, Italy was conquered by Napoleon Bonaparte. On this day, the Ghetto was legally abolished and Jews declared free citizens of Rome by the French army. It was reinstated, however, as soon as the Papacy regained control.
4 Adar I 5752 – Feb. 8, 1992:
Yahrtzeit of Menachem Begin (1913-1992), prime minister of Israel. Prior to the creation of the state, Begin became leader of the Irgun and used militant means to force the British government to withdraw from Palestine. In the Knesset, Begin led the opposition party for decades, before being elected prime minister in 1977. Begin negotiated the Camp David Accords with Anwar Sadat of Egypt, for which he was awarded the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize. Begin is also remembered for his conviction to Jewish tradition (he was known to consult with great rabbis and to walk to meetings on Shabbat), and his resolve to defend the Jewish people from another Holocaust (Begin had lost his parents and a brother to the Nazis), which factored greatly in his decision to bomb the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.
4 Adar Yahrtzeits
The Amora Rabanan Soverai, Rav Achai bar Rav Huna, zt"l. 4266 / 506 C.E.
HaRav Aryeh Leib Sarah’s, zt”l, (5490 / 1730 - 5551 / 1791), a disciple of Rav Israel Baal Shem Tov.
Born 17 Tammuz 5490/1730 in Rawani, Harav Leib was the son of Harav Yosef, one of the lamed-vav tzaddikim of the generation. Reb Leib Sarah’s was held in high esteem by the Baal Shem Tov.
One of the "hidden tzaddikim," Rav Leib spent his life wandering from place to place to raise money for pidyon shevuyim — the ransoming of imprisoned Jews and the support of other hidden tzaddikim.
In his wide-ranging travels, he uncovered “lost souls.” The most famous of these was a young shepherd whom he found singing. He convinced the boy to go to the Rebbe Reb Shmelke of Nikolsburg; later, he became a Rebbe himself — Harav Yitzchak Eizik of Kaliv.
Many of Reb Leib’s talmidim were also tzaddikim nistarim, among them Harav Yitzchak of Lvov (Lemberg) and Harav Ezriel Palitzker.
He was known by the name of his mother due to the fact that as a young beautiful girl she married an old melamed (Rav Yosef) who was a hidden tzadik to avoid the advances of a nobleman.
Harav Leib Sarah’s was niftar on 4 Adar II 5551/1791, at the age of 61.(others 1796).
HaRav Chaim Yosef Gottlieb,zt”l, Rav of Stropkov and author of Tiv Gittin V’Kiddushin. (5627 / 1867). (Adar II).
Harav Chaim Yosef Gottlieb was born c. 5550 / 1790 in Bertzal, near Tokai, Hungary. His father, Harav Yehudah Aryeh, was a relative of Harav Yoel Gottlieb, Rav of Galanta; on his mother’s side, Harav Chaim Yosef was descended from the Shelah Hakadosh.
In his youth, the family settled in Krali, since his father had an estate there which he leased from the count of Krali.
There were two famous yeshivot in Krali at the time, and it is presumed that Harav Chaim Yosef learned in these yeshivot. One of the yeshivot was headed by Harav Moshe Aryeh Ostreicher, Av Beit Din of Krali, and the other by Harav Yekusiel Wolf, mechaber of Emek Hamelech on the Rambam.
In Krali, Harav Chaim Yosef was attracted to the ways of Chassidut. He became a devoted chassid of Harav Yitzchak Eizik of Kaliv.
Harav Chaim Yosef also learned in the yeshivah of the Chasam Sofer in Pressburg.
Around 5573 / 1813, Harav Chaim Yosef married Breindel, the daughter of the naggid Harav Meir Lichtstein of Tertzal. He settled in Tertzal, and was supported by his father-in-law for the next few years.
At that time, the Rav in Tertzal was Harav Yechezkel Panet of Dezh, zy”a, the Mareh Yechezkel, who sent his talmidim, as well as his own children, to learn under Harav Chaim Yosef.
As Rosh Yeshivah, Harav Chaim Yosef put many chiddushim to paper, but unfortunately only one sefer, Tiv Gittin v’Kiddushin, remained. The sefer contains his chiddushim on Seder Nashim, with the name based on the Gemara which states that he who is not fluent in “tiv gittin v’kiddushin” should not deal in them.
Harav Chaim Yosef delved into Kabbalah and wrote on that as well, but these writings, too, were lost.
Harav Chaim Yosef was close with Harav Menachem Mendel of Rimanov. After the petirah of the Kaliver Rebbe, he journeyed to Harav Naftali Tzvi of Ropshitz. Following the petirah of the Ropshitzer Rebbe, Harav Chaim Yosef began to travel to Sanz, to the court of the Divrei Chaim, where he was among the elite group of chassidim.
In 5583 / 1823, when the Mareh Yechezkel left the Rabbanut of Tertzal, Harav Chaim Yosef was appointed Rav and Dayan in the city.
Nearly 20 years later (in 5601 / 1841), after the petirah of Harav Moshe Teitelbaum, zy”a, the Yismach Moshe of Uhel, his grandson Harav Yekusiel Yehudah, the Yetev Lev, became Rav in Uhel in his place. The Yetev Lev had until then been Rav in Stropkov. With his departure, the kehillah asked the Divrei Chaim who should replace him. He recommended Harav Chaim Yosef, who accepted the offer and became Rav in Stropkov.
He instituted many takanot in the city, and was also known as a poel yeshuot; many flocked to Stropkov to seek his brachot.
Harav Chaim Yosef was beloved by many of the Gedolim of his time. In Sanz, it was known that only three people were zocheh to daven at the amud on the Yamim Tovim: Harav Chaim Yosef, Harav Shlomo Shapira of Munkacs and the Kol Aryeh. Once the Divrei Chaim told Harav Chaim Yosef, “Your name is Chaim like mine; your father’s name is Leibish, like mine; the only difference between us is that you have another name, Yosef.”
Harav Chaim Yosef did much to help strengthen Yiddishkeit in Hungary at this critical time. He organized the first minyan in Kashau, and thus founded a city that would later produce many Gedolei Yisrael.
After the petirah of his first Rebbetzin on 14 Shevat 5608 / 1848, Harav Chaim Yosef married her sister, Rebbetzin Vittel. She passed away on 18 Elul 5644 / 1884.
He had five sons — Harav Efraim, Harav Menashe, Harav Naftali, Harav Yisrael Menachem and Harav Asher — and one daughter, Miriam Gittel, who married Harav Shlomo Zalka, Rav in Nasoid.
In 5626 / 1866, Harav Chaim Yosef attended an asifah of the Hungarian Rabbanim in Miholiwitz. After returning he felt weak. Although his family pressured him to see a doctor, Harav Chaim Yosef said that if Hashem wanted him to be well, he would have a refuah sheleimah without the intervention of doctors.
Harav Chaim Yosef didn’t travel to Sanz for Shabbat Chanukah 5627 / 1866 as he usually did, because of his weakness. Instead, he said he would like to go for Shabbat Shekalim, Shabbat Mevorchim Adar Beit. And so he did, with a few of his children.
Upon returning home, he was very weak. A few days later, the following Shabbat, 4 Adar II, Harav Chaim Yosef was niftar.
The levayah was held on Sunday, and Harav Chaim Yosef was buried in Stropkov. An ohel was built over the kever, but unfortunately it was destroyed during the Holocaust.
HaRav Shraga Tzvi Tennenbaum, zt"'l, Rav of Tshate and author of Neta Sorek, (5586 / 1826 - 5657 / 1897).(Adar I).
Born on 1 Iyar 5586/1826, in Sendra, Hungary. His father, Harav Ze’ev, was the first Rav in Sendra. In his formative years he learned under the tutelage of his father, together with his younger brother Harav Yaakov (later Rav in Potnack). The brothers grew very close to each other and in their sefarim quote each other often.
Reb Shraga Tzvi married the daughter of Harav Avraham Yaakov Rose, who was the first Rav of Kashua. In 5608 / 1848, when his father, Rav Ze’ev, was appointed Rav of Werfelet, the community of Sendra asked Reb Shraga Tzvi — the son of their former Rav — to replace his father. He served as Rav for the next 26 years.
In 5634 / 1874, Reb Shraga Tzvi was appointed Rav in Meza-Tshate, where he served as Rav until his petirah.
Reb Shraga Tzvi was renowned for his greatness in Torah. His unique derech halimud attracted bachurim to his yeshivah. He would not delve in pilpul, but rather sought the truth and depth in each sugya.
In the beginning of the winter of 5657 / 1896–7, his brother Yaakov became sick and was niftar on 28 Kislev of that year. Reb Shraga Tzvi took his brother’s passing very much to heart. Several months later, on Shabbat Parashat Terumah, 4 Adar I, he himself passed away.
His drashot and chiddushim were named Neta Sorek. Three volumes were published: drashot on the Torah, chiddushim on the Shas, and his responsa.
HaRav Eliezer (”Lazer”) (ben Avraham Shmuel) Gordon, zt"l, Rosh Yeshiva of Telshe, (5601 / 1841 - 5670 / 1910). Born in Chernian, Lithuania, located in the Vilna region.
HaRav Avraham (ben Chaim Menachem Bentzion) Blumenkrantz (1944-2007). Born in Palestine four years before the founding of the state of Israel, Reb Avraham and his family were abroad at the outset of the War of Independence. In the early 1950s the family settled in Bogotá, Colombia, where his father became chief rabbi. Reb Avraham came to New York as a teenager to study at Mesivta Tiferet Yerushalayim under Rav Moshe Feinstein, with whom Rav Blumenkrantz maintained a close relationship until Rav Feinstein's death in 1986. Under the guidance of Rav Moshe, Rav Avraham took positions at Staten Island and Brooklyn. He also became Rav in Far Rockaway. He also became well-known for his annual Pesach guide.
His father, Harav Avraham Shmuel, was a disciple of Harav Chaim of Volozhin.
When young Eliezer was eight days old he was transported to a neighboring town, Svir, where his brit was to be held, since there was no mohel in Chernian. During the short journey, the blanket-wrapped infant accidentally fell out of the wagon. Much later, the family found a wolf hovering protectively over the infant, as if a special messenger had been sent from Heaven to guard this great neshamah.
As a youngster, Rav Eliezer studied in the Zaretza Yeshivah in Vilna and from there, he transferred to the yeshivah of Harav Yisrael Salanter in Kovno, where he learned with Rav Yitzchak Blazer, Rav Simcha Zissel Ziv, and Rav Naftali Amsterdam. He was very beloved by his rebbi, Harav Yisrael Salanter, who realized his potential greatness and appointed him as a maggid shiur at a relatively young age.
Rav Eliezer married the daughter of the wealthy and pious Harav Avraham Yitzchak Noveizer who supported his son-in-law for a number of years. He refused to allow Rav Eliezer to assume any rabbinical position. When Rav Eliezer was offered the rabbanut of the prestigious towns of Aliksot and Eishyshok, his father-in-law did not let him accept, saying, “Who knows whether we are sustaining him with our financial support, or he is sustaining us with his Torah?”
Even though Rav Eliezer was still young, many Gedolim, including Harav Yehoshua Leib Diskin and Harav Yitzchak Elchanan Spector, sought him out to assist them in the many battles being conducted against the vicious maskilim. They once sent him to St. Petersburg, where he was, baruch Hashem, successful in annulling some harsh gezeirot the maskilim instigated against Yidden.
Rav Eliezer was later offered the rabbanut of the esteemed kehillah of Slabodka. With many reservations, his father-in-law allowed him to accept the post. On the day Rav Eliezer was scheduled to leave for Slabodka, his father-in-law collapsed; he was niftar that very morning. The family was shocked; they could not help remembering his prophetic words. After this incident, Rav Eliezer stayed on in Kovno;succeeding his father-in-law as Rav, three months later he was sought after to accept the rabbanut of Kelm. He acceded to this request and spent almost 10 years there.
During that period his Rebbetzin passed away and he married the daughter of Harav Baruch Broide of Kovno. Subsequently he left Kelm for the rabbanut of Slabodka, where he served as Rav for six months.
Then he went to Telshe, which had been started in 1877 by Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel and Rav Eliezer Chavas.
In 5645/1885, he assumed the rabbanut of Telshe. There, due to his great efforts, a group of his talmidim grew into Yeshivat Telshe. He directed his talmidim to explore the words of Rishonim with great depth.
He was deeply involved in Telshe’s klal matters, enacting many takanot.
As the Haskalah impacted Jewish communities, Rav Eliezer instituted a seder mussar in the yeshiva. In 1897, he hired Rav Leib Chasman as mashgiach to fight off the influences of haskala. His ahavat haTorah was such that, as he studied Torah he was totally detached from anything physical. His talmidim recall that once, while he was writing chiddushim, he was so involved that he didn’t realize he had run out of paper and continued writing on the table.
Rav Gordon traveled to London to raise money for the yeshiva after a fire destroyed the yeshiva in Telshe in 5670/1910, but was unsuccessful. His weak heart could not withstand the stress, and Rav Lazer was niftar in London. The London community organized an honorable funeral, and later built a beautiful ohel on his kever.
After WWII, the Telshe Yeshiva was reestablished in Cleveland, Ohio, headed by his great-grandchild, Harav Eliyahu Meir Bloch. (Adar I)
HaRav Dovld Friedman of Pinsk, zt”l, author of Piskei Halachot, (5675 / 1915). (Adar I)
HaRav Ephraim Zalman Halpern (1961). Served as Rav of fourteen chassidic Kehillot in Denver,CO, during and after WW I, and Rav in New York City. He moved to Yerushalayim in 1935 and established the Central Committee for Taharat Hamishpacha, building hundreds of Mikvaot all over the country.
HaRav Yaakov Goldwicht, zt"l, Rosh Yeshiva of Kerem B'Yavneh, (5754 / 1994).
HaRav Mordechai Leib Mann, Rosh Yeshiva Beit Hillel in Bnei Brak (5757 / 1997)
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5 Adar 2488 - 1272 B.C.E.:
Last Day of Moshe Rabbeinu's Leadership. Moshe Rabbeinu passed away on the 7th of Adar.
Following Hashem's instruction that Yehoshua / Joshua should succeed him and lead the Jewish nation into Eretz Yisrael,
Moshe Rabbeinu transferred leadership duties to Yehoshua on the day before he passed away. Thus the fifth day of Adar was
the last day of Moshe Rabbeinu's leadership.
5 Adar 5233 - 1473:
First massacre of marranos - in Cordova - 1473, Hy"d. Although the Inquisition and the auto-da-fe was inflicted on anyone accused of heresy, its main victims were Jews. The Inquisition accused people of backsliding or heresy for actions such as not eating pig, washing hands before prayer, or changing clothes on Saturday. The number of victims in Spain alone is estimated at 39,912, many of whom were burned alive. Approximately 340,000 people, most of them Jews, suffered at the hands of the Inquisition, although the vast majority were given lesser punishments. The last auto-da-fe was held in 1790.
5 Adar I 5717 – Feb. 6, 1957:
In 1957, Israeli troops withdrew from the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula. This followed the Suez War of 1956, in which France, Britain and Israel teamed up to stop Egyptian interference with shipping through the Suez Canal. (The canal was a crucial trade link between Europe and the regions of India, North Africa and the Middle East; two-thirds of Europe's oil passed through the Suez Canal.) In the war, Israel was able to secure Gaza and the Sinai, but fearing a larger conflict with the Soviet Union, U.S. President Eisenhower forced a cease-fire and persuaded Israel to withdraw. In response to the Suez War, the Egyptian government expelled 25,000 Egyptian Jews and confiscated their property, and sent 1,000 more Jews to prisons and detention camps.
5 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Yosef (ben Moshe Pinchas) of Posen, zt"l, (5496 / 1736 - 5561 / 1801).
Harav Yosef was born in Zolkova in 5496/1736. His father, Harav Moshe Pinchas, was Rav in Sevirse, near Lvov, and later in Zolkova. His mother, Rebbetzin Rivkah, was the daughter of Rav Yisrael Isserl, son-in-law of the Maharsha.
After his bar mitzvah, Rav Yechezkel Landau (the Noda BiYehudah) chose him as his son-in-law for his oldest daughter, Freyda.
After the wedding Rav Yosef remained in his hometown, Zolkova, near his father who provided support so as to enable him to become great in Torah. Later, Rav Yosef moved to be near his esteemed father-in-law, first in Yampola and then in Prague.
Although young, Rav Yosef was recognized as a leading talmid chacham and asked to become Rav in Viktov. He was later Rav in the kehillot of Skohl, Yavrov and finally Posen.
In 5540 / 1780, he was appointed Rav in Posen, where he founded a yeshivah gedolah and where he remained until his petira.
His anivut was outstanding. It is related that every day, while his room was full of people who had come with their questions to the Rav, his Rebbetzin would come in and scoff at him, telling all the people that her husband was not a talmid chacham at all. Rav Yosef would sit there silently and ignore her ranting, never getting upset or disturbed by her outbursts. The people could not understand this: How could she denigrate and humiliate her great husband?
It was only after his petirah on 5 Adar 5561/1801 that the reason finally emerged. While Rav Yosef’s mittah was still on the ground, his Rebbetzin came over with tears on her cheeks and cried out, “Reb Yosef, be grateful to me for carrying out your instructions to embarrass you in public! It was your explicit condition before our wedding that I should treat you with disrespect. You were worried that you might fall into arrogance, and therefore forced me to carry out my part in the deal. Who knows better than I your real tzidkut and greatness in Torah?”
As she finished speaking, as if to show his consent and give his agreement to her words, a wondrous thing occurred — Rav Yosef was seen nodding his head in agreement to the truth of her words.
Most of his teshuvot and chiddushim were lost in a fire. A small compilation remained and was called Zichron She'eirit Yosef. In his haskama, Rav Moshe Teumim wrote that six years after his petira, the government ordered the cemeteries cleared out. When they got to Rav Yosef's kever, they found his body intact, as it was at the petira. In fright and awe, the government cancelled the decree.
HaRav Ze’ev Wolf (Velvele) (ben Naftali Tvi) of Ostracha, zt”l, (also known as Tcharni-Ostraha) (5583 / 1823). He was a close talmid of Rav Dov Ber (the Maggid) of Mezritch and Rav Pinchas of Koritz. Thereafter, he became a follower of Rav Meshulam Feivish of Zhebariza, the Yosher Divrei Emet. He married the daughter of Reb Zushe of Hanipoli. Three years after the petira of the Yosher Divrei Emet, he made aliya (in 1798) and settled in Teverya where he is buried.
HaRav Avraham (ben Enosh) Halevi Bing, zt”l, Rav of Wurzburg, author of Zichron Avraham, (5601 / 1841).
Harav Bing was born in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, in 5512 / 1752. From his earliest youth, he was constantly seen learning in the beit medrash. He received semichah from Harav Nosson Adler, whom he considered his rebbi muvhak. He thus belonged to the group of those who allowed no innovations in religious matters, even in externals. As the Chasam Sofer, who was also a talmid of Rav Nosson Adler, said, “Chadash assur min haTorah.”
From 5529 / 1769 until 5538 / 1778, Rav Avraham served as Rav in the town of Offenbach. Later, he was Dayan in Frankfurt, and from 5556 / 1796 to 5574 / 1814, Rav of the town Heidingsfeld, near Wurzburg, Bavaria.
In 1813 he was able to overturn a 250-year-old decree banning Jews from settling in Wurzburg proper, and in 1814 he assumed the rabbinate of the city, where he also served as Rosh Yeshivah of a large yeshivah.
Rav Avraham was an opponent of the Reform movement and declared it to be the duty of every religious Jew to refuse to go to their temples.
Several of his more famous talmidim include Harav Yaakov Ettlinger, author of Aruch LaNer; Harav Nosson Adler (nephew of his Rebbe, Harav Nosson Adler), Rav of London and author of Nesinah LaGer, an explanation on Targum Unkelos; Harav Yitzchak Bernays, Rav in Hamburg and teacher of Harav Samson Raphael Hirsch and Harav Azriel Hildesheimer; Harav Yitzchak Dov (Seligman Baer) Bamberger, Rav of Wurzburg; and Harav Avraham Yosef Rice, Rav in Baltimore, Maryland. Thus he was very influential in Orthodox Jewry in Germany in the 19th century.
It is related about Rav Avraham that two of his sons married two sisters. Upon returning home from the wedding of his second son, he fell off his wagon and broke his hand. He explained that this was due to the tzavaah of Rabbeinu Yehudah Hechassid, who wrote that two brothers shouldn’t marry two sisters.
Rav Avraham was niftar in Wurzburg on 5 Adar 5601 / 1841, having resigned from the rabbinate two years earlier.
Of the manuscripts which he left at his petirah, the glosses on the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim have been printed posthumously, bearing the title Zichron Avraham.
HaRav Shmuel Abba Shapira of Slavita, zt”l, (5624 / 1864). Printer of the famous “Slavita Talmud”; grandson of Rav Pinchas of Koretz (Koritzer).
Reb Shmuel Abba married the daughter of Harav Aryeh Leib, son of Harav Lipa of Chmielnick, a talmid of the Baal Shem Tov and a Chassid of the Rebbe Reb Zusha of Anipoli and the Rebbe Reb Baruch of Mezhibuzh.
The famous printing press in Slavita was founded in 5551 / 1791 by Harav Moshe of Slavita. This press was unique in that its owner was determined to print high-quality sefarim, even at great expense.
In 5583 / 1823, Reb Moshe transferred the business to his sons, Harav Shmuel Abba and Harav Pinchas. Its fame grew and it was known as the biggest printer of sefarim in Russia, until libel was leveled against it.
On 18 Sivan 5595 / 1835, the body of Leizer Pratagatin was found in the shul. There were no signs of brutality on the body or on his clothes, and it was assumed that he had ended his own life. He was known as a poor man, and it was understood that he had despaired of life.
In nearby Zaslow, the Jew-hating priest Benderowski decided to utilize this as an excuse for libel against the Jews. He claimed that Leizer had been killed by the Shapira brothers because he wanted to inform on them for printing the Shulchan Aruch, which states (Yoreh Deah) that “informers are killed.” He claimed that this was how they had dealt with Leizer. The priest was helped by two apostate Jews. They also claimed that the Shapira press was working without censorship.
The czar decided to close all Jewish presses for investigation. The Shapira brothers were arrested. At their trial, one of their biggest critics testified for them, saying that all their sefarim were checked by the censor, but that sometimes the censor might not have fully understood the words of the Gemara or Shulchan Aruch.
Despite this, they were kept in their small cell in Kiev with its one small window, under dreadful conditions, for the next two years. Both were in their fifties at the time. Nothing managed to break their spirits; they finished the entire Shas each year. During this period, on 9 Kislev 5598 / 1837, their father, Reb Moshe, was niftar.
After three years, the sentence was announced: 1,500 lashes each, walking through two rows of 250 soldiers three times. If they were still alive after these horrendous lashings, they would be sent to Siberia.
They went through the lashing with great mesirut nefesh and were left badly hurt. After a year in a hospital, they were to be sent off to Siberia. Following a health check, however, it was decided that they were too weak to make the journey, and they were permitted to remain in Moscow. They helped the Jewish community in Moscow establish a shul in the city.
It was only in 5616 / 1856, after the rise of Alexander II to the throne, that they were released and allowed to return home.
The Jewish community in Slavita and its environs were extremely joyous at the tidings that the brothers had been freed. They were greeted in Slavita with a grand kabbalat panim.
They were appointed Rebbes by the local Chassidim, despite their initial refusal. Thousands of Chassidim flocked to the court of Reb Shmuel Abba for the Yamim Nora’im.
Many stories are related of Reb Shmuel Abba’s ruach hakodesh and open mofsim.
Reb Shmuel Abba was niftar in Teplick on 5 Adar I 5624 / 1864, at age 79, and was buried there. His sons were Harav Aryeh Leib of Zhitomir, Harav Chananyah Lipa, and Harav Pinchas. His sons-in-law were Harav Gedalyah Aharon Rabinowitz of Linitz, Harav Yaakov Yitzchak of Makrov, and Harav Pinchas Yosef of Tlust.
HaRav Yeshaya Muskat, zt”l, the Harei Besamim, (5628 / 1868).(Adar I)
HaRav Avraham (ben Refael) Landau of Tchechenov, zt”l, (5635 / 1875). (Adar II).
Born in 5549 / 1789 in Pranchev (Prantzav), Poland. His father, Reb Refael Dobshinski, a pious Jew descended from a long line of heilige Yidden, earned his living as an innkeeper. Sadly, he and his wife had been childless.
Every year before Pesach, Reb Refael sold all his vodka and other chametz drinks to a non-Jew. One year, after the local priest preached a particularly virulent sermon against the Jews, the peasants refused to buy Reb Refael’s chametz. Since a Jew is halachically forbidden to own chametz on Pesach, Reb Refael declared his entire stock hefker, forfeiting ownership, which, in essence, stripped him of his livelihood.
A nes occurred in that two large dogs appeared as if from thin air. During the entire eight-day Yom Tov they guarded the inn, so that when Reb Refael returned, everything was in place. Reb Rafael asked a Rav if he could derive benefit from his stock. The Rav paskened that it was permitted, but since Reb Refael was scrupulous not to benefit from anything questionable, he poured out his entire stock.
In a panic, his wife ran to the Rav, crying that her husband had ruined their financial situation with his own hands. Calming her, the Rav replied that in this zechut they would merit a child who would be a guiding light to the world with his greatness in Torah. Reb Avraham was that child.
Reb Refael recognized his gifted son’s potential and when he could find no suitable melamdim in Pranchev, he moved to Plotzk, a city of lomdim. There, Reb Avraham acquired true greatness of Torah. For a while he studied under Harav Leibush Charif, the Rav of the town. Later he became a Chassid of Harav Fishel’e of Strikov, and also traveled several times to the Rebbe Reb Bunim of Peshischa.
In 5565/1805, Reb Avraham became the son-in-law of the naggid and Chassid Reb Dan Landau. Through Reb Dan’s support, Reb Avraham was able to learn Torah day and night, free of any financial concerns. In gratitude, he adopted his father-in-law’s last name, Landau.
Lodz and Lublin fought for the honor of hiring Rav Avraham as their rav, but he instead chose to lead the small rural community of Tchechenov, who had invited him to become their Rav. Only after the Kotzker Rebbe and Rav Yitzchak Meir had passed away, and hundreds of their followers turned to Rav Avraham for blessings and advice, did he finally agree to became a Rebbe.
His exalted character and great love of his fellow Jew quickly endeared him to the entire community, and he soon became famous for his Torah, kedushah and tzedakah.
Reb Avraham was renowned as a master of Halachah and an oved Hashem, and he corresponded with most Gedolim of the era.
Reb Avraham was niftar on 5 Adar II 5635/ 1875, at the age of 86. He left four sons: Harav Zev Wolf of Strikov, founder of the Strikover dynasty; Harav Berish of Biala; Harav Yaakov of Yezif; and Harav Refael of Warsaw. His daughter married Reb Shmuel of Shineva, author of Ramosayim Tzofim. Reb Avraham wrote the following sefarim: Zechusa D’Avraham, Beit Avraham, Chessed L’Avraham, Tzelosa D’Avraham, Ahavat Chessed and more.
A few weeks before the Nazis destroyed the Tchechenov community in 5703 / 1943, the Jews learned that the Germans had plans to damage the grave of this tzaddik. That night, the members of the chevrah kaddisha took their lives into their hands and set out to rebury him in a new grave where the Nazis wouldn’t find him. Four distinguished members of the community carefully opened the grave and were astounded to find that the Rebbe’s body and tachrichim were perfectly preserved. Secretly, they moved him to a spot in the new cemetery between two trees, where his grave could later be found and marked. It is there that his holy body rests even today. (Others Adar I)
HaRav Yechezkel Yalzon, zt”l, Rav of Altuna, (5645 / 1885).
HaRav Mordechai Shlomo (ben Yitzchak) Friedman, zt”l, (5651 / 1891 - 5731 / 1971), Boyaner Rebbe in New York.
He was the youngest son of the first Boyaner Rebbe, the Pachad Yitzchak.
Before he was born, his mother went to her father, the Rachmastrivka Rebbe, for a bracha. The doctors had declared that she would have no more children, and she wished for the gift of one more son. Reb Yochanan of Rachmastrivka promised her good tidings.
When the son was born, he was named Mordechai Shlomo, after the Maggid of Chernobyl and Reb Shlomo of Sadigura; but he was generally called Mottenyu, from the word matanah — gift.
At an early age, it was already apparent that Reb Mordechai Shlomo was destined for greatness. As a youth, he sat in a closed room all day long, immersed in Torah study. Worried that the long hours spent learning and the lack of fresh air and exercise would ruin her son’s health, Reb Mordechai Shlomo’s mother asked her husband to watch over their son’s progress. “I already said a long time ago that he is a chiddush,” he answered her. “You don’t have to worry about him.”
Soon after the outbreak of World War I in 5674/1914, the town of Boyan was destroyed. The Boyaner Rebbe and his family were forced to flee to Vienna, where they remained until the petirah of Rav Yitzchak on 17 Adar, 5677/1917. Reb Mordechai Shlomo joined his brothers in Vienna, continuing the dynasty. In 5687/1927, on the recommendation of his brother the Chernowitzer Rebbe, and his uncle Harav Yisrael of Tchortkov, he immigrated to the United States.
The Rebbe lived in New York for over 40 years. Without pomp, without rebuke, with very few words (he counted every syllable!), he attracted many of the younger generation to Torah and Yiddishkeit. By personal example, he showed the way for others to follow.
Reb Mordechai Shlomo was revered by Gedolei Torah and Chassidut for his holiness and piety. He was a member of the Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah and one of the prominent leaders of Agudath Israel. He was renowned for his exalted middot, humility and wisdom.
Reb Mordechai Shlomo visited Eretz Yisrael several times. He initiated the construction of the Ruzhiner yeshivot in Yerushalayim and Bnei Brak together with other Rebbes of the Ruzhiner dynasty, and he worked to support and maintain them. Despite ill health in his later years, he was involved in work for the klal to the very end.
The Boyaner Rebbe was niftar on 5 Adar 5731/1971 and was buried on Har Hazeitim.
He was the brother of Rav Menahem Nahum Friedman (1869-1936), Boyaner Rebbe of Chernovitz, Rav Yisrael Friedman (1878-1951), Boyaner Rebbe of Leipzig and Tel-Aviv, and Rav Abraham Yaakov Friedman (1884-1941), Boyaner Rebbe of Lemberg. His grandson, Rav Nachum Dov Brayer, is the present Boyaner Rebbe of Yerushalayim
HaRav Yosef Farbstein, zt”l, (1947-2006). Grandson of Rav Yechezkel Sarna, he became Rosh Kollel of Beit Shmuel under Rav Horowitz, the Av Beit Din of Ungar. In 1970 he married Rebbetzin Gittel, daughter of Rav Akiva Ehrenfeld, founder of Yerushalayim’s Mattersdorf neighborhood and nasi of its institutions, and the granddaughter of Rav Shmuel Ehrenfeld, the Gavad of Mattersdorf, Austria. In 1988, he was appointed Ram in Yeshivat Ohr Elchanan under Rav Moshe Chodosh.
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6 Adar 2488 - 1272 B.C.E.:
When Moshe Rabbeinu was told by Hashem that his petirah (day of his death) was near, (Devarim / Deuteronomy 31:14), Moshe Rabbeinu completed Mishnah (review of) Torah, the book of Devarim, which he began several weeks earlier, on the 1st of Shvat. This was his farewell address to the Jewish people. He then wrote down the completed Five Books of Moshe, word for word, as dictated to him by Hashem. This scroll of the Torah was put into the Holy Ark, next to the Tablets of Testimony. (Yalkut Shimoni).
Amazingly, the anniversary of Moshe’s completing his teaching coincides with the date in 1482 of the first printing of the standard format used for Jewish Bibles today: vowel signs, accents, translation (Targum), and Rashi commentary. see below. (Others 2369 / 1392 or 1394 B.C.E.)
6 Adar 5109 - 1349:
A plague killed hundreds of Jews in the kehilla of Wermeiza (Worms), Germany.
6 Adar 5242 - 1482:
The first printed edition of the entire Chumash with Targum Onkelos (Aramaic translation of the Torah) and Rashi (Rav Shlomo Yitzchaki), was published
in Bologna, Italy by Joseph b. Abraham Caravita, who set up a printing-press in his own home. (same day as Moshe finished teaching it). see above.
Adar 5576 - March 6, 1816:
The final expulsion of the Jews of the Free City of Lubeck, Germany, took place today. 117 years
(almost to the day) after they were expelled the first time.
6 Adar II 5703 - March 13, 1943:
The Germans, in a two-day aktion, liquidated the Krakow ghetto. 2,000 Jews were
deported to the Auschwitz murder camp; 700 Jews were shot on the spot, Hy"d.
6 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Shmuel ben Natronai, Hy”d, one of the Baalei Tosefot, who was tortured and martyred (4957 / 1197).
HaRav Aryeh Leib, zt”l, author of Panim Chadashot (5549 / 1789).
HaRav Yitzchak Auerbach, zt"l, Rav of Luntchitz and author of Divrei Chaim (5606 / 1846) [Adar II].
Harav Yitzchak was the son of Harav Chaim, Rav of Luntchitz and mechaber of Divrei Mishpat on Orach Chaim and Mayim Chaim on Yoreh Deah.
His brother, Rav Menachem, was Rav in Ostrovtza.
The family descended from the famed Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach.
Reb Yitzchak was a gaon with an exceptionally sharp mind; he was called Reb Yitzchak Charif.
His first rabbinic post was in Dobri. Later he served as Rav in Plotzk. Following the petirah of his father, he succeeded him as Rav in Luntchitz.
Reb Yitzchak was the author of Divrei Chaim, chiddushim on all four sections of the Shulchan Aruch.
His son was the Gadol Hador Harav Meir Auerbach, Rav in Kalisch and later in Yerushalayim, author of Imrei Binah.
HaRav Daniel (ben Binyamin Wolf) Prostitz, zt”l, (5519 / 1759 - 5606 / 1846).
His father was Harav Binyamin Wolf.
Rav Daniel was a talmid of Harav Meir Berabi, the Maharam Berabi.
He was very close to the Chatam Sofer, and was appointed as Rosh Beit Din in Pressburg.
Rav Daniel was recognized already in his youth as one who learned Torah in depth, and was also known for his tzidkut. He was accustomed to fasting quite often, and was very particular about the observance of every minhag.
Many in Pressburg considered Rav Daniel their spiritual leader and would ask his advice in all matters. He was very generous when informed of unfortunate cases of widows and orphans and would support these families far beyond his own ability to do so.
Although offered other, more prestigious posts, Rav Daniel did not wish to gain materially from his Torah, and preferred to stay on in Pressburg.
In his later years, Rav Daniel would give a daily Gemara shiur to the Chevrat Shas. Never missing one, he delivered shiurim until a few days before his petirah.
Rav Daniel was niftar on 6 Adar 5606/1846, at the age of 87. He was buried near the Chatam Sofer.
His chiddushim on Masechet Pesachim were published under the name Machneh Dan.
HaRav Naftali Amsterdam, zt”l, disciple of Rav Yisrael Salanter (5676 / 1916). He immigrated to Eretz Yisrael in 1902. [Adar II]
HaRav Chanoch Tzvi HaKohen Levin , zt”l, the Bendiner Rav .(5631 / 1870 - 5695 / 1935). Born in Malenitz on 7 Kislev to Harav Pinchas Yaakov Levin of Malenitz, son of Harav Yechiel Fishel, who in turn was the son of Harav Chanoch Henoch of Alexander. His mother, Rebbetzin Teltza, was the daughter of Harav Tzvi Hirsch Tomoshover, a close disciple and gabbai of the Kotzker Rebbe.
He possessed an extremely sharp mind and at a young age was known as an iluy, but instead of sending his son away from home to study, his father hired many esteemed melamdim for him. Following in the footsteps of his saintly parents and grandparents, Reb Chanoch Tzvi excelled greatly in Torah and yirah, and even as a very young child he worried about the less fortunate and the needy.
At the time of his bar mitzvah, Reb Chanoch Tzvi became a chassan to Rebbetzin Feige, the daughter of the Sfat Emet. The chasunah was held in Gur, where he settled. He remained in Gur until the outbreak of World WarI, when he fled to Warsaw.
In 5680 / 1920, he was invited to become Rav of Bendin. His leadership in Bendin was remarkable in that, although through his enormous ahavat Yisrael he managed to unite the various factions of the city, he also led the battle against those who denigrated the holy mesorah. The anti-religious parties warned the Rav not to interfere in their agenda, but he vehemently refused and quietly did all in his power to destroy their evil intentions. Reb Chanoch Tzvi was famous for his daily shiurim, in which even the most esoteric Torah topics became eminently clear.
Reb Chanoch Tzvi’s middot tovot were legendary, and he was especially known for going out of his way to greet everyone b’sever panim yafot. One bitter winter day, a man entered the Rav’s chamber and the Rav exclaimed, “How good of you to have come! How wonderful that you stopped by!” He offered the man a chair and brought refreshments, all the while calling the man “my dear guest.” Afterward, the Rebbetzin asked the Rav who the man was. “I have no idea; I don’t know him,” the Rav replied. Asked why he had accorded him such honor, he replied, “Because he is a Yid!”
Reb Chanoch Tzvi was a staunch supporter of Agudat Yisrael. At its inception, he joined its ranks with great fervor; he participated in its conventions and committees and was appointed to the Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah, where he was a principal speaker. He worked intensely to increase its membership among the chassidic and non-chassidic segments of Jewry. He viewed Agudat Yisrael as a critical project of his generation and when his oldest son, Harav Yitzchak Meir Levin, became the organization’s chairman, he gave his sincerest blessing.
Until his last day, the Rav of Bendin took an active interest in every matter of spiritual concern to the Jewish people, paying particular attention to chinuch habanim. He left a great and lasting imprint on Klal Yisrael.
His writings were published as Yechahen Pe’er, comprised of chiddushim and drashot on the Torah and the mo’adim. Unfortunately, more than 40 volumes of his Torah were lost during the Holocaust.
On Shabbat night, 6 Adar I 5695 / 1935, after the seudah, those around him heard him say, “Ribbono shel Olam, I am ready. If this is Your will, please let it be as You wish.” With these words, his neshamah departed. Thousands assembled for his levayah, and he was buried in Bendin. (The cemetery stayed untouched by WWII and is still intact.)
Two of his sons survived the Holocaust: Harav Yitzchak Meir, son-in-law of the Imrei Emet of Gur, and Harav Pinchas Yaakov, who was among the founders of the Beit Yaakov movement in Eretz Yisrael.
His other sons were Harav Yechiel Efrayim Fishel, son-in-law of Harav Avraham of Porisov; Harav Avraham Mordechai, Hy”d; Harav Menachem Mendel, Hy”d, who was Rav of Bendin after his father’s petirah; Harav Eliyahu, Hy”d; Harav Yehudah Leib, Hy”d; Harav Yosef Simchah Bunim, Hy”d; Harav Moshe Aharon Dovid Yerachmiel, Hy”d. His son-in-law was Harav Naftali Tzvi Alter, Hy”d, son of Harav Meir, Hy”d, son of the Imrei Emet.
HaRav Yosef Baumgarten, zt”l, Av Beit Din Schiffschule in Vienna, (5696 / 1936).
HaRav Yehoshua Dovid (ben Shlomo) Povarsky, zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Ponovezh (1902 - 5759 / 1999). When he was twelve years old, he learned with Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer in Slutzk. Afterward, he transferred to Poltova, where he became deeply attached to his rav muvhak, R’ Yeruchom Levovitz, whom he followed to Kelm and Ponovezh. From Ponovezh, he transferred to Mir yeshiva and became very close to Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz. One of his chavrusas in Shulchan Oruch was Rav Aharon Kotler. A while after his marriage, he transferred to the yeshiva in Baranowitz, where he studied under Rav Elchonon Wassermann. Later, Reb Yeruchom sent Rav Dovid to be a ram in Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin headed by Rav Meir Shapira of Lublin. Rav Dovid merited to form a special bond with Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky. His divrei Torah were published as Yeshuot Dovid.
HaRav Yisrael Issar (ben Yitzchak) Wolfson, zt”l, (1949-2010). Reb Issar became a talmid at Beis Midrash Govoha in Lakewood at the age of 15, and thereafter learned at Brisk. After his marriage, he joined the Kollel Chazon Ish under the Steipler Gaon. A few years later, he moved to America to learn under Rav Moshe Feinstein. When he was 32, he wrote a sefer on parts of Pesachim and sought a haskma from Rav Moshe. In his haskama, Rav Moshe wrote that the author "yodei'a kol chadrei Torah." Rav Issar was so troubled that this would get out that he decided not to publish the sefer and to hide the haskama (even his children didn't know about it until after his petira). In his last 2.5 years, he served as Rosh Kollel in a Choshen Mishpat Kollel in Lakewood.
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Birthday of Moshe (ben Amram) Rabbeinu [2368 - 1392 BCE (Sotah 12b)] and Yahrtzeit [2488 - 1272 BCE] (Kiddushin 38a). He was the greatest prophet of all time who lived for 120 years.
(Consequently, "May you live to 120" has become a common Jewish blessing.)
Moshe led the Jews out of Mitzrayim / Egypt (the Exodus), and to the splitting of the Yam Suf / Red Sea. Seven weeks later, the Jews arrived at Har / Mount Sinai and received the Torah, the only time in human history that an entire nation experienced Divine revelation. Over the next 40 years, Moshe led the Jews through wanderings in the desert, and supervised construction of the Mishkan / Tabernacle. Moshe died before being allowed to enter the promised Land of Israel. He was buried by Hashem on Har Nevo, but as recorded in the Torah, the location of his grave is unknown.
This day is a Taanit Tzadikkim commemorating this day.
The day is used by Chevra Kadisha as a fast day. (See also 7 Shvat).
