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1 Iyar - Rosh Chodesh Iyar
According to Seder Olam Rabbah, Mitzrayim (Egypt) was afflicted by the first of the Ten Makkot (Plagues), makkat dam (blood)..
1 Iyar 2449 - 1312 B. C. E.:
The incident of the Mekoshesh Eitzim, in which one of Bnei Yisrael, Tzelofechad, was caught gathering wood on Shabbat in the Midbar, occured. This marked
the first public violation of Shabbat.
1 Iyar 2450 - 1311 B. C. E.:
Hashem ordered Moshe Rabbeinu to take a census of Bnei Yisrael
1 Iyar 2929 - 832 B.C.E.:
Shlomo HaMelech / King Solomon began the construction of the first Beit Hamikdash / Holy Temple
1 Iyar 3390? - 370 B.C.E.:
The foundation of the Second Beit Hamikdash / Holy Temple was laid in Yerushalayim.
Fifty three years following the destruction of the First Beit Hamikdash, The grandson of a Jewish king, Zerubavel, led the first band of Jews back from the Babylonian exile. Zerubavel and Yehoshua the Kohain Gadol / High Priest began construction of the Beit Hamikdash, with permission from King Cyrus of Persia (as recorded in the Book of Ezra, 3:8). Zerubavel helped clear away the charred heaps of debris which occupied the site of the Second Beit Hamikdash, and the foundation was laid amid public excitement and rejoicing.
The offering of sacrifices had actually commenced a few months earlier, on the vacant lot where the First Beit Hamikdash stood, however it was only after the construction started on the 1st of Iyar that the Leviyim / Levites began accompanying the service with song and music. The construction was later halted after the hostile Samaritans supplied false slanderous information to Cyrus about the Jews' intentions. The construction was resumed many years later, and completed 21 years later under the reign of King Daryavaish / Darius. This Second Beit Hamikdash would become the center of Jewish worship for 420 years, before being destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. Today, the Kotel HaMaravi / Western Wall is a remnant of the Beit Hamikdash / Holy Temple complex, the focal point of Jewish prayers for millennia.
1 Iyar Yahrtzeits
Reb Abba Shaul, one of the Talmudic sages
Rabbeinu Yaakov Beirav, zt”l, (1474 - 5306 / 1546), born near Toledo, in Spain. After serving as a rabbinical leader in Fez, Morocco, and Cairo, Egypt, he became the chief rabbi of Tzefat. He attempted to reintroduce thye concept of semicha in Eretz Yisrael.
HaRav Yosef Yuska, zt”l, Rav of Minsk, author of Yesod Yosef and Ne’imah Kedoshah, (5460 – 1700).
HaRav Tzvi Hirsch Ashkenazi, zt"l, the Chacham Tzvi (5408 / 1648 (1660?) - 5478 / 1718). Born in 5408 /1648, in a small city in Moravia. His father was Harav Yaakov Zak (an abbreviation of zera kodesh). He was descended from a well-known family of talmidei chachamim.
In his youth, the family moved to Alt-Ofen, in Hungary, from where his maternal family came. As a child, he learned under the tutelage of his father and also his grandfather, Harav Ephraim Hakohen, then Rav in Alt-Ofen, and mechaber of Shaar Ephraim.
At 14 years of age he went to Salonca, Greece, where he learned under HaRav Eliyahu Kobo. There he grew in Torah, becoming one of the Torah leaders of the generation. During his stay in Salonica, Harav Tzvi devoted himself mainly to an investigation of the Sephardic derech halimud. Upon his return journey to Alt-Ofen he seems to have stayed some time in Constantinople, where his learning and astuteness made such an
impression that, although a European from birth, he was termed "Chacham" (a Sephardic title reserved for a Rav). He retained this title throughout his life, and his responsa is also called ChachamTzvi.
Shortly after his return to AltOfen, he got married. In 5446 / 1686, Alt-Ofen was invaded by the Austrian army, and his wife and daughter were killed. He fled, becoming separated from his parents (who were taken captive by the Prussians), and proceeded to Sarajevo, where he received an appointment as Rav.
He remained in Sarajevo until 5449 / 1689, when he left for Germany. In Berlin he married the daughter of Harav Meshulam Zalman Mirels, Rav & Av Beit Din of Altona, Hamburg, and Wandsbeck, known as "AHU."
On the advice of his father-in-law he went to Altona, where the community founded a yeshivah where he served as Rosh Yeshivah. Bachurim assembled from all over to hear him.
After the petirah of his father-in-law in 1705, some in the community wished to have the Chacham Tzvi installed as Rav of the three congregations (AHU), while others favored Harav Moshe Rothenberg. Finally it was decided that both should serve, alternately, each for a period of six months. This did not work out, and in 5470 / 1710, he was appointed Rav of the Ashkenazi community of Amsterdam. He received a yearly salary of 2,500 Dutch guilders, a rather large sum. With this wage, he published his She'eilot U'teshuvot Chacham Tzvi.
In 5474 / 1714, persecution caused him to flee Amsterdam. He left his wife and children in Emden and traveled to London at the invitation of the Sephardic congregation of that city.
The following year he returned to Emden, and proceeded to Poland via Hanover, Halberstadt, Berlin, and Breslau, stopping at each place for some time.
After the petirah of Harav Simchah Rapoport, in 5477 / 1717, the Chacham Tzvi was called to serve as Rav in Lemberg (Lvov), where he stood in high repute. Unfortunately, just four months after assuming this position, he was niftar at the age of 80. He was the father of Rav Yaakov Emden.
HaRav Shmuel Shmelke Horowitz of Nikolsburg, zt”l, known as the Rebbe Reb Shmelke (1726 - 5538 / 1778). (See 2 Iyar)
HaRav Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk, the Pri HaAretz, zt”l, (1720 or 1730 - 5548 / 1788).
Harav Menachem Mendel (ben Harav Moshe) was born in 5490/1730 in Tartzin. When he was nine years old he was taken to the Baal Shem Tov. An exceptionally gifted child, he learned under the Maggid of Mezritch, who was a melamed in Tartzin, and became one of his closest talmidim.
After his marriage, Reb Mendel resided in Vitebsk. The Mezritcher Maggid appointed him as leader of the local Chassidim, instructing him to spread chassidic philosophy among the Yidden of White Russia. Thus he became the father of Russia’s chassidic Jewry.
Two years after the Maggid’s petirah, in 5535/1775, Reb Mendel wanted to ascend to Eretz Yisrael, but he stayed on and settled in Horodok. Among the many who thronged to him were numerous prominent former talmidim of the Maggid.
In 5537/1777 Reb Mendel - along with Rav Avraham of Kalisk - gathered 300 of his Chassidim and set out for Eretz Yisrael in what was the first large aliya of the talmidim HaBesht.. After overcoming enormous hardships and perils, the group arrived in Eretz Yisrael and settled in Tzfat. However, the Turks and Arabs persecuted them and they were forced to leave the city and move to Teveria.
Parnassah was a major problem, as were epidemics which took the lives of some of his followers.
Yet despite all this, Reb Mendel remained adamant about staying in Eretz Yisrael. He maintained contact with his Chassidim in Russia through a steady flow of letters. His letters and divrei Torah were published in Pri Ha’aretz.
The tremendous difficulties of settling in Eretz Yisrael while caring for the material and spiritual welfare of his followers sapped the Rebbe’s strength. Disease weakened him greatly, but his mind remained clear until his final hour.
When asked next to whom he wished to be buried, Reb Mendel was surprised by the question. He answered, “I would be quite happy to be buried next to any Jew — and I only hope that no Jew would be ashamed of me, just as I am not ashamed of any other Jew.”
On 1 Iyar, 5548/1788, at the age of 57, Reb Menachem Mendel was niftar. He was buried in Teveria, in the cemetery known until today as the cemetery of the talmidei haBaal Shem Tov.
HaRav Yechezkel, zt"l, author of Torat Yechezkel, (5598 / 1838).
HaRav Akiva Yosef Schlesinger, zt”l, the Lev Ha'Ivri (5682 / 1922).
HaRav Avraham Weinberg (the second) the Beit Avraham of Slonim, zt”l, (5644 / 1884 - 5693 / 1933), also known as the Rebbe of Baranovitch. grandson of the founder of Slonimer Chasidut, the Chesed L'Avraham.
Rav Avraham was born in 5644 / 1884. His father was Reb Shmuel of Slonim, son of the Yesod HaAvodah. He married the daughter of Harav Tzvi Morgenstern of Lomaz, a descendant of the Kotzker Rebbe.
His greatness and exalted character were apparent from his youth. His devoted talmid, Harav Shalom Noach Berzovsky, the Nesivot Shalom of Slonim, recounted: “I always watched him to see if he might suffer any interruption in his dveikut b’Hashem, but I never encountered even a split second of distraction from his dveikut.”
After his father’s histalkut on 19 Shevat 5676 / 1916, many of the Chassidim followed the Beit Avraham’s leadership. He established a court first in Bialystok and then in Baranovitch, while his older brother, Harav Yissachar Leib, led his court in Slonim, where their father had resided. The Beit Avraham invested immense efforts to build the world of Torah. In 5678 / 1918, he established Yeshivat Torat Chessed in Baranovitch. Together with Reb Moshe Midner, the yeshivah’s menahel, he elevated the level of Torah and yirat Shamayim.
The yeshivah’s approach to learning blended Lithuanian scholarship with chassidic fervor and chinuch. Yeshivat Torat Chessed acquired renown throughout Poland, producing great bnei Torah and yirei Shamayim.
The Beit Avraham traveled to Eretz Yisrael twice, once in 5689 / 1929 and again in 5693 / 1933. During these trips he was mechazek Slonimer Chassidim in Eretz Yisrael, especially the community in Teveria.
During one of his last tischen, the Rebbe spoke mysterious words. Referring to Jewish suffering in Germany at the hands of the Nazis, he said, “All the tzaddikim kept on delaying the bundles [of affliction] for a later time, but now all the bundles have assembled and they are stuck by the wall. There is no other solution but to throw the bundle over the wall.”
His conclusive dvar Torah to the Chassidim was: “Shabbat is like the World to Come, but the day after Shabbat is the World to Come itself.” And then he exclaimed, “And I shake myself completely free of this world!” These were his last words at his last tisch. Chassidim said that he was hinting that during the coming week he would indeed shake free of this world.
He was niftar at the young age of 49 in 5693 / 1933, and was buried in Slonim. His divrei Torah were published in Beit Avraham. His son, Harav Shlomo Dovid Yehoshua, Hy”d, succeeded him.
HaRav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro, zt”l, (1914 (or 5677 / 1917) - 5766 / 2006), Rosh Yeshiva Be’er Yaakov.
Born on 19 Av to Rav Aryeh, the dayan of Bialystok and grandson of Rav Refael (the Torat Refael) of Volozhin, who himself was a grandson of the Netziv.
As he was born during WW I, his family had fled from Bialystok to Minsk, where his uncle, Rav Chaim of Brisk, lived at the time. Immediately after Sukkot in 5693/1932 Rav Moshe Shmuel left home and set out for Yeshivat Ohel Torah of Baranovitch headed by Rav Elchonon Wasserman, Hy"d, and was considered the most outstanding in his breadth of knowledge, diligence in study, and exemplary behavior.
In the summer 1936, he became a talmid muvhak of Rav Baruch Ber Lebowitz of Kaminetz. (Others have him in the summer of 1936, traveling to learn in the Mir. In Mir, he learned with Harav Aryeh Leib Malin.)
When he reached the age of eligibility for the military draft, Reb Moshe Shmuel made great efforts to procure an exemption, but was eventually left with no option but to flee the country. This was the guiding hand of Hashgachah, which rescued him from the Holocaust.
On Erev Rosh Hashanah 5698/1937, Reb Moshe Shmuel reached Eretz Yisrael. His father eventually joined him. His mother and two brothers remained behind and perished in the Holocaust. He began learning in the Lomza Yeshivah in Petach Tikva, headed by Harav Yechiel Michel Gordon, zt”l, and Harav Reuven Katz, zt”l.
While Reb Moshe Shmuel was learning at the Lomza Yeshivah, Harav Eliezer Menachem Shach, zt”l, who went on to become Rosh Yeshivah of Ponevezh, was appointed maggid shiur in the yeshivah, and Reb Moshe Shmuel and Harav Shmuel Rozovsky, zt”l, were asked to deliver shiurim once a week. As a result, many students in the yeshivah at this time, such as Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, and, lhbc”l, Harav Yissachar Meir and Harav Chaim Sarna, zt”l, considered themselves talmidim of Rav Shapira.
In the winter of 5704/1944, Reb Moshe Shmuel went to Yerushalayim to learn under his cousin, Harav Yitzchak Ze’ev Soloveitchik, zt”l, of Brisk. Many of the Brisker Rav’s printed chiddushim on Kodshim come from Reb Moshe Shmuel’s notes.
In 1946, he married the daughter of Harav Aharon Weinstein, author of Darkei Aharon and Rosh Yeshivat Beit Yosef (in Mezeritch and later in Tel Aviv).He then learned in Kollel Chazon Ish for a year and then served as a maggid shiur in Yeshivat Kol Torah in Yerushalayim for three years. During this period, he was given semichah by Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer, zt”l.
The Chazon Ish, to whom he became very close, requested him to open a yeshiva in Beer Yaakov together with the renowned mashgiach, Rav Shlomo Wolbe.His talmidim felt Reb Moshe Shmuel was like a father to them.
In 1963 Rav Moshe Shmuel published the first volume of his work "Kuntrus HaBiurim". It included his shiurim on Gittin, Kiddushin and Nedarim. He printed ten additional volumes over the years. He also wrote the seforim, Shaarei Shemu'ot and Zahav Misheva. Most of his voluminous writings are, however, still unpublished. Rav Moshe Shmuel was a member of the Vaad HaYeshivot for fifty years. In 1968 Rav Yechezkel Sarna and the Beit Yisrael of Ger invited him to join the Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah of Agudat Yisrael.
He is buried in Bnei Brak, near the kever of Rav Shach.
HaRav Gedaliah Anemer, zt”l, (1932-2010). Born in Akron, Ohio, he was orphaned of his father when he was seven years old and traveled to learn at Tiferes Yerushalayim under Rav Moshe Feinstein, when he was just nine. Three years later, he went to lerarn at Telshe in Cleveland. In 1957, he accepted an offer to serve as Rav of Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Washington, DC, later moving the kehilla to Silver Spring, Maryland, as Young Israel Shomrei Emunah in 1965. He established the Yeshiva High School of Greater Washington and also served as Av Beis Din of the Vaad Harabbonim of Greater Washington.
2 Iyar - 1492:
The first printed edition of Mishnayot with Rambam's commentary was published in Naples.
2 Iyar 5680 - April 20, 1920:
The Supreme Council of the Peace Conference recognized the Balfour Declaration
and proclaimed Eretz Yisrael a mandated territory under British administration..
2 Iyar 5700 - May 10, 1940:
German forces marched into Holland.
2 Iyar 5705 - April 15, 1945:
The British army liberated the death camp of Bergen-Belsen and its 40,000 barely surviving inmates.
2 Iyar 5708 - May 11, 1948:
The Jewish soldiers of the Hagganah captured the city of Tzfat and the port of Haifa, just days prior to Israel's declaration of independence. Despite the disadvantages in numbers, organization and weapons, the Jews prevailed in the crucial battles, capturing several major towns and temporarily opening the strategic road to Yerushalayim.
2 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Kalman Vermaiza of Lvov (Lemberg), zt”l, (5320 / 1560). One of the first marbitzei Torah in Poland. Although probably a native of Worms, as his surname suggests, Harav Kalman Vermeiza was Rosh Yeshivah in Lemberg for 42 years. He is mentioned in responsa and by his contemporaries as one of the foremost disseminators of Torah in his time.
He was renowned for Ieading a major yeshivah, as was his contemporary, Harav Shalom
Shachna, the rebbi of the Rema, in Lublin. These were the two foremost yeshivot of their day, and top bachurim would travel to learn in them. Some say' that the Rema also Iearned under Harav Kalman.
Reb Kalman’s son-in-law was Harav Eliezer ben Rav Manoach, a foremost talmid chacham. Harav Yosef Hakohen of Cracow, author of She’erit Yosef, states in that work that he submitted a question to Rav Kalman and son-in-law for their consent.
Harav Kalman was described by the Maharshal of Lublin, in his Yam Shel Shlomo, as “zaken v’yoshev b’yeshiva - elderly and leading a yeshiva.” He was niftar after 42 years serving as Rav and RoshYeshivah in Lvov. (Others 1 Iyar).
HaRav Nosson Shapiro, zt”l, author of She’arim L’sharei Dura, (5330 / 1570).
HaRav Shmuel Shmelke Horowitz of Nikolsburg, zt”l, known as the Rebbe Reb Shmelke (1726 - 5538 / 1778). The firstborn son of Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh of Chortkov, Shmuel Shmelke traced his ancestry back to the Baal HaMaor and to Shmuel HaNavi.
HaRav Yehuda Meir Abromowitz, zt”l, (1915-2007). He was the chairman of the Agudat Israel World Organization for many years (co-chairman with Rabbi Moshe Sherer when he was alive). He was one of the last Talmidim of Rav Meir Shapira.
As a teenager, he and his brother Pinchas - who was to become the Ba’al HaFlah of Frankfurt - would study bechavrusa; their chidushim were printed by Rav Pinchas in a kunterus called “Shevet Achim.”
In their early years, Shmuel Shmelke and Pinchas studied Torah in nonchasidic Lithuanian yeshivot; but after traveling to Mezritch and meeting the Maggid, they became his ardent followers.
After becoming a chasid, he became Rav of Ritchval, the site of his famous yeshiva that produced his many famous talmidim. While there, the Rebbe Reb Shmelke, together with his brother Reb Pinchas, set out to examine the ways of Chassidut; they had heard about the greatness of the Maggid of Mezritch and wanted to see for themselves. After spending Shabbos in Mezritch they became ardent followers of Chassidut; eventually, the Rebbe Reb Shmelke became one of its staunch defenders.
After serving there for 10 years, he became Rav of Shiniva. Then, in 1773, he was invited to become Rav of Nikolsburg in Moravia. Although he was there only 5 years, he made a powerful impact, an dhe remains associated with that city to this day. Although he served as Rav in a city hostile to Chassidim, the Rebbe Reb Shmelke was revered by all the congregants. He fought against the emerging reform and haskalah movements and led the kehillah with an iron hand.
Among his disciples are the Chozeh of Lublin, Reb Menachem Mendel of Rimanov, Reb Yisrael of Koznitz, Reb Mordechai Banet and Reb Moshe Leib of Sassov.
The Rebbe Reb Shmelke was one of the most esteemed figures of his time. He was respected by all the Chassidic Rebbes, being one of the primary talmidim of the Mezritcher Maggid, the successor of the Baal Shem Tov. Harav Yosef Shaul Natansohn, the Rav of Lemberg, among others, writes words of praise and reverence when mentioning the Rebbe Reb Shmelke.
In the introduction to Nezir Hashem, he writes, “He was a Nezir Hashem … his holy avodah was with great self-sacrifice, sanctity and purity.”
On the day of his petirah he served as sandek at two brisot and afterward he declared to his talmidim that today would be the day of his histalkut.
His homilies and novellae were published in Divrei Shmuel, Darchei Yesharim, Nezir Hashem, and, in Shevet Achim (printed in the back of the Haflaah), one will find many of the chiddushim he was mechadesh while learning with his younger brother.
Anthologies of his Torah thoughts were published under the titles Imrei Shmuel, Nazir Hashem and Shemen Hatov. (Others 1 Iyar).
HaRav Avraham Dov Ber Auerbach, zt”l, (5572 / 1812), Rav of Chmelnik.
HaRav Yosef Shlofer, zt”l, (5663 / 1903), author of Porat Yosef.
HaRav Avraham Yitzchak Glick, zt”l, (5669 / 1909), Rav of Toltchova and author of Be’er Yitzchak and other sefarim.
Born in 5586 / 1826, in the village Wieretsh, near Debrecen, Hungary.
His parents’ previous children had passed away in their youth, so when this son was born, his father, Rav Shammai, and his mother accepted upon themselves to fast every Monday and Thursday, hoping that in that zechut Hashem would grant their son a long life, and that the boy would grow up to be a yerei Shamayim and a lamdan.
At the age of 12, Reb Avraham Yitzchak went to learn in the yeshivah of Harav Shmuel Shmelke Klein, who was then Rav in Balkany. Later, he moved on to the yeshivah of Harav Yitzchak Tzvi Margareten, Rav of Abraham. From this yeshivah, with many years of solid learning behind him, Reb Avraham Yitzchak moved to the yeshivah of Harav Moshe Perels, in Bonihad.
In 5606 / 1846, when Reb Avraham Yitzchak was already known as a talmid chacham and lamdan, he was taken as chassan by Harav Yeshayah Bannet of Kalov. He was the son of Harav Mordechai Bannet of Nikolsburg.
For the next three years, Reb Avraham Yitzchak lived in the home of his father-in-law, dedicating himself to Torah, unhindered by worldly issues.
Many kehillot asked Reb Avraham Yitzchak to serve as their Rav, but he declined. His father-in-law had given him a few buildings that enabled him to support himself without needing to accept a position.
A few years later, Reb Avraham Yitzchak lost all his properties, including his own house, to a devastating fire. He was thus forced to take up a Rabbinical post.
He took the position of Rav of Toltchova, where he also headed a yeshivah. He was Rav there for nearly 50 years.
Reb Avraham Yitzchak was known as a tremendous masmid who did not waste a second of his time.
In 5651 / 1851, he published She’eilot U’teshuvot Parashat Mordechai, by his grandfather Harav Mordechai Bannet. Four years later, Reb Avraham Yitzchak published his own works, Be’er Yitzchak on masechet Chullin, followed by She’eilot U’teshuvot Yad Yitzchak and Be’er Yitzchak on masechet Gittin. Many of Reb Avraham Yitzchak’s other chiddushim remain in manuscript form.
Reb Avraham Yitzchak had an only son, Rav Mordechai, who was a talmid chacham and wrote the sefer Chatzar Hamelech on the Rambam. Tragically, Rav Mordechai passed away during the lifetime of his father.
His two sons-in-law were Harav Avraham Halevi Jungreis, the son of the Menuchat Asher (who was also niftar during the life of his father-in-law), and Harav Yechezkel Bannet, Rav of St. Warrell.
HaRav Moshe Zakan Mazuz of Djerba (Tunisia), zt”l, (1851 - 5675 / 1915). Harav Mazuz was one of Djerba’s foremost Torah leaders. He learned under Rav Chaim HaKohen, author of Lev Shomea.
From a young age, Harav Mazuz wrote sefarim on a wide array of Torah topics. He was appointed Rav of Charah Zagira in 5665 / 1905 and became Rav in Djerba in 5670 / 1910. Harav Moshe Zakan also headed the beit din in Djerba, and taught many talmidim.
Harav Mazuz was known for his thorough psakim, and they are relied on even today.
In his later years, he studied Kabbalah.
Some of his sefarim were published during his lifetime, while others after his petirah.
He authored Tzadik Venisgav; Shaarei Moshe (a collection of responsa); Shem Moshe, Shaarei Torah (pilpulim on Torah and Shas), Sever Panim (chidushim on Shas and on the Rambam).
HaRav Yosef Nechemia Kornitzer, zt”l, the last Rav of Crakow (5693 / 1933).
HaRav Avraham Badush (Baddouche) of Mexico, zt”l, (5750 / 1990), author of Me’orot Avraham.
HaRav Tzvi Hirsh Zaks, zt”l, (5751 / 1991), a grandson of the Chofetz Chaim.
3 Iyar 5316 - 1556:
Following the Portuguese Expulsion in 1496, many Jews who chose to remain in Portugal became "Marranos," openly identified themselves as Christians, while secretly maintaining Jewish beliefs and traditions. Many of the Marranos eventually migrated to other countries, where they once again openly professed their allegiance to Judaism. However, because they had been "baptized," their situation was often perilous. Twenty five of these Portuguese Marranos who had reverted to Judaism were burned at the stake in Ancona, Italy
by order of Pope Paul IV. The atrocity of Ancona led the famous Dona Gracia of the House of Nasi, (herself a Portuguese Marrano who relocated to the Ottoman Empire), to spearhead a boycott against the port of Ancona as a
countermeasure to the Pope's repressive policies. She called on all Jews to do trade from the neighboring harbors and thus financially ruin Ancona. Her trade embargo was successful for a few months and marked the first Jewish
effort, since the beginning of the Diaspora, at a far-reaching, concerted drive
by the free Jewish communities of the world to hit back at their enemies.
3 Iyar 5617 - April 27, 1857:
The establishment of Jewish congregations in Lower Austria was prohibited.
3 Iyar 5643 - May 10, 1883:
Anti-Jewish riots broke out in Craiova, Roumania.
3 Iyar 5703 - May 7, 1943:
Mordecai Anielewicz, commander-in-chief of the uprising in the ghetto of Warsaw,
was killed in action, Hy"d.
3 Iyar 5704 - April 26, 1944:
The Germans took away the Kretchinefer Rebbe and his entire family, sending them to Auschwitz, Hy"d.
3 Iyar 5708 - May 12, 1948:
Bet-She'an was captured by the Haganah.
3 Iyar Yahrtzeits
Choni Hama’agal (The Circle Maker - see Menachot 94b, Rashi, See also Taanit 19a).
HaRav Leib Pistiner of Kalmai, zt”l, (5505 / 1745), a talmid of the Baal Shem Tov
HaRav Dov Ber of Zamutch, zt”l, (5539 / 1779).
HaRav Aryeh Leib Tzintz (Eibschutz) of Plotzk, zt”l, the Maharal Tzintz (5525 / 1765 - 5593 / 1833). Author of Get Mekushar, Maayanei Hachachma on Bava Metzia, Yayin Hamesameyach on Hilchot Yayin Nesech, and a peirush on Pirkei Avot.
Harav Aryeh Leib, also known as Reb Leibush Charif, was born in Pintchov in the year 5525 / 1765. His father, Harav Moshe Eibschutz, was a nephew of Reb Yonasan, the Urim V’tumim. From his tender youth, he was recognized as extremely gifted and an exceptional iluy. He devoted himself ardently to Torah study. Before the age of 18, he was already known for a vast number of chiddushim. In his early 20s, he wrote a complex chibbur on masechet Kesubot titled Ayelet Ahuvim, but since he had no financial resources he was forced to shorten it; even then it took two more years until it was finally published under the name Yaalat Chein.
Reb Leibush Charif moved to Prague and was very close to the Noda B’Yehudah, who cherished this young Gaon and invited him to eat at his table. Subsequently, he moved to Pressburg, where his brilliance became even more apparent. He penned many letters to contemporary Rabbanim, and was influential even among the greatest scholars. When he was only 30 years old, a complex she’eilah on certain batim of tefillin arose. Despite his relative youth, Rav Aryeh Leib opined that they were mutar. With time, he became known as the great meishiv.
Many communities sought Rav Aryeh Leib as their Rav, and the city of Plotzk, Poland, was fortunate to earn the privilege. He led the city with nobility, strength, logic and wisdom. His piskei halachah were revered by all; he went out of his way to free agunot so they could remarry.
On his deathbed he wrote in the presence of his greatest talmidim: “Whoever will make efforts to print my sefarim, I will be an advocate for him in Olam HaElyon.” He asked for this to be engraved on his matzeivah. Indeed, it became a well-known segulah for people seeking a yeshuah to print his sefarim.
Due to recent increased interest in this segulah, a special organization, Mechon Maharal Tzintz, was established to print these sefarim in an enhanced format.
HaRav Yeshaya Steiner of Kerestir, zt”l, (1851 - 5685 / 1925). (Reb Yeshayale Kerestirer) Born in Zbarav, Hungary, he lost his father at the age of 3. When he was 12, he was taken by his mother to Rav Tzvi Hirsch of Liska, the Ach Pri Tevua, whom he succeeded as Rav of Liska. He himself was succeeded by his son, Rav Avraham.
HaRav Abba Mordechai Berman, zt”l, Rosh yeshiva Iyun HaTalmud (1919-2005). Born on Tu B'Shvat 5679/1919 in Lodz, Poland to Rav Shaul Yosef, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Torat Chessed in Lodz, who considered the Chafetz Chaim his primary rebbi. He was a descendant of the Kli Yakar.
The child’s abilities were evident when he was young. On a visit to the Chofetz Chaim, he was tested on perek Hamafkid in Bava Metzia. “Keep him hidden,” the Chofetz Chaim told the boy’s father.
After his Bar Mitzvah, Reb Abba Mordechai began to learn at the Mir and became very close to Reb Yerucham Levovitz. Once Harav Yerucham declared, “If I had 10 Abba Lodzers [talmidim were called by their hometowns] in the yeshivah, I would not have to do anything to promote chizuk for years at a time.”
He fled to Sanghai with the yeshiva at the outset of WW2, where he learned with Harav Nachum Partzovitz, zt”l.
After World War II, Reb Abba arrived in America. He was the only member of his family who survived the Holocaust. He was one of the founders of the Mir in Brooklyn. In Brooklyn, he married Rebbetzen Itka Greenberg. After several years, he moved to Eretz Yisrael and founded Yeshiva Iyun HaTalmud in Bnai Brak. He also lectured frequently at Ponevezh. The yeshiva relocated to Yerushalayim, then to Kiryat Sefer in Modiin Ilit.
In his shiurim, he devoted himself to paving a smooth course for understanding each and every sugya. His vast knowledge and warmth drew bnei aliyah to him.
Reb Abba spent his last 25 years in Eretz Yisrael, where he had always longed to be. His final place of residence was Kiryat Sefer.
On 3 Iyar 5765 / 2005, Rav Abba Mordechai Berman was niftar at the age of 86 and buried on Har Hamenuchot in Yerushalayim.
His shiurim, published in five volumes, also named Iyun HaTalmud, reveal his depth, straight thinking and clear chiddushim. His shiurim on Kodshim are considered a basic resource.
He is survived by his Rebetzen and 6 daughters.
HaRav Yosef Breuer, zt”l, (1882-1980). Born to Sophie Breuer, youngest daughter of Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch and Rav Salomon Breuer, then rabbi of Papa, Hungary. Rav Hirsch died in 1888 in Frankfurt, and in 1890, when Rabbi Salomon Breuer was chosen to succeed him, the family moved to Frankfurt. Joseph became his father’s talmid and was ordained by him in 1903. He attended the universities of Giessen and Strasbourg, earning his Ph.D. in philosophy and political economy in 1905. In 1911, Rabbi Breuer married Rika Eisenmann of Antwerp. He assumed his first rabbinical position in 1919 when he was appointed rabbi of Frankfurt’s Klaus Shul. Following Kristallnacht in November 1938, Rabbi Breuer and his family emigrated to Antwerp, and then to the Washington Heights section of Manhattan.
4 Iyar 4782 - 1021:
Solomon ibn Gabirol (Shlomo ben Yehuda), Hebrew poet and philosopher, (4782-4819, 1021-1058), was born in Malaga, Spain. He is famous for his "Shir Hakovod" (Song of Glory), and "Shir Hayichud" (Song of Unity). He also wrote "Kinoth" (dirges) on the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash and the plight of Israel.
4 Iyar 4925 - May 1, 1165:
The Rambam (Maimonides - Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, 1135-1204) and his family leave Fez, Morocco, North Africa for Eretz Yisrael.
He recounts that when he and his family were fleeing Islamic persecution from Fez, Morocco to Eretz Yisrael, their ship was caught in a fierce storm at sea on 10 Iyar, a few days after he set sail.
He cried out to Hashem in prayer and vowed to fast each year on this date. He designated the anniversary of this departure a private day of fast and prayer.
4 Iyar - 1427:
Jews were expelled from Berne, Switzerland, 1427.
(Expulsions of Jewish communities continued unabated throughout the 15th century: Treves, 1419; duchy of Austria, 1421; Cologne, 1424; Zurich, 1436; archbishopric of Hildesheim, 1457; Schaffhausen, 1472; Mayence, 1473; Warsaw, 1483; Geneva, 1490; Thurgau, 1491; Spain, Sicily, Sardinia, Lithuania, 1492; Mecklenburg and Arles, 1493; Portugal, 1497; Nuremberg 1499; Provence, 1500.)
4 Iyar - 1492:
Date of decree of Spanish expulsion.
4 Iyar 5708 - May 13, 1948:
The Arabs of Jaffa surrender to the Haganah forces. U.S. recognizes Israel de facto.
4 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Yaakov Sasportes, zt”l, Rav of Amsterdam and antagonist of Shabtai Tzvi (1695 Others 5458 / 1698). Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Eitz Chaim in Hamburg, author of She’eilot U’teshuvot Ohalei Yaakov.
Harav Yaakov was born in 5370/1610 in Sali, Morocco. Of prestigious lineage, he was an 11th-generation descendant of Ramban.
The family moved to Algeria. At nine he was considered a child prodigy, already fluent in a number of masechtot.
At 18, Rav Yaakov was appointed to serve on the beit din of Talmasan, in North Africa. Six years later he became Av Beit Din.
In 5410/1650, Rav Yaakov was appointed Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivat Ohr Hachaim. During this period Rav Yaakov forged a close connection with Harav Menasheh Ben Yisrael, who subsequently took him along with the rest of his entourage to London.
In 5424/1664, Rav Yaakov was appointed Rav in London. Two years later, in 5426/1665, a plague struck London, killing 7,000 people, and Rav Yaakov was forced to flee.
When he arrived in Hamburg with his family, the community there supported him, despite their own financial straits.
At that time the belief in Shabtai Tzvi was at its zenith. Many Yidden were enthusiastic about him and his “revelations.” Because times were very hard for the Yidden, people clung to any sort of hope. But Rav Yaakov fought tenaciously against the apostate and his followers.
