THE DAY YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT
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1 Tammuz - Rosh Chodesh Tammuz
According to Rab' Shimon (Talmud Bava Metzia 106b), today is the first day of the summer season.
Birth and yahrtzeit of Yosef ben Yaakov Avinu (2200 / 1561 - 2310 / 1451 BCE). The first-born of the Matriarch Rachel, one of the twelve tribes of Israel. He lived 110 years and is buried near Shechem (Nablus) (see 27 Tammuz).
1 Tammuz - June 26, 1096:
Troops of the first Crusade attacked the Jewish quarter in the German town
of Eller and affected a two day massacre of Jews, Hy"d. Three Jews of 300 survived.
1 Tammuz - 1295:
The pope entered Rome and spurned the sifrei Torah offered to him by the Jewish community.
1 Tammuz 5151 - 1391:
Many Jews were killed by a riotus mob in Seville, Spain. The riots spread throughout Spain.
1 Tammuz 5700 - July 7, 1940:
· 5000 Jews of Kovno executed by Nazis, Hy"d.
1 Tammuz 5701 - June 26, 1941:
The Germans occupied Dunaburg, Latvia, where 22,500 Jews lived. The men were
imprisoned and the women and children were expelled. Many Jews were brutalized
and some were shot.
1 Tammuz 5701 - June 26, 1941:
Lithuanian facists massacre 2,300 Jews in Kovno, Hy"d.
1 Tammuz 5701 - June 26, 1941:
Bialystok, Poland fell to the Germans.
1 Tammuz 5715 - June 21, 1955:
Dr. Rudolf Israel Kastner, a Hungarian Jew, was found guilty by an israeli district court of collaboration with the Nazis. The Supreme Court of Israel overturned most of the judgment in January 1958, stating in a 4-1 decision that the lower court had "erred seriously," but not before Kastner had been assassinated. He was shot on March 3, 1957 by Zeev Eckstein, and died of his injuries twelve days later. For more info, click here.
1 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
Birth and yahrtzeit of Yosef ben Yaakov Avinu (2200 / 1561 - 2310 / 1451 BCE). The first-born of the Matriarch Rachel, one of the twelve tribes of Israel. He lived 110 years and is buried near Shechem (Nablus)(see 2 Tammuz & 27 Tammuz).
HaRav Yisrael Najára, zt”l, (1555-1625), born in Damascus, Syria, he served as secretary of that community in which his father was a Rav. Later he wandered widely and finally was Rav in Gaza where upon his death his son succeeded him.
He was the author of Lekach Tov. Although his works were attacked by Rav Chaim Vital, Rav Isaac Luria, Vital’s teacher, declared that Najara’s hymns were listened to with delight in heaven. He wrote hundreds of piyutim, hymns, and poems. Many of Najara’s piyyutim and hymns have been taken into the rituals and machzorim of Jews in different countries, especially in Italy and Palestine. He was the author of the famous Shabbat z’mirah, Kah Ribbon Olam.
HaRav Klonymus Kalman Halevi Epstein of Cracow, zt”l, the Maor Vashemesh (5583 / 1823) (others 5587 / 1827).
Harav Klonymus Kalman was born c. 5511 / 1751; his father was Harav Aharon of Neustadt. In 5516 / 1756 the family moved to Cracow, where his father took up work in the baking trade. The young Klonymus Kalman helped by peddling bagels.
Reb Mordechai Gutgold, a Cracow gevir, noticed the boy and undertook to support him so that he could learn and develop his talents. The youngster took this task so seriously that at 13 years of age he was chosen by his benefactor as a son-in-law.
Reb Klonymus was introduced to Chassidut in the beit medrash of the Megaleh Amukot by the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk. Reb Kalonymus became an ardent follower of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech and spent much time in Lizhensk.
In 5545 / 1785 Reb Elimelech instructed Reb Klonymus Kalman to establish a court of his own. It was the first chassidic court in Cracow and the beginning of the major chassidic center that city was to become.
The Maor Vashemesh used to say so many divrei Torah between courses at his tisch that the food grew cold. He later revealed to his son Reb Aharon that he had been told from Heaven that this practice was being held against him, for it was a show of disrespect to Shabbat food.
Reb Klonymus Kalman was niftar on 1 Tammuz 5583 / 1823. He left two sons, Harav Yosef (“Der Gutter Yid”) of Neustadt and Harav Aharon of Cracow, and two daughters.
His sefer, Maor Vashemesh, is unique in several ways. First, it is the only work from the early period of Chassidut to include so many divrei Torah by, and stories of, other tzaddikim of the author’s own generation. For this we are indebted to Reb Klonymus’s intense humility, which led him to travel to so many of the tzaddikim of his day.
Reb Shlomo of Bobov (whose yahrtzeit is today, too) rightly described it as a “Shulchan Aruch of Chassidut,” and he would study it regularly.
In 5665/1905, Reb Shlomo of Bobov had a dream that he was in Cracow standing outside the beit medrash where the Maor Vashemesh was davening. The shul was so crowded that Reb Shlomo had to enter through a window. Inside, he waited until just before the Torah reading, and then he approached the Maor Vashemesh and asked for an aliyah, which he received. That was the entire dream.
That same year on 1 Tammuz, the day of the yahrtzeit of the Maor Vashemesh Reb Shlomo was niftar.
Reb Klonymus Kalman is buried in the newer beit olam in Cracow, (not the older one, in which the Rema and others are buried. The new cemetery is at the end of Miodowa Street, 3 minute walk from Szoroka). In accordance with his wishes, no tombstone was raised over his gravesite, and today it is a gathering place for many, as people come to express their troubles and request aid both for individuals and the community.
According to other sources, it is said that at the end of his life he moved to Eretz Yisrael and is buried in the old cemetery of Tzefat. (This could not be verified).
HaRav Chaim Elazar Waks, zt”l, (5649 / 1889), Rav of Kalisch and author of Nefesh Chayah.
Harav Chaim Elazar Waks was born in 5582/1822 in Tarnogrod, in the Lublin region.
He learned under his father, Harav Avraham Yehudah Leibish Waks, zt”l,and under Harav Shmuel Zanvil Heller, zt”l, Rav of Pshemishel.
Rav Chaim Elazar was chosen as a son-in-law by Harav Moshe Halberstam, zt”l, Rav of Zavrov, oldest brother of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz, zy”a. After the passing of his first wife, he married the daughter of Harav Yisrael Yehoshua of Kutna, zt”l, the Yeshuot Malko.
Rav Chaim Elazar was one of Poland’s most famous Torah personalities. He was also an askan who worked tirelessly for the klal.
Rav Chaim Elazar served as Rav of Tarnogrod for 22 years. During this entire time he accepted no wages. He taught hundreds of bachurim there.
In 5622/1862, Rav Chaim Elazar was appointed Rav of Kalisch, replacing Harav Meir Auerbach, zt”l, who had moved to Eretz Yisrael. His talmidim were so close to him that they came there with him.
In Kalisch, Rav Chaim Elazar both taught his many talmidim and was also mekarev many of the city’s residents.
In 5629/1869 he was named Nasi of Kollel Polin in Eretz Yisrael and was active on behalf of the yishuv there.
Due to a breach in tzniut, Rav Chaim Elazar eventually chose to leave his position in Kalisch, saddening many of the townspeople.
He thereupon moved to Warsaw, where he didn’t serve in the rabbanut.
In 5644/1884, Rav Chaim Elazar became Rav in Piotrkov.
All his life, Rav Chaim Elazar loved Eretz Yisrael. When he traveled there in 5646/1886 with his father-in-law, he bought a large plot of land and planted esrogim. He would sell these esrogim of Eretz Yisrael, in line with his psak regarding the esrogim of Corfu (Greece), in the streets of Warsaw before Sukkot.
In 5649/1889, Rav Chaim Elazar took ill and traveled to the resort town of Kozhnitze. He was niftar on Shabbat Parashat Chukat, 1 Tammuz, and was buried in Kalisch, where an ohel was erected over his kever.
Rav Chaim Elazar was survived by his only son, Reb Moshe, and seven daughters, all married to talmidei chachamim, among them Harav Yosef Kalisch, zy”a, the Amshinover Rebbe.
Rav Chaim Elazar named his sefer Nefesh Chayah, after his mother. He writes in his introduction that his mother asked him to commemorate her name, just as the Noda BiYehudah named his sefarim after his father, Noda Bi“Yehudah” and mother, Tziyun Lenefesh “Chayah.”
HaRav Shlomo Halberstam, zt”l, (1847 - 5665 / 1905), the first Bobover Rebbe, son of Rabbi Meir Nosson and grandson of Rav Chaim of Sanz, the Divrei Chaim.
Rav Shlomo’s mother was the daughter of the Imrei Noam of Dzikov.
When he was eight years old, he was orphaned of his father and adopted by his maternal grandfather, Reb Eliezer, the Imrei Noam of Dzikov, who found in the child a strong resemblance to his own father, Reb Naftali of Ropshitz.
After a few years in Dzikov, Reb Shlomo moved to Sanz, where he was raised and taught by his paternal grandfather, the Sanzer Rav.
In Sivan of his 14th year, Reb Shlomo married the daughter of Reb Yehoshua of Kaminka, son of Reb Shalom of Kaminka, a close friend of the Divrei Chaim. He remained in Kaminka for two years and then returned to Sanz in 1863, where he served his grandfather, helping to publish the sefer Divrei Chaim.