7 Adar 5000 - 1240:
All copies of the Talmud were confiscated from the Jews of France, leading to a sharp decline of rabbinical scholarship
7 Adar 5241 - 1481:
The Spanish Inquisition initiated the infamous auto-da-fe (burning at the stake). The Inquisition was created in the twelfth century to find "Christian heretics" who would be punished or killed. Eventually, Jews too were open to such charges of heresy, simply for being Jewish; and torture was routinely used to extract "confessions." Over the years, the inquisition, which operated with Papal consent, spread to many countries.
In 1481 the Inquisition began to function in Spain to expose the secret Jews, known as the Anusim or Marranos. This Inquisition was anti-Jewish more than in any previous countries. The first public sentencing and burning alive of six marrano men and one woman by the Spanish Inquisition was held on this date in Seville in Southern Spain.
Following the start of the Spanish Inquisition many Jews fled Spain.
7 Adar 5246 - 1486:
Inquisition forces burned 1,000 Jews at the stake, Hy"d.
7 Adar 5384 - February 27, 1624:
Numerous Jews were killed Al Kiddush Hashem in the city of Lonshitz. The Rav of the city, HaRav Shlomo Chaver, zt"l, composed a special kinah commemorating the tragic event, Hy"d.
7 Adar 5430 - February 27, 1670:
Jews were expelled from Austria by an order signed by Leopold I.
7 Adar 5702 - Feb. 24, 1942:
The Struma with its 769 passengers was torpedoed off the coast of Turkey. A torpedo, apparently fired accidentally by a Soviet submarine, sank the Struma, a cattle boat on which 769 Romanian Jews attempted to flee to Eretz Yisrael during WWII. The ship was very overcrowded and lacked the basic neccessities; even its engine barely worked. The trip's organizers misled the passengers, and upon reaching Istanbul, they discovered that they did not have the visas they had been promised that would permit them to enter Eretz Yisrael. The Turkish government first quarantined the ship and its passengers, and later, on February 23, forced it into open water, which led to its sinking. Only one passenger, David Stoliar, survived and eventually reached Palestine. Among the dead were 103 children. Hy"d.. For more details on this tragic event, see http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Holocaust/0140_Struma.html
7 Adar Yahrtzeits
Birthday and his yahrtzeit of Moshe (ben Amram) Rabbeinu (Sotah 12b)] (Kiddushin 38a). See above.
HaRav Shlomo Efraim of Lunshitz, zt”l, author of Kli Yakar (5310 / 1550- 5379 / 1619).
The Kli Yakar, who was born in the year 5310 / 1550 in Lenczyk (Lunchitz), Poland, was a talmid of the Maharshal and the mechaber of Yam Shel Shlomo.
Initially he settled in Yaroslav, where he authored his work Olelot Efraim, which includes drushim for Yamim Tovim and for simchot. All of the numerous citations and quotations from the Talmud, midrashim and commentaries that appear in that work were written down from memory, as he noted in the introduction, because he had no sefarim in Yaroslav.
Subsequently he settled in Lvov, where he was constantly asked to deliver drashot. A spellbinding orator, he inspired his listeners with his fiery sermons and drew many people closer to Hashem.
In 5361 / 1601, he contracted a severe illness and the name Shlomo was added to his original name, Efraim. After he recovered, he vowed to author a chibbur on the Torah, which became the famous fundamental sefer Kli Yakar.
In 5364 / 1604, Reb Shlomo Efraim was appointed a Dayan of Prague. He sat on the beit din of that city with the Shelah HaKadosh, who was Rav at the time. Many prominent talmidim flocked to him. Famous among them is Rav Yom Tov Lipman Heller, the Tosfot Yom Tov. After serving as rosh yeshiva in Lemberg, he became the Rav of Prague.
In 5367 / 1607 a plague broke out in Prague, forcing him to flee the city. While in exile he authored yet another chibbur, Amudei Sheish, which contains mussar discourses on the six pillars: Torah, avodah, gemilut chassadim, din, emet and shalom.
Among the Kli Yakar’s other works are Ir Gibborim, Rivevot Efraim, Sifsei Da’at and Orach Lechaim.
Rav Shlomo Ephraim also wrote special selichot to be recited on the second day of Adar, in memory of the Jews of Prague who suffered horribly during the pogroms of 5371 / 1611.
He was succeeded by his son, and by the many talmidim who continued his legacy.
HaRav Avraham Tzvi Patznovski of Piotrokov, zt”l, (5579 / 1819).
Harav Avraham Tzvi was born in 5537 / 1777. His father was Harav Elazar, and his mother was the daughter of Harav Tzvi Hersh, author of Geon Tzvi. His grandfather had promised his mother that she would have a child who would light up the eyes of Klal Yisrael with his Torah.
In his youth, Reb Avraham Tzvi learned Torah from his grandfather, Harav Shlomo Zalman, Rav of Pchanov, and from Harav Moshe, Rav of Pietrkov. He achieved great heights in Torah while still very young, which is proven by the fact that he was appointed Rav of Piltz at the age of 23. His second and greater Rabbanut was undertaken at the age of 35 in Pietrkov, an ir va’eim b’Yisrael. He constantly repeated the passuk “Tov li Torat picha, mei’alfei zahav va’kesef,” which in great measure epitomized his life.
Reb Avraham Tzvi married the daughter of Harav Yehudah Leib Lipshitz, Rav of Opotshna. Unfortunately, his personal life was filled with pain and anguish. All of his sons predeceased him, and he himself only lived until age 42.
During the last few years of his life he became a fiery Chassid of Harav Yaakov Yitzchak, the Chozeh of Lublin. Later, the Tiferet Shlomo became his disciple.
During one of his journeys to consult an eminent physician, he was niftar on 7 Adar in the city of Breslau, but was buried in Pietrkov.
His sefer Brit Avraham, which deals with the four parts of Shulchan Aruch, was published by his father Harav Elazar. In the foreword to the sefer, Harav Elazar wrote a lengthy hesped on his beloved son.
HaRav Yitzchak Eizik (ben Yechezkel) Taub of Kalev, zt”l, founder of Kaliver Chassidic line in Hungary (1744 (or 5511 / 1751) – 5581 / 1821) [Adar II]. Born in Szerencs, Hungary. His father was Reb Moshe Yechezkel, a noted talmid chacham and maggid. Reb Yitzchak Eizik’s birth resulted from a brachah by the Baal Shem Tov, who had visited Serencz on his way to Eretz Yisrael and had stayed at Reb Moshe Yechezkel’s open, hospitable home. The childless host asked to be blessed with children. The Baal Shem Tov was willing to give a brachah, but warned that Reb Moshe Yechezkel would lose everything he owned as a consequence.
Reb Moshe Yechezkel and his wife agreed. Before long their son was born — and they fell into complete destitution. Shortly thereafter, Reb Moshe Yechezkel passed away, and the young orphan had to work at herding geese to help his mother.
According to stories of Hungarian Chassidim, One day, while the lad was tending his flock, the famous tzaddik Harav Leib Sarah passed by and perceived that the boy had a lofty neshamah.
Rav Leib Sarah received permission from the boy’s widowed mother to raise him and took him directly to Rav Shmelke of Nikolsburg. Rav Yitzchak Eizik also learned Chassidut from Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk.
After his marriage to Feige, Rav Yitzchak Eizik’s wife remained in her hometown of Tertzel while Rav Yitzchak Eizik continued away from home for many years devoting his energy and time to Torah and avodah. His wife’s financial needs were supplied by a wealthy Kaliv Jew, Yaakov Fisch. In gratitude, Rav Yitzchak Eizik blessed Yaakov with good health and he lived for over a hundred years.
When Rav Yitzchak Eizik returned home 1781, the Jews of Szabolcs county appointed him as their leader, and he moved to Nagykálló, or Kaliv as it known to Jews. For the next forty years, Rav Yitzchak Eizik pioneered the spread of Chassidut throughout Hungary from Kaliv, and he is regarded as the first Admor to take up permanent residence in Hungary. Rav Yitzchak Eizik is remembered as “the sweet singer of Yisrael” and is famed for his unusual avodah — through song. His intense, sweet singing was known for the effect it had upon everyone who heard it. The Kaliver Rebbe acquired numerous niggunim from non-Jewish shepherds, who used to sing to their sheep. He would change the words from the mundane to the holy and use the melodies to express the suffering of Klal Yisrael, the pain of the Shechinah in galut and the longing for the Geulah. Many of his niggunim were composed in Hungarian and Yiddish. His most famous niggun, beginning with the words “Galut, galut,” was one of those he bought from a shepherd. Amazingly, after the purchase, the shepherd completely forgot the song. After acquiring it, Reb Yitzchak Eizik told his companions that the melody had originated among the Jews crying by the rivers of Bavel. In 5581/1821, 7 Adar II, he returned his pure neshamah to Hashem and was buried in Kaliv.
HaRav Yosef Kle!n, zt"l, Rav of Serdehali, (5657 / 1897).
HaRav Menachem Mendel Chaim Landau of Tshechenov-Zavirtzia (Zabeirtze), zt”l, (5695 / 1935).
HaRav Tzvi Kinstlicher, zt”l, author of Sheilot U’Teshuvot Be’er Tzvi (5725 / 1965).(Adar I).
Harav Tzvi Kinstlicher was born in Hanschweiss in 5631/1871. His father was Harav Aryeh.
At the age of nine, young Tzvi learned in the yeshivah of Harav Eliezer Chaim Deitsch, Rav of the city. At 14 he moved on to the yeshivah of the Arugat Habosem, Harav Moshe Grunwald, who was Rav at the time in Humna. When the Arugat Habosem became Rav in Kleinwardein in 5647/1887, Reb Tzvi went with him. In 5651/1851 he transferred to the famous yeshivah of the Shevet Sofer in Pressburg, where he was considered an iluy. Such was his stature that Reb Tzvi was asked to give a shiur in the main shul on the very first Shabbat he was in Pressburg.
Reb Tzvi was close to the Belzer Rebbes — Harav Yehoshua and his son and successor, Harav Yissachar Dov. In Yerushalayim, he often visited Harav Aharon’s court.
Reb Tzvi received semichah from the Shevet Sofer, from Harav Yehudah Greenfeld, Rav of Semihali, and from the Levushei Mordechai, Rav of Mahd.
He married the daughter of the nagid Reb Yitzchak Hendler, who supported him for many years, allowing him to grow great in Torah, unhindered by worries of parnassah. It was only when his father-in-law lost his fortune that Reb Tzvi agreed to serve as a Rav, first in Tchechowitz and later in Banpi-Honiad. In 5679/1919, Reb Tzvi was appointed Rav of Seben. He founded a yeshivah in the city, where he delivered shiurim regularly. In 5709/1949, Reb Tzvi left Europe and settled in Eretz Yisrael. He devoted himself to Torah, trying to remain out of the limelight as much as possible.
He was niftar on 7 Adar I 5725/1965 at the age of 94, and was buried on Har Hamenuchot.
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8 Adar 5434 - February 14, 1674:
In the 1660's the Jewish community of Barbados became established and of considerable importance. The Jewish community, however, had a decided disadvantage in that their testimony was not admissible in court cases due to their refusal to take an oath on a Christian Bible. In October 1669 the Jewish community presented the king a petition requesting permission to take be able to take oaths on the Five Books of Moses, the Jewish Bible. Several years later, on Wednesday, February 14, 1674, Barbados passed a law granting the Jewish community the permission they requested. The Jews
of Barbados were given permission to take an oath with the Old Testament. This was a first for the New World.
151 years later, also on 8 Adar, Jews
of Maryland were allowed to take a non-Christian oath.
A declaration of belief
in "Schar v'Onesh in Olam Haba" (Reward and Punishment in the World to Come) was part of their oath.
8 Adar 5585 - February 26, 1825:
Jews Enabled to Serve in Public Office in Maryland. In 1715, the Crown Colony of Maryland enacted a law requiring any citizen who wished to hold public office to take an oath of abjuration, which contained the words, "upon the true faith of a Christian." In 1776, the new constitution of the State of Maryland reaffirmed this law, requiring any oath of office to contain a declaration of belief in the Christian religion. In the decades that followed, the struggle to repeal this law attracted national attention. On February 26, 1825 an act "for the relief of the Jews in Maryland," was passed by Maryland's House of Delegates. The bill allowed every Jewish citizen to take an oath which professes his belief in a "future State of Rewards and Punishments, in the stead of the declaration now required by the Constitution and form of Government of this State."
8 Adar 5646 - 1886:
Etz Chaim, the first elementary school with secular studies in the U.S., was established.
8 Adar II 5700 - March 18, 1940:
Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met at the Brenner Pass, where the Italian dictator agreed to join the Nazis’ war against France and England.
8 Adar 5703 - February 13, 1943:
Deportation of the Jews from Thrace.
8 Adar 5729 -
February 26, 1969:
Levi Eshkol (1895-1969), the third Prime Minister of Israel died. Eshkol led the country during the momentous Six Day War, when Israel staved off five Arab armies and reunited the capital city Yerushalayim / Jerusalem. Born in a small village near Kiev, Ukraine, Eshkol made aliyah at age 19. As prime minister, he worked to improve foreign relations, establishing diplomatic contact with West Germany, and also cultural ties with the Soviet Union which allowed some Soviet Jews to immigrate to Israel. Eshkol is also known for implementing the National Water Carrier system.
8 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Yosef Yaavetz, zt”l, known as Hechassid Yaavetz, (5267 / 1507).
Harav Yosef Yaavetz was born in Lisbon, Portugal, c. 5200 / 1440.to Harav Chaim Yaavetz.
From his early years, his greatness was noted, as he writes in his commentary on Pirkei Avot, “In my youth, I explained the Mishnah …”
In those years, there was a large Jewish community in Lisbon, led by Rav Yosef Chayun, under whom he learned.
Years later, Rav Yosef once bemoaned to his son that he was upset that he had some material enjoyment from his Torah learning; had he been a laborer, his learning would have been more Torah lishmah, but, he told his son, it is nevertheless preferable to dedicate oneself to Torah learning.
Rav Yosef was given the title “hechassid,” due to his asceticism. The Chidah writes of him in his Shem HaGedolim, “First of the tzaddikim and of the last chassidim.”
In 5252 / 1492, an official edict was issued by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain, Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, ordering the expulsion of all Jews from the Kingdom of Spain and its territories. Because of the Inquisition and the expulsion, Rav Yosef left Portugal, together with several thousand other Jews.
They traveled to Ferrara in Italy, but didn’t settle there. Rav Yosef continued to Mantua, where he found refuge.
Rav Yosef writes in his Ohr Hachaim that the cause for the Spanish Expulsion was not a religious issue, against the Jewish nation as Jews; rather, the non-Jews sought an easy way to take the Jews’ riches. It was estimated that the Jews that fled left behind properties and valuables worth millions of ducats.
Rav Yosef was niftar on 8 Adar 5267 / 1507, presumably in Mantua.
Of his writings, the most famous is his commentary on Pirkei Avot. He also wrote a work on Tehillim, and Ohr Hachaim, which he wrote in Mantua, in which he decries the studying of philosophy. He also authored numerous other works, many of which were never published.
HaRav Gershon of Lotzk, zt”l, a talmid of the Mezritcher Maggid (5548 / 1788).
HaRav Aryeh Leib Falk of Hanover, zt”l, (5475 / 1715 - 5549 / 1789). Son of the Pnei Yehoshua, Harav Yaakov Yehoshua Falk, he learned Torah from his saintly father, and from Harav Tzvi Hersh Halberstadt. At a young age he succeeded in mastering vast amounts of Torah, but he managed to conceal this fact from everyone, even his father. He married the daughter of Rav Yechiel Michel Heilperin, Rav of Berzhan. After her petirah, he remarried. His second wife was the daughter of Harav Chaim Yonah Teomim.
Eventually, his secret greatness in Torah could no longer be hidden, and it was revealed that, like his illustrious father, Reb Aryeh Leib was also a Gadol baTorah. He was asked to serve as Rav in the distinguished kehillah of Skohl, a post he fulfilled meticulously. Eventually he became Rav of Sevirz, and then, at the age of 41, he was asked to serve as Rav at Hanover. He became Rav of the esteemed kehillah of Hanover, Germany, and the surrounding towns.
He was a fierce opponent of the supporters of Shabtai Tzvi. In the years 5410 – 5426 / 1650 – 1666, this movement rapidly gained followers, unfortunately even among frum, ehrlich Yidden. [Shabtai Tzvi falsely claimed that he was Moshiach; eventually he converted to Islam.] Reb Aryeh Leib stood steadfast at the head of his kehillah during those times of turmoil and confusion, and opposed even the slightest amendment to the authentic mesorah.
He was niftar on Erev Shabbat, 8 Adar 5549/ 1789, and all of those who had benefited from his great character and leadership mourned their immense loss.
His chidushei Torah are printed in the sefer Pnei Aryeh on Masechet Bava Kamma. He wrote many more chiddushim but, unfortunately, they were never published. His son, Harav Yissachor Dov, a Gadol baTorah in his own right, succeeded to his father’s position, and went on to lead the flock.
HaRav Yosef Yedid Halevi, zt"l, (5627 / 1867 - 5690 / 1930), author of Yemei Yosef..
Harav Yosef Yedid Halevi was born in Chalav (Aleppo) Syria in 5627/1867. His father, Harav Mordechai, was a close talmid of Harav Avraham Addes.
Initially, Rav Yosef assisted his father in his job as melamed in the local Talmud Torah. In 5650/1890, at the age of 23, Rav Yosef moved to Eretz Yisrael and settled in Tzefat. In 5671/1911, he moved on to Yerushalayim, where he was appointed Av Beit Din of its Syrian community.
Rav Yosef lived in dire poverty all his life and experienced much tragedy. Four sons and a daughter passed away during his lifetime; only one son survived him.
Rav Yosef would travel as a shaliach for tzedaka matters to North Africa.
He authored four sefarim: Torat Chacham, various halachot and minhagim in regard to the respect of a talmid chacham; Yemei Yosef, a two-part collection of halachic responsa on the four parts of Shulchan Aruch (She’eirit Yosef, a compilation of various halachic discussions and drashot, was added as an appendix); Birkat Yosef, on hilchot brachot; and Vayechi Yosef, on the halachic ramifications of various names in regard to gittin.
All of his sefarim received warm haskamot from the leading Rabbanim of Yerushalayim, of both the Ashkenazic and Sephardic communities.
Rav Yosef was niftar on 8 Adar 5690/1930 in Yerushalayim, at age 63.
HaRav Avraham Noach Paley of Shklov-Yerushalayim (Adar I) (5692 / 1932).
HaRav Shmuel Dovid (ben Yosef Moshe) HaLevi Ungar, zt"l, (1885 – 5705 / 1945). Nitra Rav and Rosh Yeshiva. A descendent of Don Yitzchak Abarbanel and father-in-law of R' Michoel Ber Weissmandel of Nitra, zt"l.
Harav Shmuel Dovid Ungar was born in 5646/1886 in Pishtian, Slovakia, where his father, Harav Yosef Moshe Ungar, zt”l, was Rav. After his bar mitzvah, he learned for a few years at the yeshivah of his uncle, Harav Noach Baruch Fisher in Presov, and then for a few more years in Unsdorf.
Soon after his marriage to Rav Noach’s daughter, Miriam Leah, Rav Shmuel Dovid was invited to lead the small community of Krompach, Slovakia. Five years later he was appointed Rav of Tirnau.
During his 15-year tenure in Tirnau, he worked on behalf of world Jewry and frequently interceded on behalf of Jews with government officials.
In 5691/1931, after Nitra lost its Rav, Harav Avraham Aharon Katz, zt”l, the community entreated Reb Shmuel Dovid to fill the position.
With the move to Nitra he redoubled his activism for world Jewry and became one of the leaders of the generation. But mostly he increased his harbatzat HaTorah, drawing talmidim from all over the globe.
During World War II, Rav Shmuel Dovid initiated extensive, far-reaching hatzalah efforts from within Europe, which were developed and run by his son-in-law, Harav Michoel Dov Weissmandl, zt”l.
As World War II neared its end, there were frequent raids on Nitra to capture people for the labor and death camps. Despite the fear and danger, everyone followed Rav Shmuel Dovid’s example and continued learning as if nothing was happening.
The Nitra Rav insisted on leading as normal a Torah life as possible, even in dire circumstances.
When the Nitra Yeshivah was finally forced to close, Rav Shmuel Dovid and his son Reb Shalom Moshe (who later served as Rav of the Nitra kehillah in Mount Kisco, NY) escaped to the partisan-controlled forests around the town in a desperate effort to save their lives.
Even while fleeing from hideout to hideout in the forest, the Nitra Rav did his utmost to follow every detail of halachah. For Shabbat, he would rearrange his clothes to make a distinction between weekday clothing and Shabbat clothing. He continued avoiding pat akum and was medakdek in every din and minhag. This was extremely unusual, for under those difficult conditions it was natural for people to do and keep less, not more.
Rav Shmuel Dovid was niftar in the forest on 9 Adar 5705/1945, merely weeks before the war ended. He was buried temporarily in the forest; after the war he was re-interred in Pishtian, next to his ancestors. (Others 9 Adar) (others 5704/1944)
HaRav Moshe Aharon (ben Yom Tov Lipman) Stern (5686 / 1926 - 5758 / 1998).
Harav Moshe Aharon Stern was born in 5686/1926 in New York. His father was Reb Yom Tov Lipman, son-in-law of the famed tzaddik Harav Yaakov Yosef Herman, zt”l (subject of the book All for the Boss).
As a boy, Reb Moshe Aharon learned in Yeshivah Torah Vodaath. For many years it was his dream to go learn in Eretz Yisrael. Harav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz told him that one must prepare oneself before going to Eretz Yisrael, so he spent the next year working on his middot and yirat Shamayim, and then left for Yeshivat Kamenitz.
As a bachur in yeshivah, Reb Moshe Aharon forged a life-long connection with Harav Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik, zt”l, the Brisker Rav. After his marriage to the daughter of Harav Chaim Yosef Kroizer, son-in-law of Harav Chaim of Brisk, the connection grew even stronger.
Reb Moshe Aharon was influential in recruiting Harav Eliyahu Lopian to become Mashgiach in Kamenitz. Reb Moshe Aharon approached his Rosh Yeshivah, Harav Moshe Bernstein, and said, “We need a Mashgiach in our yeshivah. Perhaps Reb Elyah Lopian could fill the position?”
“Since it was your idea, you invite Reb Elyah to speak in the yeshivah, and I’ll discuss it with him then,” Rav Bernstein responded.
Reb Elyah spoke in Kamenitz with eloquent zeal, and Rav Bernstein invited him to deliver mussar shmuessen in his yeshivah on a regular basis. With the invitation came the offer of room and board in the yeshivah.
Eventually Reb Moshe Aharon was appointed a maggid shiur in Kamenitz, and later Mashgiach, a position he held for the last 20 years of his life.
As Mashgiach, he delivered shmuessen and cultivated a close relationship with every bachur, encouraging them all to constantly grow in Torah, in tefillah, and in middot tovot.
He was known as an expert in the field of chinuch and shalom bayit; he felt there was nothing more important than strengthening peace in a Jewish home.
In everything he did, courtesy and consideration for others were his shining badge as a righteous tzaddik.
Reb Moshe Aharon was niftar on 8 Adar, 5758/1998, at the age of 70. He was buried on Har Hamenuchot.
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9 Adar - 1st century C.E.:
Today is a Taanit Tzaddikim (Megillat Taanit; Orach Chayim 480:2), marking the first controversy between the talmudic academies of Beit Hillel and Beit Shamai. For the very first time they disagreed regarding a case of Jewish law. In the ensuing generations, the schools argued regarding many different laws, until the law was established according to the teachings of the "House of Hillel" -- with the exception of a few instances. According to tradition, following the arrival of Moshiach the law will follow the rulings of the House of Shamai. All throughout, the members of the two schools maintained friendly relations with each other.
The Talmud, Tractate Shabbat (17a) cites that this day was as disastrous for Klal Yisrael as the day of the chet ha’egel (sin of the golden calf).
9 Adar - February 26, 1569:
The Jews were expelled from the Papal States, by Pope Pius V
9 Adar II 5700 - March 19, 1940:
HaRav Yosef Yitzchok of Lubavitch, zt"l, disembarked from a ship in New York, following his miraculous rescue from Nazioccupied Warsaw.
9 Adar 5709 - March 10, 1949:
The Israel defense Forces liberated Eilat.
9 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Mordechai Meisel, zt”l, the parnes of Prague, a great Jewish philanthropist who saved many Jewish lives in pogroms (5361 / 1601).
HaRav Shlomo Zalman (ben Yitzchak) of Volozhin, zt”l, brother of Rav Chaim Volozhin (5516 / 1756 - 5548 / 1788).
Harav Shlomo Zalman of Volozhin was born on 26 Sivan, 5516/1756. His father was Harav Yitzchak, parnas of Vilna.
His kedushah was already noticeable when he was a baby: from age one he never drank milk without making a brachah beforehand. At the age of 2½ he began learning the alef-beit. From then on, whenever he lay in bed he took the sefer alef beit with him.
His older brother was the famed Harav Chaim Volozhiner, and together they learned in the yeshivah of the Vilna Gaon.
Harav Shlomo Zalman learned under the Vilna Gaon. The Gaon loved him, and he was listed among his closest and best talmidim. It is related that when Reb Zalman was tragically niftar at a young age, the Gaon tore kriah for his prized talmid.
As a young avreich of 24, Reb Zalman was renowned as a genius. He had an amazing memory and never forgot anything he ever learned. He was well versed in Torah Shebichtav and Torah Sheb’al Peh, nigleh and nistar. His memory was so good that whenever a talmid chacham needed a source for his drashot or sefarim he would ask Reb Zalman, who would pinpoint the source with accuracy.
Reb Zalman was known for his hasmadah and for learning with great dveikut. He avoided contact with the world; he rarely went outside, and when he did, he always walked on the side of the street near the gutter. When asked about this seemingly strange custom, he explained that by going there, he would be saved from many machshavot zarot.
It was said of Reb Zalman that what he achieved in his mere 32 years on earth — in love of Torah, knowledge of all its facets, kedushah and middot — was more than an average person could achieve in a lifetime as long as that of Mesushelach.
Reb Zalman was niftar on 9 Adar, 5548/1788.
Toldos Adam, a sefer containing his chiddushim and stories about him, was written by his close associate Harav Yechezkel Feivel. The sefer was adorned with haskamot from Vilna’s leading Rabbanim.
HaRav Menachem Mendel (ben Shmuel) Stern, zt”l, (1759 - 5594 / 1834). Author of Derech Emunah. He was a talmid of Rav Yaakov Lorberbaum of Lissa (author of Nesivot Hamishpat, Chavat Da’at, and Derech Chaim). He succeeded Rav Yehuda Hakohen Heller (author of Kuntres Hasefeikot and brother of the Ketzot Hachoshen) as Rav of Sighet, Hungary. Rav Stern was a chassid of Rav Moshe Leib of Sassov and of Rav Mendel of Kossov.
HaRav Shmuel Klein, zt"l, Rav of Chust and Selish and author of Tzror Hachaim, (5635 / 1875).[Adar II]
HaRav Yisrael Yaakov of Chust, zt"l, (5689 / 1929).[Adar II]
HaRav Aharon Menachem Mendel of Radzimin, zt”l, (5694 / 1934)
HaRav Shmuel Dovid (ben Yosef Moshe) HaLevi Ungar, Hy"d, Nitra Rav and Rosh Yeshiva. A descendent of Don Yitzchak Abarbanel and father-in-law of Rav Michoel Ber Weissmandel (5705 / 1945).
(See 8 Adar) (others 5704/1944)
HaRav Yechiel Schlesinger, zt”l, rav and posek for Khal Adat Yeshurun (5708 / 1948). In his youth, he learned at Slobodka and Mir Yeshivot. After his marriage in 1930, he set off for Ponevezh, Lithuania. During his time in Ponevezh, Rav Yechiel Michel also trained to become a dayan, doing shimush in the beit din of the Ponevezher Rov. He was called to serve as a dayan on the Frankfurt beit din, and as the head of Rav Breuer’s Yeshiva 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 yeshiva of Torah Vodaat 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 Yeshiva, setting a clear Torah path for German Jewry. (Adar I).
HaRav Chaim Ephraim Zeitchek, zt”l, Mashgiach of Novardok, Yerushalayim and Rosh Yeshiva Ohr Chodosh, (5749 / 1989).
HaRav Yehudah Zerachyah Mordechai Leib Chaim Halevi Segal, zt"l, Rav of Kiryat Shalom-Tel Aviv , (5761 / 2001).
Harav Segal was born in Yerushalayim on Purim, 15 Adar 5684 / 1924. His father, Harav Shaftiyah Halevi Segal, was a leading talmid chacham.
By the age of 13 he knew the entire Likutei Maharan; by 19 he had mastered Shas. Many of the talmidei chachamim who talked to him in learning said he was able to discuss any sugya as if he had just been studying it.
As a young bachur he learned at the Lomza yeshivah in Petach Tikva, where he was considered one of the leading lights. Before he was 20, he received semichah from the Torah leaders of that generation, and from then on he never stopped teaching.
While still a young avreich, he was asked by the Lelover and Lubavitcher Rebbes, zy”a, to serve as Rav of Kiryat Shalom in Tel Aviv. He held this position for the rest of his life, despite other offers that were made to him over the years.
In his youth, Harav Segal was close to the Chazon Ish and Harav Reuven Zelig Bengis. Later on he developed strong ties with the Rebbes of Tel Aviv, including the Abir Yaakov of Sadigura, the Be’er Moshe of Ozherov, and the Rebbe of Bohush, zt”l.
It is related that Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer, zt”l, would stand up in Harav Segal’s honor when Harav Segal was still a young man, and that the two would discuss divrei Torah.
Rav Zerachyah authored many important sefarim: Tzemach Yehudah, Reishit HaAvodah, Mishpetei HaChen and Divrei Yehudah Zerachyah, among others.
Toward the end of his life he endured terrible suffering, which he accepted b’ahavah. Harav Segal was niftar in Tel Aviv on Motzoei Shabbat Parashat Terumah, 9 Adar 5761 / 2001, at the age of 77. As the news of his petirah spread, students and followers from all over the country flocked to his home, where they spent the entire night reciting Tehillim.
After a huge levayah in Tel Aviv and another in Yerushalayim, he was buried on Sunday on Har Hamenuchot.
Although he was niftar childless, Harav Segal left hundreds of students who learned from him Torah, pure yirat Shamayim and devotion to avodat Hashem.
HaRav Shammai Zahn, zt"l, (5761 / 2001), Rosh Yeshivat Netzach Yisrael, Sunderland, and President of Agudat Yisrael of England.
10 Adar 4313 - 553 C.E.:
The Byzantine Emperor Justinian ordered that under his jurisdiction, instead of reading the Torah on Shabbat, the Greek translation
must be read. He also prohibited Rabbanim from speaking in public
on the parsha or teaching Torah. (others 2 Adar)
10 Adar II 5109 - March 1, 1349:
Jews massacred during the Black Death epidemic in the town of Freiburg, Germany.
The Black Death Persecutions swept into the oldest Jewish community in Germany.
The Alderman of Worms sentenced the entire Jewish community to death by being
burned at the stake.
The Jews had heard grotesque tales of torture by the hands
of the anti-Semites.
Rather than submit to torture, the Jews set fire
to their own homes and perished inside.
In the end 580 Jews died. See 2 Adar.
10 Adar 5235 - 1475:
The first complete Hebrew sefer (Torah with Rashi) was printed by Abraham ben Garton, in Reggio de Calabria, Italy. It was soon followed in Piovo di Sacco near Padua by a printing of the Arbah Turim of Rav Yaakov ben HaRosh. See 11 Adar.
10 Adar 5352 - February 23, 1592:
HaRav Yehuda ben Bezalel Lowe, known as the Maharal of Prague meets Rudolph II at the emperor's castle.
The Maharal was famous among Jews and non-Jews alike. He was a mystic who was revered for his holiness and Torah scholarship, as well as his proficiency in mathematics, astronomy, and other sciences. Eventually, word of his greatness reached the ears of Emperor Rudolph II. The Emperor invited the Maharal to his castle on February 23, 1592. There they conversed for one and a half hours, and developed a mutual respect for each other. Rabbi Judah Lowe made use of his excellent connections with the Emperor, often intervening on behalf of his community when it was threatened by anti-Semitic attacks or oppression.
10 Adar 5609 - Mar. 4, 1849:
the Austrian Empire were granted equal civil and political rights.
10 Adar 5740 - Feb. 27, 1980:
In 1980, Israel and Egypt exchanged ambassadors, marking a new era of cordial, if cold, diplomacy. In 1973, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat had orchestrated an attack on Israel in the Yom Kippur War, but after suffering defeat he became resigned to Israel's existence. In 1978, Sadat and Menachem Begin signed the Camp David Peace Agreement, for which they received the Nobel Peace Prize. Much of the Arab world was outraged by Sadat's overtures toward Israel, and he was assassinated by a Muslim extremist in 1981.
10 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Pinchas of Voldova, zt”l, author of Brit Shalom (5423 / 1663).
HaRav Gershon Ashkenazi, zt"l, the Avodat Hagershuni (5078 / 1618 - 5453 / 1693)
Harav Gershon was born c. 5078/1618 in the town of Holtz (Ulf), Germany. His father was Harav Yitzchak Ashkenazi.
Since Poland was the largest Torah center, Rav Gershon made his way to Cracow, where he entered the prestigious yeshivah of Harav Yoel Sirkish, the Bach. Among the talmidim of that yeshivah were the Taz, the Tzemach Tzedek and the Ateret Zekeinim, among others.
Rav Gershon was also a talmid of Harav Yehoshua, the Maginei Shlomo, head of a prominent Cracow yeshivah. After the Bach’s petirah, Rav Gershon’s attachment to the Maginei Shlomo grew stronger, and for many years he would consult him in matters of halachah. He would also consult the revered Rebbe Reb Heschel of Cracow.
Reb Gershon married the daughter of Reb Yehudah Leib Pass, a wealthy and prominent member of the Cracow community. Reb Leib supported Rav Gershon generously. Sadly, his Rebbetzin passed away at a young age, on 18 Shevat 5409 / 1649, leaving behind a number of orphans.
Rav Gershon then married the daughter of Harav Menachem Mendel Kruchmal, the Tzemach Tzedek, who was Rav in Nikolsburg. He had had a close relationship with the Tzemach Tzedek before, but now their friendship rose to new heights. Unfortunately, Rav Gershon’s second Rebbetzin did not live long either; she passed away five years later, on 14 Nissan 5414 / 1654. Even after her petirah, Rav Gershon continued to address the Tzemach Tzedek as his father-in-law, and they maintained a close relationship.
Eventually Rav Gershon remarried and his third wife, Rebbetzin Raizel, merited arichut yamim. She lived on for 30 years after her husband’s petirah.
Several kehillot were privileged to have Rav Gershon as their Rav. At a relatively young age he was selected to serve as a dayan in Cracow. Several years later (about 5410 / 1650) he was sought after to serve the kehillah of Prussnitz, Moravia. During that period he became close to the Shach. The Shach had fled the massacres of Tach V’tat (5408–09/1648–49), and he was at that time Rav in nearby Heleshi.
Subsequently, Rav Gershon became Rav in Hanow, Germany; then, with the petirah of his father-in-law the Tzemach Tzedek in 5421/1661, he was called upon to serve as Rav in Nikolsburg, Moravia. A year later he became Rav of the entire province of Moravia (Mehrin). Eventually he became Rav of Vienna, where he served as the principal Rav of all Austria.
When the Jews of Vienna were expelled in 5430/1670 by the wicked Emperor Leopold, Rav Gershon fled with them. Within a short time he was asked to accept the recently vacated Rabbanut position in Metz (at that time part of France). There he remained until his petirah, teaching, guiding and writing his teshuvot.
Harav Gershon taught Torah with utmost devotion for over 40 years. He had thousands of talmidim, many of whom went on to become great leaders and Rabbanim of Klal Yisrael. One of his prime talmidim was Harav David Oppenheim.
Reb Gershon was of towering stature in gadlut and kedushah.
In his later years, Rav Gershon hired a talmid chacham to stay with him 24 hours a day, to watch lest he inadvertently violate the minutest dikduk in halachah.
After his petirah, the Jews of Metz observed an entire year of mourning in which they refrained from listening to music even at chasunot.
His sefarim are She’eilot U’teshuvot Avodat Hagershuni, Tiferet Hegershuni al haTorah.
HaRav Yosef Yoel Heilprin, zt”l, (5530 / 1770), (Adar II), Rav of Stefan, talmid of the Baal Shem Tov. Born c. 5445/1685 in Ostroha.
His father, Harav Yaakov Aharon, was Rav in Stefan. The two of them were arrested, ostensibly for committing a robbery. To save his father, Reb Yosef Yoel “confessed” to the theft. He was sentenced to death, with the option of converting to save himself. He was spared at almost the last minute when the real thieves were caught.
Several years later, when Reb Yaakov Aharon was appointed Rav of Lutzk, Reb Yosef Yoel replaced him as Rav in Stefan.
Reb Yosef Yoel, a gaon who was also familiar with works of Kabbalah, was one of the first talmidim and Chassidim of the Baal Shem Tov (in spite of initially being a fierce opponent).
He was a wealthy man who gave generously to the poor, notably aniyei Eretz Yisrael.
His son-in-law, Harav Aharon Shmuel Hakohen of Ostroha, mechaber of V’tzivah Hakohen, succeeded him as Rav of Stefan. Reb Aharon Shmuel was a talmid of the Maggid of Mezeritch.
His son-in-law Harav Tzvi Hirsch Ashkenazi, son of Harav Avraham Meshulam Zalman (son of the Chacham Tzvi), was Rav of the kloiz in Ostroha.
Harav Dovid Halevi (a son-in-law in his zivug rishon; his wife passed away young, leaving him with four young children) was the Maggid of Stefan.
Reb Yosef Yoel was niftar on 10 Adar II 5530 / 1770 at nearly 90 years of age, and was buried in Stefan.
HaRav Yosef Baruch (ben Klonimos Kalman) Halevi Epstein, zt”l, the Gutteh Yid of Neustadt (5552 / 1792 - 5627 / 1867) (Adar II).
Harav Yosef Baruch Epstein was the son of Harav Klonimous Kalman, the Maor V’shemesh. He was born in 5552/1792.
He was still zocheh to travel to the Chozeh of Lublin, and considered himself a talmid muvhak of the Chozeh. He also traveled to the talmidim of the Chozeh.
Following the petirah of his father in Tammuz 5583/1823, Reb Yosef Baruch was appointed Rebbe in Neustadt.
Thousands of Chassidim flocked to his court. He was known as the Gutteh Yid of Neustadt because, according to some accounts, he refused to be called Rebbe. Reb Yosef Baruch was renowned for his mofsim.
Many Rebbes traveled to him, including Harav Shlomo of Radomsk, the Tiferet Shlomo; Harav Nosson Dovid of Shidlovtza; and Harav Emanuel of Pshedborzh.
After the petirah of Harav Yissachar Ber of Radoshitz, Reb Yosef Baruch was considered the leading baal mofes in Poland.
Reb Yosef Baruch, in his humility, traveled to the courts of other Rebbes as if he were a Chassid. Most notable were his journeys to the court of Harav Chaim of Sanz, the Divrei Chaim.
Reb Yosef Baruch was niftar at 75 on 10 Adar I 5627/1867. He was succeeded by his son Harav Klonimous Kalmish of Neustadt.
Reb Yosef Baruch’s sons-in-law were Harav Eliezer Horowitz, son of the Chozeh, and Harav Moshe Abba Ber of Litovsk.
HaRav Alexander Moshe (ben Tzvi) Lapidus, zt”l, (1819 - 5666 / 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 maggid shiur teaching talmidim 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. Shailot 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 never materialized. The only teshuvot that have come down to us are those that were printed in others’ seforim, as well as those that appeared in the many Torah journals of the time: Hatvunah, Yagdil Torah, Torah Mitzion, K’vod Halevanon, etc. 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 entitled Ikvei Brachah.
HaRav Avraham Zorach Aryeh Yehudah Leibish Heilprin of Brezhan, zt”l, the Imrei Yehudah (5610 / 1850 – 5689 / 1929) (Adar I).
Born in Brezhan. His father was Harav Meshulam Shraga Feivish, the author of Sfat Emet. His mother was the daughter of Harav Asher Yeshaya of Ropshitz, the son-in-law of Harav Naftali Tzvi of Ropshitz.
In his formative years, Reb Leibish learned under the tutelage of his father, who, upon noting his son’s capabilities, set his eye on him as his successor.
Reb Leibish married the daughter of Harav Shalom of Shotz. He settled in Brezhan, where he was supported by his father, in order that he dedicate himself to learning. Reb Leibish lived near his father for four years. During these years he took upon himself to take care of the city’s mikvaot, and invested much time and effort into seeing that all were properly tended to.
On 19 Elul 5634 / 1874, his father was niftar. At the time, Reb Leibish was still young — just 24 years old — and didn’t consider himself worthy of replacing his father as Rebbe. The chassidim implored him to accept the position, but it was only after the Divrei Chaim of Sanz asked Reb Leibish that he finally acquiesced. Reb Leibish was close to the Divrei Chaim, and would travel from time to time to spend Shabbat in Sanz.
Reb Leibish was noted for his knowledge of Kabbalah works, and would daven from a siddur with the kavanot of the Arizal. He was also known for his outstanding works of tzedakah and chessed.
When World War I broke out, Reb Leibish fled to Prague, where he stayed until the end of the war. After the war, he returned to his home in Brezhan, but upon seeing the destruction in the city — especially to his beit medrash — he couldn’t bear staying on. Thus, Reb Leibish moved to Lemberg, where he lived until his petirah. In his later years, Reb Leibish was weak and could barely talk, but nevertheless delved into Torah learning. He was niftar on 10 Adar I 5689 / 1929, at the age of 79, and was buried in Brezhan.
