THE DAY YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT
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1 Elul - Rosh Chodesh Elul
From this day until Erev Rosh Hashana, the shofar is blown after Shacharit,
and many kehillot say L'David Hashem Ori afterward.
(Today is Rosh Hashana for Maasrot (according to the Tanna Kama in the first mishna in Rosh Hashana).
1 Elul - 1312 B.C.E.:
The Egyptians were punished with Kinim, the third plague.
1 Elul 2408 - 1353 B.C.E.:
Chaggai HaNavi received his first prophecy, telling Zerubavel ben Shaltiel to rebuild the Beit HaMikdash
1 Elul 4598 - 838 C.E.:
An army led by Shmuel Hanagid destroyed the army of Abu Abbas (the vizier of Amir Badis) in Almaria. This day was observed as a Yom Tov by Shmuel Hanagid and his descendants. (Some say 1038).
Persian Jews made annual pilgrimage to the tomb of Serach, the daughter of Asher.
1 Elul 5109 - 1349:
The Jews of Cologne, Germany set fire to their homes and perished in the flames to escape forced baptism during the Black Plague massacres, Hy"d.
1 Elul 5151 - 1391:
The Jewa of Palma, Spain were massacred, Hy"d.
1 Elul 5160 - 1400:
Anti-Jewish riots claimed 77 lives in Prague, Hy"d.
1 Elul 5311 - 1551:
The Jews of Great Poland were granted limited self-government.
1 Elul 5323 - 1563:
The Jewish community of Neutitschlin, Moravia was expelled.
1 Elul 5700 - September 4, 1940:
Formation of an alliance between the pro-Nazi Legion and General (later Marshall) Ion Antonescu in Romania, called the “National Legionary State “ government, which forced the abdication of King Carol II. These maneuverings moved Romania, initially neutral in the War, even further towards the Axis.
1 Elul 5702 - August 14, 1942:
The ghetto of Mir, Poland was liquidated by the Nazis. Mir was a center of Jewish scholarship in pre-War Europe, the site of the famed Mir Yeshiva that was founded in 1815. Jews first began to settle in Mir in the 17th century, and by the end of the 19th century, Jews comprised 62% of the town’s population. The Germans captured Mir in June 1941, and executed large numbers of Jews. By May 1942 the remaining Jews were confined to an ancient fortress in the city and murdered. As for the students and staff of the Mir Yeshiva, they had fled to Lithuania with the fall of Poland in 1939. There, they were able to obtain visas from the Japanese consul-general in Lithuania, and made a miraculous escape across Siberia by train, arriving in Shanghai where they spent the remainder of the war years. After the war, new Mir yeshivas were established in New York and Jerusalem, which today is the largest yeshiva in the world with over 5,000 students.
1 Elul 5702 - August 14, 1942:
Metropolitan Andrei Szeptycki, a bishop with the Greek Catholic Church in Nazi-occupied Lemberg (Lwow), Poland, issued orders for the clergy in his jurisdiction to shelter Jewish children. Ignoring risks to his position and his life (in Poland there was an automatic death penalty for aiding Jews), Szeptycki spoke out against Hitler, and threatened "with Divine punishment" anyone who "shed innocent blood.” Szeptycki led by example: He hid 21 Jews in his own cathedral, and 183 more in convents and monasteries. (Szeptycki was waging his own battle against the Nazis: Hitler resolved to exterminate Polish culture and identity, and his first step was the elimination of the intelligentsia, including the clergy. Many priests were killed or placed in concentration camps, where an estimated 3,000 Polish clergy died.) Szeptycki was later honored by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Among the Nations.
1 Elul 5749 - September 1, 1989:
The Soviet government permits the opening of a Jewish school in Riga, the first in fifty years.
1 Elul Yahrtzeits.
HaRav Dovid Hanaggid ben Avrohom ben HaRambam, zt"l, (1224 or 1233 - 5600 / 1300 or 5061 / 1301). Rav Dovid lived in Eretz Yisrael for a number of years then moved back to Egypt where he died. His remains where brought back to Eretz Yisrael and he was buried in Tverya / Tiberias next to the grave of his Grandfather.
HaRav Shmuel Shmelke Horowitz of Tarna, zt”l, (5452 / 1692).
HaRav Shmuel Abuhav, zt”l, (5370 / 1610 - 5454 / 1694), Rav of Venice and author of She’eilot U’teshuvot Dvar Shmuel. Harav Shmuel Abuhav was born in Hamburg in 5370/1610 to HaRav Avraham, a wealthy baal tzedaka and founder of a yeshivah in Tzefat.
Shortly after his bar mitzva, his father sent the young bachur to learn under HaRav David Franco in Venice. HaRav David found his talmid fluent in Shas and poskim. HaRav Shmuel continued to grow in Torah under HaRav David, who took him as a son-in-law. Following his marriage HaRav Shmuel settled in Verona, where he served as Rav and Rosh Yeshiva. Later, in 5410 / 1650, he was asked by the community in Venice to serve as their Rav. He held this post until his petira.
Besides his greatness in Torah, HaRav Shmuel was also renowned for his asceticism; he ate fleishigs only on Shabbat. He gave all he earned to the poor, and refused to take a salary from the kehilla. Through witnessing his ways, the kehilla learned to do with what they had and not desire superfluous things.
HaRav Shmuel was fluent in many Kabbala works; he knew the Zohar by heart.
HaRav Shmuel fought against Shabsai Tzvi and his followers. He was the first to state that Shabsai Tzvi’s right-hand man, Nattan Azati, was a false prophet.
When Nattan came to Venice, HaRav Shmuel and the council of the city compelled him to give them a written confession that all his prophecies were products of his imagination. The confession was published, whereupon Avraham Hayakini, one of the founders of the Shabbatean movement, wrote a letter in which he consoled him over his persecution and expressed his indignation at the acts of the Venetian rabbinate. The Venetian Jews then induced Nattan to set out for Livorno, where the Jewish population was known to be antagonistic to him. They sent along an escort, ostensibly as a mark of honor, but in reality to prevent him from going elsewhere. He divined their motives in sending him to Livorno, however, and, after eluding his escort, he proceeded to Rome. In spite of his disguise he was recognized there, and was banished from the city.
HaRav Shmuel was niftar on the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, 5454/1694, at the age of 84. The entire community mourned his petira.
Of his many writings, his responsa were published under the name She’eilot U’teshuvot Dvar Shmuel. The last few teshuvot are about the Shabsai Tzvi saga. Another sefer, called Hazichronot, is about the mitzvot.
HaRav Shaul of Lublin, zt”l, (5528 / 1768), father-in-law of the Meir Nesivim.
HaRav Yehoshua Zeitlin of Shklov, zt”l, (1742 – 5582 / 1822).
Harav Zeitlin was born in 5502 / 1742 in Charson. He was a talmid of the Vilna Gaon and of Harav Aryeh Leib Ginsburg, the Shaagat Aryeh.
Reb Yehoshua was a gaon who was regularly asked by other Gedolim for his opinion in matters of halachah.
Rav Yehoshua wrote the commentary called Amudei Golah on the Sefer Mitzvot Katan (Smak). He also published a compilation of his halachic responsa (teshuvot).
In addition to his greatness in Torah, he was also wealthy. He supported many of his talmidim from his own pocket. He was also an influential advisor of the king.
Among his famous talmidim are Harav Menachem Mendel Leffin, the author of Cheshbon HaNefesh; Harav Binyamin Rivlin, author of Gevi’i Gvia HaKesef; and Harav Baruch of Shklov.
Reb Yehoshua was niftar on 1 Elul, the second day of Rosh Chodesh 5582 / 1822, at the age of 80.
HaRav Chanoch Henach Dov Maier (ben Shmuel) first Rebbe of Alesk, zt”l, (5560 / 1800 - 5644 / 1884), the Lev Sameyach.
Harav Chanoch Dov was born in 5560/1800. His father, Rav Shmuel, was a descendant of Harav Yitzchak, the Rav of Belz. Rav Yitzchak’s father had received a blessing for children from the Bach, after which Rav Yitzchak was born.
Rav Chanoch Dov never left the dalet amot of limud haTorah and tefillah since childhood. At the age of 7 he traveled with his father and older brother to the Chozeh of Lublin, who praised the young child. All his life, Rav Chanoch retained the image of the Chozeh in his mind.
One year, on Erev Pesach, when the Sar Shalom of Belz rode to the well to draw water for mayim shelanu, a few boys jumped onto his wagon and joined him. Among them was young Chanoch.
The Sar Shalom engaged him in discussion for a long time. When the tzaddik arrived home he told his wife, Rebbetzin Malka, that he had found a worthy chassan for their daughter, Freidel.
Before he finalized the match, he traveled to Lublin with a kvittel for the Chozeh.
“Your daughter’s match shines brightly,” the Chozeh said.
Rav Chanoch indeed married the Sar Shalom’s daughter, Rebbetzin Freida, a”h. She would sell scarves so that her husband could learn without being disturbed.
Following the death of Rav Berish Flam, Rav Chanoch was elected Rebbe of Alesk. When Rav Chanoch was appointed Rav of Alesk, his shver recommended him warmly, but the community leaders were afraid they would not have the means to support him. The Sar Shalom told them not to worry as Rav Chanoch himself would bring them sustenance in abundance.
Indeed, hundreds flocked to Rav Chanoch for yeshuot.
Rav Chanoch composed a siddur entitled Lev Sameach, with a commentary on tefillah, using “Pardes,” the four levels of understanding — pshat, remez, drush, and sod. The siddur meant a lot to him, and he rejoiced when it was published.
Rav Chanoch was niftar on the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul 5644/1884, at the age of 84, which is the numerical equivalent of the word chanoch. Eight days before his petirah, his physical condition weakened drastically, and on Wednesday, two days before he was niftar, he gave orders that his debts be repaid. On Friday there was a heavy fog outside, and he asked if it was already day, whereupon he grasped his beard, turned toward the people around him and returned his pure neshamah to its Creator.(others 30 Av).
HaRav Pinchas Halevi Bilitzer, the Szerenczer Rav, zt”l, (5673 / 1913)
HaRav Menachem Mendel Landau of Slodovitz, zt”l, (5698 / 1938).
HaRav Yaakov Arye Neiman, zt”l, (5743 / 1983), Rosh Yeshivat Ohr Yisrael, Petach Tikvah.
2 Elul 5081 - August 21, 1321:
The Jews of Chinon, France were accused of poisoning the wells (to cause an
epidemic in the Christian community). 160 Jews were burned at the stake on a
nearby island, which was then called Ile des Juifs (island of the Jews). Hy"d.
2 Elul 5207 - August 23, 1447:
The Jews of Poland and Lithuania were granted a Charter of Rights.
2 Elul 5313 - 1553:
Pope Julius III ordered the confiscation and burning of all copies of the Talmud because it contained "anti Christian statements."
2 Elul 5315 - August 29, 1555:
First printing of the Shulchan Aruch, (Code of Jewish Law), authored by Rabbi Yosef Karo (1488-1575) was completed in the Holy Land near Tzefat. Shulchan Aruch is divided into four sections, dealing with daily life, prohibitions, marriage, and monetary law. He wrote the Code in his old age, for the benefit of those who were unable to understand his more comprehensive work, Beit Yosef. Since its publication, Shulchan Aruch has become the gold standard of Jewish law, upon which all subsequent commentaries and responsa are based.
2 Elul 5556 - September 5, 1796:
The Jews of Bologna, Italy were granted equal rights.
2 Elul 5746 - September 6, 1986:
Terrorist attacks by Abu Nidal organization on the Neve Shalom Shul in Istanbul, Turkey killed 22 people, Hy"d.
2 Elul Yahrtzeits
Rabbeinu Yitzchak Bar Sheshet, the Rivash (1326 - 5167 / 1407). Born in Barcelona. The son of Sheshet Perfet, Rav Yitzchak is considered a student of Rav Shlomo ben Aderet (the Rashba) as he followed his teachings, though he actually studied under the Ran. He wrote commentaries on the Talmud, Torah and halachot and served as Rav of Saragossa. He strongly opposed Aristotle’s approach and strongly discouraged the study of kabbalah. When the widespread massacres started in 1391 CE, Rivash fled to the safety of North Africa, settling in Algiers. There he was appointed to be Chief Rabbi, a position recognized by the Algerian government. (Others 5168 / 1408)
HaRav Yosef of Ostilla, zt”l, (5604 / 1844), son of HaRav Mordechai of Neshchiz.(Others 17 Elul 5590 / 1830.
Harav Yosef was born in 5623 / 1763 and named for his maternal grandfather, Harav Yosef Katzenelenbogen, Rav of Leshnov.
He married the daughter of Harav Yehudah Meir Shapira of Shpitovka, the son of Harav Pinchas of Koritz.
Reb Yosef was appointed Rav in Ostilla in his father’s lifetime. After the petirah of his father on 8 Nisan 5560 / 1800, Reb Yosef became Rebbe in Ostilla.
Reb Yosef often went to the court of the Chozeh in Lublin. The Chozeh held him in high esteem, calling him “the Urim V’tumim.”
Reb Yosef was famous as a baal mofet. Many traveled to his court for his wondrous yeshuot.
During his tenure as Rebbe, the city of Ostilla became famous when his daughter married Harav Don of Radvill, a grandson of the Ohev Yisrael of Apta there. This wedding, known as the Ostilla chasunah, was attended by hundreds of Rebbes.
While Reb Yosef was in Ostroha, for the wedding of his son, 18 Elul 5590 / 1830, he was suddenly niftar, and was honored with a large levayah. He was buried in Ostroha.
When the family returned home to Ostilla they found his tzavaah, in which he explicitly wrote that he would like a small levayah.
Reb Yosef’s sons were Harav Pinchas of Ostilla; Harav Mordechai of Ostilla; Harav Levi Yitzchak of Stephin; and Harav Baruch of Kosnitin. His sons-in-law were Harav Don of Radvill; Harav Levi Yitzchak of Kamin; and Harav Aharon Tzintz, Rav of Turbin.
HaRav Asher Elimelech, Rebbe of Kozhnitz, zt”l, (5696 / 1936).
HaRav Avraham Yaakov (ben Yitzchak) Friedman of Boyan-Lvov, (Lemberg), Galicia Hy”d, (5702 / 1942). Born on 24 Nisan 5644/1884 in Boyan. He was the third of the four sons of the Pachad Yitzchak of Boyan.
Reb Avraham Yaakov married the youngest daughter of Harav Mordechai Twersky of Loyev. They didn’t have any children.
Reb Avraham Yaakov lived in Boyan, near his father. During World War I, Reb Avraham Yaakov moved with his father and brothers to Vienna.
Following the petirah of his father, on 16 Adar 5677/1917, Reb Avraham Yaakov was appointed Rebbe. (His three brothers also became Rebbes, each in a different city.) He held court in Lvov (Lemberg), and many of the Ruzhiner Chassidim who lived in Galicia traveled to his court.
Reb Avraham Yaakov was noted for his greatness in Torah. Unlike most of the other Ruzhiner Rebbes, he would deliver divrei Torah every Shabbat and Yom Tov.
Reb Avraham Yaakov loved Eretz Yisrael; every Chassid who went there gave him much simchah. In 5692/1932, he himself visited Eretz Yisrael. On Lag BaOmer that year he was honored with the lighting of the main hadlakah at the kever of the Rashbi in Meron, the right to which was purchased from the Jews of Tzfat by his ancestor the Ruzhiner Rebbe, zy”a, and had been inherited by his father, the first Boyaner Rebbe, zy”a.
During World War II, when the Nazis conquered Poland and Western Galicia, the Russians took Eastern Galicia and the Vilna region. When they entered Lvov, they dealt with it as Soviet territory.
From then on, Reb Avraham Yaakov was forced to work. He took the job of insurance broker. Another Rebbe who also worked as a broker was Harav Yisrael Shapira, zt”l, the Bluzhever Rebbe.
When the Germans overran Lvov, they began the systematic murder of all the Jews. During one of these selections, the Rebbe was found, together with his Rebbetzin, and killed al Kiddush Hashem. It was 2 Elul 5702/1942.(Others 1941).
HaRav Eliezer Hager, zt”l, (5652 / 1892 - 5706 / 1946), the Damesek Eliezer of Vizhnitz.
Harav Eliezer was born on 22 Shevat 5652 / 1892. His father was Harav Yisrael, the Ahavat Yisrael of Vizhnitz, zt”l. Even as a child he displayed a sharp mind, an excellent memory and great depth in learning. He later received semichah from the Maharsham of Brezan.
In 5667/1907 he married Chava a”h, daughter of Harav Yitzchak Meir Heschel, the Kopyczynitzer Rebbe, zy”a. His Rebbetzin passed away in Adar 5724/1964 without having borne him any children.
Prior to World War I, Vizhnitz, a small town in Bukovina on the eastern slopes of the Capathian Mountains, was a stronghold of Torah and Chassidut. Its population was mostly Jewish. Its mayor was Jewish and most of its stores and businesses were closed on Shabbat.
During the war, the Russians captured Bukovina and wanted to imprison the Ahavat Yisrael, but he miraculously escaped and moved to Grossvardein, Transylvania. Meanwhile, his son, Harav Eliezer, went to Vienna to stay with his father-in-law.
When the Russians retreated, the heads of the community asked the Ahavat Yisrael to return to his hometown. He declined, and instead sent his son, Rav Eliezer.
Thus, in 5682/1922, Rav Eliezer Hager was cast into the role of spiritual leader of the city of Vizhnitz.
He established a yeshivah, Beit Yisrael V’Damesek Eliezer, and later expanded the yeshivah by adding a modern dormitory and kitchen facilities. He also reorganized the Talmud Torah, and concerned himself with the teachers’ salaries. He personally tested the talmidim, and set up a fund to provide them with clothing. He went on to establish a network of girls’ schools in Vizhnitz and in the surrounding neighborhoods, bringing in Beit Yaakov graduates from Germany to be the teachers.
In 5696/1936, after his father’s petirah, Rav Eliezer established his own Chassidic court, as did his brothers, the Mekor Baruch and the Imrei Chaim.
Miraculously, he escaped World War II when he traveled to Klausenburg to attend the wedding of one of his talmidim. He moved to Arad in Hungary and then to Temeshvar, where he lived for three years.
The Damesek Eliezer, as he was called by then, immigrated to Eretz Yisrael and reestablished his yeshivah in Tel Aviv. (It had moved to Grossvardein with the onset of World War II.) A few months after he arrived in Eretz Yisrael, he fell ill with a grave stomach ailment to which he finally succumbed on his father’s birthday, 2 Elul 5606/1946.
He was buried on Har Hazeitim.
HaRav Yisrael Elazar Hopstein of Kozhnitz, zt”l,(5658 / 1898 - 5726 / 1966). Son of HaRav Yerachmiel Moshe of Kozhnitz, Harav Yisrael Elazar was born in Elul 5658/1898, a sixth-generation descendant of the Maggid of Kozhnitz and was named Yisraelafter the Maggid.
HaRav Yisrael Elazar learned under HaRav Meir Yechiel of Ostrovtza, receiving semicha from him.
He married the daughter of HaRav Mordechai Yosef Twersky of Zlatipola.
After the petira of his father on 13 Elul 5669 / 1909, Reb Yisrael Elazar was appointed Rebbe.
In 5684 / 1924, wishing to help settle Eretz Yisrael, Reb Yisrael Elazar headed a group of chassidim who bought property there. Reb Yisrael Elazar himself traveled to Eretz Yisrael with the group, where they founded the city Kfar Chassidim, together with the Chassidim of the Yablona Rebbe.
Due to ill-health, Reb Yisrael Elazar was forced to leave Eretz Yisrael. He was appointed Rav of the community in Paris; when the Nazis conquered Paris, Reb Yisrael Elazar was captured as he tried to flee, but he was transferred to Nice and from there he managed to escape to America in 5701 / 1941.
In America, Reb Yisrael Elazar rebuilt Kozhnitzer Chassidut. Unfortunately, all the sefarim and heirlooms he had inherited from his forebears were lost during the war.
In 5726/1966, Reb Yisrael Elazar decided to return to Eretz Yisrael, and even to found a beit medrash for the Kozhnitzer Chassidim there. (Until then they davened in someone’s apartment.)
Returning to America to take care of some last details, Reb Yisrael Elazar was suddenly niftar at the age of 68. His mitta was flown to Eretz Yisrael, where he was buried in the Sanhedria beit olam in Yerushalayim.
Reb Yisrael Elazar’s divrei Torah were published in the sefer Avodat Elazar.
The Rebbe was succeeded as Kozhnitzer Rebbe by his grandson, HaRav Shimshon Sternberg, shlita, who leads a flourishing chassidut in Eretz Yisrael.
HaRav Shmuel Dovid Walkin, zt”l, (1979), son of the Pinsker Rav (the Beit Aharon), Rav in Shanghai during WWII and after the War in Queens, NY. His son, Rav Chaim Walkin, is the menahel ruchani of Yeshivat Ateret Yisrael.
HaRav Meir Yisroel Isser HaKohen Friedman, the Krenitzer Rav, zt”l, (5660 /1900 - 5754 / 1994), author of Shai Lamorah and Imrei Yisrael.
Harav Meir Yisrael Isser Hakohen was born in 5660/1900. His father was Harav Bentzion, the Dayan of Dubeck, Poland.
Reb Meir Yisrael Isser developed a close relationship with the Tzvi Latzaddik, who showed great fondness for him. It was known that the Tzvi Latzaddik refused to have people present at his Seder table on Pesach night, with the exception of young Meir Yisrael Isser, whom he invited to partake in his holy Sedarim.
Rav Meir Yisrael Isser married the daughter of Harav Avraham Eber Peterfreund, a pious man and the shochet u’bodek of the resort town of Krenitz.
Many tzaddikim and Gedolim of the previous generation would frequent Krenitz. Rav Meir Yisrael Isser would listen to their wise words and watch their avodat Hashem and hasmadah in learning.
As war began to rage in Eastern Europe, Rav Meir Yisrael Isser lost his wife and two of his sons in an epidemic, R”l. He escaped to Pshemish, where he stayed for a while.
Towards the end of the war he escaped to Tashkent, a town in Uzbekhistan, where he met with the Machnovka Rebbe, zt”l.
Rav Meir Yisrael Isser wrote piyutim and shirim at that time which expressed the hope of redemption and salvation, of the end of Galut haShechinah and the return of Klal Yisrael to Eretz Yisrael.
After the war he stayed for a while in Prague where, as one of the leading Dayanim to have survived the war, he participated in the difficult she’eilot of heter agunot.
In America, Rav Meir Yisrael Isser settled in Crown Heights, where he remarried. He chose to remain a modest, reserved man who dedicated his time to Torah and tefillah.
He opened the Beit Medrash Shaarei Chaim in Crown Heights, which is still open today.
His last years were spent in Boro Park at the home of Reb Shmiel Kurtz, his grandson. There, many chashuvim came to visit him to hear stories of the Gedolim he had spent time with long ago in Krenitz. Among them was Harav Shlomo Halberstam of Bobov, zt”l, who revered him greatly; and, ybl”c, the Rachmastrivka Rebbe, shlita; the Pshevorsker Rebbe, shlita; Harav Eliyahu Ber Wachtfogel, shlita, Rosh Yeshivah of the Yeshivah of South Fallsburg, and many more. They would listen to the stories with great interest, for Rav Meir Yisrael Isser had experienced these events firsthand and was a trustworthy source.
Rav Meir Yisrael Isser was niftar on 2 Elul 5754/1994.
Sefardim begin to recite Selichot
3 Elul - 425 B.C.E.:
Yechezkel prophesies five years before Churban Bayit Rishon (Yechezkel, 8-10).
3 Elul 4949 - September 1189:
The day that King Richard was crowned, Christian mobs converged on the Jews, killing many, Hy"d.. Richard had forbidden the Jews to make an appearance at his coronation, but some Jewish leaders showed up to present gifts to the new king.
Richard's courtiers flogged them, then flung the Jews out of court. The people of London joined in the persecution of the Jews, and a massacre began.
Many Jews were beaten to death, Hy"d. Among the dead was Rav Yaakov of Orlean, a Tosefist. (See 19 Elul). Others were robbed and then burned alive. At least one was forcibly baptized. Some sought sanctuary in the Tower of London, and others managed to escape, gravely injured. (Some say this occured on 12 or 21 Elul).
3 Elul 5151 - August 3, 1391:
400 of the 1800 Jews of Barcelona were massacred, the remainder accepting baptism, Hy"d. See also 4 Elul.
3 Elul 5247 - August 17, 1787:
Budapest allowed its Jews to conduct religious services in private homes, provided no Rabbi was present.
3 Elul 5587 - August 26, 1827:
“Recruitment Decree” was passed by Nicholas I, calling for conscription of Jewish boys between the ages of 12 and 25. In practice, many children were taken as young as 6 and 7. Conscription was for 25 years of service. These Jewish conscripts were called “Cantonists” because they lived in military barracks (called “cantons”). The decree resulted in approximately 70,000 Jews, 50,000 of whom were children, being taken by force from their families and inducted into the Russian army throughout Nicholas I's reign until his death in 1855.
3 Elul 5663 - August 26, 1903:
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion were serialized in a Russian publication. The book purports to be the secret transcription of a Zionist Congress that met in Switzerland in 1897, as taken down by a Czarist spy. At the meeting, Jewish leaders allegedly discussed their plans to establish Jewish “sovereignty over all the world. In fact, "The Protocols" is a fabrication forged by the Czarist secret police, the Okhrana, in about 1898-99. Most of the Protocols were plagiarized from Maurice Joly's 1864 political satire, A Dialogue in Hell which was published in Brussels. The book quickly became a best-seller on appearing in German translation in January 1920. In 1920, Americans found a version in the glove box of their new Ford automobiles.
3 Elul 5702 - August 16, 1942:
The Nazis, along with Ukrainian collaborators, killed 2,000 Jews in Pohost, Ukraine, Hy"d.
3 Elul Yahrtzeits
HaRav Moshe Charif of Pressburg, zt”l, (5518 / 1758).
HaRav Yissachar Dov Ber (ben Yitzchak Maklish) Leifer of Nadvorna, zt”l (5608 / 1848).
HaRav Meshulam Zusya of Zhinkov, zt’l, (1864), grandson of the Ohev Yisrael of Apta.
Harav Leifer was the son of Harav Yitzchak of Kalusch, a scion of the Premishlan dynasty.
In his youth, Reb Bertche, as he was fondly called, learned together with his uncle, Harav Meir of Premishlan, under his illustrious grandfather, Harav Aharon Leib of Premishlan. Reb Meir said of his young nephew, “If I had the fire of Reb Bertche, I would devour the entire world.”
Reb Bertche married the daughter of Harav Avraham Leib Shochet.
He traveled to the court of Harav Yitzchak of Radvill, the son of Harav Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov. Following the petirah of Rav Yitzchak, Reb Bertche was appointed Rebbe, holding court in Nadvorna.
He was known for his enthusiastic tefillot.
In the year of his passing, cholera broke out in the Jewish community, causing many deaths. Reb Bertche took upon himself to be the kapparah of Klal Yisrael. He was niftar on 3 Elul 5608 / 1848, and with his petirah the epidemic stopped.
His sons were Harav Aharon Leib of Nadvorna; Harav Mordechai of Nadvorna-Bursztyn; Harav Yosef of Bursha; and Harav Yisrael.
His sons-in-law were Harav Moshe of Kalusch; Harav Yitzchak Dov of Nadvorna; and Harav Feivish, who lived in Zhabrizh.
Some of the divrei Torah of Reb Bertche were published as a section of his son’s sefer, Maamar Mordechai.
HaRav Avraham Tzvi Eisenstadt, zt"l, ( 5573 / 1813 - 5628 / 1868), author of Pischei Teshuva. Born in Grodno, Russia, his father was HaRav Yaakov of Bialystok, a descendant of HaRav Meir Eisenstadt (the Panim Meirot) and of HaRav Hertz of Zalkova.
Rav Avraham Tzvi was fluent in the entire Torah and a master of incisive thinking, as he demonstrated when he dissected deep sugyot.
His reference work Pis’chei Teshuva on Yoreh Deah, a guide to the pesakim of many Acharonim, was written when he was just 24 years old. At that age he was already serving as a Rav in Utian (Autian), Russia.
In 5619/1859, Rav Avraham Tzvi published Pis’chei Teshuva on Even Ha’ezer, and just one year before his petira (1867) he published the last two sections on the remaining two sections of Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim and Choshen Mishpat.
Rav Avraham Tzvi did a major service for Rabbanim by organizing and summarizing the pesakim of the authorities among the Rishonim and Acharonim. His works became very popular.
Rav Avraham Tzvi also wrote Pis’chei Teshuva on the sefer Gittin Va’chalitza, explaining and citing the sources for every halacha mentioned there; and Nachalat Shiva, on the works of the early Acharonim.
Rav Avraham Tzvi was niftar on 3 Elul, 5628/1868, at the
age of 55.
HaRav Yitzchak Tzadikah of Djerba, Tunisia, zt”l, (5640 / 1880).
HaRav Avraham Yitzchok (ben Shlomo Zalman) HaKohain Kook, zt"l, (1865 - 5695 / 1935), talmudic scholar and the first Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi (in modern times) of the Religious Zionist Jewish community in the Holy Land, HaRav Kook assumed his position upon the formation of the British Mandate in 1920, serving for 19 years..
Rav Kook was perhaps the most misunderstood figure of his time. Born in Latvia of staunch Chassidic and Misnagid stock, he embodied a unique blend of the mystical and the rational. He saw the Jewish return to Israel as not merely a political phenomenon to save Jews from persecution, but an event of great theological significance. He believed that building up the physical land was laying the groundwork for the messianic redemption. He called for a spiritual renaissance where "the ancient would be renewed, and the new would be sanctified." He was a thorough master of the entire Halachic, Midrashic, philosophic, ethical, and Kabbalistic literature, who authored many books and letters, - Mishpat Kohen, Ezrat Kohen (over 30 volumes have been published), and he is considered as the founding father of the "Religious Zionist" movement. He established “Merkaz HaRav” – a central Yeshiva - in Yerushalyim.
HaRav Yitzchak Yeshaya (ben Chaim) Halberstam of Tchechov, Hy”d, (5624 / 1864 - 5703 / 1943), youngest of the seven sons of HaRav Chaim of Sanz through his third wife, Rochel Unger.
HaRav Moshe (ben Rav Shalom Yosef) Friedman (known as “Rav Moishenu”) of Boyan-Cracow, Hy”d, (1881 - 5703 / 1943).A great-grandson of Rav Yisrael of Rizhin, he married his cousin, Miriam, whose father, Rav Menachem Nachum of Boyan-Tchernowitz,was the son of the Pachad Yitzchak of Boyan. After the wedding, they lived with the Pachad Yitzchak in Boyan for 13 years. In 1934, Rav Meir Shapiro of Lublin passed away, and Rav Moishenu replaced him. He lived in Cracow, and then Tarno in 1940. On the 2nd of Elul of 1943, he and 7000 Jews of Tarna were sealed into cattle cars and taken to Aushwitz; the survivors of the trip, including Rav Moishenu, were gassed to death.
Reb Yitzchak Yeshaya was held in great esteem by the Chassidim, especially after his father said of this son, “I searched through all the heavens, and found this precious and holy neshamah.”
Orphaned at the age of 12, Reb Yitzchak Yeshaya, or, as he was fondly known, Reb Shaya’le, was brought up by his oldest brother, Harav Yechezkel Shraga of Shinev.
Reb Yitzchak Yeshaya married the daughter of Harav Yechiel Heschel of Krilowitz, son-in-law of Harav Yehoshua Rokeach of Belz, zy”a. Following his chasunah in Belz, Reb Yitzchak Yeshaya settled there, where he learned under the tutelage of his grandfather-by-marriage, Reb Yehoshua of Belz. He also became close with the Rebbe’s son and successor, Harav Yissachar Dov.
In his zivug sheini, after the early passing of his first Rebbetzin, Reb Yitzchak Yeshaya married the daughter of Harav Yaakov Tzvi Rabinowitz of Porisov, a grandson of the Yehudi Hakadosh of Peshischa and mechaber of Atarah l’Rosh Tzaddik.
At the age of 19, Reb Yitzchak Yeshaya was appointed Rav in Tchechov (Czchów), a town in Brzesko County, Poland. It is after this town that he is called Reb Shaya’le Tchechover, although he moved in Nissan 5653/1893 to Satmar, and later settled in Cracow.
Upon settling in Cracow, Reb Yitzchak Yeshaya set up his own court and became a prominent personality in the city. His court attracted thousands of Chassidim.
In 5690/1930, Reb Yitzchak Yeshaya stood at the forefront in the battle against machine matzot for Pesach, which some had tried to bring into Cracow.
When the Nazi regime took control of Cracow in September 1939, Reb Shaya’le was moved together with the local Yidden into the ghetto. Later he fled to Bochnia.
During the summer of 5703/1943, the Nazis searched for Reb Shaya’le until they found the bunker in which he was hiding. They dragged him out together with everyone else there. They murdered them all al kiddush Hashem in the city center, on 3 Elul 5703/1943. He was 79 at the time of his death. Later that night, the Chassidim gathered the remains and brought them to kever Yisrael.
All the many divrei Torah of Reb Yitzchak Yeshaya that had been written down by his Chassidim were lost during the war.
Rav Yitzchak Yeshaya had four children – Hena, who married her cousin’s son, Menachem Mendel Halberstam, Yaakov Tzvi, who married his cousin, Chaya Sarah Rosenfeld, Chaim Halberstam (1882-1956), and Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam (born1905).
HaRav Shraga Feivel (ben Moshe) Mendlowitz (1886 - 5708 / 1948).