When he reached the age of 18, Reb Shlomo acceded to Rav Chaim’s directive to become Rav of Bikovsk (Bukovsk). He served for 10 years, after which he became Rav of Oshpitzin (Ushpitzin) and then Wishnitza (Wisnicz), near Krakow. Reb Shlomo founded a yeshivah in Wishnitza and gained distinction and a following.
After 14 years in Wishnitza, in the summer of 5652/1892, due to a heart condition, he was obliged to leave the city and move to the city of Bobowa (Bobov), near Tarnow, a city endowed with fresh air. There, too, he founded a yeshivah, and there he founded the Chasidic dynasty of Bobova. Chassidim flocked to Bobov, where they enjoyed a combination of the awe-filled avodah of Dzikov and the genius and mesirut nefesh of Sanz.
In the summer of 5665/1905, Reb Shlomo traveled to the health resort of Badenheim, Germany, which he frequented on account of heart trouble. That summer his condition worsened, and on Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, in his 58th year, he was niftar.
He was buried in the city of Bobov.
After his petira, his son, Rav Benzion, succeeded him as the leader of thousands of Bobover Chasidim.
Most of Reb Shlomo’s writings were lost in a fire in Wishnitza. The surviving pieces were collected into the volume Ateres Shlomo.
HaRav Avraham Chaim bar Rachamim, zt"l, (1954). One of the Rabbis of Bavel (Iraq).
HaRav Nissim Chori, zt"l, (1966). Torah leader of Tunisia, he served as the Rav of Titavin.
HaRav Dovid Grossman, zt”l, (1940-2005). Born in London, he moved with his family to Toronto in 1949. He learned in the Telshe Yeshiva in Cleveland for 5 years and, in 1960, became a talmid of Rav Moshe Feinstein at Mesivta Tiferet Yerushalayim. After his marriage, he moved to Washington Heights, where Rav Dovid became a sixth grade Rebbe in MTJ, and later in Breuers, also serving as the principal of Viener Beit Yaakov in Williamsburg. In 1974, the Grossmans moved to Boro Park, where Rav Dovid became active in numerous chesed organizations. In 1987, Rav Dovid accepted the position of Chaplain at the Metropolitan Geriatric Center, a nursing home affiliated with Maimonides Hospital.
2 Tammuz 2310 - 1451 B.C.E.:
According to most opinionsYosef Hatzaddik (Yaakov Avinu's son) was born on this date and died on this date (2200 / 1561 - 2310 / 1451 BCE).
(Others say on 1 Tammuz). According to other opinions, he was niftar on 27 Tammuz.
The first child of Yaakov's most beloved wife, Rachel, born after 7 childless years of marriage, Yosef's father gave him a multi-colored coat, which aroused the envy of his half-brothers. They suspected that Yosef would try to assume family leadership when he told them of his two dreams, in which the brothers all bowed down to him. The brothers sold Yosef into slavery, where he was brought to Mitzrayim / Egypt and eventually rose to the post of Prime Minister. Twenty years later, the family was reunited in Mitzrayim, and Yosef forgave the brothers, saying that it was all part of Hashem's plan. Shortly before Yosef's death he made the Israelites take an oath that they would bury him in Eretz Yisrael. His remains were eventually buried in Shechem, and throughout the millennia, Yosef's Tomb was a place of pilgrimage and prayer. The tomb was destroyed by Arab mobs in the Intifada of 2000.
2 Tammuz 4856 - June 26, 1096:
Soldiers of the First Crusade, under the command of Count Leiningen, attacked
the Jews of Werlinghofen, Germany. Jews had sought refuge there, after the massacres
in Cologne. Many of the Jews committed suicide before the Crusaders arrived
to avoid the torture that they were famous for.
2 Tammuz 4856 - June 26, 1096:
The Crusaders arrived in the city of Weltzk, assembled all the Jews, and led them to their deaths. Hy"d.
2 Tammuz 4856 - June 26, 1096:
HaRav Shmuel ben R' Yechiel of Cologne, killed by Crusaders,
2 Tammuz - 1266:
12 Jews of Cologne martyred, Hy"d.
2 Tammuz 5283 - 1523:
The first edition of the Sefer Hachinuch appeared. (Some say 13 Tammuz).
2 Tammuz 5416 - June 24, 1656:
Rabbi Menashe b. Yisrael petitioned for permission to practice Judaism in England. Permission was debated by the Council of State who couldn’t reach a final decision. Nevertheless, the authorities closed their eyes to Jewish immigration which began to trickle into the country.
2 Tammuz 5440 - June 29, 1680:
An Auto da Fe was held in honor of the marriage of Carlos II to Louis Marie d’Orleans. It lasted 14 hours and was the last time that a “royal” Auto da Fe was held. The king himself set light to the quemadero (burning place).
2 Tammuz 5687 - July 22, 1927:
The Holy Land was shocked by an earthquake.
The town of Nablus (biblical Shechem) was convulsed by an earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter Scale. Nearly 300 people were killed, 1,000 injured, and many of Shechem's historical buildings were destroyed. The flow of the Jordan River stopped for 21 hours due to landslides, and the quake caused damage in Yerushalayim, Yericho and Amman, Jordan.
(In Eretz Yisrael, a zone of intense seismic activity is located along the Dead Sea Transform fault, rupturing the boundary between the Arabian and the Sinai plates. The geologic stress is evident by the radically folded strata exposed in the hills around Yericho. This zone includes numerous volcanoes and hot springs).
2 Tammuz 5701 - June 27, 1941:
Germay occupied Pruzana, Brest Litvosk, Poland, which at the time had a Jewish
population of four thousand. The Nazis demanded 500,000 Rubles, 2 kilograms
of gold and 10 Kilograms of silver from the Jews. Then to back up their demand
they took hostages and got what they wanted.
2 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
According to most opinionsYosef Hatzaddik (Yaakov Avinu's son) was born on this date and died on this date (2200 / 1561 - 2310 / 1451 BCE).
(Others say on 1 Tammuz). According to other opinions, he was niftar on 27 Tammuz. (See above).
HaRav Shmuel ben R’ Yechiel of Cologne, killed by Crusaders, Hy”d. (4856 / 1096)
HaRav Nachman of Horodenka, zt"l, (5525 / 1765). Rav Nachman was a close colleague of the Baal Shem Tov. His son, Rav Simcha, married the Baal Shem Tov’s daughter, Udel. Their son, the famed Rav Nachman of Breslov, became the founder of Breslov Chassidism.
The Baal Shem Tov once asked Rav Nachman to deliver a letter to Rav Dov Ber of Mezritch (who later became known as the Mezritcher Maggid) in which he attempted to persuade Rav Dov Ber to become his disciple. Upon receiving the letter, Rav Dov Ber said, “I see an auspicious sign in the student who bears this letter. If Rav Nachman is such a holy tzaddik, how much more so is his teacher—the Baal Shem Tov.” Rav Dov Ber then agreed to meet with the Baal Shem Tov and later to join the Chassidic movement.
In 1764, he emigrated to the Holy Land, and settled in Tverya. The following year (1765), he passed away and was buried there. (According to “Aliyot to Eretz Yisrael,” he was already in Eretz Yisrael in 1750, and he passed away in 1772).
HaRav Mordechai Zev ben Harav Yitzchak Aharon Itinga (Itinger), zt”l, (5565 / 1805 - 5623/1863), coauthor of Mefarshei Hayam. In his younger years he learned under Harav Naftali Hirtz Sochotchov, Rav of Lvov. Later he learned under his famous uncle, Harav Mordechai Zev Orenstein, the Yeshuot Yaakov.
Reb Mordecai Zev was a renowned talmid chacham who dedicated all his time to learning Torah. Although he could have served as a Rav, he preferred not to support himself from Torah.
His greatness in Torah and halachah is evident in his Maamar Mordechai, his correspondence with the other Gedolim of his generation.
His other sefarim include Magen Gibborim, on Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, which has become one of the basic sefarim on Orach Chaim; and his notes, written together with his brother-in-law Harav Yosef Shaul Natanzohn under the name Mefarshei Hayam are also well known.
He also wrote Meirat Einayim.
Reb Mordechai Zev was also known for his acts of tzedakah and chessed, especially for the poor of Eretz Yisrael.
He was niftar on 2 Tammuz 5623/1863, at the age of 58. (others 5625 / 1865).
HaRav Avraham Twersky, zt”l, (1802 (others 5566/1806) - 5649 / 1889), the Trisker Maggid, whose drashot are recorded in his sefer Magen Avraham. He was one of eight sons of Rav Mordechai of Chernobyl and was Rebbe for 50 years.
He married Rebbetzin Rikel, the daughter of Harav Yaakov Aryeh of Kavla, son of Harav Mordechai of Neshchiz.
After the petirah of his father in 5597/1837, the Maggid moved to Trisk, in the Wohlin region, close to the Ukrainian-Polish border.
His fame spread as one of the kedoshei elyon, and thousands flocked to his home for guidance and brachot. Many Rebbes and Rabbanim traveled to him, among them Reb Yaakov Yitzchak of Biala and Reb Yaakov Tzvi of Porisov.