His chiddushim on the Torah were published during his lifetime, under the name Imrei Yehudah.
HaRav Shalom (ben Yechezkel Shraga) Goldstein, zt”l, (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.
11 Adar 5194 - 1434:
The pope prohibited anti-Jewish sermons.
11 Adar 5235 - 1475:
Rashi, the most basic commentary on the Torah ( the Five Books of Moses), was printed for the first time, by Abraham ben Garton, in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. In this first print, the commentary, authored in the 11th century by HaRav Shlomo Yitzchaki, was without the text of the Torah. All subsequent printings - for the next 500 years
and counting - includes the text of the Torah above Rashi's commentary.
This was the first time that the rounded Hebrew font was used, the font which has since become known as "Rashi Letters."
It was soon followed in Piovo di Sacco near Padua by a printing of the Arbah Turim of Rav Yaakov ben HaRosh.
11 Adar 5248 - 1488:
The Tanach in its entirety was printed for the first time.
11 Adar I 5559 - Feb. 16, 1799:
Haifa was captured by Napoleon, which marked the greatest extent of Napoleon's conquest of Eretz Yisrael.
11 Adar I 5641 - Feb. 10, 1881:
Alexander II of Russia assassinated, 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 then 50,000 Jews a year until 1914. By the beginning of World War I, 2,500,000 Russian Jews had left.
11 Adar 5680 - March 1, 1920:
Joseph Trumpeldor, killed defending Tel-Chai from an attack by its Arab neighbors.
11 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Gershon (ben Yitzchak) Ashkenazi, zt”l, (1625-1693).(Adar I). Born in Holtz, Germany, he left home to learn in the yeshiva of Rav Yoel Sirkes, the Bach, in Krakow, Poland. He was also a close talmid of Rav Yehoshua, the Maginei Shlomo.
Rav Gershon lost his first wife in 1649, and married the daughter of Rav Menachem Mendel Kruchmal, the Tzemach Tzedek. But she too was niftar young, in 1654. His third wife, Rebbetzin Raizel, was zocheh to arichat yamim, outliving her husband by 30 years.
Rav Gershon served as dayan in Krakow, and in 1650 served the kehila of Prussnitz, Moravia. With the petira 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 petira.
He is the author of Avodat HaGershuni, which deals with a wide range of Halachah. Much of what we know about the Chmielnicki massacres are based on this work. A prolific writer, he also composed Tiferet HaGershuni comprising his drashot on the Torah, and Chidushei HaGershuni on Halacha. (others 10 Adar).
HaRav Eliezer Lipman, zt”l, father of Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk and Reb Zusha of Annipoli (b.1687 - d. yr?)
HaRav Leib, zt”l, the son of Harav Meir of Premishlan, who was known as “Shomer Shabbat" (5559 / 1799).(Adar I)
HaRav Chaim Yosef Dovid Azulai, zt"l, (5484 / 1724 - 5566 / 1806), a great Sephardic sage known by the acronym "Chidah." Considered the Sephardic equivelant to the Vilna Gaon. He was born in Yerushalayim / Jerusalem. His father was Harav Yitzchak Zerachiah Azulai.
The Chidah’s piety and brilliance in Torah were already apparent in his youth. At 10 he began learning in the beit medrash of his rebbi and uncle, Harav Yonah Navon, author of Nechpah Bakesef; by the age of 12 he was already composing chiddushim on Hilchot Melichah.
On 15 Elul 5502 / 1742, when the Chidah was 18, Harav Chaim Ben Attar, the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh, arrived in Yerushalayim. The Chidah immediately joined the holy Gaon’s yeshivah, Knesset Yisrael, for a short period until the Ohr Hachaim was niftar.For many years he served as a roving emissary for Jews in Eretz Yisrael, traveling to hundreds of Jewish communities throughout Europe and North Africa to raise money. When the Chidah was 29 years old, he was sent as an emissary to collect funds for the community of Chevron, which was suffering from extreme poverty. When he presented his letters of introduction to the wealthy men of the Frankfurt community, they told him they could not give him any money, for they had no one among them who could verify the authenticity of the signatures.
The Chidah’s solution was to visit Harav Yaakov Yehoshua Pollack, the Pnei Yehoshua, zt”l, who was able to match the signatures from letters he himself had received from the Rabbanim of Yerushalayim verifying the authenticity of the Chidah’s letters. With the warm haskamah, he was able to collect huge sums of money.
In Shevat 5524/1764, the Chidah left Eretz Yisrael for the second time on a mission to benefit the community of Yerushalayim. Instead of returning to Eretz Yisrael, he became Chief Rabbi of Alexandria, where he served for five years.
In 5529/1769, he left his rabbinical post in Egypt, returned to Eretz Yisrael and settled in Chevron.
On Erev Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan 5533/1772, he was sent on a third mission, his second on behalf of the city of Chevron.
Despite his extensive travels, the Chidah wrote some 80 works, 60 of which were published. They covered topics in Halachah, Aggadah and Kabbalah. He wrote a collection of responsa known as Yosef Ometz, the Shem HaGedolim (a biographical work on 1300 authors and 1200 writings, dating back to the Gaonim), and the famous Birkei Yosef. He also served for a time as chief rabbi of Egypt. He was niftar on Leil Shabbat, 11 Adar 5566/1806, in Livorno, Italy and interred there. In 5720/1960, when the authorities were planning to desecrate his holy kever, his remains were brought to Eretz Yisrael for reburial on Har Hamenuchot. Many open nissim occurred then, further attesting to the Chidah’s greatness and holiness.
HaRav Mordechai Posner, zt”l, Rav of Ursha and brother of the Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1823).
HaRav Yehoshua Moshe (ben Mordechai Zev) Orenstein, zt"l, author of Yam HaTalmud
HaRav Moshe Yehoshua Heshel of Ruhatin, zt"l, (5585 / 1825).
HaRav Shmuel Strashun, zt”l, the Rashash of Vilna (5632 / 1872). (Adar II).
Harav Shmuel was born in 5554 / 1794 in Zaskevich, a suburb of Vilna. His father, Harav Yosef, was a close confidant of Harav Avraham Danzig, the Chayei Adam, to whom he later sent his son to learn.
Initially educated by his father, Harav Shmuel became a proficient talmid chacham, renowned for his sharp and clear mind.
At a relatively early age, Harav Shmuel married the daughter of Harav Dovid Strashun and settled near his father-in-law in the village of Streszyn, commonly called Strashun (near Vilna), where he assumed the family surname.
In 1812, the distillery owned by his father-in-law was vandalized by the invading French army; the family moved to Vilna, where they re-established it. In Vilna, Harav Shmuel became one of the most prominent members of the community. His wife conducted the business, while he devoted most of his time to learning and teaching, without salary, the many talmidim who gathered about him. His derech halimud was based on that of the Vilna Gaon: to clarify each and every point and end up with a clear conclusion, without elaborate pilpulim and sevarot.
The shiurim which he delivered daily for many years and the discussions that followed are the basis for his annotations, incorporated in the Talmud Bavli as Hagahot v’Chiddushei HaRashash. These notes cover the entire Shas except for eight amudim. First printed in the Vilna Shas by the Rom family press (the Roms were related to the Rashash), they have been reprinted in every edition since.
Besides his chiddushim on Shas, the Rashash also wrote chiddushim on the Midrash Rabbah, as well as Mekorei HaRambam.
His fame as a talmid chacham spread throughout Russia, and he corresponded with several well-known Rabbanim. He was offered the rabbinate of Suvalk but he refused it, preferring to retain his independence. He also administrated a free loan fund.
His famous library containing 5,800 sefarim, one of the largest private libraries in the world, was donated to the Vilna kehillah, with the condition that all who wanted to would be free to make use of it.
Harav Shmuel was niftar at the age of 78 on 11 Adar II 5632/1872 in Vilna, and was buried there near the kever of Harav Avraham Abba Possboler.
HaRav Avraham (ben Ze’ev Nachum) Borenstein of Sochatchov, zt”l, (Sochaczew, near Warsaw) (5599 / 1839 - 5670 / 1910), author of Avnei Nezer (seven volumes of responsa) and Eglei Tal (encyclopedia of the laws of Shabbat). He was born in Bendin to Harav Zev Nochum, a fiery Kotzker Chassid, the Rav in Biala, and the mechaber of Agudat Eizov, a descendent of the Rema and the Shach.
While still young, Avraham started learning on a steady basis with his father’s talmidim in Bendin. He woke up early to attend the in-depth shiur his father gave.
At age 10, Reb Avraham completed Shas and his father hosted a festive seudah in honor of the siyum. His reputation as a wonder-child spread to all of Russia and Poland. Even before his bar mitzvah, Reb Avraham gave shiurim to the talmidim in his father’s yeshivah.
In 1853, he married Sarah Tzina, one of the two daughters of the Kotzker Rebbe, with whom he learned almost daily for about 7 years. Though the Kotzker Rebbe was famous for his approach to Chassidut, what Rav Avraham learned from him was his derech halimud.
After the petira of his father-in-law in 5619 / 1859, Rav Avraham stayed on in Kotzk for another four years. Then he became Rav in Partzev, and later in Krushnevitz and Sochatchov. In Krushnevitz he opened a yeshivah where talented talmidim came to learn, and where Rav Avraham delivered shiurim every day, each one lasting six to eight hours!
Rav Avraham joined the Kotzker Chassidim who accepted the Chidushei HaRim of Ger as their Rebbe. After the petira of the Chidushei HaRim in 1866, he accepted Rav Chanoch Henoch HaKohen of Alexander as his new rebbi.
With Rav Henoch’s petirah on 18 Adar of that year, most of the Chassidim began following the Chiddushei Harim’s young grandson, the Sfat Emet. But talmidim of Reb Avraham decided to make him their Rebbe. Though he tried to dissuade them, they insisted, and he hesitantly began leading his flock from Krushnevitz, where he was Rav at the time. He was then just 31 years old. In 5636/1876 he became Rav and Rebbe in the city of Nashelsk.
In 1883, he became Rav of Sochachov. There he led his flock for close to 30 years. His lectures in the yeshiva 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.
The Sochatchover Rebbe passed on to his talmidim and Chassidim the maxim he learned in Kotzk: “There are many ways to serve the Creator, but all are ways of danger; only the Torah is a sure way of reaching the objective.”
In his last five years, lung disease precluded him from saying shiurim. He was forced to spend much of his time in Otvock, a spa known for its healing qualities. In order to disseminate Torah from there, he decided to publish Eglei Tal, on hilchot Shabbat. Avnei Nezer was compiled by his son, the Shem MiShmuel, from his many responsa.
Early in the morning of 11 Adar I 5670/1910, the Rebbe was niftar and was buried in Sochatchov, where an ohel was built on his kever. (Adar I).
HaRav Avraham Abuchatzeira, zt"l, of Teveria, uncle of the Baba Sali, (5673 / 1913).
HaRav Yosef (ben Fishel) Rosen of Dvinsk, zt"l, known as the Rogatchover Gaon (Prodigy/Genius). (1858 - 5696 / 1936). HaRav Rosen was born and raised in the Belarusian city of Rogatchov (Rogachev), now in Belarus. His father, Reb Fishel Rosen, was a leader of the Jewish community of Rogatchov in general, and of the Lubavitcher Chasidim in particular. His mother, Sarah, was the granddaughter of Harav Gershon of Rogatchov, who was one of the first chassidim of the Baal HaTanya of Lubavitch.
In his childhood, his father took him to see the Tzemach Tzedek of Lubavitch, who gave him a brachah to attain a high level in lomdus.
Indeed, as the Rebbe promised, Reb Yosef displayed unusual capabilities from a very young age, and soon became known as a great iluy. He displayed enormous hasmadah, learning relentlessly day and night and utilizing his great talents to their fullest capacity.
When he was bar mitzvah, his father brought Reb Yosef to the Rav of Slutzk, Rav Yosef Dov Soloveichik, the Beit Halevi. The Beit Halevi asked if he was fluent in half of Shas. When the Rogatchover nodded, the Beit Halevi asked, “Which half?” The Rogatchover replied, “Whichever one you want!”
Under the guidance of the Beit Halevi, he became close to and learned together with the Beit Halevi’s son, Reb Chaim, who later became known as Reb Chaim Brisker. Together they often attended the shiurim of Reb Mendel of Slutzk, whose approach to learning served as a basis for the derech halimud of both of these Torah giants.
He then learned with Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin, who then lived in Shklov.
From time to time he would also travel to Kapust, which was close to Shklov, to Harav Shneur Zalman of Kapust, a grandson of the Baal HaTanya.
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 Warsaw, a capital of Torah and Chassidut, Reb Yosef became known as a rising luminary. Many were inspired to speak with him in learning. He visited Warsaw’s talmidei chachamim and became close to many of them, including the Avnei Nezer of Sochatchov.
In 5649/1889, upon the advice of the Kapuster Rebbe, the Rogatchover was called upon by the chassidishe kehillah in the Latvian city of Dvinsk (Daugavpils),Dvinsk to serve as their Rav.
During WWI Reb Yosef was forced to flee. He settled “temporarily” in Petersburg, but ended up staying there for 10 years. There, too, he served as Rav of the chassidim, and also served as an emissary for the entire frum yishuv in the Russian capital, accomplishing a number of vital missions on behalf of Klal Yisrael.
Ten years after he had left, the Rogatchover returned to Dvinsk, where he continued his unrelenting Torah schedule in which he did not stop learning for even a moment. The Rogatchover developed a very special relationship with the Rav of Dvinsk’s Litvishe kehillah, Harav Meir Simchah, the Meshech Chochmah, and, in fact, they were ultimately buried near each other.
The Rogatchover remained in Dvinsk the rest of his life, serving as a marbitz Torah and becoming one of prewar Europe’s most outstanding Torah personalities.
In 5696/1936, the Rogatchover was taken to Vienna for surgery, which proved unsuccessful, and he was in constant, excruciating pain. Yet, when someone asked him a Torah question, the pain seemed to disappear and his former color and fervor returned. So, the Rebbetzin deliberately invited Torah scholars to visit, to divert the Gaon’s mind from his pain. He passed away in Vienna.
He was an unparalleled genius, whose in depth understanding of all Talmudic literature left the greatest of scholars awestruck. He habitually demonstrated that many of the famous debates between the Talmudic sages have a singular thread and theme.
HaRav Rosen authored tens of thousands of responsa on the Talmud and Jewish law. Many of them have been compiled in the set of volumes Tzafnat Paneach.
HaRav Chananya Yom Tov Lipa Teitelbaum, zt”l, the Sassover Rebbe (5726 / 1966).
HaRav Menachem Dovid Chodorov, zt"l, of Tolna-Vizhnitz (5740 / 1980).
HaRav Shmuel Brudny, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivat Mir (1915 -5741 / 1981). Born in Smorgon, Lithuania, between Oshmina and Vilna. At 14 years of age, he entered the Rameilles Yeshiva in Vilna under Rav Shlomo Heiman. Three years later, he entered the Mirrer Yesihva under Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel. Whereas his parents and siblings were murdered by the Nazis, he escaped to Shanghai. After the yeshiva was relocated in New York, he was appointed Rosh Yeshiva. (Others 12 Adar)
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Today is mentioned as a Yom Tov in Megillat Taanit. The Roman Caesar, Tureinus, caught Lolianus and Papus, two righteous brothers, in the city of Lod, and had them killed. The Talmud (Taanit 18b) relates that when they were captured and brought before the Caesar, he exclaimed, “If you are from the same nation of Chananyah, Mishael and Azaryah, who were previously saved through a miracle, then a miracle is expected to occur for you, too!”
They responded, “We are not as righteous as they were, and you are not as great enough for a miracle to happen through you. We will die because we deserve to be punished.”
They were then killed Al Kiddush Hashem.
Immediately thereafter, the Caesar was killed by a legion of the Roman army and the rest of the Jewish communities were saved, which led to the declaration of this day as a Yom Tov. The Yom Tov was subsequently cancelled because two other brothers, Shmaya and Achiyah, who were great men, were killed on this day.
12 Adar - 11 B.C.E.:
Dedication of Herod's renovations on the second Beit HaMikdash in Yerushalayim. Herod was king of Judea in the first century BCE who constructed grand projects like the fortresses at Masada and Herodium, the city of Caesarea, and fortifications around the old city of Yerushalayim. The most ambitious of Herod's projects was the re-building of the Beit HaMikdash. In the year 19 BCE, King Herod floated the idea of rebuilding and renovating the Beit HaMikdash, which was in disrepair after standing over 300 years. Though many Jews were wary of Herod’s motives, the renovation was completed eight years later. Herod's renovations included a huge man-made platform that remains today the largest man-made platform in the world. It took 10,000 men 10 years just to build the retaining walls around the Temple Mount; the Kotel Maaravi / Western Wall that we know today is part of that retaining wall. The Beit HaMikdash itself was a phenomenal site, covered in gold and marble. The new structure was so magnificent, as the Talmud states: "He who has not seen Herod's building has never in his life seen a truly grand building!"
12 Adar - 1389:
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, Hy"d..
12 Adar 5704 - March 7, 1944:
9,971 Jews were gassed in Auschwitz throughout the course of the day.
Jewish families were brought in from the Theresienstadt camp, as proof to visiting
Red Cross inspectors that Jews were being treated well at Auschwitz.
inspectors left the families were murdered, Hy"d.
12 Adar I 5708 - February 22, 1948:
Many Jews were killed and more were wounded when a bomb exploded on the very
well traveled Ben Yehudah Street in Yerushalayim. Hy"d.
12 Adar I 5752 - Feb. 16, 1992:
Nasrallah takes over Hezbollah after Israel kills the group's leader, Abbas Musawi.
12 Adar II 5752 - March 17, 1992:
With the help of Iranian intelligence, Hezbollah bombed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 and injuring over 200, Hy"d.
12 Adar II 5757 - March 21, 1997:
.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, Hy"d. 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.
12 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Menachem Mendel Eichenstein of Ziditchov, zt”l, (5661 / 1901).
Harav Menachem Mendel Eichenstein was the youngest son of Harav Yitzchak Eizik of Ziditchov. He was born in 5606 / 1846, and named for Harav Menachem Mendel of Rimanov, zy”a.
Like his older brothers, Reb Menachem Mendel also delved into the study of Kabbalah.
Reb Menachem Mendel was cherished greatly by his father, who attested that what took him many hours to understand, his son could manage to learn in just a few seconds. Reb Menachem Mendel was known for his phenomenal memory; he would recite entire dafim of Gemara or Zohar by heart, without a single mistake.
When he came of age, Reb Menachem Mendel married the daughter of Harav Chaim Avraham of Mikolayev, who was the son-in-law of Harav Meir of Premishlan.
For a short period, Reb Menachem Mendel served as Rav in Mikolayev, in place of his father-in-law.
After the petirah of his father, in 5637 / 1837, Reb Menachem Mendel, together with his other brothers, was appointed Rebbe.
Reb Menachem Mendel was niftar on 12 Adar II 5661 / 1901 at the age of 55.
He was succeeded by his son, Harav Chaim Avraham. His sons-in-law were Harav Baruch Rubin, Rebbe in Gerla; Harav Dovid Marilus of Yeruslav; Harav Yitzchak of Stuchin; and Harav Meir Eichenstein of Kashua.
Reb Menachem Mendel said of himself that he wrote a thousand sefarim. Among them are Adam V’Chavah V’Toldoseihem to explain the Torah according to the Zohar; Sefer Hakol on the 613 mitzvot; Menachem Meishiv Nafshi on Mishnayot and Gemara; Likutei Maharamam, a collection of his divrei Torah, and many others.
HaRav Mordechai Rotblatt, zt”l, of Slonimm, (5676 / 1916) (Adar I)
HaRav Shlomo of Sasov – Lelov, zt”l, (5679 / 1919).(Adar I).
HaRav Moshe Yehoshua (ben Asher Zelig) Bezhilianski, zt”l, (known as Reb Alter Tepliker Hy"d) (1919). Wrote ten sefarim, including Hishtapchut Hanefesh, Meshivat Nefesh, Sichat Hanefesh, Ohr Zoreiach Hagada and Mei Hanachal (on Likutei Maharan). He was murdered during a Cossak uprising while seated next to a Sefer Torah.
HaRav Alter Eliezer Horowitz, zt"l, the Beitcher Rebbe, (c. 5650 / 1890 - 5697 / 1937).
Harav Alter Eliezer was born c. 5650/1890. His father was Harav Aharon, the Rav and Rebbe of Beitch, son of Harav Meir the Imrei Noam of Dzikov, who in turn was the son of Harav Eliezer of Dzikov, son of Harav Naftali of Ropshitz, the Zera Kodesh. His mother was Rebbetzin Tila, a daughter of Harav Chaim, the Divrei Chaim of Sanz, zy”a. His father named him after his great-grandfather, Harav Eliezer of Dzikov, and added the name Alter.
Harav Alter Eliezer married Rebbetzin Yuta, the daughter of Harav Moshe Yehudah Leib Shapiro, the Strizover Rebbe, who was the son-in-law of Harav Baruch of Gorlitz, and also a descendant of the Bnei Yissaschar. His sons with this Rebbetzin were Harav Chaim Shlomo of Strizov, author of Darkei Noam; and Harav Yisrael Yaakov Yokel of Volova, author of Heitiv Eitiv.
After divorcing Rebbetzin Yuta, he married Rebbetzin Leah, with whom he had three daughters, two of whom were killed al kiddush Hashem during the Holocaust.
During WWI, Reb Alter Eliezer’s saintly father was forced to flee Beitch, Galicia, where he had served as Rav for many years and where he had attracted many chassidim. He settled in Kashau, in present day Ukraine, and continued leading the Beitcher chassidim who flocked to him. After his petirah in 5687 (1927), Harav Alter Eliezer became Beitcher Rebbe.
Harav Alter Eliezer led the chassidim with devotion and vigor until his petirah on 12 Adar 5697 (1937), at the relatively young age of 47. He was niftar exactly 10 years after his father on the very same day. (The father was niftar on 12 Adar Rishon while the son was niftar on 12 Adar of a non-leap year.) Harav Alter Eliezer was buried with great kavod in the beit hachaim in Kashau.
His son, Harav Chaim Shlomo, served as Rav in the town of Zalisha, located near Munkatch, and moved to America after the Holocaust. In America, he founded the Strizover beit medrash; he was niftar in 5729 (1969). Their children and grandchildren continue their esteemed legacy.
HaRav Moshe Pardo, zt”l, founder of Ohr Hachaim Seminary in Bnei Brak.(yr?)
HaRav Pinchas (ben Baruch) Hager of Borsha, zt”l, (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 Tzaddik 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 (Marmerosh) 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 perished in the Holocaust, Hy"d.
HaRav Chananyah Yom Tov Lipa Teitelbaum, zt”l, the Sassover Rebbe, (5666 / 1906 - 5726 / 1966).
Harav Chananyah Yom Tov Lipa Teitelbaum was the son of Harav Chanoch Heinich, the Sassover Rebbe. He was named for his maternal great-grandfather, Harav Chananyah Yom Tov Lipa Teitelbaum, the Kedushat Yom Tov, father of his grandfather Harav Chaim Tzvi, the Atzei Chaim.
Reb Chananyah Yom Tov Lipa became the son-in-law of his uncle, Harav Yoel of Satmar, marrying his daughter Reizel. He settled in Satmar, where he was asked to head his father-in-law’s yeshivah. Later, Reb Chananyah Yom Tov Lipa was appointed Rav in Semihali. At the request of the kehillah of Satmar, Reb Chananyah Yom Tov Lipa returned to serve as Rav in the city, and was beloved by all the residents.
During World War II, Reb Chananyah Yom Tov Lipa managed, through many nissim, to escape together with his Rebbetzin from the inferno in Europe and reach Eretz Yisrael. After Harav Yoel escaped (on the Kastner train), he too made his way to Eretz Yisrael, where his daughter and son-in-law then lived. Sadly, Rebbetzin Reizel passed away childless in Eretz Yisrael.
In 5708 / 1948 Reb Lipa moved to America, where he established his own court. He named his court Sassov, after his maternal grandfather, Harav Shlomo of Sassov, zt”l. He remarried at that time.
In 5723 / 1963 Reb Lipa returned to Eretz Yisrael, where he laid the foundation for Kiryat Yismach Moshe/Sassov in Petach Tikva. However, he did not live to see its completion; he was niftar on 12 Adar, 5726 / 1966, at the age of 60, and buried in Teveria.
He was survived by his sons, among them Harav Yosef Dovid, Sassover Rebbe in Kiryat Yismach Moshe in Eretz Yisrael, shlita, and Harav Chanoch Heinich, Sassover Rebbe in Monsey, shlita.
HaRav Shmuel (ben Yeshaya) Halevi Horowitz, zt"l, (1972). Born in Eretz Yisrael, he first became interested in Breslov Chassidus after reading Reb Alter Tepliker's Hishtapchut Hanefesh (whose yahrtzeit he shares). He went to Uman for Rosh Hashana for three years and spent three months in a Russian jail after being caught.
HaRav Yosef Adler, the Turda Rav, zt”l, (1977). Turda is a city with a history of over 2000 years. It is famous for its salt mine (Salina Turda), 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.
HaRav Chaim David Halevy, zt”l, (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.
HaRav Naftali Tzvi Halberstam of Bobov, zt”l, (5691 / 1931 - 5765 / 2005), (Adar II), the Grand Rebbe of Bobov from August 2000 until March 2005. He succeeded his father, Harav Shlomo Halberstam (1907-2000), as Grand Rebbe of Bobov. Rav Naftali Halberstam was born in Bobova, Poland on 25 Sivan, 5691 / 1931. His mother Rebbetzin Blima Rochel, Hy”d, was the daughter of the Limanover Rav, Harav Chaim Yaakov Teitelbaum, zy”a. The Rebbes of Bobov were descended from the Sanz dynasty; on his mother’s side, Reb Naftali Tzvi was a grandson of Harav Eliezer of Dzikov, the son of Harav Naftali of Ropshitz, zy”a.
The Rebbe’s greatness could be discerned when he was still a very young child. He constantly sought to give nachas to his Creator and would daven with heartfelt simplicity in the way that he learned from his holy forebears.
The Rebbe’s paternal grandfather, Harav Bentzion Halberstam (the Kedushat Tzion), Hy”d, demanded of his chassidim that they serve Hashem in kedushah and taharah. Seeing these lofty traits in his grandson, he displayed special affection toward him. Reb Naftali Tzvi would often relate how he stood next to his grandfather during davening, absorbing from him the penimiut of tefillah and Chassidut. It was remarkable that Reb Naftali Tzvi remembered so much about his grandfather, despite being very young at the time they were together.
Reb Naftali Tzvi was still a young child when World War II broke out; he spent most of the war with his family, desperately trying to evade the Nazis who were particularly avid to capture and kill the manhigim of Klal Yisrael. Out of the whole family, only Harav Shlomo, his brother, and his son, Harav Naftali Tzvi, miraculously survived the ravages of the Holocaust. .
He would recount tearfully how one fateful Friday he was sent by his parents to bring food for Shabbat. The Nazis burst into their hiding place and ripped the tefillin off the head of his grandfather, the Kedushat Tzion. They took all present except for young Naftali Tzvi, although he ran after them.
Reb Naftali Tzvi’s bar mitzvah was held on Shabbat Parashat Shelach 5704/1944 while they were hiding in the basement of the hospital in the Grosswardein ghetto.His father was always careful to immerse in a mikveh before donning tefillin, and it was especially important to him that his son do so before donning tefillin for the first time. Since any attempt to immerse involved mortal danger, they eventually found a way by pouring nine measures of water on themselves in the hospital. At the time, Harav Shlomo told his son to have kavanah that this “immersion” should be a preparation both for donning tefillin and for dying al kiddush Hashem.
Once when they were in the Bochnia Ghetto, the Belzer Rebbe, Harav Aharon, zy”a, wanted very much to read from a sefer Torah. Those present asked the Rebbe how they could possibly procure a sefer Torah under the circumstances. The Belzer Rebbe raised his eyes toward Reb Naftali Tzvi and said, “Here you have a living sefer Torah. He will yet bring light to the whole world.” The Belzer Rebbe then held Reb Naftali Tzvi in his arms and danced with enthusiasm.
Years later, when the Rebbe was asked to verify the story, he dismissed it by saying, “Yes, he once grabbed me and danced with me, though I have no idea even today what he wanted from me.”
His mother and and two siblings died in the Holocaust, and in August 1944, near the end of the war, the Germans agreed to allow three boatloads of children along with some adults to leave Europe. Harav Shlomo sent Reb Naftali Tzvi to Bucharest to board one of these boats, which was bound for Eretz Yisrael. No sooner had the boats left Romania than the bloodthirsty Germans bombed one of them. Reb Naftali Tzvi later recounted standing on the deck and watching the helpless Jews from the other boat drowning, wishing he could save them but having no way to do so. Only six survived.
At war’s end, Reb Naftali Tzvi, only 13, arrived in Eretz Yisrael. At this time, representatives from various relief organizations would settle the refugees, especially the very young ones who were alone, in nonreligious institutions and kibbutzim where they were forced to abandon Yiddishkeit. When they wanted to place Reb Naftali Tzvi, he staunchly stood his ground and refused, saying constantly, “Ich bin a Sanzer einikel, I am a grandson of the Sanzer dynasty.”
Eventually Reb Naftali Tzvi came to Yerushalayim, where he visited all the Gedolei Yisrael. At 14 he learned in the yeshivah of Slonim and became very attached to Harav Mottel Slonimer. He was also close to the Belzer Rebbe, Harav Aharon, and to the Chazon Ish.
He would also go to the Imrei Emet of Ger. Although the Imrei Emet was old and weak at the time, when Reb Naftali Tzvi passed by to wish him good Shabbat, the Imrei Emet stopped him and held his hand with chavivut. The Beit Yisrael once went to observe young Naftulche learning and revealed to the person accompanying him, “I came to see how a heilige bachur sits and learns.”
When the Satmar Rebbe, Harav Yoel Teitelbaum, came to Yerushalayim, he inquired where Reb Naftali Tzvi lived and where he learned. He took the trouble to find him, bringing him greetings from his father, Harav Shlomo, whom he had met just a few days before in Italy. (The two Rebbes had discussed pressing issues on the Jewish agenda, including the many agunot.)
Reb Naftali Tzvi would point to the four years he spent learning in Eretz Yisrael as the best years of his life. There he was able to learn undisturbed and build relationships with the Gedolei Yerushalayim, free as yet of the obligations that occupied him in his later years as he helped his father re-establish Bobov in America.
Determined not to allow the Nazis to emerge victorious, Harav Shlomo worked — single-handedly at first, and later with the help of Reb Naftali Tzvi — to re-establish the Chassidut and breathe new life into the broken she’eirit hapleitah, giving them strength and inspiration.
In 5708/1948, Harav Shlomo married Rebbetzin Frayda, the daughter of the Tomashover Rebbe, and eventually restored the Bobov dynasty to its former glory.
Harav Shlomo established a yeshivah alongside his beit medrash, in the Bobov tradition of chinuch habanim. The yeshivah opened with a handful of bachurim; Harav Shlomo devoted himself to their welfare as if he were their father. The talmidim, most of whom were homeless survivors without family, became attached to the Rebbe heart and soul. As the yeshivah grew, the financial burden and the debts incurred by it caused the Bobover Rebbe great distress. Arriving in America, Reb Naftali Tzvi, a yungerman of just 21 years, stepped in to help remove the great burden of debt and distress from his father’s shoulders.
Reb Naftali Tzvi married Rebbetzin Hessie, the daughter of Harav Yosef Paneth, the Dezher-Ileander Rebbe, zy”a. But even before that, Harav Naftali began filling an important role in the fledgling Bobover kehillah and mosdot, giving shiurim and tending to public and individual needs. He expended almost single-handed efforts towards the support of the burgeoning mosdot, accruing monumental personal debt.
For more than 50 years, the financial burden of the Bobover mosdot was carried by Reb Naftali Tzvi. He often expressed his satisfaction that he was able to assist his father and minimize his burden.
The move of the Rebbe’s court and yeshivah to Crown Heights, and later the establishment of the Bobover mosdot in Boro Park (in the mid-1960s) as well as in Eretz Yisrael and other places, were all accomplished with the resources that Reb Naftali Tzvi successfully amassed.
The Rebbe’s unparalleled humility kept him out of the public limelight until the petirah of his father on Rosh Chodesh Av 5760/2000, when he became the Grand Rebbe of Bobov. Despite the Rebbe’s modesty, he was universally renowned for being a poel yeshuot and for his mesirut nefesh for every single Yid, literally sacrificing all his resources to help any Jew in need.
At the time that he assumed the leadership, he already suffered from a debilitating, progressive illness that caused him great pain and suffering and precluded him from being as accessible to the chassidim as he would have wished. Still, throughout this ordeal and the many difficulties that he went through in his life, no word of complaint ever passed his lips.
In his later years the Rebbe became extremely weak; and after a trip to Eretz Yisrael in Adar 5764 / 2004 he collapsed. He was bedridden from then on. On March 23, 2005, 12 Adar II, 5765, at the age of 73, the Rebbe was niftar.
He was buried next to his father in Washington Floral Park Cemetery in Deans, New Jersey,.on the day of his petirah, according to his request in his tzavaah.
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The Fast of Esther is observed today.
(In Jewish leap years, when we have 2 Adars, it is observed only in Adar II).
The original fast was suggested by Esther
to Mordechai and was observed by all of the Jewish people in the form of a three
day fast on Adar 14-15-16, 3405 - 356 B.C.E. According to some, the three day fast commemorates the three days in the month of Nisan when the Jews fasted before Esther appeared before King Achashveirosh.
13 Adar 3405 - 356 B.C.E.:
War Against Enemies of the Jews in Persian Empire
On the 13th of Adar of the year 3405 from creation (356 B.C.E.), battles were fought throughout the Persian Empire between the Jews who were fasting and those enemies seeking to kill them in accordance with the decree issued by King Achashveirosh 11 months earlier. (Achashveirosh never rescinded that decree; but after the hanging of Haman on Nissan 16 of the previous year, and Queen Esther's pleading on behalf of her people, he agreed to issue a second decree authorizing the Jews to defend themselves against those seeking to kill them.) 75,000 enemies were killed on that day, and 500 in the capital, Shushan, including Haman's ten sons (Parshandata, Dalfon, Aspata, Porata, Adalia, Aridata, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizata), whose bodies were subsequently hanged. The Jews did not take any of the possessions of the slain as booty, though authorized to do so by the king's decree. (Megillat Esther, chapter 9).
On Adar 13, the 10 sons of Haman were hanged (Esther 9:7). This would find eerie parallel over 2,000 years later when 10 top Nazi officials were hanged at the Nuremberg Trials. Incredibly, the Hebrew year of the hangings at Nuremberg, 5707, is encoded in the Book of Esther: In the listing of Haman's 10 sons, three Hebrew letters -- taf, shin and zayin, representing the year 5707 -- are written unusually small. (This anomaly appears in every authentic Megillah scroll, written that way for over 2,000 years.) Incredibly, when Nazi officer Julius Streicher ascended the gallows to be hanged at Nuremberg on October 16, 1946 (21 Tishrei, 5707), he shouted, "Purimfest 1946."
13 Adar 3600 - 161 B.C.E.:
Nikonor Day, a day designated as a Yom Tov in Megillat Taanit and Talmud Taanit 18b, in which the Greek King Antiochus Epiphanes's General Nikonor, leading the elephant infantry against the Jews, was defeated and killed. Nikonor used to pass the gates of Yerushalayim on his way to the King. Each time he would pass he would wave his hands and declare, "I can't wait for the time when I will breach the
walls of Yerushalayim, when I will destroy the Beit Hamikdash."
When the Chashmona'im rose to power and the Greeks were defeated, they approached his compound and attacked it, ultimately killing the wicked Nikonor and all his men. They then cut up his body, hung the parts on the gates of Yerushalayim, and wrote underneath, "This is what ended up happening to the mouth that spoke with egotism and to the hands that waved with pride."
(This miracle happened several years after the nes of Chanukah, and even though the Greeks were defeated they still held overall control over the Chashmona'i Kingdom. Years later, when the Romans defeated the Greeks, the Jewish kingdom established by the Chashmona'im ceded control, and the Romans totally controlled the land, with few exceptions). Some place this event on 14 Adar.
13 Adar 5702 - March 2, 1942:
5,000 Jews were killed during a Nazi Aktion in the ghetto of Minsk, Hy"d.
resistance battled the SS and their Russian collaborators valiantly.
13 Adar 5704 - March 2, 1944:
The Germans entered Sighet and set up a ghetto .
13 Adar Yahrtzeits
Rabbeinu Yehudah (ben Shmuel) HeChasid, zt”l, author of Sefer Chasidim (4910 / 1150 - 4977 / 1217). He was born in Speyer, Germany. His father was Rabbeinu Shmuel, (1120-1175), who led a famous yeshiva in Speyer, and served as Rav Yehuda’s rebbe.
Although he did not excel in his studies when he was young, his father foresaw his greatness. Indeed, Reb Yehudah became one of the uncontested leaders of Ashkenazic Jewry.
He practiced an ascetic hallowed way of life, fasting most of his days and abstaining from any physical pleasures. He would observe two consecutive Yom Kippur days, a stringency to accommodate sfeika d’yoma.
Reb Yehudah was considered one of the Baalei Tosafot from Ashkenaz. In addition, he authored many piyutim and, according to some, authored the famous Shir Hayichud that is chanted on Yom Kippur night.
Reb Yehudah eventually relocated to Regensburg, Germany, where he taught many talmidim. He authored many sefarim. His famous Sefer Chassidim covers all aspects of Jewish life: mussar, middot andHalachah.
He also authored his famous tzavaah (will), from which certain customs are still followed to this day.
He was niftar on 13 Adar 4977 / 1217, which that year was Shabbat Zachor. Despite his great weakness he continued teaching Torah. Just before his petirah, the talmidim saw the word “Chassid” engraved on the ground in front of his bed while his holy soul departed his body.
In order to bury the dead in Regensburg, one had to pass the gate of the city and ring the bell that hung at the gate, obviously a non-Jewish custom. Reb Yehudah told his talmidim, “If I am worthy of Olam Haba,the gate will fall.” Indeed, right before the aron passed the gate, it crumbled, and killed the guard on site. (Other 9 Adar or 13 Adar 4974)
HaRav Yisrael Isserles, zt”l, (5328 / 1568), father of the Rema.
5555/1795, HaRav Meir Ashkenazi, zt”l, (5555 / 1795), Rav of Old Konstantin.
Harav Meir Ashkenazi was born in approximately 5477/1717, the oldest son of Harav Yaakov Emden, the Yaavetz, son of the Chacham Tzvi, in Brodie, where his father served as Rav. His mother was the daughter of Harav Mordechai Katz, the son of Harav Naftali Katz, the Semichat Chachamim.
When Meir was one year old, the Yaavetz had to leave home when his father was niftar, to tend to his orphaned younger siblings. When his mother passed away a year later, he had to remain in Lvov, where he undertook the printing of his father’s responsa, She’eilot U’teshuvos Chacham Tzvi.
In 5484/1724 Rav Yaakov returned home, happy to see his son Meir successfully learning Gemara.
In 5489/1729, the Yaavetz served as Rav in Emden, learning privately with his son. At age 15, he went to learn in Hamburg.
An iluy and a budding talmid chacham, Reb Meir became the chassan of Reb Moshe of Lisa, a parnass of the Vaad Arba Aratzot, in 5492/1732, and led the local yeshivah for ten years.
In 5503/1743, Reb Meir became the Rav of Old Konstantin, in Volyn, Ukraine, where he served for over 40 years. He was niftar on Taanit Esther, 13 Adar 5555 / 1795. He was buried in Old Konstantin.
Of his many works, only his works on Mishnayot Nashim and on the Rambam, titled Hamaor Hagadol, were published.
HaRav Betzalel Margulies (1821), author of Kesser Shabbat [Adar II]
HaRav Nachman (ben Tzvi Aryeh) Goldstein of Tcherin, zt"l, (1894), one of the greatest Breslov leaders. Grandson of Reb Ahron, the Rov of Breslov. His sforim include Parparot Lechochmah on Likutei Mohoran, Leshon Chasidim and Derech Chasidim on teachings of the Baal Shem Tov and talmidim, Likutei Eitzot Hameshulosh and more.
HaRav Yehoshua Siegel, zt”l,
(5670 / 1910, Adar I),
the Sierpcer Rav of New York.
He was born on 22 Av, 5606 / 1846, in Kuczborg, Poland. His father, Harav Moshe Yosef, and his grandfather were both prestigious Rabbanim, who traced their lineage to Harav Akiva Eiger (niftar 19 Adar II, 1832).
The young Yehoshua was renowned for his brilliant mind as he mastered the Talmud. He received semichah from Harav Leibel Charif of Plotzk, Harav Yehoshua of Kutna and Harav Yosef Chaim Kara of Vlatzlovak.
In 5631 / 1871, Harav Siegel succeeded his father as Rav of Sierpc, Masovian (Poland); but as a non-chassid, he encountered resistance to his leadership from the town’s growing chassidic community. So in 5644 / 1884 he left for America, settling in New York. Ironically, the chassidim here warmly embraced him; they identified with his Polish ancestry, which contrasted with that of the mostly Lithuanian Rabbanim in New York at the time.
Over the years, Harav Siegel served as Rav in several congregations on the Lower East Side: the Sierpcer Chevrah, followed by Chevrah Chochmat Odom mi-Plonsk at 61 Hester Street. In 5648 / 1888 he became the Rav of Chevrah Tehillim Anshei Viscover (Clinton Street Synagogue), a position he held for over 12 years until his petirah.