In the beginning, Rav Yaakov and his supporters were considered extremists. Even the many Rabbanim Rav Yaakov wrote to, asking for backing in his struggle, were unresponsive.
Unfortunately, Rav Yaakov’s prescience proved correct: Shabtai Tzvi and his close followers converted to Islam. Yet even after the apostate’s death, many continued to believe in him. Anti-Semitism only grew as a result of this fiasco, and life became even harder for the Yidden.
Towards the end of his life, Rav Yaakov settled in Amsterdam, where in 5453/1693 he was appointed Rav of the Sephardic community. He was niftar in Amsterdam on 4 Iyar, 5458/1698, at the age of 88.
Rav Yaakov wrote a number of sefarim, among them She’eilot U’teshuvot Ohalei Yaakov; Toldot Yaakov, a list of the sources of the pesukim in Talmud Yerushalmi.and others.
In his battle against Shabtaism, he produced Tzitzat Novel Zvi in which he collected vast material, including pamphlets and letters, and refuted Shabtai Tzvi’s messianism in detail.
HaRav Yosef Teumim, zt"l, author of Pri Megadim, on the Shulchan Aruch, Rosh Yosef on Chulin, Porat Yosef on Yevamot and Kesubot, and more. (According to some, his yahrtzeit is on 2, 4, 10 or 11 Iyar). (See 10 Iyar) (1727 - 5552 / 1792).
HaRav Yosef Dov (Yoshe Ber) Soloveitchik of Brisk, zt”l, the Beit Halevi, father of Rav Chaim Solevetchik. Yosef Dov (1820 - 5652 / 1892) was born (on the 4th of Iyar) in Nisvizh, near Minsk, to Reb Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik. Rav Yitzchak Zev was a grandson through his mother of Rav Chaim of Volozhin.
Although Reb Yitzchak Zev was not a Rav he was known as a baki in Shas and Shulchan Aruch. By the time Yosef Dov was ten he knew Mesechtat Bava Kama, Bava Metzia, Bava Basra, Brachot, Gittin and Kiddushin by heart and was already writing his own chiddushim.
When he was 11 his father brought him to Volozhin, (the center of Jewish scholarship at that time), to learn under his uncle, Rav Itzeleh, the Rosh Yeshiva and son of Rav Chaim of Volozhin. Legend says that his first wife divorced him after mistakenly thinking he was an ignoramus. After his marriage, his father-in-law supported him for thirteen years.
In 1849, Rav Itzeleh of Volozhin passed away. Less than four years later, his successor, Rav Eliezer Yitzchak Fried also passed away. The Rabbanim decided that two descendants of Rav Chaim of Volozhin, the Netziv and the Beit Halevi, would lead the yeshiva. The Netziv would be Rosh Yeshiva and the Beit Halevi would be assistant Rosh Yeshiva.
The sefer Beit Halevi is comprised primarily from the shiurim he gave in Volozhin. His derech halimud was something that was completely new and original to the Volozhiner Yeshiva and was very different from the traditional way that shiurim were given there. His sefer Beit Halevi was published in 1863.
In 1865, a delegation from the city of Slutzk came to the Beit Halevi to present him with a ksav rabbanut that was signed by all of the respected members of the community and recommended by Rav Yitzchak Elchonon Spektor, the Kovno Rav. The Beit Halevi served as Rav of Slutzk for close to ten years, but his unbending battle against the maskilim and the wealthy eventually forced him from the city.
In 1865, a delegation from Brisk, Lithuania, came to him and offered him the position of Rav to replace Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin who had just moved to Eretz Yisrael. The Beit Halevi served as Rav in Brisk for 17 years until his passing, thus launching the famous Brisker rabbinic dynasty. His son was the famed Rav Chaim Soloveichik.
HaRav Shmuel Eliyahu (ben Shaul Yedidya Elazar) Taub, The Imrei Aish of Modzitz, zt”l, Modzhitzer-Tel Aviv Rebbe (5665 / 1905 - 5744 / 1984).
The third Modzitzer Rebbe, Harav Shmuel Eliyahu, was born on 4 Adar 5665 / 1905 in Lublin, Poland. His father was Harav Shaul Yedidyah of Modzitz, the Imrei Shaul, zt”l. His mother, Rebbetzin Kayla Nechama, was a daughter of Rav Avraham Eiger, the Shevet MiYehudah, zt”l.
In his youth, Reb Shmuel Eliyahu gained thorough knowledge in all aspects of Torah. At the age of 13 he went to live with his grandfather, Harav Yisrael, the Divrei Yisrael of Modzitz, where he elevated himself in Torah and avodat Hashem. After his grandfather’s petirah he moved back with his parents and in 5686 / 1926 he married Rebbetzin Rivkah Zlata, the daughter of Reb Moshe Chaim Kohn, a prominent Warsaw naggid.
In 5690/1930 he received semichah from Warsaw’s leading Rabbanim, and at a young age he was already aposek of note who paskened she’eilot of issur v’heter.
In 5695 / 1935, Rebbe Shaul Yedidya Elazar and his son Reb Shmuel went on a pilgrimage to Palestine. While they were there R. Shmuel fell in love with the Land of Israel and asked his father if he could stay there. His father agreed and within a year Rabbi Shmuel's wife and their son, Reb Yisrael Dan, zt”l (who later succeeded his father and became the fourth Modzitzer Rebbe; he was niftar 20 Sivan 5766 / 2006), came over to Israel.
The young family settled in Tel-Aviv, where Reb Shmuel Eliyahu founded the Modzitzer shtiebel and, with his amazing personality, drew many Chassidim.
His father miraculously escaped the Holocaust via Vilna and eventually ended up in America. There he remained until 5607 / 1947, when he emigrated to Eretz Yisrael. He was niftar in 5608 / 1948, and upon his petirah his son succeeded him.
The Rebbe continued the exalted tradition of Modzitz and, as did the prior Rebbes, composed hundreds of holy niggunim that are sung throughout the world.
As he was the shaliach tzibbur on Rosh Hashanah, he composed 12 new niggunim every year to enhance various parts of the tefillot. His davening was heartrending and raised the spirits of his Chassidim to great heights.
Reb Shmuel Eliyahu conducted himself in a humble manner and was unassuming and selfless throughout his lifetime. His refined character drew many people to him, and he was also beloved by other Gedolim of the time.
He served as a member of the Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah and founded Yeshiva Imrei Shaul in his father’s memory. His divrei Torah are found in the sefer Imrei Aish. After suffering from various ailments for a number of years, on 4 Iyar he returned his soul to its Maker. He was buried on Har Hazeisim next to his father.
5 Iyar - 1250:
Pope refuses to allow Jews of Cordova, Spain to build a shul.
5 Iyar 5415 - May 12, 1655:
The English fleet headed by Capt. Venables and William Penn seized the island of Jamaica, occupying Santiago de la Vega (later known as Spanish Town). They were welcomed by the Marranos, who began to openly acknowledge their Jewish religion and soon after founded a shul at Port-Royal. A Jewish community descended from these original Jews exists there until today.
5 Iyar 5426 - May 10, 1666:
When a Jew in a neighboring town to Minsk was accused of knifing a Christian girl to use her blood to make matzot, King John III Sobieski released him and decreed that only under the conditions of 3 Jewish and 3 Gentile witnesses could such an accusation be leveled, and only the king could judge such a case of ritual murder. The same decree was confirmed by his successor, Stephan Batory a year later. In 1665, Sobieski sentenced to death a nobleman who had ridden his horse into the beit medrash in Brisk and killed the gabbai of the shul. The nobleman’s family was forced to pay compensation to the family of the murdered man. King John III Sobieski confirmed the right of the Jews in Minsk to own real estate and engage in all trades and commerce, despite the opposition of the local population. According to legend, after the death of Stephan Batory in 1686, there was a meeting of the Council of Ministers in Warsaw to elect a new king.
However, they could not come to an agreement and followed a suggestion by Prince Radzivill that Rabbi Saul Wohl be made king for one night, until they made a decision. During that one night, Rav Wohl affirmed all the decrees pertaining to the welfare of Jews, and the next day they elected Zygmund the Third.
5 Iyar 5524 - May 7, 1764:
A letter of Empress Catherine II of Russia opened the way for limited settlement of Jews in Riga.
5 Iyar 5559 - May 10, 1799:
Napoleon retreated from Acco, giving up his dream of conquering the Near East.
5 Iyar 5560 - April 30, 1800:
A decree was issued prohibiting Russian Jews from importing books in any language.
5 Iyar 5629 - April 16, 1869:
Joseph Rivlin laid the cornerstone of the first private home to be erected outside the wall of Yerushalayim marking the beginning of the modern Yishuv.
5 Iyar 5708 - May 14, 1948:
The British mandate to govern the Holy Land expired on Friday, May 14, 1948. A United Nations resolution passed six months earlier endorsed the establishment of a Jewish state in the biblical homeland of the Jewish people. On the afternoon of 5 Iyar, the State of Israel declared its independence, in a ceremony led by David Ben-Gurion in Tel Aviv.
The first act of the new government was to repeal of the British White Paper of 1939, which had restricted Jewish immigration and the acquisition of land in Eretz Yisrael. The Declaration of Independence granted full civil rights to Arab citizens of Israel, and called for peace and cooperation with neighboring Arab countries. The following day, the armies of five Arab nations attacked Israel. Despite decades of hardship, terror and wars, Israel has become a world leader in research and agriculture -- and most of all, the center of spiritual inspiration for the Jewish world.
5 Iyar -- is celebrated in Israel as Yom Ha'Atzmaut - Israeli Independence Day.
5 Iyar 5743 - April 18, 1983:
A Hezbollah car bomb killed 63 people, 17 of them Americans, at the U.S. embassy in Beirut.
5 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Moshe Zorach Eideletz (Eideles) of Prague, zt”l, author of Ohr LaYesharim, Birurei Hamiddot and Melechet Machshevet, (5515 / 1755). Orphaned as a youth and raised in the home of HaRav Yonasan Eibeshutz, zt"l. Reb Yonasan treated him like a beloved son. Realizing the lad’s genius, Reb Yonasan taught him and nurtured him. Rav Zorach grew to become a dayan and darshan in Prague, the capital of Bohemia. His arrival heralded major growth of Torah in Prague, as many talmidim from all over the continent came to learn from him.
When the Noda B’Yehudah, Harav Yechezkel Landau, zt”l, was ordained Rav of the city, for some reason Reb Zorach did not sign the official letter of Rabbanut. The Noda B’Yehudah said, “Until Reb Zorach signs the document, the whole Rabbanut is worthless to me.” Reb Zorach did sign it, and they maintained a close friendship through the years.
It was his minhag never to accept gifts. Since Reb Zorach was wealthy, the tax collector, Reb Yisrael, asked him for a large sum as his annual obligation. When the times changed and Reb Zorach’s wheel of fortune turned downward, Reb Yisrael continued to collect the usual sum from Reb Zorach. Reb Zorach did not object and kept paying, until at one point he simply could not raise the money he owed. When the tax collector realized the unfair tax burden Reb Zorach had assumed he wished to repay the Rav, and sent him a huge container of golden coins. As was his custom, the Rav did not accept the “gift.” The tax collector insisted, threatening that he would not cancel the current tax bill until the Rav allowed him to right a wrong that he had inadvertently perpetrated.
Without a choice, Reb Zorach acceded, but during his lifetime the box remained untouched. In his will, Reb Zorach instructed his children to return the box to Reb Yisrael the tax collector!
. His great, great-grandson, Rav Eliezer Eidletz of Los Angeles, is one of the leading authorities on kashrut in the world. [others - 12 Iyar]. (others 5540 / 1780).
HaRav Yeshaya Pik-Berlin of Breslau, zt”l, author of Haga'ot to Mesoret Hashas and She'ailat Shalom and other seforim . (5559 / 1799).
Harav Yeshayah Berlin was born in 5479/1719 in Eisenstadt. His father, Harav Yehudah Leib Mochiach, was Rav in Pressburg.
In his youth he learned under his father’s tutelage, and later under Harav Tzvi Hirsch Halberstadt.
Rav Yeshayah was the son-in-law of the naggid Rav Wolf Pik from Breslau, in whose honor he added “Pik” to his surname. His father-in-law supported him generously, enabling Rav Yeshayah to continue to grow in Torah. Rav Yeshayah was renowned for his amazing memory for sources and cross-references in the entire Shas.
Rav Yeshayah authored many sefarim, but he is undoubtedly best known for his Mesores Hashas (printed in square brackets in the text of the Gemara) and his other notes printed in the margins. He also wrote Kashot Meyushav, She’eilat Shalom on the She’iltot and Omer Hashikchah on halachot that aren’t discussed by the poskim. His other sefarim include Yesh Seder LaMishnah, on Mishnayot; Hafla’ah Sheb’arachin on Sefer Ha’aruch; Katan Shehigi’a L’chinuch, on Sefer Hachinuch, and Minei Targuma on Targum Onkelos on the Torah.
Rav Yeshayah’s home was a place where talmidei chachamim and Gedolim would get together to discuss Torah topics. The Shaagat Aryeh once paid him a visit and, noting his greatness in Torah, wondered how a person could be so wealthy yet so erudite in Torah.
Rav Yeshayah corresponded with many of the Gedolim of his time, including the Noda B’Yehudah and Harav Yosef Steinhardt, his brother-in-law, mechaber of Zichron Yosef.
After the petirah of Harav Yosef Teumim, Rav Yeshayah was asked to replace him as Rav of Breslau, and for the first time in his life Rav Yeshayah agreed to accept such a position. He was 74 years old at the time. Rav Yeshayah was niftar six years later, at age 80.
HaRav Chaim Meir Yechiel Shapira of Mogelnitz, zt”l, (1849). Raised and taught by his maternal grandfather, the Koznitzer Maggid, he was the disciple of the rebbes of Lublin, Pesichah, Apta, and Ruzhin. He married the granddaughter of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk.
HaRav Meir Auerbach, zt”l, (1815 – 5638 / 1878). Born in Dobri, he became the Rav of Kalisch, then made aliya to Eretz Yisrael in 1860, replacing Rav Shmuel Salant (who was traveling) as Rav of Yerushalayim. Upon the latter's return, they shared the position. Rav Meir played a central role in the establishment of the neighborhood of Meah She'arim. He is the author of Imrei Binah on Shulchan Aruch. (Others 5639 / 1879)
HaRav Shmuel Shmelke Gintzler, zt”l, author of Meishiv Nefesh (5595 / 1835 or 5598 / 1838 – 5671 / 1911). Born in Ujhel, Hungary. His father was Harav Moshe Yehudah Leib, a talmid chacham and tzaddik. As a child, young Shmuel Shmelke was already noted for his memory and learning abilities.At the age of six, he received a brachah from the Yismach Moshe, who lived in Ujhel, to develop into an outstanding talmid chacham and a leader of Klal Yisrael.
His father sent the young Shmuel to learn under his brother-in-law, Harav Avraham Yehudah Schwartz, the Kol Aryeh, Rav and Rosh Yeshivah in Mahd (until he was appointed Rav of Bergszas). He delved into Shas and poskim, and was noted for his hasmadah.
Reb Shmuel married the daughter of the naggid Harav Yitzchak Aryeh Kahana of Oibervishe, the son of Harav Shmuel Zanvil (son-in-law of Harav Yehudah Kahn, the older brother of the Ketzot Hachoshen and author of Kuntres HaSefeikot). After his wedding, Reb Shmuel Shmelke lived near his father-in-law and devoted himself to Torah.
Reb Shmuel received semichah from a number of Gedolei Yisrael, among them Harav Yosef Shaul Natansohn, the Shoel U’meishiv; . This semichah was given after Reb Shmuel spent a week at the home of Reb Yosef Shaul, where his assignment was to answer all the she’eilot that came in. Reb Shmuel also received semichah from theHarav Yosef Babad, the Minchat Chinuch; and from Harav Shmuel Shmelke Klein, the Tzror Hachaim.
After the years of support from his father-in-law were over, Reb Shmuel was appointed Rav of Oibervishe and its environ, where he served as Rav until his petirah. He was noted for his fiery drashot.
A few months before his petirah, Reb Shmuel took ill. The community davened on his behalf, but the gezeirah was sealed; Reb Shmuel was niftar on 5 Iyar 5671/1911, at the age of 76.
He wrote chiddushim on the Torah and Shas, and She’eilot U’teshuvot. Some of Reb Shmuel’s drashot and chiddushim on the Torah were published under the name Meishiv Nefesh.
According to other sources, he was appointed Rav of Oibervishe at the age of 18. He continued to serve there for 55 years.
HaRav Eliezer Chaim Rabinowitz of Yampole, zt”l, (5676 / 1916).
Reb Eliezer Chaim was born in Av 5609 / 1849. His father was Harav Baruch of Yompoli (commonly known as Reb Boruch of Yass), who was a grandson of Harav Baruch of Mezhibuzh, zt”l.
Reb Baruch and his Rebbetzin were childless for many years. Once, he visited Harav Meir of Premishlan for Shavuot and Reb Meir’l, as he was known, honored him greatly and gave him a brachah for children. Reb Meir’l gave Reb Baruch a bottle of olive oil and a blanket, and told him that when his child would be born he should rinse him with the oil and wrap him in the blanket, promising the child longevity.
When Eliezer Chaim was only 13 his father was niftar, and he and his mother returned to her hometown of Yass, Romania. There he studied under Harav Menachem Nachum of Stefenesht (the son of Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin, zt”l) for five years.
Eventually, Reb Eliezer Chaim succeeded his father as Rebbe, and he would frequently travel around to his Chassidim, remaining in a town for several weeks, or even months, before continuing on to another location. While still in his 20s he visited Harav Chaim of Sanz, who recognized his greatness and spent a few hours with him. After that, despite his old age, Harav Chaim escorted him out of his house, declaring that his name, Eliezer Chaim, is the exact gematria of Dovid ben Yishai and that his neshamah is a nitzutz of Dovid Hamelech.
His grandson, Harav Dovid Yitzchak Eizik, the Skolya Rebbe, zt”l (son of Harav Baruch Pinchas, who was Rebbe in Skolya, Galicia, after his father moved to America), related that Reb Eliezer Chaim would sayTikkun Chatzot every night with a niggun that was handed down by the holy Baal Shem Tov. He would cry over the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash every night as if it had just happened.
When his Rebbetzin passed away in 5689 / 1889, he traveled to America and resided in New York. He was the first chassidishe Rebbe to do so.
After about a year, he returned to Europe until 5673 / 1913, when he again went to the United States. His goal was to continue on to Eretz Yisrael to join a son who lived there. However, World War I broke out and he was forced to remain where he was. In 5675 / 1915 he became ill, and was niftar in New York on 5 Iyar 5676 / 1916.
He was buried in Mount Judah Cemetery in Queens. Many visit his kever to daven for yeshuot.
His sefer, Siach Eliezer, was first published in 5633 / 1873; it was reprinted in 5657/1897 and in 5718/1958. In 5744/1984 it was reprinted once more, with the addition of Yeshuot Yisrael, which contains 18 stories about the Baal Shem Tov written by Reb Eliezer Chaim. It was reissued in 5764/2004.
Reb Eliezer Chaim was survived by his sons, Harav Baruch Pinchas of Skolya; Harav Shmuel Avraham of Mezhibuzh-Brownsville; and Harav Yisrael, who was niftar at a young age. His sons-in-law were Reb Yechiel Meir Salzstein and Reb Dov Ber Albert.
HaRav Yaakov Leiner, zt”l, Radziner Rebbe of Boro Park (1962-2009). Born to Rav Mordechai Yosef Leiner, the son of Rav Yerucham Leiner, he attended Mesivta Chaim Berlin and Beit Medrash Govoha in Lakewood. In 1988, his father was niftar, and four years later, he married Miriam Buxon. Thereafter, he was appointed Rebbe of a Chassidut born out of the Izhbitzer Chassidut of pre-war Poland. Rav Yaakov spent much effort in reprinting sefarim of his illustrious forefathers, and had recently reprinted the Torah of his grandfather, Rav Yerucham under the title, Tiferet Yerucham. He died of a massive heart attack in his sleep, leaving his almana and ten children, ages 15 years to a few months.
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6 Iyar 4773 - 1013:
Many Jews of Cordova, Spain, were massacred by soldiers of Suleiman ibn Al-Hakim.
6 Iyar - 1267:
A Church synod meeting in Vienna ordered distinctive garb for Jews. (others 13 Iyar).
6 Iyar - 1588:
Council of Hanover ordered the severance of all business connections between Jews and Christians.
6 Iyar 5556 - May 14, 1796:
English physician Edward Jenner successfully inoculated 8-year old James Phipps against smallpox by using cowpox matter.
6 Iyar 5641 - May 4, 1881:
Following the assassination a month earlier of Tzar Alexander II of Russia, and the subsequent rumors that the Jews were behind the assassination, widespread pogroms broke out in Kiev, Russia, and spread throughout the Russian empire. The riots and pogroms lasted four years, during which time thousands of Jewish homes and synagogues were destroyed, and countless Jews were killed and injured. Tzar Alexander III actually blamed the riots on the Jews(!) and punished them by enacting new harsh laws which further restricted their freedoms. Among these devastating laws were legislation which restricted Jews from residing in towns with fewer than 10,000 citizens, and limiting their professional employment and education opportunities. These oppressive laws, known as the "May Laws," compelled many Jews to emigrate as many downtrodden Jews began feeling that they would be safe only if they had their own homeland. This led to the formation in 1882 of Chovevei Zion, the first organized modern Zionist movement. More than two million Jews fled Russia, many of them settling in the United States.
6 Iyar 5680 - April 24, 1920:
British 28-year mandate over Eretz Yisrael begins.
This date became known as San Remo Day.
6 Iyar 5708 - May 15, 1948:
· The British mandate over Eretz Yisrael came to an end, exactly 28 years after it began.
6 Iyar 5708 - May 15, 1948:
One day after the State of Israel was proclaimed (see 5 Iyar), the surrounding Arab nations -- Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq --declared war on the fledgling state, with the objective of "driving the Jews into the sea." Tel Aviv was bombed on that very first day of the War of Independence. The Arab armies invaded Israel.
6 Iyar 5708 - May 15, 1948:
· The Arab Legion captured Neveh Yaakov, the last Jewish settlement north of Yerushalayim.
6 Iyar Yahrtzeits
Rabbeinu Levi ben Gershom (Ralbag), zt”l, philosopher, and commentator on Chumash. Though a distinguished Talmudist, Levi never held a rabbinical office. He earned a livelihood most probably by the practice of medicine. (1288 - 5104 / 1344).
HaRav Yitzchak Halevi Horowitz of Hamburg, zt"l, (5527 / 1767).
HaRav Moshe of Zhvil, zt"l, son of HaRav Yechiel Mechel of Zlotochov, (5530 / 1770 - 5591 / 1831). Harav Moshe Goldman was the fourth son of Harav Yechiel Michel, the Zlotchover Maggid, a talmid of the Baal Shem Tov and of the Mezeritcher Maggid. Reb Yechiel Michel compared his five sons to the Chamishah Chumshei Torah.
Reb Moshe married the daughter of Harav Dovid, Rav of Gravitz.
Like his father he was a maggid, traveling from village to village to spread Yiddishkeit. With the petirah of his father on 25 Elul 5546 / 1786, Reb Moshe, although reluctant, was persuaded to become Rebbe by Harav Mordechai of Neshchiz. He established his court in Zhvil, Volhynia, Ukraine, and was the forebear of the famed Zhviller dynasty.
Esteemed by the generation’s leading Rebbes, he was especially close to Harav Pinchas of Koritz.
He was succeeded by his son Harav Yechiel Michel, named for his grandfather.(Others 10 Iyar).
Harav Moshe Safrin of Sambur, zt"l, a talmid of the Chozeh of Lublin, (5525 / 1765 - 5600 / 1840), (Others 5608 / 1848). Son of Harav Yitzchak Eizik of Kamarna, a disciple of the Chozeh of Lublin.
Reb Moshe was also a talmid of the Chozeh of Lublin, and he would travel as well to the courts of other Rebbes, such as Harav Menachem Mendel of Rimanov, the Kozhnitzer Maggid, Harav Elazar of Lizhensk and Harav Moshe of Pshevorsk.
Following the petirah of the Chozeh, Reb Moshe became a devoted chassid of his brother, Reb Tzvi Hirshof Ziditchov, whom he followed for nearly 40 years. In 5591/1831, after Reb Tzvi Hirsh’s petirah, many of his chassidim saw Reb Moshe as their new Rebbe. Following the petirah of another brother, Reb Yisachar Berish, about 10 months after Reb Tzvi Hirsh’s passing, most of the Ziditchover chassidim flocked to Reb Moshe.
Reb Moshe was very close with many other Rebbes of his generation, including Harav Meir of Premishlan and Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin.
The divrei Torah of Reb Moshe were published in the sefer Tefillah L’Moshe, and many of his words are brought by his son, Harav Yehudah Tzvi, in his Daat Kedoshim.
Reb Moshe was niftar on 6 Iyar 5600/1840 at the age of 75. He was buried in the ohel in Ziditch.
Reb Moshe was survived by his sons, Harav Yehudah Tzvi of Rozle, who was the son-in-law of Reb Tzvi Hirsh; Harav Koppel, Rav in Ridick; Harav Yeshayah of Saniatin; and Harav Michel of Ziditchov.
HaRav Yosef Meir Weiss, zt”l, Admor of Spinka, the Imrei Yosef (5598 / 1838 - 5669 / 1909).
Harav Yosef Meir Weiss of Spinka was born on 18 Adar 5598/1838. His father was Harav Shmuel Tzvi.
At age 12, Reb Yosef Meir was already deemed a suitable learning partner for his uncle, Harav Yitzchak Isaac of Swaliva. Every morning of that year he covered two dapim of Choshen Mishpat with the SMA and the Shach, and every evening he learned Shas with poskim, so that by the end of that first winter he had covered Bechorot with the Rit Algazi, all of Brachot and most of Shabbat. In his “free time,” he also learned Tanach and a bit of dikduk.
After a year with his uncle, he went to learn in the yeshivah of Harav Meir Eisenstadt, zt”l, the Maharam Asch, in Ungvar, where he proved to be an outstanding talmid. Later, though, he moved on to Chust, to the yeshivah of Reb Shmuel Shmelke Klein, the Tzror Hachaim.
At the age of 16, Reb Yosef Meir married the daughter of the naggid and chassid Reb Mordechai of Barshai, who supported him fully.
The Imrei Yosef lost his first Rebbetzin in 5617/1857, just three years after they were married. The following year he married the daughter of the naggid Reb Meir of Munkacs, but soon afterwards he himself fell ill with a lung disease.
His father, Harav Shmuel Tzvi, received a brachah from Reb Yitzchak Isaac of Ziditchov that Reb Yosef Meir would recuperate. When he recovered, he became one of the Ziditchover’s greatest and closest disciples.
With his move to Munkacs after his second marriage, the Imrei Yosef reached great heights in both limud Torah and avodat Hashem. During this period, he wrote most of his sefer Imrei Yosef and began working on Eitz Chaim, but did not finish.
This period of relative peace ended in 5630/1870 with the death of his second Rebbetzin, which left him widowed with two young daughters. Soon after, he married the daughter of Reb Ezra Yaakov Basch of Spinka, in Marmarosh, and moved there.
That summer the Imrei Yosef received a brachah from the Ziditchover Rebbe investing him with the authority to lead Chassidim. From that time on, Chassidim came to learn from him.
In 5664/1904, the Rebbe fell critically ill, but the tefillot of Yidden beseeching Heaven on his behalf gained him another five years. He was niftar on Tuesday, 6 Iyar 5669/1909.
His sefarim are entitled Imrei Yosef, on the Torah and the Yamim Tovim.
HaRav Dov Berish Zeitlyn of Vilna, zt”l, (1920).
HaRav Yaakov Chaim Perlow of Stolin, zt”l, buried in Detroit (5706 / 1946).
HaRav Menachem Mendel Halberstam of Stropkov, zt”l, (5715 / 1955), author of Divrei Menachem. He was an uncle of Rav Yechezkel Shraga Lifshitz. During the Holocaust, the Rebbe initially hid in Budapest, then, with the Nazi occupation of Hungary, was taken to Bratislava, Slovakia–along with his wife, a granddaughter, and one son. He lived in New York after the war, teaching at the Stropkover Yeshiva in Williamsburg.
HaRav Raphael Binyamin Levine, zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva of Beit Aryeh-Yerushalayim and son of HaRav Aryeh Levin, the Tzaddik of Yerushalayim, (5762 / 2002)..
HaRav Tzvi (Hersh) Tevel, zt”l, (1916-2006). Born in Dinov, Galicia, he began learning at Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin when he was 17 where his chavrusa was Rav Chaim Kreiswirth. At the age of 22, he became Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshiva Divrei Chaim in Cracow. After his father was murdered by the Nazis, Rav Tevel escaped to Russia with his mother and six siblings. After his marriage, his moved to Boro Park in 1951, establishing a shul - Siach Hasadeh - in 1966. For two years, he also ran a yeshiva, Zichron Yaakov. He authored several volumes of Tzion L’nefesh and another sefer called Gilyonei Tzvi.
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7 Iyar 3318 - 443
The chomah (walls) around Yerushalayim, built by Nechemia, was dedicated on 7 Iyar 3318 - 443 B. C. E. (or 370 B.C.E.) with great jubilation nearly 88 years after they were destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia. (See Megillat Taanit where the day is cited as a Yom Tov),
Unfortunately the walls are surrendered to the Romans on the same day over 500 years later.
7 Iyar 5058 - 1298:
The notorious Rindfleisch Massacres of thousands of Jews began at Rottingen
and spread across southern Germany and Austria. The Jews were accused of profaning the Christians' "holy" wafer, and pogroms led by the anti-Semitic Rindfleish broke
out in Reutlingen against the Jews. Within half a year, 150 Jewish communities
throughout Germany and Austria were decimated and thousands of Jews martyred, Hy"d.
7 Iyar 5276 - 1516:
The first ghetto for Jews was established in Venice.
The Venetian City Council decreed that all Jews be segregated to a specific area of the city, the site of an old metal foundry.
Venice's ghetto was surrounded by water, with a canal leading to its gates. At night the "Christian guards" patrolled the waters around the ghetto to ensure that the night curfew wasn't violated. At the same time of the establishment of this ghetto, numerous other degrading laws were enacted, including the requirement that all Jews wear yellow stars as identification.
Despite all these restrictions, the Jewish community blossomed and functioned normally. In 1797, the ghetto was abolished by Napoleon during the course of the French Revolution.
Because the site chosen to accommodate the Jews had once housed the city's foundries, "ghetto" in Italian -- thus giving rise to a byword that would, over the centuries, describe the persecution of Jews. In 1555, for example, Pope Paul IV created the Roman Ghetto,
while the he first official document which uses the word ghetto to describe an area restricted to the residence of Jews exclusively was a papal edict from 1562.
In the 20th century the Nazis forced Jews into dozens of ghettos -- the Warsaw Ghetto alone held 450,000 people (30% of the entire population of Warsaw), crammed into a tiny area.
7 Iyar 5417 - April 20, 1657:
After a battle of almost two years Asser Levy, one of the original 23 settlers of New Amsterdam (New York), was allowed to serve on guard duty. Levy, who was the town shochet, opened his slaughterhouse on what is now Wall Street. He also petitioned to be allowed the rights as a Burgher of the town, which he received reluctantly and as a “second class” Burgher from the burgomasters of New Amsterdam.
7 Iyar 5451 - May 6, 1691:
In Palma Majorca, after 150 years of freedom from the Inquisition, an investigation led to the conviction of 219 people. All agreed to be reconciled with the Church, but after some tried to flee the island and were caught, 37 were burned to death for relapsing to heresy. Among them were Raphael Benito and his sister Catalina, who jumped into the flames rather than be baptized. Her steadfastness of belief was made into a ballad which is still sung on the island today, Hy"d.
7 Iyar 5703 - May 12, 1943:
The first Jewish agricultural settlement was established in the Negev, Kibbutz Gevulot. David Ben-Gurion believed that the Negev -- encompassing about half the land mass of Israel -- was the fledging country's great frontier. Though the Negev was virtually uninhabited and thought by many to be uncultivable, Ben-Gurion believed that the desert could be tamed and turned into an asset. Many agricultural innovations, such as the use of hydroponics, have been developed in order to cultivate the Negev. And today, Beersheba -- first known as the biblical watering hole for Abraham's sheep -- is a modern city of 190,000.
7 Iyar 5708 - May 16, 1948:
Jordan annexes the West Bank, including East Yerushalayim.
7 Iyar 5756 - April 26, 1996:
After 16 days of bloodshed, Hizbullah terrorists pledged to end the worst fighting in the Mideast in three years, agreeing to a US-brokered truce with Israel.
7 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Shlomo Efraim of Luntshitz, zt”l, author of Kli Yakar and Olelot Efraim (5310 / 1550 - 5379 / 1619). Rav Efraim was born in Lunchitz (Lenczyk), Poland.
He was a disciple of Rav Shlomo Luria (Maharshal) the famous talmudist and author of Yam Shel Shlomo. Initially he lived in Yarislov, where he wrote Olelot Efraim, drashot for Yamim Tovim and for simchot. Since he had no sefarim there, the numerous citations and quotations from the Talmud, Midrashim and commentaries were written from memory, as he notes in the introduction.
Subsequently he settled in Lvov, where he was constantly asked to deliver drashot. A spellbinding orator, his fiery sermons inspired his listeners to come closer to Hashem.
In 5361/1601, he contracted a severe life-threatening illness and the name "Shlomo" was added to his original name, Efraim. After he recovered he vowed to author a chibbur on the Torah, and produced the famous, fundamental sefer Kli Yakar. (as related in the introduction of his Kli Yakar).