The Rebbe himself sponsored the food and lodgings for all who came to his court, even when this involved financial difficulties. The Rebbe likened this hanhagah to bringing korbanot, because after the churban beit hamikdash, the Gemara states, a person’s “table” is compared to a mizbei’ach that is mechaper.
In his later years, his brother Reb Dovid’l of Tolna attested about him that he could not discuss worldly matters due to his concentration on spiritual issues.
The Trisker Maggid, unlike some of the other Rebbes of the Chernobyler dynasty, said many divrei Torah. When he delivered divrei Torah he was visibly detached from his surroundings; it seemed as if he was in a higher world. He would speak in a fiery manner in a loud voice. Once, after saying his divrei Torah, he turned to his son, Reb Mordechai of Kuzmir, and asked him if he, the Maggid, had yet spoken that day!
The Maggid once suffered from an eye ailment that forced him to travel to Cracow. On Shabbat there, when many gathered at his tisch, he declared, “If Hashem wanted to, He could have healed my eyes at home, in Trisk, so there must be a reason why I am here in Cracow. The Hashgachah has brought me here to be mechazek Yidden!” From there he continued delivering fiery divrei Torah.
The Maggid waged war against Czar Alexander II of Russia, whose anti-Semitic decrees threatened the ruchniyut of Klal Yisrael. The Rebbe openly spoke against him and would interpret pesukim as though they were meant as messages to or about the Czar. After Sukkot 5641/1881, the Rebbe spoke of the Czar’s imminent death; indeed, in a short time the Czar was killed.
His sefer, Magen Avraham, was published in his lifetime, when he was elderly and too weak to say divrei Torah. As he wrote in the hakdamah, “From the day I knew you all, I was able to be mashpia on you with my divrei Torah, and my words served as a chizuk to many and a source of teshuvah … And now, with Hashem’s help, I came to the age of over 80 and I cannot raise my voice, therefore I print this sefer…” The Trisker Maggid finished his foreword by writing, “I pray for Klal Yisrael, and for all the people who will buy this sefer, that things should be good for them all their days.”
HaRav Eliezer Nisan of Dzikov, zt”l, (5678 / 1918).
HaRav Yosef ben Walid, zt”l, author of Shemo Yosef. (year)?
Reb Elimelech Gavriel (Mike) Tress, z”l, (1909 - 5727 / 1967), leader of Agudat Israel of America for many years during the 1900s. He changed Agudah from a small, insignificant organization to a major powerhouse almost singlehandedly, leading the organization in the 1940s until his petirah in 1967. He's credited with rescuing several thousand Jews during the Holocaust.
Reb Elimelech Gavriel (Mike) Tress was a charismatic, educated young businessman from a family of Stoliner Chassidim. He was born in New York to immigrant parents from the Ukraine. His father, Gershon, passed away when Mike was an infant. His mother, Henya, served as president of the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Stoliner beit medrash in Williamsburg.
In the mid-1930s, Mike joined what was then the fledgling Zeirei Agudat Yisrael of Williamsburg, where members gathered to learn, daven and enjoy a weekly seudah shelishit. Within six months of joining, he was elected branch president. In 1938, Mike became head of the national Zeirei, which blossomed into Agudat Yisrael of America.
His impact on Zeirei was monumental. Spurred by a broad and far-reaching vision, he expanded its activities to benefit the tzibbur at large. A campaign to persuade Jewish store owners to close on Shabbat drew attention and participation from the wider community. The biggest investment of Mike’s energies — until the war years, when hatzalat nefashot became the organization’s consuming focus — was in Pirchei, serving as role model and father figure to the boys and encouraging them to abandon public school for yeshivah. He also founded Camp Agudah and Camp Bnos, which were among the first frum summer camps for America’s youth.
Idealistic and dynamic, encouraged by many Gedolei Torah, he constantly stressed to his adherents the concept of daat Torah. When Harav Elchonon Wasserman, Hy”d, arrived in New York in 1937, on a fundraising trip for his yeshivah in Baranowitz, Mike brought groups of boys to meet him. Rav Elchonon’s sojourn in America, during which he frequently delivered major addresses at Zeirei headquarters, was probably the single most influential factor affecting Mike’s hashkafah, and the subsequent course of his life. Rav Elchonon, discerning Mike’s tremendous kochot, urged him to leave his successful business career and devote himself completely to Klal Yisrael, telling him, “The future of Torah in America is in your hands.”
During World War II, Mike Tress worked tirelessly to rescue Jews trapped in Europe. He constantly traveled and lobbied the governments in Washington and abroad to facilitate immigration. When refugees arrived in the United States, he found them homes and jobs to enable them to rebuild their lives. After the war, he was one of the first civilians to travel to Europe. He lived and slept with the survivors in their barracks and did everything humanly possible to address their needs.
Mike’s wife, Mrs. Hinda Tress, a”h, was his worthy partner. Despite having a large and growing family, she fully supported his endless commitments and financial burdens on behalf of world Jewry.
On 2 Tammuz 5727/1967, Reb Elimelech Tress was niftar at the young age of 57. He is buried in the Agudat Yisrael chelkah in Wellwood Cemetery on Long Island.
HaRav Tzvi Didi, zt”l, (1980). One of the great Torah scholars of Tiberius, he authored Eretz Tzvi.
HaRav Paltiel Friend, zt”l, (2003). Born in the 1920s, Reb Paltiel grew up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn and attended Mesivta Torah Vodaat, becomimg a talmid of Rav Dovid Leibowitz. When Rav Dovid left to form Yeshiva Chafetz Chaim, Rav Paltiel left with him. In the late 1960s, the rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Chafetz Chaim, Rav Henoch Leibowitz zt”l, was approached by the small Torah community in Montreal asking for his help in starting a yeshiva in their city. Rav Henoch appointed Rav Paltiel to be a rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Mercaz HaTorah. In the 1970s, he was again approached by Rav Henoch Leibowitz to assume the role of masmich of Chafetz Chaim. In his later years, together with Rav Avraham Ginzberg, he formed a Senior Kollel of talmidim of the yeshiva.
3 Tammuz 2489 - 1272 B.C.E.:
On this day, during the battle of Givon in Emek (valley of) Ayalon, (one of the battles to conquer Eretz Yisrael), Yehoshua / Joshua commanded the sun (and moon) to stop and not set until the battle against the kings from the south was won (24 hours - some say 36 or 48 hours - see Talmud Avoda Zara 25)
Yehoshua was involved in conquering the southern part of Canaan, and Shabbat was fast approaching. Not wanting to do battle on Shabbat, Yehoshua prayed for a miracle. "Sun," proclaimed Yehoshua, "be still at Givon; moon, at the Ayalon valley" (Yehoshua / Joshua 10:12). The heavenly bodies acquiesced, halting their progress through the sky. The sun stopped twice - once at midday and once before sunset, until Israel's armies brought the battle to its successful conclusion. (others 2 Tammuz).
3 Tammuz - June 6, 1391:
The Jewish quarter of Seville, Spain was burned by the locals. They murdered
5,000 Jews, Hy"d. Many of the women and children were sold to the Moslems as slaves.
Most of Seville's 23 synagogues were destroyed or turned into churches.
3 Tammuz 5416 - June 25, 1656:
The Council of State in England debated Harav Menashe ben Yisrael's petition for Jews to practice their
religion. The Council of State couldn’t reach a final decision. Nevertheless, the authorities closed their eyes to Jewish immigration which began to trickle into the country.
3 Tammuz 5528 - June 18, 1768:
The Haidamak (the paramilitary bands) Massacres in the Ukraine. The peasant serfs and Cossacks rioted much in the same vein as Chmielnicki 120 years earlier. At Uman, the Poles and Jews defended the city together under the Polish commander, Ivan Gonta. The next day, convinced that only the Jews would be attacked, Gonta allowed the fortified city to be entered without a fight. Approximately 8,000 Jews were killed, many of them trying to defend themselves near the shul, Hy"d. As soon as the Jews were all massacred, the Haidamaks began to kill the Poles.
3 Tammuz 5611 - July 3, 1851:
A great fire consumed much of the town of Lubavitch, including the Tzemach Tzedek's home and many valuable manuscripts.
3 Tammuz 5631 - June 22, 1871:
Emperor Alexander II of Russia allowed the printing of sefarim (Jewish books).
3 Tammuz 5687 - June 3, 1927:
After being charged by the Communists with disseminating Yiddishkeit, Harav Yosef Yitzchok, the Rayatz of Lubavitch, was released from prison on this date, his death sentence commuted to three years' exile in Siberia. He was given time to go home and prepare for exile, but after a few days he was freed altogether.
3 Tammuz 5701 - June 28, 1941:
11,000 Jews in Kishinev were killed al kiddush Hashem as well as 1,500 Jews in Kovno. Minsk, the capital of Belarus, as well as the Baltic States, were captured by the Nazis, Hy"d.
3 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Bernard Illowy, zt"l, (5631 / 1871). A staunch opponent of the Reform movement, he was the first Orthodox rabbi with a PhD from Europe to settle in the U.S.
HaRav Yaakov Halevi Sapir, zt”l, (1822–1886), author of Even Sapir (A Journey to Yemen), a collection of stories of his travels through India, Australia, and Yemen, collecting tzedaka, having departed Yerushalayim in 1859. An account of the life of Yemenite Jewish communities is written at length.