The Eastern European Jewish community of the Lower East Side consisted of many groups: Lithuanians, Poles, Galicians, Romanians and Hungarians. The Association of American Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, however, was totally controlled by Lithuanians. In 5649 / 1889, Harav Yaakov Joseph became Chief Rabbi of New York; he was from Lithuania, as were most of the newly appointed Dayanim. To counteract this, Yidden of Galician and Hungarian descent formed Congregation Sons of Israel and appointed Harav Siegel “Chief Rabbi of New York City,” thus creating two kehillot, with each side having its own Chief Rabbi and kashrut supervision.
Harav Siegel was widely regarded as one of the greatest halachic authorities in America at the time, as is evident from his published sefarim. His sefer Eruv v’Hotzaah discusses the natural eruv of Manhattan’s East Side. Oznai Yehoshua, published posthumously, is filled with his halachic correspondence with such luminaries as the Brezhaner Rav, the Maharsham, the Stanislaver Rav (the Harei Besamim), and Harav Nachum Yerushalemsky.
In the summer of 5608 / 1908, Harav Siegel went to Eretz Yisrael to arrange for the printing of his sefarim and to visit his longtime friend Harav Shmuel Salant, Rav of Yerushalayim.
Harav Siegel was niftar on 13 Adar I 5670 / 1910, at the age of 64. His levayah was attended by over 1,000 people, who accompanied his aron to the Machpelah Cemetery in Ridgewood, Queens.
HaRav Yecheskel Lifshitz, zt”l, of Kalisch, (5692 / 1932).
HaRav Menachem Mendel Landau, zt”l, of Gombin, (5699 / 1939).
HaRav Moshe (ben Yehuda Hersch) Langner, zt”l, the fifth Strettiner Rebbe (1959). In 1921, he moved the family from Galicia to Toronto.
HaRav Moshe (ben Dovid) Feinstein, zt"l, (1895 - 5746 / 1986), [Adar II], the great leader of 20th century American Jewry, Rosh Yeshiva Tiferet Yerushalayim, NYC. 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 yeshiva of Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer in Slutzk at the age of twelve. At the age of sixteen, Rav Moshe completed Shas and Shulchan Oruch. He was rabbi of Lyuban from 1921 to 1936. He escaped the Stalinist regime in 1937 and settled in New York
as Rosh Yeshiva of Tiferet Yerushalayim.
He became recognized as the leading rabbinic figure of his generation, issuing thousands of responsa on all matters of Jewish law (published in a collection called Igrot Moshe, The Letters of Moshe). HaRav Feinstein was known for his genius command of talmudic literature, which enabled him to delve into topics of modern medicine, economics and ethics, thus demonstrating the power of Torah to integrate with the modern world. HaRav Feinstein was born on Adar 7, the birth date of the biblical Moses, after whom he is named. HaRav Feinstein was revered for his great humility and concern for every human being. He was buried in Yerushalayim, where 200,000 people attended his funeral on Purim day.
HaRav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l
HaRav Yechiel Leifer of Nadvorna-Arad, zt”l, (5753 / 1993).
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14 Adar - Purim
(During Jewish leap years we celebrate Purim in Adar II.)
During Jewish leap years 14 Adar I is Purim Kattan. No Tachanun is recited, and no eulogies are conducted. The Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim (697:1) cites an opinion that joy and festivity should be increased, but rules that there is no obligation to do so; “nevertheless, a person should increase somewhat in festivity … for ‘One who is of good heart is festive always’ (Mishlei 15:15).” In many Chassidishe courts, tischen are conducted on Purim Kattan.
14 Adar 2369 - 1394 B.C.E.:
The brit of Moshe Rabbeinu was held in Mitzrayim / Egypt. (According to the Midrash, Moshe Rabbeinu was born circumcised.
14 Adar 3405 - 356 B.C.E.:
The miracle of Purim took place.
The festival of Purim celebrates the salvation of the Jewish people from Haman's plot "to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day." For more information about Purim, click here.
We read the Megillah (Scroll of Esther), dress up in costumes, and celebrate how the Jews of Persia narrowly escaped annihilation, thanks to the bravery of Esther and Mordechai. In Shushan, the Persian capital, however, the battle lasted one additional day and Purim was not celebrated until the 15th of Adar. Thus today in Yerushalayim, Purim is celebrated one day later than the rest of the world.
(During Jewish leap years we celebrate Purim in Adar II.)
The events of Purim extended over a period of several years, culminating in the victory celebrations of Adar 14-15 of 356 BCE.
Timeline of the major events of Purim.
Achashveirosh ascends the throne of Persia
Achashveirosh's 180-day feast; Queen Vashti executed
Esther becomes queen
Haman casts lots to choose date for Jews' annihilation
|Nissan, 357 BCE
Royal decree ordering killing of all Jews
|Nissan 13, 357 BCE
Mordechai calls on Jews to repent; 3-day fast ordered by Esther
|Nissan 14-16, 357 BCE
Esther goes to Achashveirosh; hosts 1st wine party with Achashveirosh and Haman
|Nissan 16, 357 BCE
Esther's 2nd wine party; Haman's downfall and hanging
|Nissan 17, 357 BCE
Second decree issued by Achashveirosh, empowering the Jews to defend themselves
|Sivan 23, 357 BCE
Battles fought throughout the empire against those seeking to kill the Jews; Haman's ten sons killed
|Adar 13, 356 BCE
Purim celebrations everywhere, except Shushan where 2nd day of battles are fought
|Adar 14, 356 BCE
Purim celebration in Shushan
| Adar 15, 356 BCE
Megillah written by Esther and Mordechai; Festival of Purim instituted for all generations
| 355 BCE
14 Adar 3600 - 161 B.C.E.:
Nikonor Day, in which Antiochus Epiphanes's general Nikonor, leading the elephant
infantry against the Jews, was defeated and killed on this day. See 13 Adar.
14 Adar - March 18, 1191:
In Bray, France, eighty Jews were burned to death for trying to execute a non-Jew who had killed a Jew.
After securing permission from a local lord, they marched him in a procession and tried to hang the accused on Purim which fell out three weeks before Easter. Hy"d.
14 Adar - February 14, 1349:
Jews of Uberlingen, Switzerland were massacred, Hy"d.
14 Adar - February 14, 1349:
After having been falsely accused of poisoning the wells, the Jews of Strasbourg,
Alsace were condemned to death, collectively.
In a huge pyre, 2,000 men, women
and children were burned alive, Hy"d.
14 Adar - 1451:
· Pope banned all social contact between Jews and Christians out of fear that Christians would be attracted to Judaism. 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, Hy"d.
14 Adar 5582 - March 7, 1822:
· Turkish soldiers killed 60 Jews in Bucharest, Hy"d.
14 Adar 5615 - March 4, 1855:
Czar Nicholas I of Russia died. 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.
14 Adar 5660 - March 15, 1900:
· A blood libel began after the death of a student in Konitz, Prussia. 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.
14 Adar II 5681 - March 24, 1921:
The Chief Rabbinate of Palestine was founded. Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld declared a fast day.
14 Adar 5699 - March 5, 1939:
Germany violated the Munich Agreement and marched into Prague.
14 Adar 5702 - March 3, 1942:
In the town of Zdunska Wola in Nazi-occupied Poland, 10 Jews were hanged by Hitler's SS, in a sadistic parody of events in the Book of Esther. To add to this debacle, the Gestapo ordered all Jews out of their homes in order to witness the hangings, Hy"d.
14 Adar II 5703 - March 21, 1943:
A 'Purim massacre' occured in the Polish town of Piotrkow, where 10 Jews were executed, Hy"d.
As you can see, Hitler harbored a venomous hatred for the holiday of Purim: When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, he banned the reading of the Book of Esther, an ordered that all synagogues be closed and barred on Purim day. "Unless Germany is victorious," he proclaimed, "Jewry could then celebrate the destruction of Europe by a second triumphant Purim Festival." Incredibly, when Nazi officer Julius Streicher ascended the gallows to be hanged at Nuremberg, he shouted, "Purimfest 1946."
14 Adar 5751 - Feb 28, 1991:
The Iraq attack against Eretz Yisroel during the Gulf War came to an end, after
dozens of SCUD missles fell in densely populated areas over a period of months.
only one person died during at least 39 SCUD attacks
into many densely populated areas which resulted in hundreds of homes destroyed.
14 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Ze’ev Wolf of Zhitomer, zt”l, student of the Maggid of Mezeitch, author of Ohr Hameir, one of the early foundation texts of Chassidut (1800).
HaRav Yaakov (ben Avraham) Kahana, zt"l, author of Geon Yaakov, (5586 / 1826). .
HaRav Dov Berish (ben Moshe) Ashkenazi. zt”l, Rav of Slonim and Lublin, and author of Noda Bashearim, (5562 / 1802 - 5612 / 1852).His father, Rav Moshe, was a descendant of Harav Tzvi Ashkenazi, the Chacham Tzvi.
In the generation of Harav Akiva Eiger, the Chatam Sofer, and others of that caliber, Rav Dov Berish was one of the leading Torah lights.
In 5595 / 1835, at the age of 33, Rav Dov Berish was appointed Rav in Slonim. He was a charismatic leader, as well as one who stood by his principles. He wasn’t shy about reprimanding people when he saw a need for improvement. For example, when a Dayan was appointed in the city as a result of bribery, Rav Dov Berish fought it, quoting the psak of the Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 8:61): “It is forbidden to stand in front of any Dayan who is appointed because of gold and silver, and furthermore it is a mitzvah to … denigrate him.” Yet, he was always kind and available to help the poor and underprivileged.
Rav Dov Berish was a foremost halachic authority, and many she’eilot were addressed to him.
In 5604 / 1844, following the petirah of Harav Meshulam Zalman Ashkenazi, Rav Dov Berish was called upon by the kehillah of Lublin to be their Rav. He held this position until his petirah on Purim, 14 Adar, 5612 / 1852. He was interred in Lublin.
After Rav Dov Berish’s petirah, his brother published his sefarim. In his hakdamah (introduction) he writes that Rav Dov Berish wasn’t zocheh to arichut yamim, passing away in his fiftieth year and leaving no children. Among his better-known sefarim are Noda BaShe’arim, she’eilot u’teshuvot on all four parts of Shulchan Aruch, with a section dedicated to masechet Gittin and the related halachot; and Shaarei Yerushalayim, a compilation of his chiddushim on Talmud Yerushalmi
HaRav Yitzchok (ben Nosson) Sternhartz of Tulchin of Breslov, zt"l, (1870). He is buried in Tzefas near the Arizal and Beit Yosef.
HaRav Moshe Mordechai Morgenstern of Pilov, ,zt"l, (5689 / 1929).
HaRav Menashe (ben Shlomo 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 Shlomo.
HaRav Shimon (ben Yehuda) Schwab, zt"l, Rav of Khal Adat Yeshurun, Washington Helghts, (1908 - 5755 / 1995) (Adar I). 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, following Rav Joseph Breuer.He authored Maayan Beit Hashueva. Additionally, several books contain his drashot - including "Selected Writings," (1988) and "Selected Speeches," (1991). (Adar I).
HaRav Chaim Kamil, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivat Ofakim, one of the prime builders of Torah in the Negev (1933 – 5765 / 2005). As a bachur, he learned in Yeshiva Slobodka in Yerushalayim. Following his marriage to the daughter of Rav Mordechai Porush, he learned at the Mir and became a talmid muvhak of Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz. After many years, he was appointed Rosh Yeshiva of Me’or Einayim of Rachmistrivka in Yerushalayim, and from 1979 at Ofakim. He was survived by his daughter.(others 15 Adar)
HaRav Yaakov Asher Kopf, zt”l, grandson of the Lelover Rebbe, Rav Moshe Mordechai Biderman (1955-2005).
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15 Adar - Shushan Purim
(During Jewish leap years we celebrate Shushan Purim in Adar II.)
3341 - 420 B.C.E.:
19 months after the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, Yechezkel HaNavi received an additional nevuah / prophecy about Mitzrayim, (his lamentation on Egypt), found in Yechezkel: Chapter 32.
15 Adar 3406 - 356 B.C.E.:
Purim Victory Celebrated in Shushan (356 BCE)
The battles fought between the Jews and their enemies, which took place on Adar 13 throughout the Persian empire, continued for two days -- Adar 13 and 14 -- in the capital city of Shushan, where there were a greater number of Jew haters. Thus the victory celebrations in Shushan were held on the 15th of Adar, and the observance of the festival of Purim was instituted for that day in Shushan and all walled cities.
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, Hy"d.
15 Adar 5608 - 1848:
In Berlin, Germany, riots and street fighting kill twenty Jews. Anti-Jewish riots also spread to Bavaria, Baden, Hamburg and many other cities, Hy"d.
15 Adar - 1853:
Birth of Rav Chaim Soleveitchik, Volozhin and Brisk..
15 Adar 5630 - 1870:
Jews of Sweden were emancipated.
15 Adar 5679 - 1919:
1500 Jews killed in the Proskorov pogroms in Ukraine, the largest among hundreds
"Petliura" pogroms perpetrated against Ukrainian and Russian Jews during 5678 / 1918 - - 5680 / 1920, (the time of the Bolshevik Revolution), which ended
in the deaths of tens of thousands of Jews in cities throughout Russia and Ukraine, Hy"d.
15 Adar II 5763 - March 19, 2003:
Second U.S. led war against Iraq began.
15 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Avraham Abele Segal, zt"l, the Magen Avraham, (5443 / 1683).
The Magen Avraham was born in Gombin, Poland in 5397 / 1637. His father was Harav Chaim Halevi; his mother was a descendant of the Maharshal. His parents were killed al kiddush Hashem in 5415 / 1655 during the era of Tach v’Tat.
Reb Avraham fled Gombin and moved to Lissa, where he became a talmid of Harav Yaakov Yitzchak, and of Harav Yitzchak of Posen, his primary rebbi.
He married Dina, the daughter of a Rav near Posen, and eventually settled in Kalish.
To sustain his family, he became a children’s melamed. He suffered extreme poverty, so he wrote his chiddushim on scraps of paper left over at the bookbinder’s and, occasionally, on the walls of his house, using coals.
He was fluent in all of Shas and all aspects of Torah.
It was not until the Shach came to Kalish to marry off his son that the greatness of the Magen Avraham was revealed. The community asked the Shach to deliver a drashah, in which he put forth an intricate question. It was the melamed, Reb Avraham, who responded — in a most unassuming manner. The Shach initiated a wide-ranging Torah discussion with the “melamed.” Thus his greatness was uncovered; thereafter, the people showed him immense respect.
His sefer, Magen Avraham, a commentary on Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, was completed when he was barely 30 years old, but because of financial constraints he was unable to bring it to print. Only after his petirah did his son succeed in having it published.
Some record the Magen Avraham’s yahrtzeit as 9 Tishrei, Erev Yom Kippur, but the mesorah of the kehillah in Kalish is that his yahrtzeit is 15 Adar.
HaRav Tzvi Hersh (ben Aharon Shmuel) Kaidinover of Vilna and Frankfurt, zt”l. (1646 - 5472 / 1712). (Adar II). HaRav Tzvi Hersh was the son of Harav Aharon Shmuel Kaidinover, the famed author of Birchat Hazevach on Kodashim, Birchat Shmuel on the Torah, and Sheilot U’teshuvot Emunat Shmuel.
He was born in Minsk, where he grew up among many Gedolei Yisrael who lived there at the time. Due to many tribulations, Reb Tzvi Hersh was forced to leave his home country and moved to Frankfurt, Germany, where he settled near his father-in-law.
Reb Tzvi Hersh was known for his greatness in Torah, and was also noted as a maggid, delivering drashot of chizuk.
He was the author of the ethical work, Kav HaYashar ("The Just Measure"), a sefer which Reb Elimelech of Lizensk learned through 102 times. As a boy, during the war between Sweden and Poland, he fled with his family to a village near Lublin. Two years later they were attacked by Cossacks, and his two sisters were killed. Kav HaYashar posits that it is incumbent upon any person who has been saved from a crisis to either correct something in his life or initiate a good deed, so that people will be aware that he is expressing his gratitude to Hashem. This idea, he says, applies to everyone, for who can say he has never been saved from a tragedy? The sefer follows the ways of the Shelah, in quoting the ways of the Gedolim in Germany, as well as the works of kaballah. In his sefer, Reb Tzvi Hersh quotes many kabbalistic works, as the study of Kabbalah became more common in those years.
In his introduction, Reb Tzvi Hersh writes that he named the sefer Kav Hayashar, with his name hinted in it. Kav has the same gematria, as Tzvi. He also writes that Kav is one hundred and two, as well as the chapters in his work. Hayashar is the same letters as Hersh.
Over the generations, the sefer was subject to censorship issues, as Reb Tzvi Hersh writes in several instances against the Polish government. It was translated into several languages and is learned till today as a mussar sefer in yeshivot.
Reb Tzvi Hersh also wrote a sefer on the Torah, Ofer Ha’Ayalim, which he quotes in his Kav Hayashar, but this work was lost over the years and never published..
HaRav Yaakov Kopel of Likov, zt”l, (5529 / 1769).
HaRav Dov Berish Meisels, zt"I, Rav of Warsaw, (5630 / 1870).
HaRav Avraham Simcha Horowitz of Barinov, zt”l, author of Chamra Tava, (5676 / 1916).
HaRav Yosef Leifer, (ben Yisachar Bertchi), the Pittsburger Rebbe, zt"l, the Tzidkat Yosef, (1891 - 5726 / 1966). A grandson of Rav Mordechai Leifer of Nadvorna, Rav Yosef was a descendant of Rav Meir HaGadol 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 Rav Yosef 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 eleven. Two other sons, Rav Yissachar Ber and Rav Mordechai were murdered by the Nazis in 1944. Only his oldest son, Rav Avraham Abba, escaped and succeeded him after his petira. Rav Avraham Abba moved to Eretz Yisrael in 1970 and founded Yeshivat Tzidkat Yosef in Ashdod.
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16 Adar 3390 - 371 B. C. E.:
King Cyrus (Koresh) of Persia permitted the building of the second Beit Hamikdash
On this day
they began to rebuild the wall. This day was declared a Yom Tov as cited in Megillat Taanit.
16 Adar 3802 (3390?) - 42 C. E.:
Rebuilding of Yerushalayim Chomah (Wall) Begun (c. 42 CE). King
Agrippa I, appointed by the Roman Emperor to rule over Judea, was pious and kind to his subjects. During his reign, the Jews began to prosper and live comfortably. The Sages of the time accorded him great respect.
Agrippa I started construction to repair, broaden and heighten the chomah (wall) around Yerushalayim. The Romans, wary of the Jews' rising prosperity, placed many obstacles in his way. Nonetheless, the wall was completed, though the finished product was not as magnificent as originally planned.
The 16th of Adar, the day when the construction of a gate for the wall commenced, was designated a holiday.
16 Adar 4178 - March 10, 418 C.E.:
Jews were prohibited from holding public office in the Roman Empire.
16 Adar 5416 - March 12, 1656:
Jews of New Amsterdam (eventually to become New York) were denied the right to erect a synagogue, by the well-known
anti-Semitic Governor, Peter Stuyvesant. (The Pilgrims' idea of religious freedom did not include Jews and other non-Christians.) In 1654 he wrote: "The Jews who have arrived would nearly all like to remain here, but... [we have] deemed it useful to require them in a friendly way to depart... that the deceitful race -- such hateful enemies and blasphemers of the name of Christ -- not be allowed further to infect and trouble this new colony." Jews were spared eviction because the Dutch West Indian Company was heavily dependent on Jewish investments. Stuyvesant contented himself with subjecting the Jews to indignities: He denied them the right to serve in the military and forced them to pay extra taxes.
As for Stuyvesant's refusal to allow a synagogue, history would take revenge: On this same date in 1897, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary was incorporated as America's first Orthodox Jewish rabbinical seminary.
16 Adar 5522 - March 11, 1762:
The Rhode Island court refused to grant citizenship to Aaron Lopez and Isaac Eliezer, stating that "no person who is not of the Christian religion can be admitted free to this colony". Lopez was granted citizenship by Massachusetts and the sentence "upon the true faith of a Christian" was excluded from the oath. Lopez was most likely the first Jew to be granted citizenship in Massachusetts.
16 Adar 5608 - 1848:
The ghetto pillars of Ferrara, Italy, were destroyed by the professors and
students of the Athenaeum.
16 Adar II 5657 - March 20, 1897:
The Yeshivat Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, the first Orthodox Jewish rabbinical
seminary (Yeshiva) in the United States, was founded.
16 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Shalom Charif Ulman, zt"l, (5585 / 1825). Harav Shalom Ulman was born in Fiorda on 16 Adar 5515/1755. His father, Harav Yisrael Isser, was the mechutan of Harav Yosef Steinhart, Rav of Fiorda.
Reb Shalom learned in the yeshivah of Harav Steinhart, and from there he went on to the yeshivah of Harav Pinchas Horowitz (the Ba’al Hafla’ah) in Frankfurt. He was later appointed a Rosh Yeshivah there. He also learned in the yeshivah of Harav Nosson Adler in Frankfurt. He was esteemed in shittat hapilpul.
He corresponded with some of the generation’s leading Gedolim, among them Harav Aryeh Leib Ginzburg, the Shaagat Aryeh.
Reb Shalom married the daughter of Harav Refael Reiss, Rav of Edingen in Switzerland. In 5544/1784 he was appointed Rav of Ansbach, a town in Bavaria, Germany. He later moved to Hungary and in 5552/1792 served as Rav of Stampfen; he became Rav of Nad-Attad in 5559/1799, and 10 years later, in 5569/1809, Rav of Lakenbach. Harav Mordechai Bannet, Rav of Nikolsburg, would send many of his excellent talmidim to learn under Reb Shalom in Lakenbach.
Famed in the Torah world for his sharp mind and thorough knowledge of both nigleh and nistar, Reb Shalom was aptly called Reb Shalom Charif.
Reb Shalom wrote many sefarim, but only his Divrei Rash on the Torah and on several mesechtas has been published.
Towards the end of his life, Reb Shalom said that he knew when he was going to be niftar. In his later years he barely spoke at all.
Four weeks before his petirah, in a letter to his son, Reb Shalom signed off saying that he was writing briefly, as he was preparing for his judgment. On 16 Adar 5585 / 1825, 70 years to the day since he was born, Reb Shalom was niftar.
Reb Shalom had two well-known sons. Harav Avraham succeeded his father as Rav of Lakenbach and wrote She’eilot U’teshuvot Beit Avraham; and Harav Shlomo Zalman was Rav of Makava and author of Yeriot Shlomo.
HaRav Elazar Menachem Mendel (ben Moshe) Biederman, zt”l, Lelover Rav in Yerushalayim, (5587 / 1827 – 5643 / 1883).
Harav Elazar Menachem Mendel was born in Lelov. His father was Harav Moshe of Lelov, son of Harav Dovid, founder of the Lelov dynasty. Reb Elazar Mendel’s mother was Rebbetzin Rivkah Rachel, daughter of the Yehudi Hakadosh of Peshischa.
When Reb Elazar Mendel was a yungerman of 30 he became dangerously ill. The doctors gave up on him and held out no hope. His mother, the tzaddeket, declared that she was willing to give up 25 years of her life on behalf of her son. Indeed, she passed away just days later; her son Reb Elazar Mendel recuperated and went on to live for another 25 years!
Reb Elazar Mendel ascended to Eretz Yisrael together with his father, Reb Moshe, who was niftar a very short while after arriving in Eretz Yisrael; he had been attacked on the way to the Kotel, where he yearned so much to go. Reb Mendel succeeded his father, and thus the glorious chapter of Lelover Chassidut in Eretz Yisrael began.
The Rebbe davened every day for hours at the Kotel, barefoot. He also was mekabel Shabbat every week at the Kotel. The Rebbe was just 24 when he accepted the mantle of leadership, and was revered by all the Gedolim of his generation.
The Rebbe was niftar during the seudah on Purim Meshulash, when Purim in Yerushalayim falls on Shabbat and the Seudat Purim is eaten on Sunday. One of the distinguished Rabbanim of Yerushalayim called out after his mittah at the levayah: “Woe is to us that our Purim turned into a Tishah B’Av!”
HaRav Menachem Katz of Prustitz, zt”l, Rav of Tzehlim (5651/1891)
HaRav Naftali Reiter, zt”l, (5671 / 1911), Rav of Congregation Mogen Avraham Anshei Dukler.
HaRav Yitzchak (ben Avraham Yaakov) Friedman of Boyan, , zt”l, founder of the Boyaner Chasidim, author of Pachad Yitzchak (1849-1917). He was the third son the Sadigurer Rebbe. He was also a grandson of the Ruzhiner (from His father) and a grandson of the Beit Aron of Karlin (from His mother). (17 Adar according others)
HaRav Pinchas Menachem (ben Avraham Mordechai) Alter, zt”l, the Pnei Menachem of Ger (1926-5756 / 1996). The fifth son of the Imrei Emet, Rav Pinchas was born in the resort town of Palinitz, Poland when his father was 60 years old. Along with his father and other family members, he escaped to Eretz Yisrael during World War II. In 1946, he married his cousin, and two years later, his father passed away. Three of the Imrei Emet’ sons became Rebbe of Ger: Rav Yisrael (the Beit Yisrael, niftar 1977), Rav Simcha Bunim (the Lev Simcha, niftar 1992), and Rav Pinchas Menachem (the Pnei Menachem). However, Rav Pinchas Menachem was Rosh Yeshiva of Sfat Emet of Ger in Yerushalayim from the time he was 30, and was head of Agudat Yisrael after the petira of Rav Yitzchak Meir Levine.
HaRav Eli (ben Avraham Yaakov) Teitelbaum, zt"l, creator of Dial-a Daf (2008). It was said that he believed that technology was created for a reason, and he wanted to see it maximized. He also taught at Yeshiva-Mesivta Torah Temimah in Brooklyn for 40 years, and founded and ran Camp S'dei Chemed International summer camp in Israel. Rav Eli developed the Dial-a-Daf system to make Gemara study accessible to people who were too busy or too unwell to attend a lecture series. The program proved wildly successful and expanded rapidly to include a number of other offerings, but he ran them as a not-for-profit and made no money from them.
HaRav Shmuel (ben Yechezkel) Taussig, zt"l, noted mekubal and Rav of Beit Medrash Toldot Shmuel in Bnai Brak (1946-2010).
17 Adar - c. 75 B.C.E.:
Torah Sages Escape.
In the year 91 B.C.E., Alexander Yannai of the Hasmonean family succeeded his brother Yehuda Aristoblus to the throne of Judea. Alexander Yannai was a Sadducee who virulently persecuted the Pharisees. At one point during his bloody reign, following a victory he scored on a battlefield, he invited all the Torah scholars for a celebratory feast. During this feast he was slighted by one of the guests, which led him to execute all the Torah scholars in attendance. A few of the sages managed to escape to the town of Sulukus in Syria. There, too, they encountered anti-Semitic enemies who murdered many of the exiled sages. The handful of surviving Torah scholars went in to hiding, finding refuge in the home of an individual named Zevadai. On the night of the 17th of Adar they escaped the hostile city of Sulukus. Eventually these surviving scholars revived Torah Judaism. The date they escaped the clutches of death was established as a day of celebration.
17 Adar - 1147:
Crusader massacre of the Jews of Wurtzburg, Hy"d.
17 Adar - 1349:
In Strasbourg, a riot ensued in the town after corn prices fell. Despite the protests of the city council, the Jews were accused of a conspiracy. The entire Jewish population of 2000 were dragged to the cemetery and burned to death, Hy"d. Only those who accepted Christianity were allowed to live.
17 Adar 5323 - 1563:
Rav Yosef Karo finished writing the Shulchan Aruch - Code of Jewish Law.
This concise codification of all Jewish law which is germane today was an extension of his Beit Yosef commentary (see 11 Elul).
The Shulchan Aruch is divided in to four sections: Orach Chaim -- details the laws pertaining to daily life, lifecycle events, and holidays. Yoreh De'ah -- laws which a practicing rabbi must be proficient in, such as complex nuances of the kosher laws, laws of mikvah, and laws of slaughtering. Even Ha'ezer -- laws of marriage, divorce, reproduction, and the like. Choshen Mishpat -- monetary and judicial laws; required study for a member of a rabbinical court.
To this very day, the Shulchan Aruch serves as the primary halachic guide for Jewish life.
17 Adar 5662 - 1902:
The Romanian government prohibited Jews from engaging in handicrafts or trade.
17 Adar 5676 - 1916:
Beginning of the Battle of Verdun in France, World War I, 1916. One of the most important battles in World War I on the Western Front, fought between the German and French armies, it resulted in more than a quarter million killed and half a million injured.
17 Adar 5677 - March 11, 1917:
British troops captured Baghdad after a 2-year campaign, ending the cruel rule of the Turkish Empire. Jews of Baghdad established this day as a Purim.
17 Adar I 5703 - Feb. 22, 1943:
The Bulgarian commissar for Jewish affairs, Alexander Belev, signed an agreement
permitting Germany to deport 26,000 Jews to extermination camps, Hy"d. Already prominent in the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior and National Health, he was sent to Nazi Germany in December 1941, to study the antisemitic laws. After the Soviet Invasion in Bulgaria, in September 1944, Belev tried to escape to Germany, was recognized by a Jewish communist guerrilla, and killed.
17 Adar I 5708 - Feb. 27, 1948:
Arab forces laid siege to Yerushalayim's Old Jewish quarter, cutting off the residents
from their brethren outside the Old City when access to the gates in the walls of Yerushalayim was barred
17 Adar 5739 - March 16, 1979:
A peace treaty was signed by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat at the White House.
17 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Chaim Davidson, zt”l, (5520 / 1760 - 5614 / 1854). Born in Pinchov in 5520 / 1760. His father was Harav Dovid Tebeli, a famous lamdan of aristocratic lineage. Rav Dovid.he lost his father at an early age. Rav Chaim learned under Harav Yaakov of Lisa, the author of Nesivot Hamishpat and Chavot Daat, and received semichah from him.
Soon after his bar mitzvah, the Warsaw gevir, Rav Naftali Tzvi Tzinimer, (Hirsh Tzentziminer), made the shidduch for Rav Chaim to marry his daughter Rochel. Rav Naftali was one of the most affluent Jews of Warsaw, a lamdan and a baal chessed. Rav Chaim moved to Warsaw, making it his home for the next 80 years.
When Hoffmann, the chief Prussian administrator of Warsaw, insisted that every Jew adopt a surname for use on official documents 1795, Reb Chaim took the name Davidson, in honor of his father.
Rav Chaim was at first a businessman; on his business trips he would stop over at the home of Harav Akiva Eiger for weeks on end, to learn Torah under him.
In the early 1800s, the Jewish population of Warsaw was skyrocketing, largely because of refugees coming in from the Ukraine and other places. From 2,519 Jews in 1765, the Jewish presence shot up to 15,000 by 1816. In 1802, the maskilim were numerous enough to open their own shul, which they named the “German Synagogue.” After 1815 when Russia annexed Warsaw, a deadly partnership developed between the autonomous Polish government and Haskala Jews. An edict in 1821 decreed the abolition of the kehillot, and substituted them with “Congregational Boards” consisting of the rav, his assistant, and three trustees. In 1822, Rav Chaim was chosen as one of Warsaw’s three trustees and held this position for two years.
After the passing of Harav Shlomo Zalman Lifshitz, the Chemdat Shlomo, in 1839, a council appointed Rav Chaim to be the new Rav of Warsaw. When he was appointed Rav, the Jews in Warsaw said that they suffered two great losses: the petirah of their Rav, the Chemdat Shlomo, and the “loss” of an honest businessman!
Thereafter, his wealthy son, Rav Naftali, supplied him with funds to continue the numerous chesed projects he had financed while he himself was a wealthy man.
The truth is that he was a force in the city even before being named Rav. His opinion was valued on halachic and Torah topics, as well as in business. The Chemdat Shlomo was known to say, “Without Reb Chaim, I will not enforce any new decree in the city.”
Despite being of advanced age when he began his tenure as Rav — he was 80 years old — Rav Chaim served in this capacity with great skill and was beloved by the entire kehillah.
In 5614 / 1854, at the age of 94, feeling that his end was near, Rav Chaim burned all his chiddushei Torah. He explained modestly that they were not worthy of being published.
Rav Chaim was niftar on 17 Adar, 5614 / 1854, and was buried in Warsaw.
HaRav Shimon Sofer, zt”l, Rav and Av Beit Din of Cracow, (1821 - 5643 / 1883), (Adar II).
Harav Shimon, the second son of Harav Moshe Sofer, the Chasam Sofer, zy”a, was born on the thirteenth of Tevet 5581 / 1821 in the city of Pressburg, where the Chasam Sofer served as Rav. He was named Shimon after the author of Yalkut Shimoni, a forbear of the family. As a child he was always sickly and weak, and it was a wonder that he survived. His great father held him on his lap as he delivered intricate shiurim on the parashah, and even as a youngster, Shimon would understand and keep up with the shiur. In one instance, he interrupted one of his father’s shiurim to offer a pshat.
As a child he learned under Harav Fishel, a prime talmid of the Chasam Sofer, under whom he grew immensely in Torah and yirah, becoming especially well-versed in the works of the Akeidat Yitzchak and the Shelah. Eventually, Shimon entered his father’s yeshivah, where he excelled even further. He had a very close relationship with his father, and he is often mentioned in his many sefarim.
When Shimon turned 17 he married Miriam, the daughter of Harav Dov Ber Sterinberg, from the city of Krule. After his chasunah he settled in Krule, where he continued striving and growing in Torah.
Before the Chasam Sofer was niftar in Tishrei of 5600 / 1839, he blessed his sons. He told his son Reb Shimon, “Tana Ekra Ka’i,” hinting that his son’s ultimate destination would be Cracow.
In 5604 / 1844, Reb Shimon was asked to accept the rabbanut of Mattersdorf, which he did. The parnassim of Mattersdorf supported him and his fledging yeshivah as well. Reb Shimon led the yeshivah and stood by the community as a beacon of light and a pillar of chessed and selflessness.
During these years he was offered many prominent positions, including the esteemed kehillah of Nikolsburg, but he rejected them all, claiming that he did not merit such honor. In 5621 / 1861 he was asked to accept the rabbanut of Cracow, a community that was highly esteemed in those days. After lengthy negotiations, Reb Shimon reluctantly agreed and moved to Cracow, where he was welcomed with great honor.
Reb Shimon headed Cracow’s rabbanut until his petirah in 5643 / 1883, leaving a strong impression for many years to come. At the pinnacle of command in the battle against the maskilim, he stood at the helm of the Machzikei Hadat faction that vigorously fought them. In 5639 / 1879, he was chosen to represent the frum Yidden in the Austrian Parliament, where he engendered great honor for the Jewish people. He was personally displeased to have to waste his precious time serving in the parliament, but for the sake of Klal Yisrael he willingly made this sacrifice. The Kaiser Franz Joseph came to visit the Rav in Cracow, and, as he wrote to his son, the Kaiser bowed in honor of the sefer Torah that Harav Shimon held.
He was greatly revered by all the Rabbanim and Rebbes of his generation, who saw him as their representative on vital issues of Yiddishkeit. He authored the responsa, Michtav Sofer. Additionally, he was known for his power to daven for people in need.
When Harav Shimon was niftar, the entire city of Cracow went into mourning; the workshops and markets were closed while everyone attended the levayah.
He was buried in Cracow’s old cemetery, where his kever was renovated after the Holocaust. He was survived by many descendants.
HaRav Yitzchak Friedman, zt"l, the Pachad Yitzchak of Boyan, (1849 - 5677 / 1917). (See 16 Adar)
HaRav Meir Shlomo Yehudah (ben Yitzchak Yaakov) Rabinowitz of Mezritch, zt"l (5702 / 1942).
Following the petira of his father, the Divrei Bina, in 1905, he and his brothers were all appointed Rebbes. He settled in Mezrtich and later moved to Warsaw. He was niftar in the Warsaw Ghetto.
HaRav Yisroel Zev ben R' Moshe Tzvi Mintzberg, zt”l, (5722 / 1962), Av Beit Din of Khal Chassidim in the Old City of Yerushalayim , during the Israeli War of Independence. When the Arab Legion placed a siege on the Old City, Rav Mintzberg negotiated a cease-fire with the Jordanians to allow the civilians to leave. He was the author of Responsa Shearit Yisroel
HaRav Avraham Menachem (ben Yehuda Moshe) Danziger, the ninth Admor of Alexander, zt”l, (1921 - 5765 / 2005). The earliest Chasidim of Alexander followed Rav Shraga Feivel of Gritza (d. 1848) who was a close talmid of Rav Simcha Bunim of Peshischa. After Rav Shraga Feivel’s petira, they followed Rav Menachem Mendel of Vorki. . After his petira in 1864, they followed Rav Yechiel (1828-1894), the son of Rav Shraga Feivel. He set up court in Alexander near Lodz, Poland. Rav Yechiel had 3 sons. One of them, Rav Yerachmiel Yisrael Yitzchak, led the Alexander Chassidim from 1894 to 1910 and was the author of Yismach Yisrael. After his passing, his younger brother, Rav Shmuel Tzvi (the Tiferet Shmuel) led the court until 1924. The third brother, Rav Betzalel Yair, followed. Rav Shmuel Tzvi’s son, Rav Yitzchak, took over leadership until the Holocaust. The Alexander Chassidim, which outnumber all others in Europe except for Ger, all but perished. The broken pieces were put together by Rav Yehuda Moshe, son-in-law of Rav Betzalel Yair; he had departed Poland for Eretz Yisrael in 1934. Of his 9 sons, only one survived. Rav Avraham Menachem. He was survived by 3 sons, 4 daughters, and thousands of pages of chidushei Torah yet to be published.
HaRav Baruch Shimon Salomon, zt"l, Rav of Petach Tikvah and Rosh Yeshivat Nachalat David, (5700 / 1940 – 5769 / 2009).
Harav Baruch Shimon Salomon was born on 4 Tevet 5700/1940. His father, Harav Dovid, was Rav of Kfar Avraham, a village that was later merged into the larger city of Petach Tikvah. Harav Baruch Shimon learned in Talmud Torah She’erit Yisrael.
After his bar mitzvah, Harav Yosef Rozovsky, zt”l, perceiving the greatness of his talmid, sent him to learn in Yeshivat Chevron in Yerushalayim.
In Yeshivat Chevron, Harav Baruch Shimon learned b’chavrusa for several years with the Rosh Yeshivah, Harav Aharon Cohen, zt”l, with whom he became close. Harav Salomon also became close to the other Roshei Yeshivah of Chevron, Harav Yechezkel Sarna, zt”l, and Harav Moshe Chevroni, zt”l, and built strong ties with the Roshei Yeshivah of Yeshivat Mir, Harav Eliezer Yehudah Finkel, zt”l, and Harav Chaim Shmulevitz, zt”l.
In 5722/1962, he married the daughter of Harav Baruch Mandelbaum, a famed talmid chacham and Karliner chassid who moved from Yerushalayim to Tel Aviv after being appointed Rav of the Yavneh shul.
After their marriage, the young couple moved to Petach Tikva, where Harav Baruch Shimon delivered shiurim. After his father’s petirah, Reb Baruch Shimon assumed his position as Rav of Kfar Avraham.
In 5725/1965, Harav Salomon established Yeshivat Nachalat Dovid in Petach Tikva, which he named after his father. Reb Baruch Shimon held the post of Rosh Yeshivah, Nachalat Dovid, until his last day.
It started as a yeshivah ketanah and later expanded to include a yeshivah gedolah. As Rosh Yeshivah, Harav Salomon spent many hours learning with tremendous hasmadah, forgetting everything around him and learning until the wee hours of the morning.
Many would flock to his shiurim, which were known for their clarity and hislahavut.
The Rosh Yeshivah treated his talmidim as his own children and his home was open to them.
In 5739/1979, Harav Salomon was appointed Ashkenazic Rav of Petach Tikvah. As Rav of the city he displayed tremendous emunah and strength in fighting for shemirat Shabbat, kashrut and overall Yiddishkeit, despite great opposition.
The Rav received the support of Gedolei Yisrael in his staunch opposition to chillul Shabbat. The Lev Simchah, zy”a, sent his chassidim to participate in the protests and the Rebbe also visited the Rav’s home in admiration of his stance against chillul Shabbat.
The Rav’s fight against chillul Shabbat made headlines in Israel and abroad, with the Jewish world admiring him for his unwavering fight for kedoshei Yisrael. The public outcry climaxed with the Rav’s arrest at one of the Shabbat protests, which caused a political earthquake.
Harav Baruch Shimon was niftar on 17 Adar 5769/2009, at the age of 69. He was buried in Petach Tikvah. .
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Today is Purim Sana'a. Purim Sana'a, Yemen, was celebrated in commemoration of a great nes that occurred there.
The king of Yemen had a son who was very dear to him. The king was also very close to a certain Jew and appointed him his chief adviser, naturally prompting all his other servants to despise the Jews. They schemed to bring the prince to the shul on Purim and killed him there; then they blamed the murder on the Jews.
The Jews were in dire trouble, and they fasted for three days. After the third day, a young and holy child went to the prince's body and spoke to it. Miraculously, the dead prince sat up and pointed out his killers. The day was later celebrated as Purim of Sana'a. ·
18 Adar - 629:
After being assisted by the Jews to overcome the Persians in return for a promise of amnesty, Byzantine Emperor Heraclius entered Yerushalayim as conqueror. 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, Hy"d. 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.
18 Adar - 1496:
Jews were expelled from Syria.
18 Adar 5507 - Feb. 28, 1747:
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
18 Adar 5561 - March 3, 1801:
First Jewish Governor Sworn In.
When Governor of Georgia James Jackson resigned his post to serve as a US senator, the president of the Georgia Senate, David Emanuel, was sworn in as governor. It marked the first time that a Jewish person served as governor of a US state. Emanuel served the remaining eight months of Jackson's term, but did not seek re-election, opting instead to retire from politics. In 1812, Georgia named a new county in his honor: "Emanuel County."