Harav Shraga Feivel was born and raised in the small village of Villag, in rural Hungary. After his bar mitzvah he went to learn in the great yeshivot of Hungary — in Chust, Unsdorf and Pressburg.
On Rosh Chodesh Elul 5669 / 1909 he married Rebbetzin Bluma Rachel, the daughter of Reb Shimon Halevi Shaller, z”l, in the Galician town of Riminov, where the kallah’s family lived. In 5673 / 1913, when he was 27 years old, Harav Shraga Feivel escaped to America to avoid conscription in the Austro-Hungarian army. Before he had a chance to send for his wife and two young children, World War I broke out, cutting him off from his family completely for six long years.
Soon after arriving in the United States he settled in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he embarked on his first foray into the early twentieth century American chinuch scene.
In 5681 / 1921 Reb Shraga Feivel moved to the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, and in 5683 / 1923 began his career as a rebbi for the eighth-grade in Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, its highest class. His love of Torah was infectious, and his classes, whether in Gemara, Chumash or Neviim, were enlivened by his enthusiasm.
Later, Reb Shraga Feivel was appointed to fill the vacated post of principal. Under his leadership the yeshivah flourished. Yet he realized that an elementary-school yeshivah education alone was insufficient. A mesivta high school, revolutionary and “un-American” as it was then, was an absolute necessity. Mesivta Torah Vodaath soon opened its doors.
His official position in Mesivta Torah Vodaath was not limited to the conventional understanding of the title of dean, Menahel or Mashgiach; he was much more than any of those terms can encapsulate. Yet he insisted on being called plain Mr. Mendlowitz.
His utter selflessness was mind-boggling. He would send his best talmidim to help start other yeshivot, even though his own yeshivah might be affected.
When Harav Yitzchak Hutner, zt”l, assumed the leadership of Yeshivat Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin, then in Brownsville, Reb Shraga Feivel made an announcement: “Whoever lives closer to Brownsville will have to go to Yeshivat Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin.”
Always one to worry about the spreading of Torah, and pursuing his dream, to “dot the American continent with Hebrew day schools,” Reb Shraga Feivel founded Torah Umesorah with the goal of setting up a day school in every major city in America, a goal that was eventually achieved. In his later years he founded his Beit Hamidrash l’Mechanchim, Beit Medrash Elyon in Monsey for advanced students.
4 Elul 5151 - August 5, 1391:
Jews in Spain were massacred by Anti-Semitic mobs. 250 Jews were murdered in riots in
Barcelona and Toledo. Some Jews committed suicide to avoid the torture being
inflicted by the mob onto the Jews. Hy"d.
This was part of three months of deadly riots throughout Spain, which left the Jewish community crushed and impoverished. Incredibly, on this same date 70 years later, a bishop named Alfonso de Espina urged the establishment of the Spanish Inquisition. The Inquisition was designed to uncover those Jews who were continued to practice Judaism in secret (called Conversos or Marranos). During the years of brutal Inquisition, an estimated 32,000 Jews were burned at the stake and another 200,000 were expelled from Spain.
4 Elul 5667 - August
Hatikva was inaugurated as the official anthem of Zionists, at the World Zionist
Congress' eighth meeting.
4 Elul 5701 - August 27, 1941:
Eighteen thousand (foreign) Jews were arrested in Hungary and deported
to Poland where the SS took responsibility for them. Some were sent to camps,
some were murdered on the spot and some of the Jews were forced to march for
10 miles and were shot in bomb craters, which became mass graves. Hy"d.
4 Elul 5701 - August 27, 1941:
The Jewish community of Posvol, Lithuania was massacred by the Nazis, Hy"d.
4 Elul Yahrtzeits
HaRav Moshe (ben Dovid) Provinzalo (Porbinchalo) of Montova, (the Ramaf), zt”l, (5336 / 1576), author of Responsa of Maharam Provinzalo.
HaRav Elazar, zt”l, (5515 / 1755), Rav of Vilna.
HaRav Tzvi Hersh, zt”l, (5560 / 1800), Rav of Berlin.
HaRav Aryeh Leib (ben Yosef) Teumim, zt”l, (5591 / 1831), author of Gur Aryeh.
HaRav Yeshaya (ben Meir) Waltfried of Przedborz (Pshadburz), zt”l, (5516 / 1756 or 5518 / 1758 -1831). Born in Lask, near Lodz, his father, Harav Meir, was a descendant of Harav Elyakim Getz, author of Even Hashoham.
His great-grandfather, Rav Meir Getz, was the Rav of Lask and of Piotrkow. His father, Rav Meir, died when Rav Yeshaya was young, leaving no other son.
Reb Yeshaya was a talmid of Harav Pinchas Zelig of Lask, author of Ateret Paz.
In 5532/1772, at the age of 14, he moved to Pshedborz, where a wealthy businessman took Rav Yeshaya as a son-in-law. There, he met the Yid Hakadosh, Rav Yaakov Yitzchak. Together, they traveled to Lithuania to learn in the yeshivot of Rav Dovid Tevel of Lisa and Rav Aryeh Leib of Pshedborz. Under the influence of Harav Dovid of Lelov, the two traveled to the court of the Chozeh in Lublin. The Chozeh would call Reb Yeshaya “my sefarim shelf,” as he was renowned for his greatness in Torah.
In 5548/1788, Reb Yeshaya was appointed Rav in Pshedborz, one of the oldest kehillot in Poland. In 5575/1815, following the petirah of the Chozeh, many Chassidim began to travel to Pshedborz to Reb Yeshaya; he became one of the leading Rebbes in Poland of that time. Among his better-known Chassidim were Reb Moshe of Lelov; Reb Yosef Baruch, the “Gutte Yid” of Neustadt; and the Tiferet Shlomo of Radomsk, who quotes Reb Yeshaya often in his sefarim.
Reb Yeshayah was niftar on 4 Elul 5591/1831, at the age of 73.
His son Reb Emanuel succeeded him as Rebbe.
HaRav Nosson, zt”l, (5594 / 1834), Rav of Levertov.
HaRav Nesanel Fried, zt”l, (5674 / 1914), author of Pnei Meivin.
HaRav Moshe Eidan (Idan) of Djerba, Tunisia, zt”l, (5654 / 1894), author of Tiferet Moshe.
HaRav Meir Simcha Hakohen of Dvinsk, zt"l, (5603 / 1843 - 5686 / 1926). the Ohr Someach and Meshech Chochma. One of the Talmudic giants of Lithuania and a Rabbincal leader there. He was considered to be “the lion of the assembly” of the Rabbis of his day.
Harav Meir Simchah was born in Baltrimantz near Vilna in 5603 / 1843. His father, Harav Shimshon Klonimus, was an outstanding talmid chacham who was very wealthy and well known for his hospitality.
Rav Meir of Tiktin, and the Rav of Baltrimantz blessed Rav Shimshon Klonimus and his wife, the two blessings were realized with the birth of a boy, whom they named Meir Simchah, in honor of the two Rabbanim.
His brilliant genius was recognized when he was still very young.
In 5620 / 1880, Harav Meir Simchah married Rebbetzin Chayah, the daughter of the wealthy Reb Tzvi Paltiel Makovsky of Bialystok.
In time, his Rebbetzin opened a business, enabling her husband to continue his studies undisturbed.
Reb Meir Simchah remained in Bialystok for 23 years. Though he was offered many prestigious rabbinical positions during that time he refused them all.
Later Reb Meir Simchah became the non-chassidic Rav of Dvinsk, while Harav Yosef Rosen, the Gaon of Rogatchov, became Rav of its chassidic community.
The relationship between these two Gedolim was unique, and each would comment on the other’s greatness in Torah.
When his work, the “Ohr Samayach” on the “Mishnah Torah” of the Rambam was published, he became famous as a Gaon and a sharp Talmudist. In this Sefer he displayed expertise in all the Talmud, deep thinking and sharp logic.
In a famous near prophetic passage written before 1926, he presents a brilliant theory of Jewish history in exile and refers to those who forget their origins and think “Berlin is Jerusalem”, and are doomed to destruction (B’chukotai).
R’ Meir Simcha served as Rav of Dvinsk for nearly 40 years. R’ Meir Simcha was a strong supporter of the settlement of Eretz Yisrael and greeted the Balfour Declaration with enthusiasm. In 1906 he was offered the position of rav of Yerushalayim but bowed to the entreaties of his congregants to remain in Dvinsk.
On 4 Elul 5686 / 1926, Harav Meir Simchah passed away. He was niftar in Riga, and the Jews of Riga demanded that he be buried in their city, while the Jews of Dvinsk insisted that he be buried in their city. Harav Menachem Mendel Zak, the Rav of Riga, ruled in favor of Dvinsk.
He was buried in Dvinsk, and later the Rogatchover Gaon was buried next to him.
HaRav Yosef Meir Pollack of Bergsas, Hy”d, (5701 / 1941.
HaRav Moshe Aharon Pinto, zt”l, (1995). Heeding his father’s command to avoid temporal pleasures, he secluded himself in his home for forty years, living on almost nothing but scraps of bread dipped in oil. After these 40 years, he traveled, explaining, “Hashem created a beautiful world. What will I tell Him when He asks me after 120 years whether I witnessed and appreciated the wonders of His creation?” Rav Moshe Aharon’s descendants have printed and distributed thousands of copies of the “Perek Shira” that describes how every creature is part of a worldwide symphony of Hashem’s praise. Rav Moshe Aharon’s oldest son, Rav Chaim is the rav of Ashdod, and Rav Chaim’s son, Rav Yoshiyahu Yosef, has created the “Shuvah Yisrael” organization, which draws many youngsters back to Torah and mitzvot. Another of Rav Moshe Aharon’s sons, Rav Yaakov, traveled to America after Rav Moshe Aharon’s passing and founded the Pinto Center in Los Angeles during the 1980s. He is president of the “Netivei Chaim veMoshe Pinto” Institutions that he and his brothers established in Ashdod, which include a beit medrash, a supermarket and kitchen for the needy, a publishing house, and much more.
5 Elul 3334 - 427 B.C.E.:
Yechezkel HaNavi received a nevuah (prophecy) five years before Churban Bayit Rishon (Yechezkel / Ezekiel, ch 8-10), including the passuk, "And I will remove your heart of stone..." (ch 36:26)
5 Elul - 1263:
One of the earliest recorded instances of Christian Church-sponsored censorship of Jewish writings ordered by King James I of Aragon.
This was an unfortunate theme throughout the Middle Ages: Twenty years earlier, Pope Gregory IX initiated the burning of Hebrew books, and persuaded French King Louis IX to burn some 10,000 copies of the Talmud (24 wagon loads) in Paris. In 1592, Pope Clement VIII condemned the Talmud and other Hebrew writings as "obscene," "blasphemous" and "abominable" -- and ordered them all to be seized and burned. Despite attempts to burn our books, however, the light of Jewish tradition shines brightly till today. (Some say 12 Elul)
5 Elul 5537 - September 7, 1777:
The Chassidic aliyah ("ascent" - immigration to the Holy Land), a contingent of 300 Chassidim, led by HaRav Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk, HaRav Abraham of Kalisk and HaRav Yisroel of Polotzk, zy"a, reached Erez Yisroel.
(They were all disciples of the 2nd leader of the Chassidic movement, HaRav DovBer, the "Maggid of Mezeritch" (who had passed away five years earlier) and colleagues of HaRav Schneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad. Initially, HaRav Schneur Zalman was part of the group; but when the caravan reached the city of Moholiev on the Dnester River, HaRav Menachem Mendel -- whom HaRav Schneur Zalman regarded as his teacher and mentor after the Maggid's passing -- instructed him to remain behind to serve as the leader of the Chassidic community in White Russia and Lithuania. HaRav Schneur Zalman retained close ties with the settlers in the Eretz Yisroel and labored to raise funds for their support.)
5 Elul 5675 - August 15, 1915:
The Jewish Battalions of the British Royal Fusiliers was formed, consisting of Jewish volunteers from America, England, and Israel. Their goal was to join the efforts of the British Army in World War I to liberate Israel from Turkish rule. The idea was first proposed by Zev Jabotinsky, and by 1919, some 5,000 Jewish volunteers were participating in the battalions. Although they formed Jewish units, they were not designated as such nor were they allowed to wear Jewish insignias.(others 1917)
5 Elul 5675 - August 15, 1915:
Albert Bettelhein, journalist and author, convicted by a Georgia jury of murder, was lynched by an anti-Semitic mob, Hy"d
5 Elul 5679 - August 31, 1919:
After the Ukrainian National Army recaptured Kiev, Ukraine, it summoned 35
members of the Jewish Self Defense Unit to appear. The Jews were disarmed, marched
out of town and murdered. Hy"d.
5 Elul 5698 - September 1, 1938:
Mussolini canceled the civil rights of all Italian Jews and expelled all foreign-born Jews.
5 Elul Yahrtzeits
HaRav Sinai Lowi, zt”l, (5353 / 1593), Rav of Nikolsburg.
Harav Sinai was the son of the famed Harav Betzalel Lowi of Worms. Harav Betzalel had four sons, all Gedolei Torah in their own right: Rav Chaim, Rav of Friedberg and author of Sefer Hachaim; Rav Shimshon, Rav of Kremnitz; Rav Yehudah, the Maharal of Prague; and the aforementioned Rav Sinai. Rav Betzalel traced his lineage back to Dovid Hamelech.
Rav Sinai was an outstanding gaon, fluent in all of Shas and poskim. His first position was as Rosh Yeshivah in Prague; later he was appointed Rav of Nikolsburg, in the South Moravian region of the Czech Republic.
Rav Sinai was niftar on 5 Elul 5353/1593, and was buried in Kellen.
Miriam Bella, sister of the Rema and wife of the head of Crakow Jewry. She was famed for her piety & scholarship. (5379 / 1619).
HaRav Ephraim of Radish, zt”l, (5501 / 1741), grandson of the Maginei Shlomo.
HaRav Simchah of Horodne, zt”l, (5513 / 1753), Rav of Nashoviz.
HaRav Kalman, the “Chassid of Warsaw,” zt”l, (5597 / 1837).
HaRav Elazar Charlap, zt”l, (5608 / 1848), Rav of Mezhritch.
HaRav Dovid Zvi Shlomo (ben Eliezer Menachem Mendel) Biederman, zt”l, known as Reb Dovid’l (5604 / 1844 – 5678 / 1918), leader of Chassidic community of Yerushalayim.
Born in Lelov, his parents were Rav Eliezer Menachem Mendel of Lelov and Rebbetzin Matil Feiga. His mother’s grandfather was the Chozeh of Lublin.
Reb Dovid’l was named after the founder of the Lelov dynasty, Rav Dovid (1745-1813) who was a direct descendant of Dovid HaMelech and a talmid of the Chozeh. Rav Dovid of Lelov was succeeded by his son, Rav Moshe (1776-1851). His son, Rav Eliezer Menachem Mendel, who decided to stay on in Yerushalayim. At that time, the Chassidic community of Eretz Yisrael was based mostly in Tzefat and Teverya, and for the next few decades, the sole Chassidic court in Yerushalayim was that of Lelov.
In his younger years, Rav Dovid’l traveled back to Europe to visit its tzaddikim. He was so impressed by Rav Aharon the Second of Karlin that, from that time on, he considered himself his chassid and observed all the customs of Karlin.
In 1883 succeeded his father as Lelover Rebbe. However, there was an irony: on the one hand, Rav Dovid’l was now officially the fourth Lelover Rebbe while, on the other hand, he davened at the top of his voice with immense emotion, in true Karliner style.
Reb Dovid’l was the official head of Kollel Warsaw, and with the funds, he established the neighborhood of Batei Warsaw, now a part of Meah Shearim. He refused to gain any personal benefit from the funds that he raised and would not even live in the neighborhood that he built. He also prohibited his son from living there.
Reb Dovid is buried on Har HaZeitim, upon his gravestone are engraved his name and the date of his passing away alone, which was the command of his last will and testament.
He wrote the Sefer Likutei Dovid, a work of Chidushei Torah.
Lelov flourishes until this day with descendants heading courts in Yerushalayim, Bnei Brak, and New York.
HaRav Shlomo Shtentzil, zt”l, (5679 / 1919), Rav of Sosnovtzva.
Harav Shlomo was born on 25 Av 5644 / 1884 in Tshelodz. His father was Rav Chaim Dov.
At the age of 11 he learned under Harav Efraim Tzvi Einhorn, Rav of Amstov, and later under Harav Yaakov Yosef Rabinowitz, Rav of Klobitzik, who regarded him highly. He continued on to the yeshivah of the Avnei Nezer of Sochatchov.
A Radomsker Chassid like his father, Reb Shlomo traveled to the Radomsker Rebbe, Harav Shlomo Chanoch Rabinowitz (the Shivchei Kohen).
Reb Shlomo married in the summer of 5662 / 1902 at the age of 18. At 21 he was appointed Rav in Tshelodz, where he served four years. Later he became Rav in Sosnovtza, where he also headed a yeshivah.
Reb Shlomo was renowned for his tremendous hasmadah; he was never seen without a sefer in front of him.
An interesting feature of Reb Shlomo’s avodat Hashem was his daily cheshbon hanefesh. From the time he got married he wrote down each night how many hours he had learned during the day, and whatever he missed from his regular sedarim he would make up on the following days. Reading this journal is a lesson in utilizing one’s every minute. He also recorded the level of his middot day by day.
Reb Shlomo was niftar on 5 Elul 5679 / 1919, at just 39 years of age. He was survived by his young family and a bereaved father.
Of his many chiddushim the only published work was Kohelet Shlomo, on the rules of psak in halachah and other topics. Published after his petirah, it has many warm haskamot as well as an introduction by both Reb Shlomo’s children and his father.
HaRav Nosson Levin, zt”l, (5684 / 1924), author of She’eilot U’Teshuvot Beit Nadiv.
HaRav Menachem Nosson Auerbach, zt”l, (5690 / 1930),author of Orach Ne’eman.
HaRav Dov Cohen, zt”l, (1912-2005), author of Seder Hashulchan, one of the last remaining students of Chevron Yeshiva in Chevron under the Alter of Slabodka. Although he was born in Seattle, he was taken to Eretz Yisrael when he was 14 years old, because his mother was not satisfied with the chinuch in America. Before the founding of the state, he was Rav of several shuls, and after 1948, he served as Rav of the Israeli Air Force for 5 years.
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6 Elul 5700 - September 9, 1940:
Italian planes bombed Tel Aviv, killing 117, Hy"d.
6 Elul Yahrtzeits
HaRav Gershon Shaul Yom Tov Lipman (ben Nosson) HaLevi Heller, zt"l, (5339 / 1579 - 5414 / 1654), author of Tosfot Yom Tov, one of the most important and classic commentaries on the Mishnah.
Born in Wallerstein, Bavaria, several days after the death of his father, Nosson, he was raised by his grandfather, Moshe Wallerstein HaLevi Heller in Vienna. He later went to Friedburg, where he learned under Harav Yaakov Ginzburg. From there he was invited to Prague by a rich merchant, Reb Aharon Ashkenazi, who later became his father-in-law. In Prague he learned under the Maharal, Rosh Yeshivah of Prague, and under Harav Shlomo Efraim Lunchitz, Chief Rabbi of Prague and author of the Kli Yakar.
In addition to his great expertise in the entire Talmud and Halachic Codifiers, he also delved into the Kabbala, philosophy and Hebrew grammar. He achieved heights in mathematics, astronomy and natural science.
In 5357/1597, when he was 18 years old, he was appointed to become a Dayan in Prague, in the Beit Din of the Maharal’s son. He held this position for the next 28 years.
In 5385/1624, Reb Yom Tov was called to the rabbinate of Nikolsburg, Moravia, and a few months later he became Rav of Vienna.
In 5388/1628, Reb Yom Tov was called back to Prague to become the Rav.
On account of the Thirty Years’ War, the government imposed heavy taxes on the Jewish communities of Bohemia, including Prague. A committee consisting of the elite of the Jewish community was created to apportion the taxes among the people. Sadly, the members of this committee let an undue tax burden fall on the poor. Reb Yom Tov would not countenance such injustice and used his position as Rav to ensure fairness.
In 1629, after serving only 6 months, some members of the Jewish community -- angry at Rav Heller for determining how a federal tax should be paid -- brought a false accusation against him to the Kaiser, accusing him of mocking the state and deprecating Christianity in his written works.
He was imprisoned and found guilty of refusing the orders of the Pope to burn the Babylonian Talmud, for instead of doing so he had published a commentary on the Talmud. He was condemned to death by the state court. However, after appeals were made, the Kaiser commuted the sentence to house arrest and a huge fine of 12,000 thalers, to be paid immediately.
The fine was far beyond his means. With the help of generous Jews, Reb Yom Tov was able to pay the first installment of the lesser amount of 2,000 florins. With the help of friends, Reb Yom Tov was able to wait for better times and to pay the remaining installments of his fine.
He made the day of his imprisonment, the 5th of Tammuz, a day of fasting for his descendents.
Forty days later he was released, penniless, and was forbidden from practicing as a rabbi. The ban was later lifted and in 1631 he moved to Poland and dwelt in Lublin, Brisk, Nemirov and Ludmir. A sefer called Megillat Eivah by Reb Yom Tov, with additions by his son Rav Shmuel, relates the story of his imprisonment and trial.
He sought to strengthen the Cherem (excommunication) and Takana (decree) that had been made fifty years previously to prohibit the practice of purchasing the position of Rav in a community for money. His enemies again slandered against him to the Gentile authorities, and he was driven out of Ludmir. This evil decree was rescinded by efforts of his supporters and he returned.
He went on to become Av Beit Din and Rav of Crakow, Poland in 1641.(Others 1643).
Harav Yehoshua Charif, the Maginei Shlomo, was the Rosh Yeshivah there. Four years later the Maginei Shlomo was niftar, and the Tosfot Yom Tov succeeded him.
He died 13 years later and is buried in the Crakow cemetery, along the fence, in the section devoted to the poor and needy.
The Tosfot Yom Tov was a prolific writer, authoring close to 50 works. Most notable is his commentary on Shishah Sidrei Mishnah, the classic Tosfot Yom Tov. He wrote this commentary between the ages of 30 and 38.
He also wrote Maadanei Melech and Lechem Chamudot on the Rosh.
He also authored Tzurat HaBayit, a detailed explanation of Rashi’s view of the Third Beit HaMikdash as described by the Navi Yechezkel / Ezekiel (chapters 40-43).
In 5414/1654 the Tosfot Yom Tov fell ill. On 6 Elul 5414/1654 he was niftar and buried in Cracow.
HaRav Yehuda Briel, zt”l, (5403 / 1643 - 5482 / 1722). One of the great Torah leaders of Italy, he was the Rav and Head of the Beit Din in Manatova (Mantua), where he succeeded Rav Moshe Zacuto as Chief Rabbi of the community, and Rosh Yeshiva of a large Yeshiva that had many students.
Among his talmidim were many of the most prominent Italian rabbanim: Yitzhak Lampronti, A'viàd Sar Shalom Basel and Shimshon ha-Cohen Modona.
He served for 25 years as the Rav of Manatova until his death.
He was a commentator on the Tanach, a Posek and a polemist. He was considered to be one of the greatest of his generation. At the age of 25 he was already writing Responsa to decide issues in Jewish Law, which were sent to him by the greatest in the generation.
In a great dispute of the time he supported the Chacham Tzvi in making a Cherem (excommunication) against a follower of Shabtai Tzvi (the false Messiah) by the name of Nechemiah Chiyon. He wrote public letters of disputation in which he expressed his sharp opposition to Chiyon, and these letters carried great weight in his time. His many letters are published in a collection entitled: Klali HaDikduk.
Some of his responses were published in the works of other Italian rabbis such as Pachad,Yitzhak, Shemesh Tzedakà, Zera Emet and Devar Shmuel. The rest of his writings remain in manuscript. He also wrote poetry, songs, and translated the ethical teachings of the Roman philosopher Seneca from Latin to Hebrew and used his knowledge of Latin to fight anti-Semitic pamphlets of the time.
HaRav Shabsi, zt”l, (5580 / 1820), Rav of Orla and author of Shevet Achim.
HaRav Moshe Mintz, zt”l, (5591 / 1831), author of Sha'alot U'teshuvot Maharam Mintz. His teacher was Rav Yaakov Weil, the Mahari Weil, Rav of Augsburg and Erfurt (d. mid-15th century Germany).
HaRav Yekusiel Yehuda Teitelbaum, zt"l, Av Beit Din of Sighet, Romania, the Yetev Lev (5568 / 1808 [or 1818] - 5643 / 1883), son of Rav Eliezer (Nissan) Teitelbaum, Av Beit Din of Drahbitsch (Drogobytz), and grandson of Rav Moshe Teitelbaum, the Yismach Moshe.
The young Yekusiel Yehuda was raised primarily by his grandfather and was his closest and most outstanding student.
Shortly after his marriage, at the age of 25, he was invited to become Av Beit Din of Stropkov in 1832.
Toward the end of 5601/1841 he succeeded his grandfather, the Yismach Moshe, as Rav in Ihel (Ujhely). After that, he served as Rav of Gorlitz. In 5617/1857, after the petirah of his father, the residents of Drohbitsch appointed him Rav in his father’s stead. In 5618/1858, he was invited to serve as Rav of Sighet. He led this kehillah capably until his last day.
He founded a yeshivah in Sighet, and many talmidim became his devoted chassidim. The Sigheter Rav was extremely warm to his talmidim and cared for both their spiritual and physical needs.
Reb Yekusiel Yehudah was a genius in both the revealed and hidden Torah, and was one of the foremost Chassidic leaders of his generation.
Harav Tzvi Hirsh of Rudnik often said that one who did not know his grandfather, the Yetev Lev, had never seen a truly humble person. The Yetev Lev regarded everyone as superior to him.
“When my grandfather would enter the beit medrash and pass a simple person putting on tefillin, he would stand and listen to the man’s brachah and respond with a fervent amen. Then he would look at him admiringly, tears flowing from his eyes, and murmur, ‘See how a Jew who fears Hashem recites a brachah and puts on tefillin!’”
The Yetev Lev’s son-in-law, the Rav of Gorlitz (son of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz), said, “My father-in-law is a tzubrochene Yid, a Jew with a broken heart.”
The Yetev Lev never spoke ill of any Jew. Every night, he would learn with his grandchildren from midnight to 1:00 a.m., and then from 3:00 to 4:00 a.m. In the middle of the shiur he would shut his eyes for a while. Everyone thought that he had fallen asleep, but actually, although immersed in thought, he heard all that was said.
Once when his eyes were shut the grandchildren began to speak about a very corrupt person. This man had sorely distressed the residents of the town, and had even disparaged the Yetev Lev in public. The Rav of Lafush, who was present, tried to defend the man, saying that the rumors of his negative deeds were untrue. He even supported his opinion with the fact that the Yetev Lev thought highly of this man. The Yetev Lev had not participated in the conversation; however, when he heard that remark, a smile crossed his face, proving that even when he closed his eyes during the shiur, he wasn’t really sleeping.
In addition to Yetev Lev on Torah, he authored Yitav Panim on Moadim, Rav Tuv on Torah and She’eilot U’teshuvot Avnei Tzedek on all four chalakim of the Shulchan Aruch. He was niftar on 6 Elul 5643/1883 in Sighet and is buried there.
HaRav Yechezkel (ben Yaakov Chaim) Sarna, zt"l, Rosh Yeshivat Chevron, (5650 / 1890 - 5729 / 1969).
Born in 5650/1890 in Horodok, near Minsk. His paternal grandfather was Harav Shraga Feivel, zt”l, Rav of Sampolni, Seini, Ostrov, Sokolkeh and finally Horodok.
Rav Yechezkel’s mother, Eidel, came from a family of note. Her father, Harav Shlomo Zalman Buksbaum, zt”l, was the author of Rechovot Ir, a commentary on Midrash Rabbah.
Outgrowing the local cheder, Yechezkel traveled to different yeshivot over a period of 10 years. First to Slabodka, near Kovno, at the Or Hachaim mesivta. Then to the yeshivah in Maltch, under Harav Zalman Sender Kahana-Shapira, zt”l. A year later Rav Yechezkel returned to Slabodka, this time to Yeshivat Knesset Beit Yitzchak.
He also learned at Yeshivat Knesset Yisrael, under the rosh yeshiva, Rav Chaim Rabinowitz.
A year later, Rav Yechezkel went with Rav Rabinowitz to Telz, only to return in 5667 / 1907, now under Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, the Alter of Slobodka. At that time, Slobodka's beit midrash was filled with some of the great Torah scholars of Lithuania, including Rav Aharon Kotler, Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky, and Rav Eliezer Menachem Man Shach.
Rav Yechezkel stayed in Knesset Yisrael until 5674/1914 when World War I forced the Jews to flee. Rav Yechezkel then moved to Minsk, while the yeshivah moved on to Kremenchuk. Toward the end of the war Harav Nosson Tzvi requested that Rav Yechezkel rejoin the yeshivah in Kremenchuk. It was then that Harav Moshe Mordechai Epstein, zt”l, chose him as a husband for his daughter Pesha, and in 5679/1919 they were married in Kremenchuk.
In 1924, the Lithuanian government had decided to revoke the right of yeshiva students to an exemption from army service. After consulting with the Alter, it was decided that part of the yeshiva should be transferred to Eretz Yisrael. It was decided to transfer the yeshiva to Chevron. The Roshei Yeshivah were strongly in favor.
Rav Yechezkel traveled to Eretz Yisrael to establish the yeshivah. He found a home for the yeshivah in Chevron. In essence, Yeshivat Chevron was the first yeshivah to move from overseas to Eretz Yisrael.
His father-in-law arrived from America followed by the Alter of Slabodka and his son Rav Moshe, who served as R”M for a year, until his petirah, when Harav Leib Chasman, zt”l, became mashpia ruchani. But the administration of the yeshivah remained in Rav Yechezkel’s able hands.
After the petira of the Alter in the winter of 1917, Rav Yechezkel gained recognition as the mussar leader in the citadel of the Alter, along with Rav Leib Chasman.
In Av of 5689 / 1929, blood baths inundated the country; one of the worst hit was the Jewish settlement in Chevron. During the infamous savage massacre by Chevron's Arabs, twenty-four of the yeshiva's students lost their lives. He himself had gone to Yerushalayim on the Thursday prior to the Shabbat of the massacre, but due to the tense situation he was unable to return to Chevron in time for Shabbat.
Rebuilding slowly in Yerushalayim, by Rosh Hashana the yeshiva had already assumed once more the form of a yeshiva in the full sense of that term. The yeshivah bought a few buildings in the Geula neighborhood, which became its new home.
In 5696/1936 Rav Leib Chasman passed away, and the two sons-in-law of Harav Moshe Mordechai, Harav Aharon Cohen, zt”l, and Harav Moshe Chevroni, zt”l, joined Rav Yechezkel as Roshei Yeshivah, while Harav Meir Chadash, zt”l, became the menahel ruchani.
Rav Yechezkel took a great interest in public affairs. He was the Head of the Vaad HaYeshivot and a member of the Council of Torah Sages of Agudat Yisrael. Rav Yechezkel worked to establish Chinuch Atzmai, which he supported throughout his life.
After being hospitalized briefly, he passed away. He was buried on Har Hazeitim.
His works include: a commentary to the mussar classic “Orchot Chaim” and a commentary to the “Mesilat Yesharim.” He also left behind many manuscripts in Halacha and Mussar.
HaRav Meir Zvi Ehrentreu, zt”l, (5690 / 1930 - 5760 / 2000), Rosh Kollel of the Manchester Yeshiva. The son of Rav Yisrael Ehrentreu, principal of Prestwich Jewish Day School, he was born in Frankfurt.
In time, he went to England and learned under Harav Moshe Schneider in London and later in the Gateshead Yeshivah. Quite rapidly he became known for his outstanding hasmadah, unique character traits and in-depth studying.
He married the daughter of Rav Yehuda Zev Segal, zt”l, the Manchester Rosh Yeshivah, who recognized his greatness in Torah and yirat Shamayim as well as his outstanding middot. After his marriage, he continued to learn with hasmadah, acquiring vast knowledge in the sea of Talmud.
He served as a maggid shiur in the Manchester Yeshivah, greatly influencing his talmidim, who regarded him as the transmitter of the legacy of his illustrious father-in-law. He guided them along the Torah way with his pleasant manner and speech.
Friendly and approachable, he was beloved by everyone. He was revered by his talmidim, who were aware that beneath his friendly exterior was a phenomenal talmid chacham, yerei Shamayim and oved Hashem. He was thoroughly proficient in Shas, Midrash, Rishonim, Acharonim and sifrei Shu”t, meforshei haTorah and drashot.
His father-in-law would say that he could come home at night with a question anywhere in Shas, and Reb Meir Zvi would resolve it.
An aura of excitement pervaded his shiurim, when in addition to the standard meforshim he added tidbits from the Avnei Nezer, Sdei Chemed, Oneg Yom Tov, Chiddushei Harim and countless other sefarim.
Frequently he would quote from the introduction or a footnote in a sefer. He repeated with relish divrei Torah from Gedolim he had met, and his delight in a chiddush was palpable.
His talmidim learned to study the same sugya with different approaches. They were inspired by Reb Meir Zvi, from whom they received instant answers to their questions.
Reb Meir Zvi was also known for his greatness in halachah. It is related that upon his leaving for Eretz Yisrael to serve on the beit din of the Eidah Hachareidit, Harav Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss, zt”l, former Rav of Manchester, said that the community could rely totally upon Reb Meir Tzvi.
As widely acclaimed as he was for his knowledge of Torah, Reb Meir Zvi was equally well known for his tzidkut, his exceptional middot and his humility.