HaRav Shlomo Eiger of Lublin, zt”l, (5630 / 1870 - 5700 / 1940). He was the oldest son of Rav Avraham of Lublin, the Shevet Yehuda, who was the son of the first Lubliner Rebbe, Rav Yehuda Leib (Rav Leibele) Eiger, zy’a, (1816-1884), Rav Akiva Eiger’s grandson and a close talmid of the Izhbitzer, Rav Mordechai Yosef Leiner.
Reb Leibeleh established his court in Lublin, where it remained the chief Chassidic group in the town until World War II.
In 5647/1887, at the age of 15, Reb Shlomo married the daughter of the naggid Reb Alter Wallerstein of Krushnik, (45 miles east of Lublin). There he became unofficial leader of the local chassidim and organized the building of a new shtiebel for the hundreds of Lubliner chassidim in town.
When the years of his father-in-law’s support came to an end, Reb Shlomo refused to accept any community assistance; instead, he opened a successful fabric business, to which he devoted only a fragment of his time, utilizing every available opportunity for learning.
After his father, the Shevet Yehuda was niftar, on 22 Tevet 5674/1914, his chassidim begged Reb Shlomo to take over but he refused. Instead, Reb Shlomo’s younger brother, Harav Azriel Meir, began leading the chassidim in Lublin. But many chassidim, especially those in Krushnik, refused to give up, and eventually they succeeded.
Reb Shlomo, a lamdan, was known for his insight; his advice was sound even in mundane matters. In addition, his expertise in medicine, as well as his connections to the best doctors in Lublin and Warsaw, enabled him to give medical advice.
Reb Shlomo refused to accept pidyonot for himself. He donated all the money he received to the impoverished and he refused to take anything at all from poor people. He did not dress in rabbinical garb.
During WW I, Reb Shlomo relocated to nearby Lublin, and took over his father’s beit medrash.
Lublin was the main city of Eastern Poland. Jews had lived there since the 15th century, and perhaps earlier. In 1921, Lublin had a population of 37,337 Jews, comprising over a third of its population.
One of his greatest aversions was the secular Lubliner Tagblatt. He announced that anyone who read it had no place in his beit medrash.
When Harav Meir Shapiro, zt”l, proposed the concept of what later became Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin, Reb Shlomo became one of his chief supporters, helping to establish the yeshivah.
Reb Shlomo also helped Rav Meir to be elected Chief Rabbi of Lublin, a position he took up on 29 Sivan 5690/1930, the day his famous yeshivah opened. During the next four years, Rav Meir constantly went to Reb Shlomo for advice and assistance, especially towards the end of Rav Meir’s life, when the yeshivah’s financial situation became desperate.
After Rav Meir’s sudden petirah in Cheshvan 5694/1933, the yeshivah was left leaderless and with a mountain of debt. At this critical juncture, Reb Shlomo accepted the responsibility for the yeshivah’s debts and traveled around Poland on a fund-raising drive.
Reb Shlomo inherited one of the largest libraries in Poland from his grandfather and great-grandfather. It was said that he never bought a sefer without going through it once or twice and acquainting himself with its contents.
On Elul 17 5699/September 1, 1939, the Germans attacked Lublin and thousands were killed and wounded in the battle.
After the Yamim Nora’im of 5700/1939, Reb Shlomo underwent an operation, but the surgery was unsuccessful and he was niftar on 3 Tammuz 5700/1940. He was buried in Warsaw, with thousands still able to participate in his levayah.
His sons were Harav Yehudah Leib, Harav Akiva, Harav Yehoshua Simchah Yitzchak and Harav Shalom. His sons-in-law were Harav Avraham Noach Abramowitz, Harav Chaim Fishel Silman and Harav Shaul Rapaport of Bilitz. All his descendants were killed during World War II. Hashem yinkom damam.
The Lubliner heritage was continued by Rav Shlomo’s cousin, Rav Avraham Eiger, who established his court in Bnei Brak and passed away in 2000.
HaRav David HaCohen Yehonatan, zt”l, (1965). Chief Rabbi of Zarzis, author of Divrei David.
HaRav Yosef Chaim Shneur ben R' Aharon Kotler, zt”l, (5678 / 1918 – 5742 / 1982), Rosh Yeshiva of Beit Medrash Govoha, Lakewood. Born in Slutsk, in the Belarus area of Russia. His father was Harav Aharon Kotler, zt”l, and his mother was Chana Perel Meltzer, a”h, daughter of Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer, zt”l, who was the rosh yeshiva and rov.
In 1940/5700, while still a bachur, Rav Schneur received a visa from his grandfather Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer, who had emigrated to Mandatory Palestine (Eretz Yisrael), and went to join him. This saved his life. There, he studied under leading gedolim of Yerushalayim.
After World War II he married Rischel, the daughter of Rav Malkiel Friedman of Kovno.
In 1947 / 5707 after his sojourn in Shanghai, he moved to Lakewood to join his father, who had brought his yeshiva there from Europe. Rav Shneur assumed the leadership of the yeshiva with his father’s petirah in 5723 / 1962. He transformed Lakewood into a flagship center of excellence and fulcrum of the yeshiva world. It was under his leadership that the yeshiva grew.
Whereas his father had actively restricted enrollment to a select group of talmidim, Rav Shneur opened the yeshiva doors. From a group of approximately 200 talmidim, the yeshiva grew to almost a thousand talmidim by 1981.
Rav Shneur sent out groups of yungeleit, pioneers, to establish kollelim in major communities across America, from Philadelphia in the East to Los Angeles in the West. The members of these kollelim would divide their time between learning and spreading the experience of Torah learning to the local Jewish populations. There are now Lakewood satellite kollelim operating in 30 cities across North America.
Rav Shneur was active in communal organizations and issues. He held leadership positions as a member of the Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah of Agudat Yisroel of America and was on the rabbinical boards of Torah Umesorah and Chinuch Atzmai. Rav Shneur was also very active in helping Jewish refugees from Russia and Iran.
Rav Shneur was niftar in 5742 / 1982 in Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston. He was 64. Tens of thousands assembled at the levaya in Yerushalayim; even vaster throngs had attended the levaya in America. He was buried in Eretz Yisrael on Har Hamenuchot near his zeide, Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer, and his father, Harav Aharon Kotler.
He was survived by his wife, Rebbetzin Rischel; a sister, Rebbetzin Sarah Schwartzman of New York; eight children, and many grandchildren. With his untimely petirah, his son, the current rosh yeshiva, Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, took over the leadership of the yeshiva, together with three other grandchildren of Rav Aharon Kotler, Rav Dovid Schustal, Rav Yeruchem Olshin and Rav Yisroel Neuman.
Rav Schneur passed away on the nineteenth year, seventh month and second day after assuming his Rosh Yeshiva position; equal to the day to the tenure of his father as Rosh Yeshiva of Lakewood. This extraordinary phenomenon was spoken of throughout the Torah world as a sign that in shamayim he was considered a worthy son, disciple and successor who carried on his father’s mission to build Torah with total devotion.
Harav Yosef Chaim Shneur Kotler, zt”l
HaRav Menachem Mendel Schneerson, zt"l, (5662 / 1902 - 5754 / 1994), the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe (1951 -1994).
Born in Nikolaev, Russia, (Others Yakaterinoslav, where his father, Harav Levi Yitzchak, was the regional Rav) on 11 Nissan, he was known as a child prodigy, with a phenomenal memory, and became well-known for his knowledge in the revealed and hidden aspects of the Torah. His father, Harav Levi Yitzchak, had to teach him himself, for lack of melamdim with knowledge advanced enough to instruct the child. As a young man, Reb Menachem Mendel soon advanced through Shas and poskim to studying Chassidut and Kabbalah with his father, and he became an expert in every field.
Reb Menachem Mendel was also a direct descendant of the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek.
He first met his predecessor, Rav Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson (Rebbe Rayatz), and the sixth generation from the Admor Tzemach Tzedek), in 1923 and married his second daughter Chaia Moussia (1901-88) in 1928.
Together with his father-in-law he left Soviet Russia in 5687 /1927 and spent the next 14 years in Europe. In 5701 / 1941 he fled the Nazis to the United States, where he quickly became his father-in-law’s valued assistant.
He became the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe in 5711/ 1951, a year after the Rebbe Rayatz’s petirah.
He soon became a celebrated figure in American Jewry, and was consulted for advice and blessing by Jews from all walks of life and by non-Jews as well. He was actively involved in all the workings of Chabad institutions, yet gave personal attention to even the simplest Jew.
The Rebbe threw himself into a myriad of chinuch projects and personally oversaw the building of schools, community centers and youth camps.
He is best remembered for his extraordinary love and concern for every Jew, especially those located in scattered corners of the world.
The Rebbe viewed chinuch habanim as the essential key to the survival of Klal Yisrael. The following is excerpted from the Rebbe’s talks:
“In America, most parents, however well-intentioned, have been more concerned about their children’s material, rather than spiritual, well-being. Having themselves faced economic hardships as immigrants or the children of immigrants, they decided to do their utmost to shelter their children from the economic hardships which they had experienced, and were thus primarily interested in providing their children with careers, professions and other means of economic security, leaving it to their children to find their own way regarding such things as religion and a world outlook.