18 Adar 5568 - March 17, 1808:
Napoleon I issued a decree suspending for a decade the emancipation of Jews
in the French-occupied European countries.
18 Adar 5583 - March 1, 1823:
The inaugural publication of the first Anglo-Jewish periodical,
with the "politically impolite" name, The Jew.
It was published in New York City and edited by Solomon H. Jackson. The subtitle of the paper was “Being a defence of Judaism against all adversaries, and particularly against the insidious attacks of Israel's Advocate.” Its major aim was to combat missionaries, and specifically "Israel's Advocate," a Christian conversionist periodical published at the same time. The periodical was issued until March 1825.
18 Adar 5651 - 1891:
All Jewish artisans, brewers,
and distillers were expelled from Moscow by Russian imperial decree .
18 Adar 5661 - March 9, 1901:
Jews of Smyrna, Turkey were attacked by Greeks who accused the Jews with ritual murder.
18 Adar 5713 - March 5, 1953:
The Soviet tyrant "Sun of the Nations" Josef Stalin died on the very day that the "Doctors' Plot" trial was set to begin and hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews were saved from Stalin's plan to deport them to Siberia where they would have died of cold and starvation.
The Doctors' Plot was one facet of Stalin's ruthless anti-Semitic campaign that falsely charged the Jews with espionage against the Communist Party. It accused some of Russia's most prestigious doctors -- mostly Jews -- of a vast plot to poison the top Soviet political and military leaders. Scores of Soviet Jews were fired from their jobs, arrested, sent to gulags or executed. This was accompanied by show trials and anti-Semitic propaganda. Pravda wrote: "Unmasking the gang of poisoner-doctors struck a blow against the international Jewish Zionist organization." Some historians contend that Stalin was preparing a Soviet-wide pogrom, a "Second Holocaust," but the scheme was cancelled upon Stalin's death. Soviet leaders later admitted that the charges had been entirely invented by Stalin and his cohorts.
18 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Alexander (ben Moshe) Ziskind, zt"l, (1700 - 5554 / 1794). (Adar II). Born in Brzhen, he 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 mussar work, Yesod V'shoresh Ha'avoda, which contains how one should behave every hour of the day and kavanot for tefillot and mitzvot, as well as Karnei Ohr, a commentary on the Zohar.
HaRav Chanoch Henoch (ben Pinchas) HaKohen (1798 - 5630 / 1870), (Adar II). Alexander Rebbe, zt"l. 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.
HaRav Avraham Yehudah Leib Kozak, Rav of
Brok,.zt”l, (5655 / 1895). The Broker Rav, as he was commonly known, was born in 5574 / 1814 in the city of Kutna. His parents were upright and pious Jews, and the young Avraham Leib was a source of pride to them. His dedication to limud haTorah surpassed the norm. While his parents suffered from poverty and could not even afford extra candles, the young Avraham Leib remained determined; he would stand for many nights under the light of the moon peering into his Gemara.
During that time, the well-known Harav Moshe Aharon, a talmid of the Yehudi Hakadosh of Peshischa, resided in Kutna. It was known that only the best scholars were accepted to learn under his guidance. As soon as he came to realize the giant character of the young Avraham Leib, he accepted him into his yeshivah, where he found his place among the older, established talmidim.
Avraham Leib was orphaned at a relatively young age, and Harav Moshe Aharon took him under his patronage. He developed into an iluy and a great masmid, learning up to 18 hours at a stretch, standing most of that time.
The reputation of the iluy of Kutna reached countless ears and many desired him as their son-in-law. Reb Yosef, the nagid of Vishigrad, had a sister who was an orphan, for whom he promised support for many years to come. After his marriage to the sister of Reb Yosef, Reb Avraham Leib moved to Vishigrad, where his brother-in-law took care of all his needs.
Eventually, Reb Avraham Leib became a devout Chassid of the Kotzker Rebbe, Harav Menachem Mendel, frequently visiting Tomashov, where the Rebbe resided at that time. During the years of support by his brother-in-law he devoted himself entirely to avodat Hashem, learning and self-purification.
He was exceptionally close with Harav Mordechai Yosef, the leading disciple of the Kotzker Rebbe, but when Harav Mordechai Yosef founded a Chassidut in Ishbitz, he did not join his group but remained devoted to the Kotzker Rebbe.
His superior character was well-recognized by the sharp Kotzker Chassidim, but in his great humility he had absolutely no sense of the honor bestowed upon him. When people would ask him to daven for them he would reply, “What do you want from me? I am as worthy as a simple water carrier.” But the Chassidim knew better; the Kotzker Rebbe appointed him the personal melamed of his sons.
After the untimely passing of his brother-in-law, Reb Avraham Leib was forced to seek a source of income. Following his Rebbe’s advice, he accepted the rabbanut of the town of Brok and, since it was a small town, he was able to devote prodigious amounts of time to Torah study and avodat Hashem. He remained in Brok for the rest of his life, even though they only paid him a meager stipend. He was offered positions in many other prestigious locations, but he refused to abandon his serene environment.
In Brok he opened a yeshivah, to which many outstanding talmidim flocked. In addition, his reputation as a po’el yeshuot began spreading. But Reb Avraham Leib refused to accept kvitlach, and would always consider himself a talmid. He exemplified the words he wrote in his peirush on Avot, “Talmidim should learn from their Rebbe to remain a talmid, just as their Rebbe remained a talmid.”
After the petirah of the Kotzker Rebbe, he traveled to his successor, the Chiddushei Harim, and to this Rebbe, too, he demonstrated deep humility and devotion. The same held true after the petirah of the Chiddushei Harim, when Harav Chanoch Henoch of Alexander succeeded as Rebbe.
Four years later, after the petirah of Harav Chanoch Henoch, Reb Avraham Leib became a devoted and fiery chassid of Harav Yehudah Aryeh, the Sfat Emet, even though he was many years older than the Rebbe. The Sfat Emet once said about him, “The Rav of Brok learns Torah lishma, therefore whatever he says is accepted in Shamayim.” The Rebbe designated a special room for Reb Avraham Leib in which he stayed whenever he visited Ger.
Once a chassid came with a bakashah for the Sfat Emet that involved pikuach nefesh. The Rebbe, however, was no longer seeing people that day, and the chassid did not know what to do. He ran to Harav Avraham Mordechai, the Rebbe’s son (later the Imrei Emet), and begged that he daven for him. The future Imrei Emet replied, “Go to the Rav of Brok who is in Ger now, and since he will refuse to take a kvittel from you, tell him I sent you.” Upon hearing that the Rebbe’s son had sent the supplicant, Harav Avraham Leib donned his coat and walked to the outskirts of the town, refusing to accept the kvittel in the same location as his revered Rebbe.
Many chassidim would come to him for brachot and yeshuot. Many wanted him to lead a flock of his own, but he continuously refused. Once he complained about this to the Sfat Emet, saying that he did not know why people bothered him. The Rebbe told him, “If one can do good for a Yid one must do it.” From then on he accepted kvitlach, at the behest of his Rebbe.
In 5545 / 1885, his first sefarim, Melias Even on Even Haezer and Kuntres Yad Yosef, were printed without his name. In essence,vYad Yosefvwas avchibburin memory of his father-in-law. A childless Jew sponsored the cost of the printing, and was subsequently blessed with children. After his passing, the sefer Eil Miluim and the Kuntres Talmid L’Mishnah were printed. His descendants recently reprinted these sefarim.
He wished to ascend to Eretz Yisrael, but the Sfat Emet would not agree, so he stayed in Poland.
The Broker Rav was niftar at a ripe old age after serving as Rav in Brok for over 40 years. He is buried in Brok; his matzeivah was recently found and reconstructed by his descendants..
HaRav Avraham Steiner of Kerestir, zt"l, (5643 / 1883 - 5687 / 1927). He was the only son of the famed Rebbe Reb Yeshayah’le Kerestirer. Kerestir is the Yiddish name of Cristuru Secuiesc, a town in Transylvania, in present-day Romania.
Reb Avraham was known as a Gadol baTorah. After the petira of his father on 3 Iyar 5685 / 1925, Reb Avraham was appointed Rebbe, following the instructions left by his father. He was hesitant to take up the leadership, but his father had promised him that all his brachot would be fulfilled. Multitudes of chassidim flocked to his court.
His father had also told him that all the kvitlach that he would receive from his chassidim should be placed on his kever.
Sadly, Reb Avraham was niftar just two years after accepting the leadership, on 18 Adar I 5687/1927. He was 44 years old. His son-in-law, Rav Meir Yosef Rubin, a scion of the Ropshitzer dynasty, succeeded him. He, in turn, was succeeded by his son, Rav Yissachar Beirush, who continued Kerestir chassidut in America. Rav Avraham's other son-in-law, Rav Naftali Gross, also settled in America and was also known as the Kerestirer Rebbe.
HaRav Nachum Mordechai (ben Yisrael) Friedman, zt"l, Tchortkover Rebbe, (5634 / 1874 - 5706 / 1946) (Adar II)..
Harav Nachum Mordechai was the son of Harav Yisrael of Tchortkov. He was born on 17 Shevat 5634/1874 in Tchortkov and grew up there, in the court of his illustrious grandfather, Harav Dovid Moshe.
Reb Nachum Mordechai married the daughter of Harav Shlomo Friedman of Sadigura.
With the breakout of World War I, Reb Nachum Mordechai moved with his father to Vienna, where many of the Ruzhiner Rebbes moved due to the war. Reb Nachum Mordechai was his father’s right-hand man in public activities.
In 5694/1934, following the petirah of his father, Reb Nachum Mordechai was appointed Rebbe, holding court in Vienna. He would travel from time to time to Tchortkov; every such visit was a major event for the local chassidim.
Reb Nachum Mordechai was renowned for his regal middot and his warmth and concern for others. He was a leading member of the Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah of Agudat Yisrael, being a staunch supporter of Agudat Yisrael.
In 5699/1939, just before the outbreak of World War II, Reb Nachum Mordechai moved to Eretz Yisrael, settling in Tel Aviv.
The war in Europe took its toll on Reb Nachum Mordechai; he fell ill from the tzarot that Yidden were enduring. Even after the war, he never regained his full strength.
Reb Nachum Mordechai was niftar on 18 Adar II 5706/1946, at the age of 72.
His son, Harav Shlomo, succeeded him as Rebbe. His sons-in-law were Harav Yaakov Heshel of Novominsk and Harav Moshe Morgenstern.
Reb Nachum Mordechai’s divrei Torah were published under the name Doresh Tov, on the Torah and theYamim Tovim.
HaRav Yisrael Elimelech Moskowitz, zt"l, the Zabriver Rebbe, (5714 / 1954).
Harav Yisrael Elimelech Moskowitz was born in 5640/1880.
His father, Harav Meir, Rebbe of Zhabriv, was the son of Harav Yechiel Michel, the Galiner Rebbe; and a grandson of Harav Yechiel Michel, the Zlotchover Maggid, and Rebbetzin Frimet Rechil, daughter of Harav Meir of Premishlan. The family were also descendants of Rashi.
Rav Yisrael Elimelech’s mother was Rebbetzin Sheindel, daughter of Harav Yisrael Elimelech Ungar of Zhavna, a scion of the Dombrova dynasty and descendant of the Chozeh of Lublin, the Kozhnitzer Maggid and the Rebbe Reb Elimelech, among other tzaddikim.
Rav Yisrael Elimelech, the first son of Rav Meir, was named for his mother’s father.
Rav Yisrael Elimelech married Rebbetzin Miriam, the daughter of Harav Shalom Hakohen Yolles of Sambour. In 5668/1908, he was appointed Rav in Turka.
During World War I his father, Harav Meir, fled Zhabriv, which was near the Russian border, for Turka, in the Carpathian Mountains region.
From there they went on together to Hungary, where they settled in Kirali-Helmitz. During the war, all of Rav Yisrael Elimelech’s Torah writings were burnt.
A few years after his father’s petirah in Kirali-Helmitz in 5675/1914, Rav Yisrael Elimelech moved on to America, where he settled in the Bronx, New York, and was known as the Zhabriver Rebbe of America.
He wrote Ner Yisrael on the Torah and Yamim Tovim, explaining in the hakdamah that he named the sefer after his father — ner has the same gematria as Meir.
Rav Yisrael Elimelech was niftar on 18 Adar II, 5714/1954, at the age of 74. He was buried in New York.
Location of the kever:
Farmingdale, N.Y. 11735
(South Avenue, Section 52, Agudat HaAdmorim)
HaRav Yechezkel (ben Yehuda) Levenstein, zt"l, Mashgiach of Ponevez (5645 / 1885 - 5734 / 1974). Born in Warsaw in 5645 / 1885 to Osminer Chassidim, he lost his mother at age 5.
In his youth, Reb Chatzkel, as he was fondly known, spent two and a half years in Lomza, learning with great hasmadah, as those who knew him at the time later attested.
Early in life, 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, where he was fortunate to enjoy the close attention of Rav Tzvi Hirsch Broide (son-in-law of the Alter), at whose table he ate his Shabbat meals. In Kelm, Reb Yechezkel married his Rebbetzin, Chayah, who was an orphan.
In 5679/1919, during World War I, while Harav Yerucham Levovitz, zt”l, was serving as its Mashgiach, the Mirrer Yeshivah was exiled from its hometown of Mir, Poland, into Russia and then to Vilna, returning to Mir only after the war’s end. Reb Yerucham, however, did not return then.
At this time, Reb Chatzkel, who was learning as an avreich in Mir, was asked by the Rosh Yeshivah, Harav Eliezer Yehudah Finkel, to to supervise the yeshiva's spiritual welfare and serve as Mashgiach until Reb Yerucham returned. Upon Reb Yerucham’s return to Mir in 5684/1924, he was highly impressed with Reb Chatzkel’s success in guiding the bachurim.
Reb Chatzkel was approached by Rav Aharon Kotler, who headed Yeshivat Eitz Chaim in Kletsk, to come and serve as mashgiach ruchani in his yeshiva. Reb Chatzkel accepted. After a short time he was invited to join the staff of Yeshivat Lomza in Petach Tikvah, which was headed by Harav Reuven Katz. Reb Chatzkel traveled to Eretz Yisrael to serve as Mashgiach in the yeshivah. This was in 5695/1935, a few years before World War II.
When Reb Yerucham was niftar, on 18 Sivan 5697/1937, the heads of the yeshivah asked Reb Chatzkel if he would agree to return and serve as Mashgiach in Mir. Reb Chatzkel consented to return, hoping to continue the dissemination of his Rebbe’s teachings in Mir. He was with the yeshivah when it was transplanted to Shanghai during World War II.
In 1949, after two years of toil in America, the Mashgiach went to Eretz Yisrael with his daughter and son-in-law Harav Reuven Ginsburg, together with their young family, as well as two of his talmidim, Harav Reuven Melamed and Harav Moshe Bernstein.
After the petirah of Harav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler, Reb Chatzkel was asked by the Ponevezer Rav to serve as Mashgiach in Yeshivat Ponevez, where he spent the next 20 years.
Reb Yechezkel was niftar on 18 Adar 5734 / 1974.
Many of his shmuessen were arranged and published as Ohr Yechezkel.
HaRav Moshe Weber, zt"l, (1914-2000). He 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 V'Techi Nafshechem, which also offers for sale his audio recordings.
HaRav Yitzchak Shlomo (ben Avraham Moshe) Zilberman, zt"l, (1928-2001), Rosh Yeshiva 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 Yeshiva Kol Torah under Rav Yechiel Michel Schlesinger and thereafter at the Mirrer yeshiva, under Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel.
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19 Adar 5376 - 1616: See 20 Adar
"Vintznitzer Purim" or "Purim Vincents" - Vincents Fettmilch (Vintznitz Patmilech), head of the baker's guild, who called himself the "New Haman," the Jews' enemy who had expelled them from Frankfurt-on-Main, Germany, on 27 Elul half a year before, was executed on this day.
For generations, Frankfurt Jews fasted and gave tzedaka on this day, and celebrated a seudat hoda'ah the following day.
During that era, Frankfurt was a glorious kehillah numbering over 3,000 Jews. The evil Vincents Fettmilch battled the Jews and tried to pass legislation that would expel them. After an unsuccessful attempt, he incited a mob that attacked the community mercilessly, which forced many residents to flee. When the emperor heard of this, he summoned Fettmilch to trial and he was sentenced to death.
19 Adar 5482 - March 8, 1722:
Peter the Great of Russia ends tax on "men with beards," a category of people which certainly included Jews.
19 Adar 5700 - February 28,1940:
The Arab restriction of the MacDonald White Paper went into effect.
of sale of land in Eretz Yisrael to Jews was included in this British government
19 Adar 5709 - March 20, 1949:
Following the War of Independance, Israel needed to secure its borders against the hostile Arab nations which surrounded it. The Jewish army captured Ein Gedi, which brought to an end the military engagements of the War of Independence.
19 Adar I 5733 - Feb. 21, 1973:
Israeli fighter planes shot down Libyan Airlines Flight 114 over the Sinai desert, killing more than 100 people.
19 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Dovid (ben Tzvi Elimelech) of Dinov, zt”l, (5564 / 1804 - 5634 / 1874). Rav Dovid was the son of Harav Tzvi Elimelech (the Bnei Yissoschar) of Dinov, and author of Tzemach Dovid and Divrei Dovid .
He was born in 5564/1804. The Bnei Yissaschar attested that the neshamah of his son was from olam ha’atzilut.
The Bnei Yissaschar named his son after the famous Reb Dovid of Lizhensk, a devoted Chassid of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech. When he was sick at one time, his father added the letter yud to his name (Dovid is spelled with a yud at times in Nach), basing this segulah on the Gemara (Brachot 5b) that relates that when Rabi Chiya bar Abba was sick, Rabi Yochanan came and gave him “yudo,” his hand, and he became well.
Following the petirah of his father in 5601/1841, Reb Dovid was appointed Rebbe in Dinov.
He was known as a kadosh and a poel yeshuot. Many Chassidim flocked to him for his sage advice and brachot.
Reb Dovid was close with many of the generation’s Rebbes, most notably the Divrei Chaim of Sanz and the Sar Shalom of Belz, who later became his mechutan. Reb Dovid would also travel to Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin.
About a year before his petirah, Reb Dovid was greatly weakened.
The Shabbat before Reb Dovid was niftar, Harav Moshe of Rozvadov sang Eishet Chayil at his tisch to a Dinover niggun, explaining he was trying to bring a yeshuah for Reb Dovid through this, but the decree was sealed.
Reb Dovid was niftar on 19 Adar 5634 / 1874 at the age of 70.
His sons were Harav Yeshayahu Naftali Hertz, author of Hanosen Imrei Shefer, who succeeded his father in Dinov; Harav Tzvi Elimelech, the Tzvi Latzaddik of Bluzhev; and Harav Meir Yehudah, the Ohr Lameir of Bukovsk.
His sons-in-law were Harav Yehudah Rokeach, grandson of the Sar Shalom of Belz; Harav Mendel Maryles of Dubetsk, grandson of Harav Shimon of Yaroslav; Harav Moshe Chaim of Glanov, grandson of Harav Asher Yeshayah of Ropshitz; and Harav Simchah Tuviah of Madden, son of the Imrei Noam of Dzikov.
Reb Dovid’s divrei Torah were compiled in the sefer Tzemach Dovid on the Torah.
HaRav Yaakov Shimshon (ben Chaim) of Kossov, zt”l, (5640 / 1880).
HaRav Yehudah (ben Yehoshua) Greenwald of Satmar, zt”l, author of Shevet MiYehuda, (5680 / 1920).
HaRav Meir Yechiel (ben Avrohom Yitzchok) HaLevi Haldshtok, zt”l, founder of the court of Ostrovtze (5612 / 1852 - 5688 / 1928)
Before the Ostrovtze Rebbe was born, his mother, who became ill at the time, received a brachah from Harav Asher Yehoshua of Zhelichov, that he will illuminate the world like a brilliant gemstone. His father was Reb Avraham Yitzchak, a righteous and devoted Jew who was a reverent Chassid of Harav Yerachmiel of Peshischa, and after his petirah, of Harav Meir Yechiel, the Saraf of Mogilentze, and still later of his son, the Grodzisker Rebbe.
Reb Meir Yechiel was named after the Saraf of Mogilentze. He grew up in the humble shtetl of Sabin, Poland, where his father worked hard for a living. As a baker, he would wake up in the early hours of the morning and, together with his pious wife, would prepare bagels and other baked goods to sell in the market. After selling his produce, he would toil in Torah and avodah for the remainder of the day, often learning for six or seven hours in one sitting.
Young Meir Yechiel’s vast genius was apparent while he was still a tender youth. His parents did not have enough money to pay the melamed, but the melamed was so delighted with the youth’s brilliant queries that he kept him in class without pay. When he began learning Gemara, the melamed politely asked his parents to remove him from the cheder, since the questions he asked were so intricate they left everyone — melamed and students alike — perplexed.
In his later years he recalled: “When I was 11 years old I felt a Divine urge to record chiddushim, and since I was so young I was ashamed in front of the other townspeople; so I wrote my chiddushim with chalk on the wall of the aron kodesh. Eventually, they realized who wrote it.”
With no other choice, Reb Avraham Yitzchak took his young iluy to the Rebbe of Grodzinsk, and the Rebbe appointed Harav Berel Goldfarb, who was known as Reb Berel Iluy, to educate the child. Under his tutelage, young Meir Yechiel achieved great heights in Torah.
Even at a young age, when he would delve into a sugya he would not feel anything physical — not hunger, thirst nor pain. Once, he so deeply focused on an intricate Rambam that when he accidentally cut his hand on a shard of glass he didn’t realize what had occurred.
At the age of 17 he became engaged to the daughter of Harav Avraham’ele of Vorka. After his wedding he moved to Vorka, where he became known as the iluy of Vorka. During that period, he would spend many sleepless nights studying Torah. His davening was remarkable in that he was able to reach deep dveikut and often cried.
In 5639/1879, at the age of 27, he was invited to serve as Rav in Skrenevitz. Many great luminaries heaped generous praises on the young Rav, such as Harav Chaim Elazar Waks, the Nefesh Chayah; and Harav Yehoshua’la of Kutna, the Yeshuot Malko, among others. As Rav he devoted most of his time to learning and teaching, while leaving routine community matters to others. In Skrenevitz he initiated his hallowed practice of continuous fasting even on Shabbat, a practice which he continued for 40 years, until his petirah.
Once, after he scolded a Jew who was a mechallel Shabbat, the man retorted, “Rebbe, by your fasting, you too are mechallel Shabbat.” Reb Meir Yechiel cleverly replied, “No one will emulate my practice of fasting, but they might copy your chillul Shabbat.”
After he had served about ten years as Rav in Skrenevitz, he was appointed Rav in Ostrovtze, a fledgling Jewish community where he continued spreading Torah, often teaching Torah and Beit Yosef by heart to his talmidim. His talmidim were known to be the next generation of Torah luminaries. Ostrovtze was one of two courts in Poland known for their yeshivot and high level of learning; the other was Sochatchov.
In 5652 (1892), his Rebbe, Reb Elimelech of Grodzisk, was niftar and the Chassidim flocked to Reb Meir Yechiel. After initially refusing, he gave in to their relentless pleas, and although he was not a descendant of the Koznitzer dynasty to which his Rebbe belonged, he spiritually inherited the Chassidut and became their teacher, advisor and mentor.
As Rebbe, he continued his holy avodah. His phenomenal ahavat Yisrael is beyond the scope of this article; he collected vast amounts of money for aniyei Eretz Yisrael. He lived in an extremely ascetic manner and, as previously mentioned, he fasted every day, for 40 years. He left behind his famous, extraordinary pilpulim, favorites of every lamdan, which drew heavily on gematria, and came to be known as “Ostgrovotze pshetlach,” which are printed in Meir Einei Chachamim, he also left behind his teachings on Bereishit in Ohr Torah.
One of his noted talmidim was the Klausenburger Rebbe, zy”a, who learned under his tutelage in his youth.
During Reb Meir Yechiel’s later years he suffered severe yissurim from gallstones. Braving the yissurim, he continued serving Hashem with great mesirut nefesh. On Sunday morning, 19 Adar, his pure soul returned to its Creator.
He was survived by his son and successor, Harav Yechezkel, who was killed in WWII, Hy”d. His chiddushim are printed together with his father’s in Kodshei Yechezkel. He also had a son-in-law, Harav Dovid Silman, Rav of Gostinin.
HaRav Yosef Chaim (ben Avraham Shlomo) Sonnenfeld, zt”l, 5609 / 1848 - 5692 / 1932), (Adar II), the beloved leader of Yerushalayim Jewry during the first part of the 20th century, before the State of Israel was established, at a time when the community was reestablishing itself after many centuries of exile.
Harav Yosef Chaim was born on 6 Kislev 5609 / 1848 in Varboi, Slovakia, to Harav Avraham Shlomo and Rebbetzin Zelda Sonnenfeld. He was named Chaim; Yosef was added later.
Yosef was a child prodigy. Tragically, Reb Avraham Shlomo only enjoyed his child prodigy for a few years; he was niftar when the child was six.
Rebbetzin Zelda struggled to raise Chaim and his two siblings herself. After two years she consented to a second marriage, to a gvir and yerei Shamayim from Samnitz.
In those days in Slovakia, cheder boys were forced to attend public school; limudei kodesh was relegated to the afternoons and evenings. Young Chaim excelled at both, delighting his melamdim and dazzling his teachers. By age 11, he had completed the school’s entire curriculum; his teachers dreamed of sending him to university.
Meanwhile, his melamdim had exhausted their capacity to teach him, and he was studying at the local yeshivah under Harav Leib Loefler. Reb Chaim’s mother was determined that he advance in Torah, but his stepfather was charmed by his teachers’ reports of his amazing aptitude for science. Reb Chaim’s older brother believed that a glorious career in academia was not incompatible with a life of yirat Shamayim and mitzvot, and the two prepared to enroll Reb Chaim in an advanced course in another town.
But Reb Chaim’s lifelong opposition to secular studies had begun early. He sought a brachah from Harav Yehudah Assad, and with his mother’s encouragement he left Samnitz and returned to his birthplace of Varboi, where he joined the yeshivah of Harav Chaim Tzvi Mannheimer, author of Ein Habedolach and an old friend of his father.
During the next two years Reb Chaim’s greatness became so apparent that people throughout Slovakia and Hungary began blessing each other, “May you have children like the iluy Chaim of Varboi.” At 14 years old he was named “Rosh Hayeshivah,” the title given to the best talmid in Varboi. By then he was fluent in most of Shas, and it was time to move on. As a parting gift, his Rosh Yeshivah named him chaver, a title reserved for adults who have toiled in Torah all their lives.
The greatest yeshivah in the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time was the Ktav Sofer’s yeshivah in Pressburg; the 15-year-old Reb Chaim was admitted immediately. Moreover, when he entered the beit medrash the Ktav Sofer would stand up for him. Within three years the Ktav Sofer granted him the title Moreinu.
Two years later, at the age of 20, Reb Chaim married the daughter of Reb Shlomo Seltzer, the shochet of Kobersdorf. When he took leave of his Rosh Yeshivah, the Ktav Sofer granted him the highest title of all: Moreinu Harav — a title conferred upon distinguished elder Rabbanim — and this before he was even married!
Reb Chaim took the certificate and put it away for 20 years. Only when he felt confident that he could read it without a trace of gaavah did he look at it for the first time.
The Rav of Kobersdorf was the gaon and tzaddik Harav Avraham Shag, the Ohel Avraham. Reb Chaim became his talmid. For six months, supported by his father-in-law, he learned peacefully under Harav Avraham, but then his shver was offered a much better position as shochet in a different town, and though he would have been happy to take Reb Chaim with him, Reb Chaim chose not to follow. For three years Reb Chaim remained in Kobersdorf, learning under his new rebbi and tutoring for a livelihood. During those years he lost his firstborn infant son, Avraham Shalom.
Harav Avraham Shag was a mighty warrior against the haskalah and reform, but the strain took its toll on him, and he decided to move to Eretz Yisrael. However, as a Gadol and leader in Hungary, he was not easily relinquished. The protests and pleading of Hungarian Jewry persuaded him to delay his plans for two years, but no longer. When the time finally came, Reb Chaim decided to join him on his journey.
On 9 Iyar 5633 / 1873, Reb Chaim bade farewell to his relatives, and on 21 Iyar he and his family reached Eretz Yisrael. He joined the Torah community in Yerushalayim anonymously.
Three years after their arrival, on Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Nisan 5636 / 1876, Harav Avraham Shag was niftar. Reb Chaim gave his rebbi a hesped that a Gadol baTorah deserves, and so revealed his own genius.
His secret now out, Reb Chaim opened a yeshivah and kollel in Reb Yeshayah Bardeki’s beit medrash. He still longed for a Rav of his own, and he found one in Harav Yehoshua Leib Diskin of Brisk.
At this time Reb Chaim was given his second name, Yosef, during an illness.
For decades he was a general in the war to preserve authentic Yiddishkeit. At the same time he continued to teach Torah, and practiced chessed on a legendary scale, with deep personal warmth. Whether dealing with immigration issues, fending off violence from Arabs, or ensuring the spiritual sanctity of Yerushalayim, Rav Sonnenfeld stood at the forefront of the battle to protect Jews in the Jewish capital. In that difficult time, he was a man of courage, scholarship, kindness, integrity and piety -- who came to symbolize and shape the Holy City that he loved.
Reb Yosef Chaim continued to suffer yissurim in Eretz Yisrael. He lost eight children in his lifetime, as well as children-in-law, grandchildren, and finally his Rebbetzin. Nevertheless, he was b’simchah, and continued to care for others.
Amid the tefillot of all Jewry, Harav Yosef Chaim was niftar on 19 Adar II 5692 / 1932 at 10:30 in the morning. Yerushalayim was orphaned. Thousands accompanied his levayah to Har Hazeisim, where he was buried with no hespeidim, at his request.
HaRav Shmuel Engel of Radomishel, zt”l, (1853 - 1935). (Adar I). (others 5692 / 1932) Born in Tarno, Galicia. Rav of Radomishla (Radimishla; Radomishel) from 1888. Authored Sheilot Uteshuvot Maharash.
HaRav Emanuel Weltfried, zt”l, of Pabianetz-Lodz (5699 / 1939).
HaRav Yitzchak (ben Yosef) Kalish, zt”l, Amshinover Rebbe of America (New
York) (5753 / 1993). Grandson of Rav Menachem Kalish of Amshinov.
Harav Yitzchak Kalish, the son of Harav Yosef of Amshinov, was born on 24 Tevet 5674/1914.
Three years later, when his grandfather, the Amshinover Rebbe, was niftar on 16 Kislev 5678/1917, his father was called to replace him as Rebbe in Amshinov, where the family then settled.
In his youth he was already known for his tzidkut. He learned from the older Chassidim and would fondly recall their words in his later years.
Reb Yitzchak married the daughter of Harav Yosef Landau of Zghierzh, a son of Harav Menachem Mendel of Strikov. Following his chasunah, Reb Yitzchak settled near his father-in-law, where he continued to learn.
His father, who suffered from a heart problem, moved to Otwotzk, just outside of Warsaw. Reb Yitzchak moved with his father.
On 3 Shevat 5696/1936, Rav Yosef was niftar, and was buried in Amshinov. Reb Yitzchak’s older brother, Rav Yaakov David, was chosen to be his father’s successor.
During the time he spent in Otwotzk, Reb Yitzchak became close to his uncle, Harav Shimon Shalom of Amshinov, his father’s brother.
When World War II broke out, Reb Yitzchak was in Otwotzk, and when he heard that his uncle, Reb Shimon Shalom, was already on a wagon out of the city, he raced out of the beit medrash and joined him.
They reached Vilna, which was still a safe haven under Lithuanian rule. But after the Russians overtook Vilna, Reb Yitzchak, together with the family of his uncle, joined the hundreds of bachurim in their flight from Russia to Shanghai, where they stayed until the end of the war.
In 5707/1947, Reb Yitzchak reached the shores of America; but his spirit, heart and soul remained in Poland, where he had lost his family, including his wife and only daughter.
In America, he first lived in the home of his uncle, Reb Shimon Shalom.
In 5710/1950, Reb Yitzchak married Rochel Leah, the daughter of Harav Dov Berish Perkal, the son of Harav Yaakov Perkal, Rav in Kolashin.
Before Shavuot of that year, Reb Shimon Shalom instructed Reb Yitzchak to open a beit medrash in Williamsburg. Many Chassidim gathered around him, including survivors who recalled Amshinov in Poland, and Chassidim who had arrived in America before the war. He became close with many of the leading American Rabbanim and Poskim of the time.
Before Pesach 5724/1964, the Rebbe relocated his court to Boro Park. Many sought his advice and brachot, as Reb Yitzchak was known as a po’el yeshuot.
As Rebbe, Reb Yitzchak visited Eretz Yisrael numerous times.
On 19 Adar 5753/1993, the Rebbe was suddenly niftar.
The mittah was flown to Eretz Yisrael, where he was buried in Teverya, near the talmidim of the Baal Shem Tov, and his uncle Reb Shimon Shalom of Amshinov.
HaRav Mordechai (ben Yehudah) Schwab, zt”l, (1911 - 5754 / 1994), younger brother of Rav Shimon Schwab. After spending three years at the Mir yeshiva 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. He spent several years looking for work, and then working as a rebbi in yeshivot ketana. When he was over 50 years of age, he took a job as ninth grade rebbi at Beit 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 is remembered by many as one who always smiled, frequently laughing, especially at himself. But, as his brother Rav Shimon stated, his externals concealed his tzidkut. Above all, he excelled at finding merit in all others he met.
HaRav Yaakov Chaim (ben Avraham) Jofen (Yaffen), zt”l. Rosh Yeshiva of Beit Yosef Novardok, (1917 - 5763 / 2003). His father’s father-in-law was the Alter of Novardok. Following his bar mitzvah he studied at Baranovich for one year under Rav Dovid Rapaport, and then for a year under Rav Elchonon 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 Yeshivat Beit Yosef. In 1941, he arrived in the U.S. with his father. He began giving shiurim that year at Yeshivat Beit Yosef, and continued to do so for the next sixty years.
20 Adar 3143 - 618 B.C.E.:
Uziah Hamelech was afflicted with tzora'at and was forced to abdicate his throne.
20 Adar 3759 - 1 B. C. E.:
Choni Ha'Meagel' (Choni the Circle Maker)'s tefillah for rain was answered.after a three year drought
in Eretz Yisrael - "One year, most of Adar went by and it didn't rain. They sent for Choni the Circle Maker. He prayed and the rains didn't come. He drew a circle, stood in it and said: 'Master of The Universe! Your children have turned to me; I swear by Your Great Name that I won't move from here until You have mercy on Your children.' The rains came down."
(Megillat Taanit & Talmud, Taanit 19a - see there and 23a for more details). This incident took place during the time of the Second Beit Hamikdash.
20 Adar 5376 - 1616: See 19 Adar
"Vintznitzer Purim" or "Purim Vincents" - Vincents Fettmilch (Vintznitz Patmilech), head of the baker's guild, who called himself the "New Haman," the Jews' enemy who had expelled them from Frankfurt-on-Main, Germany, on 27 Elul half a year before, was executed on this day.
For generations, Frankfurt Jews fasted and gave tzedaka on this day, and celebrated a seudat hoda'ah the following day.
During that era, Frankfurt was a glorious kehillah numbering over 3,000 Jews. The evil Vincents Fettmilch battled the Jews and tried to pass legislation that would expel them. After an unsuccessful attempt, he incited a mob that attacked the community mercilessly, which forced many residents to flee. When the emperor heard of this, he summoned Fettmilch to trial and he was sentenced to death.
20 Adar 5622 - 1862:
Commodore Uriah Phillips Levy, father of the law abolishing corporal punishment
in the U.S. Navy, died.
20 Adar I 5692 - February 27, 1932:
The city of Tel-Aviv hosted the first Maccabiah.
20 Adar 5758 - March 18,1998:
HaRav Yeshaya (ben Dov Meir) Shimanowitz, zt"l, (1908-1998), Rosh Yeshivat Rabbeinu Yaakov Yosef (RJJ), NY, U.S.
(wrongly listed in many lists as 22 Adar; corrected by his son).
Rav 'Shaya was born in Rubizevitch, Poland. At the age of ten, He was sent away to learn in the Yeshiva in Bialystock, where his Rebbe was the young Steipler Gaon, zt"l. After his Bar Mitzva he enrolled in the yeshiva of Slutsk, where he became the favorite disciple of Rav Ahron Kotler, zt"l. He also developed a lifelong especially close relationship with Rav Elozar Menachem Man
Shach, zt"l. At the age of fifteen, Rav Shaya decided to change yeshivot and moved to Kaminetz to learn with Rav Boruch Ber Leibowitz, zt"l, remaining there until his early twenties, when he went to Radin to learn Kodshim B'chavrusa with Rav Mendel Zaks, zt"l, (the Chofetz Chaim's son-in-law) for over three years in the Chofetz Chaim's house. When Rav Shaya was 25 years old, he was invited to join the select Mir yeshiva - Rav Lezer Yudel Finkel’s select 'chabura. Within a short time Rav Shaya found his Eishet Chayil, Rebitzen Ettel, A"H. Later he traveled with the yeshiva to Shanghai and Japan. After the War, Rav Ahron Kotler helped Rav Shaya obtain a position in Yeshivat Rabbeinu Yakov Yosef (RJJ) where he became one of the Roshei Yeshiva for the next 25 years. In Williamsburg Rav Shaya also became Rosh Kolel in Kolel Kerem Shlomo. In 1990, Rav Shaya and his Rebetzin moved to Lakewood.Some of his chiddushim were printed in a series of seforim (currently 3) called "Amudei Shayish". Yehi Zichro Baruch.
HaRav Yeshaya Shimanowitz, zt"l
20 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Meir (ben Yaakov) Schiff, the Maharam Schiff, zt"l, (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. (6 Nissan according to others, Others 5393 / 1633)
HaRav Yoel (ben Shmuel) Sirkes of Cracow, zt"l, (1561- 5401 / 1641), known as the Bach, an acronym of his famous work of Jewish law, Bayit Chadash, (New House), a commentary on the great Halachic work, the Arba'ah Turim (1270-1343 by HaRav Yaakov ben Asher - the Baal Haturim).
The Bach traced each law to its source in the Talmud. HaRav Sirkes was critical of those who relied solely on the Shulchan Aruch for halachic decisions rather than the Talmud and the Geonim.
In his youth, he studied under Rav Shlomo Leibush of Lublin and Rav Meshulam Feivush in Brisk. One of the great Polish talmudic scholars,
Rav Sirkes had several rabbinic appointments throughout Poland, lastly as Chief Rabbi of Cracow in 1619. He was the teacher and father-in-law of Rav Dovid HaLevy, who authored the famous work of Jewish law, Taz (Turei Zahav).
HaRav Shlomo Hakohen Aharonson, zt”l, (5695 / 1935), (Adar II), Rav of Tel Aviv-Yaffo.
Harav Shlomo was born in 5621/1861 in Krutschah in the Mohilev region, where his father, Harav Yaakov, was the Rav.
Rav Yaakov and, later his son Rav Shlomo, were close to the Lubavitcher Chassidut.
In his youth, Shlomo had a special learning session with his father. He was known for his dedication to learning.
First Rav Shlomo was Rav in Gluchov and Neizhin. Highly respected, he was then asked to serve as Rav in Kiev. There his greatness became apparent. During the famous blood libel against Menachem Mendel Beilis, Rav Shlomo collected funds for the defense, was in contact with many Gedolim, and headed the communal efforts on Beilis’ behalf until he was freed.
With the outbreak of World War I, many Jews were forced to flee Galicia. Rav Shlomo undertook to help the refugees. He leased a large hotel in Kiev to house them under army protection. In this way he saved many from expulsion to Siberia.
In 5684/1924, Rav Shlomo left Russia for Eretz Yisrael. Russian Jews who had arrived earlier remembered him well. He was chosen Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Yaffo and did much to strengthen Torah and mitzvot there. He was greatly loved and respected, even among the non-religious.
Rav Shlomo was Rav in Tel Aviv-Yaffo for 11 years, until his petirah on 20 Adar II 5695/1935, at age 74.
HaRav Moshe Landinski, zt”l, (5698 / 1938), R”M in Yeshivat Radin
HaRav Shlomo Zalman (ben Chaim Yehuda Leib) Auerbach, zt"l, (23 Tammuz 5670 / 1910 - 5755 / 1995 [Adar I]), born in the Shaarei Chesed neighborhood of Yerushalayim, his father authored Chacham Lev and was the Rosh Yeshiva of Shaar Hashamayim.
As a youth, Rav Shlomo Zalman learned at Etz Chaim yeshiva, where he was quickly recognized as an outstanding student. He was known for his extraordinary diligence, wide-ranging knowledge and phenomenal memory. He was very close to the Rosh Yeshivah, Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer, who studied with him b’chavrusa.
He married Chaya Rivka Ruchamkin on erev Purim 1930. During the next 19 years he wrote Meorei Eish on the laws of electricity, Maadeanei Haaretz on laws regarding agriculture in Eretz Yisrael, as well as a commentary on Shev Shmaatsa.
In 1949, (others 5701 / 1947), he left Etz Chaim to succeed Rav Yechiel Michel Schlesinger as Rosh Yeshiva of Kol Torah Yeshiva in the Rechavia section of Yerushalayim, where he stayed for nearly 50 years.
He was also the author of Minchat Shlomo. His brother-in-law was Rav Shalom Schwadron. His piskei halacha on Shabbat are found throughout the sefer Shmirat Shabbat Kehilchasa, written by his talmid Rav Yehoshua Neuwirth.