He honored everyone and shunned honor for himself. For many years while his father-in-law, the Rosh Yeshivah, lived with his family, he relinquished his position as head of the household. As Masechet Sanhedrin 88b states, “He entered quietly, he exited quietly, learned Torah constantly and did not think he deserved credit for this.”
When his father-in-law was niftar, many people turned to Reb Meir Zvi for counsel.
When asked for a brachah he would respond humbly, as though he didn’t understand why he was being asked. But from a man regarded as a tzaddik whose words were measured, even a short response was sufficient.
In the last decade or so of his life, Reb Meir Zvi suffered severe ill health, in particular a number of debilitating strokes which significantly affected his ability to learn and teach at the same exalted level as before. Only on rare occasions did one see brief flashes of his earlier brilliance.
However, there were indications that internally Reb Meir Zvi still retained much, if not all, of what he had previously known.
When speaking with someone in learning, he would indicate that he was aware of the sugya, wanting to go straight to the chiddush. Similarly, his letters and notes contained quotations of maamarei Chazal, even without the original sources in front of him.
Reb Meir Zvi was niftar on 6 Elul 5760/2000 at the age of 70.
He left a devoted Rebbetzin, who shouldered much of the family responsibilities to enable her husband to grow in Torah, sons, daughters and sons-in-law and grandchildren, all talmidei chachamim and yir’ei Shamayim.
Among his descendents are four sons - his bechor and successor as Rosh Hakollel Rav Moshe Yitzchak, Rav Shloime Zalman, Rav Aharon, and Rav Avraham Ehrentreu of Antwerp. His brother is Rav Yonah Yosef Ehrentreu, the Rav of the Adat Yeshurun community of Bnei Brak.
He was buried in the Manchester cemetery beside his father-in-law, Harav Yehudah Zev Segal, zt”l.
HaRav Avraham Dovid Horowitz, zt”l, (1911-2004), the Strasbourger Rav. Born on 22 Cheshvan 5672/1911 in Bolechov, Galicia. His father, Harav Yehudah, was the Rav of the town, as had been his grandfather, Harav Aharon Meir. His maternal grandfather was Harav Pinchos Levi Horowitz, the Kossover Dayan and mechaber of Pischa Zuta and Beit Pinchas, one of the leading talmidim of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz and the Gorlitzer Rebbe..
When he was 4 years old, his mother died; 5 years later, in 5682 / 1922, his father also died. He crossed the border from Galicia to Hungary to join his grandfather, who was then Rav of Grosvardein, and adopted his family name. He grew up in the home of his grandfather, and was considered a young iluy, to the delight of his grandfather, who trusted him to publish his sefarim. He would daven with such fervor that parents and educators pointed to him as an example.
In Grossvardein Harav Avraham Dovid became close to the Ahavat Yisrael of Vizhnitz, he later served as Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivat Vizhnitz in Grosswardein.
He was familiar with all facets of Torah, Shas and Poskim, having learned the Shach, Taz and Magen Avraham on all four parts of the Shulchan Aruch by heart.
In 5694 / 1934, he married the daughter of Harav Eliezer Lipa Zilberman, the Ratzferter Rebbe, a descendent of the Divrei Chaim, and grandson of the Gorlitzer Rav. He served as a Rosh Yeshiva of the Vizhnitzer Yeshiva there.Afterwards he sat on the Grosswardein beit din, along with Harav Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss, the Minchat Yitzchak.
When World War II broke out, Harav Avraham Dovid was taken to the concentration camps, where he lost his wife and five daughters, Hy”d.
After the war he made the revival of European Jewry his life’s mission; with his uncle the Sanz-Klausenburger Rebbe, zy”a, he worked to revive Torah life.He inspired all those around him not to lose hope. He was appointed Rav of Landsberg and Augsburg in Germany, where he published the first siddur in postwar Europe.
In 5707/1947, he was appointed Rav of Kehillat Adat Yisrael of Strasbourg, France, where he did much to strengthen the postwar community. He married the daughter of Harav Yechezkel Weidman, Rav of Sitchel.
In 5738/1978, he settled in Yerushalayim. In 5740/1980, he was appointed to the beit din of the Eidah Hachareidit.
He authored a nine-volume work on the Torah called Kinyan Torah.
He was niftar after an illness on 6 Elul 5764/2004, at the age of 92.
7 Elul 2367 - 1394 B.C.E.:
Amram and Yocheved, the parents of Miriam and Aaron, had separated because of Pharaoh's decree that all male Jewish babies be killed. Since Amram was the leader of the Jewish community, other men follow suit. Prompted by their six-year-old daughter Miriam's rebuke ("Pharaoh decreed againsat the males; you decreed against the males and the females"), Amram remarried Yocheved and this union produced Moshe, the greatest prophet of all-time, who 80 years later would deliver the Jewish people out of slavery in Mitzrayim, and on to receive the Torah at Mount Sinai.
(based on the Tradition that Moshe was a 6-month premee, 7 Elul being 6 months and one day before 7 Adar 2368.(Rashi, Talmud, Sotah 12a). He was hidden for 3 months and was floated on the Nile and found by the daughter of Phararoh on 7 Sivan, the future date of Matan Torah.)
7 Elul 2450 - 1311 B.C.E.:
The Meraglim / spies, who slandered Eretz Yisroel, died in the Midbar / Desert. They suffered a plague, sickened and were niftar on 7 Elul. (Bamidbar / Numbers 13-14, Talmud, Sotah 35a) (See also 9 Av and 15 Av). A Taanit tzaddikim, was established today, which commorates the fact that they did not merit the acceptance of their teshuva.
7 Elul 3802 - 42 C.E.:
Agrippa I dedicated the new gate of the wall around Yerushalayim / Jerusalem, The day is mentioned as a Yom Tov in Megillat Taanit.. (Others 9 Elul).
7 Elul 5372 - August 22, 1614:
The Jews of Frankfurt, Germany were attacked by an anti-Semitic crowd led by Vincent
Fettmilch. For three days the pillaging and beatings continued. Many Jews were
killed while their synagogues were desecrated, Hy"d. Later all of the Jewish residents
- who survived were expelled from Frankfurt.
7 Elul 5608 - September 5, 1848:
The Jews of Hanover, Germany were granted civil equality.
7 Elul Yahrtzeits
HaRav Chisdai ben Shmuel Hakohen Perachya of Salonika, zt”l, (c. 5365 / 1605 - 5438 / 1678), author of Torat Chessed.
Harav Chisdai was the son of Rav Shmuel. He was a talmid of HaRav Chaim Shabsi, author of She’eilot U’Teshuvot Maharchash.
HaRav Chisdai was one of the leading Rabbanim of Salonika (then Turkey, now Greece). A posek, he wrote chiddushim on Choshen Mishpat and She’eilot U’Teshuvot Torat Chessed (the word chessed is a play on his name, Chisdai), as well as on some masechtot of Shas. Other works of HaRav Chisdai were never published.
Among his well-known talmidim were HaRav Aharon Hakohen Perachyah and HaRav Yaakov Di Bitton.
After the petirah of HaRav Menachem Shulam in 5431 / 1671, HaRav Chisdai was appointed Chief Rabbi of Salonika, a position he held until his petira on 7 Elul 5438/1678. (others 8 Elul).
Chacham Rav Eliyahu Chaim, zt”l, (5619 / 1859), head rabbi and leader of Baghdad's Jewish community. He was the son of Chacham Moshe Chaim, and the father of the Ben Ish Chai.
HaRav Mordechai of Ostilla, zt”l, (5637 / 1877).
HaRav Chaim Avraham Eliyahu Shitrit, zt"l, (5661 / 1901), a leading rabbi of Sefrou, Morocco. Some of his writings were published in Melel Avraham (Fez 1962).
HaRav Reuven (ben Moshe) Margalios, zt"l, (5650 / 1889 - 5731 / 1971), author of many Sefarim.Harav Reuven Margalios was born in Lemberg (Lvov) on 7 Kislev 5650/1889.
His father Rav Moshe, seeing that young Reuven was blessed with a good mind, hired private melamdim to teach the boy.
These good years ended abruptly with the passing of his father when Reuven was just 14. He was then forced to help his mother support the family: He learned with bachurim, preparing them for entering yeshivah.
But he never stopped learning for himself, and at 17 his chiddushim began to appear in Torah journals.
At 18, Rav Reuven received semichah from Harav Moshe Babad, Rav of Lvov, and from his illustrious Rebbi, Harav Meir Arik, Rav of Tarna.
In 5672/1912, Reb Reuven published his first sefer, Toldot Adam on the Maharsha.
He married the daughter of Rav Meir Shein. After she passed away at a young age, he married the daughter of Rav Meir Lutvack. They did not have any children.
Despite being adorned with semichah, Rav Reuven refused the many offers he received to serve as Rav, even when asked to do so by Harav Meir Shapiro. Instead, he opened a sefarim store in Lvov. Naturally, this store drew many talmidei chachamim, who came to discuss Torah topics with Rav Reuven.
He corresponded with many Gedolei Yisrael who addressed queries to him.
During World War I, he fled to Vienna, but later he returned to Lvov.
Rav Reuven had a photographic memory, and was well-versed in all facets of Torah.
A prolific writer whose published works range from biographies and history books to discussions of the behavior of Talmud sages, including behavior which is seemingly unusual, and explain it in light of those sages’ halachic opinions. There was no section of Shas or Midrash, no Rishon or Acharon, and no aspect of kabbalah which was not at Rav Margulies’s finger tips. He was mechaber some 55 sefarim on a wide range of subjects, meant for both talmidei chachamim and laymen.
He wrote a number of biographies of Gedolim: the Maharsha, the Ohr HaChaim Hakadosh, the Noam Elimelech, the Ramban, and Harav Yechiel of Paris, clarifying ideas in their works. First printed in Poland, these were never reprinted.
His works include Malachei Elyon (an encyclopedia on angels), Margoliyot Hayam (a commentary on Mesechet Sanhedrin), Nefesh Chaya (a commentary on Shulchan Aruch), Nitzotzei Zohar (a commentary on the Zohar and Tikunei Zohar), Olelot (essays on Tanach, Shas, the siddur and history), and many others (55). He received the Israel Prize and Prize Rabbi Kook for Biblical literature.
In Tevet 5695/1934, Rav Reuven moved to Eretz Yisrael, settling in Tel Aviv. He established the Rambam library. From time to time, he visited the Chazon Ish, who once commented that Reb Reuven himself wasn’t aware of how much he knows…
Rav Reuven was also close with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt”l, who sent him several letters, and wrote a letter to his widow after his passing.
Rav Reuven was niftar on 7 Elul 5731/1971, at the age of eighty-two.
HaRav Aryeh Leib (ben Eliyahu) Lopian, zt”l, (5739 / 1979), Rosh Yeshiva of Gateshead, England, author of Na'avat Aryeh.
8 Elul 3828 - 68 C.E.: (or 3830 - 70 C.E.):
to Roman forces during the time of the second Beit HaMikdash came to an end with the fall of the walls of the upper
city of Yerushalayim.
8 Elul 5109 - 1349:
Jews were killed in Worms on charges that they brought about the Black Plague, which wiped out thousands upon thousands in Europe. A Taanit Tzibbur in the kehillah of Worms commorated the victims of this libel, Hy"d.
8 Elul 5550 - August 18, 1790:
Washington Responds to Newport Jews.
The sexton of the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, wrote a heartwarming letter to George Washington, on behalf of the Jewish community welcoming the President on his visit to Newport. In his letter, he expressed a vision of an American government that would permit all religions to live side by side in harmony, giving all its citizens the freedom to practice their religions.
On August 18, 1790, President Washington responded:
"The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support."
..."May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid... "
8 Elul 5641 - Sept. 2, 1881:
Russian Emperor appoints a commission to study to injurious influences of Jews
upon the native population.
8 Elul 5653 - August
Switzerland outlawed kosher ritual slaughtering of animals. -- a ban that continues until today and the Jewish community has to get its meat from other neighboring countries.. That same year, (1893), kosher slaughter was prohibited in the German region of Saxony. Today, Norway also bans kosher slaughter, and other European countries such as the UK have taken the matter under consideration. Sometimes these laws are anti-Semitic in nature, but couched in humanitarian terms. The issue is one of great sensitivity for the Jewish community, being that one of the first enactments of the Nazis in 1933 was to outlaw kosher slaughter -- an act of horrible irony that preceded the slaughter of 6 million Jews.
8 Elul Yahrtzeits
Birthday (2195 / 1566 BCE) and yahrtzeit (2320 / 1441 BCE) of Dan ben Yaakov Avinu. He was known for his alacrity and sharpness. His only son was Chushim, also known as Shocham, who was the one that killed Esav the wicked on the day of Yaakov’s burial. He is buried in Eshtaol. (Midrash Tadshe) (Others 9 Elul)
HaRav Dovid Ganz, zt”l, (5301 / 1541 - 5373 / 1613), author of Tzemach Dovid.
Harav Dovid was born in 5301/1541 in Lippstadt, Germany. His father was Harav Shlomo. Harav Dovid was an ardent student with remarkable diligence. Initially he learned in the yeshivah of Harav Eliezer of Troyes (France), and later went on to become a talmid of the Maharal of Prague and the Rema in Cracow.
Tzemach Dovid was one of the first sefarim to record Jewish historical events. He wrote the sefer with the consent of his Rebbi, the Rema. The sefer, which is written chronologically, is divided into two parts. The first half is about different Jewish historical figures and important events; the second half provides a chronological general understanding of historical events, including their background.
In the introduction to his sefer he writes, “I wrote this sefer for a generation that is fatigued by exile, to rejuvenate the broken spirit, so that when laymen come home after a hard day of work they can read this sefer and derive tremendous chizuk from all the great miracles Hashem has performed for His nation. For even though many kings and nations have stood up against us, they never succeeded in eliminating us.”
Harav Dovid was highly respected even among the non-Jews. He was well versed in the subjects of mathematics and astrology and even authored sefarim on the subjects of kiddush hachodesh and ibur hashana, called Nechmad Venaim and Maor Katan.
The sefer Tzemach Dovid was reprinted many times, and for many years was a primary source of Jewish historical information. In 5632/1892, Harav Yosef Yikusiel Kaufman reprinted it yet again and added a third part to the sefer, containing the historical events from the time of Harav Dovid’s petirah up to his times.
Harav Dovid was niftar on 8 Elul and buried in the old beit hachaim in Prague.
HaRav Avraham Shimshon HaKohen of Rashkov, zt”l, (5559 / 1799), was the only son of HaRav Yaakov Yosef of Polnoa, the Toldot Yaakov Yosef. He was one of the talmidim of the Besht that went to Eretz Yisrael, then moved back to chutz laAretz to take a position as Rav of Rashkov in 5502 / 1742; this was the city where his father served as Rav before moving to Polnoa. Then in 5520 / 1760, he moved back to Eretz Yisrael, first living in Teverya, later settling in Tzefat.
According to some sources, the Baal Shem Tov and HaRav Pinchas of Koritz participated in the wedding of Reb Avraham Shimshon, and the Baal Shem Tov said during the wedding that he saw that Reb Avraham Shimshon will move to Eretz Yisrael. Another source says that Reb Avraham Shimshon moved to Eretz Yisrael while still a bachur.
He did not have any children, and was buried in Teverya. He wrote a siddur based on the nusach of the Arizal. There are also some divrei Torah of the Baal Shem Tov and of his father, the Toldot Yaakov Yosef, not published elsewhere.
HaRav Yosef Yoel Deutsch, zt”l, (1858), Av Beit Din and first Rav of Kretchinef. He also served as Dayan in Tarnopol from 1832 to 1839, and Rav in Manistrich in Galicia from 1846. He authored Yad Yosef, a collection of 124 responsa on the four sections of Shulchan Aruch. His son, Rav Dovid Nosan Deutsch, wrote Nefesh Dovid.
HaRav Shlomo bar Yosef Karo, zt”l, (5564 / 1804 - 5649 / 1889). One of the Torah leaders of Yemen, the Chief Rabbi, a Posek and leader of the community. He was the son and student of Rav Yosef Karo (the author of Zivchei Elokim), and served as the Head of the Beit Din in Tzina’ah. In 1849 he was appointed to be the Head of the Beit Din and Chief Rabbi in his father’s place in Tzina’ah. Due to the great authority granted to him and the great influence that he wielded, he protected his community from the ruling powers that planned various evil decrees against the Jews.
HaRav Moshe Sofer, zt”l, (5677/1917), Rav of Tisafirer.
HaRav Alter Elyakim Shraga (ben Chaim Shimon) Shapira, zt”l, (5696 / 1936), Rav of Chernowitz and author of Shem MiShimon. (Others 5694 / 1934).
HaRav Moshe Sheinfeld, zt”l, (1935). He was known for his articles which appeared in Digleinu (the newspaper of Z.A.I. - Tze’irei Agudat Yisroel). He was famous (or perhaps infamous) for presenting seemingly irrefutable truths and arriving at troubling conclusions.
9 Elul 3802 - 42 C.E.:
Agrippa I dedicated the new gate of the wall around Yerushalayim / Jerusalem, The day is mentioned as a Yom Tov in Megillat Taanit.. (Others 7 Elul).
9 Elul 5027 - September 1, 1267:
The Ramban, (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman or Nachmanides, 1194-1270) arrived in Yerushalayim after being forced to flee his native Spain. He revived the Jewish community there, and the synagogue he established enjoyed continuous existence until 1948. It
is functional today, having been restored following the liberation of the Old City during the Six-Day War in 1967..
9 Elul 5109 - August 24, 1349:
The largest Jewish city in Germany was destroyed during the Black Death massacres.
6,000 Jews lost their lives in the city of Mainz, Hy"d.
9 Elul 5151 - 1391:
Jews of Gerona, Spain, were massacred, Hy"d.
9 Elul - 1592:
The Pope prohibited Jews from admitting Christians into shuls.
9 Elul 5414 - August 22, 1654:
Jacob Barsimson became the first Jewish settler in New Amsterdam (New York), and a few months later a group of 23 Jews arrived from Brazil. At first, Governor Peter Stuyvesant denied Jews the right to engage in trade, own real estate, serve in the military, and conduct public religious services. Barsimson, an observant Jew, filed an appeal to the Dutch West India Company, and succeeded in gaining equal rights for Jews. In one incident, Barsimson was summoned to court on Shabbat and courageously refused to appear. In a landmark decision that extended the limits of religious freedom, the court did not hold him accountable. Barsimson's Jewish pride and pioneering spirit paved the way for generations of Jewish immigrants yet to come.
9 Elul 5698 - Sept. 5, 1938:
Jewish teachers and students were barred from all Italian schools.
9 Elul 5701 - September 1, 1941:
Jews who were living in the German Reich were forced to wear the Judenstern
9 Elul Yahrtzeits
Birthday (2195 / 1566 BCE) and yahrtzeit (2320 / 1441 BCE) of Dan ben Yaakov Avinu. He was known for his alacrity and sharpness. His only son was Chushim, also known as Shocham, who was the one that killed Esav the wicked on the day of Yaakov’s burial. He is buried in Eshtaol. (Midrash Tadshe) (Others 8 Elul)
HaRav Yissochor Dov Kramer (Kremer) of Vilna, zt"l, (5567 / 1807), brother of the Vilna Gaon. (others 19 Elul).
Harav Yissachar Dov, born in 5488/1728, was the son of Rav Shlomo Zalman of Vilna. His brother, Rav Eliyahu, was the famous Gaon of Vilna. Rav Yissachar married the daughter of the gvir Reb Asher Ginzberg.
Rav Yissachar was known for his familiarity and expertise in all facets of Torah. He wrote Tzuf Devash, explaining the parshiyot of the Torah according to the deeper pshat and according to the rules of dikduk. He also wrote a commentary on sefer Shmuel and sefer Melachim, and explanations on the Gemara and on Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah.. Minei Targima is his analysis of the roots of words in Aramaic.
Rav Yissachar was niftar on 9 Elul 5567/1807 in Vilna, at the age of 79. He was buried in the old cemetery of Vilna in the same row as his brother the Gra.
HaRav Shimon Zarchi, zt”l, (5620 / 1860), author of She’eilot U’Teshuvot Nachlat Shimon.
HaRav Tzadok Hakohen Rabinowitz of Lublin, the Pri Tzaddik, zt”l, (5583 / 1823 - 5660 / 1900).
Harav Tzadok Hakohen was born on 22 Shevat 5583/1823. His parents were Harav Yaakov, the Rav of Kreisburg, Latvia and Rebbetzin Yuta, a descendant of the Shelah Hakadosh.
From his earliest years people predicted that he was destined for greatness. At a very young age he studied Gemara intensely, at times under the light of the moon, since his parents could not afford candles.
When he was six years old his father was niftar. He moved into the home of his father’s brother, Harav Yosef, author of Kapot Zahav, and when his uncle became Rav in Krinik, near Bialystok, the young Tzadok went with him. He was known later on as “the iluy of Krinik.” At 12 he was already answering she’eilot in halachah. At his bar mitzvah he delivered an intricate pilpul, astounding all the participants.
At 15 he became a son-in-law of a wealthy wine merchant, in whose home he continued to serve Hashem with growing fervor. (He eventually remarried twice.)
In 5600/1840, when he was 17, he completed Shas, as he mentioned in a letter. He wrote a number of sefarim in those years: Otzar Hamelech on Rambam, Meishiv Hataanah on ibur hashanah and Sefer HaZichronot.
His success brought down upon him the fury of some of the townspeople, who disseminated vicious, unfounded rumors about his household. Unfortunately, Harav Tzadok was forced to leave the home of his father-in-law and seek a heter meah rabbanim.
Due to this sad reality, he had to travel extensively and thus met many Rabbanim and Admorim. He was drawn closer to Chassidut and eventually became a close talmid of Harav Mordechai Yosef Leiner, the Beit Yaakov of Ishbitze, zt”l.
Rav Tzadok studied only the revelead aspects of Torah (halacha and Talmud) until he was 24. Beginning in 1847, he learned only kabbalistic teachings.
After the petirah of Harav Mordechai Yosef in 5614/1854, many Chassidim went to his son, while others chose Harav Yehudah Leib Eiger of Lublin as their Rebbe. Harav Tzadok became a devoted follower of Reb Leibele, traveling to him in Lublin. During that period Harav Tzadok lived in seclusion, devoting himself entirely to avodat Hashem.
In 5648/1888, after the petirah of Reb Leibele, Harav Tzadok was chosen by many Chassidim as their Rebbe.
At one point Harav Tzadok was offered the Rabbanut of Lublin, but he refused it. He devoted his life to writing his sefarim and serving Hashem.
Harav Tzadok eventually remarried and raised his Rebbetzin’s children. He eschewed all worldly pleasures, conducting himself with humility and kedushah. He would barely eat; in fact, he only ate at the daily siyum that he conducted. He did not accept any money from Chassidim other than that given to him at a pidyon haben, which was rightfully his by Torah law since he was a kohen.
Chassidim said that on Shabbat he looked entirely different than during the week, and that on Motzoei Shabbat he would have to be revived as he parted from his neshamah yeseirah.
Harav Tzadok led his Chassidim for nearly 13 years. In 5660/1900 he became considerably weakened. As he never had any children of his own, he asked his stepchildren to print his sefarim. He was niftar on 9 Elul and was buried in the ohel of his beloved Rebbe, Harav Yehudah Leib of Lublin.
Among the many sefarim he authored are Pri Tzaddik, Tzidkat HaTzaddik, Resisei Lailah and Takanat Hashavim. In his sefarim he records many chiddushim that were revealed to him in dreams.
Many of his manuscripts remain unpublished. Harav Tzadok’s sefarim are a precious legacy to Yidden from all walks of life who seek closeness to Hashem, since in them he covers the gamut of revealed and hidden aspects of the Torah. Besides writing numerous chidushim, he also wrote scholarly essays on astronomy, geometry, and algebra.
HaRav Aharon Menachem Mendel Gutterman of Radzimin, zt”l, (5694 / 1934).
HaRav Yonasan (ben Tzvi) Shteif (Steif), zt”l, (1877 - 5718 / 1958), Rav of Budapest and the Viener Rav in K’hal Adat Yere’im-Vien in New York after the War, author of Chadashim Gam Yeshanim.
Born in the shtetl of Gaya in what was then Moravia, Rav Yonasan was sent to Pressburg at the age of 11, to learn with the Shevet Sofer. Hs first rabbinical post was as Rav of Guta, where he also founded a small yeshiva. Five years later, he became dayan and Rosh Yeshiva in Ungvar.
When the Budapest Av Beit Din, Rav Yaakov Shalom Sofer, was niftar in 1923, Rav Yonasan was selected to replace him. His tenure lasted until 1944. His teshuvot numbered in the thousands, and were recorded in his Sheilot U’teshuvot Mahari Steif. His chidushim were published as Chaddashim Gam Yeshanim.
At Bergen-Belsen, he and the Satmar Rav became very close, often learning together (with no sefarim, of course) when they could. He escaped to Switzerland, but lost his only son, Tzvi Yehuda, and his grandson, Aaron Yitzchak. At the end of 1947, he emigrated to the United States and became Rav of the Viener kehilla.
HaRav Yitzchak (ben Yaakov) Friedman of Husyatin , zt”l, (5728 / 1968).
HaRav Nachum Mordechai Perlow, zt”l, of Novominsk, Poland, (5647 / 1887 - 5736 / 1976). Born in Novominsk, to HaRav Alter Yisrael Shimon (the Tiferet Ish) and grandson of R’ Yaakov, the first Novominsker Rebbe and author of the sefer Shufra D’Yaakov.
In 1916, he married Beila Rochma, the daughter of HaRav Yitzchak Zelig Morgenstern, the Sokolover Rebbe. The Sokolover Rebbe was one of the leading founders of Agudat Israel, as well as a Rosh Yeshiva. He was also a direct descendant of the Kotzker Dynasty, and he embodied the approach of Kotzk. Rav Nachum learned with his father-in-law for five years and later helped his father-in-law found the Yeshiva Beit Yisrael in Sokolov.
Reb Nachum Mordechai was given semichah by HaRav Eliezer Shalom, Rav of Piotrkov and HaRav Shmuel, Rav of Wengrob. He served as Rav in Sokolov, Poland, alongside his father-in-law.
In 5685 / 1925, Reb Nachum Mordechai moved to Eretz Yisrael, but, as he was unable to support himself there, was forced to return to Europe. He visited the United States in 5686-87 / 1926-27 to raise funds for the Sokolover yeshivah. While there, he was persuaded to remain by the Novominsker Chassidim who had arrived earlier, choosing to make his home and open his Beit Medrash in the Brooklyn.
Following the petirah of his father on 6 Tevet 5693 / 1933, Reb Nachum Mordechai became the Novominsker Rebbe of New York. He held court first on the Lower East Side and later in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where he attracted people from among both the Chassidic and the Lithuanian communities. It was said that his style of learning was similar to the Brisker derech halimud. Later on, he moved to Boro Park.
Reb Nachum Mordechai was active in Agudat Israel of America and other public bodies on behalf of American Jewry.
He was niftar on 9 Elul, 5736/1976, at the age of 89. He was succeeded by his son, HaRav Yaakov Perlow, shlita, the current Novominsker Rebbe and Rosh Agudat Israel of America.
Reb Nachum Mordechai’s divrei Torah were compiled under the name Pe’er Nachum on the Torah from assorted drashot.
Rebbetzin Sarah Grossbard, A’H, (2005), wife of Rav Nachum Abba Grossbard.
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10 Elu 1656 - 2105 B.C.E.:
As the Great Mabul / Flood neared its end, Noach opened the window of the Teiva / Ark and sent out a raven to determine if the flood waters had begun to recede. (Bereishit / Genesis 8:1, Rashi - according to Rav Eliezer)..
10 Elul 5444 - August 20, 1684:
After surviving a riotous attack, Jews of the ghetto in Buda, (the half of Budapest on the right bank of the Danube, which was joined with Pest on the left bank in 1873), Hungary, In gratitude to Hashem for being spared serious injury, the Jews declared the day as
10 Elul 5708 - September
The Israeli Supreme Court sat in session for the first time.
10 Elul 5751 - August
In the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, a 7-year-old black child was accidentally killed by a car driven by a chassidic Jew. Within hours, mobs of African American youths took to the streets, setting fires, smashing cars, looting stores, and chanting, "Get the Jews." Yankel Rosenbaum, a 29-year-old rabbinic student from Australia, was beaten and stabbed by a mob, and later died of his wounds. It took hundreds of police officers three full days to quell the riots. Lemrick Nelson Jr. was convicted for the killing of Rosenbaum, but an appellate court later reversed the decision on technical grounds. In Crown Heights, the incident has come to symbolize long-standing tensions between black and Jewish residents.
10 Elul Yahrtzeits
HaRav Menachem Nachum, zt”l, (5509 / 1749), the father of HaRav Chaim Sanzer of the Brodi Kloiz.
HaRav Pinchas Shapira of Koritz, zt”l, (5488 / 1728 - 5550 / 1790), author of Nofet Tzufim and Imrei Pinchas. He was the son of Rabbi Avraham Abba, and a descendant of Rav Nathan Shapiro, the author of Megaleh Amukot. He was one of the close students of the Baal Shem Tov zt’’l, but kept his independence in spiritual matters and did not adopt all of the customs of the Baal Shem Tov. The Baal Shem Tov once remarked of him, "A soul such as that of Reb Pinchas comes down to this world only once in 500 years." He was the leader of a large community of Chasidim in Meiropol, Koritz and Austra’ah. Many Admorim and Rabbanim were numbered among his students. In 1790 he intended to come to Eretz Yisrael, but he passed away on the way and was buried in Shipitovka. His Torah appears in the Seferim Midrash Pinchas and Nofet Tzufim. Recently his Torah has been collected in the Sefer Imrei Pinchas HaShalem.
(Others 5551 / 1791)
HaRav Yitzchak Friedman, zt”l, the first Rebbe of Bohush, (1834 - 5656 / 1896). The eldest grandchild of the Ruzhiner, Reb Yitzchak was only a year younger than the Ruzhiner’s youngest son, Reb Mordechai Shraga, and was cared for and educated by the Ruzhiner himself, regarded more as one of the Ruzhiner’s children than as his grandchild. Reb Yitzchak’s father, Reb Shalom Yosef, was the eldest of the Ruzhiner’s six sons. Reb Yitzchak was only 16 years old when his father passed away. For a few years he lived in the town of Potik with his uncle Reb Dovid Moshe of Chortkov. Later on, Reb Yitzchak moved to the town of Ezemal and then finally to Bohush in Romania, becoming known as the Bohusher Rebbe.
HaRav Yitzchak Yaakov Reines, zt”l, (1839-1915). Born in Karolin, Belarus, Rav Yitzchak Yaakov Reines studied at Volozhin Yeshiva under the Netziv. His first rabbinical position was in Saukenai, Lithuania, in 1867, followed by a position in Svencionys in 1869. In 1882 he founded a yeshiva with a curriculum that included secular subjects. From 1885 until his death, he headed a yeshiva in Lida (now in Belarus).
He was a member of the Chibbat Tzion movement from its inception. In 1893, Rav Shmuel Mohliver founded Mercaz Ruchani, or the “spiritual center.” Ten years later, when Rav Reines was looking for a good name for a religious Zionist movement, he adopted the name, “Mizrachi.” Rav Reines was one of the first rabbis to answer Herzl’s call to become part of the Zionist movement, and he attended the Third Zionist Congress in 1899. While most of his colleagues remained opposed to political Zionism, in 1902 Reines published a book, Or Chadash al Tzion which presents a call to a Zionist Judaism. The same year, he organized a conference of the religious Zionist movement in Vilna, where the Mizrachi movement was founded. He was recognized as the movement’s leader at its founding convention in Pressburg, Bratislava in 1904. In 1905, Reines accomplished his own personal dream, with the establishment of a yeshiva in Lida where both secular and religious subjects were taught. Rav Reines authored many sefarim including Sefer Ha-arachim and Edut beYaakov.(Others 9 Elul).
HaRav Gavriel Zev Margolis, zt”l (5695 / 1935).
Harav Gavriel Zev Margolis, or Rav Velvele as he was commonly known, was born in Vilna, Lithuania, on 27 Cheshvan 5608/1847. His father was Harav Yechiel Yitzchak, and he was a great-grandson of Harav Yechiel Halpern, the Seder Hadorot. As a young child he attended the yeshivah of Harav Yaakov Beirat of Vilna for three years, and then he went to the yeshivah in Volozhin headed by Harav Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin, the Netziv.
In 5626/1866 Reb Velvele married the daughter of Harav Nachum Kaplan, the famed Rebbe of the Chofetz Chaim, and they settled in their hometown of Vilna. In 5629/1869 he moved to Grodno, where he delivered daily shiurim in Gemara.
During his years in Grodno he was given semichah by Harav Yaakov Beirat. In his semichah Rav Beirat wrote, “He became great and greater still; unlike the greatness of students who succeed in their studies after five years, in a short time he surpassed his friends; they chased him but could not catch him, because his stomach was filled with Talmud and halachah.”
That same year he moved back to Vilna, where he assisted Harav Yehoshua Yitzchak of Slonim (Harav Eizele Charif) in the preparation and printing of his work on Talmud Yerushalmi, Noam Yerushalmi.
Upon the petirah of his father-in-law, he was invited to serve as Grodno’s Chief Rabbi. He held this position for close to 27 years.
As Chief Rabbi, Rav Margolis enjoyed a close relationship with Harav Yitzchak Elchanan Spector, and was active in Jewish community and world affairs.
Rav Margolis was initially a strong supporter of the Chovevei Zion movement and attended the second Zionist Congress in Basel in 1898. But as the leaders of the Zionist movement became increasingly anti-religious, he not only distanced himself from the movement but attacked it outright.