“However well-meaning the parents may have been, the result is the same. It fostered a way of life where principles have been sacrificed to expediency, and time-honored traditions have been relinquished for material gains, actual or imaginary. This bankruptcy of ideas and ideologies has left many young people terribly disillusioned, morally and spiritually…”
The Rebbe also began to establish education and outreach centers worldwide. He established a corps of Lubavitch emissaries (called shluchim) and sent them out to build Yiddishkeit in far-flung communities where they provided both material and spiritual needs. His emissaries around the globe, dedicated to strengthening Judaism, number in the thousands.
Jews flocked to him from all over the world for advice and blessings. He was accustomed to distribute dollars on every Sunday, and thousands would come and wait for hours to speak a word with him, and receive his blessing and dollar.
Despite his many communal responsibilities, the Rebbe was an incredible masmid. When the Bostoner Rebbe lived across the street from the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Crown Heights, he would climb up to his roof to watch the Lubavitcher Rebbe learning in the middle of the night. The Lubavitcher Rebbe’s window blind was bent in one place, allowing the Bostoner Rebbe a glimpse into his study, and he attested to the fact that the Lubavitcher Rebbe used to learn way into the night.
In 5752 / 1992 the Rebbe suffered a stroke that severely impeded his activities. He was ill for two years, until his petirah on 3 Tammuz 5754 / 1994. He was buried alongside his father-in-law in the Chabad ohel in Queens, minutes away from JFK Airport, a site that has become a makom tefillah for thousands. These are probably the most visited kevarim outside of Eretz Yisroel and are accessible 24 hours a day.
He left hundreds of volumes of writings on every Torah subject.
HaRav Menachem Mendel Schneerson, zt”l
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4 Tammuz 5004 - June 4, 1244:
24 wagonloads of sifrei kodesh (holy books) were burnt in France by the church. (See 6 & 9 Tammuz).
4 Tammuz 5046 - 1286:
HaRav Meir ben Baruch ("Maharam") of Rothenburg (1215?-1293), the great Talmudic commentator and leading Halachic authority for German Jewry, was imprisoned in the fortress at Ensisheim. A huge ransom was imposed for his release. The money was raised, but Rabbi Meir refused to allow it to be paid lest this encourage the further hostage taking of Jewish leaders. He died in captivity after seven years of imprisonment. Forty Jews were killed
on charges of ritual murder, Hy'd.
4 Tammuz - 1490:
Chumash with Ramban first published on this date. .
4 Tammuz 5408 - June 24, 1648:
1000 Jews in of Tulchin (Tulczyn), Poland along with local Poles, were tortured and massacred by the Cossacks, Hy"d.
An agreement between the 2,000 Jews and 600 Christians of Tulczyn to defend their town at all costs succeeded in preventing the Cossacks from capturing it.
Kryvonos, the Cossack leader, contacted the local governor and offered to leave the Poles alone if he handed over the Jews. The Jews found out about the plan
and only through the intervention of their leader Rav Aharon (who feared reprisals) persuaded them not to kill the local leaders. Instead, Rav Aharon convinced
the governor to take a high ransom and give it to the Cossacks. Kryvonos accepted the ransom, entered the town, killed most of the Jews and then killed the Poles
for betraying the Jews.
4 Tammuz 5449 - June 22, 1689:
· The Jewish quarter in Prague was destroyed by French troops who shelled the area. In one shul the roof caved in, killing the 100 people who had sought refuge there, Hy"d. Most of the population was taken in by their Christian neighbors until new shelters were built.
4 Tammuz 5701 - June 29, 1941:
Only a few days after Romania was annexed by Nazi Germany, the Nazis initiated a massive pogrom in the city of Yassi (Jassy) in which up to 24,000 Jews were killed al Kiddush Hashem, Hy"d.
At the outbreak of the war, Jassy had a population of slightly over 100,000 inhabitants, approximately 50,000 of whom were Jews. On the morning of 29 June, 1941, thousands of Jews were herded into the courtyard of the Jassy police headquarters. At about 2:00 p.m., the German and Romanian soldiers began to fire directly into the crowds. The massacre continued intermittently until 6:00 p.m. Four trucks and 24 carts transported the corpses; it took two whole days to move them. Approximately 2,500 Jews survived the massacre in the police headquarters courtyard. Two death trains left Jassy between 3:30 and 4:15 a.m. on Monday, June 30, 1941. The first one consisted of from 33 to 38 sealed freight cars and contained between 2,430 and 2,530 Jews.
The Skverer Rebbe, Harav Yaakov Yosef, zt"l was miraculously saved, and afterwards fasted on this date.
4 Tammuz 5701 - June 29, 1941:
Nazis murdered the male Jews of Drobian, Lithuania, Hy"d.
4 Tammuz 5708 - July 11, 1948:
Yerushalayim was bombed for the first time in its history by the Arabs during the War of Independence. When the
Jordanians captured Yerushalayim, they did not move their capital from Amman to
Yerushalayim. No Arab country - even while controlling it - ever called Yerushalayim their capital other than the Jews!
4 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Yaakov Ben Meir Tam (1100 - 4931 / 1171), zt"l, of Romereau , known as "Rabbeinu Tam", who was one of the primary authors of the Tosafot commentary on the Talmud. The most famous of Rav Meir ben Shmuel’s sons, he was a grandson of Rashi (HaRav Shlomo Yitzchaki, 1040-1105), who had all daughters. He studied under his father and his older brother, Shmuel (the Rashbam), who was 15 years his senior. His other older brother Yitzchak ( the Rivam) was 10 years older than Rav Yaakov. He was called “Tam” due to his wholesomeness and righteousness. Born in Ramerupt, Rav Yaakov was only 5 (or 9, according to others) when Rashi was niftar, and thus was not zocheh to learn with him. He did not. however, hesitate to argue with his grandfather, Rashi, and the most well known disagreement was over the order in which the parchments are inserted into Tefillin, giving rise to the common custom today of having two pairs of Tefillin, one Rashi and the other Rabbeinu Tam. He succeeded his father as Rosh Yeshiva in the city of Ramerupt.
Rabbeinu Tam was the greatest sage of his time, and Jews flocked to his Yeshiva in France to hear his Talmudic discourses. These lectures served as the basis for the Tosafot commentary, which was compiled by his students and today is printed on every standard page of the Talmud. The Bet-Din (rabbinical court) he headed was regarded as the leading Torah authority of his generation. Rabbeinu Tam was also an extremely successful wine merchant and financier. When the city of Ramerupt was attacked by Crusaders on the 2nd day of Shavuot 1146, he was stabbed repeatedly in the head, and dragged out to a field to die. He miraculously survived, (saved by a nobleman, who promised the mob that he would convert the rabbi), and lived another 25 years. After this incident, Rabbeinu Tam moved to Troyes and opened a Yeshiva. On 20 Sivan,1171, the Jews of Blois, France were subject to a blood libel, the first in Jewish history. And 32 Jews were killed. Rabbeinu Tam established that day as a fast day. Some of Rabbeinu Tam’s responsa are collected in Sefer Hayashar.
HaRav Pinchas Halevi Horowitz, the Baal Haflaah, zt”l (5565 / 1805).
Harav Pinchas was the son of Harav Tzvi Hersh, Rav of Chortkov. Harav Tzvi Hersh was a kadosh and tzaddik; he fasted from Shabbat to Shabbat, until he merited having two children who illuminated world Jewry: the Rebbe Reb Shmelke of Nikolsburg, and the Haflaah. In his youth, the Haflaah’s primary Rebbe was his father.
Rav Pinchas married the daughter of Harav Yoel Heilprin, who supported him generously, enabling him to devote himself entirely to study. After his chasunah he learned with his older brother Harav Nachum for about a year; as he wrote, “He accustomed me to learn in great depth, and influenced me with his vast chochmah.”
After about a year, when Rav Nachum was accepted as a Rav in a different location, he began learning with his other brother, the Rebbe Reb Shmelke.
As a young man he was accepted as Rav in the town of Vitkov; subsequently he became Rav in Lechovitch, Lithuania.
In 5532/1772 he was called upon to serve as Rav in the renowned city of Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, where luminaries such as the Shelah and the Pnei Yehoshua had preceded him.
The Haflaah expressed his satisfaction with the Jews in the city, calling it “a city full of chachamim and sofrim.”
He would deliver shiurim where he would display his vast erudition and genius. His influence in Frankfurt was evident; even non-Jews revered the Rabbi of Frankfurt, and knew that he was a holy man.
During his last years, he suffered from poor eyesight and eventually went blind. The kehillah members brought the finest physicians to treat their Rav, but the Rebbe declined treatment on both eyes, claiming that for avodat Hashem one needs only one eye!
After serving the kehillah of Frankfurt for over 30 years, the Haflaah was niftar on 4 Tammuz 5565 / 1805 and was buried in Frankfurt. His sefarim are: Panim Yafot on Torah, Haflaah on Kesubot; and Hamakneh on Kiddushin.
He was the Rebbe of the Chatam Sofer.
HaRav Yaakov Reinman, zt”l, Rav of Narol, (5538 / 1778. - 5574 / 1814).
Harav Yaakov Reinman was born in Skohl in 5538 / 1778. His father was Harav Mordechai; his mother was the sister of Harav Shlomo of Lutzk, the Maggid of Skohl. The family name Reinman was based on the Targum’s translation of Mordechai, Mara Dachya, which means a clean man, and in Yiddish — Reinman.
After Reb Mordechai’s early petirah, young Yaakov’s mother hired an elder bachur to tend to all his needs and to learn with him.