After leading the yeshiva in Lvov, Rav Shlomo Efraim was appointed Rav of Prague in 5364 / 1604. He sat on the Beit Din of that city with Rav Yeshayah Horowitz (the "Shelah Ha'kadosh").
Among Rav Shlomo Efraim's prominent students was Rav Yom Tov Lipman Heller, author of the Mishnah commentary Tosfot Yom Tov. In 5367/1607, a plague broke out in Prague, forcing him to flee the city. While in exile he authored yet another chibbur, Amudai Sheish, which contains mussar discourses on the six “pillars”: Torah, avodah, gemilut chassadim, din, emet and shalom. The Kli Yakar died in Prague, Bohemia.
In addition to Kli Yakar, Rav Shlomo Efraim also wrote Ir Giborim, Rivevot Ephraim, Sifsei Da'at, and Orach L'chaim, as well as special selichot to be said on 2 Adar in memory of the Jews of Prague who suffered horribly on that day during the pogroms of 5371 / 1611. He was succeeded by his son. Some mistakenly observe his yartzeit on 7 Adar.
HaRav Yeshaya Yaakov ben Harav Yehudah Leib of Alesk,zt"l, author of V’Cherev Pifiyot (c. 5500 / 1750 - 5571 / 1811).(others 5471 / 1711).
Harav Yeshayah Yaakov was born c. 5500/1750. He was a close talmid of Harav Chaim Tzanzer, who was the head of the famous kloiz in Brody. There Reb Yeshayah Yaakov delved into the depths of Torah, barely leaving the beit medrash. He became very well versed in not just the revealed Torah, but in the hidden Torah, Torat HaKabbalah.
His rebbi, Harav Chaim Tzanzer, held him in high esteem, and taught him as a father would teach a son. Harav Shalom Halevi of Kaminka, zy”a, once said that Harav Chaim Tzanzer attested that his talmid Reb Yeshayah Yaakov was destined for greatness, that his mind could hold the minds of a thousand others.
Reb Yeshayah Yaakov served as Rav in the kehillot of Tshian, and in his later years in Alesk.
He wrote many sefarim, chiddushei Torah on all facets of the Torah, most notably on Kabbalah. Harav Shalom of Kaminka bought some of these sefarim from Reb Yeshayah Yaakov, and over the years many of them have been printed.
Reb Yeshayah Yaakov’s most famous sefer is his V’cherev Pifiyot, the sefer after which he is known, which he first published in 5547/1787. It is a kabbalistic work on the words of Kriat Shema and the kabbalistic intentions behind them. It is divided into three parts: Kessem Zahav on the first parashah, V’ahavta; Glilei Zahav on the second parashah, V’hayah im shamoa; and Amudei Sheish on the third parashah, Vayomer.
The leading Gedolim of his era praised his sefarim greatly.
Beit Chochmah, his peirush on Shir Hashirim, was printed in 5658/1898, together with his peirush on Tehillim 107, which are both recited before Minchah on Erev Shabbat.
Among his other sefarim that have been printed are Beit Malchut on Megillat Rut; Nesiv Chochmah on the measurements used in the Gemara, in coins, land and sizes; Tapuchei Zahav and Chok U’mishpat on the mitzvah of tekiat shofar; Eretz Tov, on the holy Names of Hashem in everything in this world; and Atzei Eden, his drushim on the Torah, based on Kabbalah.
Reb Yeshayah Yaakov was niftar on 7 Iyar, 5571/1811, and was buried in Alesk.
HaRav Chaim Moshe Reuven Elazary, zt"l, (1984). A student of the Slobodka Yeshiva, first in Europe and then in Chevron. He began his rabbinic career in the Bronx, and also taught at a yeshiva in Brooklyn. After 1929, he succeeded his father-in-law, Rav Ephraim Pelcovitz, as rabbi of Congregation Agudat Achim in Canton, Ohio. (His father had been in Canton since 1914, and in 1929 moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut.) In 1972, Rav Elazary settled in Petach Tikva. He left numerous published and unpublished works and articles, many of them exhibiting the influence of Rav Nosson Zvi Finkel, the Alter of Slobodka. Rav Elazary's brothers, Rav Betzalel and Rav Yisrael, were among those murdered by Palestinian Arabs in the 1929 Chevron massacre.
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8 Iyar 4856 - 1096:
The Jewish community of Speyer, (Rhineland-Palatinate), Germany was massacred on Shabbat, during the First Crusade. On Tisha B’Av we recite the Kinah “Mi Yitein Roshi Mayim” in commemoration, Hy"d.
In the early 1070s, the Muslim Turks commenced an offensive against the Christian pilgrims in Yerushalayim. Pope Gregory VII offered his help to defend the Greek Christians, but the army he promised never materialized.
In 1095, his successor, Urban II, began to call for a holy war to liberate the Christians in Yerushalayim. By the next year, more than 100,000 men had rallied to his call, forming the First Crusade. Urban and the local clergymen in Europe felt that the Crusade had another purpose as well - to annihilate all non-Christians in Europe who refused to convert to Christianity.
On their way to the Holy Land, the mobs of crusaders attacked many Jewish communities. On Shabbat, 8 Iyar, the Jews of Speyer were massacred. Many of the Jews of Worms, Germany were also massacred on this day; some of them took refuge in a local castle for a week before being slaughtered as they recited their morning prayers (see 1 Sivan), Hy"d.
8 Iyar 5276 - 1516:
Venice became the first city in the world where the term ghetto was associated with the Jewish quarter, when the Jews were compelled to move into a restricted area. The area was formerly the site of a foundry which manufactured weapons for the government of Venice. The Italian term for "foundry" is ghetto. The first official document which uses the word ghetto to describe an area restricted to the residence of Jews exclusively was a papal edict from 1562.
8 Iyar - 1595:
Purim de la Senora, also known as Purim Chios. (According to others in 1820).
8 Iyar 5424 - May 3, 1664:
HaRav Shimon, Rav of Lvov and HaRav Mordechai and HaRav Shlomo, the sons of the Taz, with many other prominent Rabbanim were killed Al Kiddush Hashem. For more details see the sefer Melitzei Aish, Hy"d.
8 Iyar 5427 - May 2, 1667:
Many Jews perish as anti-Jewish riots break out in Lemberg (Lvov), Galicia, Hy"d. The day was observed as a fast day.
8 Iyar 5429 - May 9, 1669:
The Venetian armies' attack on Aegean Island, which had a sizeable number of Jews, was beaten off. In commemoration, the local Jews instituted an annual celebration.
8 Iyar 5708 - May 17, 1948:
The last illegal refugee boats "For Victory" and "Israel" which departed from Italy reach the Tel Aviv coast. During 1934 -1948, illegal boats brought 110,000 European refugees to Israel.
8 Iyar 5708 - May 17, 1948:
Israel captured Acco.
8 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Shimon (Rav of Lvov), Harav Mordechai and Harav Shlomo, the sons of the Taz, zt"l, were killed al kiddush Hashe in Lvov together with many other prominent Rabbanim and parnassim, (5424 / 1664). (For further details, see sefer Melitzei Aish.) Hy”d.
HaRav Yerachmiel Rabinowitz of Peshischa, the Kedushat HaYehudi, zt"l, (5591 / 1831) Harav Yerachmiel was born in 5544 / 1784. His father was Harav Yaakov Yitzchak, the Yehudi Hakadosh of Peshischa.
For 13 years during his father’s lifetime he occupied himself as a watchmaker, a profession in which he was an expert. In this way he concealed his spiritual greatness from the eyes of the public. He conducted himself in an extremely humble manner, to such an extent that his father’s Chassidim did not have an inkling of his greatness.
He was very diligent in honoring his holy father, the Yehudi Hakadosh, who was known for his extraordinary mesirut nefesh for avodat Hashem. Once his father requested that he bring a burning coal so he could light his pipe. Reb Yerachmiel tossed the coal back and forth between his hands until he placed it into the pipe. It was later revealed that in order to be mekayem kibbud av with his own hands he had severely burnt himself. This story was retold by his brother, Harav Nechemiah of Bichov.
Harav Chaim Meir of Mogilnetze, zt”l, likened the 13 years that Reb Yerachmiel spent as a watchmaker to the 13 years Rabi Shimon bar Yochai and his son spent hiding in the me’arah, totally detached from the mundane concerns of this world.
After his father’s petirah on Sukkot of 5574/1813, most of his father’s Chassidim followed the leadership of his prime talmid, the Rebbe Reb Bunim of Peshischa. Nevertheless, a group of Chassidim chose to become loyal to Reb Yerachmiel, and they devoted themselves wholeheartedly to their Rebbe. Reb Yerachmiel initially refused, but eventually the Chassidim prevailed.
The Rebbe Reb Bunim and Reb Yerachmiel lived in the same city and had great respect and deference for each other. Reb Yerachmiel attested that the Rebbe Reb Bunim had been “the apple of his father’s eye.”
Reb Yerachmiel is buried in the ohel that also shelters his father and the Rebbe Reb Bunim of Peshischa, in the town of Peshischa, Poland.
Harav Chaim Avraham Gaghin, zt"l, Rishon LeTzion of Yerushalayim, author of Chukei Chaim and Minchah Tehorah, (5608 / 1848).
Harav Avraham Chaim Gaghin was born in Constantinople in 5547/1787. His father, Harav Moshe, moved the family to Eretz Yisrael when Avraham Chaim was still a child. Learning in yeshivot in Yerushalayim, the boy’s great lamdanut was quickly noted; at a young age, he wrote Minchah Tehorah on Masechet Menachot.
After the passing of his first wife in 5588/1837, Rav Chaim Avraham married the daughter of Harav Avraham Shalom Sharabi, who was among the leading mekubalim in Yerushalayim.
In 5594/1834, following the petirah of Harav Avraham Maghar, Rav Chaim Avraham was chosen to daven at the amud in his place, a position of importance among the mekubalim.
Subsequently, with the petirah of Harav Yehudah Navon in 5602/1842, Rav Chaim Avraham was appointed Rishon LeTzion. He was the first Rishon LeTzion to be certified at this post by the Turkish Empire.
As Rav, Rav Chaim Avraham enacted many takanot for the benefit of the community. He distributed all the money he received among the needy.
Rav Chaim Avraham fought against the local Christian missionaries who sought to uproot Yiddishkeit, and forbade living near them. Once, when he was sick, the missionary doctor said he could cure him in just three days. Rav Chaim Avraham replied that he would rather die than be healed by a missionary doctor.
Besides his communal activities, Rav Chaim Avraham was also active in disseminating Torah. He wrote numerous sefarim, among them the previously mentioned Minchah Tehorah on Masechet Menachot; Chaim MiYrushalayim, a compilation of his drashot on the Torah; and She’eilot U’teshuvot Chukei Chaim.
Rav Chaim Avraham was niftar on 8 Iyar 5608/1848, at the age of 62. (Some authorities give the day of his petirah as 20 Iyar of the same year.)
HaRav Mordechai Michael Yaffa, zt"l, Rav of Zadon, talmid of Harav Akiva Eiger, zt"l, (5628 / 1868).
HaRav Moshe Mordechai Twersky of Trisk-Lublin, Hy”d, (5634 / 1874 - 5703 / 1943).
Harav Moshe Mordechai was the son of Harav Yaakov Aryeh of Trisk, a scion of the Chernobyl dynasty.
He was the son-in-law of Harav Asher of Stolin in his zivug rishon; in his zivug sheini, he was the son-in-law of Harav Baruch Meir Twersky of Azarnitz, also of the Chernobyl dynasty.
With the petirah of his father on 28 Iyar 5678 / 1918, Reb Moshe Mordechai was appointed Rebbe. He moved to Lublin, where he was called Reb Moshe Trisker.
Reb Moshe was best known for his warm tefillot and his sweet voice, which attracted a large crowd of Chassidim to his beit medrash, even though there were no Trisker Chassidim in Lublin before Reb Moshe settled there. His legendary Shalom Aleichem at the tisch on Leil Shabbat drew a large crowd.
Mothers would bring their children to the Rebbe, give him their kvitlach, and the Rebbe would then place his hands on the children’s heads and bestow his brachos on them.
Chassidim from Warsaw, Lodz, Bialystok and other places also converged on the beit medrash of Reb Ber Roth where he held court.
During the Nazi occupation, Reb Moshe was forced to wash the floors of his own beit medrash while wearing a tallit. Later, when the Nazis began sending Jews to the concentration camp of Majdanek, they also took the Rebbe and his family, holding them in the courtyard of the Jewish neighborhood with all the other Jews. From there, they were all taken away.
Harav Avraham Yitzchak and Harav Baruch Meir Twersky, sons of Reb Moshe who lived in London during the war, sent $3,000 through the Polish aid committee in London to the Geneva branch, in an attempt to arrange that a German SS officer take Reb Moshe from Lublin to neutral Switzerland. Since Switzerland refused entry to Polish refugees unless they had a visa from another country guaranteeing they would not settle in Switzerland permanently, the Rebbe’s son-in-law, Harav Menachem Tzvi Eichenstein of St. Louis, sent a Rabbinic pass under which he was to enter Switzerland and from there, finally escape.
The German SS officer came to Lublin with the papers to take the Rebbe and his family to Switzerland. But Reb Moshe refused to go. He sent a letter to the committee in Geneva saying that when the ship is sinking the captain must stay with it. He must first save the lives of the passengers, then his own, and not the opposite. “I will stay with all the other Jews in Poland.”
The day before he was killed, Reb Moshe related divrei Torah to one of his chassidim who managed to escape. He spoke of Parashat Shoftim, which begins with the laws of war and ends with the laws of eglah arufah, while the next parashah, Ki Seitzei, returns to the subject of war. Why does the Torah interrupt the parashiyot of war with the parashah of eglah arufah? The Rebbe answered that in the parashah of eglah arufah, the beit din of the city closest to the dead body has to attest, “We did not spill this blood.” This is to show that even during war, when life seems hefker, the Torah tells us that we still have to value and account for every Jewish life.
The Rebbe was killed the next day, 8 Iyar 5703 / 1943, in the forest of Kempnitz, with his Rebbetzin.
Reb Moshe had four sons and two daughters. Harav Aharon Dovid, the Rav of Gorshkov, and Harav Yochanan of Horbishow were killed. Harav Avraham Yitzchak and Harav Baruch Meir lived in London and later in America.
His son-in-law, Harav Aharon Twersky, was killed along with his wife, Rebbetzin Gittel, in the war. His other son-in-law was Harav Menachem Tzvi Eichenstein, Rav in St. Louis.
His divrei Torah appear in Ohel Moshe, which was printed together with Sefer HaYichus Chernobyl v’Ruzhin. They were later reprinted as an appendix to Pri Yehoshua by Harav Eichenstein.
His grandson, Harav Moshe Mordechai Eichenstein, shlita, is Trisker Rebbe in Yerushalayim.
HaRav Raphael Binyamin Levine, zt"l, (1925-2002), son of Rav Aryeh Levine. Rav Refael studied in the Eitz Chaim Talmud Torah, and was very close to its rosh yeshiva, Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer. He continued his studies in the Chevron yeshiva in Yerushalayim and the Lomza yeshiva in Petach Tikvah, where he studied bechavrusa with Rav Reuven Katz, the rov of Petach Tikva. He married Channah Liba, daughter of Rav Chaim Shraga Feivel Frank, the rav of the Yemin Moshe neighborhood in Yerushalayim. After his marriage, he continued his studies in the Mirrer yeshiva under Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel. When the Beit Aryeh yeshiva opened, Rav Refael’s father, Rav Aryeh Levine asked him to serve as its menahel ruchani, a position he occupied until his final day. He was also a dayan in the beit din tzeddek of the Ashkenaz-Perushim community founded by Rav Shmuel Salant.
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9 Iyar 2870 - 891 B.C.E.:
Shmuel Hanavi addresses all of Israel before
they went to war against the Plishtim / Philistines and lost.
9 Iyar - 1278:
Jews of England were thrown into prison on charges of coining.
9 Iyar 5414 - April 26, 1654:
End of a three-month grace period given by the Portuguese to the Jews of Brazil to leave the country. Those who remained after this deadline were handed over to the infamous Inquisition.
9 Iyar 5440 - May 8, 1680:
Jews of Corfu were granted the right to practice law.
9 Iyar 5524 - May 11, 1764:
A letter by Empress Catherine II of Russia opened the way for limited settlement of Jews in Riga.
9 Iyar 5708 - May 18, 1948:
The Arab Legion captured the police station on Mount Scopus, isolating it from the rest of Yerushalayim. One month earlier, a convoy of 78 Jewish medical personnel en route to Mount Scopus were killed in a merciless Arab ambush, Hy"d. After 1948, Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital both closed their Mount Scopus facilities and relocated to western Yerushalayim. When Yerushalayim was reunited in 1967, these facilities reopened on Mount Scopus.
9 Iyar 5740 - April 25, 1980:
A Secret US military mission to rescue hostages in Iran ends in disaster.
9 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Avigdor Kara, zt”l, Rav of Prague and author of Hakaneh Hagadol (5199 / 1439).
Harav Avigdor Kara was the son of Harav Yitzchak.
He married the sister of Harav Yehudah Lowy (I), the grandfather and namesake of the Maharal of Prague.
He served as Dayan in Regensburg, and later was appointed Dayan in Prague.
Harav Avigdor served in this capacity as Dayan together with Harav Yom Tov Lipman Milhausen, the mechaber of Sefer Nitzachon, and Harav Menachem Shalem.
Following the pogrom against the Jews of Prague, on Acharon shel Pesach 5549/1389, Reb Avigdor composed a kinah, “Es Kol Hatla’ah” which was added to the Ashkenaz machzor in Minchah of Yom Kippur.
He also composed other piyutim, which were sung at events, as well as She’eilot U’teshuvot that were recently published.
According to some accounts, Rav Avigdor enjoyed a high reputation and associated with King Wenceslaus of Bohemia, who liked to converse with him on religious matters. The King agreed with Rav Avigdor on many issues and gave much freedom to the Jews.
Rav Avigdor was niftar on Shabbat 9 Iyar 5199/1439, and was buried on Sunday, 10 Iyar. His was the first kever in Prague’s old cemetery.
His son Harav Avraham served as Dayan in Prague.
HaRav Yitzchak Bernays (Barneis), zt”l, (5552 / 1792 - 5609 / 1849) Rav of Hamburg. Born in Mainz, Germany, His father was Harav Yaakov. The young Yitzchak learned under Harav Yitzchak Metz and was considered an iluy; at the age of seven he was fluent in all of masechet Bava Kamma. Harav Noach Chaim Tzvi Berlin tested him and bestowed upon the child the title “Chaver.”
Later, Rav Yitzchak went to the yeshivah of Harav Avraham Bing in Wurzburg.
There he forged close ties with Rav Yaakov Ettlinger, future author of Aruch LaNer, and together they grew and excelled in Torah, complementing one another.
In 5581 / 1821, Rav Yitzchak was appointed Rav of Hamburg, a position he kept until his petira. In his drashot he railed against the Reform movement. When a “siddur” in the German language was published, Rav Yitzchak issued an issur against it, saying that whoever used it did not fulfill his obligation of tefillah.
Rav Yitzchak made sure that Torah studies in the local schools were on a high standard. Among his talmidim were Rav Shamshon Rafael Hirsch and Rav Ezriel Hildesheimer.
After 27 years as Rav in Hamburg, Rav Yitzchak succumbed to a sudden stroke at age 57, on 9 Iyar 5609 / 1849. He was buried in the Grundel cemetery.
HaRav Chaim Friedlander, zt”l, the Tal Chaim of Liska, (1840 - 5664 / 1904). Born in Klienverdan, Hungary, where his father, Harav Moshe, served as Rav. He was a sixth generation descendant of the Maharsha, as well as a descendent the Maharal m'Prague, the Taz, the Bach, the Shelah Hakadosh, and the Baal Smichot Chachamim.
He married the third daughter of the first Liska Rebbe, Rav Tzvi Hersh, the Ach Pri Tevuah. Rav Tzvi Hirsh dearly cherished his son-in-law. Rav Chaim writes in the introduction to his Tal Chaim that he had no intention of publishing his Torah thoughts, until his father-in-law instructed him to do so.
He was chosen to be Rav of Erdobenye, then Dayan in Liska. When his father-in-law was niftar in 1874, Rav Chaim succeeded him as Rebbe and Rav of Liska.
(Liska is located in the hills of the Tokay region of Hungary).
Rav Chaim was renowned throughout Hungary as a gaon of epic proportions and a masmid who was engrossed in learning Torah 24 hours a day. His chiddushim on the sugyot haShas, published under the name Tal Chaim U’vrachah, allows for a glimpse into his vast and sharp knowledge and is indicative of the Torah scholar that he was.
Renowned also for his piety and asceticism, the Tal Chaim was famous for not being able to differentiate between the various coins of the Hungarian currency, once remarking when it was brought to his attention that the “red” coin was more valuable than the “blue” coin remarking that red is middat hadin and blue is middat harachamim; hence it should be the opposite.
It is related that at the time before his petirah, there was a change in the political climate of Hungary as well as a worsening of the economy. Nevertheless, the Rebbe and his kehillah tried to continue practicing their Yiddishkeit, keeping Torah and mitzvot, despite the duress and great hardship. Reb Chaim’s concerns did not only pertain to the economic hardship, but to the new political climate that worried him. A proclamation went out throughout the land that all Jews should be imprisoned and killed and their properties confiscated. The Rebbe went to the beit medrash and led the heartfelt tefillot; he offered himself as a korban tzibbur if this terrible verdict could be averted.
The following week, (9 Iyar 5664 / 1904), as the Rebbe was eating, a piece of food got lodged in his throat and he tragically choked. In the merit of his self-sacrifice, the terrible tragedy against the Jews had been averted.
Before the levayah, it was discovered that there was no room in the ohel of his father-in-law, the Ach Pri Tevuah, for him to be buried. A minyan of prominent Rabbanim, including his son and successor Harav Tzvi Hirsh, went to daven at the kever of the Ach Pri Tevuah and requested that he should make room for his son-in-law. When they returned, a miracle occurred and the walls surrounding the kever literally moved. To this very day, one can still see that the tziyun of the Tal Chaim is literally connected to the wall of the ohel in Liska.
He was succeeded by his oldest son, Rav Tzvi Hersh, the Baal Shaarei Hayasher (a sefer on Tehillim). He and most of his family perished during the Holocaust. His son, Rav Yosef Friedlander, author of Tzvi V'Chamid, resurrected the Liska court and transplanted it in Boro Park. He was niftar in 1971 and was succeeded by his son, Rav Tzvi Hersh Friedlander, author of Chamudei Tzvi.
HaRav Moshe (ben Baruch) Hager of Shatz, zt”l, (5686 / 1926), son of the Imrei Baruch of Vizhnitz.
HaRav Moshe Hager, zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva of Seret-Vizhnitz, Haifa (5686 / 1926 - 5759 / 1999).
Harav Moshe Hager was born on 5 Tammuz 5686/1926 in Grosswardein. His father was the illustrious Mekor Baruch of Seret-Vizhnitz, zy”a.
Two months before Reb Moshe was born, his uncle Harav Moshe of Shatz, zt”l, brother of the Ahavat Yisrael of Vizhnitz, zt”l, was niftar; the child was named after him. (Reb Moshe was later niftar on the yahrtzeit of this uncle.)
In 5707/1947, Reb Moshe reached the shores of Eretz Yisrael on the illegal immigrant ship Knesset Yisrael. Upon arrival he was deported to Cyprus, where he remained for a year. In Cyprus he organized shiurim for the refugees and instilled in them emunah and bitachon.
On 16 Shevat 5609/1949, he married Peninah Perel, the daughter of his uncle, Harav Chaim Menachem Horowitz, Rav of Dzikov.
Following his father’s petirah in 5725/1965, Reb Moshe became Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivat Yachel Yisrael in Haifa, which he headed until his last day. He displayed mesirut nefesh for his talmidim and made each and every one feel important.
He assumed not only the spiritual burden but also the heavy financial burden of the illustrious institutions founded by his father. He undertook to assist his brother, the Seret-Vizhnitz Rebbe, zt”l, as well.
After being diagnosed with a debilitating disease, he still continued in his avodat hakodesh and Torah learning as if nothing were wrong. When his health continued to deteriorate, he was flown to the United States to undergo treatment. But on 9 Iyar 5759/1999, in New York, his pure neshamah returned to Hashem. His brother, the Seret-Vizhnitz Rebbe, was at his bedside at the time of the petirah.
The levayah, led by his brother the Rebbe, set out from the Seret-Vizhnitz beit medrash in Boro Park. According to the minhag of Vizhnitz, there were no hespeidim. From there, the aron was flown to Eretz Yisrael, where it was met by many Rebbes and Rabbanim.
It proceeded with a police escort to Ramat Vizhnitz in Haifa, where the niftar had been marbitz Torah for 35 years.
From there the large levayah went on to the Seret-Vizhnitz beis medrash in Bnei Brak.
Reb Moshe was buried in the ohel of the Vizhnitzer Rebbes in Bnei Brak, next to his father, the Mekor Baruch.
10 Iyar 2449 - 1312 B.C.E.:
According to the Yalkut Shimoni, the incident of the Mekoshesh Eitzim, in which a Jew was mechallel Shabbat in the Midbar, occured. (See Bamidbar, Shelach 15:32-36).
10 Iyar 2870 - 891 B.C.E.:
The Jews were defeated by the Plishtim / Philistines, 30,000 Jewish soldiers were slaughtered. The Plishtim captured the Aron HaKodesh, containing the Luchot / Tablets and killed Chofni and Pinchas, two sons
of Eli, the Kohain Gadol, who died (at age 98) of shock when he heard the terrible news. (Shmuel 1, ch. 4). Eli was the 13th in the line of the "Shoftim" ("judges") who led the People of Israel during the four centuries between the passing of Yehoshua / Joshua in 1245 B.C.E. and the crowning of King Saul in 879 B.C.E. A taanit tzaddikim commemorates these tragic events. (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 580:2). (864 BCE?)
The Mishkan at Shilo was destroyed by the Plishtim.
10 Iyar 5641 - May 9, 1881:
Anti-Jewish riots broke out in Shpola and Ananyev, Russia.
10 Iyar 5703 - May 15, 1943:
The Warsaw Ghetto was reduced to ashes and the uprising came to an end after an active resistance of four weeks.
10 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Yitzchak haKohen Alfasi, zt"l, (known by the acronym, RiF), codifier of the Gemara, author of Sefer Hahalachot (1013 - 4863 or 4 / 1103 or 4).
He ushered in the era of "Rishonim" (lit: the first ones), the important rabbinic period which culminated in the 16th century Code of Jewish Law.
R' Alfasi was born in Morocco, and studied in Tunisia under the famed Rabbeinu Chananel. As Rav Yitzchak advanced in his studies, he became keenly aware of the fact that many people were unable to elucidate the halacha from the Gemara due to the vast amount of material it contains. As a result, he conceived of the idea of compiling a comprehensive and extensive halachic work that would present all of the halachot and the practical conclusions of the Gemara in a clear, definitive manner. To achieve this goal, he retreated to his father-in-law's attic, where he worked on his sefer for 10 consecutive years.
During this period, however, a Moslem tyrant gained control of Tunisia, and persecuted all those who did not accept his faith, especially the Jews of Kairuan. As a result, all of the city's Jewish residents fled to places controlled by the Elmuhides, who were more tolerant of the Jews. Among the fugitives was Rav Yitzchak who, with his wife and two children, moved to the Moroccan city of Fez. Rav Yitzchak remained in Fez for 40 years, during which time he completed his Sefer Ha'halachot, which is the first codification of talmudic law and a precursor to the great codes of Maimonides and Rav Yosef Karo. Eventually, he became known as the Rif, Rav Yitzchak Alfasi.
In 1088, two informers denounced him to the government on a spurious charge, and at the age of 75, he was forced to flee his hometown to Spain, where he assumed the position of rabbi in Alusina (Lucene).The most famous of his many students is Rav Yehudah HaLevi, author of the Kuzari. Rav Yitzchak was niftar at the age of 90 in 1103. He was succeeded by the Ri mi'Gaash. [some say his Yahrtzeit is 11 Iyar, according to others he was niftar in 4865 – 1105].
HaRav Meir Margulies, zt”l, (5551/1791), author of Meir Nesivim
HaRav Yosef Teumim, zt"l, author of Pri Megadim, on the Shulchan Aruch (1727 - 5552 / 1792). Born in Szczerzec, a small town near Lemberg (Lvov) to Rav Meir, a grandson of Rav Yonah Teumim, Rav of Meitz and author of Kikayon DeYonah.
In 1755, he Reb Yosef married the daughter of Rav Elyakam of Kamorna and lived there for ten years. In 1767, he moved to Berlin on the invitation of a wealthy Jew named Rav Daniel Yaffe, who offered to support him fully as well as a beit midrash in his home when talmidei chachamim could learn. In 1774, he moved to Lemberg, to succeed his father as Rav and Dayan. And in 1781, he was appointed Rav of Frankfurt-on-the-Oder.
His most well-known sefer is the Pri Magadim on Orach Chaim and on Yoreh Deah. Both are actually two sections: Pri Megadim on Yoreh Deah consists of Mishbetzot Zahav on the Taz and Sifsei Daat on the Shach. Pri Megadim on Orach Chaim consists of Mishbetzot Zahav on the Taz and Aishel Avraham on the Magen Avraham.
He also wrote a commentary on the Torah entitled Rav Peninim, Porat Yosef (chidushim on masechtot Yevamot and Kesubot, as well as 14 important rules in learning and understanding sugyot properly), Rosh Yosef (chidushim on various mesechtot in Seder Moed as well as mesechet Chullin), Noam Megadim (explanations and minhagim on tefillah), Sefer Hamagid (commentary to Chumash and Haftorah), Ginnat Veradim (70 rules for understanding gemara), and many others.(some say 2, 4, 10 or 11 Iyar).
HaRav Yitzchak Aizik Yehuda Yechiel Eizik of Komarna, zt"l, author of Shulchan Hatahor (1806 - 5634 / 1874)
HaRav Dovid Twersky of Tolna, zt"l, (1808 - 5642 / 1882). Reb Dovid was born in 5568 / 1808. His father was Harav Mordechai of Chernobyl. Reb Dovid married Rebbetzin Yente Devorah, the daughter of Harav Yisrael Avraham of Tcharni-Ostraa, son of the Rebbe Reb Zusha of Anipoli, zy”a.
Reb Dovid first became a maggid in Wasilkiov; after the petirah of his father, he established his court there. In 5614 / 1854 he moved to Tolna, Ukraine, which was considered a friendlier environment for Jews. He remained in Tolna for the rest of his life.
Reb Dovid placed great emphasis on the role that neginah (song) has in avodat Hashem. In addition, he personally collected large sums of money for tzedakah. He helped many Yidden through his tefillot, mofsim and chachmah.
The Tolna Rebbe was niftar on Shabbat Parashat Acharei Mot–Kedoshim, on 10 Iyar 5642 / 1882; he was buried in Tolna. He was succeeded by his grandson, Reb Menachem Nachum, who was 13 years old at the time. His sons-in-law were Harav Nachum of Trisk, Harav Nachum of Shpikov, and Harav Chaim Meir of Berditchev.
Reb Dovid published three sefarim: Magen David, Birkat David and Kehillat David. These were recently enhanced and reprinted by Harav Yeshayah Dovid Malkiel, shlita, of Beit Shemesh. There is a Tolner Shul in Tzefat even today.
HaRav Hillel Lichtenstein of Kalamei, (Kolomaya) in the Ukraine, zt"l, (5575 / 1814 - 5651 / 1891). Born on 11 Kislev 5575/1814 1814 in Vàcz, Hungary near Pressburg (present-day Bratislava, Slovakia), to Reb Baruch Benedict. He became one of the leading students of the Chatam Sofer.
Harav Hillel was revered by all the Gedolim of his time. The Divrei Chaim of Sanz wrote in his approbation to Reb Hillel’s sefer, Maskil el Dal, that Reb Hillel worked exclusively for the sake of Heaven.
Reb Hillel is most famous for his accomplishments while traveling around Eastern Europe strengthening the emunah of the masses. In Avkat Rochel, he wrote that he was born for this purpose, and he cited as evidence two illnesses he had had in his youth that should have prevented him from ever speaking in public.
When he was a very small child, Reb Hillel was bitten by a dog, which left him with a scar from the bite and a stutter from the trauma. The impediment was so severe that his parents sent him to Nitra at the age of six or seven for therapy from a special melamed. Most of the cure was effected through learning to sing trop and to understand the system behind it and, after a few months, the stutter disappeared.
Later, at the age of 17, Reb Hillel contracted a severe lung ailment that left him so short of breath that he could not daven aloud but instead had to rely on thinking the tefillot. The doctors predicted the worst, but miraculously, Reb Hillel recovered.
After his marriage, R' Lichtenstein studied in Galante, Hungary. His rabbinic career in 1846, first as rabbi of Margareten, Hungary, then as rabbi of Klausenberg (today, Cluj, Romania). Eventually, he became rabbi of Kolomaya, Galicia (today in Ukraine).
He was among the fiercest opponents of the Haskalah. Reb Hillel was the outspoken leader of the Orthodox kehillot in Hungary. He not only resisted the slightest deviation from traditional minhagim, such as the removal of the bimah from the center of the beit medrash, but also vigorously denounced the adoption of modern social manners and the acquisition of secular education.
He bitterly opposed the Hungarian Jewish Congress of 1868–69 and the establishment of the rabbinical seminary in Budapest. In 5625/1865, he called a Rabbinical convention at Nagy-Mihaly, which protested against the founding of a seminary and sent a committee to the emperor to induce the government to prohibit its establishment.