It was his involvement in world affairs that forced Rav Margolis to leave Europe for America. Among the Russian revolutionaries of 1905 were Jews who did not appreciate Rav Margolis’s constant public attacks denouncing them. As a result of harassment and death threats, in 5667/1907 he accepted the position of Chief Rabbi of Boston, Massachusetts.
Rav Margolis liked his congregants in Boston and praised them highly in the hakdamah to his sefer, Torat Gavriel.
Nevertheless, in 1911 Rav Margolis moved to New York City, accepting the position of spiritual leader of the Adat Yisrael Congregation (United Hebrew Community of New York). He held this position for the rest of his life.
In 1912, Rav Margolis established the Agudath haYehudim ha-Orthdoksim, which in 1920 became the Knesset Harabbanim ha-Orthdoksim d’America,and he served as its president.
Despite constant challenges, Rav Margolis established an elementary school with an enrollment of close to 200 children, and an old-age home.
Rav Margolis was niftar on 10 Elul 5695/1935, just a few months short of his 88th birthday. He was buried in the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Saint Albans, Queens. His levayah was attended by close to 4,000 people, many of them prominent Rabbanim.
Among his sefarim are Shem Olam, Torat Gavriel, Chruzei Margoliot, Agudat Eizov and Ginzei Margoliot on Esther, Shir Hashirim, Ruth, Kohelet and Eichah.
HaRav Moshe Yehudah Leib Friedman of Peshkan, zt”l, (5707 / 1947). Reb Moshe Yehudah Leib of Peshkan was born in Bohosh on Tu B'Shvat 5625 / 1865. He was the third son of the first Bohosher Rebbe, Reb Yitzchak, a great-grandson of Reb Yisrael of Ruzhin. His mother was Rebbetzin Sheina Rochel, daughter of Reb Dovid of Zablitov.
Educated by his father, Reb Moshe Yehudah Leib quickly grew into a person of stature. His extraordinary memory allowed him to progress quickly in his Torah studies.
Reb Moshe Yehudah Leib married his cousin Alta Nechama Gittel, daughter of his paternal uncle Reb Nachum Ber’enu of Sadigura.
Reb Moshe Yehudah Leib stayed in Sadigura for two years, after which he returned to his father’s home in Bohosh. After his father’s passing in 5656 / 1896, leadership of the Bohosh Chassidim was divided between Reb Yitzchak’s sons. Reb Yisrael Shalom Yosef took over the court in Bohosh, while the others accepted invitations from Bohosher Chassidim around Romania.
Reb Moshe Yehudah Leib accepted the Peshkan community’s request, in part because it was far from the other courts of Ruzhin, Stefanest and Bohosh.
Recognized as one of the greatest leaders of Romanian Jewry, his chassidim numbered in the thousands.
During World War II, the respect in which the non-Jews of Peshkan held the Rebbe was a salvation for many Jews. None of the Nazi decrees was carried out in Peshkan, and many Jews from other places found refuge at the Rebbe’s court. Even when the front reached Peshkan in 5704 / 1944, the Rebbe refused to move, and the Soviet officers who took control of the town were so awestruck by the Rebbe’s countenance that they dared not interfere with his affairs.
When the situation in Peshkan became intolerable, the Rebbe moved to Dorhoi, in eastern Moldova, whose non-Jews had all fled before the Soviets. The remaining inhabitants, Stefinester Chassidim, welcomed the Rebbe enthusiastically.
From Dorhoi, the Peshkaner Rebbe planned to emigrate to Eretz Yisrael. However, the tzarot of Klal Yisrael took a toll on his health. As he weakened, he called his sons and told them that if he did not reach Eretz Yisrael, they should return him to Bohosh to be buried with his fathers and grandfathers.
On 10 Elul 5707 / 1947, the yahrtzeit of his father, the Peshkaner Rebbe said Kaddish for his father at Maariv. Overnight his condition worsened, and in the morning, though his sons put his tallit and tefillin on him, he was too weak to say Kaddish and had to be returned to bed. Moments later his pure soul left him, as he was kissing the tefillin he still wore.
The Rebbe was buried alongside his father in Bohosh, as he had requested.
HaRav Yehuda Aryeh Perlow, zt”l, (1878-1961). Born in Novominsk, Poland, where his father, R’ Yaakov, was rav and Rebbe. When R’ Yaakov died in 1902, his chassidim divided their allegiance between his sons R’ Yehuda Aryeh and R’ Alter Yisrael Shimon. The former established his chassidic court in the town of Vlodova while the latter remained in Novominsk. In 1912, R’ Yehuda Aryeh assumed the additional positions of Rav and Av Beit Din of Vlodova, and he founded a yeshiva there. In 1922, he accepted the call from his chassidim who had settled in the United States, and he reestablished his court in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. R’ Perlow was among the founders of the Agudat Israel of America.
Yankel Rosenbaum, A'H, (5751 / 1991), a 29-year-old rabbinic student from Australia, beaten and stabbed by a mob in Crown Heights, and later died of his wounds, Hy"d, (see above).
HaRav Elimelech Ashkenazi, zt”l, the Melbourner Rav,(5772 / 2012),
Born in Budapest, Hungary, his father was HaRav Alexander Chaim Ashkenazi, nasi of Yeshivat Ohr Torah in Stanislav and later one of the founders of the Satmar mosdot in Yerushalayim.
According to family members, he was born on Erev Rosh Chodesh Nisan 5677/1917, and was thus 95 at his petira. Some sources indicate that he may have been older.
He spent his childhood years in Stanislav, basking in the presence of his paternal grandfather, HaRav Itzikel of Alesk, zy”a. HaRav Chaim Hager, the Antiniye Rebbe, whose court was also located in Stanislav, who would farher Elimelech, and derived much enjoyment from listening to the young talmid chacham.
At the age of 15 he joined the famed Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin, studying under HaRav Meir Shapiro, zt”l, and learned together with, ybl”c, Hagaon HaRav Shmuel Wosner, shlita, of Bnei Brak. The Rav, who was a powerful and eloquent speaker, would mention his Rebbe, HaRav Meir Shapiro, in nearly every public address he gave. At the yeshiva, Reb Elimelech forged an exceptionally close relationship with the famed mekubal, HaRav Shimon Zelichover, Hy”d. He later learned in Ungvar, at the yeshiva led by HaRav Avraham Yosef Greenwald, zt”l, the son of the Arugat Habosem.
The Rav, being a descendant of the Sar Shalom, the first Rebbe of Belz, had a close connection with the Belzer Rebbes. He was also very close to the Satmar Rebbe, HaRav Yoel Teitelbaum, zy”a.
In 5700/1940, Reb Elimelech emigrated to Eretz Yisrael, and shortly thereafter he married the daughter of HaRav Zalman Weber, zt”l, Rav of Frankfurt.
In Eretz Yisrael, he gave regular shiurim in the Satmar and Belzer batei medrash.
In 5717 / 1957 the Tchebiner Rav, zt”l, instructed Reb Elimelech to accept a position in rabbanut, and he subsequently became Rav in Sao Paulo, Brazil. After selflessly serving this kehilla with great devotion for 12 years, he accepted an offer to become Rav of Adat Yisrael in Melbourne, Australia.
Upon leaving Brazil, his son-in-law, HaRav Meir Avraham Illowitz, succeeded him as Rav of Sao Paulo.
Reb Elimelech served as Rav in Melbourne for 18 years, leaving a powerful and enduring impact. In 5747 / 1987 he moved to Seagate in Brooklyn, where he served as Rav of Khal Chavat Daat.
He was niftar on 10 Elul 5772/2012 at the age of 95, and his mittah was flown to Eretz Yisrael, where he was buried on Har Hazeitim, in Yerushalayim.
He merited leaving behind, ybl”c, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren who are continuing in his illustrious ways.
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11 Elul - 1477:
Tehillim / Psalms with Kimchi’s commentary was published for the first time in Bologna, Italy.
11 Elul 5302 - 1542:
Rav Yosef Karo finished writing the Beit Yosef, his famous commentary on the Arba Turim, Rav Yaakov Ben Asher’s comprehensive Halachic code, in the city of Tzefat, Israel. He started writing in 1522 in Adrianople, Turkey, and continued for the next twenty years, during which time he relocated to Tzefat. It took another ten years for the writings to be published.
11 Elul 5323 - 1563:
The Jewish community in Moravia was expelled.
11 Elul 5703 - September 11, 1943:
The ghettos of Minsk and Lida were liquidated, Hy"d.
11 Elul 5703 - September 11, 1943:
Jewish prisoners in the Theresienstadt camp in Czechoslovakia were deported
to the Auschwitz murder factory in Poland, Hy"d.
11 Elul 5710 - August 24, 1950:
Operation Magic Carpet, which secretly airlifted 45,000 Yemenite Jews to Eretz Yisrael, was successfully concluded. Many of the Jews had never before seen an airplane; they likened the ride to a fulfillment of the biblical verse, "And I bore you on eagles' wings" (Shmot / Exodus 19:4). According to tradition, Jews had lived in Yemen since the 7th century B.C.E. Upon arriving in Eretz Yisrael they were housed in tent camps; there was very little infrastructure and resources to accommodate them, as the Jewish population of Eretz Yisrael nearly doubled in its first three years. Yet within a short time, the immigrants had been absorbed into the fledging Israeli society.
11 Elul Yahrtzeits
HaRav Aharon Zelig of Zolkova, zt”l, (5500 / 1740), author of Amudei Sheish.
HaRav Shalom Yosef Friedman, zt”l, (5611 / 1851), son of Rav Yisrael of Ruzhin and brother of Rav Avraham Yaakov Friedman of Sadigerer .
HaRav Avraham Yaakov Friedman, zt”l, the Sadigerer Rebbe (5580 / 1820 - 5643 / 1883).
Rav Avraham Yaakov was born on 20 Cheshvan 5580 / 1820 (Others 1819). He was the second son of Harav Yisrael, the holy tzaddik of Ruzhin.
When Rav Avraham Yaakov became bar mitzvah, he married Rebbetzin Miriam, the daughter of Harav Aharon, the Beit Aharon of Karlin, zt”l.
Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin was niftar in Potok on 3 Cheshvan 5611 / 1851, and his six sons, including Harav Avraham Yaakov, continued leading their father’s myriad Chassidim. That year, on 11 Elul, the oldest son of the Ruzhiner, Harav Shalom Yosef, passed away.
Harav Avraham Yaakov was then called to lead a flock in Sadigura, where his father, Harav Yisrael, had previously resided. In Sadigura, he established a beit medrash to which thousands came. Rav Avraham Yaakov exercised immense influence on all aspects of Jewish life throughout Russia, Galicia and Poland.
Not long after he became Rebbe, Rav Avraham Yaakov was imprisoned by the Austrian authorities in the notorious dungeons of Chernovitz. When the Ruzhiner was niftar, the Russians had been confident that they had seen the end of Beit Ruzhin. Thus, when they realized that the Ruzhiner’s successor was proving himself both competent and beloved, they were furious and ready to do anything to get rid of him. So when the opportunity presented itself they grabbed it.
A Jewish forger of Russian banknotes was apprehended by the police. In his possession, they found a letter from the Rebbe blessing him in all his endeavors. Grasping this “golden opportunity,” the local maskilim got involved and testified that the Rebbe was the forger’s partner.
The Rebbe spent 15 months in a cell and was finally released with the help of many shtadlanim, among them Sir Moshe Montefiore, z”l.
His elder son, Rav Yitzchak (1849-1917), became the first Boyanner Rebbe. His younger son, Yisrael (1853-1907), succeeded him in Sadigora as the Rebbe of tens of thousands.
Many of Harav Avraham Yaakov’s divrei Torah are collected and printed in the sefer Ner Yisrael.
HaRav Yaakov Yehudah Levi, zt”l, (5649 / 1889), Rav in Yerushalayim.
Harav Yaakov Yehudah Levi was a son of Harav Avraham Levi and was the youngest brother of the famous Harav Nachum Shadiker.
In his early years, Reb Yaakov Leib, as he was fondly called, learned under Harav Yisrael Weingott, Rav of Kalisch.
He married the daughter of Harav Eliezer Auerbach, Rav of Sampolna, and served as Rav in Sleshin, Poland.
In 5604/1844, Reb Yaakov Leib moved to Eretz Yisrael with his brother, Reb Nachum, settling in Yerushalayim. They learned Kabbalah first from Harav Yehudah HaKohen and, after he was niftar, from Harav Refael Yedidyah Abulafia, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivat Hamekubalim Beit El in Yerushalayim.
Reb Yaakov Leib was known for his prishut; he would stay in the beit medrash and learn straight through from Shabbat to Shabbat. The family sent him food to eat, but he distributed it to the poor.
He was appointed Rav and Dayan in Yerushalayim, and was in charge of Kollel Polin Batei Warsaw for many years.
Reb Yaakov Leib wrote Bayit L’Avot on Pirkei Avot, with chiddushim from other members of his family printed at the end. Interestingly, in his hakdamah, Reb Yaakov Leib writes that his brother Reb Nachum said of him that the source of his neshamah was from someone called Akiva.
Reb Yaakov Leib was niftar at an advanced age on 11 Elul 5649/1889.
HaRav Zev Wolf Landau of Strikov, zt”l (5651 / 1891).
HaRav Gavriel Ze’ev Wolf (Velvel) Margolis, zt”l, (1847-1935). Born in Vilna, from age 14 to 17, he studied under R’ Yaakov Brit, one of the teachers of the Chafetz Chaim. In 1864, he married the daughter of R’ Nachumke of Horodna (Grodno). Beginning in 1876, R’ Margolis served as rabbi in several Lithuanian towns. In 1880, after the death of his father-in-law, he settled in Grodno where he taught for 27 years. In 1907, he was brought to Boston, Massachusetts as its Chief Rabbi. In 1912, R’ Margolis moved to Manhattan’s Lower East Side as rabbi of the Adat Yisrael congregation. R’ Margolis’ Torah commentary Torat Gavriel was published in the 1920s.
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12 Elul 4954 - 1194:
Birth of Ramban, (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman or Nachmanides, (1194-1270) -- Torah scholar, Kabbalist, philosopher, physician and Jewish leader -- in Gerona, Spain.
12 Elul - 1498:
Tomas de Torquemada, ym"s, the first Grand Inquisitor during the Spanish Inquisition, a man whom historians have compared to Hitler, died. His name has become synonymous with the Inquisition’s horror, religious bigotry, and cruel fanaticism.
12 Elul 5492 - September 2, 1732:
The Pope renews anti-Jewish restrictions on the Roman Jewish community.
12 Elul 5704 - August 31, 1944:
A special transport of 318 people (including Rav Yonasan Steif) left Bergen-Belsen to Switzerland.
12 Elul 5762 - August 20, 2002:
The UN World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Durban, South Africa was held, erupting in a festival of anti-Semitism.
12 Elul Yahrtzeits
12 Elul 5102 - 1342:
HaRav Shimon of Toledo, zt"l, son of the Rosh, (1342)
HaRav Simchah Bunim Bonihart of Peshischa, zt"l, author of Kol Simchah, (5527 / 1767 - 5587 / 1827). Harav Simchah Bunim was born in 5525/1765 in the city of Voidislav. His father, Harav Tzvi Hirsch, known as the Maggid of Voidislav, wrote several sefarim, including Asarah L’meah and Eretz Tzvi. His mother, Rebbetzin Sarah, was the daughter of Harav Betzalel of Zolkova, author of B’shem Betzalel on Pirkei Avot. Reb Bunim was born into a non-Chassidic family. In fact, it was against his father’s advice that he became attached to Chassidut.
. Rav Simcha Bunim studied in the yeshivot of Harav Yirmiyahu of Mattersdorf in Austria, and of Harav Mordechai Bennet of Nikolsburg.
After returning to Poland, he was drawn by Reb Moshe Leib Sassover, zy”a, (along with his Rebbe, the Yehudi Hakadosh) to Chassidut. He spent many years as a business man and a pharmacist, then became a follower of the Chozeh of Lublin, becoming one of his closest Chassidim. When the Yehudi Hakadosh moved to Peshischa and established his own court, Reb Simchah Bunim went with him, returning to his hometown.
After the Yehudi Hakadosh was niftar on 19 Tishrei 5574 / 1813, a contingent of his Chassidim came and asked Reb Simchah Bunim, his senior talmid, to become the next Rebbe in Peshischa.
Under Reb Simchah Bunim, the Chassidut of Peshischa blossomed. He attracted many of Poland’s major talmidei chachamim; he himself gave a daily shiur in Gemara and halachah to the leading lamdanim among his Chassidim.
The Rebbe Reb Bunim was literally a “Rebbe of Rebbes.” Many of Poland’s major Rebbes were talmidim of Reb Simchah Bunim. His top talmidim included Harav Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, Harav Yitzchak Meir of Ger (the Chiddushei Harim), Harav Yaakov Aryeh of Radzimin, Harav Chanoch Henoch of Aleksander, Harav Zusha of Plotzka, Harav Feivel of Gritza (forebear of today’s Aleksander Chassidut), Harav Yechiel Meir of Gostinin, Harav Mordechai Yosef of Izhbitze and many more.
Before his petirah, his Rebbetzin was crying. “Why are you crying?” he asked her. “All my life I tried to learn how to die, and now that it is finally coming, is this the time to cry?”
He was niftar on 12 Elul in Peshischa, and was buried there in the ohel of his Rebbe, the Yehudi Hakadosh. After his petirah his son Reb Avraham Moshe was appointed Rebbe in Peshischa.
His writings express the new approach to Chasidut which placed great emphasis on introspection and intense Torah study.
HaRav Moshe Elyakim Briyah Hopstein of Kozhnitz, zt"l, author of Be'er Moshe, (1757 - 5588 / 1828). He was the second son of Harav Yisrael, the Maggid of Kozhnitz, who was one of Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk's greatest talmidim.
Rav Moshe Elyakim’s first marriage was to a daughter of Rav Yehuda Leib HaKohen of Anipoli, a talmid of the Maggid of Mezritch and author of the sefer, Ohr HaGanuz. After the tragic passing of his first wife, Rav Moshe Elyakim married a daughter of Rav Elazar, the son of Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk.
In his early years he took pains to conceal his avodat Hashem. The Chassidim were not aware of his great level, so when his father was niftar in 1815, they wanted to appoint a son-in-law, Harav Avi Ezra Zelig of Grenitz, as his successor. However, when they asked the Chozeh of Lublin, he said that Reb Moshe Elyakim Briyah should become the new Rebbe. He said he learned this from a passuk: “Vayehi binso’a haaron, vayomer Moshe — As the aron [of his father, the Kozhnitzer Maggid] moved on, Moshe [a reference to Reb Moshe] said.”
After being appointed Rebbe, his true stature became evident. Great Rebbes attested to it, and among his Chassidim Rav Moshe Elyakim's followers included many well-known talmidei chachamim, and counted among them the young Chiddushei HaRim, founder of the Gerer dynasty.
The Maggid’s teachings were perpetuated by his famous talmidim, who included Rav Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov, Rav Yaakov Aryeh of Radzimin, Rav Naftali Tzvi of Ropshitz, Rav Shalom of Belz, Rav Yissachar Ber of Radoshitz, the Chiddushei HaRim and, of course, his son and successor, Rav Moshe Elyakim.
Reb Moshe Elyakim wrote many sefarim; the most famous is Be’er Moshe on the Torah (Be’er alluding to his name, Elyakim Briyah), Vayechal Moshe on Tehillim, Matteh Moshe on Haggadah shel Pesach, and Kohelet Moshe, also on the Torah.
Rav Moshe Elyakim was niftar on 12 Elul 5588/1828 and buried in the ohel in Kozhnitz near his father.
His son from his zivug sheini, Rav Elazar, was his successor as Rebbe in Kozhnitz.
From his zivug rishon he had a son named Rav Yissachar. His sons-in-law were Rav Yaakov Yoel, son of Rav Mordechai (son-in-law of the Ohev Yisrael of Apta); Harav Yosef Unger, the Dombrover Rebbe; Harav Shmuel Zanvil Bindiger of Bardiov, who later settled in Tzfat; Harav Yitzchak Shlomo Goldberg, Rebbe in Zelichov; and Harav Mordechai Zev Horowitz, a grandson of the Chozeh of Lublin.
HaRav Elazar Spira of Lancut, zt”l, (5625 / 1865). Author of Yodea Bina. Son of R’ Tzvi Elimelech, the Bnei Yisoschar.
HaRav Shalom Moshe Chai-Gagin, zt”l, (5643 / 1883), author of Same’ach Nefesh.
HaRav Tzvi Michal Shapira, zt”l, (5666 / 1906). Author of the Tzitz HaKodesh and Tikun Chatzot.
HaRav Avraham Aharon of Kolbosov, zt”l, (5670 / 1910).
HaRav Shraga Feivel Danziger of Radom, zt”l, (5674 / 1914).
HaRav Yisrael Abba Citron of Petach Tikvah, zt”l, (5687 / 1927).
HaRav Shmuel Tolwinski zt”l, (1914-2004). Born in Semyatitch, Poland, his grandfather was a close chassid of the Kotzker Rebbe. He learned at Kamenitz with Rav Baruch Ber Leibowitz, and later at the Mirrer Yeshiva. When he was only 15, he substituted as maggid shiur at Novardok, when an older rebbi took leave for a year. In the 1950s, he moved to Bnai Brak and learned at the Chazon Ish Kollel. He moved to Los Angeles, giving a popular gemara shiur for 30 years and teaching at Yeshiva Torat Emet. He lived his last few years in Monsey with his children.
HaRav Yitzchak Zelaznik, Rosh Yeshivat Me'or Eliyahu (year?)
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13 Elul 5455 - September 12, 1695:
The Jewish community of New York petitioned the governor for permission to worship publicly. Permission to exercise their faith openly was denied; because freedom of religion applied to Christians only.
13 Elul 5702 - August 26, 1942:
7,000 stateless Jews in the Vichy Free Zone of France were rounded up.
1,002 Jews were transferred from the Drancy Transit Camp in France to Auschwitz, Poland. Upon arrival, 937 of them were gassed, Hy"d.. Only 32 survived until liberation by the Soviets in 1945.
13 Elul 5702 - August 26, 1942:
The S.S. and Ukrainian police
murdered 6,000 Jews over three days in Kostopol, Poland.Hy"d.
13 Elul 5702 - August 26, 1942:
The Nazis closed all shuls and schools in the Kovno Ghetto.
13 Elul 5708 - September 17, 1948:
UN mediator for Palestine, Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte assasinated in Yerushalayim by "Lechi" fighters (Lechi - An acronym for Lochamei Cherut Yisrael (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel, or the Sten Gang). Lechi, whose 3-man center committee included Yitzchak Shamir, feared that the Israeli leadership would agree to Bernadotte's peace proposals, which they considered disastrous. They did not know that the Israeli leaders had already decided to reject Bernadotte's plans and take the military option. Noted for his negotiation of the
release of about 15,000 prisoners from German concentration camps during World War II, he succeeded in achieving a truce in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and laid the groundwork for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. The former included the provision of "the right of the Arab refugees to return to their homes in Jewish-controlled territory..." The so-called truce was enacted privately, and the secret was publicly exposed in October, only nine days before the U.S. presidential elections, causing President Truman great embarrassment. Truman reacted by making a strongly pro-Zionist declaration, which contributed to the defeat of the Bernadotte plan in the UN during the next two months.
13 Elul Yahrtzeits
HaRav Moshe Tziprish, zt”l, (5361 / 1601), author of Seder Gittin.
HaRav Yaakov Yokel Halevi Horowitz of Glona, zt”l, (5515 / 1755).
HaRav Yaakov Yisrael Twersky zt”l, (5636 / 1876), of Tcherkas (Czerkass), son of the Magid of Chernobyl and author of Emek Tefilla.
HaRav Yaakov Gesundheit, zt”l, (5576 / 1815 - 5638 / 1878), Rav of Warsaw and author of Tiferet Yaakov.
Harav Yaakov ben Yitzchak Gesundheit was born in Kislev 5576/1815, in Praga. His great potential was evident in his middot and his golden heart when he was still a young child. At the age of 10 he was already seen as a budding talmid chacham.
From ages 13 to 15, he learned under HaRav Aryeh Leib Tzintz, Rav of Praga. When he was all of 16 years old, Reb Yaakov began delivering his own daily shiurim. He married, and his father-in-law proudly supported him; by that time he was renowned as a clear and profound thinker in his derech halimud.
Reb Yaakov fell ill with a life-threatening and nearly always fatal sickness at age 18. Baruch Hashem, he was healed and, to show his appreciation for the miracle, Reb Yaakov took upon himself to write down all of his chiddushim and publish them.
The next year, at 19, Reb Yaakov began to write Tiferet Yaakov on Choshen Mishpat, which he published some four years later. In 5618 / 1858, his talmidim published Tiferet Yaakov on Masechet Gittin, an amazing work on the entire masechta, not missing even one Tosafot without a comment or a chiddush. He also published other volumes of Tiferet Yaakov, including one on masechet Chullin.
Reb Yaakov was also known for his deep understanding of the aggadot, which he elaborates on where mentioned in the Gemara.
Although he was known for his greatness in Torah, Reb Yaakov did not want to benefit financially from his Torah learning. He preferred to support himself, even though he was very much sought after by many leading kehillot which offered him the post of Rav. It was only after the petira of HaRav Dov Berish Meislish, Rav of Warsaw, that Reb Yaakov agreed to take up the position of Rav and succeed him. In his capacity as Rav of Warsaw, Reb Yaakov enacted many takanot and waged a war against those who tried to uproot traditional Yiddishkeit.
One of the interesting incidents during his tenure as Rav occurred before the year 5600/1839–40, when rumors spread throughout the Jewish nation that Moshiach was coming that year, based on the passuk, “The sound of the dove [tor — tav-resh] is heard in our land” (Shir Hashirim 2:12). At that time, Reb Yaakov, as Rav of Warsaw, ascended the bimah on Rosh Hashanah with a sefer Torah in his hands and swore that Moshiach would not come that year. He feared that people would once again go crazy as they had in 5408 / 1648, when it was prophesied that Moshiach would come.
What followed instead were the pogroms of the wicked Bogdan Chmielnicki, in 5408–09, 1648 and 1649, known as Tach V’Tat, and the episode of Shabsai Tzvi who filled the breach and gained many adherents.
He kept up a halachic correspondence with many of the generation’s other leading Gedolim, among them the Chiddushei Harim of Ger, HaRav Avraham of Tchenov and HaRav Simchah of Gumbin.
Unfortunately, Reb Yaakov did not merit to serve long as Rav of Warsaw; after only eight years as Rav, he was niftar, at the age of 72. He was buried in the section for Rabbanim that is situated near the entrance to the Warsaw Jewish cemetery.
HaRav Avraham Yissachar Dov Rabinowitz, zt”l, (1843 - 5652 / 1892), the Chesed L'Avraham of Radomsk. The second Rebbe of Radomsk, following his father, Rav Shlomo HaCohen Rabinowicz (1801-1866), the Tiferet Shlomo.
Harav Avraham Yissachar Dov Hakohen Rabinowitz was born on 22 Cheshvan 5604/1843. At the brit, the Tiferet Shlomo spoke about the lofty neshamah that had just entered the world.
Reb Avraham Yissachar learned nigleh and nistar under his father, to whom he was very attached.
On 29 Adar 5626/1866, when Reb Avraham Yissachar was just 22 years old, his world darkened with the petirah of his father and Rebbe. Despite his young age he succeeded his father as Rebbe, and many Chassidim traveled to his court in Radomsk.
In the early years Reb Avraham Yissachar didn’t speak often in public, but with time he began to deliver lengthy divrei Torah. He would quote from across the Torah spectrum.
Reb Avraham Yissachar led the Chassidim for 26 years with love and warmth. He was niftar on 13 Elul 5652/1892 at the age of 48 and was buried in the ohel of his father in Radomsk.
Reb Avraham Yissachar’s divrei Torah were published under the title Chessed L’Avraham.
His sons were Rav Yechezkel, the Knesset Yechezkel, his successor as Rebbe in Radomsk; Rav Nosson Nachum, Rebbe of Krimilov; Rav Shlomo of Elkush; Rav Moshe Elimelech; and Rav Yaakov Yosef of Klabotzk, the author of Emet L’Yaakov.
His sons-in-law were Rav Menachem Mendel Alter, Rav of Pavianitz; Rav Avraham Kalisch of Amshinov; and Harav Mordechai Menachem Kalisch of Otwotzk.
HaRav Yehoshua Tzvi Michel Shapiro, zt”l, (5666 / 1906), author of Tzitz Hakodesh.
HaRav Yosef Chaim (ben Eliyahu) of Baghdad zt"l (5592 / 1832 (3?4?5) - 5669 / 1909), (Others 1904), the renowned Sephardic Halachic authority and Kabbalist, popularly known as "Ben Ish Chai" after his work by that name. His parents had been childless for 10 years, and finally his mother made the long journey from Baghdad to Morocco to request a blessing from the renowned Rav Yaakov Abuchatziera, the Abir Yaakov. The sage blessed her that she would give birth to a child who would one day illuminate the eyes of Jews everywhere. Less than a year later, on 27 Av (or 13 Av) 5594/1834, she gave birth to Yosef Chaim, who grew up to become the famed Ben Ish Chai, one of the Torah leaders of Bavel (Iraq).
As a child, he spent most of his time studying in his father’s large library. (His father, Harav Eliyahu, was Rav of Baghdad, as was his grandfather, Rav Moshe Chaim).
When he returned home from the beit medrash, he would hide in the study and quietly immerse himself in his learning. Sometimes his family had no idea he’d come home.
At the age of 10, he left to study with his uncle, the tzaddik Rav Dovid Chai Nissim. (Rav Dovid later founded the famed Shoshanim LeDovid Yeshiva located in the Beit Yisrael section of Yerushalayim).
When he was 15 he went to learn in the yeshivah of Harav Ovadiah Somech, author of Zivchei Tzedek, where all the lamdanim of the time converged.
Already in his youth he was known as a Gaon.
Both his father and grandfather served as chief rabbi of Baghdad, and he inherited the position at age 25. When his father, Harav Eliyahu, was niftar at 52, the community mourned him deeply. The Shabbat afterward, Rav Yosef Chaim ascended the bimah and delivered an electrifying speech l’iluy nishmaso. The community realized his stature, and asked him to serve as their Rav.
The Ben Ish Chai’s unique ability lay in how he deftly explained Chazal with fascinating allegories to which his audience could easily relate, even those with limited Torah knowledge. Through his penetrating words he was able to bring many sinners to repent. His drashot were understood even by simpletons, so that anyone who heard them found solace and inspiration.
He became one of the greatest modern-day sages, and till today his rulings are followed religiously by Sephardic communities worldwide. He was also a poet, Lamdan (analytic thinker) and a public speaker. He enacted decrees in his Kehilla even though he held no official position. He was universally recognized as the leader of the Bavel community and left his impression on the customs of the wider Sephardic community. He served in the capacity of a Darshan (public speaker) all his life, filling the position of his father. He was known for his humility and his great regard for his fellow man. In Baghdad, he delivered a three-hour sermon every Shabbat, for 50 years. He wrote 120 works, the most famous is the “Ben Ish Chai” – on the parshiyot, interwoven with piskei halachah; which gained very wide circulation. He also authored the commentaries Rav Pealim, Od Yosef Chai, Aderet Eliyahu, Imrei Bina, Ben Yehoyada, which consists of several volumes on Aggadot of Shas, Benayahu on the Aggadot of Shas (of which only one volume was published; the rest remain in manuscript form), and many other works.
He wrote about 200 poems as well.
On 25 Nisan 5629 / 1869, the Ben Ish Chai left Iraq and journeyed to Eretz Yisrael together with his brother, Yechezkel. They traveled along unpaved roads until they reached Damascus on the 12th of Iyar.
The Ben Ish Chai returned to Iraq by way of Syria and arrived in Baghdad on Rosh Chodesh Elul of 5629 / 1869.
Eight days before he was niftar he made a trip to daven at the tziyun of Yechezkel Hanavi, in a village some distance from Baghdad.
On the way back, after three hours of traveling, he stopped to rest at a village called Getz, where he took ill. At dawn of his second day there, his holy neshamah departed. This was 13 Elul 5669 / 1909, 50 years to the day since his father’s petirah. He was deeply mourned, his funeral attended by over ten thousand people—Jews and non-Jews alike. Years after his death, Jews still made it practice to visit his gravesite in Baghdad every Friday.
(There is also a grave attributed to him on Har HaZeitim in Yerushalayim. See here and here.)
Rav Yosef Chaim's son, Rav Yaakov, succeeded him as rav and maggid of Baghdad. His main disciple was the kabbalist and tzaddik Rav Yehuda Moshe Petaya.
Ben Ish Chai Zt"l
HaRav Yerachmiel Moshe Hopstein, zt”l, of Kozhnitz (1860 - 5669 / 1909), The scion of a long line of Kozhnitzer Rebbes, beginning with the Kozhnitzer Maggid and through Rav Yechiel Yaakov, Rav Yerachmiel’s father. Harav Yerachmiel Moshe was born on 10 Elul 5620/1860 in Grodzhisk. Six years later, in 5626/1866, his father was niftar.
Initially, the young orphan was raised in the home of his grandfather, Harav Elimelech of Grodzhisk. Later, his mother married Harav Asher (the second) of Stolin. As a result, Reb Yerachmiel Moshe was brought up by the Beit Aharon of Karlin.
Reb Yerachmiel was engaged to be married at the age of 12, but the wedding was pushed off for two years, due to the untimely death of the Beit Aharon of Stolin and his son, Rav Asher. Two years later he married Rebbetzin Brachah Tzipporah Mirel Twersky, the daughter of Harav Mordechai of Loyev, a descendant of the Chernobyl dynasty.