Reb Yaakov’s first rebbi was his uncle, Harav Shlomo of Lutzk, who was asked by his newly widowed sister to help with her four young orphans.
Reb Yaakov married the daughter of Harav Aryeh Leibish Yaffe-Wallerstein, Rav of Haloshitz, who was well-to-do and helped support his son-in-law, who lived nearby.
At the age of 25, Reb Yaakov was asked to serve as Rav in Radichov. He was regarded as the leader of the kehillah and was respected as a leading talmid chacham.
Later, he was asked to serve as Rav in Kozba, in the Lvov region.
Following the petirah of his father-in-law, the kehillah of Haloshitz set their eyes upon having Reb Yaakov replace his father-in-law. The kehillah of Kozba were very attached to Reb Yaakov and did not want him to leave, but since Reb Yaakov wished to go, they allowed him to depart.
Unfortunately, Reb Yaakov’s term in Haloshitz was not what he had expected: Those same people who had begged him to come settle there had begun to undermine his authority as Rav, being that he was not able to be budged from what he felt was right.
When the seat of the rabbinate in Narol, a town in western Galicia, was vacated, the offer to assume it was made to Reb Yaakov, who graciously accepted it. Reb Yaakov, served there as Rav until his petirah. In Narol, a large crowd of followers gathered around Reb Yaakov and a Chassidut was founded.
Reb Yaakov was close with many of the other tzaddikim of the generation. He was a disciple of Rav Shlomo of Skohl and Rav Menachem Mendel of Rimanov.
He was niftar at the early age of 36. He was buried in Narol, where an ohel was built over his kever. It was known as a place of yeshuot. He was succeeded by his son, Rav Avraham Reinman (1796-1841).
HaRav Azriel Hildesheimer, zt”l, (5580/1820 - 5659 / 1899), Rav of Berlin and Eisenstat. Born on 7 Sivan, the second day of Shavuot 5580 / 1820, in Halberstadt. He was the son of Harav Yehudah Hildesheimer, native of Hildesheim, a small town near Hanover.
As a bachur, he learned in the yeshivah of Harav Yaakov Ettlinger, the Aruch La’ner, in Altona. He was considered his prize pupil.
At the age of 31, in 5611/1851, he became Rabbi of Eisenstadt, Hungary (now in Austria), the principal city of the Seven Kehillot.
Reb Azriel also established a yeshivah. It began with six bachurim; by 5628 / 1868 there were 128 — including one from the United States.
In 5621 / 1861, the Ktav Sofer offered Reb Azriel the position of second Rav in Pressburg, but this never came to fruition.
In Berlin, at that time, the Orthodox community consisted of about 200 families. Dissatisfied with the local Rav, they offered Reb Azriel the position, and he began to serve as Rav there in 5629 / 1869. He soon established a religious school and a yeshivah, which 30 former talmidim joined. Reb Azriel thus became the intellectual founder and leader of the community Adat Yisrael.
Reb Azriel was one of the leaders of the war against the Reform movement. His policy of no compromise widened the gap between the Reform and the Orthodox Jews of Germany. He aimed at increasing the distance between authentic Yiddishkeit and those who wished to destroy it.
Reb Azriel had an unusual capacity for work; and his great learning was joined to practical administrative ability. He was financially independent, and never accepted remuneration for his Rabbinical activity. He was frequently engaged in philanthropic activities connected with his own congregation, but additionally, in his vast ahavat Yisrael, “no labor was too great and no journey too long for him” in the service of the poor and needy in Germany, Austria, Russia, and even in Abyssinia and Persia.
Reb Azriel also took a special interest in the welfare of the Jews of Eretz Yisrael, then Palestine. In 5620 / 1860, when the missionary society of Palestine provided 70 free dwellings for homeless Jews, Reb Azriel himself built houses in Yerushalayim for free use by the poor.
Reb Azriel was niftar in Berlin on 4 Tammuz 5659 / 1899 at the age of 79. His kever is preserved in the Cemetery of the Orthodox congregation Adat Yisrael in Berlin.
Some of his chiddushim have been published under the name Chiddushei Rav Azriel on Shas; in addition to She’eilot U’Teshuvot Rav Azriel.
HaRav Eliyahu Lupas, zt”l, (5698 / 1938), Rov in Yeshivat Porat Yosef, author of Imrei Pi and Ben Avichayal. He was a Rebbe of R. Ovadiah Yosef.
HaRav Mordechai Shakovitzky, zt”l, (5758 / 1998). Rav in Leeds (England), Rosh Kollel in Johannesburg where he was one of the founders of the South African Kiruv Movement, and later Rosh Yeshivat Pischei Teshuva Yerushalayim. He was the son of Rav Naftali Hakohein Shakovitzky, the Gateshead Rav before Rav Mordechai Miller, and son-in-law of Rav Zalman Yosef Aloni Dubow (Rav and Av Beit Din of Dublin, Ireland).
HaRav Nissim Chaim Moshe Mizrachi, zt”l, (5509 / 1949), Rishon LeTziyon of Yerushalayim and author of Admat Kodesh.
HaRav Chaim Moshe Mandel, zt”l, (5756 / 1996), mekubal in Bnei Brak.
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5 Tammuz 3328 - 433 B.C.E.:
Yehoyochin, King of Yehudah, was exiled by Nevuchadnetzar (Melachim 2:24, Daniel 1, Divrei
Hayamim 2:36). Among those exiled with him were thousands of Jews from Yerushalayim, including " hecharesh vehamasger," the outstanding talmidei chachamim and leaders of the generation, who "deafened" and "shut the mouths" of anyone trying to argue with them in Torah. Galut Yehoyochin occurred 7 years after his father Yehoyokim was taken into
5 Tammuz 3333 - 428 B.C.E.:
The nevua / prophecy of a vision of Maaseh Merkavah / the Divine "Chariot" representing the spiritual infrastructure of creation, received by the Navi Ezekiel / Yechezkel ben Buzi Hakohain by the Kvar (Chebar) River, 5 years
after Galut Yehoyochin, mentioned in the beginning of Sefer Yechezkel. He was the only one of the Prophets to prophesy outside of the Holy Land. This perek / chapter is read as the haftorah on Shavuot.
5 Tammuz - 1298:
Massacre of the Jews of Wiener-Neustadt, Austria, Hy"d.
5 Tammuz 5059 - 1299:
· Pope allows Jews accused by the Inquisition the right to know who their accusers were.
5 Tammuz 5389 - June 26, 1629:
The Tosafot Yom Tov, Harav Yom Tov Lipman Heller, (1578-1654), was informed of his arrest on libelous charges that his famed Torah works were defamatory of the prevailing religion. The plot was initiated by rich members of the kehillah in Prague who resented the Rav asking them to bear the brunt of the taxes placed on the Jewish community. He was imprisoned on 17 Tammuz and released on 28 Av. On 1 Adar 5404 / 1644, he became Rav of Cracow, a day marked as a Yom tov by his descendants. However, today, 5 Tammuz, the day he was informed of his impending imprisonment, he fixed this day as a fast day for his descendants.
5 Tammuz 5408 - June 25, 1648:
During the pogroms of Tach v'tat led by Chmielnicki, y"s, the city of Vilna was burnt down; many Jews from Vilna and its environs were killed al kiddush Hashem, Hy"d.
5 Tammuz 5528 - June 20, 1768:
During the Haidamarck uprising against the Russian government, approximately 50,000 Ukranian Jews were killed in the city of Uman and the surrounding areas, Hy"d.
5 Tammuz 5636 - June 27, 1876:
· Passing of Daniel Mendoza, a Sephardi Jew who was known as the “father of scientific boxing”. Billing himself as “Mendoza the Jew”, he became one of England’s greatest boxing champions and the first boxer to win the patronage of the Prince of Wales.
5 Tammuz 5702 - June 20, 1942:
Mass killings of Jews in Auschwitz began by the Nazis.
5 Tammuz 5702 - June 20, 1942:
The S.S. murdered 600 Jews of Snow, Novogrodek, in the (old) Soviet Union, Hy"d.
5 Tammuz 5706 - July 4, 1946:
Two hundred Jewish refugees from the Holocaust, with no other place to go, returned to rebuild their community of Kielce, Poland. They
were attacked by a nationalist group who incited a pogrom against the returning
Jews. Defenseless because their weapons were confiscated the day before, 42
Jews were killed by the townspeople (including two children), Hy"d, and 80 were wounded.
The pogrom began when rumors spread by Walenty Blaszcyk that Jews had kidnapped his son. Polish policemen and soldiers entered the Jewish residences and
began the violence; the Jews were then attacked outside by mobs in a
fray that lasted five hours. Some 3 million Polish Jews had been
murdered in the Holocaust, yet this pogrom - considered Europe’s last - occurring 15 months after
the end of World War II -- was a horrific aftershock.
5 Tammuz 5765 - July 12, 2005:
· Mohammed Bouyeri, a Muslim extremist on trial in the slaying of Dutch film-maker Thei van Gogh, unexpectedly confessed in court, saying he was driven by religious conviction. He was sentenced to life in prison.
5 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Yosef Kotenplan, zt”l, (5575 / 1815), authorof Batei Nefesh.
HaRav Yisrael Verbrom, zt”l, of Stashov, (5605 / 1845).