On Thursday, 16 Adar I 5755 / 1995, Rav Shlomo Zalman was hospitalized. He was niftar the following Sunday evening, on 20 Adar I. The levayah was one of the largest ever recorded in Eretz Yisrael, with an estimated 300,000 people in attendance.
HaRav Yeshaya (ben Dov Meir) Shimanowitz, zt"l, Rosh Yeshivat Rav Yaakov Yosef (RJJ) (1908 - 5758 / 1998). (Formerly listed as 22 Adar; corrected by his son).
Rav 'Shaya was born in Rubizevitch, Poland. At the age of ten, He was sent away to learn in the Yeshiva in Bialystock, where his Rebbe was the young Steipler Gaon, zt"l. After his Bar Mitzva he enrolled in the yeshiva of Slutsk, where he became the favorite disciple of Rav Ahron Kotler, zt"l. He also developed a lifelong especially close relationship with Rav Elozar Menachem Man
Shach, zt"l. At the age of fifteen, Rav Shaya decided to change yeshivot and moved to Kaminetz to learn with Rav Boruch Ber Leibowitz, zt"l, remaining there until his early twenties, when he went to Radin to learn Kodshim B'chavrusa with Rav Mendel Zaks, zt"l, (the Chofetz Chaim's son-in-law) for over three years in the Chofetz Chaim's house. When Rav Shaya was 25 years old, he was invited to join the select Mir yeshiva - Rav Lezer Yudel Finkel’s select 'chabura. Within a short time Rav Shaya found his Eishet Chayil, Rebitzen Ettel, A"H. Later he traveled with the yeshiva to Shanghai and Japan. After the War, Rav Ahron Kotler helped Rav Shaya obtain a position in Yeshivat Rabbeinu Yakov Yosef (RJJ) where he became one of the Roshei Yeshiva for the next 25 years. In Williamsburg Rav Shaya also became Rosh Kolel in Kolel Kerem Shlomo. In 1990, Rav Shaya and his Rebetzin moved to Lakewood.Some of his chiddushim were printed in a series of seforim (currently 3) called "Amudei Shayish". Yehi Zichro Baruch. .
HaRav Yeshaya Shimanowitz, zt"l
HaRav Rafael (ben Shmuel) Blum, zt"l, (1907 or 1910 - 5765 / 2005), (Adar I) the Kashau Rav.
Rav Blum was born in Hungary in 5767/1907. His father was Rav Shmuel, Hy”d.
In his youth, he studied in the city of Kashau, in the Hungarian-Slovakian border region, where he became an ardent talmid of Harav Shaul Brach, zt”l, Av Beit Din of Krali and Kashau.
When he was a young man, he began serving as Rav of Kashau.
In approximately 5690/1930, Rav Refael was present when the Satmar Rebbe, zt”l, met with his rebbi, Rav Brach. The Satmar Rebbe turned to Rav Brach and asked, “To whom are we leaving the next generation?” Rav Brach answered, “To Refael Blum,” and pointed to his beloved student.
After miraculously surviving the horrors of the Holocaust, Rav Refael established a yeshivah in the city of Kashau, where he taught Torah and mussar following the path set by the Chatam Sofer and his students.
A short while later Rav Refael moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where many survivors flocked to him, seeing in him a successor to the prewar Gedolim.
In 1977, Rav Refael replanted his Chasidic community to Bedford Hills in Westchester County, NY. The village is known as Kiryat Kashau today, He also founded his yeshiva in Mount Kisco, far away from the crowds of the city.
Rav Refael always quoted the famous adage of the Chatam Sofer: “Chadash assur min haTorah — new, modern ways of doing things are forbidden by the Torah.” He was very particular not to deviate from traditional minhagim.
Rav Blum was renowned as a tremendous masmid, often learning for 18 hours straight. He was known for his deep chiddushim on Shas as well as his proficiency in halachah, which earned him the respect and admiration of many Gedolei Yisrael.
The sefarim that Rav Refael authored included Tal Shamayim and Birchat Shamayim on Shas, and his halachic teshuvot were widely accepted in the Torah world. He would also edit and review sefarim of the Rishonim to make them easier for people to learn and comprehend.
Aside from being a posek halachah, Rav Refael was one of the foremost speakers on behalf of American Jewry, and devoted himself to the pure chinuch of Jewish children. During his last year, he weakened considerably.
On 20 Adar I 5765/2005, Rav Refael returned his pure soul to its Maker. He was 98.
HaRav Eliyahu Meir (ben Dovid) Weinberger, zt"l, (1925-2010). A mechanech in Yeshiva Torat Emes-Kameniz for almost 50 years, Rav Eliyahu Meir founded Bikur Cholim of Kew Gardens. His only son is Rav Dovid Weinberger, Rav of Shaaray Tefila in Lawrence.
HaRav Moshe Yehoshua Hager, zt”l, the Yeshuot Moshe of Vizhnitz, 5676 / 1916 – 5772 / 2012). He was born on 13 Sivan 5676 / 1916, in Vilchovitz, Romania. His father was the Imrei Chaim of Vizhnitz, and his mother, Rebbetzin Margalit, was a daughter of Harav Ze’ev of Rachmastrivka.
Although this was the Imrei Chaim’s first son and there were many great ancestors after whom to name the newborn child, the Ahavat Yisrael of Vizhnitz, his grandfather, advised that he be named Moshe Yehoshua, after the first two leaders of Klal Yisrael, explaining that “the child has the neshamah of a Jewish leader.”
The Rebbe grew up in the home of the Ahavat Yisrael in Grosswardein, Hungary, and staunchly followed in his ways.
The Ahavat Yisrael was extremely fond of his young grandchild, telling one of his chassidim: “I am not totally lost — as long as I see that I love my Moshe, I know that my heart is still attracted to the good …”
In the Grosswardein Talmud Torah, the young Moshe Yehoshua refrained from playing with his friends, choosing to devote all of his time to learning.
Already in his early years, the Rebbe gained fame for his exceptional hasmadah, learning until the wee hours of the morning and, at least once a week, on Thursday nights, devoting the entire night to Torah study.
Even after his grandfather’s Friday night tisch, which concluded in the early hours of the morning, the young Moshe Yehoshua would be seen immersed in the sefer Chovot Halevavot.
In Grosswardein he learned with leading talmidei chachamim including Harav Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss, the Minchat Yitzchak, zt”l, who later taught the Rebbe shimush in halachah.
Later, the Rebbe traveled to Vizhnitz to learn in the yeshivah of his uncle, the Damesek Eliezer of Vizhnitz. At the young age of 20 he received semichah from the leading Rabbanim of Hungary, who applauded his wide knowledge and understanding in all halachot.
After the petirah of the Ahavat Yisrael, the Imrei Chaim, who was Rav in Vilchovitz, moved to Grosswardein to assume his father’s post, and the 20-year-old Harav Moshe Yehoshua was appointed Rav in Vilchovitz.
In 5702 / 1942, the Rebbe married Rebbetzin Leah Esther, the daughter of Harav Menachem Mendel of Dezh. After her passing, the Rebbe remarried, tbl”c, Rebbetzin Sheindel, the daughter of Harav Yehoshua Segal Deutsch, zt”l, Rav of Katamon.
The Rebbe was outstanding in his shemirat einayim. When he had to walk in the street, he would close his eyes and be led by a companion.
In Adar 5704 / 1944, when the Nazis invaded Hungary, the Rebbe fled to Grosswardein to be together with his father. The Jews of Grosswardein hid in bunkers, and those who could, fled to Romania.
From Romania, the Rebbe and his family made their way to Eretz Yisrael, arriving before Shabbat Mevorchim Elul 5704 / 1944.
His uncle, the Damesek Eliezer, appointed him Rosh Yeshivah in the new Vizhnitz Yeshivah in Tel Aviv. At that time, Eretz Yisrael was a spiritual and material wasteland; most of the bachurim were survivors who needed special care. The Damesek Eliezer, recognizing the Rebbe’s unique expertise in chinuch, placed in his hands the responsibility of meeting all the needs of the bachurim. He was their Rosh Yeshivah and maggid shiur, mashgiach, madrich and material caregiver, bringing the bachurim to heights of Torah and kedushah.
In 5707 / 1947, after the Imrei Chaim arrived in Eretz Yisrael and established the Vizhnitz neighborhood in Bnei Brak, Harav Moshe Yehoshua was appointed Rav of the neighborhood, in addition to heading the yeshivah and delivering daily shiurim.
On 9 Nisan 5732 / 1972, his father, the Imrei Chaim, was niftar and Harav Moshe Yehoshua was crowned Rebbe.
Under the Rebbe’s leadership, Vizhnitz blossomed and expanded in Eretz Yisrael and abroad, with the establishment of many Torah mosdot.
In his last years the Rebbe became very weak, yet despite his illness and frailty he continued to accept the chassidim and bestow his brachot. He would often hold tischen in his beit medrash.
The Rebbe was niftar on 20 Adar 5772 / 2012, at the age of 95. He was buried next to his father in the Vizhnitzer ohel in the Zichron Meir cemetery in Bnei Brak.
The Rebbe is survived by his Rebbetzin; his two sons, Vizhnitzer Rebbes in Bnei Brak, shlita; and four daughters, the Satmar Rebbetzin; the Skver Rebbetzin; the Belzer Rebbetzin; and Rebbetzin Hinda Ernster.
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21 Adar 4996 - 1236:
Narbonne Purim, the oldest private Purim celebration on record, commemorates
this French Jewish community's escape from a mob
When a Jew and a wealthy gentile fish merchant quarreled, the fish merchant suddenly died.
This set off a pogrom in which angry mobs attacked the Jewish community and confiscated the sefarim of the Rav, Harav Meir ben Harav Yitzchak, claiming that he was at fault in the merchant's death. The Jews were saved when the ruler, Don Emirich, quickly intervened, and dispatched a contingent
of soldiers to restore order. All the spoils stolen during the riots were returned to the Jews. This is the oldest known community Purim.
This day was also Kasaly (N. Italy) Purim.
21 Adar 5250 - 1490:
The first dated edition of the Mishneh Torah was published.
21 Adar ll 5708 - April 1, 1948:
The success of Operation Nachshon marked the end the siege of Yerushalayim by
its Arab neighbors, by bringing food to her starving residents.
21 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Avraham ben Musa, zt”l, (5420 / 1660 - 5493 / 1733), author of Minchat Sotah.
Born to Rav Shlomo in Tutiuan, Morocco, he was named for his paternal grandfather.
Rav Avraham learned under Harav Yaakov Margi, a known mekubal who wrote a commentary on the Zohar and on the Idra Rabba and Idra Zuta. Rav Avraham, although still young at the time, excelled at Torat Hanistar, and was considered the leading talmid of Rav Yaakov. (It was due to the encouragement of his talmidim that Rav Yaakov wrote his commentary on the Zohar.)
Before the year 5466 / 1706, Rav Avraham moved to Saly, Morocco. At that time there were many mekubalim in the city, most famous among them Harav Chaim ibn Atar, the Ohr Hachaim.
It is presumed that Rav Avraham served as Rav of the city. There is a letter with his signature preceding those of six Chachamim of the city, an honor presumably reserved for the Rav.
The Chidah writes that Harav Avraham ben Musa met the mekubal Harav Avraham Azoulai of Marrakesh, and together they learned the kabbalistic sefer Otzrot Chosam. They also learned nigleh; in his Minchat Sotah on masechet Sotah, Rav Avraham quotes an explanation “heard from the Rav of Marrakesh,” who was Harav Avraham Azoulai.
Later, Rav Avraham moved from Saly to Fez. There were other Rabbanim who moved there at the same time. Harav Pinchas Germon of Tunisia writes that Rav Avraham was forced to leave after putting a kabbalistic “curse” on the wife of the king, who caused much trouble for the local Jews. There are other reasons given for Rav Avraham fleeing Saly, but all run along the same lines.
Rav Avraham authored many works on all facets of the Torah, both nigleh and nistar. He wrote on masechtot Yoma, Chagigah and Sotah. His all-encompassing work on masechet Sotah is Minchat Sotah. Rav Yaakov Pitusi of Tunisia, in Yagel Yaakov on masechet Nazir, published the notes of Rav Avraham on the masechta.
Despite Rav Avraham’s greatness in Kabbalah, the only kabbalistic works that remain are his notes on the Kisvei HaAri. He also wrote notes on Etz Chaim.
Rav Avraham wrote down many of his drashot, but like many of his sefarim, they are lost. Some of his works, though, are still in manuscript form in various libraries.
About 5480 / 1720, Rav Avraham settled in Tunisia. He was appointed Dayan and Rosh Yeshivah. He also headed a group of mekubalim, who learned together on a regular basis.
Rav Avraham was niftar on 21 Adar 5493 / 1733, in Tunisia. He was buried there.
In 5566/1806, the Muslims destroyed much of the Jewish cemetery in Tunisia, but they were not able to destroy the kevarim of Rav Avraham and the other tzaddikim buried there.
HaRav Elimelech (ben Elazar) Weisblum of Lizhensk, zt”l, (1717- 5547 / 1787).
The great Rebbi R' Elimelech of Lizhensk (1717-1786) was one of the elite disciples of HaRav DovBer, the Maggid of Mezritch, and a colleague of HaRav Schneur Zalman of Liadi. He is widely known as the No'am Elimelech, the title of the renowned chassidic work he authored.
Rebbi Elimelech attracted many thousands of chassidim, among them many who after his passing became great chassidic masters in their own right,
Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apta, the Maggid of Kozhnitz, and Rav Menachem Mendel of Rimanov.
Most notable amongst them was HaRav Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz, the "Chozeh (Seer) of Lublin." Many of the current chassidic dynasties trace themselves back to Rebbi Elimelech.
HaRav Avigdor Halberstam of Dukla, zt”l, (5637 / 1877) (Adar I)
Harav Halberstam was born in 5588/1828. His parents were Harav Aryeh Leibush of Tarnigrad, the dayan of Pshemishel, and Rebbetzin Miriam. His parents traced their lineage to many great luminaries such as the Kos Hayeshuot; the Rebbe Reb Heshel; and the Chacham Tzvi, among others. Orphaned early, young Avigdor was raised by his brother Harav Chaim of Sanz, more than 30 years his senior.
He married Rebbetzin Channah, the daughter of Harav Avraham Chaim Horowitz of Linsk, son of Harav Naftali Tzvi of Rophshitz (the Zera Kodesh). His mother-in-law was a granddaughter of Harav Chaim, the Be’er Mayim Chaim.
He had one daughter, Miriam, who married Harav Aryeh Leibush Halberstam, a son of Harav Dovid of Kishinev.
In his youth he undertook galut for a period of time, during which he fasted and took upon himself various tribulations and suffering. Later he remarked that even after all those years of galut, the best tool to conquer the yetzer hara is still Gemara and Tosafot.
He was appointed Rav in the shtetl of Bobov, Galicia, and served there a number of years. Then, at the behest of his brother the Sanzer Rav, he accepted the Rabbanut in Dukla; his brother personally attended his hachtarah.
Rav Avigdor possessed a phenomenal mind. One Motzoei Shabbat, absorbed in learning, he exited his home to take a stroll. He was so engrossed in Torah thoughts that he continued walking until he reached the nearby town of Vishinka many hours later, at daybreak.
There is a famous story that highlights Rav Avigdor’s exceptional character traits. Once, while visiting a certain town, he was invited by one of the prominent townspeople to eat the Shabbat seudah at his home. In those days the minhag was that in order to honor a guest one would give him the entire bowl of cholent,and the guest would serve everyone present. As Rav Avigdor received the cholent he tasted it, and oddly, he continued to eat out of the serving bowl until he had consumed its entire contents. The people at the table were mesmerized, and couldn’t grasp why he would do something like that.
One Chassid asked Rav Avigdor about it. He replied:
“When I tasted the cholent, I realized at once that the poor Jewish maid had accidentally put kerosene into it, instead of vinegar. In order to prevent her from being embarrassed, I decided to do as I did; rather let everyone think of me what they want, than that the maid should suffer from this mishap.”
After his petirah, his son-in-law succeeded him as Rav in Dukla.
HaRav Yitzchak Elchonon (ben Yisrael Isser) Spector, zt”l, (1817- 5656 / 1896). He served as chief rabbi of Kovno, the most prominent rabbinical position at the height of 19th century Lithuanian Jewry.
His father was the Rav of the Lithuanian town of Roush, located in the Grodno district. After he married (to Sara Raizel), 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 Yoshua Leib Diskin, the rav of Brisk, who later moved to Eretz Yisrael. Rav Binyamin Diskin was so impressed with R' Yitzchak Elchonon 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.
Rav Spector collaborated with many of his
contemporaries, including HaRav Yisrael Salanter and HaRav Samson Raphael Hirsch. His collection of responsa is entitled, Be'er Yitzhak, and Eyn Yitzchak. He also authored Nachal Yitzchak on Choshen Mishpat. Various institutions have been named after him, including the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological
Seminary of Yeshiva University.
HaRav Yitzchok (Itzele) Rabinowitz (also known as (Rav Itzele Ponevezher) , zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva in Slabodka and Ponevezh (1919). He wrote Zecher Yitzchak. After his petira, he was succeeded by the 33-year old Rav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman. (others 5678 / 1918).
HaRav Moshe Shmuel Glasner, zt”l, 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. (1924).
HaRav Binyamin Fuchs, Rav of Grosvardein, zt”l, (5696 / 1936).
Harav Binyamin was born on 11 Tishrei 5637 / 1876. His father, Harav Moshe Tzvi, was Rav of Sered and Grosvardein.
Reb Binyamin learned in his father’s yeshivah, and later in the yeshivot of Harav Yehudah Greenwald in Satmar and Harav Mordechai Leib Winkler in Brezava; and in Pressburg under Harav Simchah Bunim Sofer.
In 5661/1901 Reb Binyamin was appointed Rav in Brashau, and in 5665/1905 in Liaka. Subsequently, he was Rav in Bezing and Nadi-Banya. In 5678/1918, upon the petirah of his father, Reb Binyamin succeeded to the rabbanut in Grosvardein.
Reb Binyamin was known as a lamdan and a speaker, delivering many profound drashot. He was at the forefront of the fight against those who wished to wreak havoc on Torah-true Yiddishkeit.
He used his connections with the local government to benefit his brethren in times of strife.
Reb Binyamin was niftar suddenly at the age of 59 on 21 Adar 5696/1936.
HaRav Shlomo Yosef Zevin, zt”l, editor of the Talmudical Encyclopedia (1885-1978). After studying at the Mir yeshivah under Rav Eliyahu Baruch Kamai, and later at Bobruisk under Rav Shemariah Noach Schneerson, Rav Shlomo Yosef began to correspond on halachic subjects with some of the greatest contemporary scholars when he was just 18 nyears 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.
HaRav Yitzchak Horowitz of Stetchin, zt”l, (1862-1940). His father was a direct descendent of Rav Naftali Tzvi of Ropshitz, and his uncle was the Imrei Noam of Dzikov. Rav Yitzchak was succeeded by his son Rav Yehuda, who moved to New York before passing away in 1982.
HaRav Shalom Schnitzler, zt”l, the Tchaba Rav of London (5749 / 1989) (Adar I).
Mr. Avraham Dov Kohn, z”l, Principal of Gateshead Seminary.(yr?)
HaRav Doniel Schur, zt”l, (2006). A strong presence in Cleveland ’s Jewish community as a Rav, mohel, and educator. He was appointed Rav of Beth Midrash Hagadol-Heights Jewish Center.
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22 Adar 5109 - 1349:
The Jews of Uberlingen, Switzerland, were massacred Al kiddush Hashem, Hy"d.
22 Adar 5190 - March 6, 1430:
A miracle happened in the kehillah of Rome. The church and the government of Rome set Wednesday, March 6, 1430, as the day when all the Jews of Rome must convert or face death. On that day a great earthquake rocked Rome and many of the archbishops and priests who conceived the decree were killed. Following the earthquake, Pope Martin V immediately annulled the decree.
22 Adar 5252 - 1492:
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella signed a decree expelling the Jews of Spain.
22 Adar 5641 - 1881:
Anti-Jewish riots broke out in Lubny, Russia.
22 Adar 5693 - March 20, 1933:
The infamous Dachau concentration camp was established in Germany, originally designated as a prison camp for political prisoners.
After Kristallnacht, the number of Jews imprisoned there kept growing until over 200,000 Jewish victims passed through its gates, most of whom perished, Hy"d. The Nazis built a gas chamber in Dachau, but it was never used. The camp was liberated in April 1945 by the U.S. army.
22 Adar 5708 - 1948:
Sixteen Jewish soldiers who left Atarot to attack Arab travelers in reaction to the slaughter of Jewish travelers,
were caught and lynched by an Arab mob in Ramallah; The six captured alive were brutally tortured to death, Hy"d.
22 Adar 5739 - March 21, 1979:
The Egyptian parliament unanimously approved a peace treaty with Israel.
22 Adar 5757 - March 1997:
Seven female Jewish students were shot to death by a Jordanian soldier while on a field trip in Bakura, Jordan (on the border). Hy"d.
22 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Eliyahu (ben Shlomo) HaKohen Ha’Itamari of Ismir, zt"l, author of Shevet Mussar,(5489 / 1729). (See 24 adar)
HaRav Yaakov of Novominsk, zt”l, (5662 / 1902). Father of Rav Yehuda Aryeh Perlow of Vlodova (1878-1961) and Rav Alter Yisrael Shimon Perlow of Novominsk.
HaRav Yechiel Michel (ben Aharon) Epstein, zt”l, (5667 / 1907), (Adar II), called the Aruch HaShulchan, after his main work of Jewish law.
Harav Yechiel Michel was born on 20 Shevat 5590 / 1830 (or 1829), in Boibrisk, Lithuania, to Harav Aharon Yitzchak, a pious Jew who had Torah u’gedulah b’makom echad.
Yechiel Michel was a diligent talmid, admired by the townspeople as their young iluy. When he was merely 10 years old, he participated in Torah discussions with the Torah scholars of Boibrisk.
He married the daughter of the wealthy Rav Yaakov Berlin (the father of the Netziv of Volozhin) whose support enabled him to immerse himself in Torah. When his father-in-law lost his wealth, and unwilling to accept a rabbanut, he opened a small clothing shop that his Rebbetzin managed with great devotion for over 30 years while Reb Yechiel Mechel sat and learned all day. She never even permitted him to step into the store!
In his hesped for his Rebbetzin, he praised the magnitude of her ahavat Torah, which enabled him to learn worry-free for so many years.
His first position was as Rosh Yeshivah in Yeshivat Reb Altshul in Boibrisk; he was later appointed Rav in Novozovkov, where his first sefer, Ohr Layesharim, appeared. Subsequently, he became Rav in the city of Novarodok, where his monumental stature had a vast influence on all its inhabitants, serving as the rav for nearly four decades.
Aruch HaShulchan, written while he was in Novarodok, expands on the Shulchan Aruch, elucidating it based on the Rishonim and Acharonim and giving authoritative piskei halachah. First published in 5651 / 1891, it clarifies and illuminates all four parts of the Shulchan Aruch. He said that without siyatta diShmaya he would not have been able to complete this monumental work. He also authored Aruch Hashulchan He’asid, in which he brilliantly sorts out the dinim that will be relevant with the coming of Moshiach.
Asked how he could bear the responsibility of paskening on complex halachot, he replied, “Man has to do what he can to clarify the halachah; the rest is up to Hashem.” He would sit with four sets of sefarim at hand — Gemara, Rambam, Tur and Shulchan Aruch — and his pen would write continuously. In the city of Novarodok he initiated a novel practice — ushering in Shabbat early in order to avoid chillul Shabbat, a concept that many opposed.
He personally saw to the welfare of the sick and hungry. On Erev Yom Kippur he would go around to those in the hospital and command them to eat on Yom Kippur, patiently explaining how they could do so without transgressing by ingesting less than a shiur.
He was niftar at the age of 79 on 22 Adar II and was survived by his son, Harav Baruch, author of Torah Temimah.
He was the brother-in-law (and later, father-in-law) of the famed Harav Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin (the Netziv) and grandfather of Rav Meir Bar-Ilan, with whom he learned in Novardok. (others 5668 / 1908)
HaRav Eliezer Dovid (ben Hillel) Finkler of Radoshitz, zt”l, (Adar I 5687 / 1927). Harav Eliezer Dovid was the son of Rav Hillel of Radoshitz. Rav Hillel was the son of Rav Yitzchak, who was a son-in-law of Harav Yissachar Ber, the Sabba Kaddisha of Radoshitz.
Following the petirah of his father on 23 Tevet 5661/1901, Reb Eliezer Dovid became Rebbe in Radoshitz.
Reb Eliezer Dovid was known as a tzaddik who led an ascetic lifestyle, Reb Eliezer Dovid undertook many fasts; in between he ate only the bare minimum.
He spent long hours davening while standing.
He was famous for his mofsim. At times he would only answer requests after toveling in the mikveh; some days he would tovel dozens of times. He asked that people who came to him for brachot should first tovel; he could tell who had done so and who hadn’t.
Thousands of petitioners flocked to his court, and many stories are related of the miracles he worked.
Reb Eliezer Dovid spoke with his Chassidim in Lashon Hakodesh, and on Shabbat he would converse exclusively in that language.
In his later years, Reb Eliezer Dovid was blind. But even so, he recognized anyone who had been in Radoshitz.
Reb Eliezer Dovid was niftar on 22 Adar I 5687/1927 in Lodz.
Following his petirah, the communities of Lodz and Radoshitz vied for the zechut of having the tzaddik buried in their city. The people of Radoshitz claimed that right because he had lived there all his life, while those of Lodz claimed that since he was niftar in their town he should be buried there.
At a din Torah, the beit din ruled that Reb Eliezer Dovid should be buried in Lodz.
Reb Eliezer Dovid was succeeded as Rebbe in Radoshitz by his son Rav Chaim Asher. His other son, Rav Yisrael Yosef, became Rav of Radoshitz. His son-in-law was Harav Elimelech Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowitz of Sochdenyov.
Rav Avraham Dov Ber (ben Shlomo Zalman) Kahana-Shapiro, Chief Rabbi of Kovno before and during World War II (1870 - 5703 / 1943). Born in Kobrin on Yom Kippur, his father was a descendant of Rav Chaim Volozhiner. Rav Avraham attended the Volozhin Yeshiva. He was president of the Agudat HaRabbanim of Lithuania and came to the US 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. His piskei halacha can be found in the sefer Dvar Avraham.
Rebbetzen Miriam Freida (bas Hillel HaKohen) Kagan, A"H. (1946), wife of the Choftez Chaim. She is buried in Queens, NY at Mt. Judah Cemetery, near her son, R' Aahron.
HaRav Reuven Grozovsky, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivat Kamenitz and Torah Vodaath. Harav Reuven, (known as Reuven Minsker) was born in 5656 / 1896 (or others 1886) - 5718 / 1958).. His father, Harav Shamshon, was the leading Dayan of Minsk, Belarus.
He learned in Yeshivah Knesset Yisrael in Slabodka, under Harav Moshe Mordechai Epstein and Harav Nosson Zvi Finkel (the Alter of Slabodka).
When still young, Reb Reuven began his lifelong campaign to save bnei Torah from the trends of the time. The ideas of Zionism, Socialism and freedom from the yoke of Torah were devastating to the yeshivot, and destructive to the spiritual essence of the ben Torah. Minsk was a center of operations for all political parties. Reb Reuven fought his own private campaign against them.
As a student in Slabodka, then still part of Czarist Russia, he recruited bnei Torah from his hometown of Minsk to join him, because in Slabodka there was less danger of turning “sour.” One such recruit was Yankel Dolinover, whose family had moved to Minsk from Dolinov. He was an unusually bright youngster and to this day, Klal Yisrael benefits from that Yankel — better known as Harav Yaakov Kamenetzky, zt”l. Another of Reb Reuven’s charges in Slabodka was the iluy Arke Sislovtser, whom he brought to Slabodka at the age of 15. Years later, Arke was known as Harav Aharon Kotler, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah, Beit Medrash Govoha. Another colleague was Harav Yitzchak Hutner, zt”l.
When another Yankel Dolinover (cousin of the first one) arrived in Slabodka, the Alter asked Reb Reuven to learn with him, for the Alter knew that the teenager had promise of greatness, and trusted Reb Reuven to guide him. Today he is known as Harav Yaakov Yitzchak Halevi Ruderman, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah of Ner Yisrael in Baltimore.
In 5679/1919, Reb Reuven became the son-in-law of Harav Baruch Ber Leibowitz, zt”l. He moved with him from the Vilna suburb of Lukishuk, where Reb Baruch Ber had maintained his yeshivah, to Kamenitz, where the yeshivah they led flourished until World War II.
Reb Reuven eventually became the Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Kamenitz. Though he carried the financial burden of the yeshivah, he never missed delivering his weekly shiur.
During World War II, Reb Reuven escaped the Holocaust with a group of his talmidim, landing on the West Coast, in Seattle, Washington.
He went on to New York, where he joined Harav Aharon Kotler and Harav Avraham Kalmanowitz, zt”l, in the lobbying and fund-raising efforts of the Vaad Hatzalah, to save Jews from the Nazis. He also brought 110 members of the Kamenitz community to safety — 30 to Eretz Yisrael and the rest to New York, where he set up the Kamenitz Kollel on the Lower East Side.
After the petirah of Harav Shlomo Heiman, zt”l, Reb Reuven was asked by Harav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, zt”l, to head Yeshivah Torah Vodaath in Brooklyn, New York. He was simultaneously Rosh Yeshivah of Beit Medrash Elyon in Monsey.
Six years before his passing, Reb Reuven suffered a stroke which impaired him physically. Nonetheless, he remained mentally alert and was able to learn until his petirah on 22 Adar 5718/1958, at the age of 62.
His shiurim were published under the name Chiddushei Reb Reuven. A selection of his shmuessen, Baayot Hazman, was also published.
HaRav Yisrael Moshe (ben Yosef Tzvi) Dushinsky, zt”l, Gaavad of the Eidah Hachareidit of Yerushalayim, (1921 – 5763 / 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 brachot, Rav Rav Yosef Tzvi received a bracha from Rav Yechezkel Shraga of Shinava, who also gave him his sefer, Ayalah Sheluchah, printed in the memory of the Shinava 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 Shick. The family moved to Eretz Yisrael in Adar of 1930, one month before the petirah of Rav Yosef Chaim Sonenfeld. He was married to the daughter of Rav Dovid Yehoshua Gross, Rosh Hakahal of the Satmar Kehillah, in 1945. On Erev Sukkot of 1949, his father was niftar, and the 27-year-old Rav Yisrael Moshe was appointed Rosh Yeshiva of Dushinsky. In 1969, he was inducted as a member of the Eidah Charedit. He became S'gan Beit Din after the Satmar Rebbe's petira and the Av Beit Din in 1996.
HaRav Manis Mandel, zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva of Brooklyn (YOB), (1916 - 5766 / 2006) In 1929, he became a talmid of Torah Vodaas under Rav Faivel Mendelovich. In 1937, he started to teach in a talmud torah on Avenue O while still in Torah Vodaat in the mornings. In 1942, he was sent by Rav Mendelovich to run the Yeshiva 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 yeshiva moved to Flatbush, where Rav Mandel spent most of his time until his passing at the age 90.
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23 Adar 2449 - 1312 B.C.E.:
Mishkan assembled for the 1st time:
First of the Shivat Yemei Hamiluim, the seven day inauguration period, before the dedication of the Mishkan.
The Children of Israel began building the "Mishkan" (the "Tabernacle") -- the portable sanctuary to house the Shechina / Divine presence in their midst that accompanied the Jewish people as they journeyed through the desert on the 11th of Tishrei of the year 2449 from creation (1312 BCE) -- six months after their Exodus from Egypt, three months after the revelation at Sinai, and 80 days after their worship of the Eigel HaZahav / Golden Calf. The construction of the Mishkan, which followed a detailed set of instructions issued to Moshe Rabbeinu on Mount Sinai, lasted 74 days, and was completed on the 25th of Kislev; but the Divine command to erect the edifice came only three months later, on the 23rd of Adar, when Moshe was instructed to begin a 7-day "training period." During the week of Adar 23-29, the Mishkan was erected each morning and dismantled each evening; Moshe served as the Kohain Gadol / High Priest and initiated Aaron and his four sons into the kehuna / priesthood. Then, on the "eighth day" -- the 1st of Nissan -- the Mishkan was "permanently" assembled (that is, put up to stand until the Divine command would come to journey on), Aaron and his sons assumed the Kehuna, and the Shechina came to dwell in the Mishkan. As recorded in Vayikra / Leviticus chapters 8-9, the Mishkan was the center of Jewish spiritual life, and the precursor to the Beit HaMikdash in Yerushalayim.
23 Adar 3244 - 516 B.C.E.:
The Second Beit HaMikdash was dedicated.
23 Adar 5088 - 1328:
Massacre of the Jews of Estella, Spain, Hy"d
23 Adar - 1418:
Jews were excluded from public office in the Roman Empire.
23 Adar 5699 - March 14, 1939:
The republic of Czechoslovakia was dissolved, opening the way for Nazi occupation of Czech areas and the separation of Slovakia.
23 Adar 5702 - March 12, 1942:
David Raziel, founder of the Irgun, died.
23 Adar 5739 - March 22, 1979:
· The Israeli Knesset approved the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty, by a vote of 95 for, 18 against.
23 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Chaim Chaika (Chaikel) Levin of Amdur (Indura), zt”l, (5547 / 1787). Born to Rav Shmuel in Karlin, the family descended from many leading Rabbanim.
In his youth, Reb Chaikel was known as a genius in learning and an outstanding matmid.. He was a disciple of the Vilna Gaon. He would often fast, at times from Shabbat to Shabbat, and undergo other afflictions in his striving to reach shleimut in avodat Hashem.
Drawn to the ways of Chassidut, he later became a student of Rav Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezerich, zy"a. The Maggid spoke of Reb Chaikel even before he came to Mezritch, telling his Chassidim that there was a menorah in Amdura that was lacking only the match to light it.
How did it happen that he became a Chassid? The Mezritcher Maggid once told his close Chassid, Reb Aharon of Karlin, when he took his leave, to return with “good merchandise.” When Reb Aharon chanced upon Reb Chaikel, he understood that this was what the Rebbe was referring to.
Reb Aharon met Reb Chaikel and asked him why he didn’t learn Torah lishmah. Reb Chaikel answered in surprise, “But how am I learning — not lishmah?” Reb Aharon responded, “If so, you are making the Tanna Rabi Meir a liar.” (This was a reference to the Mishnah that one who learns Torah lishmah receives many good things; since Reb Chaikel didn’t have all the things mentioned by Rabi Meir in the Mishnah, he was effectively refuting Rabi Meir.)
Reb Aharon walked away, but Reb Chaikel ran after him and asked him how one reached the level of learning Torah lishmah. Reb Aharon said that he himself didn’t know the answer, adding that if Reb Chaikel would like to find out, he should travel to his Rebbe in Mezritch and ask him.
Together they returned to Mezritch, where Reb Chaikel became a devoted Chassid of the Maggid.
Joining the camp of the Chassidim, however, stirred up strong opposition against him. The cherem of 5541 / 1781 was directed primarily against him, because the people of Amdur wanted him to leave the city. Though other chassidic masters such as Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev and Reb Shlomo of Karlin were forced to leave Lithuanian cities, Reb Chaikel stayed on in Amdur, between Vilna and Brisk, where he drew many others to Chassidut.
After the petirah of the Maggid, the Chassidim wanted Reb Chaikel to be their Rebbe, but he refused.
Rav Chaim became one of the first Chassidic Admorim in 1772-73.
On Tuesday, 23 Adar 5547/1787, just two days after the petirah of his close colleague, the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk, Reb Chaikel was niftar. He was buried in Amdur.
He was survived by his sons — Harav Dov Ber, who was niftar childless, l”a, and Harav Shmuel, son-in-law of Harav Aharon of Zelichov. who succeeded his father. His own son-in-law was Harav Nosson of Makova, a leading talmid of the Chozeh of Lublin.
Another daughter married Moshe, the brother of Aharon, founder of Karlin Chassidism.
For many years, Reb Chaikel’s divrei Torah remained in manuscript form and were not published until 5651/1891, more than 100 years after his petirah. When his sefer was finally published with the name Chaim Vachessed, it received many warm haskamot from the leading Gedolim of that era, many with no connection to Chassidut.
Amdur is about 25 miles south of Grodno (Hrodno). 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, Hy”d. However, the marauders did not advance north to the Grodno region. Jews comprised 80% of the population in Grodno at that time.
HaRav Yitzchak Meir Alter of Ger, zt”l, (5559 / 1799 – 5626 / 1866). Known as the Chidushei HaRim, for his famous commentary on the Talmud and Shulchan Aruch.
He was the founder of the "Ger" (Gerer) Chassidic dynasty, and grandfather of the Sefat Emet. Reb Yitzchak Meir was able to trace his lineage back to Rav Meir ben Baruch (the Maharam) of Rottenberg (1215-1293).
His father was Harav Yisrael Rottenberg, Rav of the small Polish town of Gora Kalwaria (Ger). His mother, Chaya Sarah, was orphaned early in life and he was raised by her relative, the Kozhnitzer Maggid. When the time came for her to marry, the Maggid chose Reb Yisrael because of his greatness, even though he was a widower and she was a young girl. To persuade her, the Maggid promised that she would have a son who would enlighten all Jewry with his Torah. The couple was blessed with a son whom they named Yitzchak Meir.
While yet a child, the Chiddushei Harim gained renown as an iluy. The Maggid had a great influence on R' Yitzchak Meir during the latter’s early years. As he grew, he became a disciple of Rebbi Simcha Bunim of Peshischa and then R’ Menachem Mendel of Kotzk. He studied under Harav Leibush Charif in Warsaw, where Reb Yitzchak Meir befriended Reb Shraga Feivel of Gritza and Reb Alexander Zusha Hakohen of Shedlitz, disciples of the Chavas Daat who were Chassidim of the Chozeh of Lublin.
They persuaded Reb Yitzchak Meir to send a kvittel to the Chozeh, who, upon reading it, said, “His name is Meir, and it befits him, for he emanates light wherever he goes.” The Chiddushei Harim considered himself an ardent Chassid and talmid of the Chozeh, although he continued to spend most of his time learning under the Maggid of Kozhnitz.
After the Maggid’s petirah, the Chiddushei Harim accepted his son, Reb Moshe, as his Rebbe for three years. Then, following a number of events, he was drawn to Peshischa, where he became an ardent Chassid and one of the closest talmidim of the Rebbe Reb Bunim, zt”l.
When the Rebbe Reb Bunim was niftar, Reb Yitzchak Meir attached himself to Reb Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, who became his brother-in-law when he married his Rebbetzin’s sister.
At the insistence of the Chassidim, the Chidushei HaRim became leader after the death of the Kotzker. At the first Chassidic gathering over which he presided he declared, “Reb Simchah Bunim of Peshischa led his flock with love, and the Kotzker Rebbe, R’ Menachem Mendel led them with fear, and I will lead them with Torah!”
All his 13 children died in his lifetime, a tremendous personal tragedy, yet he accepted it all with love. The Chiddushei Harim was niftar on 23 Adar, 5626/1866.
He was buried in Ger.
He was eventually succeeded (in 1870) by his young grandson, Harav Yehudah Leib Alter, the "Sefat Emet," son of his oldest son, Harav Avraham Mordechai.
HaRav Yitzchak Yaakov Rabinowitz of Biala, zt”l, the Divrei Binah, (5665 / 1905), youngest son of Rebbe Nathan Dovid, son-in-law of Rebbe Yehoshua of Ostrovoh (the Toldot Adam), and great-grandson of Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowitz, the Yid Hakadosh of Peshischa.
HaRav Rafael Shapira of Volozhin, zt”l, author of Torat Raphael, rosh yeshivat Volozhin (1837-1921). (Adar II). After the Volozhin Yeshiva 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.
HaRav Michel Dovid Rozovsky, zt”l, (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 Yehoshua Heschel, who served as Rav in Grodna, until he was murdered by the Nazis; Rav Yosef, who served as Rosh Yeshiva of Ohr Yisrael in Petach Tikva; and Rav Shmuel, who would become Rosh Yeshiva in Ponevezh in Bnai Brak.
HaRav Menachem Nachum Rabinowitz, zt”l, the Melechet Nachum, (5647 / 1887 – Adar II 5719 / 1959).
Harav Menachem Nachum was born on 27 Adar 5647/1887. His father, Harav Pinchas of Kontkozbah, was a descendant of Harav Gedalyah of Linitz, the Teshuot Chen.
Reb Menachem Nachum was brought up in the lofty household of his father, who was known for his vast kedushah and for his learning. As a young bachur, Reb Menachem Nachum was already regarded as a budding talmid chacham and held halachic correspondence with many of the generation’s Gedolim.
In 5667/1907 Reb Menachem Nachum married the daughter of Harav Yosef of Koidenov. Following his wedding he lived near his esteemed father-in-law, with whom he was very close. Later, Reb Menachem Nachum was named Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivat Tomchei Tzedek, which his father-in-law established. He led the yeshivah for the next nine years, until the outbreak of World War I, when they were forced to flee to nearby Minsk.
Following the petirah of Reb Yosef of Koidenov on 26 Kislev 5676/1915, the chassidim sought to appoint Reb Menachem Nachum as the new Rebbe, but he refused. He wanted to return to the home of his father, but since he had begun learning for semichah, he wished to complete it while in Minsk. During this period, Harav Chaim Soloveitchik of Brisk was among those who awarded Reb Menachem Nachum a letter of semichah, heaping praise on the young talmid chacham.
Reb Menachem Nachum returned to the city of his father, now in Boznisnask, and became his father’s right-hand man. It was only natural that after the petirah of his father, on 26 Iyar 5682/1922, Reb Menachem Nachum was appointed Rebbe and also handed a ksav Rabbanut.