He was a strong supporter of settlement in Eretz Yisrael, helping his son-in-law, R' Akiva Yosef Schlesinger, buy up land for what became the city of Petach Tikva. He wrote numerous books including Mikri Dardaki on the Torah, Avkat Rochel (mussar), Beit Hillel (letters regarding strengthening observance), Maskil El Dal (derashot), Eit Laasot and Teshuvot Beit Hillel (responsa), and others. He was buried in Kolomaya.
HaRav Mordechai Landau of Strikov, zt”l, (5677/1917).
HaRav Yitzchak Dovid Flakser, zt"l,(1917-1999). A great-grandson of the Chozeh of Lublin and of Rav Chanoch Henoch of Alexander, he was accepted to Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin at the age of 15. In 1938, he moved to Eretz Yisrael and entered Yeshivat Sefat Emet. He married four years later. In 1948, he was appointed mashgiach in the Yeshivat Sefat Emet and served there for over 46 years. He also joined the Vaad Harabbanim of Agudat Yisrael, eventually becoming Rosh Beit Din. He published 17 volumes of Shaarei Yitzchak.
11 Iyar - 1492:
The first printed edition of Mishnayot with Rambam’s commentary was published in Naples.
11 Iyar 5270 - 1510:
1,500 Sefarim (Hebrew books) and manuscripts were seized in Frankfurt am Main, Germany at the instigation of a Meshumad (apostate).
11 Iyar 5549 - May 7, 1789:
The Judenordnung provided for the abolition of discriminatory laws enacted against the Jews of Galicia, Austria.
11 Iyar 5641 - May 10, 1881:
Anti-Jewish riots (pogroms) broke out in Wasilkow and Konotop, Russia. The Jews were blamed for the assassination of Czar Alexander II, who was assassinated by revolutionaries. The riots continued for three years across the entire Russia.
11 Iyar 5644 - May 6, 1884:
This date marks the death of Judah P. Benjamin (1811-1884), an American-Jewish statesman. Benjamin was the second Jew to serve in the U.S. Senate, representing Louisiana. When another senator accused Benjamin of being an "Israelite in Egyptian clothing," he replied: "It is true that I am a Jew, and when my ancestors were receiving their Ten Commandments from the immediate Deity, amidst the thundering and lightnings of Mount Sinai, the ancestors of my opponent were herding swine in the forests of Great Britain."
Two U.S. presidents (Franklin Pierce and Millard Fillmore) offered to nominate Benjamin as the first Jew to the U.S. Supreme Court, but Benjamin declined. During the Civil War, Benjamin served in the cabinet of the Confederacy -- variously as Attorney General, Secretary of War, and Secretary of State. (Remarkably, he was the only Confederate cabinet member who did not own slaves.)
In the immediate aftermath of the war, there surfaced an unfounded rumor, tinged with anti-Semitism, that Benjamin had masterminded the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Fearing that he could never receive a fair trial, he burnt his personal papers and fled to England under a false name. Benjamin was buried in Paris.
11 Iyar 5703 - May 16, 1943:
The famous Tolmatsky Synagogue of Warsaw was dynamited by order of General Jurgen Stroop, 1943. It marked the last German “major operation” in the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto uprising.
11 Iyar 5708 - May 20, 1948:
The Israeli Army miraculously defeated the advancing Syrian Army, following the shelling at the entrance of Deganya, which began at sunrise and lasted nine hours. It is considered the first significant Israeli victory following the start of the War of Independence.
11 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Eliyahu Shema HaLevi, zt”l,
(5564/1804). Head of a Beit Din in Eretz Yisrael, and author of Karbon Isha.
HaRav Naftali Tzvi of Ropshitz, zt”l, author of Ayalah Sheluchah and Zera Kodesh, (1760 - 5587 / 1827).
On the day that the Baal Shem Tov was niftar, the first day of Shavuot 5520 / 1760, a son was born to Reb Menachem Mendel of Linsk and Rebbetzin Baila, daughter of Harav Yitzchak Horowitz, known as Reb Itzikel Hamburger. He was named Naftali Tzvi.
Reb Naftali studied in the yeshivah of his uncle, Reb Meshulam Igra. Young Naftali completed the entire Shas still before his bar mitzvah.
To don tefillin for the first time, his father took him to Harav Yechiel Mechel of Zlotchov. Later, Reb Naftali would relate that as Reb Yechiel Mechel fitted the tefillin to his head, he connected him to a higher spiritual world from which he never detached himself.
Reb Naftali married the daughter of Harav Velvel Stoker, a prominent nagid in Brod.
When Reb Naftali was about 20 years old, he decided to join the chassidic movement and he chose Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk as his mentor. He traveled to Lizhensk to visit the holy Rebbe. Reb Elimelech, however, would not receive him, stating that he was not interested in talmidim with yichus. Reb Elimelech relented only after intense pleading by Reb Naftali, who quickly became the Rebbe Reb Elimelech’s dedicated disciple.
After the Rebbe Reb Elimelech’s petirah, he mainly followed three Gedolim: the Chozeh of Lublin, the Maggid of Kozhnitz and Reb Menachem Mendel of Rimanov.
Eventually, with the consent of Reb Mendel of Rimanov, Reb Naftali became the Rav of Ropshitz in Galicia. After the petirah of his father, he succeeded him and became Rav in Linsk, but when the kehillah of Ropshitz insisted that he return, he returned there while remaining the Rav of Linsk and the surrounding villages as well. Eventually, his son Harav Avraham Chaim became Rav in Linsk.
After the petirah of his Rebbes (all three were niftar in a little over a year, in the years 5574-5 / 1813-4), many Chassidim traveled to Ropshitz and chose Reb Naftali as their Rebbe. Ropshitz turned into a focal point for thousands of Chassidim of the entire Galician countryside, then under Austrian rule.
The Rebbe was known for his profound wisdom and humility.
Ropshitz Chassidut was known for its meticulous adherence to minhagim, heartfelt tefillot and captivating niggunim — stirring melodies that engendered heartfelt dveikut to Hashem. During the Napoleonic wars, many tzaddikim, including Reb Mendel of Rimanov, strongly supported Napoleon. But Reb Naftali, as well as the Baal Hatanya, were strongly opposed to him, sensing that victory for Napoleon would introduce changes that would threaten the Jewish community’s way of life.
Reb Naftali was on his way to see a doctor when he became very ill and passed away. Years earlier he once mentioned that he wished to be buried in Lancut, Galicia. When Reb Naftali was niftar on 11 Iyar 5587 / 1827, he was buried there.
His sons were Harav Avraham Chaim of Linsk, Harav Yaakov of Melitz and Harav Eliezer of Dzikov, and his son-in-law was Reb Asher Yeshayah of Ropshitz. Rav Naftali’s writings were published as Zera Kodesh, Ayalah Shluchah and Imrei Shefer. The sefer called Ohel Naftali is dedicated to the genealogy of this great tzaddik.
Foremost among his talmidim is Rav Chaim of Sanz. His son, Rav Yaakov, was the author of the sefer Zerah Yaakov.
HaRav Yitzchak of Radwill, zt”l, son of Rav Yechiel Michel, the Zlotchover Maggid (5592 / 1832).
Harav Yitzchak never settled permanently in any one place, but led communities in Nadvorna, Opotchna, Botoshan, Faltichan and Rimanov, among others, before turning to Radvill in 5576/1816.
Reb Yitzchak relates in his sefer Ohr Yitzchak: “So said my holy father, zt”l: ‘I brought five sons into the world, to parallel the five Chumashim.’ My father said that I paralleled sefer Shemot and added, ‘Your life will always be one of galut, wandering from place to place. But you will have Torah, since the Torah was given in this sefer.’”
Reb Yitzchak was married three times, first to the daughter of Harav Moshe Shoham of Dolina, then to the daughter of the Maggid of Nadvorna, the Tzamach Hashem Latzvi. Later yet, he married the widow of Harav Moshe, the Rosh Yeshivah in Berditchev.
When Reb Yitzchak was still a Maggid in Nadvorna, a duchess came to beg him to save her son, who was deathly ill. Reb Yitzchak promised the duchess that her son would get well and, indeed, the boy recovered.
Years later, the young duke had grown to become a great nobleman with authority over the courts of Zhitomir and Reb Yitzchak had become Rav of Radvill. At that time, someone libeled three great tzaddikim, Reb Yitzchak, Harav Mordechai of Chernobyl and Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin. The three were summoned to court in Zhitomir, but as soon as the nobleman saw Reb Yitzchak, he recognized him as his childhood benefactor. He attested to his saintly character, and all three were freed.
The Radviller wrote the commentary Ohr Yitzchak on Chumash, Pirkei Avot and various other subjects. Biographical details and his ways in avodat Hashem are printed in the sefer Torat Hamaggid MiZlotchov (Yerushalayim, 5759).
He was niftar on 11 Iyar 5595/1835.
HaRav Yehudah Tzvi Brandwein of Stretin, zt”l, (5604 / 1844).
HaRav Yehudah Tzvi Mastartin, zt”l, (5605/1845). He was one of the students of the Tzaddik known as the “Saraf of Mastarlisk.”
HaRav Aaron Pfeffer, zt”l, Rav in South Africa,(1993), author of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Hilchot Basar V’Chalav.
HaRav Yitzchok (Isaac) Spira-Kuten, zt”l, Tismenitzer Rebbe, Brooklyn, NY, (5759 / 1999). Son of R' Zvi Elimelech Spira, who was the son of R' Simcha Spira of Lancut, who was the son of R' Eliezer Spira, Admur of Lancut who was the son of R' Tzvi Elimelech Spira of Dinov (the Bnei Yisaschar). Rav Yitzchok was a son in law of Harav Elisha Halberstam, Rav of Gorlitz, who was a grandson of the Divrei Chaim.
HaRav Shalom Elbad, zt”l, (2001). Head of the Beit Din of Hadera, Israel.
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12 Iyar 3830 - 70 C.E.:
Roman legions under Titus breached the middle wall of Yerushalayim. A counter-attack by the Jews restored the wall to their command.
12 Iyar 5162 - 1402:
The Jews of Rome were granted certain liberal "privileges" by Pope Boniface IX. They were given legal right to observe their Shabbat, protection from local oppressive officials, their taxes were reduced and orders were given to treat Jews as full-fledged Roman citizens.
12 Iyar 5677 - May 4, 1917:
Tel Aviv was ravaged by Arabs and Djemal Pasha announced that it was the intention of the Turkish government to purge Eretz Yisrael of its Jewish population.
12 Iyar 5709 - May 11, 1949:
Israel admitted as the 59th member of the UN, on the anniversary of Turkey’s declaration in 1917, of its intention to expel the entire Jewish population from Eretz Yisrael.
12 Iyar 5727 - May 22, 1967:
Egypt blocked the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping. On May 17, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser demanded that UN monitoring forces evacuate the Sinai, a request with which UN Secretary-General U Thant cowardly complied. Nasser began the re-militarization of the Sinai, and concentrated tanks and troops on the border with Israel. On May 22, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, and blockaded the Israeli port of Eilat in the Gulf of Aqaba. The Egyptian blockade violated international law and Israel demanded that it cease. When Egypt failed to act, Israel launched a pre-emptive attack that destroyed 300 airplanes -- nearly the entire Egyptian Air Force -- in a matter of hours. Within days Israel had captured the entire Sinai Peninsula; this would be the bargaining chip for the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Accords of 1979.
12 Iyar 5763 - May 14, 2003:
· In Chechnya, a female suicide bomber killed 18 people in an apparent to assassinate the Moscow-backed chief administrator, Akhmad Kadyrov. At least 145 people were injured. Kadyrov later became President of the Chechen Republic. An explosion in 2004 killed him along with perhaps a dozen others.
12 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Zorach Eideletz (Eideles) of Prague, zt”l, author of Ohr Layesharim, Birurei Hamiddot and Melechet Machshevet, (5515 / 1755). Orphaned as a youth and raised in the home of HaRav Yonasan Eibeshutz, zt"l. Reb Yonasan treated him like a beloved son. Realizing the lad’s genius, Reb Yonasan taught him and nurtured him.
Rav Zorach became a dayan and darshan in Prague, the capital of Bohemia. His arrival heralded major growth of Torah in Prague, as many talmidim from all over the continent came to learn from him.
When the Noda B’Yehudah, Harav Yechezkel Landau, zt”l, was ordained Rav of the city, for some reason Reb Zorach did not sign the official letter of Rabbanut. The Noda B’Yehudah said, “Until Reb Zorach signs the document, the whole Rabbanut is worthless to me.” Reb Zorach did sign it, and they maintained a close friendship through the years.
It was his minhag never to accept gifts. Since Reb Zorach was wealthy, the tax collector, Reb Yisrael, asked him for a large sum as his annual obligation. When the times changed and Reb Zorach’s wheel of fortune turned downward, Reb Yisrael continued to collect the usual sum from Reb Zorach. Reb Zorach did not object and kept paying, until at one point he simply could not raise the money he owed. When the tax collector realized the unfair tax burden Reb Zorach had assumed he wished to repay the Rav, and sent him a huge container of golden coins. As was his custom, the Rav did not accept the “gift.” The tax collector insisted, threatening that he would not cancel the current tax bill until the Rav allowed him to right a wrong that he had inadvertently perpetrated.
Without a choice, Reb Zorach acceded, but during his lifetime the box remained untouched. In his will, Reb Zorach instructed his children to return the box to Reb Yisrael the tax collector!
. His great, great-grandson, Rav Eliezer Eidletz of Los Angeles, is one of the leading authorities on kashrut in the world. [others - 5 Iyar]. (others 5540 / 1780).
The Mekubal HaRav Masoud Abuchatzeira, zt”l, father of the Baba Sali (5595 / 1835 - 5668 / 1908). (others 13 Iyar).
Harav Masoud Abuchatzeira was the son of Harav Yaakov, the famed Abir Yaakov. Born in 5595/1835, in Tafilalet, Morocco, he was the oldest son of Harav Yaakov.
Rav Masoud learned under his father, and was the chavrusa of Harav Shlomo Chayun.
Besides the regular seder of learning Shas and poskim, he had a special seder for learning kabbalah with his father.
After the petirah of his father, on 20 Tevet 5640/1880, Harav Masoud, as the oldest son, was appointed Rav in Tafilalet in his stead.
As Rav of the kehillah, Rav Masoud enacted many takanot and ran his kehillah with an iron hand. He could not be swayed by even the richest member.
Rav Masoud delivered many drashot, usually imploring the community to maintain the chinuch of their children, to make sure they were all educated in the ways of Torah and yirat Shamayim.
Rav Masoud was renowned for his avodat Hashem, most notably his tefillot.
When Rav Masoud was niftar, on 12 Iyar 5668/1908, after serving as Rav for 28 years, a huge levayah was held in Tafilalet.
It is related that the night after his kevurah, the local non-Jews came to the cemetery and desecrated his kever. In the morning, when the matter was revealed, the community reacted with shock and anguish over the disgrace to their Rav. This only added to their sorrow.
The next day, Rav Masoud appeared in a dream to his son Harav David, and told him that they should not be upset or concerned over what had happened, for he needed this as a certain tikkun. Rav Masoud added that one of those in the chevrah kaddisha who dealt with his kevurah committed on that day a certain aveirah — and he specified which aveirah. Since this man had touched him during the kevurah, he had to have the tikkun of the kever being desecrated, to erase the effect of the aveirah. When they checked into the matter, the member of the chevrah kaddisha owned up to committing the aveirah.
HaRav Yehuda Tzvi Eichenstein of Dolina, zt”l, (5669 / 1909). Harav Yehudah Tzvi Eichenstein was born in 5618 / 1858. His father was Harav Yissachar Dov Berish, son of Harav Yitzchak Eizik of Ziditchov. He was named after Harav Yehudah Tzvi of Rozdol, who was Rebbe before Reb Yitzchak Eizik.
When Reb Yitzchak Eizik was niftar in 5633 / 1873, his son Rav Yissachar Berish was appointed Rav and Rebbe in Dolina.
Reb Yehudah Tzvi became the son-in-law of Harav Moshe Ungar of Dombrova. Following his wedding, Reb Yehudah Tzvi settled in Sanz, near the court of his wife’s maternal grandfather.
Then, following the petirah of his father on Erev Rosh Chodesh Adar 5646 / 1886, Reb Yehudah Tzvi, the only son, was appointed to succeed him as Rebbe in Dolina. His court flourished there, attracting many Chassidim.
Reb Yehudah Tzvi was close with many Rebbes of h is time, most notably with Harav Yehoshua of Belz.
The divrei Torah of Reb Yehudah Tzvi were not printed; only some of the introductions that he wrote to the sefarim of both his father and his uncle remained.
Reb Yehudah Tzvi was niftar on 12 Iyar 5669 / 1909, at the age of 51.
Since he left no son, his court passed to his two sons-in-law, Harav Yehoshua Halberstam and Harav Pinchas, the son of Harav Moshe Rokeach of Karov. Both resided in Dolina.
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13 Iyar - 1250:
The Pope refused to grant permission to the Jews of Cordova, Spain, to build a new shul.
13 Iyar 5027 - 1267:
A Church synod meeting in Vienna ordered distinctive garb for Jews. (others 3 or 6 Iyar).
13 Iyar -1402:
The Pope granted liberal privileges to the Jews of Rome.
13 Iyar 5187 - 1427:
The Jews of Berne, Switzerland were expelled. Berne had a long history of expulsions and anti-Jewish riots.
Jews have wandered and settled in over 100 lands on five continents. Throughout the Middle Ages, Jews were subject to frequent expulsions and were more oppresed and persecuted in Switlerland than in any other country, but on acccount of their being indispensable during financial difficulties they were more frequently readmitted Into Swiss cities than elsewhere. With marvelous persistence they returned again and again to the cities and villages which they had been ordered to leave. They were banished from the c:ity and canton of Bern in
1427, from Freiburg in 1428, from Zurich in 1436, from Schaffhausen in 1472, from Rheinau (where they were plundered) in 1490, from Thurgau in 1494, and from Basel in 1543.
And amazingly, 90 percent of Jewish families were uprooted in the 20th century -- with mass immigration to America and Israel, and the tragic Holocaust. This is prophesied in Vayikra / Leviticus 26:33: "I will scatter you among the nations..." Yet amidst it all, the Jewish people have miraculously maintained their distinct national identity.
13 Iyar 5487 - May 4, 1727:
A few months prior to her death, Empress Catherine I of Russia expelled the Jews from the Ukraine. (Others 15 Iyar)(Others 16 Nisan 5487 / April 7, 1727)
13 Iyar 5643 - May 20, 1883:
Rostov-on-Don, Russia, was home to 14 Synagogues and many communal institutions. With the encouragement of local Russian officials, a wave of anti-Jewish riots (pogroms) swept the city. (Others 15 Iyar)
13 Iyar 5705 - April 26, 1945:
· Marshall Henri Philippe Petain, the head of France’s Vichy government during World War II, was arrested.
13 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Aharon Hy"d, son of Harav Lapidos, Dayan of Lvov. He and his Rebbetzin were killed al Kiddush Hashem during the riots that took place in Lvov. (5424 / 1664).
HaRav Yeshayah Yisrael, the Ba'er Heitev, zt”l, (5483 / 1723).
Harav Yeshayah Yisrael, the son of Harav Avraham, writes in the foreword of his sefer Ba’er Heitev on Shulchan Aruch, which was printed in Amsterdam in 5468/1708 (not the well-known Ba’er Heitev ):
“… Says the man, with a broken heart, about the great tragedies that we are experiencing (alluding to the gezeirot of Tach v’Tat), that we were forced to wander from the beit medrash … due to the great sufferings in the land of Poland …
“Now that I can no longer be in the beit medrash, but nevertheless my life was saved, and a great miracle occurred when Hashem saved me from grave danger, when a sword was on my throat yet I was able to go free, I accepted upon myself to clarify the words of Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim and to author a peirush …”
Eventually Reb Yeshayah Yisrael tried to go to Eretz Yisrael but, unfortunately, on the way, in the city of Mohilev, he, his Rebbetzin and their daughter were burned to death, R”l, when the inn in which they were staying caught fire on Shabbat.
HaRav Moshe of Vilna, zt”l, (5484 / 1724).
Harav Moshe (Reb Moshe Hadarshan) was Rav in Kempna.
He was the son of Rav Hillel, who served as Rav in Vilna and wrote Beit Hillel on Yoreh De’ah and Even Ha’ezer. Reb Moshe was a talmid of his father and of the Magen Avraham.
When Rav Hillel was about to be niftar, he called his son Reb Moshe and asked him to take care of the publication of his sefarim.
Thus, following the petirah of Reb Hillel, Reb Moshe published his works, adding many of his own chiddushim.
In his later years, Reb Moshe was Rav in Vilna.
He was niftar on 13 Iyar 5484/1724, in Vilna, and was buried there.
HaRav Yaakov Nesanel Weil, zt'l, the Korban Nesanel, (5447 / 1687 – 5529 / 1769).
Harav Yaakov Nesanel Weil was born in Stuhlingen, Germany, in 5447/1687. His father, Harav Naftali Tzvi Hirsh, was niftar when his son was only five years old. His mother took him to Fürth at age 10, and soon afterward to Prague, where his father’s brother, Harav Lipman Weil, adopted him. Although so young, Nesanel was given permission to attend the shiurim of Harav Avraham Broide, head of the yeshivah of Prague. Rav Avraham married Nesanel to his sister’s daughter. The wedding was in 5468/1708, and when Rav Avraham was called to the rabbinate of Mayence, his nephew and talmid accompanied him there, remaining until 5473/1713, when he returned to Prague.
Rav Nesanel remained in Prague until the issue of the edict of Maria Theresa of Austria of Dec. 18, 1744, ordering the expulsion of all Jews from Bohemia. This proved to be the means of releasing Rav Nesanel from a burdensome existence, for he was then offered the rabbinate of the Black Forest, with headquarters in Muhringen. He took up the position in 5505/1745, and held it for five years, writing the greater part of his commentary on the Rosh during that time.
In 5510/1750, Rav Nesanel was called as Rav to Carlsruhe, and there, in the spring of 5514/1754 he completed his commentary. It was published in Carlsruhe under the title Korban Nesanel, and was later printed together with the Rosh in editions of the Shas, although it discusses only the sedarim of Moed and Nashim.
Rav Nesanel was Rav of Carlsruhe for about 20 years, and was niftar in Rostadt on 13 Iyar 5529/1769, at the age of 82.
In addition to the Korban Nesanel, which is now printed together with the Rosh in editions of the Talmud, (seder Moed and Nashim), Rav Nesanel also wrote Netiv Chalm, contalnlng critical notes on the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, and its commentaries; Torat Netanel, in two parts, the first consisting of a collecticn of his responsa, and the second consisting of drashot on theTorah.
HaRav Shimon Langbart, zt"l, Rosh Yeshivat Volozhin, Bnei Brak, (5743 / 1983).
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14 Iyar - 1312 B.C.E.:
A year after Yetziat Mitzrayim (the Exodus from Egypt), Hashem instructed the people of Israel to bring the Pesach / Passover offering on the afternoon of 14 Nisan, and to eat it that evening, roasted over the fire, together with matzah and bitter herbs, as they had done on the previous year just before they left Mitzrayim.
"There were, however, certain persons who had become ritually impure through contact with a dead body, and could not, therefore, prepare the Pesach offering on that day. They approached Moshe and Aaron ... and they said: '...Why should we be deprived, and not be able to present Hashem's offering in its time, amongst the children of Israel?'" (Bamidbar / Numbers 9).
In response to their plea, Hashem established the 14th of Iyar as a "second Passover" (Pesach Sheini) for anyone who was unable to bring the offering on its appointed time in the previous month.
14 Iyar 5365 - May 2, 1605:
The Jews of Bisenz, Austria were massacred, Hy"d.
14 Iyar 5424 - May 9, 1664:
Anti-Jewish riots by students and peasants resulted in damages and death in Lemberg and Cracow. In Lemberg, the shul was attacked on Shabbat and the Chazzan was murdered, Hy"d.
14 Iyar 5693 - May 19, 1933:
Following the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, the Nazis publicly burned thousands of books written by Jews and other authors.
14 Iyar 5703 - May 19, 1943:
Berlin was declared “Judenrein.”
14 Iyar 5708 - May 23, 1948:
Ramat Rachel was repossessed by Israel. The battle for Jewish control of the Jordan Valley was successfully concluded on the same day.
14 Iyar 5708 - May 23, 1948:
The only advance of the Arab Legion beyond the Old City walls into western Yerushalayim was halted in front of Notre Dame. The British commander of the Arab Legion, Sir John Bagot Glubb (Glubb Pasha), considered that battle to be the worst defeat suffered by the legion throughout the war.
14 Iyar 5720 - May 11, 1960:
Agents of Israel's "Mossad" (Secret Service) captured Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann, chief architect of Hitler’s iniquitous “Final Solution,” in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Eichmann was in charge of all transportation required for the shipment of Jews to the extermination camps and implementing the "final solution" i.e. the extermination of the Jews. The height of his career was reached in Hungary, 1944, when he managed to transport 400,000 Jews to the gas chambers in less than five weeks, r”l. After the war, Eichmann fled to Argentina and lived under the assumed name of Ricardo Klement for ten years until Israeli Mossad agents abducted him on May 11, 1960 and smuggled him out of the country to stand trial in Yerushalayim for his crimes against the Jewish people, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Eichmann was captured through the efforts of Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal and the Israeli Mossad . He was put on trial in Israel, which was broadcast worldwide and featured the wrenching testimony of over one hundred witnesses, many of them Holocaust survivors.
During the four months of the trial, Eichmann took the stand and used the defense that he was just obeying orders. "Why me," he asked. "Why not the local policemen, thousands of them? They would have been shot if they had refused to round up the Jews for the death camps. Everybody killed the Jews."
Eichmann was found guilty on all counts of crimes against humanity, convicted and sentenced to death by hanging. He was hanged at Ramleh Prison, on 27 Iyar 5722 - May 31, 1962, the only capital punishment ever carried out in Israel. His body was cremated and ashes scattered at sea, so that no nation would serve as Eichmann's final resting place.
14 Iyar Yahrtzeits
The Tanna Rabi Meir Baal Haness, zt”l, (3881 / 121 CE). A descendant of proselytes, Rav Meir was a
scholar and a scribe,
who was among the foremost talmidim
of R' Akiva, R' Yishmael, and Elisha ben Avuyah.
His colleagues called him Meir because he "enlightened the eyes of the sages" with his genius and scholarship ("Meir" comes from the Hebrew word "Or," light). Meir's long life was rife with personal tragedy (see the links below for details). Aside for his personal travails, he lived in the troubled times following the destruction of the second Beit HaMikdash.
After his beloved teacher, Rabbi Akiva, was executed by the Romans, he fled to Babylon until the persecutions eased up.
His wife was the famous wise woman, Beruriah. She advised him wisely when neighboring wicked people disturbed him (Berachot 10a), and when their two sons died she broke the news gently and comforted him.
There are 335 halachot (laws) mentioned in the Mishnah with R' Meir’s explanations and every anonymous teaching in the Mishnah is attributed to him. He was one of the five scholars ordained by R’ Yehuda ben Bava during the persecutions following the Bar Kochva revolt (Sanhedrin 14).
Rav Meir is buried
on a hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee,
in the holy city of Teveria / Tiberias. Some sources list his yahrtzeit as 15 Iyar.
Sephardim have a minhag of commemorating his hilulah on this date at his kever in Teveria, but the mesorah of this yahrtzeit is unclear.
(For further information, check the sefer Mekomot Hakedoshim by Harav Yech!el Mechel Stern, Yerushalayim. 5764).
HaRav Shmuel of Karov, zt”l, (5580 / 1820). Born in Neustadt, his father was Harav Avraham Yeshayahu. Reb Shmuel was a talmid and Chassid of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk, zy”a. Later, he traveled to the Chozeh of Lublin.
The Chozeh held Reb Shmuel in high esteem. He sent many of the younger Chassidim to Reb Shmuel to learn from him the ways of Chassidut.
One year the Chozeh told Reb Shmuel, “This year, you will have a rich Pesach.” Due to his immense emunat chachamim, he was not at all concerned about Pesach expenses. On the day before Pesach, a naggid brought Reb Shmuel a substantial sum, enough for him to make Pesach.
From the year 5575/1815, Reb Shmuel was Rebbe in Karov and Wangrob. Many other Rebbes flocked to his court, and he was considered one of Poland’s leading disseminators of Chassidut.
He had many Chassidim. Notable among them were Reb Nosson of Makova, Reb Yechezkel of Kuzmir, Reb Yitzchak of Wangrob, Reb Mattisyahu of Kossov, Reb Zelig of Shrentzk, Reb Noach of Karov, Reb Chaim Zev of Koloshin, and Reb Aryeh Leibish of Sheperov.
The inhabitants of the city of Wangrob relate that although all the houses of their city were constructed of wood, none ever burned down; this was due to a brachah of Reb Shmuel.
His son Reb Dovid did not hold court after the petirah of Reb Shmuel. Reb Shmuel was succeeded instead by his Chassidim Reb Yechezkel of Kuzmir and Reb Yitzchak of Wangrob.
At that time, many of the Chassidim decided to travel to the Rebbe Reb Bunim of Peshischa. When they came to Peshischa, the Rebbe Reb Bunim accepted them all without testing them. “They come from a good background,” he explained.
In the ohel in which Reb Shmuel was buried, his son, Reb Dovid, and his talmid and successor, Reb Yitzchak of Wangrob, were later buried as well. Until the war, many used to travel to his kever on the yahrtzeit. During the war, the entire cemetery (and with it the ohel) was destroyed.
His talmidim quote some of his divrei Torah in their sefarim, but they have never been compiled into a separate sefer.
HaRav Yehudah Leib of Zelikov (Zaklikov), zt”l, talmid of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk and the Chozeh of Lublin and author of Lekutei Maharil (5586 / 1826).
Harav Yehudah Leib was initially opposed to the ways of Chassidut. The Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk traveled to Zavichwast, the hometown of Reb Yehudah Leib, to persuade him to change his mind. Reb Yehudah Leib came to Lizhensk, but he wasn’t convinced until he heard the tefillah of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech. In this, he said, he saw more than Chassidim did.
With time, Reb Yehudah Leib became a devoted Chassid of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech.
After the petirah of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech, the majority of the Chassidim went to the Chozeh of Lublin. At first Reb Yehudah Leib was not among them. Only after seeing the large crowd that traveled to Lublin did he decide to do the same. The Chozeh accepted him as a Chassid, and Reb Yehudah Leib was one of the foremost Chassidim in Lublin.
His divrei Torah were published under the name Likutei Maharil. Many of the divrei Torah in his sefer are similar to those in Ohev Yisrael and Torat Emet, which led some to say that these were actually copied from the manuscripts of those sefarim, and are in fact not the original divrei Torah of Reb Yehudah Leib.
Reb Yehudah Leib’s son, Harav Shmuel Shmelke, was also a Chassid of the Chozeh. He was niftar in his youth.
HaRav Yehudah Tzvi of Stretin, zt”l, (5667 / 1907).
HaRav Eliyahu Chaim Meisel, zt”l, Av Beit Din of Lodz (1821 – 5672 / 1912). Born in Horodok, he became the Rav of the city from 1840 to 1843. Later Rav of Drazin 1843-1861, Prozan 1861- 1867 (were he showed heroic dedication during a deadly epidemic), and Lomza.1867-1879 where he was able to reduce by 500 a year the number of people called for army service. He was Chief Rabbi of Lodz from 1873 until his petira.
HaRav Tuvia Goldstein, zt”l, (5677 / 1917 - 2003). Rav and Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Emek Halacha in Boro Park, author of Ish Halachah. (15 Iyar?)
Harav Tuvia Goldstein was born in 5677/1917 in the Polish town of Vlodova. His father, Reb Chaim Meir, z”l, was the town’s shochet. When Reb Tuvia was only two years old, both his parents succumbed to typhoid. The young orphan was raised by his grandfather, the Rav of Vlodova, and his older sister.
In the early 1930s, he was admitted to Yeshivah Ohel Torah of Baranovitch, headed by Harav Elchanan Wasserman, zt”l. From Baranovitch, he went to learn in Yeshivat Kamenitz under Harav Baruch Ber Leibowitz, zt”l. He was in Kamenitz when World War II broke out, forcing him and his peers to flee.
Eventually Reb Tuvia, together with several other bachurim, found themselves in Russia, where they were sent to perform forced labor in Siberia. Reb Tuvia later related how the bachurim would help each other and how they would sit and think of innovative ways to work without transgressing Shabbat.
After the war, Reb Tuvia returned to his hometown, where he found that of his entire extended family, only one aunt had survived.
Reb Tuvia left Poland and made his way to Paris, where he met his Rebbetzin, who had spent the war in the Slabodka ghetto. Harav Mordechai Pogromansky, zt”l, enthusiastically advised her to marry Reb Tuvia.
The Goldsteins immigrated to the United States and settled on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Reb Tuvia joined the staff of Yeshivah Rabbeinu Yaakov Yosef (RJJ) and also served as a Dayan on the beit din of Harav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin, zt”l.
Reb Tuvia lived in the same building as Hagaon Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, and they became lifelong friends.
Reb Moshe and Reb Tuvia could be found discussing halachic matters at all hours of the day and night.
Reb Tuvia was so attuned to Reb Moshe’s way of thinking that he was able to tell whether what was said or written in Reb Moshe’s name was genuine or fabricated.
Reb Tuvia was particular about not wasting time. He had a strong sense of responsibility to the tzibbur, always making himself available for she’eilot. His humility was legendary.
A prominent posek of his time, Rav Goldstein established Yeshivat Emek Halachah, where yungeleit would focus on learning halachah l’maaseh. Under his guidance, they would be trained to serve as poskim, according to his particular derech of psak halachah. Rav Goldstein led the yeshivah for around 30 years.