Harav Yisrael was the son of Harav Meir Halevi of Apta, the Ohr LaShamayim.
His father, Rav Meir, succeeded to the Rabbanut in Apta, Poland, after the Ohev Yisrael, Harav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel, moved to Jassy, Romania. The Ohr LaShamayim led one of the largest groups of chassidim at the time, drawing from all over from Poland and Galicia, and was known for his great kedushah that profoundly affected the chassidic landscape of Poland. Rav Meir was also known for neginah, with which he achieved closeness to Hashem.
Rav Meir was survived by his sons Harav Pinchas and Harav Yisrael. [Many of the chassidim chose Harav Yissochor Dov, the Saba Kadisha of Radoshitz, as their Rebbe.]
Harav Yisrael was widely known as a kadosh v’tahor as he practiced a hallowed lifestyle, eschewing all worldly pleasures for avodat Hashem.
During the lifetime of his father he moved to Stashov, where his father’s brother Harav Mordechai resided. After the petirah of his father, the Ohr LaShamayim, he led a sizable group in Stashov, while his brother remained in their father’s home town of Apta.
Harav Yisrael, like his father, embodied dveikut to Hashem. He opened the hearts of his fellow Jews through his powerful niggunim of dveikut. Like his father, he was an extraordinary baal tefillah; his heartfelt tefillot would cause every heart to yearn for closeness to Hashem.
His son Harav Yaakov Yitzchak of Yavunitch, son-in-law of Harav Menashe of Ropshitz, succeeded him.
Harav Betzalel Yehoshua, zt”l, of Galina, (5675 / 1915).
HaRav Alter Ezriel Meir Eiger of Lublin, zt”l,(5633 / 1873 – 5701 / 1941). Son of Harav Avraham of Lublin, the Shevet Yehudah, who was the son of the first Lubliner Rebbe, Harav Yehudah Leib (Leibeleh) Eiger, zy”a, grandson of Harav Akiva Eiger, zt”l, and a close talmid of Harav Mordechai Yosef Leiner of Izhbitz, zy”a.
Reb Ezriel Meir was born on 25 Shevat 5633 / 1873 and raised in the court of his holy grandfather, the Torat Emet, who hired special melamdim for his gifted grandson.
At a young age he became engaged to the daughter of Harav Chaim Rokeach, a descendant of the Maaseh Rokeach. After his wedding he sat al hatorah v’al ha’avodah and spent part of his time with his father-in-law and part of his time at his grandfather’s — and later, father’s — court.
After a number of years Reb Ezriel Meir began an iron works business. He was very successful, and after a while he became very wealthy. His prosperity and success in no way had any impact on his holy avodah; on the contrary, he was totally immersed in his davening and learning and gave away huge sums of money to tzedakah.
In 5673 / 1913, Rav Ezriel Meir and his brother founded Yeshivat Ahavat Torah in Lublin, moving it to Warsaw a few years after WW I. After his father, the Shevet Yehudah, was niftar, on 22 Tevet 5674 / 1914, the brothers Reb Shlomo and Reb Ezriel Meir refused to take on the mantle of leadership.
He reluctantly took the reigns of the Lublin Chassidim. Warsaw had the largest Chassidic community in the world at that time. Jews had first settled there during the 14th century, after the reign of King Kasimierz, and was then inundated by the Chassidic movement at the end of the 18th century. By 1939, Warsaw had a population of about 393,950 Jews, which was approximately one-third of the city’s total population.
Reb Shlomo later headed a court in Krushnik. During World War I he fled from Krushnik to Lublin, where he reestablished his Chassidut in his father’s beit medrash, while Reb Ezriel Meir relocated to another section of the city. Reb Ezriel Meir moved several times, to Pilov, Warsaw and Otwock, later returning to Lublin.
Reb Ezriel Meir was known as a lamdan and posek. He published a few booklets on halachic matters. Amongst these kuntresim, the better-known ones include Hatza’at Takanah Nechutzah and Takanat Rabbim.
In Takanat Rabbim, Reb Ezriel Meir introduces the idea of writing an annual heter iska for businessmen, which would alleviate the aveirah of Jews taking interest from one another in business. In his hakdamah he writes that since he himself was a businessman before taking up the leadership of Chassidim, he knows how hard it is to be careful in these matters. He sent this sefer to many of the leading Gedolim, all of whom praised it highly.
In 5692/1932, Rav Ezriel Meir published Shevet Yehudah, divrei Torah of his father on sefer Bereishit, adding his footnotes which highlight his amazing knowledge. In 5698/1938, he published the second volume of Shevet Yehudah, on sefer Shemot, again with his footnotes.
In Elul 5699 / 1939, the Germans attacked Lublin and thousands were killed and wounded during the battle. The Eiger family suffered direly under the hands of the Nazis, y”s. They moved from Lublin to Warsaw at the onset of the War. Reb Ezriel Meir took ill due to the harsh conditions.
Reb Ezriel Meir was niftar in Warsaw on 5 Tammuz, 5701/1941 and was buried there.
His son, Harav Shlomo Elazar, Hy”d, became Rebbe after Reb Ezriel Meir’s petirah. He led for a short time, until he was murdered, together with millions of other Jews, al kiddush Hashem.
The Lublin dynasty was continued after the War, in Eretz Yisrael, by his grandson Harav Avraham Eiger, zy”a, of Bnei Brak, and is carried on by his son Harav Shlomo Eliyahu, shlita.
HaRav Tzalach Cohen Zangi, zt”l, (1968).
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6 Tammuz 4856 - 1096:
Crusaders massacred the Jews of Mehr, Hy"d.
6 Tammuz 5004 - June 6, 1244:
Two-dozen wagonloads of holy Jewish books were burned in public in Paris. (See 4 Tammuz & 9 Tammuz). (Others 1242).
6 Tammuz - 1298:
Massacre of the Jews of Ifhauben, Austria, Hy"d.
6 Tammuz 5460 - June 23, 1700:
Solomon de Medina became the first professing Jew to receive a knighthood in England. Medina had helped finance what became known as the “glorious revolution” which installed William of Orange and Mary (the daughter of James II) on the throne. Their rule ended any hope for a restoration of Catholic rule in England. .
6 Tammuz 5552 - June 26, 1792:
Jews of Ostroha established this day as Purim Ostroha, to commemorate their community being saved during the Russian-Polish war when Russian troops attacked the shul, mistaking it for a fortress. (Others 7 Tammuz).
6 Tammuz 5554 - July 4, 1794:
Catherine II of Russia restricted the area where Jews were permitted to trade.
6 Tammuz 5701 - July 1, 1941:
Nazis capture Lvov (Lemberg), in present-day Ukraine, home to over 100,000 Jews, over 5000 of whom were murdered within a matter of days, with the assistance of local citizens, Hy"d.
6 Tammuz 5704 - June 27, 1944:
· American forces completed their capture of the French port of Cherbourg from the Germans.
6 Tammuz 5733 - July 6, 1973:
Death of ·Jewish German-born conductor Otto Klemperer.
6 Tammuz 5736 - July 4, 1976:
As America was celebrating its bicentennial, Israeli commando units performed a spectacular raid to rescue 100+ Jews being held hostage by Arab and Ungandan terrorists at Entebbe airport in Uganda.
One week earlier, an Air France flight was hijacked by Arab terrorists, who landed the plane in Uganda with the support of dictator Idi Amin. The terrorists threatened to kill the Jewish hostages if the Israeli government did not release convicted Arab terrorists. (Amazingly, the flight crew all voluntarily chose to stay with the Jewish captives rather than be released; upon their return to Paris, they were reprimanded by Air France executives and temporarily suspended from duty.) The government of Israel refused to negotiate with the terrorists, and quickly planned a rescue mission. Conveniently, Israel had the blueprints for the building in which the hostages were held -- it was built by an Israeli construction firm. Two hundred Israeli soldiers were flown to Entebbe; they brought along a black Mercedes disguised to look like Idi Amin's personal car. The raid took a total of 58 minutes.
According to The Jerusalem Post, "Three civilian hostages and an army officer were killed in the shootout with Ugandan troops. Five civilians and four soldiers were wounded in the operation."
All the terrorists were killed.
Segan-Aluf Yonatan Netanyahu, (brother of Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu), who commanded the force which broke into the building at the airport, where the hostages were held, was one of the first casualties of the action. He was killed by a bullet in the back from the control tower. He was buried at Mt. Herzl in Yerushalayim. The raid, dubbed Operation Thunderbolt, was subsequently renamed Operation Yonatan -- after Col. Yonatan Netanyahu.
Likud opposition leader Menachem Begin proclaimed "hats off" to Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin at a special session of Knesset.
6 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
Harav Yisrael Yaakov Algazi, zt”l, (circa 5440 / 1680 - 5516 / 1756), son of Harav Yom Tov Algasi, grandson of Rav Shlomo Algazi, author of Yavin Shemua. The Algasi family was a distinguished one; the family produced many Rabbanim and Roshei Yeshivah.
From his youth, Harav Yisrael Yaakov was renowned as an outstanding talmid chacham.
He was a personal attendant to the venerated Rabbanim of Yerushalayim. After the petirah of the Batei Kehunah, (a Rav in Yerushalayim), Harav Yisrael Yaakov was called upon to fill the post that was vacated. He served the Sephardic kehillah in Yerushalayim with distinction.