The following year, 5635 / 1875, Rav Yerachmiel returned to Kozhnitz to lead his flock of Chasidim, a job he performed for 34 years.
Reb Yerachmiel Moshe’s middat ha’emet was so strong that he could not bear to use silver-plated objects. He would use brass, copper, steel, or any other pure metal, including solid silver.
He was renowned for his ahavat Yisrael; all money he received was given away to tzedakah. He also obligated all his Chassidim to donate to a dedicated fund on behalf of aniyei Eretz Yisrael.
Reb Yerachmiel Moshe used to retell sippurei tzaddikim, and the sefer Sifran shel Tzaddikim is based mainly on his talks and stories.
Reb Yerachmiel Moshe would play the violin every Motzoei Shabbat; later, he would play the oboe for the zemer of Eliyahu Hanavi. He also composed his own niggunim.
Reb Yerachmiel Moshe suffered from a debilitating kidney disease and was taken to the health spas in Krenitz, but seeing that there was no improvement, he asked to return to Kozhnitz.
In Kshanov, en route to Kozhnitz, Reb Yerachmiel Moshe was niftar on 13 Elul 5669/1909 at the age of 49. He was fully conscious until his petirah. He asked that his body be washed. When that was done, he asked if he was totally clean. After he received an affirmative answer, his neshamah left his body.
With much trouble, his mittah was transferred to Kozhnitz, a good part of the way by foot. He was buried in Kozhnitz, in the ohel of his holy forefathers the Kozhnitzer Rebbes.
HaRav Avraham Fish, zt”l, (1998).
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14 Elul 5403 - September 1, 1643:
Oldest existing ketuba written in the Western Hemisphere, (Yitzchak and Yehudit).
14 Elul 5489 - September 8, 1729:
Congregation Shearith Israel laid a foundation stone in lower Manhattan for the first structure ever designed and built as a synagogue in continental North America. At the time, New York had the only Jewish community in the country; it would be some two decades later before organized Jewish settlement began in Philadelphia, Lancaster and Charleston. Shearith Israel was the only Jewish congregation in New York City from 1654 until 1825, having been founded by Brazilian Jews of Spanish and Portuguese origin. Governor Peter Stuyvesant, known for his anti-Semitic views, had initially denied Jews the right to worship in a public gathering; these Jews fought for their rights and won permission. Today, Shearith Israel occupies a grand structure at 70th Street and Central Park West.
Elul 5694 - August 25, 1934:
First ship, the Vallos, with "illegal" immigrants broke through the British blockade of Eretz Yisroel. The boat arrived off the coast of Palestine on August 25, and the passengers disembarked with the help of the Haganah, who received special permission to assist them.
14 Elul 5700 - September 17, 1940:
The Nazis, ym"s, decreed that Jews had no rights to own property, either movable or immovable.
14 Elul 5701 - September 6, 1941:
The Jews were forbidden to leave either of the two ghettos in Vilna, Poland.
14 Elul 5701 - September 6, 1941:
The Nazis murdered 1,668 Jews in Radomysk, Poland. Hy"d.
14 Elul Yahrtzeits
HaRav Yitzchak Gotinyu of Izmir, Turkey, zt”l, (5560 / 1800), author of Beit Yitzchak.
Harav Yitzchak Gotinyu was the son of Harav Elyakim, who was the author of Toafot Re’em, a commentary on the Mizrachi, by Harav Eliyahu Mizrachi. He also wrote Agurah Be’ohalecha, his halachic responsa, and Yitzchak Yeranen, on the Rambam.
Rav Yitzchak was one of the foremost Rabbanim in Izmir, Turkey, and was held in greatest respect by the entire community.
One of his closest talmidim was Harav Chaim Palagi, who quotes his Rebbe often in his sefarim, and rules in accordance with his psak halachah.
Rav Yitzchak wrote Beit Yitzchak, chiddushim on the Rambam; and Beit Moed, chiddushim on masechtot Moed Katan and Makkot.
Rav Yitzchak was niftar on 14 Elul 5560/1800, and was buried in Izmir, Turkey.
HaRav Yosef Yoska Ashkenazy, zt”l, (5627 / 1867). Son of HaRav Yisrael Ashkenazi, author of Halacha Adam M’Yisrael, his chiddushim on masechtot Brachot, Shabbat, Eruvin, Pesachim and Rosh Hashana. Reb Yisrael served as Rav in Zlavin and in Lokatch.
He was a grandson of HaRav Avraham Abele of Ludmir and Brobshov, who in turn was a grandson of HaRav Meir Zak, the Rav of Lvov (Lemberg).
He married the daughter of Rav Shmuel, Rav in Tchortkov and Zhvallin.
Reb Yosef Yoska was Rav in Fudamkin, near Brod. He was the author of Ohel Yosef on masechtot Brachot, Eruvin, Pesachim, Yoma, Sukka and Beitza. His son Rav Yitzchak Yaakov, Rav in Poritzen, published the sefer with an appendix of his own chiddushim.
HaRav Yaakov Malul, zt”l, (5688 / 1928). Rav and Av Beit Din in of Vezan.
HaRav Nachum Yehoshua Patcnick, Hy”d, (5702 / 1942), Rav of Dombrowica.
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15 Elul - 1391:
The Jews of Palma were massacred.
15 Elul 5445 - September 14, 1685:
The Jews of New York Colony were denied the right to worship publicly because freedom of religion applied to Christians only. 44 years later - almost to the day - the foundation was laid for the first shul in New York (and all of North America. -
see 14 Elul above.
15 Elul 5587 - September 7, 1827:
Russia, under the fanatically anti-Semitic Czar Nicholas I, decreed the forced 25 year draft of Jewish boys from the age of 12. Subsequently known as the"Cantonists,"
these boys were kidnapped from their parents' home, and tortured repeatedly with the implication that conditions would improve if they'd accept Christianity. (Many died of their wounds.) The boys were indoctrinated in military prep school until age 18, and thereafter served 25 years in the army. The authorities saw it as a corrective, forced assimilation of stubborn Jews into Russian society, and as a way to undermine the authority of Jewish communal leaders. Durjng this horrible period, some 50,000 young boys were snatched away from Yiddishkeit, and most never returned to the families they had left at age 12, forever lost to our people. The policy was abolished in 1855, with the death of Nicholas on Purim.
15 Elul 5690 - September 8, 1930:
At the beginning of the New York City school year, Hebrew was introduced as a subject in some New York City public schools.
15 Elul 5738 - September 17, 1978:
The Begin-Sadat-Carter Camp David talks concluded.- with Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signing the Camp David agreement giving back all the Sinai to Egypt.
15 Elul Yahrtzeits
HaRav Moshe Alshakar, zt”l, (5302 / 1542 or 5295 / 1535), author of Shu’t (Responsa) Maharam Alshakar and Geon Yaakov.
HaRav Yosef Kovo, zt”l, (5487 / 1727), Rav in Salonika, Greece.
HaRav Akiva Eiger (the first), zt”l, (5518 / 1758), author of Mishnat Reb Akiva.
HaRav Yaakov Koppel (ben Nechemyah Feivel) Chassid, zt”l, (5547 / 1787).
Chazzan of the Baal Shem Tov and founder of the Kosov and Vizhnitz dynasties.
Harav Yaakov Kopel was born in Kolomaya, Ukraine to Harav Nechemia Feivel of Kolomaya, a descendant of Rabbeinu Ovadia of Bartenura. He was able to trace his family tree back to the Baalei Tosfot of Provence and beyond, to Dovid HaMelech.
When he married his cousin, the daughter of his father’s brother, Harav Zalman, he became attached to the Baal Shem Tov.
His was commonly known as “Chassid,” derived from the fact that he was a follower of the Baal Shem Tov.
Even before he drew close to Chassidut, Reb Yaakov Koppel, as he was known, was recognized for his intense hislahavut. He would welcome Shabbat with remarkable dveikut, singing and dancing in honor of the day. According to chassidic lore, when the Baal Shem Tov was once in Kolomaya he sensed a great spiritual light in the city. Discovering that this was Reb Yaakov Koppel’s essence, the Baal Shem Tov drew him close to his circle.
After becoming one of the Besht’s close disciples, he was chosen as the baal tefillah in the Baal Shem Tov’s beit medrash. His unique, soul-stirring and inspiring nusach remains the mesorah in Vizhnitz Chassidut to this day.
Reb Yaakov Kopel was commonly called “Shivisinik,” attributed to the fact that he constantly recited the words “Shivisi Hashem l’negdi tamid.”
He lived in Kolomaya, where he built a beit medrash and mikveh with his own money. He earned a living through various trades. Later, he moved to Mezhibuzh, where he served as baal tefillah.
Eventually, he moved to Stiminitz for many years until he was niftar.
Reb Yaakov Kopel continued as a baal tefillah even after the Baal Shem Tov’s histalkut, and whenever he was in Mezhibuzh he would daven before the amud, inspiring the mispallelim to increased closeness to Hashem.
According to the mesorah, the Baal Shem Tov “granted” the area of Marmorosh (Romania) to Reb Yaakov Kopel and his descendants. Indeed, the flourishing Chassidut of Kossov-Vizhnitz was based in Marmorosh and had tremendous influence on Torah Jewry.
When the government mandated that every household adopt a last name, Reb Yaakov Kopel chose the name Hager, based on the passuk “Ger anochi ba’aretz.”
Harav Menachem Mendel Hager of Kossov was a son of Harav Yaakov Kopel, whose grandson, Harav Menachem Mendel of Vizhnitz, founded the esteemed Vizhnitz dynasty. His son-in-law was Harav Uri of Strelisk, zy”a.
His most famous work, Shaar Gan Eden, was printed posthumously in 1854. He also wrote a kabbalistic commentary on the Siddur Kol Yaakov, printed in 1859, based on the nusach of the Arizal, and a kabbalistic commentary on the Haggada. Some of his Torah ideas are quoted by his son, Rav Menachem Mendel of Kosov, in his sefer, Ahavat Shalom.
HaRav Meir Horowitz of Lebertov, zt”l, (5601 / 1841).
HaRav Chanoch Henich Eiges of Vilna, Hy”d, (5624 / 1864 - 5701 / 1941), the Marcheshet. Born in 5624/1864 in Raissen to HaRav Simchah Reuven Eidelman (Reb Simchah Reuven used a different last name, probably due to fear of being drafted into the Russian army), known as Sar ben Chayal Ha’adulami, by the roshei teivot of his name (Sar, Simchah Reuven) and his father’s name (Chayal, Chaim Yehudah Leib).
In his youth, Reb Chanoch Henich learned in Raissen under HaRav Alexander Moshe Lapidus, author of the mussar classic Divrei Emet. A masmid, the young talmid sat for hours on end in the beit medrash.
From there Reb Chanoch Henich went on to learn in Brisk, where he was close with HaRav Yosef Dov, a relative.
Later Reb Chanoch Henich learned in Kovna.
Once when the Rav of Kovno, HaRav Yitzchak Elchanan Spector, came into the beit medrash, he saw this bachur learning diligently. When HaRav Shmuel Zibertenski (Lubatcher), a Dayan in Vilna, asked Reb Yitzchak Elchanan to suggest a fitting chassan for his granddaughter, Reb Yitzchak Elchanan chose Reb Chanoch Henich.
After the petira of Reb Shmuel Zibertenski in 5658 / 1898, Reb Chanoch Henich became a Rav in Vilna, and he held the position for more than 40 years.
Reb Chanoch Henich made his name in the Torah world with the printing of his grandfather’s sefer, Olat Shmuel, in 5661/1901, adding his own drashot as an appendix to the sefer.
In 5666 / 1906, with the petira of HaRav Shlomo Hakohen, the elderly Rav of Vilna, Reb Chanoch Heinich and HaRav Chaim Ozer Grodzinski were the acknowledged leaders of the Torah community of Vilna.
During World War I, Reb Chaim Ozer was forced to flee Vilna, but Reb Chanoch Henich remained. Many bachurim from neighboring yeshivot found refuge in Vilna, and Reb Chanoch Henich said a shiur for them every week.
Reb Chanoch Henich was close with the Gedolim of his time, especially the Chofetz Chaim. He was given a kibbud at the brit of a grandson of the Chofetz Chaim.
Initially, Reb Chanoch Henich leaned towards the Mizrachi movement, but in 5689 / 1929, when members of Mizrachi insulted HaRav Chaim Ozer Grodzinski by attempting to install one of their own as Rav of Vilna, Reb Chanoch Henich officially announced that he was separating from them. (HaRav Aharon Rabinowitz, Rav of Lida, left the Mizrachi for the same reason.)
In 5691 / 1931, Reb Chanoch Henich printed the first volume of his work, the Marcheshet. It was a two-part sefer of teshuvot in halacha and chiddushim on the Shas. These sefarim made him famous in the yeshivah world; as they became standard learning material in the yeshivot. In 5695 / 1935 he published the second volume.
After the petira of Reb Chaim Ozer in Av 5700 / 1940, Reb Chanoch Henich was considered by many of the bnei Torah the senior Rav and Torah leader. He was killed al Kiddush Hashem, on 15 Elul 5701 / 1941, HY"D.
HaRav Avraham Yaakov Horowitz of Provizna, zt”l, (5702 / 1942), author of Tzur Yaakov.
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16 Elul 5663 - September 8, 1903:
The "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a forgery purporting to be the conspiratorial discussions of Jewish leaders plotting to take over the world, appeared for the first time as a serial in the Russian newspaper, Znamia. "Protocols" gained popularity in anti-Semitic circles, and it was -- next to the Bible -- the best-selling book in the world during the 1920s. In the United States, Henry Ford sponsored its publication. "Protocols" became a mainstay of Nazi propaganda, and in "Mein Kampf" Hitler presents it as proof of the alleged "Jewish conspiracy." for which the persecution of Jews is necessary as self-defense. Over the years, dozens of scholars have proved "Protocols" to be a forgery; it was most likely written by a spy working for the Russian secret police. In recent years, "Protocols" has been widely distributed in the Arab Muslim world.
16 Elul 5699 - August 31, 1939:
· Hitler issued Directive no. 1, ordering the attack on Poland to begin at dawn the following day.
16 Elul 5700 - September 19, 1940:
The Nazis, ym"s, issued a decree forbidding non-Jews to work for Jews.
16 Elul 5701 - September 8, 1941:
The entire Jewish community in Meretsch, Lithuania, massacred by the Nazis, Hy"d. .
16 Elul 5705 - August 25, 1945:
Jewish immigrants who had previously been exiled to Mauritius by the British as "illegals" were finally admitted into Eretz
16 Elul 5765 - September 20, 2005:
Passing of Simon Wiesenthal, famed Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter (1909-2005).
16 Elul Yahrtzeits
HaRav Yitzchak HaKohain Shapiro, zt”l, (5342 / 1582), Father-in-law of the Maharam of Lublin.
Harav Avraham Naftali Tzvi of Vermeiza (Worms), zt”l, (5472 / 1712).
Harav Tzvi Dishkis of Opotshna, zt”l, (5615 / 1855).
Harav Masoud Yonah Edre’ei, known as the Tzaddik of Rosh Pina, zt”l, (5728 / 1968).
He was born in 5674/1914 in the city of Deganah in Morocco. As a young bachur he moved to Marrakesh, where he learned with hasmadah in the local yeshivah.
Rav Masoud served as a Rav, mohel and sofer.
He was actively involved in the dissemination of Torah and gave brachot and help to whoever came to him. He delved into Kabbalah beginning in his youth and became known as a poel yeshuot.
In 5710 / 1950 Rav Masoud moved to Eretz Yisrael and settled in Rosh Pinah.
He was highly respected there and across the entire country. He wrote Sfat Emet, a compilation of chiddushim and remazim on the Torah and Nach, and drashot on a wide array of topics.
Rav Masoud was niftar on 16 Elul 5728/1968 at the age of 54 and buried on Har Hamenuchot in Yerushalayim.
HaRav Yechi Shnior, zt"l, (5754 / 1994). He was a talmid of the Baba Sali.
Harav Avraham Avigdor Nachum Landau, the Strikover Rebbe of Bnei Brak , zt”l, (5677 / 1917 - 5761 / 2001). He was born 11 Shevat 5677 / 1917 in Kinov, in the Ostrovtze region of Poland. His father, Harav Yaakov Yitzchak Dan, Hy”d, who served as rav of the city, was the son of Harav Elimelech Menachem Mendel of Strikov, zt”l. Reb Avraham, as he was called, was raised by his grandfather. He was a child prodigy who studied under leading Polish talmidei chachamim.
After becoming bar mitzvah, he entered Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin and was a prime talmid of Harav Meir Shapiro, the Kaziglover Rav and Harav Shimon of Zelichov. There he grew in stature in Torah, avodah and middot.
When the Second World War broke out, he was at his parents’ home and he fled with his father to Lodz, from which the family fled to Warsaw, and from there, at the directive of his father, Avraham fled to Baranowitz. A week after his arrival in Baranowitz he fled to Vilna, during Chanukah 1939. There, he began to study under the Griz (Rav Velvel Soloveitchik) of Brisk.
In 1946, he married the daughter of Harav Meir Wydislavski, a great-granddaughter of the Chiddushei Harim of Gur. After their marriage he learned that of all his family, only he and a sister remained alive from the entire Strikover dynasty, while their parents and eight of their siblings perished, Hy”d.
He used to say that everything in Eicha about the slaughter and suffering of Yidden happened in World War II.
He eventually arrived in Eretz Yisrael and settled in Yerushalayim, where he found an apartment near the Tchebiner Rav, to whom he was close. He also grew close to and became a faithful talmid of the Brisker Rav, Harav Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik, zt”l.
It took many years for Reb Avraham to recover sufficiently from his losses in World War II to be able to undertake the rebuilding of Strikover Chassidut. When the time came, he moved to Tel Aviv and built a beit medrash, but did not establish a court. Instead, he founded an elite kollel.
In 5744 / 1984 he moved to Bnei Brak, where he re-established his beit medrash and founded Yeshivat Strikov. He was sought after by talmidei chachamim as well as by suffering, downtrodden Yidden, all of whom valued his erudite learning, his sage advice and his welcoming, listening ear.
Reb Avraham was one of the rare Gedolim acclaimed equally by the world of Chassidut and the Litvishe yeshivah world. For two generations he was revered as one of the illustrious disseminators of Brisker Torah, while leading chassidim respected him as a brilliant scion of the Strikov dynasty.
The Strikover Rebbe’s humility was extraordinary; he simply could not bear any kavod at all. He never had a meshamesh — he opened his front door himself and answered his own telephone. For most of his life, he wore a regular suit instead of the usual rabbinical garb (kapota). He would even remove his rabbinical hat in public places so as not to stand out. When he moved to Bnei Brak, he would often be seen helping children cross the street, and would even cross back several times if he noticed more children who needed help.
For dozens of years he traveled by bus, refusing to allow anyone to drive him. Even in his later years, he would insist on taking the bus from Bnei Brak to Yerushalayim. When a chassid objected that buses were not respectable enough, the Rebbe rejoined with humor that, measuring by the size of his vehicle (a bus), he must be the greatest Rebbe around.
When the Rebbe did accept a ride, he would travel only at the driver’s convenience. When he lived in Tel Aviv, he was driven by a chassid who worked in Tel Aviv and lived in Bnei Brak, but he would never tell the chassid when he needed a ride. He would only agree to be picked up on the chassid’s way home from work, giving no information that might lead to extra effort on the chassid’s part.
The Strikover Rebbe was niftar on 16 Elul 5761 / 2001.
17 Elul 1656 - 2105 B.C.E.:
A week after releasing the raven, (see 10 Elul), Noach opened the window of the teivah / ark and dispatched the dove to see if the great Mabul / Flood that covered the earth had abated. "But the dove found no resting place for the sole of its foot" and returned to the teivah. Noach waited seven days before making another attempt. (date according to Rab' Eliezer).
The 10 Meraglim (spies) died.
Today is a Yom Tov cited in Megillat Taanit, commemorating the removal of the Romans who instituted burdensome taxes on the Jews.
17 Elul - 66 C.E.:
2000 Jews of Caesarea murdered by the local population at the instigation of
the Romans, Hy'd.
17 Elul - 1255:
The discovery of the body of a Christian child led to a ritual blood libel and the hanging of many prominent Jews of England, Hy"d.
.17 Elul 5666 - September 7, 1906:
Pogrom in Shedlitz, Russia.
17 Elul 5695 - September 15, 1935:
Nazi Germany passed the anti-Semitic Nuremberg laws, a set of racist policies directed primarily against Jews. The Nazis blamed the Jews for poverty, unemployment, and the loss of World War I. Jews were banned from any professional jobs and Jewish stores were boycotted. Anyone with even one Jewish grandparent was stripped of German citizenship, with no basic rights. Within 10 years, the Nazi genocidal machine had swept through eastern Europe, leaving six million Jews murdered, Hy"d.
17 Elul 5699 - September 1, 1939:
Germany attacked Poland, initiating World War ll, which resulted in the murder of over six million Jews, Hy"d, and the redistribution of the Jewish population all over the world, with many Jews eventually reaching Eretz Yisrael.
17 Elul 5702 - August 30, 1942:
The elderly and the infirm of the Lodz Ghetto in Poland were murdered over the
course of seven days, Hy"d
·17 Elul 5764 - September 3, 2004:
The three-day hostage siege at a school in Beslan, Russia, ended in bloody chaos after Chechen terrorists set off bombs as Russian commandos stormed the building. More than 330 people - including 186 children - were killed.
17 Elul Yahrtzeits
HaRav Chaim Benveniste, zt"l, (1603 [or 1599]-5433 / 1673). A disciple of Rav Yosef Trani. Born in Constantinople, he was appointed Rav of Tita (near Izmir) in 1644. In 1658, he was appointed one of the rabbis of Izmir (Smyrna); he eventually became Chief Rabbi there in the 1660s. He became an adherent of Shabtai Tzvi (1665-67) but subsequently repented. He authored Kenesset HaGedolah, a digest of halachic material from the time of Rav Yosef Karo until his own time. (Others 19 Elul).
HaRav Nosson Nota Shapiro, zt”l, (5412 / 1752), the Maggid of Lublin.
HaRav Yosef Yoska of Dubno, zt"l, (5560 / 1800), author of Yesod Yosef, an encyclopedic work on mussar, drawing heavily on the Zohar. A student of the Maggid of Mezritch.
HaRav Yosef of Ostilla, zt”l, (5604 / 1844, Others 5590 / 1830), son of HaRav Mordechai of Neshchiz. (Others 2 Elul). (See 2 Elul for more).
HaRav Chaim Shmuel HaCohen Konverti, zt”l, (1810 - 5633 / 1873), native of Italy. In 1827 he immigrated to the holy city of Teverye / Tiberias and was among its greatest scholars. Following the destruction of the Galilee in the 1837 earthquake, he was sent as a rabbinical emissary to cities in Turkey and Italy in order to raise money for “Rabbi Meir Ba’al HaNes” fund in Teverye. On these journeys his reputation as a Torah scholar became known to scholars of the Diaspora who cite sayings from him in many of their books. Upon his return to Teverye in 1845, he was appointed as Rav of the city in place of the Ga’on Rav Chaim Nissim Abulafia who relocated to Yerushalayim. He occupied this honorable position for over thirty years in which he made great efforts for the preservation of Halachah and strengthening of the economic state of the city residents.
Harav Dovid Dov Ber Taub, zt”l, ( c. 5587 / 1827 - 5659 / 1899), Rav of Dabrizinsk, author of Binyan David.
Harav Dovid Dov Ber Taub, born c. 5587/1827, was the son of Rav Binyamin Zev.
When he was still a young boy, he became known for his dedication to learning and his yirat Shamayim.
It is told that when Reb Dovid Dov was just nine years old, Harav Yitzchak of Vorka paid a visit to Zaloshin. The young Dovid, wishing to see the Rebbe’s holy countenance during the davening (the Vorka Rebbe would cover his head with his tallit), crawled under the table and peeked up through the tallit to see the Rebbe’s face. He related that he also saw the Rebbe’s limbs knocking against each other, in awe of Hashem.
Reb Dovid Dov married the daughter of Harav Meir, son-in-law of Harav Moshe of Zaloshin, the Mishpat Tzedek.
Unwilling to be supported for learning Torah, he tried his hand at business. But seemingly it wasn’t meant to be; he was asked to serve on the beit din in Zaloshin, as the city was short one of the three Dayanim required for a beit din.
In 5615 / 1855, Reb Dovid Dov was appointed Rav in Shadek.
Later, in 5620/1860, he became Rav in Neustadt, where he led the kehilla and also headed a large yeshiva.
In 5635 / 1875, Reb Dovid Dov was appointed Rav in the city of Dabrizinsk, on the border between Poland and Germany. There, too, he founded a yeshiva, which attracted many bachurim.
Reb Dovid Dov was a chassid of the first Vorka Rebbe, and after his petira, of his son, Harav Menachem Mendel of Vorka. Following the petira of Harav Menachem Mendel, Reb David Dov traveled to Harav Dov Berish of Biala, and after his petira, he traveled to Harav Yechiel, the Alter Rebbe of Aleksander.
Chiddushei Torah of Reb David Dov on many masechtot of Shas and Shulchan Aruch were published as Binyan David. Many of his manuscripts were burned, however, which greatly distressed Reb David Dov.
Reb David Dov was niftar on 17 Elul 5659/1899 and buried in Dabrizinsk.
HaRav Yakov Koppel (ben Avraham Yechezkel) Reich, zt”l, (1838 or 9 - 5689 / 1929), Rav of Budapest. Born in the city of Verboi. His father, Harav Avraham Yechezkel, the Rav of the city, was the son of Rav Yaakov Koppel Charif, author of Sefer Yaavatz on Chulin.
Rav Yaakov Koppel learned first from his father; later, he attended the esteemed Pressburg Yeshivah, where he learned under under the Ketav Sofer. He also learned in Grossvardein under Rav Yitzchak Aharon Landesberg.
Rav Yaakov Koppel married the daughter of Harav Yisrael Shveir, who was Rav in Sobotitch. When his father-in-law was niftar in 5620/1860, he succeeded him as Rav.
In 5632 / 1872, he was appointed Rav in Verboi, his native city; and then, in 5650 / 1890, he became Rav of the frum community in Budapest, Hungary’s capital, home to a large and prestigious Jewish kehillah.
Rav Yaakov Koppel was known as a great lamdan and as an inspiring, riveting speaker. He was respected by all, including the gentiles. In fact, the Hungarian government bestowed on him the official title of “adviser to the government.”
Rav Yaakov Koppel founded many batei medrash in Budapest, dealt with a wide array of communal problems and fought for the sanctity of Hashem’s name.
Rav Yaakov Koppel merited longevity, which was quite rare in those days. He passed away at the age of 91 and was buried in Budapest.
Unfortunately, none of the chiddushei Torah of Rav Yaakov Koppel were published, aside from some small items in his son-in-law’s sefer, Ateret Paz.
His son-in-law was Harav Mordechai Efraim Sofer-Zusman, who served as Dayan under his shver. After Rav Yaakov Koppel’stpetirah, he unofficially succeeded him as Rav of Budapest.
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18 Elul 3620 - 141 B.C.E.:
Shimon the Chashmonai was appointed Kohain Gadol and governor of the Jews, marking
the end of the struggle for independence and the beginning of the Chasmonaim / Hasmonian dynasty that lasted for 206 years, until the destruction
of the second Beit HaMikdash.
Ethiopian Jews' holiday marking the deaths of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov.
18 Elul 5458 - August 25, 1698:
Birthday of HaRav Yisrael ben Eliezer, the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Chasidism.
He was 'revealed' on his 36th birthday in 5494 / 1734.
18 Elul 5505 - September 15, 1745:
Birthday of HaRav Shneur Zalman ben Baruch, the Alter Rebbe, the Baal Hatanya, founder of Chabad.
18 Elul 5712 - September 8, 1952:
After much discussion, the Knesset chose to accept reparation payments from Germany. for losses caused by the Nazis during World War II. As early as 1943, Jewish groups had begun to formulate demands for a postwar settlement that would include billions of dollars of indemnity for stolen or destroyed Jewish property (real estate, art, gold), plus payments for slave labor, and reparations for the loss of Jewish life. The 1945 Paris Conference on Reparations chose to ignore the Jewish demands. However, in 1951, German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who viewed Jewish reparations as part of the burden of guilt that Germans needed to confront, offered payments to Holocaust survivors. In Israel, Menachem Begin led the movement against accepting the reparations, arguing that they would somehow "absolve" Nazis of their heinous crimes. Over the years, German companies like Volkswagen, Deutsche Bank and Daimler-Benz have admitted to using slave labor during the war, and set up a fund to compensate workers. In the 1990s, it was revealed that Swiss banks were complicit in the Nazi effort to hide and sell stolen loot, and had engaged in the large-scale theft of deposits made by Jews. After some hesitation, Swiss banks announced their intention to create a fund for Holocaust victims.
18 Elul Yahrtzeits
HaRav Yehuda ben Betzalel Loew (Lowy), zt"l, (1525- 5369 / 1609), the famed "Maharal" of Prague.
The Maharal was born in Posen, Poland, on the night of the Pesach / Passover Seder, to a distinguished family of rabbanim that traced its ancestry to King David.
He was the youngest of four brothers.
The Maharal married Pearl at the age of 32 and had six girls and one boy who was named after the Maharal's father, Betzalel.
In 1553, he became Rav of Nikolsburg, and the Province of Moravia, where he remained for the following 20 years. In 1573 he moved to Prague, where he opened a yeshiva.
In 1592 the Maharal accepted the position of rabbi in Posen, returning to Prague in 1598 to serve as its chief rabbi.
The Maharal castigated the educational methods of his day where boys were taught at a very young age and insisted that children must be taught in accordance with their intellectual maturity.
One of his leading disciples was Rav Yom Tov Heller, author of the classic mishnaic commentary, Tosafot Yom Tov, who, in his introduction informs us that the Maharal greatly encouraged group study of the Mishna.
At the same time, he was fully conversant with the scientific knowledge of his time as well as friendly with some of the contemporary eminent scientists. His disciple, Dovid Ganz, worked in the observatory of Tycho Brahe, the distinguished astronomer.
He was a prolific writer, and his works include: Tiferet Yisrael on the greatness of Torah and mitzvot; Nesivot Olam, on ethics; Be'er Hagolah, a commentary on rabbinic sayings; Netzach Yisrael, on exile and redemption; Or Chadash, on the book of Esther; Ner Mitzvah, on Chanukah; Gevurot Hashem, on the Exodus; and many others.
Rav Kook stated that the "Maharal was the father of the approach of the Gaon of Vilna on the one hand, and of the father of Chassidut, on the other hand." He has been described as a Kabbalist who wrote in philosophic garb.
Perhaps the most famous legend surrounding Maharal is that he employed kabbalistic incantations to create a Golem, (clay man), a robot-like being that was to defend the Prague ghetto from frequent threat of blood libels and other anti-Semitic attacks.
The account is most likely apocryphal, but it gained popularity and is cited as the source for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
Today a statue of Maharal stands in Prague, and his synagogue in Prague, the Altneushul, is still in use.
HaRav Yissochor Dov Kramer (Kremer) of Vilna, zt"l, (5567 / 1807), brother of the Vilna Gaon. (others 9 Elul). (See 9 Elul).
HaRav Tzi Hirsch Baschko, zt”l, (1740 - 5567 / 1807), author of of Tiferet Tzvi. Born in Zamutch (Zamosc), Poalnd, he was first a Rav in Tyszowce, then of Brody (1771), in Glogow (1788), where he established a yeshiva. Some years later, he became a dayan in the three kehillot of Altoona, Hamburg, and Waldsburg (AHU).
HaRav Yosef of Ostillah, zt”l (5590 / 1830). (See 2 Elul) (Others 5604 / 1844).
HaRav Ze’ev Nachum Bornstein, zt"l, (5645 / 1885), author of Agudat Eizov, A chasid of Rav Mendel of Kotzk, he was appointed Rav of Elkush (1849-1855) and Biala (1855-1885) He was the father of Rav Avraham Borenstein of Sochachov, the Avnei Nezer. (Others 19 Elul).
HaRav Ovadiah (Abdallah) Someach, zt"l, (5573 / 1813 - 5649 / 1889), head of Iraqi Jewry. Born in Baghdad, he traced his lineage back to Rav Nissim Gaon, head of the yeshivah of Neharda’ah.
He was known as Abdallah, the translation of Eved Keil, servant of Hashem. Abdallah was the eldest of eight brothers and eight sisters, who were known for their gemilut chassadim.
At a young age, he studied under Harav Yaakov Harofeh, a leading Dayan in Baghdad and author of many sefarim, whom Harav Abdallah considered his rebbi muvhak.
He married his cousin, daughter of his uncle, Harav Yitzchak Yosef Somech, who was well-to-do; enabling him to dedicate himself solely to Torah learning.
Harav Abdallah’s first venture was establishing a yeshivah in his native Baghdad. Most of the Torah leaders of that generation were talmidim of Harav Abdallah, most prominent among them the Ben Ish Chai, (his brother-in-law), who succeeded Harav Abdallah as Rosh Hagolah when he was niftar and the Kaf Hachaim.
He served as Rosh Yeshiva Midrash Abu Menashe (established in 1840 by Heskel Menashe Zebaida); the yeshiva was later expanded and renamed Midrash Beit Zilkha and remained in operation until 1951.
At the end of 5649 / 1889, a cholera epidemic broke out in Iraq. Harav Abdallah himself contracted a serious case of cholera and many people all over Baghdad davened for his recovery. Harav Abdallah was niftar on Shabbos night, 18 Elul 5649 / 1889.