Over the last few months of his life, Reb Tuvia’s health deteriorated. On Friday night, 15 Iyar, Reb Tuvia’s pure neshamah rose to the Heavenly spheres accompanied by the thousands of blatt Gemara, piskei halachah, maasei chessed and mitzvot that characterized his life. He was buried on Har Hamenuchot in chelkat haRabbanim.
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15 Iyar 2448 - 1313 B.C.E.:
The supply of Matzot (unleavened bread) that the Jews had brought with them from Mitzrayim / Egypt (enough for 60 meals) was exhausted on the 15th of Iyar, the 30th day after the Exodus. When they complained to Moshe Rabbeinu that they had nothing to eat, Hashem notified them that he would rain down "lechem min haShamayim" to sustain them, alluding to the mann, which began falling one day later. (Shmot / Exodus 16).
15 Iyar 5447 - April 28, 1687:
The "Black Code," stipulating the expulsion of the Jews from all the French Caribbean islands, came into force, forcing the Jews to leave for the Dutch islands and give up their flourishing cocoa plantations to French hands. The Black Code stipulated in its first article: "...We enjoin all of our officers to chase from our islands all the Jews who have established residence there. As with all declared enemies of Christianity, we command them to be gone within three months of the day of issuance of the present [order], at the risk of confiscation of their persons and their goods."
15 Iyar 5705 - April 28, 1945:
Mussolini was executed by Italian partisans.
15 Iyar 5705 - April 28, 1945:
The end of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
15 Iyar Yahrtzeits
Harav Aryeh Leib Shapiro of Vilna, zt”l, (5521 / 1761), author of Me’on Arayot and Nachalat Ariel.
Harav Aryeh Leib was born in 5461 / 1701. His father, Harav Yitzchak, author of Elef Hamagen, was niftar on 25 Adar 5471 / 1711, in Lvov, when he was just nine years old. His mother raised him and encouraged him to strengthen himself and continue in his learning. She, unfortunately, also passed away before Reb Aryeh Leib married.
Reb Aryeh Leib traveled to learn in Lithuania. He married and settled in Vilna, where his father-in-law supported him.
At the age of 21, Reb Aryeh Leib undertook an innovative project: to compile a commentary on masechet Sofrim — on the halachot of writing safrut — which was one of the least learned and most overlooked masechtot. He wrote two commentaries: Nachalat Ariel, based on pshat, and Me’on Arayot, a commentary based on pilpul.
The Chida quotes these works in his Shem Hagedolim, and heaps much praise on them.
Reb Aryeh Leib also served as Rav and Dayan in Vilna.
Reb Aryeh Leib was niftar on 15 Iyar 5521/1761, at the age of 60.
HaRav Chaim Meir Yechiel Shapira, zt”l, the “saraf” of Mogelnitz (or Moglonitza) (5549 / 1789 - 5609 / 1849). His father, Harav Avi Ezra Zelig Shapira, was Rav in Grenitz. His mother was Rebbetzin Perel, daughter of the Kozhnitzer Maggid, zy”a.
He was raised and taught by the Kozhnitzer Maggid.
His birth was a mofes attributed to Harav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, zy”a.
When the Berditchever Rebbe, zy”a, was once in Kozhnitz, the Maggid asked him to bless his as-yet-childless daughter. The Berditchever asked that the Maggid present him with his menorah as a gift, which he did. The Berditchever immediately returned the menorah to the Maggid, saying that it will be a wedding present for the child who will be born to his daughter; until that time, the Maggid may use it.
When the baby was born he was named Meir as per the instructions of Reb Levi Yitzchak, who predicted that he was destined to illuminate the world with his Torah. (The names Chaim and Yechiel were added as a segulah for longevity.)
At the age of five, the boy once burst into tears. “Why does Zeide (the Kozhnitzer Maggid) have a Rebbe, and my father too? I also want a Rebbe!”
“How do you know that I have a Rebbe?” the Maggid asked him.
The young boy answered that every night he sees an elderly man coming to teach his grandfather; obviously this must be his Rebbe.
“You should know,” the Maggid replied, “that this was the holy Baal Shem Tov, and when you will be older, you will also be his talmid.”
“I don’t want a Rebbe who was already niftar…” was the young boy’s answer.
His davening was so intense that once, when he was only seven years old, he banged his forehead on a nail during davening and did not notice blood was oozing down his face; he just continued davening.
His closeness to his grandfather grew with time. However, when his grandfather offered to learn Torat hanistar with him he declined, explaining that he wanted to reach those levels by himself.
He married the the daughter of Harav Elazar, the son of the Rebbe R. Elimelech of Lizhensk.
Supported by his father-in-law, he devoted himself solely to learning Torah and Chassidut. A few years later he was appointed Rav in Gritza and later in Moglenitza. Even though he was still young, he was counted among the Gedolim of the era.
He was known as a gaon with vast knowledge in all Torah topics; many sent him their she’eilot.
Although he was very close to his grandfather, the Kozhnitzer Maggid, he also traveled to the Chozeh of Lublin. He used to say that every time he returned from Lublin, he felt as if he had a reservoir of Chassidut sufficient for the next 10 years, but as soon as he set foot at home, he had a burning desire to return then and there to Lublin.
Reb Chaim Meir was also a Chassid of the Yehudi Hakadosh of Peshischa.
After the petirah of the Yehudi, the Maggid (his grandfather) and the Chozeh, in 5575 / 1814, he traveled to the Apter Rav. The Apter Rav told him that he must be a manhig, a leader.
Reb Chaim Meir traveled to many Rebbes of his generation such as Harav Tzvi Hirsh Meshares of Rimanov, Harav Yerachmiel of Peshischa, son of the Yehudi, Harav Yechezkel of Kuzhmir and Harav Meir of Premishlan. He was very close with Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin and the Sar Shalom of Belz.
On 12 Elul, 5588 / 1828, after the petirah of his uncle, Harav Moshe Elyakim Briyah of Kozhnitz, despite his initial refusal, he was appointed his successor. Even though he lived in Moglenitza, he signed himself “Rav of Kozhnitz and Moglenitza.”
Although already a Rebbe, he still traveled to other Rebbes.
In his last year, 5609 / 1859, he began preparing for his petirah. On Shabbat Parashat Mikeitz, he openly hinted that his successor be Harav Elazar of Kozhnitz.
On 15 Iyar, 5609 / 1859, Reb Chaim Meir was niftar. He had five sons; including Harav Yaakov Yitzchak of Blendov, the Emet L’Yaakov, and Harav Elimelech of Grodzinsk, the Divrei Elimelech. His two sons-in-law were Harav Yehudah of Melitz and Harav Avraham Elchanan of Koloshin.
Harav Baruch Rosenfeld, zt"l, Rav of Galov and a talmid of Harav Akiva Eiger, zt"l, (5639 / 1879).
HaRav Avraham Eliyahu (Elya) Kaplan, zt”l, (1890-1924). Named for his father, who had passed away suddenly at the age of 33 several months before his son’s birth, he was born and spent his early years in his maternal grandfather’s house in the town of Kaidan, a suburb of Kovno, in Lithuania. He studied for several years in Telshe, then studied in Slabodka for seven years. He was one of the founders of a Torah youth movement “Torah v’Oz,” and a parallel educational movement for girls, “Agudat Bnot Yisroel.” Reb Avraham Elya’s movement then blossomed into a national organization known as “Tzi’irei Yisroel. The final period in Reb Avraham Elya’s life began in 1920, when he both married the daughter of a distinguished family from Telshe, and became a Rosh Yeshiva at the Hildesheimer Seminary in Berlin.
Harav Dovid Moshe Shapiro, zt"l, the Gvodzitz-Sadigura Rebbe of Boro Park, author of Duda'im shel Moshe, (5748 / 1988).
HaRav Tuvia Goldstein, zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva of Emek Halacha in Boro Park. (5763 / 2003). (See 14 Iyar).
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16 Iyar 2448 - 1313 B.C.E.:
Bnei Yisrael began receiving mann, the "bread from heaven" in the Midbar this morning.
Moshe Rabbeinu introduced the first bracha of the Birchat HaMazon when Bnei
Yisrael began to receive the mann. (Brachot 48b) The mann fell six days a week; a double-portion fell on Friday to include Shabbat. Unlike other miracles that were one-time events, the mann continued to fall day after day throughout the 40 years of Jewish wandering in the desert. See 18 Iyar.
16 Iyar 3826 - 66 C.E.:
The Roman legion under General Holofernes ransacked Yerushalayim, killing 3000+ Jews.
16 Iyar 3830 - 70 C.E.:
· Titus and the Roman army laid siege upon Yerushalayim, greatly weakening its defenders. The Romans recaptured the middle wall of Yerushalayim and demolished it. The city was later burned, its inhabitants massacred, and the Beit HaMikdash destroyed on the 9th of Av.
16 Iyar 5641 - May 18, 1881:
Anti-Jewish riots in Odessa, Russia.
16 Iyar 5657 - May 18, 1897:
Anti-Jewish riots erupted in Algeria.
16 Iyar 5669 - May 7, 1909:
Construction began on the first 100 houses to be built in Achuzat Bayit (later known as Tel Aviv).
16 Iyar 5699 - May 5, 1939:
The Nazi Nuremberg anti-Jewish Laws, depriving Jews the rights citizenship, were passed by the government of Nazi Germany in 1935. On 16 Iyar 1939, the laws went into effect in Nazi-allied Hungary.
16 Iyar 5705 - April 29, 1945:
· The U.S. 7th Army liberated the Dachau concentration camp. Dachau was the first Nazi concentration camp and the model for the other concentration camps. During the war, 200,000 Jews were housed in Dachau. More than 30,000 were killed and tens of thousands died due to the conditions and spread of disease in the camp. The camp was freed by the 45th Infantry Division of the U.S. Seventh Army. It was the second concentration camp to be liberated following the end of WWII.
The U.S. troops forced the citizens of the local community to come to the camp, observe the conditions, and help clean the facilities.
16 Iyar 5725 - May 18, 1965:
The Syrians hang Eli Cohen publicly in Damascus as an Israeli spy, refusing
until today to return his remains to his family, Hy"d.
16 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Meir ben Gedaliah, the Maharam of Lublin, zt”l, (5318 / 1558 - 5376 / 1616), author of Maharam on Shas, also known as Meir Einai Chachamim.
The Maharam was born in 5318/1558. His father was Harav Gedalyah, the son of Harav Yitzchak of Lvov, who in turn was the son of Harav Asher Lemel, who served as Av Beit Din in Cracow.
The Maharam displayed great diligence in his youth and soon became a close talmid of Harav Yitzchak Hakohen Shapiro, who headed a yeshivah in Cracow. The closeness between this rebbi and his talmid grew to such an extent that Reb Yitzchak chose him to be his son-in-law. The Maharam respected his rebbi / father-in-law greatly; he would sign off his letters and responsa with “Meir, the son-in-law of the king.”
After the petirah of his esteemed father-in-law, the Maharam, a young talmid chacham of 25, set out for Lublin, where he founded a yeshivah. He led the yeshivah for five years, after which he returned to Cracow, where he assumed responsibility for the yeshivah of his late father-in-law.
In 5355/1595 the Maharam moved to Lvov, where he served as a Rav and taught many talmidim. He remained in Lvov for 18 years, but his stay there was not always peaceful. His Rebbetzin passed away in 5364/1604, and he subsequently married the daughter of Harav Pinchas, the Rav of Fulda and Kremzir. He also suffered a fire that destroyed all his belongings, as evident from a number of his teshuvot.
A complicated din Torah regarding a divorce case whose validity was being questioned divided most of theGedolei Hador of that time. The Maharam came out forcefully against it, opposing the S”ma, who resided in Lvov at the time and held that it was kosher. The incident caused great turmoil in the Torah world and, due to the resulting machloket, the Maharam had to leave Lvov and return to Lublin. In 1613 he became rabbi at Lublin and established a Yeshiva.
In Lublin he continued teaching talmidim until his petirah, at age 58, on 16 Iyar 5376 / 1616. (According to some, his yahrtzeit is on 10 Iyar.)
Among his famous talmidim were the Shelah Hakadosh, the Megaleh Amukot and the Maginei Shlomo, zichronam livrachah.
The Maharam was the author of a number of sefarim. She’eilot U’teshuvot Maharam contains his halachic responsa; Me’ir Einei Chachamim was later reprinted in the back of Gemara volumes and became an inseparable part of learning Gemara and Tosafot.
Other sefarim he authored are Maor Hagadol on Turim, Maor Hakatan on Shrei Dura, Ner Mitzvah onS”mag and Torah Ohr on Torah. These sefarim were never published.
HaRav Shmuel Waldberg of Yaroslav, zt”l, (5616 / 1856).
HaRav Menachem Nachum Twersky, zt”l, the Makarover Rebbe, (5632 / 1872 - 5685 / 1925). He was the son of Harav Dovid Twersky, the Makarover-Kiever Rebbe (son of Harav Yaakov Yitzchak, zt”l). His mother was the daughter of the Trisker Maggid, and his maternal ancestors include Harav Pinchas of Koritz and the Chozeh of Lublin.
Reb Menachem Nachum married the daughter of his uncle, Harav Efraim Zalman Margolies, the Matziover Rebbe (son of Harav Chaim Mordechai, the Dovisarer Rebbe, who was the son-in-law of Harav Menachem Nachum Twersky, the Makarover Rebbe, grandfather and namesake of Harav Menachem Nachum).
Following the petirah of his father on 24 Cheshvan 5663/1902, Reb Menachem Nachum succeeded him as Rebbe in Makarov. Having earlier served in Zhvil, he became known as the Zhvil-Makarover Rebbe. He was renowned for his mofsim and ruach hakodesh.
In 5666/1906, during a major pogrom, a son of Reb Menachem Nachum was killed. Hashem yinkom damo.
After several hard years for Reb Menachem Nachum and his family, World War I broke out and Reb Menachem Nachum moved to Lublin, where many Trisker chassidim lived.
In Iyar 5684/1924 he immigrated to America. Arriving in New York, he stayed first at the home of his brother-in-law, the Novominsker Rebbe, zy”a, on the East Side. His arrival was celebrated by the thousands of his chassidim who had preceded him to the other side of the ocean.
Soon the Makarover chassidim brought Reb Menachem Nachum to Chelsea, Mass., near Boston, where he had the largest concentration of followers. In those years Chelsea had a large Jewish community, numbering in the thousands. Some even called it the “Yerushalayim of New England.” The Rebbe established a beit medrash in Chelsea.
Reb Menachem Nachum was niftar less than a year after arriving in America, on 16 Iyar 5685/1925, at the age of just 53.
The Rebbe’s levayah was attended by close to 10,000 people, with a procession of 362 automobiles. He was eulogized by the leading Rabbanim and Rebbes of the generation.
His wife and four children had been left behind in Europe. Tragically, they all fell victim to the Nazis. Hashem yinkom damam.
The site of the kever of Reb Menachem Nachum was found in 5760 / 2000 by Rabbi Yonah Landau, chairman of the Committee to Visit Jewish Holy Sites in America. Since then, many have gone to the Rebbe’s kever to daven.
Everett Jewish Cemeteries,
Everett, MA 02149
(Chevra Tehillim Section).
HaRav Yechiel Michel (ben Avraham Yitzchak) Feinstein, zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva Beit Yehuda, (1906 - 5673 / 2003), born in Uzda, Lithuania, ] a town near Minsk, Belarus, then part of the Russian empire.
He lost his father, Rav Avraham Yitzchak, at the age of seven and went to live and learn with his grandfather, Rav Dovid Feinstein, the rov of Stravin, Byelorussia. There Yechiel Michel developed a close relationship learning with his uncles, Rav Moshe and Rav Mordechai.
After his bar mitzvah he traveled to Slutsk to learn under Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer. When the Bolsheviks arrived, the yeshiva was forced to flee from Lithuania, to Kletsk, Poland. During his three years in Kletsk, Yechiel Michel attended the famed Talmudic lectures of Rabbi Meltzer and his son-in-law, Rabbi Aharon Kotler.
Then he moved to Mir to learn under Rav Yeruchom Leibovitz. and learned together with Rav Yechiel Michel Schlesinger, future rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Kol Torah in Yerushalayim, and Rav Yonah Karpilow of Minsk, Hy"d, who was killed in the Holocaust and whose Yonat Eilem was published posthumously.
He also learned in Brisk, Grodno, and Vilna. He escaped Europe for America in 1941, traveling together with Rav Aharon Kotler. Upon his arrival he opened a yeshiva in Boston. Six months later his uncle, Rav Moshe Feinstein, summoned Rav Yechiel Michel to serve at his side as head of Yeshivat Tiferet Yerushalayim in New York.
In 1946, he married a daughter of the Brisker Rav, Lifsha. In 1952, he established Yeshivat Beit Yehuda in Tel Aviv. In 1973, a daughter of his died, which prompted Rav Yechiel Michel to move to Bnei Brak. In 1984, he inaugurated the new yeshiva building there.
His only written works to have been publicly published are his novellae to the Talmudic tractate Kerisot which are printed in the back of the new editions of his father-in-law’s novallee to that tractate. Recently his family has published his works on Kelim, Mikvaot, and other mesechtot.
HaRav Tzvi Hirsch Rosenbaum of Kretchenif, zt”l, (5680 / 1919 – 5766 / 2006). He was a great great grandson of Rav Mordechai of Nadvorno. Born on 14 Cheshvan 5680/1919, in Sighet in Romania's Marmorosh region. His father, Harav Nissan Chaim, was the eldest son of Harav Eliezer Ze’ev of Kretchenif.
After World War I, Harav Eliezer Ze’ev moved from Kretchenif to Sighet. In 5684/1924, Rav Nissan was appointed Rav of Bradshin, a town near Stanislav, Poland, but he sent young Hershel to live and learn with his grandfather.
Hershel formed a close bond with his grandfather and looked up to him as his Rebbe.
After his bar mitzvah, he went to study at Yeshivat Ohr Torah in Stanislav.
There he became close to Rav Dovid Halevi Ish Horowitz, author of Imrei Dovid.
In the winter of 5697/1936, Reb Tzvi Hirsh traveled to the city of Satmar (not far from Sighet) where he learned under his uncle, Harav Meir Dayan. While there, he received semichah from the Rav of Riskeve and other Gedolei Yisrael and formed ties with the Satmar Rebbe, Harav Yoel Teitelbaum. In the summer of 5697/1937, he returned to his grandfather.
The day after Purim 1944, the Germans entered Sighet, quickly setting up a ghetto. On 3 Iyar, the Germans took away Rab Tzvi Hirsh's grandfather, the Kretchinefer Rebbe, and the entire family, sending them to Auschwitz.
After six weeks there, Rav Tzvi Hirsch was transferred to a forced labor camp in Shuterberg where he worked in the kitchen, which allowed him to avoid non-kosher foods..
On Tisha B'Av 1945, he arrived in Eretz Yisrael. A year later he married the daughter of his uncle, the Nadvorna Rebbe, who was still in Romania.
With the encouragement of Harav Aharon of Belz and the Rav of Bilgoray, Reb Tzvi Hirsh opened his first beit medrash in his home in Batei Ungarin.
Again with the Belzer Rebbe’s suggestion, Reb Tzvi Hirsh moved to Kfar Ata. He rented a small house, which served as his beit medrash for several years until a proper beit medrash and talmud Torah were built.
In 5735 / 1975, he opened a Beit Midrash in Bnai Brak and in 5740 / 1980, another one in Yerushalayim.
His seudah shelishit Torah was characterized by his tearful and heartrending drashot.
Rav Tzvi Hirsch was a true talmid chochom in both nigla and nistar, and many miracles are ascribed to him.
In his final months, the Rebbe was hospitalized. He was niftar on 16 Iyar, 5766/2006, at the age of 86. The Rebbe was buried in a new chelkah on Har Hazeitim.
He was succeeded by his son Rav Zeidel Rosenbaum (Kretchnif Rebbe in New York) and his son Rav Nissan Chaim Rosenbaum (Kretchnif-Sighit Rebbe in Yerushalayim) He also left many dedicated talmidim. (Others 17 Iyar).
17 Iyar 1656 - 2105 B.C.E.:
According to Rab' Yehoshua, who says that "the second month" refers to Iyar, today it began raining, marking the beginning of the Mabul.
17 Iyar 3826 - 66 C.E.:
Following the theft of silver from the Beit HaMikdash in Yerushalayim, the Jewish defense force attacked and defeated the Roman garrison stationed in Yerushalayim.
17 Iyar - 1096:
Jews of Worms were massacred by Crusaders, Hy"d.
17 Iyar 5038 - 1278:
English Jews were thrown into prison on charges of coining.
17 Iyar - 1355:
1,200 Jews of Toledo, Spain were killed, Hy"d.
17 Iyar 5367 - May 14, 1607:
English colonists went ashore in Virginia to begin building the first permanent settlement in what would be the United States. The settlement was named Jamestown, after England’s King James I.
17 Iyar 5463 - May 3, 1703:
Yahrtzeit of Shmuel Oppenheimer, the leading financier who supplied the Austrian army during their various campaigns. In 1692 he was falsely arrested by Bishop Kolbnitsch and had to buy his freedom with 500,000 florins. He was the founder of the Viennese Jewish community, receiving permission to settle there after the expulsion of 1670. He supported Jewish communities, and ransomed many Jews from the Turks.
17 Iyar 5701 - April 29, 1941:
The Nazis interned 3600 Jews of Russian origin.
17 Iyar 5705 - April 30, 1945:
Hitler, ym"s, committed suicide in his underground bunker in Berlin, Germany.
17 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Yechezkel HaLevi Landau, zt”l, (1713 - 5553 / 1793), known for the title of his commentary, Noda Beyehuda. Born in Apta, Poland, on 18 Cheshvan 5474/1713, his father, Harav Yehudah Halevi, was a leading figure in Apta and a member of the Vaad Arba Aratzot. His mother, Chayah, was the daughter of Harav Eliezer, Rav of Dubno. He was able to trace his family lineage back to Rashi.
In 5492 / 1732, at 18, he married Liba, daughter of the naggid Reb Yaakovka of Dubno. After his wedding, Reb Yechezkel continued to devote himself to Torah, returning home only for Shabbat.
A while later his father-in-law moved to Brod. In 5493 / 1734 Reb Yechezkel was asked to serve as head of the beit din there.
In 5515 / 1755, he was appointed Rav of the large and influential community of Prague and all of Bohemia.
Some members of the community felt that Reb Yechezkel, who was relatively young at the time, was not an appropriate choice for the position and tried to undermine his authority. In the end, however, they recognized his greatness.
His home became the place to turn when looking for the right halachic ruling, as Reb Yechezkel became known as Rabban shel kol bnei hagolah.
During Reb Yechezkel’s first two years as Rav of Prague, its Jewish community flourished. But then the Seven Years War broke out. Reb Yechezkel’s students advised him to flee the city, but he refused to abandon his flock.
In 5537 / 1777, he published his monumental work Noda Beyehuda, so named to credit his father, Harav Yehudah Landau.
He also authored Dagul Meirevavah on the Shulchan Aruch and Tzelach on the Talmud, as well as Doresh Tziyon and Ahavat Tziyon.
Rav Landau interceded with the government on various occasions to counter anti-Semitic measures.
In one famous incident, the local bakers of Prague had secretly plotted to poison the bread and sell it only to the Jews. Late one night, there was a knock on Rav Landau's door. It was one on the bakers, who decades earlier Rav Landau had reached out to help. Out of gratitude, this man revealed the plot, and thousands of Jewish lives were saved.
His famous "Letter of Peace" helped to heal the rift between the great sages Rav Yaakov Emden and Rav Yonatan Eibeshutz, which threatened to irreparably divide the Jewish people.
Rav Yechezkel was niftar on 17 Iyar 5553 / 1793. In his will, he requested that only a simple matzeivah be erected over his kever, and that no praises be inscribed on it.·
HaRav Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sadlikov, zt"l, grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, author of Degel Machaneh Ephraim (1748 - 5560 / 1800). He was born and died in Medzibosh, and his grave is next to that of the Baal Shem Tov. His brother was the famous Reb Baruch of Medzibosh. After the Baal Shem Tov's passing, Moshe Chaim studied under the Maggid of Mezritch and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye, the author of Toldot Yaakov Yosef.
HaRav Yisrael Rottenberg, zt"l, (5587 / 1827), father of the Chidushei Harim.
HaRav Yehoshua Heshel Babad, zt"l, (5601 / 1841), Rav of Tarnopol.
HaRav Mordechai ("Mottele") Twersky of Rachmistrivka, zt"l, (~1830 - 5681 / 1921). (Others 5599–5600/1839 - 5680/1920). Born in Rachmistrivka, Podlia (Ukraine), His father, Harav Yochanan of Rachmastrivka, son of Harav Mordechai of Chernobyl, was the first Rebbe of the Rachmistrivka dynasty. His mother was Rebbetzin Chana, daughter of Harav Pinchas Kalk.
At his father’s request, Reb Mordechai received semichah from his uncle, Harav Yitzchak of Skver, and he began leading Chassidim during his father’s lifetime.
He married Rebbetzin Trana, the daughter of Harav Chanina Lipa of Zhitomir, of the Koritzer dynasty. His second wife was the daughter of Harav Dovid of Tolna.
When his father was niftar in 1895, Rav Menachem and his two brothers, Harav Menachem Nachum and Harav Zev, shared the Rachmistrivka court together for 11 years.
Reb Mordechai was strikingly humble and refined. He remarked, “I don’t know why people come to me. I am not a baal tefillah, nor a composer of niggunim, nor do I say Torah. The only possible explanation is that before davening each day I wholeheartedly accept the mitzvah of loving one’s fellow, and since ‘the hearts of people reflect each other like water reflects faces’ [Mishlei 27:19], people return my love and come to me.”
He moved to Yerushalayim from Europe in 1908 (or 1906).
On the first day of Chol Hamoed Pesach in 1921, Rav Mordechai was attacked by a mob of Arabs while on his way to the Kotel. He passed away a month later, due to complications of injuries sustained during that attack.
HaRav Pinchas of Ostila Twersky, Hy"d, (5640 / 1880 - 5703 / 1943).The son of Rav Mordechai of Rachmistrivka, both of Rav Pinchas's parents were descendants of the Baal Shem Tov's greatest talmidim - Rav Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl (on his father's side) and Rav Pinchas of Koritz (on his mother's side).
He grew up in the home of his grandfather Harav Yochanan of Rachmastrivka. Reb Yochanan was niftar in 5655/1895, when Reb Pinchas was 15.
Later, he learned under the tutelage of his father, who spoke highly of his son. As a youngster, Reb Pinchas was noted for his hasmadah in learning. He would distance himself from others, and was regarded as having a somewhat “closed” personality. But when it came to helping a fellow Jew, he would go out of his way.
Reb Pinchas once explained the dictum that Chazal say that the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim is greater than welcoming the Shechinah, by using the Russian weather as an example: if one leaves a guest out in the cold, he may freeze, but, kavyachol, the Shechinah won’t be disturbed by the severe weather.
In 5660/1900, Reb Pinchas married Chana Rochel, the daughter of Rav Yissacher Dov of Belz. Two years later, he settled in Belz, where he was very close to his father-in-law. He lived in Belz for the next 23 years.
Reb Pinchas remembered every dvar Torah that his father-in-law had said, and would repeat them to the chassidim.
During World War I, the Russian army invaded and destroyed the town of Belz, which was under Austrian control. Reb Yissachar Dov fled to Ratzfert, Hungary, together with Reb Pinchas. From there they moved to Munkacs, and later to Haloshitz.
The Rebbe returned to Belz to re-establish his court in 5685/1925, at which time the town was under Polish rule. Reb Pinchas also returned.
His father, Reb Mordechai, had meanwhile moved to Eretz Yisrael, where he was niftar on 17 Iyar 5681/1921.
When the Belzer Rebbe was niftar, his son Harav Aharon succeeded him as Rebbe, while Reb Pinchas was appointed Rebbe in Ostilla. About five years later, Reb Pinchas moved to Pshemishel, Galicia. Thousands flocked to his court.
When the Nazis invaded Galicia at the beginning of World War II, their first target was the leaders — the Rebbes and Rabbanim. They also searched for Reb Pinchas, who had disguised himself as a simple Jew and fled to Sambour, where he lived for two-and-a-half years.
The Nazis came to Sambour, where they brutally murdered the Jews — Reb Pinchas, his Rebbetzin and six children among them.
Rav Pinchas was deported to the Belzec Extermination Camp on the 17th of Iyar in 1943.
Close to one million Jews were murdered at Belzec; it is lesser known that other camps since almost no one survived to tell of it.
No one knows exactly when Rav Pinchas was niftar, so his yahrtzeit was established on the same day as that of his father. The only member of his family to survive the war was his daughter, Rebetzin Trana, who married Rav Yaakov Yosef Twersky of Skver. Together, they built Kiryat Skver and the Skverer Torah institutions. (Others 19 Iyar)
HaRav Nison Alpert, zt"l. (1927 - 5746 / 1986). Born in Europe, he moved to America early in life and became a talmid muvhak of Rav Moshe Feinstein. He became the head of the kollel of Yeshiva Rabbi Isaac Elchonon and rabbi of the Agudath Israel of Long Island in Far Rockaway. His son-in-law, Rabbi Dovid Weinberger, Rav of Shaaray Tefilah in Lawrence, New York, published much of Rav Alpert's Chumash commentary in Limudei Nison, which was translated into English as "Rabbi Nison Alpert on the Sidrah."
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The battle against Ai in the days of Yehoshua.
18 Iyar - circa 120 C.E.:
The plague among Rab' Akiva's disciples ends (circa 120 CE).
In the weeks between Pesach and Shavuot, a plague decimated 24,000 students of the great sage Rab' Akiva - a result, says the Talmud, of the fact that they "did not respect one another." The plague's cessation on Iyar 18 - the 33rd day of the Omer Count or "Lag Ba'Omer" - is one of the reasons that the day is celebrated each year.
Also, On Lag Ba’omer Rab' Akiva gave Semicha to his five talmidim who did not die, and through whom Torah was disseminated, (among them Rab' Shimon Bar Yochai).
The Chatam Sofer (Shailot U’Teshuvot, Yoreh Deah 233) brings the possibility that Lag Ba'Omer is observed as a day of simcha because on this day (18 Iyar) the Mon began to fall. This calculation is based on the fact that on the 15th of Iyar Bnei Yisrael arrived in Midbar Sin and the people complained--3 days then transpired before the Mon began to fall.
18 Iyar - 170 C.E.:
Yahrtzeit of Rav Shimon bar Yochai, zt”l, author of the Holy Zohar, and a disciple of Rabbi Akiva. See below.
18 Iyar - 1370:
Hundreds of Jews were burned alive in Brussels, and the remainder were banished from the country, Hy"d.
18 Iyar 5450 - April 27, 1690:
The Jewish community of Ettingen, Germany, set this day aside as a day of thanksgiving for their escape from blood-libel charges.
18 Iyar 5708 - May 27, 1948:
The Jewish community of the Old City surrendered to Jordan’s Arab Legion.
18 Iyar 5708 - May 27, 1948:
The Churva synagogue located in the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Yerushalayim, was captured and dynamited by the Arab Legion of Jordan during the battle for Old Yerushalayim
The synagogue was built by the group of disciples of Rab' Eliyahu (the "Vilna Gaon") who immigrated from Lithuania in 1864. The synagogue was built on the ruins of the synagogue built by Rabbi Yehudah Chassid (Segal) and his disciples in 1700, which was destroyed by Arab mobs in 1721. It was therefore named the "Churvat Rabbi Yehudah HaChassid" -- the ruins of Rabbi Judah the Chassid, or simply "The Churva" -- The Ruin. It was rebuilt and reopened in 2011.
18 Iyar 5708 - May 27, 1948:
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was created on Lag BaOmer of 1948. The IDF comprises the Israeli army, Israeli air force and Israeli navy. It was formed to defend the existence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state of Israel and combat all forms of terrorism which threaten the daily lives of its inhabitants.
18 Iyar Yahrtzeits
Lag B'Omer -- literally the "33rd day of the Omer" -- is the yahrtzeit of Rab' Shimon Bar Yochai, ("Rashbi"), (100-170 CE), the great scholar and leader during the Roman period following the destruction of the Second Beit HaMikdash. A leading disciple of Rab’ Akiva, Rab’ Shimon was one of the most important tana'im whose teachings of Torah law are collected in the Mishnah. He was also the first to publicly teach the mystical dimension of the Torah known as "Kabbalah."
After Rab’ Akiva was murdered by the Romans, and after criticizing the Roman government, Rab’ Shimon was forced to go into hiding together with his son Rab’ Elazar, in the mountains near Peki’in in the Galilee, where they stayed for 13 years. They lived in a cave, studying Torah, and subsisting on carob and water. There, he wrote many works of Jewish law, including the Holy Zohar, the primary source of Jewish mysticism, which was given orally by Hashem to the Jewish people on Har / Mount Sinai.
With the passage of Israel’s history, these teachings were lost to most people, until Rab’ Shimon fearing a permanent loss of this knowledge recorded them in the Zohar, which he revealed to his students on his final day.
After being hidden for a 1000 years, the Zohar was rediscovered by Rabbi Moshe de Leon in Spain, in the 13th century.
Lag B'Omer -- is the yahrtzeit of Rab’ Shimon and, according to his wishes, is observed as a day of great celebration. Jews throughout Eretz Yisrael light huge bonfires, symbolically illuminating the deeper truths of Torah, as revealed by Rab’ Shimon. The main celebration is at Meron, at Rabbi Shimon's burial site, where tens of thousands of people gather to light torches, sing and dance in his honor.