Reb Menachem Nachum despised the rabbinate, fearing the possibility that, chas v’shalom, he might be responsible for a mistake. Only a few months later, before Rosh Hashanah, he arranged for it to be announced in all the batei medrash that he was stepping down as Rav. He continued to lead as Rebbe, however, inspiring the chassidim to Torah and yirat Shamayim.
After a few years he was forced to leave, due to communist oppression, and settled in Odessa.
Reb Menachem Nachum did not have it easy in Odessa either, and after many tribulations he received his certificate to move to Eretz Yisrael. He left by boat together with his family, during the month of Shevat 5694/1934. They arrived at the port of Haifa on Friday afternoon, Rosh Chodesh Adar, and remained there over Shabbat. During that Shabbat, the residents of Haifa noted this Gadol, and asked him to stay on in their city.
Reb Menachem Nachum was appointed Rav in Haifa, and Dayan in charge of gittin and kiddushin. Once again, Reb Menachem Nachum was hesitant to take on this responsibility. He asked Harav Baruch Markus, Rav of Haifa, to excuse him from this post. Harav Markus told him that if he was hesitant, it was a sign that he would not rule light-headedly, and that was the correct attitude for a Rav.
For the next 25 years, until his petirah, Reb Menachem Nachum served as Rav in Haifa. He also founded a beit medrash in the city.
Reb Menachem Nachum was close with many Rebbes of the Ruzhiner dynasty; Harav Yisrael of Husiyatin, the Abir Yaakov of Sadigura, and other Gedolim, including the Chazon Ish and Harav Shimshon Aharon Polonsky, the Tepliker Rav.
Reb Menachem Nachum was niftar on 23 Adar II 5719/1959, at the age of 72.
A collection of his divrei Torah, in conjunction with those of his father-in-law, Reb Yosef of Koidenov, was published under the name Machshevet Nachum.
HaRav Shlomo Zafrani, zt”l, (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 HaTorah yeshiva. 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.
HaRav Yehuda Moshe Danziger, zt”l, Alexandria Rebbe of Bnai Brak (Emunat Moshe) (5733 / 1973).
HaRav Aharon Zilberfarb of Koidenov, zt”l, (5754 / 1994).
HaRav Yisrael Grossman, zt”l, (1922-2007). Born in the old city of Yerushalayim, Reb Yisrael studied at the yeshiva of Rav Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, where he learned mesechet Kiddushin 30 times. He later learned at Yeshivat Kaminetz. After Rav Baruch Shimon Schneerson became Rosh Yeshiva in Tchebin, Reb Yisrael replaced him as Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshivat Chabad, where he remained for 30 years. He also served as a dayan for the beit din of Agudat Yisrael for over 40 years and later opened a beit din for monetary laws with Rav Betzalel Zolti and helped found Mifal Hashas. He was also very involved with Chinuch Atzmai.
HaRav Yehudah Davis, zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Zichron Meir of Mountaindale, (1907 – Adar I 5757 / 1997).
HaRav Yerachmiel Shlomo Rothenberg, zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Zichron Meir of Mountaindale, (5773 / 2013).
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24 Adar 4907 - 1147:
The Jews of Wurtzburg were massacred by the Crusaders, Hy"d.
24 Adar 5043 - 1283:
Jews of Mayence, Germany, were massacred, Hy"d.
24 Adar 5211- February 25, 1451:
Pope Nicholas V issued a “bull” (edict) banning all social contact between Christians and Jews.
The Church sought to stop Christian converts to Judaism; throughout Europe, those who did so were liable to the death penalty.
24 Adar 5263 - 1503:
Jews of Lithuania were granted permission to return to the country after an
exile of eight years.
24 Adar 5559 - 1799:
Lorenzo Bertran subjected to an auto-da-fe in Seville, Hy"d. He was the last person to be punished for Judaizing in Spain.
24 Adar 5577 - 1817
Czar Alexander I of Russia declared the Blood Libel - the infamous accusation that Jews murdered Christian children to use their blood in baking matzah for Pesach / Passover, for which thousands of Jews were massacred through the centuries - to be false. (Nevertheless, nearly a hundred years later the accusation was officially leveled against Mendel Beilis in Kiev)
24 Adar 5616 - 1856:
Jews of White Russia were forbidden to wear distinctive clothes which would set them apart from the rest of the population.
24 Adar 5646 - 1886:
The first organized Arab assault on a Jewish settlement, Petach Tikva, took place.
24 Adar 5678 - 1918:
Jews of Gluchor were massacred by a Ukrainian mob, Hy"d.
24 Adar 5699 - March 15, 1939:
German troops marched into Prague.
24 Adar 5704 - March 19, 1944:
Germany occupied Hungary.
24 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Yitzchak Eizik Margulies of Prague, zt”l, (5285 / 1525).
HaRav Chaim Algazi of Kushta (Constantinople), zt”l, author of Nesivot Hamishpot. Student of Rav Shlomo Algazi, Rav of Rhodes .
HaRav Eliyahu (ben Shlomo) HaKohen Ha’Itamari of Izmir, zt”l, author of Shevet Mussar (according to others - 22 Adar) (c1650 - 5489 / 1729). According to family tradition, he is descended from Itamar ben Aharon HaKohen.
In his book, Ve’lo Od Ela, Rav Eliyahu describes the earthquake that shook Izmir, on a Shabbat in 1688, and the many miracles that occurred to the Jews of the city. All of the synagogues and batei medrash 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 Tzedaka on the importance of giving tzedaka, Medrash Talpiot, Yado BaKol, Medrash Eliyahu, Aggadat Eliyahu, a two-volume commentary on the aggadot of the Talmud Yerushalmi, Chut shel Chessed on the Chumash, Dana Peshara, on Shir HaShirim, Rus and Esther, almost 40 sefarim in all.
HaRav Betzalel Yair Danziger of Lodz, zt”l, (5521 / 1761).
HaRav Binyamin Diskin of Horodna and Vilna, zt”l, (5604 / 1844).
HaRav Yitzchak (ben Chanoch Henach) Meyer of Alesk (5589 / 1829 – 5664 / 1904). Born in Belz to the Lev Sameyach and his Rebbetzen Freide, daughter of the Sar Shalom of Belz.
Harav Chanoch Henoch was a grandson of Harav Yitzchak, who was Rav in Belz, even though he was the son of the simple shamash of Belz who at one time served as meshamesh for the Bach.
How did the shamash merit such descendants? When the townspeople of Belz wanted to dismiss the Bach from his Rabbanut, they handed a ksav to the shamash to deliver to him. But the shamash delayed the delivery of the note until after Shabbat in order to prevent agmat nefesh from disturbing the Bach’s oneg Shabbat. In this merit the Bach gave him a brachah to have a great son. Indeed, his son Harav Yitzchak was a tzaddik and gaon.
Rav Yitzchak grew up in the exalted atmosphere of the vast chassidic court of his maternal grandfather, the Sar Shalom of Belz. Even after his marriage, when he moved away, Rav Yitzchak continued traveling to his grandfather.
After learning with his maternal grandfather, he became a chasid of Rav Yisrael of Ruzhin, and later of his son, Rav Dovid Moshe of Chortkov.
He married Yenta, the daughter of Harav Yosef Yoshke of Leshkowitz, who was a descendant of Harav Meshulem Feivush of Zhbarizh. Rav Yitzchak was very close to Rav Meir Premishlaner, his wife’s grandfather, and became a close Chassid and talmid of his. Likewise, Reb Meir cherished his grandchild.
Rav Yitzchak conducted himself in an exalted and holy manner. On Shabbat he would not speak of mundane things, only hinting when necessary. Many would come to engage in Torah discussions with him, as he was a gaon in all facets of Torah.
His father, Harav Chanoch Henoch, was the Rebbe of a prestigious eidah in the town of Alesk. With his father’s petirah in 5644/1884, Rav Yitzchak became Rav in Alesk and decided to emigrate to Eretz Yisrael, but his uncle, Harav Yehoshua of Belz (who had succeeded his own father, the Sar Shalom) did not consent. Instead, he insisted that Rav Yitzchak replace his father as Rebbe in Alesk. As Shabbat approached, he put a tallit on his nephew and told him to enter the beit medrash before him, as a symbol of his new position.
His father’s Chassidim accepted his leadership and he lovingly guided them. He was known for his fiery tefillot.
After he led his flock for 20 years, Rav Yitzchak was niftar on Erev Shabbat, 24 Adar 5664/1904, at the age of 75.
He had one daughter, and his son-in-law succeeded him.
HaRav Shlomo Elyashiv, zt”l, author of Leshem Shevo Ve’achlama (5687 / 1927). He was the maternal grandfather of Harav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, zt"l. (See 27 Adar)
HaRav Yitzchak (ben Moshe) Horowitz of Stutchin, zt”l, (5622 / 1861 - 5700 / 1940). Born in Dzikov on 4 Tevet 5622/1861. His father, Harav Moshe of Rozvadov, was a descendant of the Ropshitz dynasty. His mother was the daughter of Harav Yekusiel Yehudah Teitelbaum, the Yetev Lev.
At only 11 years, Harav Yitzchak had memorized the entire Noam Elimelech.
He married the daughter of Harav Menachem Mendel Eichenstein, the youngest son of Harav Yitzchak Eizik of Ziditchov. After her passing he married the daughter of Harav Yoel Hirshfeld.
Appointed Rav of Stutchin at the age of 22, he succeeded his father as Rebbe upon the latter's petira on 10 Sivan 5654/1894. During World War I he fled to Vienna and from there to Tarnow, where he re-established his court and beit medrash.
Many Chassidim flocked to his court. In his day, the Chassidut of Stutchin was one of the most prominent in Galicia. Although he did not take part in public affairs, he was revered by all.
In his later years he often spoke of the imminent Geulah and would hint at the coming of Moshiach.
Reb Yitzchak was niftar on 24 Adar 5700 / 1940, in Sanok, while fleeing from the Nazis. He was 79.
His son was Harav Yehudah Horowitz of New York. His sons-in-law were Harav Alter Meir of Stutchin, Harav Yisrael Yosef of Riglitz and Harav Naftali Horowitz of Shendishov.
HaRav Chaim Osher Finkler of Radoshitz, zt”l (5701 / 1941)
He was the son of Harav Eliezer Dovid of Radoshitz and the son-in-law of his uncle, Harav Meir Menachem of Pietrikov, both of whom were sons of Harav Hillel of Radoshitz (the son of Harav Yitzchak, Rav of Radoshitz, and a son-in-law of Harav Yissachar Ber, the Saba Kadisha of Radoshitz).
Reb Chaim Asher was actively involved in running his father’s court, so it was natural that after Reb Eliezer Dovid was niftar, on 22 Adar 5687 / 1927, Reb Chaim Asher became Rebbe.
In 5693 / 1933, Reb Chaim Asher was chosen to be the Rav of the nearby city Volshtzve. At the request of the chassidim in Radoshitz, though, Reb Chaim Asher went back to visit them frequently, as they felt that the city where his forefathers lived and held court should not be deserted by him.
Like his father, Reb Chaim Asher lived a life of kedushah and taharah. He was known for his many fasts and other ascetic practices. Reb Chaim Asher would tovel in the mikveh dozens of times a day, for added kedushah.
Reb Chaim Asher was an outstanding masmid. He never slept in a bed, only near his sefer, and even that for no more than two hours each day. He was totally dedicated to Torah learning; at midnight he already began his new day of learning, giving a shiur to his talmidim.
Reb Chaim Asher was given semichah by Harav Yoav Yehoshua Weingarten of Kintzk, the Chelkat Yoav. He corresponded with the Gedolim of the generation, among them the Avnei Nezer and the Maharasham of Brezhan. He also headed two yeshivot, in Radoshitz and in Lodz.
Reb Chaim Asher was renowned for his amazing memory and clarity in learning.
Since Reb Chaim Asher was known as a baal mofet, many other Rebbes would send their chassidim to him for yeshuot.
Reb Chaim Asher was a powerful and emotional baal tefillah. He would lead all the tefillot on Yom Kippur.
At the outbreak of World War II Reb Chaim Asher was in Lodz, where a large group of his chassidim lived. With great difficulty, he was transferred to Radoshitz and from there to Kielce. In the ghetto in Kielce, Reb Chaim Asher, suffering from diabetes, was niftar on 24 Adar 5701 / 1941. Despite the difficulties, he was zocheh to be brought to kever Yisrael.
His son Harav Yaakov perished in the Holocaust. Hy”d.
HaRav Yehoshua Menachem Ehrenberg, zt”l, (1904 – 5736 / 1976). (Adar II). 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 Beit 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 Yehoshua.
HaRav Gad (Godel) Eisner, zt”l, (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.
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Today was the first day of Creation, according to Rab' Yehoshua in Rosh Hashanah 10:2. According to Rab' Eliezer it was on 25 Elul.
25 Adar 3365 - 396 B.C.E.:
Death of King Nevuchadnetzar, the Babylonian emperor who conquered Yerushalayim and destroyed the first Beit HaMikdash 26 years earlier and exiled the Jews from Eretz Yisrael, (Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 52:31). (There are a number of opinions regarding the sequence of events of the next few days; we follow the braita of Seder Olam. See Luach d’Var Yom b’Yomo for further discussion of this topic.)
Nevuchadnetzar built the most powerful nation in the world by ruthlessly attacking and annexing neighboring countries. He is sometimes called "Nevuchadnetzar the Great," but he is reviled by Jews. The biblical Book of Daniel tells how Nevuchadnetzar erected a large idol for public worship; three Jews refused to take part and Nevuchadnetzar ordered them cast into a roaring furnace. (They miraculously emerged unscathed). Nevuchadnetzar was a megalomaniac who built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon; in testimony to his grandeur, each brick was inscribed with his name. Amazingly, in our time, Saddam Hussein pronounced himself as the reincarnation of Nevuchadnetzar, and dreamed of restoring the Babylonian empire to its former size and glory. Saddam commissioned archaeologists to restore the ancient Hanging Gardens, and each new brick was inscribed with Saddam's name. The Book of Daniel (4:30) describes the downfall of Nevuchadnetzar: "He loses his sanity and lives in the wild like an animal." And so it was with Saddam -- driven into a grimy hole, disheveled and deposed. (Nevuchadnetzar later regained his sanity and returned to rule.)
25 Adar 4941 - March 14, 1181:
The French King Philip Augustus ordered all Jews in Paris attending shul on Shabbat to be arrested and detained for ransom.
25 Adar 5109 - 1349:
The Jews of Strasbourg, France, were burned in the Jewish cemetery during the Black Plague, Hy"d.
25 Adar 5256 - March 9, 1496:
All of the Jews of Carinthia, Austria were expelled. (and not readmitted until 5608 / 1848).
25 Adar 5394 - 1634:
English colonists led by Lord Baltimore arrived in what is today the state of Maryland. Three hundred years later, the city named for him would serve one of the larger Jewish communities in the USA.
25 Adar 5678 - March 1, 1886:
The Jewish settlement of Petach Tikva was attacked by its Arab neighbors. See 24 Adar
25 Adar 5651 - 1891:
U.S. President Harrison was petitioned to aid in the reestablishment
of Palestine as a sovereign Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael. This Petition was circulated among prominent Americans (not Jews).
The petition was signed, by
Cyrus McCormick, J. P. Morgan, William McKinley, John D. Rockefeller, Russel
Sage, and Cardinal Gibbons, among others.
It was a spontaneous expression of
American sympathy for Zionism, totally independent of Jewish Zionist activities.
The petition was motivated by Biblical influences and by intense indignation
aroused by Russian pograms.
25 Adar I 5662 - March 4, 1902:
The World Mizrachi Organization was founded (Vilna, Russia).
25 Adar 5671 - March 25, 1911:
The discovery of the mutilated body of Andrei Yishinsky, near Kiev, Russia , led to the infamous trial of Mendel Beilis on ritual-murder charges.
25 Adar 5693 - March 23, 1933:
The German Reichstag granted Adolph Hitler dictatorial powers.
25 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Gershon (ben Efraim) Kitover, zt”l, brother-in-law of the Baal Shem Tov (1696? - 5521 / 1761). His date of birth is unknown. His father, Rav Efraim, was a Rav and Av Beit Din in one of the four batei din in Brody, Poland .
After he relocated to Brody, he became one of the members of the famous Brody “kloiz,” an assemblage of lamdanim and ovdei Hashem; subsequently, he also served as a Dayan. His wife was Bluma, whom his brother-in-law, the Baal Shem Tov, mentions in a letter.
Rav Gershon had become known as one of the gedolei hador. When his sister married the Besht, he was at first opposed to the Besht’s derech hachassidut. However, with time, after becoming aware of his saintly brother-in-law’s hidden ways, Reb Gershon became his devoted talmid, spending time with the Baal Shem Tov in Mezhibuzh, and teaching his son, Rav Tzvi.
Rav Gershon had a prolific, ongoing correspondence with many contemporary Rabbanim including the Noda BiYehudah, who addressed him in a letter using highly complimentary titles. The Pri Megadim in Hilchot Tishah B’Av cites a pshat in the name of Rav Gershon, and Harav Yonasan Eibschutz wrote about him, “Harav hechassid hamuflag baTorah u’mekubal Eloki.”
In 5507 / 1747, he moved to Eretz Yisrael (becoming the first of the talmidim of the Besht to do so), living first in Chevron and then in Yerushalayaim.
In a letter to his brother-in-law he describes his life in Chevron: “In this holy city, there is a gate at the end of the Jewish street which is closed for Shabbat and Yom Tov. During the night the gate is closed, too; there is no need to fear anything. We arise at midnight and make our way to the shul where we learn the entire day in assemblage, until two hours past nightfall.”
He would occasionally travel to Yerushalayim. At one point the Ashkenazic community begged him to move to Yerushalayim and be their manhig, but for a long time he refused, despising honor and fame and wanting to serve Hashem in his own way. Eventually, in 5613/1753, he gave in to the persistent requests of members of all the kehillot to lead them.
From Eretz Yisrael he maintained constant contact with his brother-in-law, the Baal Shem Tov. In their correspondence they discussed matters of avodat Hashem and much more. His kever, and the kevarim of other family members, were rediscovered on Har Hazeitim after the Six-Day War.
HaRav Betzalel Yair Danziger of Alexander, zt”l, (5694 / 1934).
Harav Betzalel Yair was born on 25 Adar (which was also the day of his petirah) in 5621 / 1861. His father, Harav Yechiel, zy”a, was the first Alexander Rebbe, commonly known as the Alter Rebbe of Alexander. He was the youngest of three, his brothers being Harav Yisrael Yitzchak, known as the Yismach Yisrael of Alexander, zy”a, and Harav Shmuel Tzvi, the Tiferet Shmuel of Alexander, zy”a.
From his youth he was known for his temimut and tzidkut. He married the daughter of Harav Shlomo Tzvi Plavner.
After the petirah of Harav Yechiel, his oldest son, the Yismach Yisrael, succeeded him. Harav Betzalel Yair accepted the leadership of his brother wholeheartedly and with humility. In 5670 / 1910, the Yismach Yisrael was niftar childless. The Tiferet Shmuel succeeded him and took over the leadership of Alexander Chassidut.
During World War I, the entire Danziger family fled from the small town of Alexander to the nearby industrial city of Lodz, where the Tiferet Shmuel continued leading the Chassidim. After the war, the Rebbe returned to Alexander, but Rav Betzalel Yair and his family remained in Lodz.
At the petirah of the Tiferet Shmuel, in 5684 / 1924, his second son, Harav Yitzchak Menachem Mendel (the Akeidat Yitzchak), zy”a, succeeded him, since his oldest son, Harav Shraga Feivel, had been killed al kiddush Hashem during WWI. Again Rav Betzalel Yair accepted the new Rebbe wholeheartedly, and frequently traveled to his court.
In Lodz, where there were thousands of Alexander Chassidim, Harav Betzalel Yair served as a beacon of light. Although he was never a Rebbe, many people flocked to his humble home to hear from him the dvar Hashem. He would often cite divrei Torah from the sefer of his brother, the Yismach Yisrael. It was said that even without looking into the sefer he would recite it word for word.
He was niftar at the age of 73 and is buried in the beit hachaim in Alexander.
His son, Harav Avraham Yehudah, and sons-in-law and their offspring were all killed al kiddush Hashem in WWII, aside from his son-in-law, Harav Yehudah Moshe, zy”a, who assumed the leadership of AlexanderChassidut in Eretz Yisrael after the Holocaust. After the passing of Harav Yehudah Moshe, his son Harav Avraham Menachem succeeded him; he was niftar on 17 Adar 5765 / 2005. He, in turn, was succeeded by his son Harav Yisrael, shlita.
HaRav Menachem Mendel Hager, zt”l, (1885-1941). Son of the Ahavat Yisrael of Vizhnitz, he was ,Rebbe of Vizhnitz in Visheva (Visiva) for fourteen years. He published a monthly journal “Degel HaTorah.”
HaRav Dovtd Sperber, zt”l, the Brashover Rav and author of Afarkasta D’anya. (5722 / 1962)(Adar II).
Born in 5637/1877 in Zablatov, Galicia. His father, Harav Baruch Klonymus, was a chassid of Harav Chaim of Kossov, the Torat Chaim.
As a young bachur, Reb Dovid left home to learn under Harav Meir Arik, the Imrei Yosher. In those years he became close with Harav Moshe of Kossov, who appointed him to oversee the editing and publication of his sefarim.
Reb Dovid also visited the courts of the leading Rebbes of Hungary.
Reb Dovid married Chayah Sarah, the daughter of Harav Moshe Stern, Rav of Polen-Riskava. Rav Moshe was a grandson of Harav Yehudah Kahana, the author of Kuntres Hasfeikot and Trumat Hakri, the brother of Harav Aryeh Leib, the Ketzot Hachoshen.
Reb Dovid’s first rabbinic post was in Polen-Riskava, where he led in accordance with the dictum of Chazal: “The talmidei chachamim in the city are responsible for all its affairs.” For example, in addition to the traditional functions of a Rav, his activities included nursing cholera victims during an epidemic and organizing armed self-defense bands during a pogrom.
Reb Dovid was known as the Brashover Rav, after the Romanian city where he served beginning in 5682/1922. Known as a Gadol baTorah and one of the foremost poskim in Romania, Reb Dovid was appointed chairman of the Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah in Romania.
In his great humility, Reb Dovid used to blush whenever he heard himself referred to as a gaon. In his writings he expressed regret that he was never able to establish a yeshivah, and possibly did not leave any worthy talmidim — a fear which was unfounded.
Reb Dovid was also active in communal work, especially in rescue efforts during the Holocaust, made possible by the fact that Romanian Jews were protected (though not well-treated) by their government. Reb Dovid served as the representative of the Vaad Hatzalah of America in Romania.
He later told his children that he wanted to be remembered as one who shared in the suffering of other Jews and as one who tried to attain the true meaning of Torah.
In 5710/1950, Reb Dovid moved to Eretz Yisrael, settling in Yerushalayim, where he continued to be active in public affairs. He was appointed to the Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah of Agudath Israel, and was also active in the establishment of Chinuch Atzmai in Eretz Yisrael.
Reb Dovid was niftar on Shabbat afternoon, 25 Adar II, 5722 / 1962, at the age of 85. He was buried on Har Hamenuchot in Yerushalayim.
His sons are Rav Shmuel of London and Rav Baruch of Yerushalayim; his son-in-law was Harav Yehoshua Deutsch, famed Rav of the Katamon section of Yerushalayim.
Reb Dovid authored many sefarim, but is best-known for his four-volume responsa, She’eilot U’teshuvot Afarkasta De’anya. Other works include Michtam LeDovid on the Torah, Yamim Tovim, Pirkei Avot and Tehillim; and Shamoa Bein Acheichem.
HaRav Yitzchak Abuchatzeira, zt”l, the Baba Chaki, brother of the Baba Sali, (5655 / 1895 - 5730 / 1970) (Adar II).
Harav Yitzchak Abuchatzeira was the son of Harav Masoud, and a grandson of the famed Harav Yaakov Abuchatzeira, the Abir Yaakov. He was born in Rissani, in Tafilalt, Morocco, in 5655/1895.
His brother was Harav Yisrael, the Baba Sali.
As a child, Yitzchak stood out for his talents, and was seen as a Torah leader of the next generation. He learned in the yeshivah of his grandfather Harav Yaakov Abuchatzeira.
At the age of 13, in 5668/1908, he was orphaned of his father. Following the death of his brother Harav Dovid, who was killed by ruthless anti-Semites, he left the city, together with his brother, Harav Yisrael. They settled in Bodniv, where Harav Yitzchak was appointed leader of the community, at the young age of 25.
In 5685/1925, Harav Yitzchak traveled to Eretz Yisrael to facilitate the printing of the sefer of his grandfather, Harav Yaakov. En route, he made a stop in Egypt, where he davened at the kever of his grandfather, in Dimanhur.
He later returned to Morocco, where he founded the yeshivah that was led by his brother, the Baba Sali.
In 5706/1946, he was appointed Rav in Uren, Algiers, after moving there on his way to settling in Eretz Yisrael.
Harav Yitzchak eventually settled in Eretz Yisrael, in 5708/1948. He was appointed Rav of Ramle and Lod. He was known as a baal mofes, and many came to seek his brachot. He was known by the name Baba Chaki.
Shortly after his brother, Harav Yisrael, the Baba Sali, settled in Eretz Yisrael, the leaders of Netivot, most of whose residents were of Moroccan origin, invited him to move there. Within a brief period of time, Netivot became a famous and important town to which thousands flocked to receive the Baba Sali’s brachot.
One of the first to visit the Baba Sali in Netivot was the Baba Chaki, Harav Yitzchak. Harav Yisrael, who was happy to see his brother, held a special seudah in his honor. At the end of the seudah, he pleaded with Harav Yitzchak to remain in Netivot overnight. However, the Baba Chaki said that he had to attend to a number of affairs early in the morning and preferred to return to his home in Ramle that night.
Soon after Harav Yitzchak left Netivot, the car in which he was riding crashed. The Baba Chaki was seriously injured and was niftar that night.
Harav Yisrael was broken by the news, and for a long time the Baba Sali found it difficult to console himself over the loss of his beloved brother.
The levayah that was held the next day, 25 Adar II 5730/1970, was attended by tens of thousands who mourned the tragic petirah of Harav Yitzchak, the Baba Chaki.
His son, Harav Avraham, succeeded him as Rav of Ramle.
HaRav Salman Chugi Abudi (Avudi), zt"l,.Raavad of the Sephardic kehillah in Yerushalayim, (5733 / 1973) (Adar I). Harav Salman was born in Baghdad in Tammuz 5654 / 1894.
Like the other children, young Salman learned in the local Medrash Talmud Torah. But he went on from there to Yeshivat Medrash Beit Zilchah, where he learned under two of the leading Sephardic Gedolim of the time: Harav Yehudah Pattaih and Harav Shimon Agasi. Rav Salman was soon noted for his knowledge of all facets of Torah.
In 5676/1916, during World War I, Rav Salman fled Baghdad with Harav Moshe Yehoshua (later Rav of Givatayim), for fear they would be drafted into the Turkish army.
They went to Basra, where hundreds of others also came to avoid army duty. The Rav of the city, Harav Yechezkel Sasson, helped by arranging lodgings and supporting them.
When the war ended, Rav Salman returned to Baghdad, where he was appointed Rosh Yeshivah in Yeshivat Tomchei Temimim for excellent bachurim.
In 5688 / 1928, at 34, he was appointed Av Beit Din in Baghdad, and a few years later, he became Rosh Rabbanei Bavel.
In this capacity Rav Salman did much for the welfare of his brethren. He brought many Jews back to their roots with his fatherly love, and he was known for his hasmadah.
In 5711 / 1951, Rav Salman moved to Eretz Yisrael and was appointed Dayan in Petach Tikvah. Several years later he moved to Yerushalayim, where he was appointed Av Beit Din.Rav Salman was niftar on 25 Adar I 5733 / 1973, at the age of 79. Thousands attended his levayah.
HaRav Yisroel Yaakov (ben Aharon) Fischer, zt”l, (5688 / 1928 - 5763 / 2003), Raavad (head) of the Eidah HaHareidit, Rabbinical Court in Yerushalayim.
Rebbetzin Zahava Braunstein, A”H (2005).
Rav Fischer was born in Yerushalayim on the 21st of Tamuz, the day that Yisrael Yaakov Dehaan was killed in what many said was the first political assassination in modern Israeli history. Dehaan changed his lifestyle and became a chareidi Jew, and his father, Harav Aharon, zt”l, named his newborn son Yaakov Yisrael after him.
His father, Harav Aharon, zt”l, was a prominent talmid chacham of the Perushim kehillah, who had come to Eretz Yisrael from Hungary. Rav Aharon, known for his tzidkut and prishut, was niftar at a very young age, leaving his widow with four young sons and two young daughters.
After Rav Aharon’s untimely petirah, the Av Beit Din of the Eidah Hachareidit, Hagaon Harav Zelig Reuven Bengis, zt”l, mechaber of Liflagot Reuven, appointed Hagaon Harav Mattis Davis, zt”l, to serve as the family’s legal guardian. Rav Davis, mechaber of Mattat Melech on the Rambam, saw that the young Yisrael Yaakov was destined for greatness and brought him to Rav Bengis, in whose home he became close to Gedolei Yisrael.
Rav Yisrael Yaakov went on to attend Yeshivat Eitz Chaim, where the Rosh Yeshivah, Hagaon Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer, zt”l, learned with him regularly.
Harav Fisher learned most of the day and night, leaving very little time for sleep. He said of himself that he never took a nap during the day, not even on Shabbat or Yom Tov. Rav Fisher’s mother asked Harav Bengis and Harav Meltzer to convince her son to sleep more. After much persuasion, he agreed to sleep four hours each night.
Harav Fisher married the daughter of the prominent Yerushalayim Rav, Hagaon Harav Zelig Vallis, zt”l. In 5721/1961, Harav Pinchas Epstein, zt”l, Av Beit Din of the Eidah Hachareidit, appointed Harav Fisher moreh horaah in the Eidah Hachareidit, a position he held for over 42 years.
He was later appointed Rosh Yeshivah of Eitz Chaim, which was then called Itur Rabbanim.
In 1963, he was appointed Rav of the Zichron Moshe shul, a position he kept for 40 years. As the community Rav, and later moreh horaah, Harav Fisher was very careful to uphold the distinctive minhagim of Yerushalayim.
In 5734/1974, Hagaon Harav Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss, zt”l, known as the Minchat Yitzchak and Av Beit Din of the Eidah Hachareidit, upon the recommendation of the Satmar Rebbe, zy”a, appointed Harav Fisher to be a member of the Eidah’s beit din. Following the petirah of Harav Weiss, he was appointed deputy Av Beit Din — Raavad.
His modest home on Rechov Chofetz Chaim was always open to the public. He saw this as a holy shlichut.
He was niftar on 25 Adar in Yerushalayim.
Harav Fisher left behind the seven-part Even Yisrael on Rambam and 31 volumes of Even Yisrael Teshuvot. In addition, he wrote several volumes of drashot and a commentary on the Torah, also called Even Yisrael.
Harav Fisher’s paternal grandfather was Rav Shlomo, av beit din of Karlsburg , Hungary, and author of Neirot Shlomo and Korbanei Lachmi.
26 Adar 5004 - March 9, 1244:
Pope Innocent IV issued a "bull" ordering the burning of the Talmud.
26 Adar 5437 - February 28, 1677:
The Jewish community of Newport, R.I. bought land for a burial ground. This was the first property purchase in the US by a Jewish Congregation.
In 1658, fifteen Jewish families emigrated from South America to (what was to become) the United States. These families were of Sephardic lineage and settled together in Newport, Rhode Island, where they established a Jewish congregation. For many years they held weekly prayer services in private homes.
When the need arose for a Jewish cemetery, the community purchased a piece of land on February 28, 1677.
This was the very first piece of land in the colonies which was owned by a Jewish congregation. In this cemetery are buried many of the early members of this congregation, and it is still maintained by the Jewish community today.
26 Adar 5700 - 1940:
The Nazis bar Jewish physicians from treating Aryans and vice-versa.
26 Adar II 5708 - April 6, 1948:
Operation Nachshon, Haganah's first large-scale offensive began.
26 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Eliezer Lipa (ben Elimelech) of Chelminik, Poland, zt”l, (5573 / 1813). The son of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk, zy”a. Author of Orach Latzadik.
HaRav Yosef Shaul (ben Aryeh Leibush) HaLevi Nathanson, zt”l, (5570 / 1810 - 5635 / 1875 or 1878). (Adar I). The Shoel U’meishiv. See 27 Adar.
HaRav Moshe Nachum Wallenstein, zt”l, (5601 / 1841 - 5682 / 1922), Rav of the Perushim kehillah in Yerushalayim.
Harav Moshe Nachum was born in Pupa, Hungary, in 5601/1841. He learned in the yeshivah of Harav Avraham Shmuel Binyamin Sofer, the Ktav Sofer, in Pressburg. He was one of the closest talmidim of the Ktav Sofer, and received semichah from him. Later, Reb Moshe Nachum went on to the yeshivah of Harav Aharon Dovid Deitsch, author of Goren Dovid, in Balat.
In 5624/1864, Reb Moshe Nachum moved to Eretz Yisrael. Harav Shimon Deutsch, one of the closest talmidim of the Chasam Sofer and a founder of Kollel Shomrei Hachomot in Yerushalayim, took Reb Moshe Nachum as his son-in-law. In Yerushalayim, Reb Moshe Nachum continued learning Torah with hasmadah, and became a posek of stature.
Reb Moshe Nachum, among the leading talmidei chachamim in Yerushalayim at the time, was chosen in 5663/1903 to be the third Dayan on the beit din of Harav Yehoshua Leib Diskin. In 5668/1908, he was named Rosh Beit Din.
In the manner of the Chasam Sofer before him, Reb Moshe Nachum stood in the breach to protect Yerushalayim from those who wished to destroy true chinuch and the unique character of the religious Jew.
Later, Reb Moshe Nachum was part of the founding group of the beit din of the Eidah Hachareidit in Yerushalayim.
Although Reb Moshe Nachum disbursed funds as head of Kollel Ungarin, he himself lived in poverty; but with hashkafat ha’emet, he made do with what he had.
Reb Moshe Nachum was niftar on 26 Adar 5682/1922 at the age of 81. He was buried in Yerushalayim.
Sarah, (Bat Betzalel Hakohen), Schneirer, A"H, mother of the Beit Yaakov movement (1888 - 1935), pioneering founder of the Beit Yaakov girls schools. In Europe during the early 20th century, the lack of a formalized education system for girls was placing Jewish girls at risk of assimilation. Sara Schneirer was a seamstress in Cracow, Poland, who started a school, to convey the beauty and wisdom of traditional Judaism, with emphasis on character development.
She wrote: "People are such perfectionists when it comes to clothing their bodies. Are they so particular with the needs of their soul?" Sara Schneirer trained other women to set up similar schools, and today Beit Yaakov is a worldwide network of hundreds of high schools. Sara Schneirer was not blessed with children of her own, yet it has been said that she influenced 20th century Jewry, more than any other individual.
HaRav Avraham Chaim (ben Mordechai Dovid) Brim of Yerushalayim (5762 / 2002), author of Shirah Chadasha. He was born in Yerushalayim in Tevet 5682 / 1922. His father was Harav Mordechai Dovid Brim, zt”l, and his mother came from the distinguished Rokeach family, respected among Boyaner Chassidim and residents of Yerushalayim.
Reb Avraham Chaim learned at Yeshivat Etz Chaim, where he was a favorite of Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer, zt”l, the Rosh Yeshivah, and his son-in-law Harav Aharon Kotler, zt”l (later Rosh Yeshivah of Beit Medrash Govoha of Lakewood). Even as a youth he was an iluy, an oved Hashem with all his might and a diligent talmid chacham, modest, humble and kind to all.
He married the daughter of Harav Yisrael Taussig of Mattersdorf, zt”l, who loved him like a son and gave him unstinting support.
Despite his unassuming manner, Reb Avraham Chaim’s greatness was recognized by the Torah world: Lithuanian, Chassidic, askanim of Agudat Yisrael — all held him in the highest esteem.
He was one of the elite Yerushalmi bachurim who were close to the Chazon Ish, zt”l. The Chazon Ish recognized the extraordinary character of Harav Brim and showed him great affection, giving him certain hanhagot. Harav Brim was also close to the Brisker Rav, zt”l. Years later, when describing to his many listeners what it was like to be in contact with these Torah luminaries, he said, “The feeling was of Himeldige teig — Heaven on earth.”
Reb Avraham Chaim’s holiness was evident. From his youth, he took upon himself regular fasts and accustomed himself to a life of prishut. He received everyone with a smile, and radiated wisdom and mussar. He sympathized deeply with the sorrows of others; his entire being was suffused with love for his fellow Yid.
He taught Torah to multitudes of talmidim, was extremely active in safeguarding the kedushah of Yerushalayim, engaged in the battle for Shabbat observance and was active in outreach, delivering lectures wherever he was invited. He was also involved in distributing tzedakah discreetly.
Reb Avraham Chaim was close to the Rebbes of the Ruzhiner dynasty, and one of the closest Chassidim of the Boyaner Rebbe, zy”a. With all his greatness in Torah and Chassidus, Harav Avraham Chaim subjugated himself completely to the present Boyaner Rebbe, shlita.
For decades, Harav Chaim taught Torah in yeshivot and kollelim in Eretz Yisrael and abroad. He was a member of Kollel Chibat Yerushalayim-Rabi Meir Baal Haness. Wherever he taught he had a great impact on his talmidim.
In his youth, he and his brother Harav Yehoshua Brim founded the Boyaner kollel in Yerushalayim. For a few years, he was a R”M at the Mirrer Yeshivah in Yerushalayim and at the Slabodka Yeshivah in Bnei Brak. Later he founded Yeshivat Ohel Yaakov in Zichron Meir, Bnei Brak.
Reb Avraham Chaim spent several years in the United States, where he was Rosh Yeshivah of Skver. He was often invited to speak at Beit Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, delivering mussar shmuessen there during Aseret Yemei Teshuvah.
Returning to Yerushalayim, Reb Avraham Chaim founded the Mishkan Yosef kollel, where he served as Rosh Kollel.
Besides teaching in yeshivot, Reb Avraham Chaim taught smaller groups of bachurim in his home, delivering chaburot and shiurim. Dozens of bachurim were regular Shabbat guests, and he inspired them to Chassidut and avodat Hashem.
Reb Avraham Chaim was a loyal member of Agudat Yisrael. He participated in all Agudah events and heeded the call of the generation’s Gedolim.
In the wake of the Six-Day War and the spiritual awakening that swept Israel, Reb Avraham Chaim headed groups of askanim who went out to spread the word of Hashem. This initiative quickly became the Shiurei Torah network of Agudat Yisrael, which Harav Brim supported all his life.
In his later years, Reb Avraham Chaim’s physical condition weakened. On Motzoei Shabbat Parashat Vayakhel/ Pekudei, 26 Adar 5762 / 2002, he was niftar at the age of 80.
Reb Avraham Chaim was buried on Har Hazeitim, in the Galicia section.
HaRav Shmuel Tzvi Lichtenstein, zt"l, (1929-2009). Born on the Lower East Side of Manahattan, he was a talmid at Torah Vodaat and Beit Midrash Elyon in Monsey. He was Rav in Norfolk, Virginia, before founding Beit Midrash Nachlat Dovid in Flatbush in 1981, where he stayed for his final 28 years. It was said of him that "his best friends were the Shaagat Aryeh and the Meshech Chachmah."
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27 Adar 3365 3336? - 396 B.C.E. 380BCE? 561BCE?:
King Tzidkiyahu (Zedekiah) ben Yehoyakim, the last king of Yehuda (Judea - of the royal house of David), died in Babylonian captivity. He ascended
the throne, after King Nevuchadnetzar of Babylonia (to whom the kingdom of Judah was then subject) exiled King Yehoyachin, (Yechoniah / Jechoniah - Tzidkiyahu's nephew) to Babylonia . A few years later,
Tzidkiyahu rebelled against Babylonian rule, and Nevuchadnetzar laid siege to Yerushalayim (in Tevet 10 of that year); in the summer, the walls
of Yerushalayim were penetrated, the city conquered, the (first) Beit HaMikdash destroyed, and the people of Judea exiled to Babylonia. Tzidkiyahu tried escaping
through a subterranean tunnel leading out of the city to Yericho, but was captured; his sons were killed before his eyes, and then he was blinded. Tzidkiyahu languished in the royal dungeon
in Babylonia until Nevuchadnetzar's death; Evil Merodach -- Nevuchadnetzar's son and successor -- removed Nevuchadnetzar from his grave and dragged his body around in a degrading manner to humiliate him. Afterwards, Evil Merodach freed Tzidkiyahu (and his nephew Yehoyachin Melech Yehudah (who had gone into galut 13 years before the Churban), on the 27th of Adar,
but Tzidikiyahu died that same day.
27 Adar 4950 - March 7, 1190:
Jews were massacred by rioters in Stamford-Fair, England
The Crusaders arrive in Stanford, England on their way to the Holy Land.
there they decide to "kill the murderers of our L-rd," and steal all
of their money.
Many Jews were killed. The rest were brutalized in horrible
27 Adar 5015 - 1255:
King of Austria grants favorable rights to Jews.
27 Adar II 5505 - March 31, 1745:
Jews were expelled from Prague.
27 Adar 5543 - 1783:
Emperor Joseph II granted Jews right of residence in Pest, Hungary.
27 Adar 5572 - March 11, 1812:
Jews of Prussia were granted citizenship upon their adoption of family names.
27 Adar 5581 - 1821:
The Portuguese Inquisition was abolished. (Having been established in 1531, it was in existence 290 years.)