Because Harav Abdallah had contracted the disease, the governor did not allow the Jews to bury him in the cemetery where his forebears were buried, on the eastern side of the Chidekel (Tigris) River.
Many of his piskei halacha were published in the sefer Zivchei Tzedek. He also wrote Etz Hasadeh on Masechet Beitzah and other masechtot, Chazon L’Moed and other sefarim.
HaRav Eliyahu Singer, zt”l, (5683 / 1923), Rav of Kalisch and Peshischa.
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19 Elul 4949 - 1189:
Rabbeinu Yaakov of Orleans, zt"l, (4949 / 1189), one of the Baalei Tosafot and a disciple of Rabbeinu
Tam, was killed along with many other Jews in London during anti-Semitic riots inspired
by King Richard's coronation. Hy"d. (Some say this occured on 3 or 12 or 21 Elul).
19 Elul 5596 - September 1, 1836:
Restoration of the synagogue of Rabbi Yehuda HaChasid in Yerushalayim began as a project of the Jewish community of Yerushalayim.
19 Elul 5612 - 1852:
Anti-Jewish riots erupted in Stockholm, Sweden.
19 Elul 5699 - September 3, 1939:
England, France, Australia, and New Zealand declare war on Germany, two days after its invasion of Poland.
19 Elul 5699 - September 3, 1939:
The Wehrmacht (German regular army) shot 80 Jews in Zloczev, and 150 Jews in
Czestochova, Poland, during a two-day Aktion. Hy"d.
19 Elul 5701 - September 11, 1941:
The ghetto of Uman liquidated by the Nazis, Hy"d.
19 Elul 5701 - September 11, 1941:
Anti-Semitic speech delivered by Charles Lindbergh on the radio, marked the introduction
of anti-Semitism as a political tool in America. Charles Lindbergh, who achieved fame by being the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, delivered the speech on the radio. Lindbergh became an outspoken supporter of Nazi Germany, even recommending in testimony before Congress that the U.S. negotiate a neutrality pact with Germany. At a rally in Des Moines, Iowa, he made an infamous speech claiming that Jews, "for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war... We cannot allow the natural passions and prejudices of other people to lead our country to destruction." Lindbergh also made an implicit threat against Jews, stating: "Instead of agitating for war, the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way, for they will be among the first to feel its consequences."
19 Elul 5702 - September 1, 1942:
90,000 Jews were sent to their deaths from the Warsaw Ghetto. A total of 300,000 Jews were sent to Nazi extermination camps during a 53 day period from Erev Tisha B'Av until Erev Rosh Hashana that year, Hy"d.
19 Elul Yahrtzeits
Rabbeinu Yaakov of Orleans, zt"l, (4949 / 1189), one of the Baalei Tosafot and a disciple of Rabbeinu
Tam, was killed along with many other Jews in London during anti-Semitic riots inspired
by King Richard's coronation. Hy"d. (Some say this occured on 3 or 12 or 21 Elul).
HaRav Shmuel Yaffa, zt”l, (5355 / 1595), author of Yafeh Mareh.
HaRav Berachyah Shapiro of Cracow, zt”l, (5426 / 1666), author of Zera Berach.
HaRav Chaim ben Yisrael Benbanisti (Benveniste), zt"l, (5363 / 1603 - 5433 / 1673). Born in Kushta (Constantinople). His father was Rav Yisrael.
Rav Chaim learned under his grandfather, Harav Moshe Benveniste, one of the leading talmidei chachamim of Constantinople. Later, he learned under Harav Yosef of Trani (Maharit), Harav Yosef Samigah and Harav Tzemach Narboni. He was the primary student of the Maharit.
At the age of 21 he was appointed to be a Moreh Tzedek – decider of the Jewish Law in Issur V’Heter (laws of prohibited and permitted foods and the like).That same year he wrote his first sefer, Dina D’chayei, on Sefer Mitzvot Hagadol.
In 5403/1643, he became Rav of Tita, a town near Izmir. In 5418/1658, he settled in Izmir, whose Rav at the time was Harav Yosef Iskappeh. From 5421/1661 and on, when Rav Yosef was frail, Rav Chaim was the unofficial Rav; after Rav Yosef’s petirah, the appointment became official.
Rav Chaim is best known for his widely cited Keneset HaGedolah, and Shiyarei Knesset Hagedolah, commentaries to the Tur and Shulchan Aruch, which were acclaimed by both the Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities alike. The Chida wrote concerning him: “No one who is an expert will decide a point in Jewish law in any ruling without him.” Besides these famous works, Rav Chaim also wrote She’eilot U’teshuvos Bai Chayei.
He left many books and works unpublished.
Rav Chaim was niftar on 19 Elul 5433 / 1673 at the age of 70. [According to the Chida, he was 74 at his petirah.]
HaRav Avraham, zt”l, (5588/1828), Rav of Lublin.
HaRav Meshulam Shraga Feivish Heilprin, the Sfat Emet Of Brezhan, zy”a, (5634 / 1874).
Harav Meshulam Shraga Feivish was born c. 5570 / 1810. His father, Harav Naftali Hertz, was Rav in Brezhan and one of the inner group of Chassidim of the Chozeh of Lublin.
His first zivug was the daughter of Harav Chaim, Rav of Boberka; his second zivug was the only daughter of Harav Asher Yeshayah of Ropshitz, who was the son-in-law of Harav Naftali of Ropshitz, zy”a.
After the petirah of his father in 5605 / 1805, the Rabbanut of the city of Brezhan was offered to Reb Meshulam Shraga Feivish as part of the yerushah.
Reb Meshulam Shraga Feivish was very close with his father-in-law from his second zivug, Harav Asher Yeshayah of Ropshitz. It was noted in the hakdamah of his sefer Sfat Emet, by his son Reb Leibish that Reb Asher Yeshayah gave his son-in-law the tefillin he had received from his own father-in-law, Harav Naftali Tzvi of Ropshitz. The tefillin had been given with instructions to pass them on to his son-in-law (since he only had one daughter). When his daughter married Reb Meshulam Shraga Feivish he passed on the tefillin.
Once, when he was in Belz, these tefillin got lost and he was very distressed. When the Sar Shalom heard that the tefillin were missing, he called Reb Meshulam Shraga Feivish to his room and handed him the tefillin of his father, Harav Elazar Rokach of Brod, zt”l.
It was well known that he had ruach hakodesh. His Chassidim knew that whatever their Rebbe promised was going to happen.
When Reb Dovid of Tolna, who lived in Russia, resided in Brod, Reb Feivish of Brezhan sent him a contingent of his Chassidim to be with him and learn from his ways. On Motzoei Shabbat Parashat Ki Tavo 5734 / 1874, as soon as Shabbat was over, Reb Dovid bade farewell to all the Chassidim of Reb Feivish, telling them to return to Brezhan because their Rebbe had been niftar over Shabbat. This was intriguing, since these two Rebbes had never even met.
In 5639 / 1879, Reb Feivish’s son Reb Leibish published his sefer, Sfat Emet.
HaRav Zev Nachum Borenstein, zt”l, (5645 / 1885), Rav of Biala, the Agudat Eizov.
He son was Rav Avraham Borenstein of Sochachov, the Avnei Nezer.
HaRav Yekusiel Aryeh Kmahler of Stanislav, zt”l,(5692 / 1932).
HaRav Hillel Vitkind, zt”l, (5734 / 1974), Rosh Yeshiva of Beit Hillel of Novardok-Tel Aviv in Bnei Brak. He and his Rebbetzen were moser nefesh for bochurim arriving on the shores of Eretz Yisrael. He took personal loans to cover the expenses of bringing the maximum number of bnei Torah to Eretz Yisroel from Europe. They lived a life of great poverty as a result of the tremendous expenses which they incurred for saving the bochurim. Author of Musar HaTorah.
HaRav Moshe Zvi Aryeh (ben Chaim Yechiel Michel) Bick, zt"l, (1911-5750 / 1990). Born in Medzbosz (Mezhbizh), Ukraine, but grew up in New York, he was recognized as one of the first gedolim to be raised on American soil. He studied under R’ Moshe Soloveitchik at the Yeshiva Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor and attended New York City public schools at night. At age 21, R’ Bick was hired by a shul in the Bronx. While there, he founded schools for both boys and girls. Later, he moved to Boro Park. He was recognized as a master posek by both chassidic and non-chassidic communities, but never published his teshuvot.
HaRav Elimelech Alter Paneth, zt”l, (1928-2005), (”Reb Meilech”), the Deizher Rebbe. Born to Rav Yosef and Rebbetzen Lifash Paneth in Tekendorf, Romania, he lived with his family in Paris after the War, before they all immigrated to the United States. He married Rebbetzen Yocheved in 1951.
20 Elul 5154 - September 17, 1394:
King Charles VI expelled the Jews from France.
20 Elul - 1553:
Copies of the Talmud were burned by the Inquisition.
20 Elul 5699 - September 4, 1939:
Hundreds of Jews in Czestochova, Poland, were slaughtered during a pogrom organized by the Nazis. 30,000
Jews had lived in this community since the 18th
century. This day was named Bloody Monday. Hy"d.
20 Elul 5699 - September 4, 1939:
Germany occupied Kalisz, a city in Poland with a Jewish population of 30,000.
20 Elul 5701 - September 12, 1941:
The Mir Yeshiva in Kobe, Japan sent a telegram to Yerushalayim asking which day is Yom Kippur. Several hundred yeshiva students and their families had escaped from Nazi-occupied Europe and found asylum in Kobe, Japan. Although they did not cross the conventional International Date Line (an imaginary longitudinal line which lies 180° from Greenwich zig-zagging just west of New Zealand), that dateline was chosen due to convenience, and the Jews in Japan were unsure as to the International Date Line as recognized by Jewish law. Indeed, a 12th-century Talmudic commentary indicates that the line is six hours ahead of Yerushalayim (90 degrees east of Yerushalayim), running through the Philippines). For this reason, there were those of the Mir Yeshiva who felt compelled to fast for two days. (Ed. Both my Parents Z"L among them). And even others who were less strong, while they could not observe the fast itself, commemorated all the other aspects of this holiest day(s) of the year. In actuality today, most rabbis recommend observing the day according to local practice.
20 Elul 5702 - September 2, 1942:
The 27th convoy of one thousand Jews left France for the Auschwitz murder camp
in Poland. Of the prisoners, 8,077 were gassed immediately upon arrival and
only 30 were to survive until liberation by the Soviets in 1945. Hy"d.
20 Elul 5702 - September 2, 1942:
The Ghetto of Mir was liquidated. Hy"d.
20 Elul Yahrtzeits
Harav Yehudah Muscato, zt”l, (5350 / 1590), author of Nefutzot Yehudah, and Kol Yehudah on the Kuzari.
Harav Shimon Reisher, zt”l, (5474 / 1714), author of Minchat Yehudah.
Harav Avraham Weinberg of Stutchin, zt”l, Hy"d, (5642 / 1882 - 5702 / 1942), Rav in Warsaw and author of Reishit Bikurim.
Harav Avraham Weinberg was born in Stutchin in 5642 / 1882. His father, Harav Yisrael Nissan, gave him a strong chinuch.
Reb Avraham went to the yeshivah in Lomza, where he was known as “the iluy of Stutchin.” He learned day and night, with the trademark humility that remained with him all his life.
From Lomza, Reb Avraham moved to the famed yeshivah of the Avnei Nezer in Sochatchov, where he immediately joined the inner group of talmidim.
Reb Avraham devoted himself to the Torah of his Rebbe, the Avnei Nezer. On nearly every page of Reishit Bikkurim he mentions chiddushim of the Avnei Nezer.
Reb Avraham was also close with the son of the Avnei Nezer and his successor as Rebbe, the Shem MiShmuel.
In 5675/1915, Reb Avraham married the daughter of Harav Moshe Kowalski from Warsaw. He lived in Warsaw, near his father-in-law, for the next 12 years, and was supported in comfort. This enabled him to devote all his time and effort to learning.
Young bachurim gathered around Reb Avraham, begging him to teach them to learn in the Sochatchover derech. This evolved into the Sochatchover yeshivah in Warsaw, Beit Avraham, which attracted many bachurim from Warsaw. Reb Avraham delivered a daily shiur from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Although Reb Avraham tried to keep out of the limelight and never sought a rabbinical position, he was held in high esteem by leading Gedolei Yisrael, who wrote to him to discuss questions in halachah.
In 5690/1930, Reb Avraham released Reishit Bikurim on Masechet Bechorot, which revealed his greatness.
During the War, Reb Avraham suffered together with the other Yidden in Warsaw. Yet even in those trying years, he still delivered shiurim whenever possible.
The mesirut nefesh of the Yidden was astounding, as is evident from the halachic responsa Reb Avraham dealt with during the War. He was asked, for example, if it would be permissible to leave one’s home on Shabbat in an area without an eruv while wearing the yellow star on one’s clothing.
On Wednesday, 20 Elul 5702/1942, in the middle of a shiur, Reb Avraham and the bachurim were taken away by SS officers to be transported to Treblinka. Their gemaras were left open to daf 19.
Reb Avraham refused to board the train and was brutally murdered on the spot. His wife and their only son, Reb Yisrael Meir, were killed with him.Hy"d.
HaRav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, Rav and Rosh Yeshiva of Ponovezh, zt"l, (1886 - 5729 / 1969). Born on 28 Iyar 5646/1886 in Kuhl, Lithuania, a small town of about 500 of which about a third were Jews. His father, Rav Yehudah Leib, was a famed talmid chacham and baal chesed.
At the age of 14 he went to the Telshe Yeshiva, where he learned until he was twenty (or 21) under Harav Shimon Shkop and became close to Harav Eliezer Gordon, the yeshivah’s founder. In 5668 / 1908, Reb Yosef Shlomo went to learn mussar from Reb Yosef Yoizel, the Alter of Novardok. While there, Harav Yechiel Michel Epstein, the Aruch Hashulchan, taught him the necessary skills for Rabbanut, after which he spent three years in Radin under the Chafetz Chaim.
He married the daughter of Harav Leib Rubin, the Rav of Vidzh. For a while he learned alone at the home of his father-in-law. In 5672 / 1911, Reb Leib was offered the Rabbanut of Wilkomir; his position in Vidzh passed to his son-in-law, who also opened a yeshivah there.
After Rav Kahaneman’s impressive hesped at the levayah of Reb Itzele Rabinowitz of Ponevezh (21 Adar I 5679 / 1919), the community offered him the position of Rav. He became Rav of Ponevezh (at age 33) and opened a yeshivah there which attracted many of Lithuania’s best talmidim. Rav Kahaneman guided his flock with wisdom and fatherly love. He was appointed (elected) as the Jewish representative to the Lithuanian parliament.
After 20 years, when the Nazis conquered Lithuania, Rav Kahaneman fled to Eretz Yisrael, (1940), then under the British Mandate, and became a leader of chareidi Jewry.
Although broken and distraught over the fate of Europe’s Jews, he decided that he had been spared to be mekadesh Shem Shamayim. In 5701 / 1941, Rav Kahaneman set the cornerstone for the new Ponevezher Yeshivah on a hill overlooking Bnei Brak.
Despite general skepticism, Rav Kahaneman, with his powers of persuasion, collected enough money to build what became the largest yeshivah yet in Eretz Yisrael and one of the largest in the world. He traveled widely in chutz laAretz to secure financial support.
The Ponevezher Rav’s ambitions were not limited to his yeshivah. He founded and supported dozens of other institutions, especially for the “yaldei Tehran,” orphans rescued from the Holocaust and brought to Israel (Batei Avot orphanages). He also revived the yarchei kallah concept, providing two weeks a year of intense learning at the yeshivah for working men.
The Ponevezher Rav merited seeing all his projects reach fruition.
Reb Yosef Shlomo was niftar on 20 Elul 5729/1969, at the age of 83. He was buried in the Ponevezher beit hachaim on the outskirts of Bnei Brak.
HaRav Eliyahu Lopian, zt"l, (1872 - 5730 / 1970), author of Lev Eliyahu.
Born in Grajewo, Poland, he learned in the Lomza Yeshiva in his youth, and served as mashgiach of Kelm. He emigrated to London in 1925, where he served as Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Etz Chaim in London. In 1950, After having dedicated 25 years of his life to Yeshivat Eitz Chaim, Reb Elyah passed the leadership of the yeshiva over to Rav Greenspan. He then fulfilled a lifelong dream and moved to Eretz Yisrael, when he was 76 years old, serving as Mashgiach Ruchani at the Knesset Chizkiyahu yeshiva located originally in Zichron Yaakov and later in Kfar Chasidim. Rav Shalom Schwadron (1911-1997) was one of his talmidim.
Harav Moshe Aryeh Freund, zt”l, (5664 / 1904 (1894?) - 5756 / 1996), Gaavad of the Eidah Chareidit of Yerushalayim.
A descendant of the Rema, the Maharshal, the Shach and the Beit Yosef, (from his mother's side), he was born in the Hungarian town of Honiad where his father, Harav Yisrael, served as Av Beit Din.
His paternal grandfather was Harav Avraham Yehoshua Freund, the Naszoider Rav; his mother was the daughter of Harav Zev Goldberger, the Rav of Honiad. At 16 he married the daughter of Harav Baruch Goldberger, who was a distant relative.
Before World War II, Reb Moshe Aryeh served as Rosh Yeshivah in the Hungarian town of Satu Mare (Satmar). In 1944, the Nazis deported him and his the entire family to Auschwitz, where his wife and all nine of his children died at the hands of the Nazis; only Reb Moshe Aryeh survived. Hashem yinkom damam.
In 5711/1951, Reb Moshe Aryeh moved to Eretz Yisrael, settling in Yerushalayim, where he became Rav of the Satmar community. He was also Rosh Yeshivah of the Satmar yeshivah, Yeshivat Yetev Lev in Yerushalayim.
Following the petirah of the Satmar Rebbe, on 26 Av 5739 / 1979, Reb Moshe Aryeh was elected Rosh Av Beit Din (Raavad) of the Eidah Chareidit in Yerushalayim. When Harav Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss was niftar in Sivan 5749 / 1989, Reb Moshe Aryeh was appointed Gaon Av Beit Din (Gaavad) of the Eidah Chareidit, a position he held until his petirah.
In his later years, he was fondly known as the Yerushalayimer Rav. Despite having Satmar leanings, he was close with all the Gedolim and all the Admorim of his time.
He wrote Ateret Yehoshua on the Torah.
Reb Moshe Aryeh was niftar on 20 Elul of the year 5756/1996 at the age of 92, and buried on Har Hazeitim.
Numerous mosdot were named after him in Yerushalayim. In Beit Shemesh there is Kiryat Harema (Rema = Reb Moshe Aryeh).
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21 Elul 5699 - 1939:
German forces occupied the town of Piotrkow Trybunalski, [Kujawski] (16 miles south of Lodz) where the Jewish population was estimated at 18,000. The first ghetto in
Poland was later established there.
21 Elul Yahrtzeits
Rabbeinu Yaakov Segal HaLevi ben Moshe Moellin (Molen), zt"l, (1365 - 5187 / 1427), the Maharil.
Born in Magentza (Mainz), Germany to Harav Moshe, who bore the family name of Molen. Harav Moshe was Rav in the city, and his son’s first rebbi. The Maharil also learned under his older brother, Harav Yechezkel. Eventually, wanting to leave home to learn Torah, the Maharil journeyed far and wide and became acquainted many Rabbanim and Geonim.
One of his rebbeim was Harav Shalom of Vienna (Austria), under whom many other luminaries of the time also studied.
The Maharil lived through the mass slaughter of Jews in Austria in 1420 and the Hussite wars in 1421, which brought suffering to the Jews of Bavaria and the Rhine. [The Jews of Austria were expelled in 5180-81/1420-21; many were killed or forcibly baptized. The Maharil would refer to Austria as “the land of blood.”]
He was the primary disciple of Rav Shalom of Neustadt.
He married the daughter of Harav Moshe Neimark of Wermana, and learned with his father-in-law as well.
After his father’s petirah the Maharil returned to Magentza, where he took his father’s position as Rav. There he taught many talmidim and served his community well.
The Maharil is known as the father of Ashkenazic minhagim and nusach hatefillah.
The Maharil authored Minhagei Maharil, the primary source of Minhagei Ashkenaz, cited frequently by the Beit Yosef and the Rema in Shulchan Aruch, ultimately becoming the halachah followed by Ashkenazic kehillot.
The Maharil was very particular about not varying from the accepted minhagim. He writes in Hilchot Yom Kippur that adding pieces to tefillot, and making changes, can cause dire consequences l’maalah.
As Rav, the Maharil received a stipend from the city, which he chose to donate to his talmidim. He supported his family by shadchanut.
One summer day about 30 years before his petirah, the Maharil was found in his study totally paralyzed. The many doctors called to the scene could find no cure. The entire population was aghast; they could not accept their Rav’s immense suffering! So that their Rav would merit a refuah sheleimah, the kehillah accepted upon itself to fast every Monday and Thursday through the summer, until the Yamim Nora’im.
Their heartfelt tefillot and fasting were accepted sooner than expected, and, in Tammuz and Av, the Rav recovered and was back in the beit medrash. Overcome with gratitude to Hashem, the community completed their pledged fast. The Maharil was deeply grateful for their efforts.
The Maharil was extremely humble. When he walked into the beit medrash he would carry a Chumash, so that when people stood up they would be honoring the Torah that he was holding rather than himself.
Like his rebbi, Harav Shaul of Vienna before him, he was crowned with the title Moreinu. Blessed with a good voice, he served as a baal tefillah, and some of our traditional niggunim are attributed to him. (others 22 Elul)
HaRav Yonasan Eibeschutz, zt"l, (5494 / 1694 - 5524 / 1764).
Harav Yonasan Eibeschutz was born approximately 5454/1694, in Pintshov. His father, Harav Nosson Nota, was a descendant of the Megaleh Amukot, and was the son-in-law of Harav Yehuda Leib Tzintz. Rav Yonasan was orphaned from both parents at a young age, as he attests in the hakdamah to his sefer, Kreisi U’pleisi, that his father was niftar before he had a chance to learn Torah from him.
In his younger years, Rav Yonasan learned under Harav Meir Eisenstadt, zt”l, the Panim Meirot, and afterwards under his great-uncle, Harav Eliezer Halevi Itinga, zt”l, in the city Shidlovtza.
He married the daughter of Harav Moshe Yitzchak Shapiro, zt”l, Rav of Bomsola. After his wedding they lived in his father-in-law’s home. Subsequently he moved to Prague, living with a great-uncle, Harav Aharon Yechiel Mechel Shapiro.
In Prague Rav Yonasan spent much time learning in the beit medrash of Harav Avaham Broide, zt”l, of whom he always considered himself a talmid. Two years later Rav Yonasan left Prague, traveling to Hamburg, to reside in the home of his mother-in-law’s father, Rav Mordechai Cohen. In 5474/1714, Rav Yonasan returned and was appointed Rosh Yeshivah and darshan of the city. In 5497/1736, when Harav David Oppenheim was niftar, Rav Yonasan became the Rav of Prague.
In 5501/1741, the kehillah of Metz asked Rav Yonasan to serve as Rav.
Since there was no printing press in Metz Rav Yonasan wanted to leave the city in order to publish his chiddushim. That became possible only much later when he was invited to become Rav in the kehillot of Altona, Hamburg and Wandsbeck (AHU), in place of Harav Yechezkel Katzenelenboigen, zt”l, author of Knesset Yechezkel. During that time, he had major disagreements with Rav Yaakov Emden.
He felt it was imperative to transmit Torah to future generations. Wherever he was Rav, his first priority was establish a yeshivah.
He was learned in many areas, including halacha, kabbalah, philosophy and science.
He was the author of many halachic works, as well as collections of sermons and unpublished works on kabbalah. Thirty of his works in the area of halacha have been published.
Shortly before his petirah, he published his Kreisi U’pleisi on Yoreh Deiah. Many of his talmidim had written down the shiurim for themselves according to their understanding; to rectify any misunderstanding Rav Yonasan edited his talmidim’s notes and had them published in one sefer. This was the only one published in his lifetime; all his other works were published posthumously.
On 21 Elul, 5524/1764, Rav Yonasan was niftar. He was buried in Altona.
After his petirah his sefarim, Ahavat Yonasan on the weekly haftorot; Urim V’tumim on Choshen Mishpat; Yaarot Dvash, his drashot and mussar; Keshet Yonasan, his pilpulim; Binah Leitim, on Rambam Hilchot Yom Tov; and Bnei Ahuvah on the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch Even Haezer were published.
During his lifetime, there were a large number of mothers who died during childbirth, along with their babies. Rav wrote amulets (kameyot) for women about to give birth in an effort to stop this scourge. There is evidence that they worked: In the cemetery in Altoona, there are quite a few gravestones with the words "mother and newborn child." These appeared to stop at the time of the writing of the kameyot. Nonetheless, these kameyot were cited by Rav Yaakov Emden and a number of other great rabbis as "evidence" that Rav was a follower of Shabtai Tzvi, a false Messiah who wreaked havoc in the Jewish world, thus fueling a controversy that raged for decades.
This dispute between two Torah giants was one of the bitter consequences of the Shabtai Tzvi era, and it even involved the intervention of the King of Denmark. Interestingly, the two great Torah leaders are buried only a few spaces apart in Altoona when the matter was deemed to be l'shem shamayaim.
HaRav Nissim Kaduri Chazan, zt”l, (1972 / 5732), author of Ma'aseh Nisim.
HaRav Baruch Yitzchak Levine, zt”l, (1910-1988). His paternal grandfather was Rav Menachem Nachum, who was very close to the Chafetz Chaim and was a talmid of Rav Nachum of Horodna, the Chafetz Chaim’s mentor. His maternal grandfather was Rav Yehuda Leib Dovidson, a talmid of Rav Yisrael Salanter, who served as Rav in Des Moines, Iowa, and later in Ohio and Los Angeles.
Shortly after his Bar Mitzvah, Rav Baruch Yitzchak went to learn in Grodna under Rav Shimon Shkop, then to Baranovich to learn under Rav Elchonon Wasserman for 3 years. He moved to Eretz Yisrael in 1938 and headed for the Lomza Yeshiva in Petach Tikva. Within a few months, he married the daughter of Rav Avraham Yitzchak Tikochinsky. Shortly thereafter, he became Rav of the Mekor Chaim suburb of Yerushalayim and started a yeshiva there with the assistance of Rav Eizek Sher of Slobodka.
HaRav Avrohom Yaakov (Zeidel) Epstein, zt”l, (c.1907 – 5767 / 2007). He served for nearly forty years as a Rebbi and Rosh Mesivta at the Yeshiva Rabbeinu Yaakov Yosef (RJJ) on Henry Street, NYC, teaching a high Gemara class and teaching as well, by example and through his inspiring words how religious Jews should live ethical lives in accordance with their Torah obligations. When he retired, he and his wife moved to Yerushalayim, where his mussar or ethical discourses inspired additional generations of yeshiva students as Mashgiach at Yeshiva Torah Ohr.
Harav Avraham Yaakov Zalaznik, zt”l, (5673 / 1912 - 5770 / 2010), Rosh Yeshiva of Eitz Chaim. Born on 16 Kislev 5673/1912 in Yerushalayim to Harav Shlomo Zalman Zalaznik, zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva of Eitz Chaim, he was brought up by his grandmother after being orphaned of his mother at the age of two. As a child he learned in Talmud Torah Chayei Olam and even then was outstanding in his hasmada. Friends would later relate how young Avraham Yaakov would make use of the short walk home from Talmud Torah by reciting Mishnayot baal peh. He later learned in Yeshivat Eitz Chaim, becoming a talmid muvhak of the Rosh Yeshiva, Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer, zt”l. Reb Isser Zalman was extremely fond of his talmid, and when he returned to Lithuania to participate in the chanukat habayit of Yeshivat Kletzk, he told Harav Eliezer Yehudah Finkel, zt”l, that in Yerushalayim he had found three lamdanim with whom he could converse in Torah; one of them was Avraham Yaakov Zalaznik.
He finished Shas b’iyun for the first time at the age of 17. Reb Avraham Yaakov’s hasmada and continuous chazara was breathtaking. When a grandson told him that he had finished masechet Kesubot, the grandfather replied that in his younger years he learned masechet Kesubot 280 times! At the age of 18, Reb Avraham Yaakov received heter horaah from Harav Tzvi Pesach Frank, zt”l.
At the age of 20, Reb Avraham Yaakov married Rebbetzin Itta, a”h, the daughter of Harav Yisrael Shalom Luria, Rav of the Kerem neighborhood. The Rebbetzin took care of all the needs of the home, enabling her husband to dedicate his life to Torah and tefilla. Reb Avraham Yaakov would regularly return home from the beit medrash just 20 minutes before Shabbat, after having spiritually prepared himself for the holy day. The Zalazniks set up their home in the Kerem neighborhood and Harav Zalaznik davened in the local shul, where he would often have lively discussions after davening with the other Gedolei Yisrael, zt”l — Harav Eliezer Menachem Shach, Harav Eliezer Yehudah Finkel and Harav Ezra Attiya — who davened there.
He was also close with Harav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zt”l, and learned b’chavrusa with, ybl”c, Harav Ovadia Yosef.
Reb Avraham Yaakov would regularly travel to the Chazon Ish in Bnei Brak, who praised his greatness in Torah. In 5717 / 1957, Reb Avraham Yaakov was appointed a maggid shiur in Yeshivat Eitz Chaim, and after the petira of Reb Isser Zalman in 5723 / 1963, was chosen to be the main maggid shiur. After his father was niftar in 5735 / 1975, he became the official Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Eitz Chaim.
In 5737 / 1977, Reb Avraham Yaakov was accepted as a member of the Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah in Eretz Yisrael, and also became one of the heads of Vaad Hayeshivot.
Reb Avraham Yaakov devoted much time to tefillah, davening for the sick and those who needed yeshuot, and many of his talmidim and family merited yeshuot through his tefillot. He was also known as a gaon in middot, being very careful not to hurt anybody, even young children. If he ever thought that he had perhaps upset even a young child, the elderly Rosh Yeshiva would go to great lengths to appease the child.
In his later years he fell ill and was hospitalized. Reb Avraham Yaakov was niftar on 21 Elul 5770/2010, at the age of 97. He was buried on Har Hazeitim.
Harav Zalaznik left behind his sefarim Or Yaakov on Shas.
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Today is a Yom Tov cited in Megillat Taanit, commemorating the defeat of the Yevanim by Jews. The Jews had given the Greeks a three-day grace period in which they would be allowed to retreat. but they did not.
This ultimately led to their defeat.
22 Elul 5554 - September 17, 1794:
with the Polish Revolutionary Army is first
Jewish fighting force of modern times.
22 Elul 5663 - September 14, 1903:
The Jews of Homel, Russia were massacred, Hy'd.
22 Elul 5699 - September 6, 1939:
The Nazis occupied Gorlice, Poland and commenced their terror by taking hostages.
22 Elul 5699 - September 6, 1939:
During the Polish September Campaign, German forces occupied the Polish cities of Cracow, Radom, Lodz, Tarnow, and Premisyl.
Crakow had a thriving Jewish community of 70,000 Jews. Jews were consigned to forced labor, and all Jews were required to wear identifying armbands. Synagogues were ordered closed and all their valuables turned over to Nazi authorities. In May 1940, the Nazis ordered a massive deportation of Jews from the city, leaving only 15,000 behind in Crakow's Jewish ghetto, crammed into 3,000 rooms. German businessman Oskar Schindler came to Crakow to take advantage of the ghetto labor, and subsequently worked furiously to save Jews, as portrayed in the film, Schindler's List. In March 1943, the Nazis carried out the final 'liquidation' of the ghetto.
22 Elul 5701 - September 14, 1941:
9000 Jews of Slonim, Russia murdered by the Nazis, Hy'd.
22 Elul Yahrtzeits
Rabbeinu Baruch of Kortova, zt”l, (4887 / 1127), a talmid of the Rif.
HaRav Binyamin Zev Sheinblum of Lvov, zt”l, (5610 / 1850).
HaRav Mordechai Dov Ber of Hornesteipel, Ukraine, zt"l, (839 - 5663 / 1903),.grandson of the Mitteler Rebbe, author of Haemek She'eilah. He was a descendant, ben acher ben, from the Rebbe, Reb Zusia of Anipoli. He was raised by his maternal grandfather, the Cherkasser Rebbe after his father died, so he adopted the family name, Twerski.
HaRav Yissachar Dov Ber Leifer of Satmar, zt”l,(5666 / 1906). Son of Harav Mordechai of Nadvorna. His first wife was the daughter of Harav Eliezer Brandwein of Ozipolah-Stretin. After her petira he married the daughter of Harav Yehoshua Heschel Eichenstein of Chodorov-Ziditchov.
Following the petira of his father on the first day of Sukkot 5655 / 1894, Reb Yissachar Ber, fondly known as Reb Bertze, was appointed Rebbe in Satmar, where he lived. As he was renowned for his mofsim, many came to him for brachot and yeshuot. He was a masmid who constantly returned to his learning after dealing with his petitioners.
Reb Bertze was niftar on 22 Elul 5666/1906.
All his sons served as Rebbes: Harav Meir in Cleveland, Harav Isamar in Bishtina, Harav Aharon Moshe in Grossvardein, Harav Dovid in Banya, Harav Yosef in Pittsburgh and Harav Shalom in Breiten. His sons-in-law were Harav Yitzchak Yechezkel Hochman of Kishinev; Harav Meir of Satmar; and Harav Yissachar Dov Rosenbaum of Strozhnitz.
HaRav Avraham Moshe of Ropshe, zt”l, (5678 / 1918).