Some say that there is no source that Rashbi was Niftar on Lag B’omer. See:
Printing Mistake and the Mysterious Origins of Rashbi’s Yahrzeit." http://seforim.blogspot.com/2011/05/printing‐mistake‐and‐mysterious‐origins.html
( http://seforim.blogspot.com/2011/05/printing-mistake-and-mysterious-origins.html )
HaRav Moshe (Ben Yisrael) Isereles (the Rema), of Cracow, Poland. (5280 / 1520? 25? 30? – 5332 / 1572 or 3). His most famous work was the glosses ("hagga'ot") on R. Yosef Caro's Shulchan Aruch (the Code of Jewish Law); these opinions are regarded as the definitive Halachic authority for Ashkenazic Jews.
The Rema was born and died in Cracow, Poland, where he served as rabbi of the city. His father was a prominent askan in the Cracow community.
The Rema was a Gadol already in his youth. He traveled to learn in Lublin, where he was a devoted talmid of Harav Shalom Shachna, the city’s Rav, who later became his father-in-law.
The Rema eventually returned to Cracow, and at the age of 23 was appointed a Dayan in the Great Beit Din of Cracow.
Not only a Talmudic and legal scholar, he was also learned in Kabbalah, and studied history, astronomy and philosophy.
Harav Yosef Karo was writing the sefer Beit Yosef on Arbaah Turim, basing his piskei halachah on Sephardic Gedolim such as the Rif, Rambam and Rosh. At the same time, the Rema was writing a similar commentary, each without knowing about the other.
When the Rema found out about the Beit Yosef ‘s sefer, he humbly revised his entire work and called it Darkei Moshe. In his sefer, he writes commentaries on the Beit Yosef, writing additional dinim when necessary. In many cases he disagrees with the Beit Yosef, and paskens according to the rulings of previous Ashkenazic Rabbanim and the customs of Ashkenazic kehillot.
Subsequently, when the Beit Yosef published the Shulchan Aruch, wherever Sephardic and Ashkenazic rulings differed, the Rema inserted his comments into the text.
Rema named his glosses Mappah (“Tablecloth”), as a “cover” for the original Shulchan Aruch (“the Set Table”). This created the definitive Shulchan Aruch that we have today. These glosses have been incorporated into the text and are distinguishable in that they are printed in Rashi script. This consolidation of the two works symbolizes the underlying unity of the Sephardi and Ashkenazi communities. It is thru this unification that the Shulchan Aruch became the universally accepted Code of Law for the entire Jewish people.
Through correspondence, the Rema and the Beit Yosef discussed issues in halacha and were on the closest of terms. Even though the Rema differed with the Beit Yosef on many piskei halachot, he declared that anyone who disagreed with the Beit Yosef was disagreeing with the Shechinah! (She’eilot U’teshuvot HaRema).
The Rema once asked the Beit Yosef to send him a tikkun sofrim from Eretz Yisrael. Using what he received as a guide, the Rema wrote a sefer Torah that he dedicated to the shul in Cracow that his father had built (later to become the Rema Shul). This Torah scroll was preserved for centuries in his synagogue in Cracow, until being destroyed in the Holocaust.
The Rema published various other sefarim, including some on Kabbalah. Among the sefarim that remain are She’eilot U’teshuvot HaRema, Mechir Yayin, Torat Ha’olah, and Torat Chatat.
The Rema was niftar at a young age, either 42 or 52. He is buried in the cemetery beside the shul where he davened, the Rema Shul, located in the Kazimierz district of Cracow. His matzeivah reads: “From Moshe [Rabbeinu] to Moshe [the Rema] none arose in Yisrael like Moshe.”
He was also related to Rav Meir Katzenelenbogen - the Maharam Padua - and to Rav Shlomo Luria - the Maharshal.
HaRav Moshe Kohen Narol, zt”l, Rav of Metz and author of Sefer Kel Molei Rachamim (1659).
HaRav Shalom Buzaglo of Sale and Marakesh, zt”l, (1700–1780). Author of Mikdash Melech, Hadrat Melech, Kiseh Melech, and Pnei Melech.
HaRav Shlomo Bochner of Kishinev, zt”l, (5588 / 1828).
HaRav Shlomo ben Shlomo Amar, zt”l, (5632/1872). Author of Shetilei Zeitim.
HaRav Uri Feivel HaLevi Braudstien (Braunstein?), zt”l, author of Mikdash Me’at, (5649/1889).
HaRav Uri Langer of Ruhatin, zt”l, (5649/1889).
Rav Uri was the son of Rav Yitzchak Langer, Rav in Tartikov.
He was a talmid of Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin and of Harav Yitzchak Eizik of Ziditchov.
He married the daughter of Rav Avraham of Stretin. When Rav Avraham was niftar on 3 Teves 5625/1865, he left no sons; Reb Uri, his son-in-law, was appointed Rebbe in Ruhatin in his place.
Most of the Stretiner Chassidim traveled to his court. Reb Uri himself would often go to his Chassidim in the outlying cities.
He was known for his fervent tefillot, in the traditional Stretiner style, and for his mofsim.
Reb Uri had many chumrot, especially in regard to kashrut. An ascetic, he ate only the minimum that was absolutely necessary.
Reb Uri was niftar on 18 Iyar, Lag BaOmer, 5649/1889, in Ruhatin. He was survived by his sons, Rav Yehudah Tzvi of Stretin, Rav Yitzchak Aharon of Ruhatin and Rav Yisrael of Brod.
HaRav Pinchas of Ostila Twersky, Hy"d, (5640 / 1880 - 5703 / 1943). (See 17 Iyar)
HaRav Moshe Eiseman, zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva in Beit Meir-Vineland. He was sent by Rav Yechiel Schlesinger in the Frankfurt yeshiva to Ponevezh. He is a cousin to the Baltimore mashgiach by the same name. (year DOB and Petirah)??
HaRav Dovid Hecksher, zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshiva Kol Torah (1997).
HaRav Mordechi Yafeh Shlesinger, zt”l, (5758 / 1998). Author of Sfat Hame’il, Mishbirei Yam, and Mira Dachya. He served as the Head of the Beit Din of Eizenstatt.
HaRav Alter Eliyahu Rubinstein, zt”l, (1947-2005). Born in Siget, Hungary to his father Rav Fishel HaLevi Rubenstein. A few years later his parents moved to Eretz Yisrael and settled in the village Beit Gamliel near Yavneh. After his bar mitzvah, Rav Alter Eliyahu studied under the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe in Netanya . He married the daughter of Rav Yehoshua Deutch, the Av Beit Din of Katamon, Yerushalayim. After studying for a few years in Rechovot, the Rebbe appointed him head of Kollel Sanz in Yerushalayim where he served for twenty-two years, from 1970 until 1993. He also headed Kollel Shomrei Hachomot and was a member of the Vaad Rabanei Sanz. In 1993 he was appointed as rav of the Shomrei Hachomot kehilla in Ramat Shlomo, Yerushalayim. In 2004, Rav Alter Eliyahu was appointed Av Beit Din of the 1,300 families of Kehillat Antwerp, to replace Rav Chaim Kreiswirth.
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Right of citizenship was denied to Jews of the canton of Aargau, Switzerland. Emancipation was delayed until 1879.
19 Iyar 5569 - May 5, 1809:
19 Iyar 5705 - May 2, 1945:
Paul Joseph Goebbels, ym"s, Nazi minister of propaganda under Adolf Hitler, ym"s, was known for his zealous and energetic oratory, virulent anti-semitism, and perfection of the so-called Big Lie technique of mass propoganda. Following Hitler's death he served as chancellor for one day. A day later, he approved the murder of his own six children and committed suicide.
· 19 Iyar 5705 - May 2, 1945:
The Soviet Union announced the fall of Berlin, and the Allies announced the surrender of Nazi troops in Italy and parts of Austria.
19 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Shmuel Abuchatzeira, zt”l, one of the Torah scholars and a Kabbalist of Aram Tzovah, in Syria, in the days of the Arizal.
HaRav Meir ben Baruch, zt”l, known by the acronym Maharam of Rothenburg (Rottenberg), (1215 - 5053 / 1293). He was born in 4975 / 1215 in Worms, Germany. At the age of 12 he began learning under the tutelage of a number of talmidei chachamim, in both Germany and France, for 27 years.Some of his more famous teachers were the Ohr Zarua, Harav Yehudah Cohen and Harav Yechiel of Paris.
Rav Meir was one of the last of the Baalei Tosafot in Germany. He wrote the Tosafot on Masechet Yoma. His hagahot were printed in the margins in masechtot Nega’im and Ohalot in Mishnayot, and in other masechtot in Seder Taharot.
As the leading Torah authority in Germany, he authored thousands of Halachic responsa and he taught many hundreds of talmidim. Among them were many poskim of the next generation, including the Rosh, the Mordechai, the Tashbatz and the Shaarei Dura.
Rav Meir served as Rav in many kehillot in Germany: Kunstat, Augsburg, Wurzburg, Nuremberg, Mainz, Rothenburg and finally Worms. He was given the position of Chief Rabbi of all of Germany, approved by the Emperor Rudolf himself.
In 5002 / 1242 the Maharam moved back to Germany after witnessing the public burning of the Talmud in Paris, and finally settled in Rothenburg, where he remained until 5046 / 1286. Most of his life he served as Rav of Rothenburg.
During a period of persecution and economic hardship, he followed in the footsteps of his rebbi, Rav Yechiel of Paris, who moved to Eretz Yisrael. He directed German Jews to leave galut for Eretz Yisrael, ruling that a father may not prevent his son from doing so, based on the rule kibbud ha’av v’kibbud haMakom, kibbud haMakom kodem.
The Maharam set out on the journey in 5046 / 1286 with his wife, daughters and sons-in-law, and all his possessions. En route they arrived in a secluded mountain town as Shabbat began, and were forced to stay. On the 4th of Tamuz, the evil Cardinal of Bazilo rode into town while traveling from Rome with a Jewish apostate named Kneppe. They informed on the Maharam to the lord of the city, who arrested the Maharam and delivered him to Emperor Ruldolf. The Maharam was imprisoned in Ensisheim in Alsace for ten years in an attempt to exact a huge ransom from the Jewish community and then transferred to Wasserburg.
There are many opinions as to the reason for the Maharam’s lifelong imprisonment. Many say that he refused to allow the astronomical ransom (20,000 or 30,000 marks) to be raised, lest other Rabbanim be imprisoned and held for ransom. Others say this was not the case, but that the Rosh, his talmid, couldn’t raise the amount needed, and was forced to flee to Spain and then Portugal to avoid imprisonment himself.
In both prisons he was treated well, and was visited by his talmidim and other Rabbanim.
For many years Maharam's disciple, R. Shimon ben Tzadok, was allowed to visit him in his cell and recorded his teachings in a work called Tashbetz.
Even after the Maharam's passing in 5053 / 1293, his body was not released for burial for another 14 years, until it was ransomed by R. Alexander Susskind Wimpfen of Frankfort. In return, he only asked to be buried next to the Maharam, which he later was.The Maharam was buried in the old Jewish cemetery of Worms on 4 Adar in 5067 / 1307, the same day his body was released. Next to him was buried R. Alexander. Both graves miraculously escaped Nazi ravaging of the cemetery.
Rav Meir composed “Shaali S’rufa B’esh,” written after he witnessed the public burning of Talmudic manuscripts. It is included in the kinot of Tisha B’Av. (see 4 Adar).
The Maharam was honored with the title Me’or Hagolah, Light of the Exile, a title given to only three people — Rabbeinu Gershom, Rashi and the Maharam.
HaRav Menachem Mendel of Rimanov, zt”l, (1755 – 5575 / 1815). Reb Menachem Mendel was born in Neustadt. His father was Reb Yosef Charif. It is said that he learned under Harav Daniel Yaffe, zt”l, in Berlin together with the Pri Megadim. He focused on the study of Halachah his entire life, particularly on the Rif, to the extent that it was said that he had a spark of the Rif’s neshamah.
He was introduced to Chassidut at the age of 11 when he met the Maggid of Mezritch. He studied Torah and Chassidut under Reb Shmelke of Nikolsburg, together with two of his friends, the Chozeh of Lublinand the Maggid of Kozhnitz. His main teacher, however, was Reb Elimelech of Lizensk.
Before his passing, his Rebbe, Reb Elimelech, bequeathed his various qualities to his disciples. He placed his hands on their heads and gave to the Chozeh of Lublin his vision, the Kozhnitzer Maggid his heart, Reb Menachem Mendel of Rimanov his neshamah and the Apta Rav his speech. These four then went out and lit up the world.
Reb Menachem Mendel slept only during the early part of the night. He would lie down with the sefarim he was learning beside his bed, sleep deeply for about five or 10 minutes, wake up, wash his hands, and learn for five minutes. The moment he put the sefer down, he would fall deeply asleep again, and again wake up after five or 10 minutes, wash his hands, and learn for five minutes from the second sefer. So it went, with the Rebbe perusing large batches of Torah between snatches of sleep, until midnight, when the Rebbe would rise for Tikkun Chatzot and remain awake until the morning. Reb Menachem Mendel never missed a single night of saying Tikkun Chatzot this way.
Reb Menachem Mendel learned 18 blatt Gemara with Rashi and Tosafot every day. If he ever was prevented from learning them, he made up the lost blatt the following day. One Erev Pesach he told his son, “You see, my son, though today is Erev Pesach with an overwhelming number of things to do, I still did not miss my 18 blatt Gemara with Rashi and Tosafot.”
Reb Menachem Mendel’s first position as Rav was in Fristock. There he became known as a tzaddik and acquired a large following, which included many other Rebbes and Rabbanim. Later he moved to Rimanov, from where his fame as a poel yeshuot spread. Thousands came to him for yeshuot, including non-Jews and even Polish noblemen.
In Rimanov, the Rebbe took an active part in communal affairs and supervised everything from the mikvaot to the weights and measures. His tzedakah was legendary, with hundreds eating regularly at his table. He was also the president of the fund for the poor of Eretz Yisrael.
Early in 5575/1814, Reb Menachem Mendel made a massive effort, together with the Chozeh of Lublin and the Kozhnitzer Maggid, to bring Moshiach, but they were not successful. That Iyar he suffered a great weakness, and on Lag BaOmer he prepared himself to leave this world. The following day he passed away in the presence of his talmid, Reb Naftali from Ropshitz. Another of his disciples was Reb Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov.
Reb Menachem Mendel left two sons, Reb Nosson Leib and Reb Yisrael Yaakov of Bialkomitz, but his successor was his disciple and loyal meshamesh, Reb Tzvi Hakohen Meshares of Rimanov.
His chiddushei Torah are published in Menachem Zion, Divrei Menachem, and Be’erot HaMayin.
HaRav Avraham Chaim Pinaso (5656/1896). The author of “Beit El.”
HaRav Pinchas Twersky of Ustila then P’shemishel, Galicia. Hy”d, (5640 / 1880 – 5703 / 1943), son of Harav Mordechai of Rachmastrivka. Only one child of Reb Pinchas survived: his daughter Rebetzin Trana, the wife of Harav Yaakov Yosef Twersky, zy”a, Skverer Rebbe in New Square.
HaRav Ezra Attia, zt”l, of Syria, Rosh Yeshivat Porat Yosef, Yerushalayim from 1925 to 1970 (5641 / 1881 - 5730 / 1970). He was born in Aleppo, Syria on 15 Shevat 5641/1881. His father was Rav Yitzchak Attiyah. He was named after the prophet Ezra HaSofer because his mother Leah had had several miscarriages before his birth and gave birth to him after praying at Ezra’s grave in Tedef, Syria.
Rav Attia began his studies in Aleppo under Rav Yehuda Aslan Attia (possibly a distant relative), but in 5655 / 1895 he moved with his family to Yerushalayim. After his father died when Rav Attiah was 20, three leading Sephardic sages took upon themselves to support him so he could continue his studies. He went to learn, daven and even sleep on a bench in a small beit medrash in the Bukhari neighborhood called Shoshanim L’David. He sustained himself with a nightly meal of dry pita dipped in salt. Within a few years he became known as a budding talmid chacham.
In 5667/1907, Harav Ezra Harari-Raful, also from Aleppo, established Yeshivat Ohel Moed (which later became Porat Yosef) in Yerushalayim. Rav Ezra joined this yeshivah. Not long afterward he married the daughter of Harav Avraham Shalom.
His studies were interrupted by World War I, and he fled to Egypt to avoid being drafted into the Ottoman Army. At first he went into business, but he quickly lost most of his money. Then he met Rav Nissim Nachum, with whose financial backing he opened Yeshivat Ahavah V’Achvah in the basement of the Cairo rabbinate building. He was also appointed to serve on the Cairo beit din. He also established Yeshivat Keter Torah in Cairo, which continued to exist until 1948.
Returning to Eretz Yisrael, Rav Attia was appointed to head Yeshivat Porat Yosef and also to serve on the Sephardic Bet Din. He continued to head Porat Yosef until his death.
Rav Ezra always carried a copy of the mussar sefer Chovot Halevavot with him, and strongly advised his talmidim to do the same. He accomplished his lofty goal of training Sephardic talmidei chachamim who could go on to build Sephardic communities all around the world. Among his students were Rav Ovadiah Yosef, Rav Ben Zion Abba Shaul.
In 5729/1969, he became seriously ill and was bedridden for an entire year. He was niftar on the morning of 19 Iyar 5730/1970 in Yerushalayim and was buried on Har Hamenuchot.
HaRav Yaakov Moshe Mordechai Halevi Soloveitchik, zt”l, of Lucerne (1915 – 5755 / 1995). His father was Rav Yisrael Gershon Soloveitchik, son of Rav Chaim Soloveitchik of Brisk. Soon after his Bar Mitzvah, he traveled to Kamenitz to study under Rav Baruch Ber Leibowitz. He fled Poland to evade the draft, along with Rav Ahron Leib Shteinman, and the two stayed in Switzerland until the end of World War II. After the war, they traveled to Eretz Yisrael and studied at the Lomza Yeshiva in Petach Tikva, where he shared a room with Rav Chaim Kanievsky. He moved to Lugano and then Lucerne to head a Yeshiva and married Rivka Ruchama, daughter of Rav Shmuel Zanvil Neuman.
HaRav Yitzcahk Baruch Betzalel Elishiof, zt”l, (1999). The Head of Tiferet Shlomo.
HaRav Moshe Kopshitz, zt”l, (1941-2004), great-grandson of Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld. Rosh yeshiva of Kol Yaakov and Rav of Yerushalayim’s Romema neighborhood.
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20 Iyar 2450 - 1311 B.C. E.:
Bnei Yisroel leave the Har / Mt. Sinai area after spending almost a year in the wilderness. They resumed their journey when the pillar of cloud rose for the first time from over the Tabernacle - the divine sign that would signal the resumption of their travels throughout their encampments and journeys over the next 38 years, until they reached the eastern bank of the Jordan River on the eve of their entry into the Holy Land. If the Jews hadn't complained about the difficulties of traveling in the desert, they would have entered the Land of Israel immediately. As it was, they wandered in the desert for 40 years before entering the land.
20 Iyar 5048 - 1288:
Thirteen Jews in Troyes, France, were burned at the stake by the Inquisition. They were accused, in a blood libel, of the supposed murder of a Christian child. The thirteen Jews were chosen from among the richer members of the community.
Jews were also killed in a blood libel in Neuchatel, Switzerland, on this date, Hy"d.
20 Iyar - 1474:
Minister Pacheco used an attack he organized against “New Christians” as a diversion in an attempt to capture the citadel of Segovia (and perhaps the King). Although the plot was discovered in time, the Marranos were attacked anyway by an organized mob. Men, women and children were murdered, Hy"d. .
20 Iyar 5397 - May 14, 1637:
The Jews of Venice, Italy, were denied the right to practice law or to act as advocates in the Courts of Venice.
20 Iyar 5560 - May 15, 1800:
A community of Jewish slaves, captured over a period of two centuries and held for ransom by the Knights of St. John on the island of Malta, was officially dissolved.
20 Iyar 5560 - May 15, 1800:
D.M. Dyte, an English Jew, saved the life of King George III of England. King George was attending a theater presentation, when a lunatic in the audience fired a gun pointblank at the king. Two bullets missed their target, passing harmlessly over the king's head. It was revealed that D.M. Dyte had struck the would-be assassin's arm as he pulled the trigger. As a reward, Dyte asked for (and was granted) a monopoly on the sale of opera tickets.
20 Iyar 5699 - May 9, 1939:
The Hadassah University Hospital and Medical Center was opened on Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem. The hospital, designed by renowned Bauhaus architect Erich Mendelssohn, opened as a modern, 300-bed academic medical facility.
20 Iyar 5702 - May 7, 1942:
The Nazis decreed the execution of all expectant Jewish women in the Kovno Ghetto.
20 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Saadiah Marjok, zt”l, of Yerushalayim, (5533/1773).
HaRav Mordechai (”Mottel”), the Maggid of Chernobyl, zt”l, (5530 / 1770 - 5597 / 1837) (others 1838).
Harav Mordechai was born in Chernobyl in 5530/1770; his father was Harav Nachum of Chernobyl, author of Meor Einayim.
He married Chayah Sarah, the daughter of Harav Aharon Hagadol of Karlin, c. 5532–33/1772–73. After her petirah, he married Feiga, the daughter of Rav Dovid Leikess (Seirkes?), a talmid of the Baal Shem Tov.
Reb Mordechai began leading a group of Chassidim after the petirah of his father in 5558/1798. With time, Chassidim from far and wide regularly flocked to the Rebbe in Chernobyl. Reb Mordechai also drew many people from all over the Ukrainian countryside. One of the Rebbe’s innovations was the establishment of maamadot — a sum of money that Chassidim brought to their Rebbe on a regular basis.
The Rebbe was known for his kindheartedness and his willingness to help Jews in every situation. The Rebbe distributed an enormous amount of money to the needy, especially before Shabbat and Yom Tov.
Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin named his youngest son Mordechai Shraga, with Mordechai being after Reb Mordechai of Chernobyl, while Reb Mordechai was still alive. Asked about it, the Ruzhiner Rebbe replied that the Chernobyler Maggid “is already not in this world for 15 years.” Interestingly, Reb Mordechai of Chernobyl was niftar two years later, on the birthday of this child, who later became the first Rebbe of Husyatin.
Reb Mordechai asked to be buried in the small town of Anatevka, near Kiev. A few months prior to his passing he felt ill, and was niftar in Anatevka on the way to a physician. His divrei Torah were later published in Likutei Torah.
His eight sons all became major Chasidic leaders. One of them married the daughter of Rav Dov Ber of Lubavitch.
HaRav Chaim Avraham Gagin, zt”l, (1787-1848). Born in Constantinople, Turkey, to Rav Moshe, a descendent of Rav Chaim Gagin, a fugitive of the Spanish expulsion. Sadly, Rav Chaim Avraham’s father died when his son was just one year old. His second wife was the daughter of the, Rav Avraham Shalom Sharabi, grandson of the Rashash, Rav Shalom Sharabi. After his marriage, he became Rosh Yeshiva of Beis Kel, founded by Rav Gedaliah Chayun in 1737. He later became Rishon Letzion. His writings included Mincha Tehora on Gemara Menachot, Chukei Chaim (halachic responsa), and others.
Harav Asher Anshel Neiman, zt”l, Rav of Weitzan, (5642 / 1882).
HaRav Eliyahu Elejimi, the Head of the Beit Din in yerushalayim and a Kabbalist, (5687/1927).
HaRav Yitzchak Eizik HaLevi Rabinowitz, zt”l, author of Dorot Harishonim, a Torah-true history of the Jewish People, written to counter the history of the maskilim. He was also an important figure in the founding of Agudat Yisrael, (5674 / 1914).
HaRav Yosef Valtuch, zt”l, The famed tzaddik nistar and mekubal and grandson of the Maggid of Zlotchov, (5682/1921 - 5743/1983).
Rav Yosef was born in Poland on 30 Tishrei 5682/1921. When he was eight years old his father, Harav Simchah Bunim, a descendant of the Zlotchover Maggid, moved the family to Eretz Yisrael.
At a very young age he lost his mother, but Reb Yosef found comfort in learning Torah. A matmid, he was rarely seen without a sefer in his hand.
In Yerushalayim Reb Yosef merited a close connection with Harav Shlomo of Zhvil, also a descendant of the Zlotchov dynasty. He was also Reb Yosef’s shadchan. All Reb Yosef’s ways were based upon Reb Shlomke’s directives.
Reb Yosef lived in the Old City of Yerushalayim, and learned Kabbalah on a daily basis in the nearby Yeshivat Beit El.
Besides his connection with the Zhviller Rebbe, Reb Yosef was also close with Harav Mordechai Sharabi, Harav Moshe Mordechai of Lelov, and Harav Meir Abuchatzeira of Ashdod.
Reb Yosef’s wife was ill all her life, spending much of her time in the hospital, but he never complained, accepting this as a Heavenly decree.
Reb Yosef always carried two heavy bags full of sefarim, mainly Kabbalah. One reason for this was that he didn’t want to lower his hands (the Gemara says that Rabi Yehudah Hanasi was called Rabbeinu Hakadosh because he didn’t lower his hands). Another reason was that he didn’t want to shake hands with everybody he met; this way his hands were always full.
Reb Yosef was outstanding in all facets of the Torah.
Like many other tzaddikim nistarim, Reb Yosef chose belittling work; he was a street sweeper in Tel Aviv. He was known as the “holy street sweeper.”
Although he lived in Tel Aviv, Reb Yosef davened at the Kotel at least once a week.
During his visits to Yerushalayim Reb Yosef met with many of the city’s famed mekubalim.
Fluent in many of the Arizal’s works, Reb Yosef delivered shiurim across Eretz Yisrael.
Harav Meir Abuchatzeira from Ashdod, zt”l, son of the Baba Sali, was a close friend. Reb Yosef often went to Ashdod to visit Rav Meir and discuss inyanim b’Kabbalah.
When Rav Meir was niftar on 17 Nisan 5743/1983, Reb Yosef said that he couldn’t continue in this world without him. Just over a month later, on 20 Iyar 5743/1983, Reb Yosef was niftar. He was 62.
He was buried on Har Hazeitim in Yerushalayim.
Harav Meir Bransdorfer, zt”l, author of Keneh Bosem. (5694 / 1934 - 5769 / 2009).
Harav Meir Bransdorfer was born 27 Elul 5694/1934 in Antwerp. His father, Harav Shlomo, was a descendant of Harav Yissachar Shlomo Teichtel, mechaber of Mishnat Sachir.
Harav Shlomo was married in Hungary and moved to Antwerp following his chasunah, where Reb Meir was born.
During World War II, the family went into hiding in France, and in the summer of 5705/1945 they moved to Eretz Yisrael.
Reb Meir became close to Harav Aharon Roth, the Shomrei Emunim Rebbe. After the latter’s petirah, he grew close to his son-in-law the Toldot Aharon Rebbe, who cited him as a prime example of hasmadah and ahavat HaTorah. The Toldot Aharon Rebbe stood up for him despite Reb Meir’s much younger age.
Reb Meir married the daughter of Reb Shimon Dov Krischevsky, who had served as secretary of the Diskin Orphanage Home as well as secretary to Dr. Moshe Wallach, head of Shaare Zedek Hospital.
Rav Meir had received semichah at the age of 22, and at 30 became a moreh horaah and the Rav of the Toldot Aharon community. The Minchat Yitzchak, Harav Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss, entrusted him with all matters of shechitah; he said that whatever Reb Meir paskens is accepted in Shamayim.
Reb Meir was close to Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, who sent him she’eilot in halachah. Indeed, he was greatly esteemed by Gedolei Yisrael everywhere.
In 5721/1961 he was appointed to oversee all inyanei shechitah and mikvaot.
With time, Reb Meir became a leading posek and received she’eilot from all over the world. He was called upon 24 hours a day. Everyone knew that he was always available, as he was up most of the night, learning.
It was known that Reb Meir learned Torah mitoch ha’dchak. He lived in a one-room apartment in Batei Ungarin.
Together with his friend Harav Moshe Halberstam, Reb Meir became a chaver haBadatz in Elul 5756/1996, when the Gaavad, Harav Moshe Aryeh Freund, was niftar.
Reb Meir was a mohel mumcheh; he served as mohel at more than 3,000 britot.
Reb Meir was niftar on 20 Iyar 5769/2009 at the age of 75. He was buried on Har Hazeitim, next to his father and his Rebbes, leaving behind a family of marbitzei Torah and talmidei chachamim.
Many of his teshuvot were published in the four-volume She’eilot U’teshuvot Keneh Bosem.
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21 Iyar 2448 - 1313 B. C. E.:
Bnei Yisrael received double portions of mann on Friday and heard from Moshe Rabbeinu about the holiness of Shabbat, according to Shmot / Exodus 16:22
21 Iyar 5642 - May 10, 1882:
The Jewish agricultural settlement of Alliance was founded in New Jersey. Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe proposed this settlement as a utopian experiment, with the thought that through agriculture the Jewish people would become emancipated. Ultimately, the Alliance idea failed, as an industrializing, urban America proved more powerful than the settlers' plan.
21 Iyar 5665 - May 26, 1905:
A pogrom broke out in Minsk, Russia.
21 Iyar 5706 - May 22, 1946:
Karl Hermann Frank, the German Nazi official in Czechoslovakia during World War II, was hanged.
Frank surrendered to the American army on May 9, 1945 and was extradited and tried in a court in Prague. Following his conviction for war crimes, Frank was sentenced to death and hanged in the courtyard of the Pankrac prison in Prague as 5,000 onlookers witnessed his death.
21 Iyar 5709 - May 20, 1949:
Kfar Chabad, a village located five miles south of Tel Aviv, was founded by the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Harav Yosef Yitzchok, zt"l. The first settlers were mostly recent immigrants from the Soviet Union, survivors of the terrors of World War II and Stalinist oppression. Kfar Chabad, which is located about five miles south of Tel Aviv and includes agricultural lands as well as numerous educational institutions, serves as the headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidic movement in the Holy Land.
21 Iyar Yahrtzeits
Harav Yitzchak Eizek Segal, zt”l, author of Raza Meheimna, (5543 / 1783).
Harav Yaakov Yosef Hakohen Rabinowitz, zt”l, (5633 / 1873 - 5662 / 1902), son of the Chessed L’Avraham of Radomsk who, in turn, was a son of the Tiferet Shlomo, zt”l, of Radomsk. He was the younger brother of the Knesset Yechezkel of Radomsk.
Reb Yaakov Yosef was an oved Hashem of stature. Despite obstacles, he served Hashem with mesirut nefesh. In his short life he served as Rav in two towns, Breznitza and Klobitzk.
His brother the Knesset Yechezkel, zt”l, wrote a lengthy hakdamah in Emet L’Yaakov about his mesirut nefesh for Torah and kedushah, and how the Gedolei Hador cherished him. Tzaddikim attested that he did not derive any pleasure from this world.
Unfortunately, Reb Yaakov Yosef was not maarich yamim; he was niftar at the young age of 29. His chiddushei Torah are printed in Emet L’Yaakov.
HaRav Yechi Abuchatzeira, zt"l, son of Rav Avraham Abuchatzeira, (5695 / 1935).
HaRav Menachem HaCohen, zt"l, one of the Kabbalists of Skveira, (5697 / 1937).
HaRav Moshe Dayan, zt"l, author of Likuei Chemed, (1979).
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22 Iyar 2449 - 1312 B.C.E.:
Following the descent of the mann (the miraculous "Bread from Heaven" that sustained the Israelites in the desert), Hashem commanded the Children of Israel to keep the Shabbat. On that Friday morning, enough mann fell for two days' worth of meals, as on the Shabbat it would be prohibited to gather the mann. The "Two Loaves" of challah bread (Lechem Mishneh) that form the foundation of our Shabbat meal are in commemoration of the double portion of mann. The Jews in the Midbar (desert) kept Shabbat for the first time.
Datan and Aviram searched for mann on the first Shabbat but did not find any (Shmot / Exodus 16:27). ·
22 Iyar - 1393:
Jews of Sicily were forbidden to display any funeral decorations in public.
·22 Iyar 5416 - May 16, 1656:
Antonio Robles, a successful Marrano merchant in England, had his goods confiscated at the outbreak of the war with Spain, 1656. Robles contended that he was a Portuguese “of the Hebrew nation” and not Spanish - and therefore his property should be returned to him. In this landmark case the Council decided in his favor, strengthening the position of the community and opening the door for allowing Jews to live in England as Jews.
22 Iyar 5491 - 1731:
Giovanni Antonio Costanzi, the Vatican librarian and author of a catalogue of the Vatican's Hebrew manuscripts, directed searches in all the Jewish quarters throughout the Papal States to confiscate Jewish holy books. More confiscations continued over the next twenty years.·
22 Iyar 5594 - May 31, 1834:
A revolt of the Arabs of Eretz Yisrael against Muhammad Ali, the governor of Egypt, who took the land from the Turks in 1834, and imposed mandatory military duty on all Muslim inhabitants of the land. On On 22 Iyar, (May 31), the rebels occupied and took control of Yerushalayim. On 28 Iyar (June 3), Ibrahim Pasha, the general of Muhammad Ali, came to Yerushalayim with a large force with him, and the rebels fled.
22 Iyar 5679 - May 22, 1919:
The Romanian government granted citizenship to all native-born Jews.
22 Iyar 5694 - May 7, 1934:
The Jewish autonomous region in Birobidzhan was founded by Russia.
22 Iyar 5704 - May 15, 1944:
Two months after the Nazi occupation of Hungary, where the Jewish population prior to WWII was 725,000, Nazis begin deportation of Jews from greater Hungary to the Auschwitz extermination camp. Eichmann personally oversaw the following day the start of the extermination process. This would be one of the final tragedies of the Holocaust, as eight days later an estimated 100,000 had been murdered and 400,000 Hungarian Jews were taken to the gas chambers in a matter of weeks. Additionally, tens of thousands of Jews died on death marches from Budapest to Austria, and others were shot and thrown into the Danube River. During this time, Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat stationed in Budapest, issued thousands of Swedish identity documents to protect Jews from deportation; he is credited with saving tens of thousands of lives.