27 Adar 5711 - 1951:
Twenty-six Jews were wounded in Salzburg, Austria, in the first serious outbreak of postwar anti-Semitism.
27 Adar 5739 - March 26, 1979:
Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David Peace Agreement at the White House. Sadat had orchestrated the Egyptian attack on Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, but after suffering defeat he became resigned to Israel's existence. As part of the Camp David deal, Israel withdrew from the entire Sinai Peninsula. For forging this first peace agreement between Israel and an Arab state, Sadat and Begin were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Much of the Arab world was outraged by Sadat's overtures toward Israel, and he was assassinated by a Muslim extremist in 1981.
27 Adar Yahrtzeits
Tzidkiyahu (Zedekiah), the last king of Yehuda, died in captivity, in Bavel, (3365 / 396 B.C.E.), (See above).
HaRav Yehudah Aryeh of Vizhnitza, zt”l, (5408 / 1648), author of Beit Lechem Yehudah
HaRav Yitzchak Abuhab, zt”l, Kabbalist, Av Beit Din in Amsterdam (1605- 5453 / 1693).
Born in in Castro Daire, Portugal, his family escaped the Inquisition in Portugal and settled in Amsterdam.
His father, David, died when Yitzchak was only seven. In 1626, at the age of 21, he was nominated Chacham.
In 1642, he migrated to Brazil. He returned to Amsterdam three years later after the war between the Portugese and Dutch.
He was a member of the court that excommunicated Espinoza. Ten years later (1666) he defended Shabtai Tzvi.
Descendent of Rav Yitzchak Abuhab of Toledo, author of Menorah HaMaor, c1320). He was also a grandson of Rav Yitzchak Abuhab of Castille, among whose leading talmidim were Rav Shmuel Balansi (Valenci) and Rav Avraham Zacuto (Sacut), author of Sefer Yohassin.
In 1492, he left Spain along with Rav Zacuto to Lisbon and died several months later.
HaRav Yosef Shaul (ben Aryeh Leibush) HaLevi Nathanson, zt”l, (5570 / 1810 - 5635 / 1875 or 1878). (Adar I). The Shoel U’meishiv, as Harav Yosef Shaul was known, was born in Brezhan, Galicia. His father, Rav Aryeh Leibush, a distinguished talmid chacham, was a descendant of the Chacham Tzvi, the Maharsha, the Rema, the Bach, and Rashi. He molded his precious child prodigy from early childhood.
At the age of 16 he married Rebbetzin Sarah Eidel, the daughter of Harav Yitzchak Aharon Itinge (Ettinger) of Lvov. A prominent gvir and well-known talmid chacham, Reb Yitzchak Aharon was also a notable yachsan and considered himself a Chassid; he davened in a chassidishe kloiz.
Reb Yosef Shaul settled in Lvov, where his father-in-law supported him graciously.
There, he got to know his esteemed brother-in-law Harav Mordechai Zev Itinge (Ettinger) and they formed a special bond fostered by diligent, intense Torah study. Together they answered many who sought their counsel, and they went on to co-author a number of sefarim, including Mefarshei Hayam and Magen Giborim on Tur and Shulchan Aruch, Ma’asei Ilfas on the Rif, Shevet Achim (responsa), Me’irat Eynayim on hilchot bedikat hareiah, and Ner Maaravi on the Yerushalmi.
Many years before he became Rav, he founded a yeshiva in Lvov whose purpose was to train dayanim and rabbanim. After a number of years, his father-in-law was niftar. His Rebbetzin took upon herself to support her husband wholeheartedly, which enabled him to continue his learning.
In 5616 / 1856, he was appointed Rav in Lvov, one of the largest Jewish communities in Poland. (Others 5617 / 1857). Sadly, his Rebbetzen was niftar in 5617 / 1857. He married one year later but was never zocheh to have children with either wife. His zivug sheini, Rebbetzin Shifrah Binah, was wealthy and generously assisted him with the printing of his sefarim.
He founded a communal kitchen, and he himself would walk around town collecting tzedaka from the city gevirim. For this tzedaka, he wanted to take an active role.
He served as Rav for almost 20 years but, in fact, he was not only Rav in Lvov — his reach went far beyond that city as he was in close contact with all the contemporary Rabbanim and lomdim of Poland, Hungary, Russia and beyond. His halachic responsa were sent to thousands and his sefarim, She’eilot U’teshuvot Shoel U’meishiv, were reprinted seven times in the early years, only to be printed five more times after his petirah.
He is most famous for the She’eilot U’teshuvot Shoel U’meishiv, but he authored many other sefarim, including Divrei Shaul on the Haggadah, Divrei Shaul Yosef Daat, Eidut B’Yosef; Yodot Nedarim, Divrei Shaul al Hatorah, and Divrei Shaul al Aggadot haShas. He also authored a kuntres entitled Bitul Modaa, in which he argued that machine-made matzot are more mehudar than hand matzot.
In Tevet of 5638 / 1878 he was taken ill. For the next two months he lay in his sickbed, continuing to write halachic responsa despite his weakness and ignoring the doctor’s advice not to strain himself.
On his last day, 26 Adar I, when his strength had almost left him, a halachic she’eilah that had arrived that morning was read to him. He requested that the Dayan, Harav Chaim Yosef Eilenberg, answer in his stead.
An hour later his holy neshamah rose to Shamayim. According to contemporary reports, an enormous crowd of over 15,000 people participated in his levayah. (Others 26 Adar).
HaRav Yeshayah (ben Moshe) Schorr, zt”l, (5540 / 1780 - 5639 / 1879). He was born in Mikolinitz. His father, Harav Moshe, a descendant of Harav Alexander Sender Schorr (the Tevuot Shor), was the son-in-law of Harav Aryeh Yehudah Leib of Mikolinitz, one of the close chassidim of the Baal Shem Tov.
Reb Yeshayah was the devoted chassid of Harav Mordechai of Kremnitz, son of Harav Yechiel Michel, the Maggid of Zlotchov. He was known as an outstanding talmid chacham, fluent in the entire Shas and Poskim, and a tzaddik.
Reb Yeshayah became the son-in-law of Harav Zev of Tornibitziyah, where he settled after his chasunah; he was supported by his father-in-law, who was well off. He taught Torah to many talmidim in the city.
At that time the kehillah of Horodenka was seeking a Rav, and Rav Dovid of Butchatch came to Reb Yeshayah with a letter from the kehillah, inviting him to take the position. Reb Yeshayah agreed to do so.
Later Reb Yeshayah was Rav in the kehillot of Chutin, Dolina and Zhbrazh. His last Rabbanut, by the name of which he is known, was in Yassi, Moldavia, (on the present-day border between Rumania and Moldovia), where his Rebbe, the Ohev Yisrael, had also served as Rav.
After the petirah of his Rebbe, Reb Yeshayah journeyed to other Rebbes: Harav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Apta, the Ohev Yisrael; Harav Menachem Mendel of Kossov; and Harav Tzvi Hirsh of Ziditchov.
After the passing of his first Rebbetzin, Reb Yeshayah married the daughter of Harav Yosef Yoske, the son of his Rebbe Harav Mordechai of Kremnitz.
Reb Yeshayah was zocheh to arichut yamim; he was niftar on 27 Adar 5639 / 1879, in Yassi, at the ripe old age of 99.
Reb Yeshayah wrote Klil Tiferet on the Torah, Yamim Tovim and the five Megillot, in which he quotes many divrei Torah from his Rebbes; Megillot l’Moadei Hashem on Kabbalah; and Kanfei Yesharim on Shulchan Aruch. He also authored Chazon Yeshayahu, a compilation of his she’eilot u’teshuvot. Other works are as yet unpublished.
Reb Yeshayah had an only son, Harav Dovid Mordechai, who was the son-in-law of Harav Yosef Landau, Rav of Yassi. Reb Yeshayah also had two daughters: Frayda, who married Harav Moshe Chaim of Kaliv, and after his passing, Harav Yaakov Hager of Zablatov; and Dvorah, who was married to Harav Baruch of Podolchisk, a grandson of Harav Mordechai of Kremnitz.
HaRav Yaakov Barit of Vilna, zt”l, (5643 / 1883) (Adar I).
Harav Yaakov Barit was born in Simna, near Suvalk, on 21 Elul 5557/1797. His father was Rav Yehudah Leib.
As a child he learned with an elderly talmid chacham for four zmanim, after which he was fluent in many masechtot and could learn without the help of a teacher.
Before he became bar mitzvah, his father, Rav Yehudah Leib, was niftar; his mother, Esther, had passed away two years earlier. As an orphan, he was tended to by the townspeople.
At age 14 he set out for Kovna, but stopped en route in Slabodka, where he learned for the next three years. In that time, he was taken as a chassan by one of the negidim of Kovna from the Barit family. Barit was an acronym of Ben Reb Yehudah Teitz, a famed Dayan in Vilna. Reb Yaakov took his father-in-law’s surname.
He lived in the home of his father-in-law for the next five years, continuing to grow in Torah. Unfortunately, his wife passed away six years after their wedding, leaving Reb Yaakov alone with a young daughter. Reb Yaakov didn’t want to be a burden on the family so he moved on to Vilna.
He reached Vilna in Cheshvan 5582/1821, at the age of 25. Soon afterwards he married a granddaughter of Harav Yitzchak of Kolovaria. Reb Yaakov settled in Vilna; unfortunately, tranquility was not to be his. The passing of his second wife in 5590/1830 left him alone with two more children. He married once again; his wife was the daughter of Rav Aharon Tauber, an affluent Vilna Jew who supported him for the next few years.
After the years of support were over, Reb Yaakov tried his hand at his father-in-law’s whisky distillery. He was very successful, but in 5605/1845, after the government ruled that Jews were no longer allowed to produce alcoholic beverages, Reb Yaakov was left penniless.
A few years later, in 5610/1850, Rav Chaim Nachman Parnas founded a yeshivah and appointed Reb Yaakov the Rosh Yeshivah. Many bachurim gathered to learn under Reb Yaakov, who gave shiurim inTur with Beit Yosef, and later in Shulchan Aruch and the commentaries.
In 5616/1856, a request came from the czar for a delegation of Jews to answer philosophical questions. Reb Yaakov and three other Rabbanim were chosen for this task.
From that time on, Reb Yaakov was considered a leader of the community. Using his new connections in government, he helped repeal unfavorable decrees.
In 5633/1873, Reb Yaakov suffered a stroke from which he never fully recovered, remaining paralyzed on his right side. However, he continued his work in the yeshivah until 5637/1877.
On the night of 27 Adar I, 5643/1883, Reb Yaakov was niftar at the age of 86. He was buried in Vilna.
HaRav Moshe Meir Rosenstein, zt”l, of Berditchev (1821-1902). A chassid of the Rizhuner Rebbe in his youth, Rav Moshe Meir moved to Eretz Yisrael and settled in Tzefat in 1853, living there for several decades. At the end of his life, he settled in Teveria. His insights have been published recently in a sefer called Avodat HaLevi’im.
HaRav Alter Meir Dovid Halevi Rottenberg of Velbrom, zt”l, (5602 / 1842 - 5671 / 1911).
His parents were Harav Yitzchak Menachem Mendel Halevi of Velbrom and Rebbetzin Golda Esther. Rav Yitzchak Menachem was a grandson of Harav Meir’l of Apta, the Ohr Lashamayim, while his mother was a daughter of the Lelover Rebbe, Harav Moshe, who, in turn, was the son of Harav Dovid of Lelov and son-in-law of the Yehudi Hakadosh. Reb Alter Meir Dovid was named Meir after his great-grandfather from Apta, and Dovid after his grandfather of Lelov. The name Alter stemmed from the directive of Harav Yissachar Ber, the Sabba Kaddisha of Radoshitz, who blessed the couple to have children after 10 years of childlessness.
As a child he learned primarily from his father. When he was a grown man, he frequently traveled to Harav Chaim of Sanz, who cherished him greatly. Harav Chaim was also fond of his father, Harav Yitzchak Menachem. Reb Alter Meir Dovid also frequently traveled to many other Rebbes, who revered him greatly.
He married Rebbetzin Sarah, daughter of Harav Moshe Rokeach, son of Sar Shalom of Belz, and a descendant of Harav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel — the Ohev Yisrael of Apta.
HaRav Shlomo Elyashiv, zt”l, (1841-1925). He was a great Kabbalist whose vast knowledge of all aspects of Torah and exceptional ability to clarify complicated concepts resulted in a few several Kabbalistic works, including Drushei Olam HaTohu (”Dayah”) and Hakdamot V’Sha’arim (”HaKadosh”). More recently, the more philosophical and less Kabbalistically technical sections of his works were assembled into a single sefer called Leshem Shevo Ve’achlama. He is the maternal grandfather of HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zt"l. (others 24 Adar)
HaRav Chaim Sinuani, zt”l, (1898 - 5739 / 1979). Born in Sinuan, Yemen, to Chacham Yichya, of the eminent Bida family. As a youth, he left home for Jabal, to study in the yeshiva of Rav Shlomo ben Yosef Tabib and Rav Dovid Ya’ish Chadad. Both of the roshei yeshiva passed away in 1919. In 1921, at the age of only 23, Rav Chaim became Rav and Av Beit Din of Sinuan. He and his family participated in Operation Magic Carpet in 1949. He is buried in Yehud.
HaRav Moshe Neuschloss, zt”l, (5757 / 1997), (Adar II), av beit din of New Square. New Square is the anglicized form of Skvira, a village in Ukraine, where the Skver chasidim dynasty of Chasidism had its roots. The community began in 1954, when twenty Skver families moved from Williamsburg to a 130 acre farm north of Spring Valley, under the leadership of their Rebbe Rav Yakov Yosef Twersky. In 1961 New Square became the first village in New York state to be governed by a religious group. Over the years annexations have increased its size. Its population increased 78% between 1990 and 2000.
HaRav Yisrael Bergstein, zt”l, born in the Lithuanian city of Suvalk, studied in Grodno under Rav Shimon Shkop and Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz from age 11, then at age 14, under Rav Avraham Grodzinsky and the Alter of Slabodka at Chevron. He taught at Chafetz Chaim in Baltimore and founded a yeshiva in White Plains (1912-1998).
HaRav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva Torah Ore, (5670 / 1910 - 5772 / 2012). His many sefarim include the Tabaat Hachoshen on Choshen Mishpat and ketzos; Igra Deshmatsa on Shev Shematsa; Milu'ei Even on Avnei Milu'im; Mishmeres Chaim on various topics; and Shiurei Rebbi Chaim Pinchas on seven masechtot, as well as sefarim in English.
28 Adar 3598 - 163 B. C. E.:
Two years after the miracle of Chanukah, Syrian King Antiochus V granted religious freedom and political autonomy to the Jews of Eretz Yisroel . This reversed an earlier decree of his father, King Antiochus IV, prohibiting Torah study, Shabbat observance and circumcision. The decree was revoked through the efforts of Rab' Yehudah ben Shamua and his colleagues who beseeched the authorities night after night until the decree was cancelled. This date was celebrated for many centuries as a Yom Tov as cited in Megillat Taanit, Rosh Hashanah 19a.
28 Adar 5037 - 1277:
The Jews of Prussia were granted rights, which eased their plight somewhat.
.28 Adar - 1303:
The Jews of Weissensee, Germany, were massacred, Hy"d.
28 Adar - March 12, 1496:
The Jews were expelled from Burgsdorf, Switzerland.
28 Adar 5284 - 1524:
The wicked ruler of Egypt, Achmed (or Ahmed) Pacha, decreed the extermination of the entire Jewish community, but miraculously, he was killed. In commemoration of the great miracle, this day was observed annually as "Purim of Cairo."
Achmed Pasha was the governor of Egypt under Selim II "The Magnificent," the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Achmed,
upset with being rejected as Grand Vizier, plotted to cede from the Ottoman Empire and declare himself Grand Vizier of Egypt. He requested of his Jewish minister Abraham de Castro to mint new Egyptian currency stamped with his image
and title of Grand Vizier on the coins. Instead, De Castro went to Constantinople, and informed Selim II of Achmed’s plot. When de Castro fled, Achmed decided to exact revenge against Cairo's Jewish community. He imprisoned many of their leaders, and threatened to execute them unless he was paid an outrageously large ransom. The Jews of Cairo fasted and prayed to Hashem. A large sum of money was collected but it did not approach the amount of money Achmed demanded. Before the planned executions, Achmed visited his bathhouse. As he was leaving the bathhouse he was attacked and severely wounded by a group of his own advisors and governors. Achmed escaped but was later captured and beheaded. From then on, the Jews of Cairo observed the 28th of Adar as a day of celebration "Purim of Cairo." A special megillah (scroll) written to commemorate the miracle was read in Cairo every year on this day.
28 Adar I 5551- March 4, 1791:
In Hegenbein, Alsace, a Christian woman was instructed to do penance for helping
a Jew observe the Sabbath.
Her punishment was for kindling a fire for a Jewish
neighbor on the Sabbath.
28 Adar 5700 - 1940:
Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met at the Brenner Pass, where the Italian dictator agreed to join the Nazis’ war against France and England.
28 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Moshe Shimshon Bachrach, zt”l, (5430 / 1670), author of Chut HaShani.
Harav Moshe Shimon, son of Rav Shmuel, was born in Cologne, Germany, in 5360/1600. An outstanding talmid chacham, he was known for his fiery drashot.
Reb Moshe Shimon served as Rav in Geding and Leipnik. In 5604/1644 he was appointed Maggid in Prague. From Prague Reb Moshe Shimon moved to Worms, where he served as Rav and Rosh Yeshivah. He founded a yeshivah and taught multitudes of talmidim. He was among those who disagreed with the shittat halimud of pilpul.
Reb Moshe Shimon was also a paytan; he wrote a selichah for Shivah Asar B’Tammuz.
He left many sefarim on all facets of the Torah, of which She’eilot U’Teshuvot Chut Hashani was printed.
He was niftar on 28 Adar 5430/1670 at the age of 70.
His son was Harav Chaim Yair Bachrach, the famous author of She’eilot U’Teshuvot Chavot Yair.
HaRav Shlomo Yurgerbar of Vilna, zt”l, (5581 / 1821), author of Be’er Sheva.
HaRav Shmuel Halevi Klein (Kelen) of Boskowitz, zt"l, author of Machtzit Hashekel, a super-commentary on the Magen Avraham on the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim (1738 -1827) (others 5567 / 1807)..
He was born in 5484 / 1724 (others 1738) to Harav Nosson Nuta, scion of a distinguished family. On his mother’s side he was a descendant of the Avodat HaGershuni and the Maharal of Prague.
He learned with great diligence. His son attests, “He did not walk four cubits without Torah, from morning to evening; even during the night he did not rest, but stayed up and learned.”
Reb Shmuel spread Torah in his great yeshivah in the city of Boskowitz, one of the most important communities in Moravia. He despised rabbanut and throughout his lifetime vehemently refused prominent Rabbinical positions that were offered to him, humbly claiming that he was not worthy. Likewise, he refused to allow his children to serve as Rabbanim until his son, Harav Binyamin, had absolutely no other source of income, at which time he accepted the Rabbanut in Boskowitz.
Reb Shmuel had a very close relationship with Harav Nosson Adler, the venerated Rav of Boskowitz.
His son writes about his father’s piety and ko’ach hatefillah, remarking that people from far and wide flocked to him so he could daven for them.
His renowned chibur, Machatzit Hashekel, is a peirush on Magen Avraham Orach Chaim. The Magen Avraham’s style was very brief; the Machatzit Hashekel unlocks its complexity with his broad explanations.
From the time they were published, his primary sefarim were widely admired by Klal Yisrael. In addition, he authored a number of lesser-known works with the title Machatzit Hashekel: a peirush on the Shach in Yoreh De’ah; and a peirush on Masechet Bava Basra, Hilchot Gittin, Kiddushin, Niddah, Melichah, Bassar b’Chalav, Shechitah and Taaroves.
His humility was great. One small example: He writes that he called his sefer Machatzit Hashekel (Half a Shekel): “It is my highest hopes that at least half the time, the approach in which I explained the Magen Avraham is correct.”
Before his petirah he asked that a simple matzeivah be erected on his gravesite. People, however, did not heed this request and built an elaborate one. That same night the matzeivah cracked, and they immediately changed it, l’kayem retzon tzaddik.
HaRav Yaakov Bendetman, zt”l, (5621 / 1861), Rav of Boisk.
HaRav Mordechai Kastelanitz of Lecovitz, zt"l, the father of the Slonim Chassidic dynasty, immigrated to Chevron in 1844 (1837-1916).
HaRav Mordechai Weitsel-Rosenblatt, zt”l, (5676 / 1916), (Adar I). Rav of Slonim.
Harav Mordechai was born in Antipaliye, near Kobrin, in the region of Grodna on 3 Iyar 5597 / 1837. His father, Rav Avraham Menachem Mendel, was a wheat-grinder — thus the family name Weitsel, Yiddish for wheat kernel. Rosenblatt was added to Reb Mordechai’s name in tribute to his sefer Aleh Chavatzelet, meaning a rose leaf, or Rosenblatt in Yiddish.
Harav Mordechai was known for his diligence. He learned under the Mara d’Asra Harav Yitzchak Hirsh; when he was just 14, Rav Yitzchak gave him semichah. Soon afterwards he began to delve into Kabbalah, but Rav Yitzchak did not approve of this and asked him to stop.
After his marriage to Chayah, the daughter of Harav Shimon Velvel (who promised to support the couple for life), Reb Mordechai journeyed to Pinsk, where he learned for a few years under Harav Mordechai Zakheim. He began to study Kabbalah again, but only in private. In Pinsk, Reb Mordechai was also close with Harav Shmuel Avigdor of Karlin.
After Reb Mordechai received semichah from his two Rebbes, he returned to his hometown, where he continued to learn diligently. Although he tried his utmost to keep his ways secret, his greatness in Torah became known, and soon he was asked to serve as Rav and Dayan in Antipaliye. At that time, in 5624/1864, Harav Pinchas Michoel Grosslit was also Rav in the city, and the two presided together in harmony.
In 5630/1870, Reb Mordechai was asked by the kehillah of Butten to be their Rav. The kehillah of Antipaliye was not willing to let their beloved Rav go; he had to slip out under cover of night.
Reb Mordechai served as Rav in Butten for the next 18 years, and although the city was small, he founded a yeshivah there, where many bachurim came to learn. The kehillah was so poor that they couldn’t pay him; instead of wages, the Rav was given the monopoly on the sale of yeast in the city. Thus, the Rebbetzin supported the family by selling yeast.
As Rav of the city, Reb Mordechai was involved in welfare work. He founded chevrat malbish arumim to provide clothing for the poor of the city, and hachnasat orchim to help find places of lodging for strangers.
During his rabbanut in Butten, Reb Mordechai became famous as a tzaddik whose brachot were fulfilled.
Sadly, in 5641/1881, his Rebbetzin passed away, leaving him with many young orphans to care for.
In 5646/1886, Reb Mordechai was called by the community of Korlitz to move to their city and serve as Rav, after their previous Rav, Harav Eliyahu Baruch Kammai, moved away. He was Rav in Korlitz for four years.
Later, in 5651/1891, Reb Mordechai moved to Amshina, near Vilna. There he could not dedicate himself solely to learning, as many petitioners came to him for brachot.
Reb Mordechai’s last rabbanut was in Slonim, where he married for a second time. His wife was the daughter of Harav Avraham Greenberg.
During his tenure as Rav, many Rabbanim would send him their she’eilot, and he would send back teshuvot. He gave semichah to some of his talmidim; many of the Gedolim of the prewar generation received semichah from Reb Mordechai.
Many kehillot sought to have Reb Mordechai as their Rav, and it is related that they had to have security outside his house so he wouldn’t be “stolen away” to some other city.
Some of Reb Mordechai’s chiddushim were published in Hadrat Mordechai.
Reb Mordechai was niftar on 28 Adar I 5676/1916, at age 76.
HaRav Asher Meir Shulman, zt”l, (5739 / 1979), Rosh Yeshivah, Yeshivat Rashbi
HaRav Mordechai Chevroni, zt"l, (5746 / 1986), Rosh Yeshivah, Yeshivat Chevron. (Adar I)
HaRav Yechiel Michel Gutfarb, zt"l, gabbai tzedaka of Yerushalayim (2002)
29 Adar - 1313 B.C.E.:?
Jews Commanded 1st Mitzvah.
Shortly before sundown on the 29th of Adar, Hashem commanded Moshe Rabbeinu regarding the mitzvah of sanctifying the crescent new moon and establishing a lunar calendar. This is the first mitzvah the Jews were given as a nation.
Moshe Rabbeinu had difficulty envisaging the moon's appearance at the exact moment of its monthly rebirth. After the sun set, Hashem showed Moshe the crescent new moon of the new month of Nissan, showing him the precise dimensions of the moon at the moment the new month is to be consecrated.
For the generations that followed, each new month was ushered in when two witnesses testified before the Sanhedrin (rabbinic supreme court) that they had seen the molad, the new moon.
In the 4th century CE, Hillel II foresaw that the Jews would no longer be able to follow a Sanhedrin-based calendar. So Hillel and his rabbinical court established the perpetual calendar which is followed today -- until Moshiach will come and reestablish the Sanhedrin.
29 Adar 4856 - 1096:
Jews of Speyer were massacred during the Crusades, Hy"d.
29 Adar 4956 - 1196:
Rabbeinu Yitzchak (ben Rabbeinu Asher) of Speyer, a grandson of the Riva, was murdered together with numerous other Jews because of a blood libel, Hy"d.
29 Adar 48 - 1421:
Jews of Vienna were slaughtered in their shul and the remainder were forcibly converted, Hy"d.
29 Adar 5304 - 1544:
Emperor Charles V confirmed the privileges of Austrian Jews.
29 Adar 5559 - 1799:
Napoleon captured the city of Yaffo (Jaffa), Palestine.
29 Adar 5567 - 1807:
A few months after its creation, Napoleon's "Sanhedrin" (rabbinical supreme court) was dissolved.
The Sanhedrin was created to approve certain religious regulations requested by the French "Assembly of Notables."
The regulations were designed to blur the distinction between Jews and non-Jews.
The rulings of this pseudo-Sanhedrin were never adopted by Jewish communities.
29 Adar 5650 - March 21, 1890:
Jews of Austria were required by law to belong to the government-established
religious community in their town
29 Adar 5678 - March 13, 1918:
The American branch of Magen David Adom was established.
It is still not respected
by its American counterpart; the Red Cross, ostensibly because the Israelis
won't use the cross as its icon.
Magen David Adom is still not respected by
its Muslim counterpart; the Red Crescent,
29 Adar 5704 - March 24, 1944:
One day after the Italian Resistance killed 33 German SS military police, 335 Italians (including 75 Jews) were put to death by Nazis under the command of Captain Erich Priebke and Karl Hass at Fosse Ardeatine. In 1938, Bishop Alois Hudal of the Vatican supplied Priebke with a falsified visa to travel to Argentina (then led by Juan Perón). Though alleged to have been responsible for war crimes, Priebke lived in Argentina as a free man for 50 years.
29 Adar 5707 - March 21, 1947:
The first Jewish immigrant to Israel to disembark at the Port of Eilat, at the southern end of Israel on the Gulf of Aqaba.
29 Adar Yahrtzeits
Rabbeinu Yitzchak ben Rabbeinu Asher, zt”l, of Speyer, a grandson of the Riva, was murdered together with numerous other Jews because of a blood libel, Hy”d. (4956 / 1196).
HaRav Shlomo Dov Tzvi HaKohen Rabinowitz of Radomsk, zt”l, the Tiferet Shlomo, the first Rebbe of the Radomsk dynasty (1801 or 1803 - 5626 / 1866). Born in Volotchova, he learned with the Brit Avraham of Pietrikov and became a chassid of the Ohr Lashamayim of Apt. He first took the position of Rav of Radomsk in 1834 and later took on the yoke of Rebbe. His chassidut grew significantly after Reb Moshe of Lelov moved to Eretz Yisrael and instructed his Chassidim to follow Rav Shlomo. He was the author of Tiferet Shlomo on Chumash and the Moadim.
HaRav Avraham Shag, zt”l, (5636 / 1876), author of Ohel Avraham. (Others 28 Adar).
Harav Avraham Shaag (Zwebner) was born on 4 Iyar 5561 / 1801, in the Hungarian town of Freistadt. His father, Harav Yehoshua Leib Zwebner, was one of the outstanding students of the Noda B’Yehudah.
It is said that the family name originated from a remark made by the Noda B’Yehudah: “When words of Torah shoeg, roar, from Reb Yehoshua Leib’s mouth, the world quakes.” From then, he was known as Reb Leib Shaag, based on the passuk, “Aryeh shaag, mi lo yira — A lion has roared, who isn’t frightened?”
Reb Yehoshua Leib was niftar when his son was just four years old. His mother asked Harav Yitzchak Frankel, Rav of Regensdorf, to supervise his upbringing as he would that of his own son.
Recognizing Avraham’s brilliance, Harav Frankel taught the young boy himself. At the age of 10, young Avraham knew most of Shas. After his bar mitzvah, Harav Frankel enrolled him in the Chasam Sofer’s yeshivah in Pressburg.
Late one night, the Chasam Sofer and his son Harav Avraham Shmuel Binyamin (the Ksav Sofer) passed by Avraham’s sleeping quarters in the dormitory. At that late hour, Avraham was learning fervently, and his stirring Gemara niggun could clearly be heard outside. The Chasam Sofer stood outside the window together with his son, listening. The Chasam Sofer told his son, “That is how Torah should be learned.”
When Avraham turned 18, the Chasam Sofer made a shidduch for him with Leah, the orphaned daughter of Harav Avraham Halevi Spitz, the Rav of Prossitz, Moravia. For many years Leah had fasted every Monday and Thursday, praying to merit marrying a genuine talmid chacham.
When he was 25, he assumed the position of Rav of the city of Shuttledorf, Czechoslovakia, where he founded a yeshivah. After serving in Shuttledorf for 25 years, Reb Avraham accepted a position as Rav of Kobersdorf.
In the early part of the 19th century, the Reform movement began to rear its ugly head. The Chasam Sofer was one of its staunchest opponents. Reb Avraham Shaag led the battle against the National Jewish Congress formed by the Reform movement.
To counterbalance the Reform-dominated congress, he convened a Jewish congress of his own, attended by 350 Rabbanim and Torah leaders throughout the country. This congress was called Shomrei Mishmeret Hadat, and it instilled in the Torah Jews of Austria and Hungary a spirit of hope and determination. Reb Avraham was chosen as president of this congress, and in that capacity formulated a manifesto that denounced the National Jewish Congress.
At 72, Reb Avraham Shaag decided to fulfill his lifelong dream of moving to Eretz Yisrael. His closest talmid was Harav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, who was still a young man at the time. When Reb Yosef Chaim learned of his rebbi’s departure, he felt that he couldn’t part from his rebbi. He decided to accompany him to Eretz Yisrael.
On 9 Iyar 5633 / 1873, they left Kobersdorf and set out on their journey. Arriving in Eretz Yisrael, Reb Avraham and Reb Yosef Chaim bent down and kissed the ground.
Reb Avraham lived in Yerushalayim for three years. The day before his petirah, Reb Avraham finished their learning by saying, “We will leave it here.” These words worried Reb Yosef Chaim, since Reb Avraham’s every word was measured.
The following morning, Shabbat, 29 Adar 5636 / 1876, Reb Avraham didn’t arrive for Shacharit. Reb Yosef Chaim and Reb Avraham’s son, Reb Yissachar Ber, went to investigate the matter, and they found Reb Avraham in critical condition. He was having difficulty breathing and was nearly unable to speak.
He ran to get the doctor and the two rushed to Reb Avraham’s house. But by the time they arrived, Reb Avraham had already returned his neshamah to its Maker.
Reb Avraham’s levayah was held in Yerushalayim on Motzoei Shabbat. The levayah proceeded to Har Hazeitim where, at graveside, Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld described the tzidkut of his great rebbi, calling him a “a true ish haElokim."
HaRav Chaim Shmuel Birnbaum, zt”l, son-in-law of HaRav Akiva Eiger (5647 / 1887).
Harav Chaim Shmuel Halevi Birnbaum was the son of Harav David.
In his childhood, Reb Chaim Shmuel was fluent in the words of the Sma and the Shach on Choshen Mishpat, as he writes in his Rachash Levav.
When the shidduch was made between Reb Chaim Shmuel and the daughter of Harav Akiva Eiger, Reb Akiva could not attend, as his traveling such a distance would cause immense bitul Torah for his talmidim. He therefore asked Harav Efraim Zalman Margulies, Rav of Brod, to attend the engagement in his place. Harav Efraim Zalman stayed on at the simchah until after midnight. When asked why he stayed that late, he answered with a smile, “For all the time that I was there I was in place of Harav Akiva Eiger. What does it bother you if I will be ‘Rav Akiva Eiger’ for a few more hours?”
Aside from greatness in Torah, Reb Chaim Shmuel was also renowned for his tzidkut and for his ascetic practices. He lived in Dubno.
Some of his wondrous practices and minhagim included the following: He would not even drink water until first finishing a masechta, which could take him until night. He would sit, wrapped in his tallit and tefillin every day until night. On Shabbat and Yom Tov, Reb Chaim Shmuel would refrain from all mundane talk.
Many wondered how he could manage to learn and immerse himself in Torah, and to debate at such length, while his body was so weak.
His works include Maaseh Choshev on Shaar Hamelech and She’eilot U’Teshuvot Rachash Levav.
Reb Chaim Shmuel was niftar on 29 Adar 5647/1887.
HaRav Chaim Welfried of Lodz, zt”l, (5702 / 1942).
HaRav Meir Vaknin, zt”l, Rav of Teverya and Rosh Yeshiva Meir Bat Ayin, Teverya, (5735 / 1975).
Harav Vaknin was born in Teverya on 7 Adar 5645 / 1885. His father was Harav David Vaknin.
As a young boy, he was considered by the chachamim in Teverya a unique personality, perfect in Torah and kedushah. He learned in the yeshivah of Teverya under Harav Eliyahu Chaim Abulafia and Harav David Abou.
He married the daughter of Harav Menashe Chamui.
Rav Meir was appointed a member of the Sephardic beit din of the city. In 5670 / 1901, he was sent to Europe as a shliach on behalf of the Teverya community. Later, in 5674 / 1914, he was appointed Rav of the Sephardic kehillah in Aram Tzova (Aleppo), Syria.
Rav Meir returned to Teverya in 5680 / 1920. He became Nasi of the Sephardic community there, and founded Yeshivat Meir Bat Ayin. He was also Chief Rabbi of Teverya.
Rav Meir was niftar on Erev Rosh Chodesh Nisan, 29 Adar, 5735 / 1975, at the age of 90.
He was buried in Teverya.
Rav Meir authored She’eilot U’Teshuvot Vayomer Meir, a compilation of his responsa; and Zichron Meir, his drashot and chiddushei Torah. He also left many manuscripts of drushim on the Torah that he delivered over 50 years.
HaRav Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshiva and Mesivta Torah Vodaath, (1891 - 5746 / 1986), and leader of 20th century American Jewry.
Harav Yaakov was born to Reb Binyomin Kamenetsky, an honest and righteous timber-dealer and owner of a large flour mill, in the village of Klushkovka, located in the Vilna province, on 21 Adar I 5651/1891.
In his early childhood, his family moved to Chattowitz, near Minsk, and then to Dolhinov, a large town near Vilna with a large Jewish population. He studied with a private tutor until he began to learn Gemara at Dolhinov’s yeshivah ketanah.
Reb Yaakov later pointed out that had it not been for this move, he would probably have grown up an ordinary businessman and would never have absorbed the unquenchable love of Torah that was prevalent there.
He progressed so rapidly that a few years later, during the course of one winter, Reb Yaakov completed the entire Masechet Kiddushin.
At the age of 11, he left Dolhinov to study in Minsk, where he befriended the young Reb Reuven Grozovsky, and the young Reb Aaron Kotler. Shortly after Pesach in 1905, Reb Yaakov and Reb Aaron traveled to Slobodka to learn under the supervision of the Alter of Slobodka. There, he became known as the Dolhinover iluy or “Yankel Dolhinover.” Reb Yaakov also learned in Slutzk.
During World War I he took refuge in Lomza in the yeshiva of Reb Yechiel Michel Gordon. On 22 Sivan, 5679 / 1919, he married the Rebbetzin Ita Ettel, daughter of the Mashgiach Harav Ber Hirsch Heller, zt”l, known in Slabodka as “Der Yunger Mashgiach.” .
From 5681 / 1921 to 5686 / 1926, he learned in a kollel in Slabodka that was known for its distinguished members, and he subsequently took on the Rabbanut of Tzitivian, a small town in Lithuania, which enabled him to continue his studies.
On 11th Av 5697 / 1937, he left for America. His plan was to collect money for the Slabodka Kollel and other causes. However, his future lay in being the manhig hador, so Hashgachah forced him to stay in North America, where he was first appointed Rav in Seattle, and later in Toronto.
In 5705 / 1945, he acceded to the request of Harav Shraga Feivel Mendelovitz, zt”l, to assume the position of Rosh Yeshivah in Mesivta Torah Vodaat. He stayed there for the next twenty years.
In 5739/1979, when the large immigration of Russian Jews into Eretz Yisrael and America began, Reb Yaakov’s happiness knew no bounds.
He lived the last 19 years of his life in Monsey, N.Y., officially "retired" but working tirelessly on behalf of Klal Yisrael.
He was revered for his great kindness and compassion.
Reb Yaakov was niftar on Monday, 29 Adar I 5746 / 1986, eight days after his 95th birthday; As he requested, he was buried in Mt. Judah Cemetery on the Brooklyn/Queens border, since he pointed out that most of his family would not always be able to travel to his kever if he were buried in Eretz Yisrael. This last request is yet another indication of his extreme care for the feelings of others.
His chidushim (commentaries) were printed in his seforim Emet L’Yaakov, on Torah and on Talmud.
HaRav Yaakov Kamenetsky,, zt"l
HaRav Moshe Rubin, zt"l, (1996). Born in Slonim, Moshe Rubin learned in the Lubavitch Yeshiva of Otwock, near Warsaw, and spent the war years in Shanghai. Emigrating to Montreal in 1947 where he served as a shochet, he was known among all Jewish circles for his long, warm, passionate and dedicated davening each day, and the many inspiring Torah vertlach and stories that he shared with young and old. He is included in Torah U'Mesorah's "Shanghai" documentary as one who helped revive Yiddishkeit in Canada after the war. His son, Rav Yisrael Rubin, is the head shaliach Chabad in upstate Eastern New York and Rosh Yeshiva of the Maimonides Hebrew Day School in Albany.
Dr. Joseph Kaminetsky, z”l, (1911-1999). Born in Brooklyn, he attended Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin, and later Talmudical Academy High School on East Broadway. After high school, he became a member of the very first class of Yeshiva College, from which he graduated magna cum laude in 1932. He later earned his doctorate in education from Teachers College at Columbia University. When he began his tenure at Torah Umesorah, the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools, in 1946, he set as his goal that every town and city with a Jewish population of at least 5,000 have a Jewish day school. In those days, there was only a handful of yeshivos and day schools; there are now 600 such schools with 170,000 students all over the United States. In 1980, he retired and moved to Yerushalayim, to devote himself to full-time learning.
Today’s date, 30 Adar, is a rarity; Only Adar Rishon (in a 13-month leap year, of course) can have 30 days, in our fixed
calendar. Otherwise, the month of Adar contains only 29 days, as the Gemara discusses in Masechet Rosh Hashanah Daf 19.
30 Adar I 5708 - March 11, 1948:
Our Arab neighbors set off a bomb at the headquarters of the Jewish Agency in Yerushalayim, killing 12 people. The bombing was perpetrated by an Arab employee of the American Consulate, who used an official American vehicle loaded with explosives. The Jewish Agency building, a three-winged structure with a large open courtyard, was the central authority for the Jewish community prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. Following the bombing, the building was rebuilt, and till today houses the Jewish Agency (concerned with immigration), Keren Hayesod (Diaspora fundraising), and the Jewish National Fund (land development).
30 Adar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Aharon Moshe Yitzchak of Amsterdam, zt”l, (5563 / 1803) Adar I.
Harav Aharon Moshe’s father was a Swedish nobleman. He and his wife were drawn to Yiddishkeit and eventually became geirei tzedek. Their young son, later named Aharon Moshe Yitzchak, converted to Judaism along with his parents.
As a child, Rav Aharon Moshe learned Torah with great devotion and diligence. At his bar mitzvah, to everyone’s astonishment, he delivered his very own chiddushei Torah. Subsequently he grew truly great in Torah and yirat Shamayim.
The renowned Rav Shaul, author of Binyan Ariel, Rav of Amsterdam, learned of Rav Aharon Moshe’s greatness and invited him to serve as Dayan in his kehillah. Rav Aharon Moshe acceded to the request and became Dayan.
When Rav Shaul was niftar, Harav Aharon Moshe Yitzchak succeeded him, becoming Rav of the kehillah. He fulfilled this sacred position meticulously and was beloved by all. He was Rav for 10 years, until his petirah.
During all those years, even as pressing community matters occupied his time, he remained loyal to his ingrained hasmadah, spending days and nights toiling in Torah. Although a controversy clouded the reputation of the Adat Yeshurun Kehillah of which he was Rav, and many Gedolei Yisrael disapproved of it, his personal reputation as a tzaddik gamur remained unsullied.
Rav Aharon Moshe was niftar at the age of 70 on 30 Adar I 5563 /1803, or, according to some, in 5567 /1807. His chiddushim are published in Zera Yitzchak.
HaRav Yitzchak Aizik of Zhidachov, zt”l, (1804-1872), a descendent of the Tosfot Yom Tov and the nephew and successor of Rav Zvi Hirsch of Zhidachov. One of his four sons became the first Rebbe of Komarna dynasty.
There is no 31
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