HaRav Baruch Bentzion Twersky, zt”l, (5635 / 1875 - 5705 / 1945), the Loyev-Chernobyler Rebbe.Harav Baruch Bentzion was born in 5635/1875 in Chernobyl. His father was Harav Mordechai Twersky, the Loyever Rebbe, zy”a.
When he came of age, Rav Baruch Bentzion married the daughter of Harav Eliezer Yungeleit, the Radviller Rebbe, zy”a.
After the petirah of their father on 14 Kislev 5606/1905, Rav Baruch Bentzion, along with his brothers, were named as new Rebbes. Rav Baruch Bentzion was Rebbe in Uman, initially.
During World War I, Rav Baruch Bentzion managed to flee Communist Russia, relocating to Poland. While in Poland, Chassidim in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, invited him to move there. The Rebbe brought with him his young grandson, Chaim — who had been orphaned of his mother shortly after birth. Since there was no proper cheder in Pittsburgh at the time, the Rebbe, who raised the boy as his own child, hired a melamed to teach him. The local authorities, however, did not recognize this arrangement.
One day, truant officers arrived at the Rebbe’s home, took the six-year-old boy and registered him in a local public school. Escorted by his gabbai, the Rebbe followed the officers from a distance and then waited outside the public school building until the truant officers had left. The Rebbe then sent the gabbai in to take the boy out of school, and they took him home. Fearful that the truant officers might return the next day, and determined not to allow his beloved grandson to be influenced even for a few minutes in the atmosphere of a public school, the Rebbe packed a few essentials and set out that very day for New York, which offered a choice of yeshivot and chadarim.
The abrupt and unexpected move to New York gave the Chernobyler Chassidim no time to make any preparations. Temporary lodgings were found for the Rebbe’s family, and arrangements were soon made for the Rebbe to re-establish his court in the Brownsville section; but on the first Shabbat, the Rebbe davened in one of the main shuls in the area.
After settling in New York, Rav Baruch Bentzion immediately registered his grandson in the nearby Yeshivat Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin. This grandson later became the Chernobyler Rav, zt”l.
Rav Baruch Bentzion was niftar in New York on 22 Elul, 5705/1945. He was buried in Wellwood Cemetery, Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York.
23 Elul 1656 - 2105 B.C.E.:
On the 301st day of the great Mabul / Flood, Noach opened the window of the Teiva / Ark and sent out the dove for the second time. (see 17 Elul). This time, the dove stayed away all day; "the dove came in to him in the evening, and in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off; and Noach knew that the waters were abated from off the earth" (Bereishit / Genesis 8:11) (according to Rab' Eliezer)..
23 Elul 5313 - 1553:
A monk who converted to Judaism was burned at the stake in Rome, Hy"d.
23 Elul 5622 - September 18, 1862:
Rabbi Jacob Frankel appointed first Jewish chaplain in the U.S. army.
23 Elul 5701 - September 15, 1941:
The Nazis murdered eight thousand Jews from Golina, Slupca and Konin, in the
Biskupi Vygoda forest in Poland. Many of them were shot while many more were
burned alive, Hy"d.
23 Elul 5703 - September 23, 1943:
After hearing an order from the Gestapo to gather at the gate of the ghetto,
the Jews of Tuczyn, Ukraine burned down their own homes to keep them from the
murderers. They Jews fought a fierce battle. Many of the Jews who fled the certain
death were caught by local Ukrainian farmers and returned to the Nazis. Only.
fifteen Jews from the Tuczyn ghetto survived the war. Hy"d.
23 Elul 5703 - September 23, 1943:
The Vilna Ghetto was liquidated.
23 Elul 5761 - September 11, 2001:
A series of coordinated suicide attacks by al-Qaeda Islamist terrorists upon the United States killed nearly 3,000 victims, in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
Armed with boxcutters, they hijacked four U.S. domestic airplanes, crashing two into the World Trade Center in Manhattan, one into the Pentagon, and the fourth into a rural field in Pennsylvania, waking the entire world up to the fact that a core of Muslim zealots are waging a war for global jihad, with hundreds of millions of their coreligionists silently supporting them. While most of the world mourns and expresses outrage on 9/11, thousands of Palestinians take to the streets to celebrate.
Some 3,000 people died in the attacks, the most lethal ever on American soil. It was not long before Hezbollah's al-Manar television concocted a conspiracy theory that Israeli and Jewish employees did not show up for work at the WTC on 9/11, supposedly based on a tip from the Israeli General Security apparatus, the Shabak. In fact, the attacks claimed an estimated at 400-500 Jewish victims, including five Israelis. However, it has been speculated that indeed many Jews may have been late for work that day, since the attack occurred a few days prior to Rosh Hashana, when Jews extend their morning prayers with the "Selichot" service.
23 Elul Yahrtzeits
HaRav Yisrael of Pikov, zt”l, (5578 / 1818), son of Harav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev.
HaRav Uri, the Saraf of Strelisk, zt”l,(5517 / 1757 - 5586 / 1826). Harav Uri was born in a small village near Yanov. His father, Reb Pinchas, was given a bracha by the Mezritcher Maggid, zy”a, to merit a son who “will light up the Jewish world.” After his marriage, Reb Uri settled in Lvov (Lemberg), where he devoted himself to learning Torah with hasmada. He was the brother-in-law of Rav Menachem Mendel of Kosov. Reb Uri traveled to the courts of numerous leading Rebbes, zy”a — the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk; Harav Pinchas of Koritz; Harav Yaakov Yosef of Ostroha; Harav Zusha of Anipoli, Rav Mordechai of Neshchiz and others — until he met Harav Shlomo of Karlin and became one of his foremost talmidim.
In 5552 / 1792, after the tragic murder of his Rebbe, Reb Shlomo, Hy”d, Reb Uri returned to Lvov and opened his own court. He later moved from Lvov to Strelisk, by the name of which town he became known.
Reb Uri was famous for his style of tefillah, full of fervor. The thousands of Chassidim who flocked to his court felt his hislahavut, which awakened them to teshuvah.
Every day before going to daven, Reb Uri would bid farewell to his household, in case his neshamah would leave his body while he davened in his usual fiery manner. He would also tell them that the manuscripts in the drawer were not his own, but belong to his Rebbe, Reb Shlomo of Karlin.
Reb Uri taught his Chassidim to work on their middot and uproot from within them any lust for money. It is said that there was not even one wealthy Jew among the Strelisker Chassidim, and Reb Uri himself lived in extreme poverty.
Reb Uri’s foremost talmid was Harav Yehudah Tzvi Hirsch, the first of the Stretyn dynasty. The bond between them was extraordinary. Reb Yehudah Tzvi became a Rebbe in Stretin after Reb Uri’s petira. One of the other talmidim of Reb Uri was the Sar Shalom of Belz. One time, as he sat at Reb Uri’s tisch, he cried out, “Oy, Tatte!”
The Strelisker gave a roar, as was his custom, and shouted, “And maybe He is not your Father?”
Reb Shalom understood that Reb Uri still had lessons to teach him to assist him in his growth in ruchniyut. And so he remained in Strelisk for an entire year.
Reb Uri said: “There are four separate courts in Heaven, a Sanhedrin of 71; a smaller Sanhedrin of 23, a Heavenly beit din and an earthly one. Harav Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov served in one of these batei din, but since he was so punctilious and strict, he was promoted to the greater Sanhedrin. He left a vacant place in the beit din, which awaits a tzaddik to occupy it.”
Those who heard his words did not dream that he was foretelling his own imminent petirah. But a mere two days later, on 23 Elul, 5586/1826, Reb Uri returned his neshamah to its Creator.
Some of the divrei Torah of Reb Uri were compiled by his talmid Rav Binyamin Zev Sheinblum of Lvov, and published under the name Imrei Kodesh.
HaRav Yosef Babad, zt”l, (5634 / 1874), Rav of Tarnopol, Poland and author of Minchat Chinuch, (a commentary on Sefer Hachinuch), His “last name” is an acronym for B’nei Av Beit Din.
HaRav Yitzchak Menachem Danziger of Alexander, Hy”d, (5702 / 1942), the Akeidat Yitzchak, killed in Treblinka with eight of his children.
Harav Yitzchak Menachem Danziger was born in 5440 / 1880. He was the son of Harav Shmuel Tzvi of Aleksander, the Tiferet Shmuel, and grandson of Harav Yechiel, the first Aleksander Rebbe.
He grew up and was educated in the court of Aleksander under his grandfather, his uncle Harav Yerachmiel Yisrael Yitzchak (the Yismach Yisrael), and his father.
Following the petirah of his father on 29 Tishrei 5684 / 1923, thousands of Aleksander Chassidim — Aleksander was the second largest chassidic court in Poland — accepted Harav Yitzchak Menachem as their Rebbe. Initially he refused, but following the pleas of 70 leading Rabbanim in Poland who were Aleksander Chassidim, he had to accept.
Reb Yitzchak Menachem led his Chassidim with ahavat Yisrael, receiving everyone warmly. His answers to the Chassidim were known for their brevity and clarity.
He founded a yeshivah in Aleksander which grew to a chain of yeshivot across Poland. Reb Yitzchak Menachem attended the third Knessiah Gedolah of Agudas Yisrael in 5697/1937, where he was honored.
When the Nazi regime overtook Poland, Reb Yitzchak Menachem fled Aleksander to Lodz, where the majority of his Chassidim lived. From there, he fled to Warsaw, where he was in the ghetto for the next two years, working in the shoe factory of Reb Avraham Hendel, with many other Rebbes.
The Rebbe received a certificate and the right to travel to Eretz Yisrael through the Italian consul, but he refused to desert his Chassidim.
In Elul 5702 / 1942, the Rebbe was placed on a train to Treblinka. The factory owner, Reb Avraham Hendel, ran over to the Nazi in charge of the transport and explained that the Rebbe was one of the better workers in the factory and was much needed to help make boots for the Nazis. The SS officer slapped Reb Avraham across his back, knocking him to the ground.
The Rebbe reached Treblinka on 23 Elul, in the same train as his only son, Harav Yerachmiel Yisrael Yitzchak. The Rebbe wrapped himself in tachrichim and began reciting Viduy. He was killed that day. All his eight children and numerous grandchildren were killed in the war. Hashem yinkom damam.
Some of Reb Yitzchak Menachem’s divrei Torah were compiled in a sefer aptly named Akeidat Yitzchak.
HaRav Moshe Betzalel Alter, Hy”d, (5628 / 1868 - 5703 / 1943).
Harav Moshe Betzalel Alter was the second son of Harav Yehudah Aryeh Leib of Ger, zy”a, the Sfat Emet. He was born in 5628/1868. His father named him Moshe Betzalel, saying that he would like to have a son like the two malachim in that week’s parashah, Moshe Rabbeinu and Betzalel, who built the Mishkan.
Rav Moshe Betzalel married the daughter of Harav Shimon Chaim Alter, brother of the Sfat Emet, and settled in Ger.
Rav Moshe Betzalel had a sharp mind, in the Kotzk style. He was an outstanding masmid and lamdan. His father the Sfat Emet said of him that he was a tzaddik tamim.
Rav Moshe Betzalel was chosen by the Imrei Emet to be the baal toke’a in the beit medrash in Ger on Rosh Hashanah. It is related that from merely hearing his brachot before the tekiot, many Chassidim already had a hirhur teshuvah.
At the outbreak of World War II, Rav Moshe Betzalel moved with the Imrei Emet to Warsaw until a rescue effort for the Rebbe was undertaken, and he managed to escape the Nazi inferno and ascend to Eretz Yisrael. The original plan called for Rav Moshe Betzalel to join the Rebbe, but he chose to stay behind with the people. Rav Moshe Betzalel was taken to the Warsaw Ghetto and forced to work like other Jews. Many stories have been related of his mesirut nefesh for mitzvot in the ghetto.
Rav Moshe Betzalel was comforted by the news that the Imrei Emet and his family reached Eretz Yisrael safely. With the Imrei Emet’ entourage was Rav Moshe Betzalel’s granddaughter.
On Tishah B’Av 5702/1942, the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto began. Many were sent to their deaths in Treblinka and Auschwitz. Only those who were still fit to work were left behind. The Gerrer Chassidim persuaded the Nazis to let Rav Moshe Betzalel stay; he was forced to work in a shoe factory. Rav Moshe Betzalel provided much chizuk to the remaining Chassidim, with his encouraging words.
In the summer of 5703/1943, Rav Moshe Betzalel was taken with a large group of Jews from Warsaw to Treblinka. He was murdered by the Nazis, yemach shemam, on 23 Elul.
Hashem yinkom damo.
HaRav Menachem Mendel (ben Abraham Leib) Monsohn, zt”l, (1953), a fourth generation Yerushalmi. His Sefer Mepnini Harambam, is a collection of commentaries of the Rambam on the Torah.
HaRav Yaakov Yitzchak Biderman of Lelov-Yerushalayim, zt”l, (5741 / 1981).
Harav Yaakov Yitzchak was born in the Old City of Yerushalayim, on 23 Shevat 5667 / 1907, to Harav Shimon Nosson Nota of Lelov and Rebbetzin Chana Reitza. His grandfather, Harav Dovid Tzvi Shlomo, the Lelover Rebbe at the time (known as “Reb Dovid’l”), named him Yaakov Yitzchak after the Chozeh of Lublin and the Yid Hakadosh of Peshischa.
When he was eight years old, Rav Yaakov Yitzchak’s mother died of typhus. Soon after, Rav Shimon Nosson Nota had to flee the country to avoid conscription into the Ottoman Empire’s army. The children were taken in by their loving grandfather, Reb Dovid’l.
In Elul of 5678 / 1918 Reb Dovid’l was niftar. A year later, the children joined their father in Cracow, Poland.
Rav Shimon Nosson Nota didn’t keep his family in Poland for very long. In Cheshvan 5686 / 1925 he returned to Yerushalayim with the then-17-year-old Rav Yaakov Yitzchak, who was wed to the daughter of Harav Alter Chaim Halevi Shub Shifman, author of Yalkut Hachaim.
On Tzom Gedaliah 5690 / 1930 his father was niftar. The tzaddikim of his time, including Harav Shlomo of Zhvil, pressed him to continue his holy legacy by serving as a Rebbe to Chassidim; so while his brother, Rav Moshe Mordechai, settled in Tel Aviv and led the Chassidim from there, Rav Yaakov Yitzchak led his flock in Yerushalayim.
Rav Yaakov Yitzchak used to rise before dawn to prepare himself for davening. After immersing in the mikveh, he would learn Torah for a few hours, particularly Kabbalah, to prepare his heart and mind. Only then would he daven.
The Rebbe never ate before finishing all of his avodah for the day, which often meant not until midnight.
As much as the Lelover Rebbe managed to hide his tzidkut, he couldn’t hide his unlimited ahavat Yisrael.
Throughout World War II, his home was open to all, and he fed all comers from his own meager stores.
Although the comings and goings of needy Yidden in his home disturbed his learning and avodah, he accepted it in order to benefit his fellow Jews. Once he even broke his custom of not using the eruv on Shabbat to carry food to a hungry Yid.
The Rebbe’s self-denial and physical deprivation took their toll, and for the last 10 years of his life he was confined to bed. At midnight of 23 Elul, Harav Yaakov Yitzchak of Lelov-Yerushalayim departed this world. He was buried the following day on Har Hazeisim. Miraculously, a plot was found next to his grandfather’s, where no space had been seen before.
HaRav Meir Yehuda Getz, Rav of the Kotel and Rosh Yeshivat Beit El (1924 - 5755 / 1995). After one of his sons, a paratrooper, was killed in the battle for Yerushalayim during the 1967 Six Day War, Rav Getz moved to the Old City and settled in the Jewish Quarter. He established a yeshiva there, and took up the duties he held until his death. In July 1981 Rav Getz was constructing a new synagogue behind the Wall that would face the Temple Mount. While the construction was going on, workers accidentally discovered Warren’s Gate and an open area behind it that they believed to be from the First Temple period..
HaRav Nachman Dovid Dubinky, zt”l, (1911-2006). Born in The Old City of Yerushalayim, where his father came after leaving Russia as a Breslover chossid. His father was niftar when Rav Nachman was 16 years old. He learned in Yeshivat Eitz Chaim for decades. There, he heard shiurim from Rav Issur Zalman, Rav Aharon Kotler, as well as the Gidulei Shmuel, Rav Shmuel Gedalya Neiman, and the Darkei Dovid, Rav Mordechai Dovid Levine. Rav Nachman lived in Beit Yisrael and a few other places, before settling in Botei Machsa when he and his Rebbetzin got married in 1932, after which they moved to Botei Natan where he lived for the next 70 years. Rav Nachman’s occupation through the years was sitting and learning Torah.
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Yahrtzeit of Chabakuk Hanavi.
The incident of David Hamelech and Bat-Sheva begins.
24 Elul 3410 - 351 B.C.E.:
Hashem awakened the spirit of Zerubavel and Yehoshua ben Yehotzadok to begin
the work of building the Second Beit HaMikdash.
The people began clearing the site, hewing wood and cutting stones.
24 Elul 5562 - September 21, 1802:
Anti-Jewish riots erupted in two Swiss cities.
24 Elul 5702 - September 6, 1942:
Four thousand Jews were removed from the Wolbrom Ghetto in Kracow, Poland and
were taken to the central train station. Two thousand "old and sick" Jews were selected not to make the trip to the Belzec murder camp so they were
taken to the local forest and shot dead, Hy"d.
24 Elul 5702 - September 6, 1942:
Nazis ordered the liquidation of Bialystok ghetto.
24 Elul 5753 - September 10, 1993:
Israel and the PLO exchange letters formally recognizing each other. The US recognizes PLO the following day.
24 Elul Yahrtzeits
24 Elul 5693 - September 15, 1933:
Harav Mordechai Yaffa, zt”l, (5381 / 1621), Rav in Vienna.
Harav Moshe Charif, zt”l, (5462 / 1702), Rav of Lvov.
Harav Yosef Moshe Shapira of Zaloshitz, zt”l, (5575 / 1815), the Brit Avram.
Harav Avraham Yosef Igra of Zeshilin-Cracow, zt”l, (5578 / 1818).
HaRav Yisrael Meir HaKohen Kagan, the Chofetz Chaim, zt"l (1835?1838?1839 - 5693 / 1933). Popularly known as the Chofetz Chaim, the title of his groundbreaking book on the evils of gossip and slander, a compilation of the laws concerning lashon hara and the guidelines of proper speech.
The Chofetz Chaim was born on 11 Shevat (1835?1838?1839) in the small town of Zhetel.
As a 9-year-old boy, he entered the yeshiva in Vilna.
When the Chofetz Chaim was 14 years old, his father, Reb Aryeh Zev Hakohen, succumbed to an epidemic that was raging in Vilna. His older brother, Aharon, took care of him for the next three years.
At the age of 17, he married and moved to the town of Radin, Poland, and settled there in the home provided by his Rebbetzin’s parents. He continued his Torah studies, in spite of extreme poverty, spending every waking moment engrossed in the holy books.
The Chofetz Chaim refused to accept a post as rabbi, and together with his wife opened a general store that provided a meager livelihood. His wife, insisting that he continue his Torah studies, managed the store herself. Many times the Chofetz Chaim would say to his son, “The little Torah that I possess is attributable to your mother.”
From the beginning, the Chofetz Chaim showed great concern for the townspeople of Radin. He conducted daily shiurim for them in Shulchan Aruch between Minchah and Maariv. His teaching was always mixed with a little mussar. On Shabbat afternoons he would teach Chumash with Rashi, likewise emphasizing kedushah and yirat Shamayim.
The Chofetz Chaim learned Torah in great depth, always starting from the source and then proceeding through all the commentaries until the final halachah. He started with Chumash, then went to the comments of Chazal on the Chumash, then to the Targum, Rashi, and Ramban, then to the Mishnah and the Gemara, then to the Rif and Rambam, then to the other Rishonim and then to the Tur and Shulchan Aruch.
When the Chofetz Chaim was about 30 years old, he began to write his first sefer - Chofetz Chaim on the laws of lashon hara and slander.
When he completed his writing, he traveled to various towns to enlist pledges for subscriptions to the sefer; he did not accept money in advance. He explained, “What if the subscriber moves or, Heaven forbid, leaves this world? How much time would I lose returning the money to him or his relatives if I could find them!”
In 1869 he founded the Yeshiva of Radin. Among his closest talmidim was Harav Elchonon Wasserman, Hy”d.
When he was 35 (1873) he published the sefer, Chofetz Chaim.
In 5624 / 1884, the first volume of Mishnah Berurah was published. Throughout the printing, the Chofetz Chaim remained in Warsaw and visited the printer daily to check for errors. He felt he could not rely on anyone else, no matter how expert, for he was printing a work of halachah in which there was no room for mistakes that could affect the halachah.
He placed his name, Yisrael Meir ben Reb Aryeh Zev Hakohen of Radin, on the title page of the Mishnah Berurah. He explained that “a halachah sefer must be open to criticism by bnei Torah, and the mechaber must be prepared to defend his psakim and to cite the authorities for them.
He ultimately published over 20 books, including Ahavat Chesed, on the mitzvah of lending money, Machaneh Yisrael for Jews serving in non-Jewish armies, and Nidchei Yisrael for Jews who moved to places where there were few religious Jews, particularly America.
Other sefarim include Shemirat Halashon, Torat Habayit, Shem Olam and Likutei Halachot on Kodashim.
Probably the most important book he wrote was the Mishna Berurah, a monumental six volume commentary on the Code of Jewish Law, Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, which deals with the general laws of daily conduct, such as prayers, tefillin, blessings, Shabbat, and Festivals. It consists of 6 volumes and took 25 years to complete, and it has achieved universal acceptance as the definitive guide to Jewish law for Ashkenazic Jewry
The Chofetz Chaim lived in Radin, a small town in Poland that became a center of attention for world Jewry, given the Chofetz Chaim's saintly stature and active involvement in Jewish affairs.
The Chofetz Chaim passed away in 5693 / 1933 and is buried in Radin.
Many fast on this day, and the Kaliver Rebbe has suggested that even those who do not fast should observe a Taanit Dibbur, at least until midday.
The Chofetz Chaim Zt"l
HaRav BenTzion Meir Chai Uziel, zt"l, (5640 / 1880 - 5713 / 1953), first Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel,.(1948-1953).
Harav BenTzion Meir Chai Uziel was born on 13 Sivan 5640/1880 in Yerushalayim to Harav Yosef Refael, a talmid chacham. His mother, Sarah, was a granddaughter of the Chikrei Lev and the Nediv Lev, who were both Rishon Letzion of Eretz Yisrael.
The birth of Ben Tzion was a great simchah in their home, all their previous children having died in childhood. The names Ben Tzion and Chai were given to the child as a segulah that he be zocheh to longevity, and the name Meir was given after his mother dreamed that the boy would illuminate the world with his Torah.
At the age of 7, he was already learning in yeshivah; and in 5652/1892, at the age of just 11, he had already graduated Beit Medrash Doresh Tzion and moved on to Yeshivas Tiferet Yerushalayim, the local Sephardic yeshivah gedolah. He also learned under Harav Menachem Bachar Yitzchak, zt”l, a leading Rav in Yerushalayim.
At the age of 14, tragedy struck — his father was niftar. Being the oldest in the family, the responsibility of parnassah fell on his shoulders. Thus, he began teaching students on a private basis, thereby bringing in a meager wage for the family.
In 5660/1900, at the age of 20, Rav Ben Tzion founded a yeshivah called Machzikei Torah for young Sephardic bachurim. He also was actively involved in other Sephardic yeshivot.
In 5671/1911, Rav Ben Zion was appointed Rav of Yaffo and its environs. Immediately upon his arrival in Yaffo, he began to work vigorously to raise the religious status of the Sephardic community there.
During World War I, Rav Ben Tzion was active as a leader and communal worker. His intercession with the Turkish government on behalf of persecuted Jews finally led to his exile to Damascus, but he was subsequently permitted to return to Eretz Yisrael, arriving in Yerushalayim before the entry of the British army.
In 5681/1921 he was appointed Chief Rabbi of Salonika for a period of three years, with the consent of the Yaffo-Tel Aviv community. He then returned to Eretz Yisrael to become Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv in 5683/1923, and in Tammuz 5699/1939, after the petirah of Harav Yaakov Meir, zt”l, was appointed Chief Rabbi of Palestine, then under the British Mandate.
Rav Ben Tzion was niftar on Erev Shabbat 24 Elul 5713 / 1953.
Rav Ben Tzion authored many sefarim, among them Mishpetei Uziel, teshuvot on all four sections of Shulchan Aruch; Shaarei Uziel, consisting of halachah, general topics, and a selection of his drashot, letters, and other writings; Michmanei Uziel; and Hegyonei Uziel. Other works are still in manuscript form.
HaRav Yechezkel Abramsky, zt"l, Dayan in Slutsk and London, and Chief Dayan of the British Empire (1886 - 5736 / 1976). Harav Yechezkel was born in a small shtetl near Vilna. He learned at the Beit Yosef yeshivah of Novardok under the Alter, Rav Yoizel Horowitz, as well as at Telz, Ramailles Yeshivah in Vilna, Mir and Slabodka. He received semichah at 18 from Harav Yechiel Mechel Epstein, the Aruch Hashulchan.
Harav Yisrael Yehonosan Yerushalemsky, Rav of Ihman, took him as a son-in-law. In his father-in-law’s home he advanced in hora’ah while continuing to learn in depth under Harav Chaim Brisker, (Rav Chaim Soloveitchik of Brisk), eventually became a close talmid.
Rav Yechezkel spent the first half of his life serving as a rav or dayan in various communities. For a while he served as a R”M in the Lubavitcher Yeshivah; from there he went on to become a Rav in Smuliyan, and then in Smulevitch, near Minsk, where he remained for nine years. In 5683/1923 he became Rav in the city of Slutzk., with a kehillah of over ten thousand Jews. Slutzk, in Belarus, was already under communist control.
After the Russian revolution, Rav Yechezkel fought desperately against the Communist decrees to destroy religion, and in 1929 he was sentenced to five years in Siberia where he suffered for two difficult years. Only after intense hishtadlut by many Gedolim was he freed, and told to leave the country.
In 1931, he was released, and the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, Rabbi Joseph H. Hertz, persuaded him to serve as Av Beit Din in London.He also became Rav of the Machzikei Hadat kehillah.
In 5711 / 1951, Rav Yechezkel moved from London to Eretz Yisrael, where Rav Eizik Sher invited him to give regular shiurim in Yeshivat Slabodka in Bnei Brak. Despite his advanced age, he traveled weekly from his home in Bayit Vegan to Bnei Brak to deliver shiurim.
Rav Yechezkel wrote twenty-five seforim in his lifetime, the best known being his monumental Chazon Yechezkel, a commentary on the entire Tosefta, which was hailed by Torah leaders as a magnificent illumination of an area of Torah that had previously been obscure because of the many difficult passages it contained. He undertook this monumental task in response to a simple comment made by Harav Chaim Brisker that the available version of the Tosefta was full of errors.
He also produced Dinei Mamonot and other sefarim.
Rav Yechezkel was niftar at the age of 90 on 24 Elul 5736/1976.
Harav Chaim Milkovski, zt”l, (5753 / 1993), father of the Amshinover Rebbe, shlita, of Bayit Vegan.
HaRav Yitzchak Flusberg, zt”l, (1941-2004). Born in Tel Aviv, he learned at the Chevron Yeshiva in Yerushalayim under Rav Meir Chadash. For a number of years, he served as Rosh Yeshiva at Tiferet Hakarmel in Haifa. He was among the founders of Gerrer shtieblech in Golders Green in London and in Toronto, and he was one of the primary founders of the Mifal Chessed organization of Ger in Eretz Yisrael.
A terrifying spectacle will take place in the End of Days. (Zohar, Parshat Balak 212b)
First day of six Days of Creation:
(Chagiga 12a) (According to Seder Hadorot)
25 Elul Creation 3761 B.C.E.:
The First day of creation: "In the beginning Hashem created the heaven and the earth" (Bereishit / Genesis 1:1) according to Rab' Eliezer (Rosh Hashanah 10:2); according to Rab' Yehoshua, it was on 25 Adar.
25 Elul 3428 - 333 B.C.E.:
Nechemia completed the rebuilding of the walls of Yerushalayim which had been in ruins since the destruction of the First Beit Hamikdash by the Babylonians 88 years earlier, as related in Sefer Nechemiah (Ch 6:15)
25 Elul 5414 - September 7, 1654:
A group of 23 Jews from Recife, Brazil arrived in New Amsterdam (later to be called New York). They were the pioneers of New York’s Jewish community.
25 Elul 5733 - September 22, 1973:
The first Jewish U.S. Secretary of State, Henry A. Kissinger, was sworn
25 Elul Yahrtzeits
the Tanna Rab' Elazar, son of Rab' Shimon bar Yochai, zt"l. (3862 / 102 C.E.). He fled Roman persecution to a cave with his father, where they hid for 13 years. He learnt Torah with Rebbe Yehuda HaNassi (the Prince) and was considered one of the greatest of his generation. He was known as the “lion, son of a lion.” (Some disagree with this date).
HaRav Yechiel Mechel of Zlotchov, zt"l, (1721 or 5486 / 1726 - 5546 / 1786) (Others 5542 / 1782). The son of Rav Yitzchak of Drohovitch, he was introduced by his father to the Baal Shem Tov at a young age. Rav Yechiel Michel became one of the inner group of Chassidim of the Baal Shem Tov, whom he accepted as his Rebbe. After the petirah of the Baal Shem Tov, Rav Yechiel Michel traveled to the Maggid of Mezritch, zy”a.
Although he was a Chassid of the Maggid, Rav Yechiel Michel conducted his own tisch. Rav Yechiel Michel is considered one of the foremost disseminators of Chassidut in Galicia. Due to disputes with the misnagdim, Rav Yechiel Michel was forced to leave Brody, Galicia, settling in Zlotchov. Later he moved to Kolki and then to Yampol in Volyn.
He was a talented baal menagen. One of the niggunim he composed became famous as the Zlotchover Niggun because of what took place at the deathbed of his Rebbe, the Baal Shem Tov.
As the family gathered around the Baal Shem Tov for the final moments of his life, he asked the Zlotchover Maggid to sing a niggun. Hearing it, the Baal Shem Tov promised that whenever that niggun is sung here in this world, he would hear it and try to help from the World to Come.
That niggun is sung at all Zhviller family occasions, the Yamim Nora’im and at shalosh seudot, because the Zlotchover Maggid was niftar then.
Many of his teachings are collected in Mayim Rabim. His disciples included Rav Yehoshua Heshel of Apta. The Zlotschover Maggid also had five sons, each of whom became Rebbe in a different place. He called his five sons “the five Chumashim.” They were R' Yosef of Yampola, R' Mordechai of Kremnitz, R' Yitzchak of Radvil, R' Binyamin Zev of Zbariz and R' Moshe of Zvhil, the first Zvhiller Rebbe.
HaRav Aharon Abuchatzeira, zt”l, (5661 / 1901).
HaRav Dovid Halberstam of Kshanov, zt”l, (5654 / 1894), son of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz. Rav Dovid was born in Rudnik in 5578 / 1818. He was the second of seven sons of the Divrei Chaim, Harav Chaim Halberstam of Sanz, zy”a, (after Harav Yechezkel Shraga of Shinev) and was named after his grandfather Harav Dovid of Tarnigrad.
Rav Dovid was an avid talmid and Chassid of his great, holy father, yet he maintained a bond with other tzaddikim as well.
Rav Dovid married the daughter of Harav Yosef Zev of Tarnigrad. After her petirah, he married again; his second wife was a descendant of the esteemed Tzintz family.
Rav Dovid excelled in learning and was known as an exceptional Gaon and masmid.
The Divrei Yechezkel of Shinev often praised his younger brother for his character and modesty, and once said that through being Rav Dovid’s talmid he was fulfilling the dictum that one should accept upon himself a Rav.
During the lifetime of his father, Rav Dovid became Rav in the town of Kshanov, where he quickly became a leading authority in Halachah. After the petirah of the Divrei Chaim, Rav Dovid agreed, after consistent pleading from Chassidim, to lead a chassidic court in Kshanov. (His brothers were Rebbes as well.)
Rav Dovid was the first of the brothers to be niftar, on 25 Elul 5654 / 1894. His sons were Harav Yosef of Kshanov, Harav Aryeh Leibush of Dukla, Harav Naftali of Kshanov and Harav Moshe of Kshanov.
. HaRav Avraham Horowitz, zt"l, (1925 - 5764 / 2004), talmid muvhak of the Steipler Gaon. He learned at Novardok Yeshiva in Tel Aviv, then at Eitz Chaim in Yerushalayim. When he was 18, he married the daughter of Rav Chaim Yehuda Leib Auerbach, father of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach. He became the chavrusa of the Steipler Gaon for decades and wrote a sefer called Orchot Rabbeinu detailing the customs and daily life of the Steipler and the Chazon Ish (with whom he was also very close). He also authored a set of halachic sefarim called Devar Halacha.
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Second day of Creation:
between the upper waters and the lower waters. According to the Midrash, Gehinnom was created today as well.
26 Elul 5108 - September 21, 1348:
The Jews of Zurich, Switzerland were accused of causing the Black Plague by poisoning wells and of ritual murder.
Some Jews were burned to death, Hy"d, the rest were driven out of town, while the rest of the community was torched.
26 Elul 5415 - September 28, 1655::
Peter Stuyvesant barred Jews from military service in the American colonies.
26 Elul 5470 - September 21, 1710:
Hodel, daughter of Moshe Kikinish of Lemberg, was martyred after falsely confessing to blood-ritual charges in order to save the lives of other Jews, Hy"d.
26 Elul 5642 - September 10, 1882:
The Congress for the Safeguarding of Non-Jewish Interests, which opened in Dresden, Germany was the first international assembly to promote anti-Semitism.