22 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Yeshayah of Dinowitz, zt”l, (5554 / 1794), talmid of the Baal Shem Tov, and later of the Mezeritcher Maggid.
Harav Yeshayah of Dinowitz was born in Berditchev, and was a close talmid of Harav Lieber of Berditchev.
Reb Yeshayah was the son-in-law of Harav Yaakov Yehudah, known as Yudel Chassid, from Ostroha.
After davening that he merit to have a clear voice to be able to serve Hashem, he was zocheh to an amazing voice. Through his rousing tefillot, Reb Yeshayah was able to draw many Yidden to teshuvah and some followed him in his attraction to the ways of Chassidut.
The kehillah of Dinowitz asked Reb Yeshayah to remain with them, and his name is associated with that city.
Reb Yeshayah was a talmid of the Baal Shem Tov, and later of the Mezeritcher Maggid. He held a prominent position in the dissemination of the ways of Chassidut.
Reb Yeshayah is mentioned in Tzavaat HaRivash, the tzavaah of the Baal Shem Tov, as Rav of Yanov, where he served as Rav after Dinowitz.
Some of his divrei Torah are quoted by the Rebbes of his generation, most notably by Harav Chaim of Tchernowitz in his Sidduro shel Shabbat.
Reb Yeshayah had many unique manuscripts in his collections. The sefer Tzavaat HaRivash was published based on the manuscript that Reb Yeshayah had, as well as the sefer Ohr Torah of the Maggid of Mezeritch. He also had manuscripts of Harav Shimshon Ostropoler and Harav Lieber of Berditchev.
Reb Yeshayah was niftar in Smila, on 22 Iyar 5554/1794.
HaRav Moshe Zafrani HaDayan, zt”l, (5575 / 1815).
HaRav Chaim Daniel Shlomo Pinaso, zt”l,
(5601/1841). author of Shem Chadash.
HaRav Mordechai Shraga Feivish Friedman of Hosyatin, zt”l, (5595 / 1835 - 5654 / 1894).
The sixth and youngest son of Reb Yisrael of Ruzhin, was born on 20 Iyar 5595/1835 and named Mordechai after his great-uncle, the maggid Harav Mordechai of Chernobyl, while he was still alive. He was also named Shraga Feivush after Harav Shraga Feivush of Kremnitz, the father-in-law of the Ruzhiner’s grandfather, Harav Avraham Hamalach (the son of the Mezeritcher Maggid).
Reb Yisrael of Ruzhin attested that this youngest son had a very holy and unique neshamah. His brothers were Harav Shalom Yosef, who was niftar less than a year after his father’s petirah; Harav Avraham Yaakov of Sadigura; Harav Dov Ber of Liova; Harav Nachum of Shtefenisht; and Harav Dovid Moshe of Chortkov. It was said that the Ruzhiner likened his six sons to the Shishah Sidrei Mishnah; his youngest son, Reb Mordechai Shraga, thus corresponded to Seder Taharot.
Not long after Reb Mordechai Shraga’s birth, Harav Moshe of Savron came to visit the Ruzhiner. The tzaddik showed him many valuables that he owned, and after he had seen them all, the Ruzhiner told him, “Now I will show you my most precious possession” — and with that he asked that his youngest son be brought into the room.
He married in 1850, just four months before the petirah of his father. Reb Yisrael of Ruzhin was niftar on 3 Cheshvan 5611 / 1850. Upon his petirah, all his sons became Rebbes, including Reb Mordechai Shraga, who was only 15 1/2 years old at the time. A year and a half later, in Tammuz 5612 / 1852, he left Potik, where all the brothers had resided, and moved to Mikolinitz. He stayed there for three years until he moved, on the first day of Selichot 5615 / 1854, to Strusov.
In 5625 / 1865, at the age of 30, he finally moved to Husyatin, located on the banks of the Zabrotz, then the Galician-Ukrainian border, and lived there for the rest of his life.
As a result, the city became one of the most important Chasidic centers in Galicia, Jews comprised 4197 of the town’s 6060 residents in 1890. Sadly, the golden age did not last for long. Husyatin was heavily damaged during World War I, then destroyed during World War II.
The Rebbe attained a holy level of dveikut and he would spend countless hours in total attachment to higher spheres, totally oblivious to all things physical.
He was niftar at age 59, on 22 Iyar 5654 / 1894. The Rebbe had once expressed a desire that his levayah be held immediately after his petirah. To honor this request, his levayah took place at night, immediately after his petirah, in the presence of only family members and the Chassidim who happened to be in the court. In the morning, the Rebbe’s personal gabbai went out to inform the Chassidim in town, “Come, let us mourn our Rebbe.”
Reb Mordechai Shraga was succeeded by his son, Harav Yisrael. A younger son, Harav Sholom Yosef, was tragically niftar during his lifetime. Harav Shalom Yosef was the father of Harav Moshenyu of Boyan and Harav Menachem Nachum of Lemberg. His sons-in-law were Harav Yitzchak Meir Heschel of Kopyczynitz, and Harav Menachem Nachum of Boyan-Chernowitz.
HaRav Shlomo Zalman Schneersohn, zt”l, (1830 – 1900), was a Ukrainian Chabad Rabbi. He was the son of Rav Yehuda Leib Schneersohn, who founded the Kapust Chasidim. He succeeded his father immediately following his death in 1866. He served as leader of Kopust Chasidim from 1866 to his death in 1900. He is the author of the 1902 sefer Magen Avot. He died without leaving any children.
HaRav Shlomo Eliezer Alfandri, zt”l, (5690 / 1930), the Saba Kadisha (the Maharsha Alfandri). (5575 / 1815 - 1826 - 5690 / 1930). Born in Kushta, Turkey, (now Constantinople), the capital of Turkey, which was home to the largest Jewish community in Turkey at the time
Harav Shlomo Eliezer learned in seclusion with great diligence. He mastered many complex sugyot with all the meforshim in a very short time, and remembered everything. When a person mentioned something in the name of the Pri Megadim, Harav Shlomo Eliezer corrected him saying, “I have not seen this Pri Megadim for 60 years, but I think that he expresses himself a bit differently.” He was right.
The kehillah in Kushta wanted to nominate Rav Shlomo Eliezer to the city’s beit din but he adamantly refused; instead he sat in the beit medrash and taught talmidim, among them the Sdei Chemed and the Kiryat Ha’arba.
Eventually, he became Rav of Kushta; later on he served as Rav of Damascus, together with Harav Yitzchak Abulafiya, the Pnei Yitzchak.
In his high 80s, Harav Shlomo Eliezer moved to Eretz Yisrael, settling initially in Haifa. Then the Jews of Tzefat invited him to serve as Rav of the Sephardic community. Many people flocked to his home for halachic decisions, Torah discussions and guidance in life, and to learn sisrei Torah from him.
The elders of Tzefat related that in Nisan of 5674 / 1914, after Kiddush Levanah, the Saba Kadisha kept gazing up into the sky, after which he clapped his hands and sighed deeply. When his talmidim asked him what this meant, he said, “I see a terrible war coming in the near future.” World War I broke out a few months later.
Due to deteriorating health, he moved to Teveria and subsequently to Yerushalayim, where he was treated in Shaare Zedek hospital. He asked that all his writings be buried in the ohel of the Arvei Nachal in Tzefat.
The Saba Kadisha lived a life of purity and harbatzat Torah. He taught many talmidim, even when he was over 100 years old and living in Yerushalayim. Among his talmidim were Harav Avraham Antebbi, Harav Ezra Attiya, Harav Velvel Mintzberg and Harav Tzvi Pesach Frank.
His entire essence was humility. He never donned the cloak which was the traditional garb for Rabbanim at the time, and he supported himself through business partnerships with Egyptian Jews.
The Munkatcher Rebbe, the Minchat Elazar, zy”a, visited Harav Alfandari in his home in Yerushalayim, having traveled to Eretz Yisrael especially to meet this great tzaddik. “When will Moshiach come?” the Rebbe asked.
“There are hindrances,” the Saba Kadisha replied.
“I have a kabbalah from my forefathers that the coming of Moshiach is dependent on the tzaddik hador, and you are that tzaddik!” the Munkatcher maintained.
“I am no tzaddik,” said the Saba Kadisha humbly.
On 22 Iyar 5690 / 1930, when he was over 110 years of age, the Saba Kadisha asked his talmidim to help him don his two pairs of tefillin, and he recited Shema. He then remarked, “Enough, enough, the main thing is the truth, I cannot any longer. …”
He then motioned that he wanted a glass of milk. He recited the Shehakol and returned his holy soul to its Maker.
His Halachic responsa are printed in Torah M’Tzion, Kanah Avraham, and Shut HaSaba Kadisha.
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23 Iyar 2448 - 1313 B. C. E.:
The Jews arrived in Refidim - 38 days after their exodus from Egypt. Refidim was desert land and waterless, the people grumbled that they and their flocks were in danger of dying of thirst. Hashem commanded Moshe to take the elders of the people to a rock which he was to hit with his staff. Moshe Rabbeinu struck the rock and from the dry stone, a well sprang forth to provide water for the people in the desert (Shmot / Exodus 17:6). This became the Well of Miriam that miraculously accompanied the Jews for the next 40 years.
23 Iyar 3619 - 142
Shimon Hachashmonai expelled the Bnei Chakra (the Syrians and their allies, the Hellenized Jews) from Yerushalayim. The Chakra ([Greek] akra – fortress) was the fortress of Yerushalayim, (known as the Citadel), and in it was occupied by the Greek garrison. Even when Yehudah Hamaccabi captured Yerushalayim he was unable to capture the Akra, and its occupiers exerted a constant threat against the inhabitants of Yerushalayim. Only in the days of Shimon Hachashmonai was the Akra captured. The date was observed as a Yom Tov, as mentioned in Megillat Taanit. (See Megillat Taanit printed in the Steinzaltz Shas.)
23 Iyar 4856 - 1096:
The Crusaders attacked the Jewish community of Worms (Vermeize). Almost the entire community hid in the home of a nobleman. Since they perished al kiddush Hashem, even though their actual demise took place on Rosh Chodesh Sivan, this date is considered the beginning of their slaughter.
The community observed a taanit in memory of the victims, Hy”d, and the Shabbat between the two dates was called Shvartze Shabbat – Black Shabbat. During that Shabbat, the minhagim of Shabbat Chazon were adopted.
A special kinah that begins “Mi Yitein Roshi Mayim,” is recited on Tisha B’Av commemorating the victims of the Vermeize community
Simcha HaKohen of Worms was slain by Crusaders in a church for stabbing the bishop’s nephew after he had pretended to submit to baptism, Hy”d.
23 Iyar 5675 - May 7, 1915:
Nearly 1200 people died when a German torpedo sank the British ocean liner RMS Lusitania off the Irish coast.
· 23 Iyar 5676 - May 26, 1916:
The Zion Mule Corps, formed of hundreds of Russian and Syrian Jewish refugees from Palestine who had fled from or been expelled by the Turks to Alexandria, was disbanded a year after being formed.
·23 Iyar 5704 - May 16, 1944:
The first of over 180,000 Hungarian Jews reached Auschwitz.
23 Iyar 5708 - June 1, 1948:
Amman, capital of Jordan, was bombed by Israel’s air force.
23 Iyar 5708 - June 1, 1948:
The Arab states and Israel agreed to its first truce. By then, Israel had already scored substantial victories over the Syrian and Egyptian armies, though greatly outnumbered by the enemy.
23 Iyar 5734 - May 15, 1974:
Arab terrorists murder 26 people (22 of them children) at a school in Maalot, Hy"d.
23 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Shalom Bashari, zt”l. He served as a rabbinic judge and halachic authority in Tina’ah in Yemen. (5533 / 1773).
HaRav Yehoshua of Dinov, zt”l (5554/1794).
HaRav Moshe Yehoshua Heschel, zt”l, Rav of Dinov, (5573 / 1813), the son of Harav Aryeh Leib. The name Moshe was added later, presumably due to an illness.
Reb Moshe Yehoshua Heshel was the talmid of Harav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev and Harav Moshe Leib of Sassov.
He was admired by the Rebbes of his generation. Among his chassidim were Harav Tzvi Hirsh of Ziditchov and Harav Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov, (the Bnei Yissaschar), who attested that Eliyahu Hanavi would frequent Reb Moshe Yehoshua Heschel, and that he was a baal ruach hakodesh.
Reb Moshe Yehoshua Heschel served as Av Beit Din of Dinov for many years, from approximately 5550 / 1790 until 5570 / 1810. In 5566 / 1806, Harav Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov, the Bnei Yissaschar, served as one of the Dayanim on the beit din.
HaRav Eliezer Tzvi Safrin of Komarna, zt”l, (5590 / 1830 – 5658 / 1898), author of Damesek Eliezer.
HaRav Yosef Bavliki, zt”l, (1973). Served as the Head of the Beit Din in Yerushalayim.
Harav Eliezer Tzvi was born to Harav Yitzchak Yehudah Eizik Yechiel of Komarna. Reb Eliezer Tzvi became a disciple of Harav Yitzchak Eizik of Ziditchov, as well as of Harav Yehudah Tzvi of Razlo. He was a son-in-law of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz.
Reb Eliezer Tzvi succeeded his father as Rebbe in Komarna, where he remained until his petirah on 23 Iyar 5658. He was famous for his genius in nigleh and nistar and for his exalted virtues, particularly his humility.
Reb Eliezer Tzvi hesitated for a few months before assuming his father’s position as Rebbe in Komarna. But when Rosh Hashanah arrived, a large following of his father’s Chassidim came to Komarna, expecting him to lead them, and so he acquiesced. Nevertheless, he first wanted a sign of approval from Heaven. Such a sign soon came in the form of his first kvittel, which carried the name Rivkah bat Yehudit, the initial letters of which spell “Rebbe.”
About five weeks later, Reb Eliezer Tzvi decided to travel to his father-in-law, the Divrei Chaim, to receive a brachah for his new leadership role. He arrived wearing his customary white Shabbat attire, followed by a group of Chassidim, and was received very warmly by the Sanzer Rav. The Divrei Chaim asked him to lead Kabbalat Shabbat, which was a great honor in Sanz, and proposed that the new Komarna Rebbe hold a tisch of his own at his lodgings, after which he should join the Divrei Chaim’s tisch in the beit medrash.
Reb Eliezer Tzvi did as he was advised, to the dissatisfaction of some of the townspeople of Sanz, who disapproved of there being any tisch in town other than their Rebbe’s. But the Sanzer Rav made his opinion clear later that evening when he seated the Komarna Rebbe beside him at his own tisch and treated him with great respect.
Reb Eliezer Tzvi wrote a number of sefarim, including Ben Beiti on Chumash, the five Megillot andTehillim; Zaken Beiti on Pirkei Avot; Rosh Beiti on Tikkunei HaZohar; Avi Ezri and Damesek Eliezer on the Zohar and Or Einayim on Kabbalah. Not all of his works were published, and some were only partially published.
HaRav Shmuel Yerucham Chaim HaCohen, zt”l, (1995). One of the elder chassidim of Tzanz.
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24 Iyar - 1481:
Pope calls upon all Christian princes to send the Jews who had fled from the Inquisition back to Spain.
24 Iyar - 1577:
Portuguese Marranos were granted permission to settle in Brazil.
24 Iyar 5665 - May 29, 1905:
Black Hundred pogroms in Brisk, Lithuania.
24 Iyar 5701 - May 21, 1941:
The freighter SS Robin Moor. 950 miles off the coast of Brazil, became the first U.S. ship sunk by a German U-boat.
24 Iyar 5705 - May 7, 1945:
The Mauthausen concentration camp, where over 200,000 were slaughtered, was
liberated by the Allied forces
24 Iyar 5705 - May 7, 1945:
In Rheims, France. one week after Adolf Hitler committed suicide in a Nazi bunker, the Chief-of-Staff of the German Armed Forces High Command signed the unconditional surrender documents for all German forces to the Allies, thus marking the official end of World War II.
The surrender took place following a fierce seven days of battles and truces across Europe. World War II had engulfed much of the globe and is considered the most costly war in human history. In total, some 50 million people lost their lives -- 20 million soldiers and 30 million civilians.
24 Iyar 5708 - June 2, 1948:
Viktor Brack, Hitler’s supervisor of the installation of gas chambers in Poland, was executed.
24 Iyar 5708 - June 2, 1948:
An Israeli attack on Egyptian positions at Ashdod marked the turning point in the war between Israel and Egypt. The battle forced Egypt to give up its plans to attack Tel Aviv and made the isolation of the Negev from the rest of Israel its prime objective.
24 Iyar 5762 - May 6, 2002:
The right wing Dutch politician, Wilhelmus Simon Petrus “Pim” Fortuyn, was shot and killed in Hilversum, Netherlands, by Volkert van der Graaf, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Van der Graf, a militant animal rights activist, claimed in court he had murdered Fortuyn to stop him from exploiting Muslims as “scapegoats.” Fortuyn was considered controversial for his views about immigrants and Islam. He called Islam “a backward culture” and said that if it were legally possible he would close the borders for Muslim immigrants.
24 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Chezkiah Aharon Chaim Pinkarli, one of the Rabbis of Italy.
HaRav Yitzchak Ibn Dana, zt”l, (5660 / 1900), Rav in Fez, Morocco, author of L’Yitzchak Rei’ach.
HaRav Yitzchak Hakohen Feigenbaum, zt”l, Rav and Av Beit Din in Warsaw (5671 / 1911).
Harav Yitzchak Hakohen was born in Warsaw in 5588/1828. His father was Harav Yisrael Isser.
Reb Yitzchak was a talmid of the Chiddushei Harim, who lived at that time in Warsaw. The Chiddushei Harim took Reb Yitzchak along with him to the Kotzker Rebbe, where Reb Yitzchak was recognized for his lamdanut, Chassidut and outstanding middot.
Later, Reb Yitzchak would journey to the court of the Sochatchover Rebbe (the Avnei Nezer), who was the son-in-law of the Kotzker Rebbe, and later still to the Avnei Nezer’s son, the Shem MeShmuel.
In 5628/1868, Reb Yitzchak was appointed Rav of Warsaw. He received she’eilot from Rabbanim and poskim across Poland and Russia, and his rulings were held in the highest esteem.
In 5642/1882, Urim V’tumim by Harav Yonasan Eibschutz was printed with the commentary of Reb Yitzchak in the margins. Reb Yitzchak said he hoped that as a result of the effort and toil he had put into this work, Reb Yonasan would be a meilitz yosher for him.
Reb Yitzchak was also the founder and editor of the journal,Shaarei Torah until 1903. The first journal of its kind in Poland, it was dedicated to halachic rulings on current matters and their implications. Many Rabbanim from Poland, Lithuania and other countries participated. After the petirah of Reb Yitzchak, the journal was published by his son Reb Yisrael Isser until the outbreak of World War II.
Reb Yitzchak was known for his love of Eretz Yisrael and was a prominent supporter of the Chovevei Tzion. He would bring wine from Eretz Yisrael to use for Birkat Hamazon at seudat mitzvah.
Reb Yitzchak was niftar on 24 Iyar 5671/1911 at the age of 83.
He was buried in Warsaw.
HaRav Yisrael Shalom Yosef of Antinya, Hy”d, (5704 / 1944).
HaRav David HaCohen Sakali, zt”l, (1948), author of Kiryat Chanah David.
HaRav Binyamin Mendelson, zt”l, Rav of Kommemiyut (5664 / 1904 - 5739 / 1979). Born in Plotzk, Poland, his father was Rav Menachem Mendel Mendelsohn, who served there as Rosh Yeshiva. As a child, Reb Binyamin studied in his father’s yeshiva, where his outstanding talents shone.
After World War I, Rav Binyamin married and opened a yeshiva in Bodzanov. During his years there, he became a chassid of the Gerer Rebbe, the Imrei Emet. In fact, his notes were used to publish the sefarim of the Imrei Emet decades after the War, as tens of thousands of pages of the Imrei Emet’ written chiddushei Torah were lost. With the blessing / bracha of the Gerer Rebbe, Rav Binyamin moved to Eretz Yisrael in 5693 / 1933, (others 5694/1934), and was offered the position as Rav of Kfar Ata, near Haifa, where he was the Rav for 17 years. In 1951, at the request of the Gedolei Yisrael, he accepted an offer to become Rav and Rosh Kollel of a small, religious settlement in the Negev called Kommemiut, serving the community for the next 27 years.
He took responsibility for every aspect of the growth of the moshav. At the same time, he was at the forefront of the movement for the observance of the mitzvot hateluyot ba’aretz — land-based mitzvot — nationwide.
During the first Shemittah in Komemiyut, Rav Mendelsohn strove to encourage all the neighboring moshavim to keep the laws, explaining that Shemittah was the key to the Geulah.
Rav Mendelsohn’s burning love for the mitzvah of Shemittah touched even those far from Yiddishkeit. When he asked the Ministry of Trade for permission to market Shemittah produce by means of otzar beit din, rather than through the official National Council for Citrus Marketing, his lecture to the secular officials on the meaning of shemitta and how it bears witness to Hashem’s ownership of the land. had the officials agreeing that “One thing is clear. Rav Mendelson runs his orchard for six years just so that he can declare it ownerless on the seventh and proclaim the kingdom of Heaven.” As a result, the officials agreed that the residents of Bnei Brak and Yerushalayim would have otzar beit din produce available starting from theShemittah of 5726/1966.
Shemita was adhered to according to the opinion of the Chazon Ish with no reliance on the heter mechira that was almost unanimously accepted in those years. Rav Binyamin felt that keeping Shemmitah was a key to bringing about the geula. His letters, masterpieces of hashkafa and emuna are collected in the sefer Igrot HaRab, published in 5754 / 1994.
HaRav Akiva Moshe Gottlieb, zt”l, (1923-2005). Born to Rav Shlomo Gottlieb, Rav of the Ohr Hachaim shul in Philadelphia, the family moved to Yerushalayim in 1929. After learning at the Chevron Yeshiva, his family moved back to the United States, where he learned at Torah Vodaat. He married in 1946. In 1963, he moved back to Eretz Yisrael to help his parents. He was appointed general manager of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, a job he held for 14 years. He also assisted his father in Yeshiva Rabbeinu Chaim Yosef, founded in 1942. After his father’s death, Rav Akiva Moshe was responsible for the Yeshiva. He wrote Beit Shlomo, a biography of his father, and Kerem Shlomo, six volumes on chumash and the moadim.
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25 Iyar 4856 - 1096:
Jews of Cologne were saved from the Crusaders.
In 1096, Christian Crusaders reached the city of Cologne, only to find
the city gates locked by order of the bishop. The Crusaders were en
route to liberate the Holy Land from the "infidels," and turned these Crusades into campaigns of slaughter, rape and pillage. This large-scale mob violence, directed primarily against European Jews, served as the model for later pogroms. Muslims were also victims of the Crusaders, which historians believe planted a deep-seeded hatred of the West. In this first Crusade, an estimated 40% of the Jewish community of Europe was slaughtered; only the Jews of Cologne, with their locked city gates, were completely spared. See 8 Iyar.
In a number of local provinces, where the local bishop tried to avert the masses from harming the Jews, the Bishop would have to escape for his own safety.
25 Iyar - 1275:
King Edward I of England ordered the cessation of persecution of Jews of Bordeaux, France.
25 Iyar 5115 - May 15, 1355:
1,200 Jews of Toledo, Spain were massacred by armed troops during a Christian and Muslim mob attack on the Jewish section, Hy"d.
25 Iyar - 1540:
The Pope issued a bill against blood-ritual accusations.
25 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Shaul Halevi, zt”l, (5545 / 1785), Rav of The Hague more than two hundred years ago, and author of Binyan Shaul. Together with his famed brother-in-law, HaRav Shaul Halevi Mortorah (Mortira), av beit din of Amsterdam, and author of Givat Shaul (1660?), they raised the banner of Torah in the illustrious Dutch kehillot of that time.
HaRav Ozer ben Meir Hakohen of Klementov, zt”l, (now Klimontow, Poland), (1710), author of Even Ha’Ozer on Shulchan Aruch.
HaRav Yaakov Loeberbaum of Lisa, zt”l, (1760 - 5592 / 1832). Author of Chavat Daat, Nesivot Hamishpat, and many other sefarim (see below).
Rav Yaakov, popularly referred to as the Nesivot, was born in Zbarov, Bohemia, around 5520/1760 or 5530/1770. His father, Harav Yaakov Moshe, was Rav in Zbarov. The Nesivot and his father had the same name, Yaakov. At the Nesivot’s brit, his father’s mind was so absorbed in learning that when the mohel asked him for the baby’s name, he thought he was being asked for his own name and answered, “Yaakov.” The mohel dutifully called out that the baby’s name was “Yaakov ben Yaakov.” A few years later, when the Nesivot was a young child, he was orphaned of his father.
He was a great-grandson of the Chacham Tzvi, and when Rav Yaakov lost his father at a very young age, his relative, Rav Yosef Teumim, Rav of Burstin, raised him. The famous Rav Meshulam Igra of Tismanitz was his primary rebbi.
As a child, the Nesivot was not particularly intellectually gifted. Nevertheless, he overcame that hurdle and went on to become a great Gaon. Many later Gedolim attested that the Nesivot learned Torah lishmah, and that therefore the halachah follows his rulings.
One of the great Torah scholars of Poland and Germany, he was one of the outstanding Halachic authorities in Jewish history. He served in the Rabbanut in many cities until 1809, when he came to Lisa (in the area of Posen, today known as Leszno, Poland), where he served as the Rosh Yeshivah for hundreds of students.
The Nesivot’s humility was remarkable. When he arrived in Lisa to accept the Rabbanut that was offered to him, the townspeople held a reception in his honor, during which a local tar producer began arguing in learning with the new Rav. Shortly thereafter, the Nesivot left the town, saying that if even a simple tar producer in Lisa possessed this level of Torah, he had nothing to accomplish there. He did not return until he was convinced that this merchant was quite unusual, and that not all of Lisa’s townsfolk were as learned as he.
In 1822, he left Lisa and moved to Kalish, where he wrote many of his sefarim that have become basic texts for ruling in halachah. Among them are Mekor Chaim on hilchot Pesach; Chavat Daat on Yoreh De’ah, which was first published anonymously; Nesivot Hamishpat on Choshen Mishpat; Torat Gittin on hilchot gittin; Kehillat Yaakov on Even Ha’ezer and Choshen Mishpat; Nachalat Yaakov, with explanations on Chumash,chiddushim in halachah and a few she’eilot u’teshuvot; Imrei Yosher on the five megillot; and Derech Chaim on hilchot tefillah, which was later incorporated into Siddur Derech Chaim.
Rav Yaakov wrote Derech Chaim in the briefest language to keep the number of pages to a minimum, in order to keep the cost of the sefer low enough that more people could afford it and learn the practical halachot it contains.
The Kotzker Rebbe used to refer to the Gaon of Lisa as “der zisser lamdan,” the sweet scholar. He explained that the rulings of Rav Yaakov of Lisa matched those of Heaven.
He was niftar in Stry, Galicia, on 25 Iyar 5592 / 1832. In his tzavaah he wrote that no titles should be given to him on his matzeivah. (Others 24 Iyar).
HaRav Chaim Hager of Kosov, zt”l, (1795 - 5614 / 1854), author of Torat Chaim. Son of Rav Menachem Mendel Hager of Kosov (author of Ahavat Shalom), grandson of Rav Yaakov Kopel, and father of the first Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Rav Menachem Mendel Hager, the Tzemach Tzaddik.
HaRav Avraham Yosef Ash, zt”l. (5647 / 1887), Rav and founder of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol on the Lower East Side.
Harav Avraham Yosef Ash (Eisenshtater) was born in 5573/1813 in Semiatich, Poland, a suburb of Brisk, to a chassidic family. His father’s name was Reb Meir. It is unclear whether his father was the renowned posek and talmid of the Chasam Sofer, Harav Meir Ash.
In 5612/1852, he moved to the United States and settled on the Lower East Side. He was involved in two brief business ventures, first as a manufacturer of clothing and later as a wine merchant.
In 5619/1859 he helped establish Beth Hamedrash Hagadol on Grand Street (subsequently Norfolk Street) for Lithuanian immigrants of non-chassidic traditions, and was appointed its first Rav. Beth Hamedrash Hagadol would eventually become the main shul on the Lower East Side. For the first six years of his career, Rav Ash was not paid a salary.
He valiantly fought to preserve Yiddishkeit in the U.S. against anti-Torah elements, and suffered greatly from the actions of secular Jews, especially the notorious butchers who sold treif meat.
In 5637/1877 he resigned as Rav due to his stormy relationship with the congregation. Opposition to him was compounded by his chassidic background. The resignation of Rav Ash left a Rabbinic void on the Lower East Side, causing a number of congregations to come together and form a new organization called United Hebrew Orthodox Congregations (UHOC). The UHOC realized the need for a Rabbinic authority in New York and decided to offer a European-style Rav the position of Chief Rabbi of New York. The position was offered to Harav Meir Leibush Weiser, the Malbim — who refused to accept it. Shortly thereafter the UHOC was dissolved. Eventually Rav Ash was reinstated as Rabbi and fulfilled the role of Rabbinic authority until his passing on 25 Iyar 5647/1887.
While Rav Ash wrote no sefarim, his responsa can be found among the writings of Harav Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam of Shinev, Harav Yaakov Ettlinger (Binyan Tzion), and Harav Chaim Zvi Mannheimer (disciple of the Chasam Sofer), among other works of the time. He was considered an authority in gittin and kashrut. No Orthodox congregation in the United States would recognize shochtim for their proficiency without his certification.
Rav Ash was buried in the Machpeilah Cemetery in Ridgewood, Queens. A new tombstone was erected at his gravesite in 1995.
After the petirah of Rav Ash, Harav Yaakov Yosef, zt”l, was brought in from Europe to serve as Chief Rabbi of New York. He is buried in Machpelah Cemetery in Queens.
HaRav Naftali Yosef Freund, zt”l, (5693 / 1933), Rav of Ruzhan and author of She’eilot U’teshuvot Pnei Levi
HaRav Yosef Patzinovsky, zt”l, (5702 / 1942), author of Pardes Yosef, Pri Yosef and Gan Yosef.
HaRav Moshe Yitzakoff HaCohen, zt”l, (1943). Rosh Yeshivah of Beit Midrash Shlomo in Yerushalayim.
HaRav Chaim Chori, zt”l, (5717 / 1957), Rosh Beit Din in Ghaba (Jerba?), Tunisia, author of Motza Chaim. He immigrated to Israel from Jerba in 1955 and settled in Beersheba. He died two years later and is buried in the Beersheba cemetery.
HaRav Shlomo Amsalem, zt”l, (1963). Head of the Beit Din of Midelet, author of Bnei Shlomo.
HaRav Yisroel Yaakov Fischer zt”l, (1928–2003), was a leading posek, Av Beit Din of the Eidah HaChareidit and rav of the Zichron Moshe neighbourhood in Yerushalayim. Born in Yerushalayim to Rav Aharon Fisher, a prominent member of the Perushim community, he was named after the political activist Yakov Yisrael de Haan who had been assassinated four years earlier. As a teenager he studied in the Eitz Chaim Yeshiva and became a close student of Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer. He later married the daughter of Rav Zelig Wallis and they settled in the Batei Horodno area of Yerushalayim. In 1961 he was appointed as a moreh tzedek and two year later, in 1963, he was invited to serve as rav of the Great Synagogue of Zichron Moshe. In 1974 he was made a member of the Badatz of the Eidah HaChareidit. In 1996 he was appointed Av Beit Din of the Eidah HaChareidit. Dayan Fisher, was known for providing segulot for pregnant women who were having problems. Of all the different segulot and people who gave out segulot, people swore by Dayan Fischer’s segulot and considered him the foremost expert in these matters. He authored several volumes of teshuvot - Even Yisroel.
This day's sefira is yesod shebiyesod, when many used to pray at the grave of Yosef Hatzaddik in Shechem
8 Iyar 4856 - 1096:
The Jewish community of Mayence (Mainz) was massacred during the First Crusade, Hy"d. See 8 Iyar.
26 Iyar 5130 - 1370:
Hundreds of Jews are massacred in Brussels, Belgium, Hy"d.
26 Iyar 5524 - May 28, 1764:
Jews of Frankfurt on Main, Germany, were permitted for the first time to appear in public at the coronation of Joseph II.
26 Iyar 5727 - June 5, 1967:
In spring of 1967, the Arab capitals paraded their arms and openly spoke of overrunning the Land of Israel and casting its inhabitants into the sea. The international media was almost unanimous in its belief that the small Jewish state, outflanked and outgunned by its enemies, stood little chance of survival. It seemed that, for the second time in a generation, the world was going to stand by and allow the enemies of the Jewish people slaughter them in the millions. On Iyar 26 (June 5, 1967), Israel launched a preemptive strike on its southern and northern frontiers. IDF ground forces attack Egyptian forces in Sinai and the Gaza Strip. The strategic Egyptian base at El-Arish, in the Sinai Peninsula, was captured by the Israeli army on the first day of fighting, after liberating Rafiah and Sheikh Zuweid in the Sinai.
Israeli air force preempts by carrying attacks on Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian and Iraqi air force bases; By day's end Egypt had lost 286 jets (All but 20 of which were destroyed on the ground). Syria lost 52 jets, Jordan 27 jets, Iraq nine jets; not including 34 other probable hits. Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian air forces are neutralized. Eight Israeli pilots were killed and 11 were declared M.I.A.
After Jordan launches attack on Israel, IDF forces commence operations against Jordanian military positions in Judea, Samaria, and Yerushalayim.
In just six days, the Jewish army defeated five Arab armies on three fronts and liberated territories of its promised homeland amounting to an area greater than its own size, including the old city of Yerushalayim and the Har HaBayit / Temple Mount (see 29 Iyar). The openly miraculous nature of Israel's victory spawned a global awakening of Jewish soul, fueling the already present and growing teshuvah movement of return to Hashem and Jewish traditions. Many thousands of Jews flocked to pray at the newly liberated Kotel HaMa'aravi / Western Wall of the Temple Mount.
26 Iyar 5767 - May 14, 2007:
The trial of suspected al-Qaida operative Jose Padilla opened in Miami. He was ultimately sentenced to 17 years in prison.
26 Iyar Yahrtzeits
Rabbeinu Saadiah ben Yosef Gaon, zt”l, (888 - 4702 / 942 C.E.), Rosh Yeshiva of the Yeshiva of Sura. Born in Fayum (the former name of Cairo), Egypt, he led an all-out war against the Karaites when he was just 23, criticizing their theories with articulately advanced arguments. . In 915, he moved from Egypt to Teveria to further his studies. However, the yeshiva of Sura in Babylonia invited him there. Six years later, in 928, he was appointed Gaon of the yeshiva. Two years later, a rift between him and the Reish Galusa - Dovid ben Zakai - over a beit din decision prompted Rav Saadyah’s move to Baghdad. He returned seven years thereafter, having mended the relationship. His most famous work, Emunot V'deot, one of the earliest works of Jewish philosophy. originally written in Arabic and translated into Hebrew by Rav Yehuda ibn Tibbon. His translation of the Chumash into Arabic is used by Yemenite Jews to this day. ("Gaon" was the title given to the leading Sages of Babylonia in the post-Talmudic period).
HaRav Aharon Lapapa, zt”l, (1590-1667). Born in Magnesia (Manisa), Turkey, he was a disciple of Rav Avraham Motal and Rav Yosef Trani in the yeshivot of Salonika and Constantinople. Late in life, on Rosh Chodesh Iyar in 1665, he was appointed dayan of Smyrna (Izmir), effectively splitting rabbinical functions with Rav Chaim Benveniste. On the 6th of Tevet of that year, Shabtai Tzvi proclaimed Rav Benveniste “supreme rabbi” of Smyrna, no doubt having learned of Rav Aharon’s disbelief of Messianic claims. As such, he was forced to stay home-bound. Some of his response and chidushim to Tur Choshen Mishpat were published in Bnei Aharon.
Harav Moshe Chaim Luzzato, the Ramchal, zt”l, (1707 - 5507 / 1747), author of classic works of Jewish philosophy, Mesillat Yesharim, Derech Hashem and more. Known by the acronym of his name, Ramchal, philosopher, kabbalist and ethicist, the Ramchal was born in Padua, Italy, in 1707. At a very early age, he began to study Kabbalah under the tutelage of Rav Moshe Zacuto, one of the foremost Kabbalists of his generation. He quickly became known for his vast Torah knowledge and beautiful literary style. It is said that by age 14, he already knew the entire Talmud and Midrash by heart. While still in his twenties, he authored numerous works of Torah scholarship, including Derech Hashem ("The way of G-d"), a systematic exposition of the fundamentals of Judaism.
The Ramchal was also a student of Rav Yitzchak Lampronti, author of the Pachad Yitzchak, the first major Talmudic encyclopedia ever assembled. The novelty of his approach drew opposition from a number of his contemporaries. Partially as a result of this opposition, Ramchal left his native Italy In 1735, and, avoiding public life, set up shop as a diamond cutter in Amsterdam. His fame nevertheless caught up with him, and in 1740, (at the turn of the Jewish century 5500), he published his most famous work, Mesilat Yesharim ("Path of the Just"), which describes a step-by-step process to attaining spiritual perfection, a classical work of Mussar (Jewish ethics) that is studied widely today. He also wrote Da'at Tevunot, an exposition on kabbalistic concepts and Pis’chey Chochmah (138 chapters on the entire scope of the Kabbalah in what many authorities consider the most systematic manner ever achieved).
Like many other great men of his age, Ramchal longed for the Holy Land, and in 1743 he settled in Acco. He was not to enjoy a long stay there, however, as only four years later, on Iyar 26, 5507 (1747), at the age of 39, he and his entire family died in a plague. He is buried on a hillside in Tverye / Tiberias, next to the tomb of Rab’ Akiva.
The Vilna Gaon declared that the Ramchal had the most profound understanding of Yiddishkeit that any mortal human could attain. He furthermore stated that if Ramchal were alive in his generation, he would go by foot from Vilna to Italy to sit at his feet and learn from him. According to a mesorah, the Gaon was going to Eretz Yisrael to be a talmid of the Ramchal but then found out that the Ramchal was niftar so he returned to Vilna.
There is an interesting mesorah that the Ramchal was a gilgul of Rab' Akiva. The two are buried right next to each other and the Ramchal was niftar when he was 40; it is said to make up for the first 40 years of Rab' Akiva’s life, prior to his doing teshuva.
HaRav Yitzchak ben Chaim of Volozhin, zt”l, (5540 / 1779 or 1780 – 5609 / 1849 or 5611 / 1851), the son and successor to Rav Chaim of Volozhin, the founder and first Rosh Yeshivah of the famed Volozhiner Yeshivah. In his youth he learned there.
After the petirah of his illustrious father on 14 Sivan 5581 / 1821, Reb Yitzchak was appointed Rosh Yeshivah in his place.
Reb Yitzchak was a wealthy man, and he helped fund the yeshivah in its early years until it became self-supporting.
Reb Yitzchak also held the position of Rav of Volozhin. He was known for his erudition in all facets of the Torah. He published his father’s famous mussar work, Nefesh Hachaim.
In addition to his duties as Rav and Rosh Yeshivah, Reb Yitzchak was also a leading spokesman for Jewish causes. It is said that he won the respect of the Russian Tsar through the following discussion:
“I know that the Jews pray for my welfare every Shabbat [as was customary in those years],” said the Tsar, “and I even asked a Jew to translate the prayer for me. However, now I have learned that the Jews in every country recite the identical prayer for their own ruler. If the Jews in my kingdom pray for my success and the Jews in my rival’s kingdom pray for his success, what will be the outcome?”
Reb Yitzchak replied with a smile, “Since Your Majesty has had the prayer for the welfare of the leaders translated, he must certainly have noticed that we quote a verse that refers to Hashem as ‘Hanosen bayam derech ubemayim azim nesivah — the One Who makes a path in the sea and a lane in the fierce waters’ [Yeshayah 43:16]. Why this specific verse?
“The answer is as follows: A ship that wishes to travel westward needs an east wind to blow. On the other hand, a ship which must travel eastward needs a west wind. How can both ships be satisfied?
“Hashem’s greatness is that He can satisfy both! So, too, we pray for your success while our brethren in other lands pray for the success of their king, and Hashem’s greatness is such that He can answer all of our prayers…”
Reb Yitzchak’s works include Mili D’Avot on Pirkei Avot and a Torah commentary entitled Peh Kadosh. Many halachic she’eilot were addressed to him, from across Russia.
Reb Yitzchak was niftar on 26 Iyar 5609/1849. (Some give the year of his petirah as 5611/1851.)
His sons-in-law were Rav Eliezer Yitzchak and Harav Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin, the Netziv.
Harav Shmuel Eliyahu Taub of Zhvallin (Zhvill), zt”l, (5579 / 1819 – 5648 / 1888), Son of Harav Yechezel of Kuzmir, the founder of the Modzhitz dynasty.
From his youth, he was outstanding in Torah scholarship and musical ability. He was called menagen mafli pla’ot, a wondrous musical talent. When he davened before the amud in his father’s beit medrash, the walls shook. Chassidim then said that they experienced the meaning of “and the entire nation saw the sounds” [a description in the Torah to describe Mattan Torah].
To the dismay of the chassidim, he didn’t continue for long to daven before the amud. Precisely because he understood the value of niggun, he refrained from singing. Even so, he composed many niggunim, especially for Shabbat and Yom Tov, that were known throughout Poland and attracted many chassidim.
Upon the petirah of his father, Reb Shmuel Eliyahu was called upon to lead the chassidim. At the time, Reb Shmuel Eliyahu lived in Zhvallin, Poland. He was the first of the Polish Rebbes to concentrate his creative powers on neginah. With his awesome memory, he was able to remember everything he composed.
His attitude towards neginah was as if the singer were standing in the Beit Hamikdash, and the Leviim were accompanying him in the shirah v’zimrah.
He left behind five sons: Harav Moshe Aharon, who succeeded him in Zhvallin; Harav Yisrael, Rebbe in Modzhitz; Harav Yaakov of Radom. The other two sons, Harav Ovadiah and Harav Chaim Binyamin, did not have a chassidic following.
HaRav Nissim Chaim Moshe Modai of Izmir, zt”l, (5651 / 1891), author of Maamar Chaim.
HaRav Shlomo (”Shlomke”) Goldman, the Zhviller (Zevihler) Rebbe, zt”l, (1869 or 1870 – 5705 / 1945). The younger of the two sons of Rav Mordechai of Zhvil, and a descendant of Rav Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov. When a pogrom in Zvhil targeted the his brother’s compound and killed the Rebbetzin along with many of the Jews of the area, his brother, Rav Yaakov Yisrael, moved to Boston, and Rav Shlomo moved to Yerushalayim in 1926. He was succeeded by his son, Rav Gedaliah Moshe.
.HaRav Shlomo Vaznah, zt”l.
HaRav Avraham Bar Tzalach, zt”l, the Bikurei Avraham
HaRav Amram Azulai, zt”l, (1999). Known as the Masmid, who was continually learning, he was the Head of the Beit Din of Tel Aviv
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A Yom Tov is cited in Megillat Taanit commemorating the defeat of the Yevanim (Syrian-Greeks) by the Chashmona’im. The Yevanim desecrated Eretz Yisrael by hanging crowns of roses in many locations while singing songs to their avodah zarah. They also wrote their heretical messages on the horns of bulls and donkeys.
27 Iyar - 143 B.C.E.:
Demetrius II gave to the Jews of Eretz Yisrael the crown money which he had annually levied. He thus recognized the independence of Judea under Shimon HaChashmona’i.
27 Iyar 5698 - May 28, 1938:
Construction of the harbor of Tel-Aviv began..
27 Iyar 5705 - May 10, 1945:
The Theresienstadt concentration camp was liberated. Theresienstadt was not a death camp by the usual definition. It was the center of a Nazi PR ploy -- a mythic, idyllic city that was supposedly built to protect Jews from the vagaries and stresses of the war. The Red Cross was once allowed to visit Theresienstadt, which was spruced up for the occasion; inmates were dressed up and baked goods suddenly filled the shelves. (The Red Cross concluded that the Jews were being well-treated.) In reality, starvation and disease proved rampant. Of the 200,000 people (mostly Czech Jews) who passed through its gates, thousands died of malnutrition and exposure, and 88,000 were sent to Auschwitz and other extermination camps. When the war ended, a mere 19,000 had survived.
.27 Iyar 5705 - May 10, 1945:
The Allied military evacuation from Dunkirk, France, ended.
27 Iyar 5708 - June 5, 1948:
Israeli army captured Yavneh..
27 Iyar 5722 - May 31, 1962:
Adolf Eichmann hanged at Ramleh Prison, Israel, following his trial and conviction for his crimes against the Jewish people, crimes against humanity and war crimes during World War II, the only capital punishment ever carried out in Israel. His body was cremated and ashes scattered at sea, so that no nation would serve as Eichmann's final resting place. See 14 Iyar.
27 Iyar 5727 - June 6, 1967:
Day Two of the Six-Day War.
After a mere 36 hours of fighting, the Israel Defense Forces were deep in the Sinai ( site of Matan Torah). They had liberated Gaza (where Isaac the Patriarch lived for 20 years). Also, the Jordanian-held cities of Latrun, Kalkilya and Jenin in the Samarian Hills (where the patriarchs and matriarchs lived) were now under Jewish control. And perhaps most incredibly, the I.D.F had encircled Yerushalayim / Jerusalem and opened the Scopus Road .
According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, humor had apparently not been a casualty of war. A young soldier told then Mayor Teddy Kollek about the victories in Jerusalem saying, "We've just made your city bigger." Mr. Kollek replied, "A bigger headache, you mean."
The United Nations Security Council unanimously voted for an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East War.
27 Iyar Yahrtzeits
Harav Avraham Shmuel Bachrach, zt”l, Rav of Worms (Vermeiza) author of Sh'ut Chut HaShani. (5375 / 1615), Harav Avraham Shmuel was one of the Gedolei Torah of his time. He was the son-in-law of Harav Yitzchak Hakohen of Prague, author of Paneach Raza and Chassan Damim, who in turn was the son-in-law of the Maharal of Prague.
Reb Avraham Shmuel’s Rebbetzin, Chavah, was known for her cleverness and tzidkut. Her grandson Harav Ya’ir, the Chavot Ya’ir, named his sefer “Chavot” in honor of his grandmother Chavah. She was the sister of the great geonim Harav Chaim Katz, Rav of Posen, and Harav Naftali Katz, the Semichat Chachamim. In the hakdamah to his sefer, the Chavot Ya’ir goes into minute detail about the nobility of his grandmother, citing her greatness in Torah and other things.
Reb Avraham Shmuel served as Rav in Worms, where he suffered greatly from persecution by government authorities. In 5375 / 1615, all the Jews of Worms were expelled and the shuls demolished. The Rav was almost killed during the expulsion, but his life and the life of his son were miraculously spared.
These events caused the Rav great anguish, and he was niftar a month later, at about age 40. His Rebbetzin was only 30 at that time; out of respect for her husband she never remarried.
He left a son, Harav Moshe Shimon, author of Shemen Hama’or, who was known as a great darshan and maggid and was the father of the Chavot Ya’ir.
Reb Avraham Shmuel’s she’eilot u’teshuvot are found in the sefer Chut Hashani.
HaRav Yitzchak Abulafia, zt"l, (5585 / 1825). He served as the Head of the Beit Din of Tzfat and Tverya.
HaRav Shlomo Zalman Schneerson of Kopust, zt"l, (1830 - 5660 / 1900), Rebbe of Kapust (Kopys) and author of Mogen Avot.
HaRav Eliezer Ze’ev Rosenbaum of Kretchenif (Kretshnif), Hy"d, (5704 / 1944). Author of Raza D’Shabbat. Harav Eliezer Zev was the son of Harav Meir Rosenbaum of Kretchenif, a scion of the famed Nadvorna-Premishlan dynasty.
Eliezer Zev married the daughter of Harav Nissen, Rav of Hosakov.
As was the custom among the Rebbes of the Nadvorna dynasty, Reb Eliezer Zev established his own court during the lifetime of his father. At the age of sixteen, he already opened his own beit medrash. At first he held court in Kretchenif; later Towards the end of the First World War he moved to Sighet.
Many of the generation’s leaders sang the praises of the young Reb Eliezer Zev. Reb Eliezer Zev was famous for his infinite ahavat Yisrael. His hachnassat orchim was famous.
His tefillot were intense; even an ordinary weekday tefillah was an immense exertion as he rose above his physical surroundings and was totally involved in dveikut to Hashem.
His divrei Torah were published in Raza D’Shabbat and Arbaah Arazim.
During World War
II, he was deported from Sziget to Auschwitz. Rav Eliezer Zev was killed on 27 Iyar, 5704/1944 in Auschwitz. Hashem yinkom damo.
Harav Yerachmiel Yehudah Meir Kalish of Amshinov, zt”l, (5736 / 1976).
HaRav Aharon Meir Auerbach, zt"l, (1978).
Rebbetzin Yocheved “Jackie” Wein, A'H, (1934-2006). Born in Vaskai, Lithuania, the youngest child of Rav Lazer Levin, who was a talmid of Kelm and learned with the Chofetz Chaim for five years. The family moved to Detroit in 1938, to escape the growing terror in Europe. Rabbi Levin became the Chief Rav of Detroit and was niftar in 1992. In the mid 1950s, Jackie married Rabbi Berel Wein. The Weins set up their new home in Chicago. In the early sixties, Rav Chaim Kreiswirth advised Rabbi Wein to go into rabbanut, and when a position became available in Miami, the Weins moved South. But before they left, Rav Wein was instrumental in founding the Telshe Yeshiva in Chicago. The family remained in Miami for about a decade, after which Rabbi Wein became the Rabbinic Administrator of the OU, and then founded the kehilla of Beit Torah in Monsey, New York. In addition to raising her family, Jackie accepted a fourth grade teaching job at Yeshiva Spring Valley, a position she held until they moved to Eretz Yisrael in 1994.
28 Iyar 2882 - 879 B.C.E.:
Yahrtzeit of Shmuel Hanavi, zt"l, (See below)
28 Iyar - 1096:
Jews of Bacharach, Germany, were massacred by the Crusaders.
The Rambam observed this day as a private festival in honor of his discovery
of Ezra HaSofer's Sefer Torah (mentioned in Shem Hagedolim of the Chida)
28 Iyar 5677 - May 20, 1917:
The Turkish Government that ruled Palestine at that time authorized the return of the Jews who had been expelled from Yaffo and Tel Aviv.
28 Iyar 5698 - May 17, 1938:
The MacDonald White Paper - the British document which nullified the aims and legal commitment of the Balfour Declaration and caused so much grief for the Jewish people - was published.
28 Iyar 5617 - May 9, 1956:
· John Foster Dulles, the anti-Semitic head of the State Department who imported large numbers of Nazis to work in the intelligence ranks in the U.S., tells NATO in Paris that the U.S. would not sell arms to Israel directly in order to avoid U.S.-USSR confrontation in the Middle East.
28 Iyar 5617 - May 9, 1956:
France delivers arms to Israel under secret agreement with tacit U.S. approval.
28 Iyar 5727 - June 7, 1967:
Day Three of the Six-Day War.
After just 60 hours of war, Israel controlled most of Judea and Samaria, the Old City of Yerushalayim, Yericho / Jericho and Bethlehem. In the Sinai the I.D.F. had cut through to the approaches of the Suez Canal and had already liberated Sharm el-Sheikh. Jordan and Israel came to terms and discontinued hostilities later in the day.
Israeli paratroopers completed their capture of the Old City of Yerushalayim, restoring Jewish control of the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site. Soldiers danced, sang and cried at the Western Wall, the site of Jewish prayers for centuries as the Kotel once again became accessible. At the Kotel, Rabbi Shlomo Goren. zt"l, blew the shofar and said Shehecheyanu, celebrating the liberation of the Temple Mount. It will now be in Jewish hands for the first time in 1897 years.A plaza was cleared in front of the Wall, and one week later, tens of thousands of Jews swarmed to the site on the holiday of Shavuot. Iyar 28 is celebrated today as Yom Yerushalayim, commemorating the reunification of the Holy City, which has stood as the capital of the Jewish nation for 3,000 years.
28 Iyar 5741 - June 1, 1981:
Bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor by the Israeli Air Force.
28 Iyar Yahrtzeits
Shmuel Hanavi, zt”l. (the Prophet Samuel), (ben Elkana), (2882 - 879 B.C.E.), for which many observe a taanit tzaddikim in his
memory (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 580). He passed away at the young age of 52 and is buried in Ramah. (In Megillat Taanit his yahrtzeit is cited as 29 Iyar). Shmuel was born
to Chana, who had been barren for many years and prayed intensely for a
child. Shmuel was raised in an atmosphere of great holiness, and became one of the most important figures in Jewish history; as our sages describe him as the equivalent of "Moshe and Aharon combined." Shmuel was the last of the Shoftim ("Judges") who led the people of Israel in the four centuries between the passing of Yehoshua / Joshua and the establishment of the monarchy. Shmuel's greatest contribution was in
anointing the first king of Israel, Saul, and later anointing King David
in his stead. He was the author of the biblical books of "Shoftim / Judges", "Shmuel / Samuel" and "Rus / Ruth."
Rabbeinu Yitzchak of Couerville, the Baal HaChotem, author of Sefer Mitzvot Hakatan (the SeMaK), zt”l, (5040 / 1280). Son of Rabbeinu Yosef and the brother-in-law of Rabbeinu Mordechai.
He was the talmid, and later son-in-law, of Rabbeinu Yechiel of Paris. He also learned under Rabbeinu Shmuel of Aubra, who was one of the French Baalei Tosafot. Harav Shmuel was a close associate of Rabbeinu Peretz and Rabbeinu Yonah of Girodni.
One of the last of the Baalei Tosafot, Rabbeinu Yitzchak is best known for his work Sefer Mitzvot Hakatan, also known by its acronymSeMaK. This is a compilation and a more concise listing of the 613 mitzvot, based on the concept of the Sefer Mitzvot Gadol (SeMaG) of Rabbeinu Moshe of Coucy, but it does not delve into the arguments behind the decisions.
Rabbeinu Yitzchak dispatched the Sefer Mitzvot Hakatan at his own expense to Jewish communities in Western Europe so that they might copy its contents as a record of the mitzvot they were obligated to fulfill.
His sefer was divided into seven parts, called Amudei (Pillars of) Golah, for the seven days of the week. He explains which mitzvot are applicable in these days, in a clear format — hence the name Golah, applicable even in galut.
Many of the Rishonim, and later the Acharonim, wrote notes on the SeMaK.
HaRav Nissim Chaim Shabbetai Lago, zt”l, (5533/1773), author of Simchat Olam.
HaRav Yaakov Leib Twersky of Trisk, zt”l, (5672 / 1912).
Harav Yaakov (Aryeh) Leib was born in 5607/1847 in the shtetl Horbishov. His father was Harav Avraham of Trisk, one of the eight sons of Harav Mordechai of Chernobyl, zt”l. Rav Yaakov Leib became the son-in-law of his uncle (the brother of his father), Harav Yochanan of Rachmastrivka.
In his youth, Rav Yaakov Leib displayed great hasmadah. It was said that in his youth he once stayed up 300 consecutive nights toiling in Torah.
When his father was niftar he succeeded him and served as Rebbe in Trisk. From there he moved to Koval and then to Rovna, where he lived a number of years.
Rav Yaakov Leib would travel around to his Chassidim, as many Rebbes of the Chernobyler dynasty did. On a visit to Horbishov, Rav Yaakov Leib was suddenly niftar.
Rav Yaakov Leib’s sons were Harav Moshe Mordechai of Lublin, Harav Dovid Aharon of Zurich, Harav Nachum of Warsaw, and Harav Zev of Koval. His sons-in-law were Harav Dovid of Skver, Harav Nachum Moshe of Koval and Harav Tzvi Aryeh of Alik. (The almanah of Reb Dovid of Skver was later married a second time to Harav Yisrael of Vizhnitz, the Ahavat Yisrael.)
Some of the divrei Torah of Rav Yaakov Leib were printed in Sefer HaYachas MiChernobyl V’Ruzhin.
HaRav Yosef Yehuda Reiner, zt"l, Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshiva Kol Torah (1995). The Yeshiva, located in Bayit Vegan, was founded in 1939 by Rav Yechiel Michel Schlesinger. After his petira, the Yeshiva was run by Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach until his petira in 1995.
HaRav Yerachmiel Yehuda Meir Kalish, the Amshinover Rebbe, zt"l, (1901 - 1976). Born in Peshischa, he learned with his grandfather, Rav Menachem, who was the grandson of the first Amshinover Rebbe, Rav Yaakov Dovid. When Rav Mencahem passed away in 1918, one of his sons, Rav Yosef, became the Rebbe of Amshinov, and the other son, Rav Shimon Shalom - Rav Meir’s father - became Rebbe in Otvotzk. Rav Shimon was a major driving force behind the exodus of thousands of bachurim in Mir, Kletzk, Radin, Novardak, and other yeshivot to Japan and Shanghai at the outbreak of World War II. By the time Shanghai came under Japanese control, it held 26,000 Jews. After the war, Rav Shimon immigrated to America. Upon his petira in 1954, Rav Meir accompanied the aron to Teveria in Eretz Yisrael. He later moved to Tel Aviv, and then to the Bayit Vegan section of Yerushalayim. Rav Meir was noted for his genius in Torah, as well as his warmth and sensitivity to all Jews. His grandson, Rav Yaakov Aryeh Milikowski, succeeded him as the Amshinover Rebbe.
HaRav Shlomo Avraham Eliyahu Green of Bnei Brak, zt"l, the tailor mekubal. (yr?)
Many recite today the Tefillat HaShelah
The Shelah (known as the Shelah ha-Kadosh) wrote that the eve of the first day of the Hebrew month of Sivan (Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan) is the most auspicious time to pray for the physical and spiritual welfare of one’s children and grandchildren, since Sivan was the month that the Torah was given to the Jewish people. He composed a special prayer to be said on this day, known as the Tefillat HaShelah - the Shlah’s Prayer.
See above 28 Iyar
Yahrtzeit of Shmuel Hanavi, (ben Elkana), Zt"l, (the Prophet Samuel), for which many observe a taanit tzaddikim in his memory (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 580). He passed away at the young age of 52 and is buried in Ramah.
29 Iyar 3830 - 70 C.E.:
The Romans completed the construction of embankments around Yerushalayim in preparation for the final assault on the third wall surrounding the city.
29 Iyar 5234 - 1474:
Anusim of Segovia, Spain were killed al kiddush Hashem, Hy"d.
29 Iyar 5397 - May 23, 1637:
HaKadosh HaRav Avraham Ben Yitzchok and six other Jews were killed al kiddush Hashem in Cracow, Hy"d.
29 Iyar 5575 - May 8, 1815:
Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated in battle at Waterloo.
29 Iyar 5686 - 1926:
A delegation of the National Convention of the World Agudah, headed by Rav Meir Don Plotzky, landed in New York to help establish a strong Agudah branch there and to raise money to strengthen Agudat Yisroel. The delegation included Rav Asher Lemel Spitzer, Rav of Kirchdorf, Rav Dr. Meir Hildesheimer, Rosh Beit Hamedrash LeRabbanim in Berlin, Dr. Nosson Birnbaum, Rav Yosef Lev and the Ozerover Rebbe, Rav Moshe Yechiel Epstein, as well as Rav Yitzchak Meir Levin, son-in-law of the Imrei Emet.
29 Iyar 5708 - June 7, 1948:
The Communists complete their takeover of Czechoslovakia with the resignation of President Eduard Benes.
29 Iyar 5727 - June 8, 1967:
Day Four of the Six Day War.
Egypt and Syria accept the ceasefire ordered by the United Nations. One day after Israeli forces liberated Eastern Yerushalayim, another of the holy cities, Chevron / Hebron, was also liberated.
Following the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, Jordan took over the control of Chevron along with the rest of the West Bank. During this time, Israelis were not allowed to enter the West Bank. The Jewish Quarter was destroyed, Jewish cemeteries were desecrated, 58 synagogues were destroyed and an animal pen was built on the ruins of the Patriarch Abraham Synagogue.
29 Iyar 5741 - July 1, 1981:
Bombing of Iraqi nuclear reactor by Israeli Air Force.
29 Iyar Yahrtzeits
HaRav Shmuel Heida, zt”l, author of Zikukin Denura on Tanna D’vei Eliyahu, (5445 / 1685). Harav Shmuel was the son of Harav Moshe, darshan and maggid in Prague. Rav Shmuel’s dedication to learning helped him grow great in Torah and yirat Shamayim. For most of his life, he served as Dayan in Morawitz (near Prague).
HaRav Meir of Premishlan, zt”l (1773 - 5610 / 1850)
He is best known for his Zikukin D’nura U’viurin D’esha, his lengthy commentary on Tanna D’vei Eliyahu. As is known, the early editions of Tanna D’vei Eliyahu are unclear and hard to understand, so Rav Shmuel edited and amended the text. However, he warns in his hakdamah that one should not learn from his edition until he has first checked the original text.
Initially, Rav Shmuel was hesitant to undertake this project, but after he davened many tefillot and observed many fasts, Hashem allowed Eliyahu Hanavi and his talmid Rav Anan to reveal themselves to Rav Shmuel and let him know the correct explanations and the accurate wording of the sefer.
Rav Shmuel divided his commentary into three parts: on Eliyahu Rabba, on Eliyahu Zuta and on the 20th perek of Eliyahu Zuta. This third section was never printed.
When the sefer was published, the Gedolei Hador heaped praise on the author, stating that he had restored the correct nusach of the Tanna D’vei Eliyahu.
Rav Shmuel was niftar on Shabbat Parashat Bamidbar, Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan, 29 Iyar, 5445 / 1685, and buried in the old cemetery in Prague.
Reb Meir’l of Premishlan, as he referred to himself, was the son of Harav Aharon Leib of Premishlan, the son of Harav Meir Hagadol of Premishlan, who was a member of the holy chaburah of the Baal Shem Tov, and a descendant of Rabbeinu Yaakov of Korbil, one of the Baalei Tosafot and mechaber of She’eilot U’teshuvot Min Hashamayim.
Reb Meir’l was a talmid muvhak of Harav Mordechai of Kremnitz, the youngest son of Harav Yechiel Mechel of Zlotchov. His fear and awe of his Rebbe was exceptional. He was once quoted as saying that his teeth fell out as a result of fear of his great Rebbe. Reb Meir’l was also a talmid of Harav Moshe Leib of Sassov and the Chozeh of Lublin.
He married the daughter of Harav Tzvi Hersh of Podheitz.
Reb Meir’l was known as a baal ruach hakodesh and a poel yeshuot, and thousands flocked to him. There are countless stories of how Reb Meir’l brought about supernatural yeshuot. He would often translate pesukim in an odd way, referencing them to current situations or the tzarot of a particular Jew, and by so doing would bring about a yeshuah.
Reb Meir’l was venerated by all the contemporary Gedolim, and a special relationship existed between him and Harav Shlomo Kluger, zt”l, and Harav Yosef Shaul Natanzohn of Lvov, zt”l, among others.
Reb Meir’l lived in absolute poverty, for he gave all his money to the poor and downtrodden. At times he sold household valuables in order to give money to tzedakah. In his later years Reb Meir’l moved to Mikoilev, and led his chassidim from there. On Shabbos 29 Iyar, sitting on his chair, he was overtaken by feelings of weakness and returned his soul to its Maker. Harav Shlomo Kluger, in a heartfelt hesped, attested that Reb Meir’l had been niftar by misat neshikah. He was buried in Premishlan, where he had resided for most of his life.
His son, Reb Tzvi, was niftar during his lifetime. He was survived by five daughters and sons-in-law.
His divrei Torah are printed in Divrei Meir, Margenisa D’Reb Meir, Ohr HaMeir, and Shivchei Reb Meir. A compilation of all his divrei Torah was printed in Bnei Brak in 5758 / 1998 under the name Panim Me’irim.
HaRav Shmuel Shlomo Leiner of Radzin, Hy”d, (5702 / 1942).
Harav Shmuel Shlomo was born on 18 Shevat 5669 / 1909. His father was Harav Mordechai Yosef Elazar of Radzyn, the son of Harav Gershon Henoch of Radzyn, the mechaber of the Sidrei Taharot and rediscoverer of techeilet.
Reb Shmuel Shlomo was renowned for his outstanding intellect and amazing memory. He grew up in an atmosphere of Torah and kedushah in the Radzyner court that had relocated to Warsaw. In his youth he was greatly and positively inspired to ever-higher levels of ruchniyut by prominent senior Chassidim. One of his main mentors, Harav Dovid Teitelbaum of Riki, a prominent Kotzker Chassid, once remarked, “My talmid Reb Shmuel Shlomo does not move a hand or lift a finger if it’s not completely lichvod Shamayim.”
In 5688 / 1928 he married the daughter of Harav Yosef Kalish of Amshinov, after which he moved to his father-in-law’s home. Barely a year later, his father was niftar, which led to Reb Shmuel Shlomo’s return to Warsaw. Initially he refused to lead in his saintly father’s stead, but upon the insistence of leading Radzyner Chassidim, he eventually agreed. In due time, he led thousands of Chassidim.
In 5695 / 1935 he returned his chassidic court to Radzyn. The relatively young Rebbe displayed a dynamic capacity for leadership, strengthening the Chassidut and raising it to new heights. The Rebbe established a yeshivah called Sod Yesharim, the name of his grandfather’s sefer on Chumash and Zohar. The yeshivah achieved unusual success; by the time WWII began, there were five additional branches in the Lublin area.
The Rebbe was an extraordinary masmid. A talmid of the yeshivah who survived the Holocaust recalled that the Rebbe would learn all night long, standing in the exact same position. Only in the morning would he retire for a short rest.
At the onset of WW II, the Rebbe fled to the Voldova Ghetto, near Lublin. He encouraged his Chassidim to flee the Nazis and even to join the underground movements in order to save their lives. When the Nazis discovered his location, he fasted and davened with a minyan in seclusion for three consecutive days but the notorious Nazi police broke into the room and grabbed him. As he was being dragged away, he told his Chassidim, “Don’t give up hope, continue your fast and prayer, flee to the woods, and the Alm-ghty will go with you and help you.”
The Rebbe was held captive for five days, after which he was freed through the tremendous efforts of some Chassidim.
A few days later, on Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the Nazi beasts dragged the Rebbe out to the cemetery, where they fatally shot him; he was buried a number of days later. His Rebbetzin and six children were killed during the Holocaust as well, Hy”d.
(This account is based on Marbitzei Torah MeOlam Hachassidut. There are differing versions of the Rebbe’s final days.)
HaRav Alexander Sender Linchner zt’l, (1997). Son in law of Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, zt”l, founder of Torah U’Mesorah, and spiritual force behind virtually every major institution of Torah in America. Rav Linchner was the founder of Kiryat Noar (Boystown), Bayit Vegan, in 1953 for children who had escaped the Holocaust and other destitute Jewish immigrant children. Previously, he started a trade school for 14 boys from Yemen in 1949. He was succeeded by his son, Rav Moshe Linchner.
There is no 30 Iyar
There is no 31 Iyar
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