26 Elul 5701- September 18, 1941:
· The Jewish community of Shirvint, Lithuania, was massacred by the Nazis, Hy"d..
26 Elul 5732 - September 5, 1972:
Palestinian terrorists broke into the Olympic village in Munich, Germany, during the Olympic Games and held the Israeli Olympic team hostage with the demand that Israel release convicted Arab terrorists from jail. After hours of tense negotiations, the Palestinians and hostages were taken to an airport, where German sharpshooters attempted to kill the terrorists. A bloody firefight ensued, with the resulting loss of 11 Israeli lives, Hy"d. Jewish-American swimmer Mark Spitz, after having won seven gold medals, was whisked away from Munich. The Olympic committee went on with the Games, and subsequent attempts to establish a permanent Olympic memorial to the slain athletes have gone unanswered. Three of the terrorists were captured, but one month later, when Palestinians hijacked a German airplane, German authorities capitulated to their demands and released the Olympic terrorists. They were later eliminated by Israeli agents, the subject of Steven Spielberg's film, Munich.
During the 2012 Olympics, the International Olympics Committee rejected calls for a moment of silence during the opening ceremony to honor the Israeli Olympians killed in the terror attack at the 1972 Games. Shame on the Olympic Committee.
26 Elul Yahrtzeits
26 Elul 5565 - September 20, 1805:
HaRav Yitzchak Yehoshua Heschel, Rav of Vilna, zt”l, (5509 / 1749).
HaRav Eliyahu Tzarfati, zt"l, (5565 / 1805), Rav in Pas, France, and author of Eliyahu Zuta.
HaRav Tzvi Horowitz, zt”l, (5577/1817), son of the Haflaah.
HaRav Chaim Pinto of Mogador, zt”l, (1758-1845).
The famous Pinto family was dispersed worldwide - primarily to Morocco, the Ottoman Empire, and Holland — after 1497 when Portugal expelled its Jews.
Rav Shlomo Pinto married his second wife, Chiyuna Beneviste, and moved to Agadir, Morocco. In 1758, Chiyuna gave birth to their son, Rav Chaim, whom they named after Rav Chaim Vital. Ten years later, Rav Shlomo passed away, leaving his son an orphan. The Sultan of Morocco, Sidi Mohammed, closed down the port of Agadir, replacing it with the new port of Mogador (or Essaquira) that he had completed 1765, far south on Morocco’s west coast. Mogador’s thriving businesses were jumpstarted by thirteen businessmen known as the toujiar el Sultan (the traders of the Sultan) - ten of them Jews and three of them Moslems - and thanks to them and others, Mogador helped open Morocco to Europe.
Within twenty years, the Mogador Jews would comprise half or more of the town’s 6,000 residents.
Young Chaim moved to Mogador and learned in the yeshiva headed by the av beit din, Rav Yaakov Bibas. Over time, Rav Chaim became an accomplished mekubal and renowned for his ruach hakodesh. Rav Chaim was survived by his four distinguished sons, Rav Yehuda, Rav Yosef, Rav Yoshiyahu, and Rav Yaakov.
HaRav Shmuel Abba Zikelinsky of Zichlin, zt”l, (5570 / 1810 - 5639 / 1879), an important disciple of Rav Simcha Bunim of Pshischah, and subsequently a Rebbe in his own right.
Rav Shmuel Abba was born in Loibitch. His father was Rav Zelig, son-in-law of Rav Fishele of Strikov. Prior to his birth, his parents received a brachah from the Kozhnitzer Maggid to have a son who will “light up the world.”
He grew up under the wing of his revered grandfather, Reb Fishele, and visited the Rebbe Reb Bunim of Peshischah — who was very close to his grandfather — a number of times. In addition, he was a talmid of his uncle, Rav Yaakov of Brezhan, the son of Reb Fishele.
He learned Torat Hanigleh from Harav Aryeh Leib Charif of Plotzk and from Harav Moshe Aharon Zilberberg of Kutna, the Zayit Raanan.
At a young age Reb Shmuel Abba became known as the iluy of Loibitch. He was famous for his unique blend of fiery avodat Hashem, Chassidut, and vast knowledge and diligence in Torah.
After his marriage, Reb Shmuel Abba moved to his father-in-law’s town of Bodzanov. There, talmidim and Chassidim began flocking to him; with time, numerous former Chassidim of his late zeide became attached to him and they crowned him their Rebbe.
In 5604 / 1844, Reb Shmuel Abba moved to Zichlin. There he further expanded the scope of his Chassidut, and he became one of the revered Rebbes of his time.
The Zichliner Rebbe was known as a poel yeshuot and baal mofet. Interestingly, he despised doctors and their opinions, feeling that refuah is up to Hashem Alone; during his own illnesses he never allowed a doctor to see him.
Many of his mofsim and divrei Torah were printed in Lahav Eish by his grandson, Efraim Meir Gad Zichlinski.
Reb Shmuel Abba was arrested and jailed in the great Lontchitz prison because of his outspokenness against the Russian authorities. He was released after three weeks.
He was succeeded by Reb Moshe Nesanel, his only son.
HaRav Aharon of Koidenov, zt”l, (5657 / 1897).
HaRav Yitzchak Alfaya, zt”l, (5715 / 1955), author of Kuntres Hayechieli.
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Third day of Creation:
Hashem creates the seas, the grass and the trees. This is the only day on which the Torah states twice "and Hashem saw that it was good." Therefore, many tzaddikim refer to Tuesday as the "yom shehuchpal bo ki tov" - the day in which "it is good" is doubled.
27 Elul 5374 - September 1, 1614:
Jews of Frankfurt-am-Main were expelled; a Taanit Tzibbur was instituted to
commemorate the expulsion.
27 Elul 5497- September 23, 1737:
The New York State Assembly passed a law forbidding Jews to vote.
27 Elul 5520- September 8, 1760:
The First Jew known to have settled in Canada.
27 Elul 5701 - September 19, 1941:
Kiev fell to Germany.
27 Elul 5753 - September 13, 1993:
Rabin signed the Oslo Accords with PLO Terrorist Arafat. A historic handshake between Prime Minister Rabin and Terrorist Arafat took place on the White House lawn, signaling the start of a peace process. Israel agreed to transfer autonomy to the Palestinians, in exchange for a cessation of violence. However, Palestinian terrorists carried out a spate of bus bombings and roadside shootings throughout the 1990s. In July 2000, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak attempted to reach a final agreement, offering the Palestinians 93 percent of the territories -- later upped to 99 percent -- but Arafat balked. As U.S. chief negotiator Dennis Ross would later explain: "Arafat could not accept [the offer]... because when the conflict ends, the cause that defines Arafat also ends." Instead, the Palestinians launched a terror war, known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada, which claimed the lives of over 1,000 Israelis and 4,000 Palestinians.
27 Elul Yahrtzeits
HaRav Moshe Segal of Lvov, zt”l, (5479 / 1719), known as Rosh Hagolah U’manhig Hamedinah.
HaRav Yitzchak Chiyus (Chayes), zt”l, (5486 / 1726), Rav in Skolya. Author of Zera Yitzchak, a commentary on the Mishnah.
HaRav Nosson HaKohain Adler of Frankfurt, zt"l, (1742 - 5560 / 1800), Rebbe of the Chasam Sofer, and author of Mishnah DiRabi Nosson.
Known respectfully as the Nesher Hagadol (the Great Eagle), Harav Nosson Adler (eagle in German) was born in 5502 / 1742 in Frankfurt-am-Main. His father was Harav Yaakov Shimon Hakohen, a disciple of the Pnei Yehoshua.
From his youth Reb Nosson immersed himself exclusively in the four cubits of Torah and halachah, utilizing every moment for avodat Hashem. The Chida writes about him that from the age of nine his heart never strayed to mundane matters! This statement was so recorded on Rav Nosson’s matzeivah.
He was also known for his zealousness in kedushah and prishut. He arose at midnight, every single night, to recite Tikkun Chatzot.
He was a son-in-law of Harav Dovid Strauss, Rav of Piroda.
He studied Torah under the greatest men of his generation, among them Harav Avraham Abish of Frankfurt, the Birkat Avraham; Harav Yaakov Shimon, a talmid of the Pnei Yehoshua; and Harav Dovid Tebeli Schiff, Rav of London.
Rav Nosson’s home was always open to anyone who wanted to learn, elevate himself or get material help.
Rav Nosson’s Rebbetzin maintained a business through which she supported the family and enabled her great husband to sit and learn. In 5542 / 1782 he became Rav in Boskowitz, but after four years he returned to Frankfurt.
Rav Nosson suffered much persecution, in both Frankfurt and Boskowitz. In those times the haskalah movement, the so-called “enlightenment,” began rearing its ugly head, and Rav Nosson, as well as his talmidim, fought its proponents vehemently.
Through the hundreds of his talmidim who became Rabbanim and askanim, Rav Nosson shaped future generations. Among his disciples was the famed Chasam Sofer. The Chasam Sofer was devoted to his Rebbi to such an extent that when Rav Nosson was niftar, the Chasam Sofer found out about it in a dream in which he envisioned a sefer Torah draped in black.
Among the many wondrous stories about his Rebbi related by the Chasam Sofer is one about a terrible fire that broke out in the Jewish quarter of Frankfurt in 5534 / 1774. The fire devoured the houses near his beit medrash, yet Rav Nosson — wearing tallit and tefillin — calmly remained in shul without a trace of fear and continued to daven with total kavanah. Though most of the Jewish Quarter was destroyed by the fire, including the house adjacent to the beit medrash, the beit medrash itself remained unharmed.
Rav Nosson never recorded any chiddushim, claiming that writing Torah shebe’al peh is only permitted because of forgetfulness, and since he never forgot one word he learned he was not allowed to record his chiddushim.
Rav Nosson was a Kohen Meyuchas, a descendant of the Yalkut Shimoni, and he performed Birkat Kohanim every day. He attested that when the Beit Hamikdash will be rebuilt he will perform the avodah. He was niftar on 27 Elul 5560.
HaRav Yaakov Leib of Kvahl, zt”l, (5593 / 1833).
HaRav Shalom Rokeach of Belz, zt"l, (1779 - 5615 / 1855), the Sar Shalom, founder of the Belz Chassidic dynasty. Born in Brody and orphaned at a young age, he was brought up by his uncle, Rav Yissachar Ber, Rav of Skol (Sokohl). He was nurtured by his mentors, the Chozeh of Lublin and Rav Shlomo Lutzker, the Divrat Shlomo.
In 1817, he was appointed Rav of Belz, and he in 1843, the famed Belz Beit Hamedrash was completed. (It was entirely destroyed during World War II, but a replica was built in Yerushalayim years later).
Among his early students was Rav Shlomo Kluger of Brody. Since the beginnings of the movement, the misnagdim had accused chasidim of devoting too much time to joyous celebrations in fellowship with their rebbes, at the expense of Torah study. By stressing the overriding importance of in-depth Torah study, the Belzer Rebbe removed the stigma of superficiality that had plagued Chasidism. He was succeeded by his son, Rav Yehoshua. In the 1940s, the Nazis all but wiped out the splendor that was Belz. After the war, the remnants of Belzer Chasidut - under the leadership of the surviving scion of the Belz dynasty, the young Rav Yissachar Dov - miraculously restored the former grandeur of Belz. Today the glorious new Belzer yeshivah building graces the Yerushalayim skyline. Some of his teachings are recorded in the sefer, Dover Shalom.
HaRav Binyamin Tzvi Hirsch Orbach (Auerbach), zt”l,(1808 - 5632 / 1872), (others 5633 / 1873), author of Nachal Eshkol. Born to Rav Avraham, a mohel in Strasburg, France, he served as a rabbi in Darmstadt for ten years after earning semicha as well as a PhD in philosophy and Semitic languages. While living in Frankfurt, Rav Auerbach wrote the sefer Brit Avraham in memory of his father. He also spent much of his time editing the sefer Ha'Eshkol, written by the Raavad of Norvona (Narbonne) - R. Abraham ben Isaac (c. 1110 – 1179). Years later, when he became the Rav of Halberstat, he published his work as the commentary Nachal Eshkol.
There is a controversy as to the authenticity of the manuscript of the Sefer HaEshkol. In 1909, many years after R' Auerbach had died, the great scholar R' Shalom Albeck accused him of having invented the story of the Spanish manuscript in order to enable him to forge the work. This accusation aroused a great storm and four of the leading Orthodox scholars – R' David Zvi Hoffmann, R' Abraham Berliner, R' Jacob Schor, and R' Chanoch Ehrentreau – rushed to defend R' Auerbach, publishing the booklet Tzidkat ha-Tzadik (Berlin, 1910). R' Shalom Albeck responded to Tzidkat ha-Tzadik with the booklet Kofer ha-Eshkol (Warsaw, 1911), which explains how Albeck knew that the work is a forgery.
Although a further defense of Auerbach was written as late as 1974 by R' Bernard Bergman in an essay in the Joshua Finkel Festschrift (New York, 1974), it can be fairly said that R' Albeck’s arguments became accepted and the dubious nature of R' Auerbach’s Eshkol is now considered an established fact in academic circles as well as many rabbinic ones. In discussing the dispute between the four scholars on one side, and R' Albeck on the other, R. Shlomo Yosef Zevin showed which side he was on. "Though it's four against one - the feeling is that one is correct." For more about this, click here.
HaRav Moshe Nosson Nota HaLevi Yungreis (Jungreis), zt”l, (5592 / 1832 – 5649 / 1889), the Menuchat Moshe. He was the son of Harav Asher Anshel, Rav of Tchenger and author of Menuchat Asher. His mother was the daughter of Harav Meir Almashder, Rav in Mattersdorf. His famous brothers were Harav Avraham, Rav in Tchenger, and Harav Shmuel Zev, Rav in Bahim.
He married the daughter of Harav Chaim Yosef Dov Kahana-Heller, Rav of Krasna.
Reb Moshe Nota, as he was called, was a talmid chacham, renowned for his mesirut nefesh for Torah. He learned standing up to keep himself awake. He also fasted often. He dispensed sage advice, especially concerning health issues.
Some of his sefarim are She’eilot U’teshuvot Menuchat Moshe and Torat Moshe Nosson on Torah. He was niftar on 27 Elul 5649/1889.
His sons were Harav Asher Anshel, Rav in Diandiash, and Harav Shmuel Chaim of Wamash-Mikolay. His sons-in-law were Harav Moshe Aharon Mandelbaum, Rav of Marash-Washarelli, and Harav Menachem Mendel Lemberger, Rav of Tisa Polgar.
HaRav Yitzchak Eizik Eliezer Hirschowitz, Hy”d, Rav of Wirballen, (5701 / 1941).
Born in 5631/1871 in Libau (Liepaja), Latvia, a city heavily influenced by neighboring Germany. His parents, Harav Aryeh and Liba Devorah, saw the haskalah sweep their older children away from Yiddishkeit. Determined to save the youngest, they sent Yitzchak to the local chareidi school.
When he graduated at age 15, headmaster Harav Dr. Moshe Tzvi Greenberg sent him on to Telshe. Although he was not well prepared, Yitzchak Eizik Eliezer soon became a star talmid.
In 5654/1894, he married the daughter of the Rosh Yeshivah, Harav Eliezer Gordon. He continued learning in Telshe, eventually teaching younger students.
He wrote Kerem Beit Yisrael (in German with Hebrew characters), on building a Torah home. Meitav Higayon is a collection of letters of Harav Samson Raphael Hirsch, translated into Hebrew from Gothic German.
In 5666/1906 he became Rav of Talsen in Kurland, where he had grown up. He remained until he was forced to flee in World War I, ending up in Minsk.
Part of the Radin yeshivah had also taken refuge in Minsk, and the Chofetz Chaim asked him to teach them.
Later Reb Yitzchak moved with his students to Ihumen, but the Soviets soon took over and he helped his talmidim sneak across the border to Lithuania. Once they were safe, he took his own family and followed them.
In Lithuania, he headed Yeshivat Ohr Yisrael of Slabodka. Later he moved back to Telshe as principal of Yavneh Teachers’ College for Men.
Reb Yitzchak wrote a Jewish history book from a Torah viewpoint. Halichot Am Olam Vol. I, from Creation until Eliyahu’s ascent to Shamayim, was published in 5689/1929. The notes he prepared for later volumes were destroyed during the Holocaust.
In 5686/1926, he became Rav of Wirballen. The Nazis conquered the city in 5701/1940 and began the mass slaughter of Lithuanian Jews. Reb Yitzchak fled to Kelm.
On 27 Elul 5701/1941, Reb Yitzchak was taken by the Nazis from the famous Talmud Torah. He and his students sang Adon Olam together as they marched to their deaths.
His three daughters and four of his sons and their families were also murdered. Hashem yinkom damam.
One son, Reb Yehudah Lieber Hirschowitz, survived and immigrated to Eretz Yisrael.
Fourth day of Creation:
Hashem affixed the sun, moon and stars in the sky
28 Elul - 1485:
· The infamous inquisitor of Aragon Pedro Arbues was slain. Appointed by Torquemada, he was zealous in finding lapsed “new Christians” to bring before the Inquisition and have them burned alive. He was murdered in church by a group of Marranos in retaliation for his actions against their families. The perpetrators were caught, had their hands cut off, and were then beheaded and quartered. Other leaders such as Francisco de Santa Fe committed suicide, or fled to France. Arbues was canonized by the Vatican in 1867..
28 Elul 5468 - September 13, 1708:
Peter the Great ordered 13 of his soldiers who participated in anti-Jewish
riots to be hanged.
28 Elul 5551 - September 27, 1791:
French Jews granted full citizenship for the first time since the Roman Empire. (See 29 Elul).
28 Elul 5609 - September 15, 1849:
The first shul was established in South Africa. Tikvat Yisrael, "Hope of Israel," (referring to the Cape of Good Hope), was dedicated in Cape Town. Originally, the Dutch East India Company's rules required that all residents must be Christians. Only after freedom of religion was introduced in 1803 did Jewish settlers from England and Germany come in significant numbers to Cape Town. Around the turn of the 20th century, the development of diamond and gold mines attracted a large number of Jewish immigrants. South African Jewry enjoyed great prosperity, strongly represented in the commercial and professional sectors. The Jewish community was characterized by a deep attachment to traditional Jewish values and strong bonds with Israel. The Jewish population of South Africa reached a peak of 120,000 in the early 1970s, but with political turmoil and the dissolution of Apartheid, tens of thousands of Jews left to settle in Israel, Australia and the U.S. Tikvat Israel synagogue -- South Africa's first -- is still standing today.
28 Elul 5661 - September 12, 1901:
The village of of Gedera, Eretz Yisroel, was attacked by Arabs.
28 Elul 5682 - September 21, 1922:
U.S. President Warren G. Harding signed a joint resolution of Congress approving the
establishment in Palestine of a Jewish Homeland.
. 28 Elul Yahrtzeits
Shaul Hamelech (King Saul) and his three sons (including Yonatan - Special Friend of David HaMelech) are killed in the war of Gilboa, four months after Shmuel Hanavi's death. (2882 - 880 B.C.E. or 878 B.C.E.:)
· HaRav Sa’adya, zt"l, (5334 / 1574), father-in-law of the great Kabbalist, Harav Chaim Vital.
HaRav Chaim Yehuda Leib Auerbach, zt”l, ( 5647 / 1887 - 5714 / 1954), co-founder and rosh yeshiva of Shaar Hashomayim. His father was Rav Avraham Dov Auerbach, the Admor of Chernowitz-Chmielnik, Poland, who was a son-in-law of Rabbi Tzvi Halberstam, son of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz. Harav Chaim Leib was born in 5647/1887 and grew up in Yerushalayim.
At 18, he received semicha from Harav Chaim Berlin of Yerushalayim. In 5667 / 1907 he married the daughter of Harav Shlomo Zalman Porush, one of the foremost askanim of Yerushalayim.
Reb Chaim’s thirst for Torah was unquenchable. Even during his shevah brachot week he sat and learned all night with his brother-in-law, Reb Akiva Porush. He became a devoted talmid of Harav Shimon Lider-Horowitz, from whom he learned Torat Hanistar.
During World War I, when the military draft menaced young Jewish men, Reb Chaim Leib acted with mesirut nefesh to save Jews from serving in the Turkish army. He somehow obtained the title of ambassador for the Ethiopian embassy, and issued Ethiopian citizenships for many Jews. This was a great crime and easily detected, because Ethiopians are dark-skinned, and he issued the documents to lighter-skinned Yerushalmi Jews. Officially sentenced to death as a traitor, he hid out from the authorities for months after the war.
One night he dreamed that the Arizal came to him and bemoaned the fact that few Jews study his teachings, which have the power to redeem the Shechina from galut. When he awoke, he went straight to his rebbi, Reb Shimon. It turned out that his rebbi had that same dream. So rebbi and talmid immediately set out to open a yeshiva for Torat Ha’Ari, which they called Yeshivat Shaar Hashamayim (1906). Reb Chaim Leib stood at the helm of the yeshiva his entire life.
The yeshiva came to occupy its current premises on Rechov Rashi in the Mekor Boruch neighborhood. Among the yeshiva’s first talmidim in the Old City was Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank. It remained there until 1948, when fighting broke out prior to the departure of the British. Haganah fighters took up a position on the roof of the yeshiva from where they were able to fire on the Jordanians. When the Old City fell to the Jordanians shortly thereafter, the conquering Jordanians set fire to the building with all the seforim and furniture inside.
He raised money for his yeshiva with tremendous mesirut nefesh. At times he gave away every penny he had, and was left with nothing for his family.
Reb Chaim Leib was among the founders of the Chassidic beit medrash in Shaarei Chessed, and served as its Rav.
The brachah he received from Reb Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld is well-known. Reb Yosef Chaim told him, “In the merit of all you do, you will merit children who will light up Klal Yisrael with their Torah and yirah.”
Indeed, his son was none other than Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (1910-1995), and his sons-in-law were Harav Shalom Schwadron and Harav Simchah Bunim Leizerzohn (niftar in his prime), zichronam shel tzaddikim livrachah.
Rav Chaim Leib suffered two heart attacks. After the second one, he suffered for some time, and was niftar at the age of 68 on 27 Elul 5614/1954.
One of Rav Chaim Leib’s sons, Rav Raphael Auerbach, assumed leadership of the yeshiva after his father’s petira. Rav Chaim was also author of Chacham Lev.
HaRav Aryeh Carmell, zt"l, (1917- 5766 / 2006). Born in England, at the age of 16, he was sent to study under Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler and became his talmid muvhak. Rav Carmell began to compile Rav Dessler’s teachings under his guidance.
After the war he married, making his home in London. He would spend the morning hours learning bechavrusa with some of London’s leading rabbanim. In the afternoon he would go to his office to work for a few hours, setting aside time every day to organize chessed and outreach activities.
He was among the first to become involved in Jewish outreach over 50 years ago. Following Rav Dessler’s petirah he started Yad Eliyahu in London, where children who studied at public schools were taught ahavat Torah and yirat Shomayim.
He published Michtav MeEliyohu, a compilation of Rav Dessler’s teachings. The first three volumes were edited with Rav Alter Halperin and Rav Chaim Friedlander, while Rav Carmell edited the fourth and fifth volumes by himself.
He also adapted parts of the work into a book in English called Strive for Truth. He also co-edited Challenge: Torah Views on Science and its Problems and wrote an important booklet called Aid to Talmud Study.
When the wave of Russian aliya began he wrote a book called Masterplan. Based on Rav Shamshon Raphael Hirsch’s Chorev, it also presented reasons behind the mitzvot. Moving to Eretz Yisrael in 1972, Rav Carmell settled in Yerushalayim's Bayit Vegan neighborhood and helped Rav Boruch Horowitz found Yeshivat Dvar Yerushalayim, Yerushalayim's first yeshiva for baalei teshuvoh. He gave shiurim on gemora, hashkofoh and Mussar.
Erev Rosh Hashana
No Shofar Today
The Shofar is not sounded on the day before Rosh Hashana, to separate between the shofar soundings of the month of Elul (which are a minhag, or "custom") and the Rosh Hashana soundings, which are a biblically ordained mitzvah, divine commandment).
Most communities perform Hatarat Medarim, although some communities do it during the Aseret Yemei Teshuva or on Erev Yom Kippur.
The fifth day of Creation:
Hashem created fish, all marine life and birds.
Hashem also created the two sea giants, the Livyatan, and his female counterpart. Since the world would not be able to contain them if they were to have offspring, Hashem slaughtered the female and salted it away to feed tzaddikim in a future era.
29 Elul 3332 - 459 B.C.E.:
The false prophet Chanania ben Azur died
within the year, as Yirmiyahu had foretold. Chanania prophesied
the Jews' victory within two years and the return of Galut
Yechania and the Keilim taken from the Beit Hamikdash instead of
their captivity by Nevuzaradan that Yirmiyahu prophesied and which took place several years later.
29 Elul 5496 - September 5, 1736:
Many leading Jews of Posen, Poland were imprisoned and tortured following a blood libel.
29 Elul 5551 - September 28, 1791:
The Jews of France were emancipated. (See 28 Elul). .
29 Elul 5691 - September 11, 1931:
First organized attack by Nazi storm troopers, Berlin.
29 Elul 5693 - September 20, 1933:
The Jewish Palestine Philharmonic Society was founded.
29 Elul 5699 - September 13, 1939:
Nazi Germany occupied Miclec, Poland, killing its entire Jewish population, Hy"d.
29 Elul 5702 - September 11, 1942:
The nine day processes of liquidating the Polish Lida Ghetto and its 10,000 Jews began. Scores of Jews were murdered on the spot.
The rest were deported to the Treblinka murder camp, Hy"d.
29 Elul 5702 - September 11, 1942:
Between 8000 and 11,000 Jews of the Stolin ghetto were murdered in Stasino, about 3 miles from the Stolin ghetto, Hy"d.
29 Elul 5760 - September 29, 2000:
Palestinian Arabs launched a campaign of terror which came to be known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Two days earlier, an Israeli soldier was killed by his Palestinian counterpart while on joint patrol, and the next day, Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount. The next day, on the eve of Rosh Hashana, Palestinian violence erupted across Eretz Yisrael. (Later investigations indicate that the Palestinian Authority had pre-planned the intifada.). Tuvia Grossman, a 20-year-old Jewish student from Chicago, was thrust into the international limelight on when The New York Times published a photo of him -- bloodied and battered -- crouching beneath a club-wielding Israeli policeman. The caption misidentified him as a Palestinian victim of the intifada. The truth was the total opposite, and the realization that Israel was being unfairly portrayed in the media led to the founding of media monitoring groups such as HonestReporting.com. Over the next four years, Palestinian violence -- bolstered by incitement in the Palestinian media -- would claim the lives of over 1,000 Israelis and 4,000 Palestinians. The attacks included a wave of over 100 suicide bombings that targeted Israeli restaurants, synagogues and buses.
29 Elul Yahrtzeits
Harav Naftali Hertz, zt”l, (5493 / 1733), Rav of Pintchov.
Harav Yisrael Rabinowitz, Skolya-Kishinev, zt”l, (5665 / 1905 - 5735 / 1975).
Harav Rafael Landau, zt”l, (5654 / 1894), son of Reb Avraham of Tchechenov.
HaRav Yerachmiel Yeshaya Minzberg, zt”l, (5665 / 1905), Rav of Likova.
Harav Eliezer Deutsch of Bonihad, zt”l, (5674 / 1914). Author of Pri Hasade, Duda-ei Hasade. Bonihad is a small town in Tolna County in Hungary. The first document on the Jews of Bonihád is a tax conscritption from 1741, although on the testimony of a few tombstones in the cemetery, Jews had already settled earlier, in the first decades of the century. 1802, there were 400 Jewish families and an impressive synagogue and yeshiva. The population of about 6,500 in 1930 consisted of about 15% Jews, the largest number of Jews in Tolna County. With the German occupation in 1944, 1,180 Jews were deported to Pecs and then to Auschwitz. All but 50 perished, Hy”d. In 1963, 4 Jewish families remain in Bonihad.
Harav Yaakov Halevi Lipschitz, zt”l, (5682 / 1922), author of Zichron Yaakov and secretary of Rav Yitzchak Elchonon Spector.
Harav Yisrael Rabinowitz was born in Skolya in 5665/1905. His father was Harav Baruch Pinchas, zt”l, who was a scion to the Skolya dynasty as well as Zlotchov. They were also descendants of the Baal Shem Tov and many other tzaddikim.
During World War I, the family moved to Vienna. Reb Baruch Pinchas was appointed Rebbe after the petirah of his father, Harav Eliezer Chaim, zt”l, Rebbe of Yampola, who was niftar in New York in 5676/1916.
When Reb Yisrael became of age, he married the daughter of Harav Mordechai Zusia Twersky, zt”l, Rebbe of Hotzalas.
After his marriage, Reb Yisrael moved to Kishinev, where he founded a yeshivah and beis medrash, naming them for the Skolya Rebbes.
His father, Reb Baruch Pinchas, was niftar on 24 Adar 5680/1920 in Vienna, and Reb Yisrael was appointed Rebbe. He was hence known as the Skolya-Kishinev Rebbe.
After a few years in Kishinev, Reb Yisrael moved to London, where he founded Beit Medrash Ohel Yisrael.
Reb Yisrael was known for his greatness in Torah, and delivered many shiurim in all facets of Torah, notably in Halachah.
In 5708/1948, Reb Yisrael moved to America, settling in Brooklyn. Later, he moved to Miami Beach, where he founded a beit medrash.
Reb Yisrael moved to Eretz Yisrael in 5730/1970, settling in Tel Aviv.
Reb Yisrael was niftar on 29 Elul, Erev Rosh Hashanah 5735/1975, at the age of 70.
He printed his divrei Torah under the name Yismach Yisrael.
Harav Menashe Klein, zt”l, the Ungvarer Rav, zt”l, (5685 / 1925 - 5771 / 2011). Born in the town of Ungvar. His father, Harav Eliezer Zev Klein, Hy”d, was renowned for never speaking about idle matters. Already as a child, he began learning Torah from the Dayan of Dobrony. Even before his bar mitzvah, he accustomed himself to sleeping on a straw-filled sack and toiling in Torah in poverty. He later learned under Harav Yisrael Menachem Alter Chaim Hoffman, zt”l, the Rav of Bendikovitz. He began his day at dawn with immersing in a mikveh, which was often covered with ice. Still before his bar mitzvah, he began attending the famous yeshiva of Harav Yosef Elimelech Kahana, Hy”d. He was a talmid of Harav Chaim Tzvi Manheimer, zt”l, talmid of the Chasam Sofer. Throughout his life, Harav Klein considered himself a third-generation talmid of the Chasam Sofer.
During the Holocaust, he was deported to the ghettos and the concentration camps together with Harav Kahana. His parents and most of his family were murdered by the Nazis. Yet, despite his losses, his faith was rock-solid.
While in a concentration camp, he vowed that if he were to survive he would devote his life to harbotzat Torah. Right after the war, while still in a refugee camp in Europe, he began helping his brethren spiritually by disseminating Torah, establishing a kosher kitchen and facilitating other religious needs.
In the capacity of his work, he came into contact with the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe, the Shefa Chaim. From that point on he considered himself a Chassid of the Rebbe. They shared a very close relationship.
In 5706 / 1946 he immigrated to America and renewed his contacts with the Rebbe, who chose him to head Yeshivat Shearit Hapleita, which he founded.
Reb Menashe was the only person to receive semicha from the Shefa Chaim. In America, he married the Rebbetzin, tbl”c, the daughter of Harav Dovid Shlomo Frankel, zt”l, author of Be’er Dovid, who had served as a Dayan in Debrecen. The Rebbetzin served at his side devotedly for the rest of his life.
In 5709 / 1949 he began serving as Rav in the Liadi community in Williamsburg, at which time his tremendous abilities as a Rav and posek became apparent. American Jewry discovered that the new, young Rav among them personified the image of a Rav from prewar Europe. Within a short time, his reputation spread. He was in close contact with Gedolim such as Harav Moshe Feinstein, Harav Yonatan Steif, Harav Eliyahu Henkin, Harav Aharon Kotler, the Tzelemer Rav, zecher tzaddikim livrachah, and others.
In 5723 / 1963 he was appointed chairman of the Vaad Halachah of Igud Harabbanim. Already, as a young man, he was consulted on complex halachic issues. Anyone perusing his early teshuvot is awestruck by the critical issues on which he was asked to rule.
In 5718 / 1958, he published his sefer Mishne Halachot, a commentary on the sefarim of the Baal Halachot Gedolot (Beha”g) on Masechtot Ketubot, Nedarim and Nazir.
At the end of the sefer he printed the first volume of responsa with the same name as the sefer. It eventually evolved into his landmark work of responsa that comprised thousands of she’eilot and teshuvot in all areas of halacha. In 5719 / 1959, the second volume was released, followed a year later by the third volume. The set now numbers 18 volumes (the last was released posthumously).
In Boro Park, Reb Menashe established his community, Kehillat Ungvar, and opened Yeshivat Beit She’arim.
Reb Menashe lived primarily in the United States, paying visits to Eretz Yisrael. But in his last years, he settled in Kiryat Ungvar, in Yerushalayim.
Reb Menashe was niftar on 29 Elul, Erev Rosh Hashanah, 5771/2011, at the age of 86, after a short illness. He was buried in Tzfat, in the ancient cemetery near the tziyun of his grandfather, Harav Amram Chasida, near the kever of the Alshich and a short distance away from the kevarim of the Arizal and the Beit Yosef — which the Rav himself had devotedly worked to restore. No one had been buried in this part of the cemetery for more than 100 years.
There is no 30 Elul
There is no 31 Elul
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