He also headed the thriving Beit El Yeshiva from which countless talmidim emerged to become Gedolei Yisrael.
Rav Yisrael led a very humble and quiet life. He kept away from the limelight at all costs, serving Hashem, and refused to publish any of his manuscripts that were full of chiddushim. Nevertheless, he was revered by contemporary Rabbanim, and was often referred to with extraordinary reverence. The Sha’ar Hamelech, when mentioning his name in his sefarim, would call him "a holy and humble Chassid."
However, he was forced to put aside his humility somewhat to benefit his generation. In 5497 / 1737 he came down with a debilitating illness, and the doctors practically gave up on his life. Harav Yisrael Yaakov, in his eit tzarah, vowed to publish his manuscript, and miraculously, his ailing health was restored.
He ended up publishing many sefarim which somewhat reveal his vast greatness in Torah. First he published Ar’a D’rabbanan, and subsequently many more. Among his 25 sefarim are Emet L’Yaakov, Ne’ot Yaakov, Sheima Yaakov, She’eirit Yaakov and Klal Gadol. Ar’a D’rabbanan was reprinted many times. Harav Yehudah Ayash added a commentary called Afra D’ar’a.
He continued serving as Rav in the Yerushalayim kehillah until his petirah on 6 Tammuz 5516/1756.
His son was the well-known Ri”t Algazi, who continued his father’s legacy and was a Gadol B’Yisrael in his own right.
Harav Chaim de la Rosa, zt”l, (5546 / 1786), mekubal and author of Torat Chacham a
disciple of the Rashash.
HaRav Shmuel ben Dovid Madjar, zt”l, (5608 / 1848), Av Beit Din in Yerushalayim and Rosh Yeshivat Chasidei Beit El.
HaRav Rafael Yitzchak Yisrael, zt”l, (5662 / 1902). Rav of Rhodes and then Head of the Beit Din of the Adat Sefaradim.
Harav Moshe Hager of Kossov, zt”l, (5620 / 1860 - 5685 / 1925), (Others 5686 / 1926), author of Leket Oni.
The Kossov dynasty began with Rav Menachem Mendel, the Oheiv Yisrael of Kossov (1768-1826), the son of Rav Koppel Chassid, a talmid of the Baal Shem Tov. It was Rav Menachem Mendel who first adopted the family name, “Hager,” which still prevails in the Vizhnitz dynasty, an offshoot of the Kossov court. Kossov is a town that lies at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, in East Galicia, near the confluence of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Romania. Jews had lived there since at least the fifteenth century.
Rav Menachem Mendel’s grandson, Rav Yaakov Shamshon, married at the age of 15, but had remained childless for about thirty-two years, remarrying twice during that time. Then, Rav Moshe born.
(Rav Moshe's father, Harav Yaakov Shamshon of Kossov, was the eldest son of Harav Chaim, the Torat Chaim of Kossov).
Rav Moshe was a talmid of his father.
Rav Moshe married the daughter of Harav Shmuel Ashkenazi, a scion of the Apta dynasty.
Rav Yaakov Shimshon passed away when his son, Moshe, was only 20. One year later, on 19 Adar 5640 / 1880, he took his post as Rav and Rebbe in Kossov.
He was also the head of Kupat Rabi Meir Baal Haness of Galicia, Bukovina, and parts of Hungary.
He was a masmid who never wasted a moment.
He did much kiruv work.
Reb Moshe was beloved by the residents of the city, not only his Chassidim.
Reb Moshe was a wealthy person; he traveled from place to place in a royal coach. He had a regal appearance, and his height (close to seven feet) added to his majestic look.
He was one of the founding Rabbanim of Agudat Yisrael, and a major supporter of the organization.
In 5685/1925, on the way to Berlin to see a doctor, Rav Moshe was niftar on 6 Tammuz at the age of 65. The Polish government sent a special coach to bring back his aron for kevurah in Kossov. Thousands attended the levayah.
His divrei Torah on the Torah and Yamim Tovim were published as Leket Ani.
Rav Moshe was succeeded by his son, Rav Chaim, who ultimately perished in the Holocaust, Hy"d. After the war, the Kossov dynasty was continued in Boro Park by a son of Rav Moshe’s daughter, Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel.
HaRav Klipha Cohen bar Moshe, zt”l, (5692 / 1932), Torah scholar of Djerba, author of Ora V’Simcha.
HaRav Aharon Levin, zt”l, (5701 / 1941), Rav of Reisha-Sambur.
Born on 14 Cheshvan in Pshemishel, Galicia, Harav Aharon Levin was the son of Rav Nosson.
At the request of his grandfather, he was named Aharon after his mother’s brother, Harav Aharon Shmelkish, who was niftar at a young age.
Reb Aharon astounded all with his hasmadah, and his bar mitzvah drashah that he prepared by himself left people spellbound.
When the family moved to Rohatin where his father became Rav, he went to learn under his grandfather, the Beit Yitzchak, then Rav of Pshemishel.
At just 17, he began to deliver drashot at the main beit medrash of Lvov on a regular basis. Reb Aharon was renowned for his drashot.
In 5662 / 1902, Reb Aharon married the daughter of the nagid Harav Eliyahu Tzvi Friedman of Vielitshka. Shortly after his wedding he received semichah from Harav Chaim Aryeh Horowitz, Rav of Cracow, and Harav Binyamin Aryeh Weiss, Rav of Chernowitz.
Two years later, in 5664 / 1904, despite his youth, Reb Aharon was appointed Rav in Sambur, a city with over 10,000 residents. In 5667 / 1907 his grandfather, the Beit Yitzchak, was niftar. Reb Aharon, 27 at the time, was one of the maspidim at the huge levayah, and his emotional hesped affected everyone.
After his father’s petirah, Rav Aharon became Rav of Reisha, where he became involved in klal issues. He was appointed as an adviser to Kaiser Franz Josef of Austria — an extremely powerful position. In World War I many Jews fled to Austria; Rav Aharon used his influence to help them.
In Elul 5683 / 1923, the Knessiah Gedolah of Agudat Yisrael was held in Vienna, with Reb Aharon’s active participation. At its end, Reb Aharon was appointed nasi of the worldwide Agudat Yisrael movement and was chosen to represent religious Jewry and Agudat Yisrael in the Polish parliament, together with his close friend Harav Meir Shapiro of Lublin.
Before the outbreak of World War II, Rav Aharon, realizing what was coming, fled to Lvov and from there to the Polish-Lithuanian border, but he was unsuccessful in his attempt to cross. Caught by border police, he was held in what was once the home of the Chofetz Chaim, zt”l, in Radin.
After a few days he was released. A few weeks later, an expert smuggler was sent to help him escape, but some communist Jews told local police about the plan. They pursued Reb Aharon and brought him back to Radin. Taken to court for his “crime,” he was found innocent.
Later Rav Aharon returned to Lvov. After Pesach 5700 / 1940, the Jews in eastern Galicia were deported by the Russians to Siberia.
His sons had reached Japan, and they arranged a Chilean passport for him that would have allowed him to escape. But alas, the Germans reached Lvov before the passport did.
On 6 Tammuz 5701 / 1941, the very day that the Nazis arrived in Lvov, they ruthlessly murdered Rav Aharon. Hy”d.
Harav Yitzchak Chaim Kriznetzky, zt”l, (5756 / 1996), Rosh Yeshivah, Metzuyanim, Yerushalayim.
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7 Tammuz 4586 - 1096:
Many Jews were massacred by the Crusaders in the city of Cologne, Hy"d.
7 Tammuz 5130 - 1370:
130 Jews were killed al kiddush Hashem in the city of Willitza, Hy"d.
7 Tammuz - 1559:
Jewish quarter of Prague was burned and looted.
.7 Tammuz 5619 - July 9, 1859:
Alexander II issued a decree returning Cantonists under the age of 20 to their parents and ordering that they be exempt from service until they had reached that age.
7 Tammuz 5679 - July 5, 1919:
In Dunkov, Russia, 24 Jews were massacred and more than 150 wounded during
a pogrom carried out by troops linked to Simon Petyura's Ukrainian National
7 Tammuz 5698 - July 6, 1938:
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated an international conference at Evian, France, where 32 world leaders discussed the problem of Jewish refugees. Unfortunately, little was accomplished, as nation after nation offered excuses for their refusal to accept Jewish refugees. Chaim Weizmann was quoted as saying: "The world seemed to be divided into two parts -- those places where the Jews could not live, and those where they could not enter." The conference failed to pass even a resolution condemning German treatment of Jews. The negligible results highlighted the passive role of the Western world and the lack of action further emboldened Hitler, proving to him that no country had the moral fortitude to oppose the Nazi's genocidal plans on European Jewry.
7 Tammuz 5701 - July 2, 1941:
A Jew was shot by the Nazis in Salonika, Greece, for "insulting a representative
of the German army," Hy"d.
7 Tammuz 5701 - July 2, 1941:
Hundreds of Jews in Yurburg, Lithuania, were murdered by the Nazis. Hy"d.
7 Tammuz 5725 - July 7, 1965:
Moshe Sharett, second Prime Minister of Israel, died on this day.
7 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Pinchas HaLevi Horowitz of Nikelsburg, zt"l, (1730-1805). Rav of Frankfurt, the Baal Hafla'ah. His father was the Rav of Tchortkov. HaRav Pinchas and his brother HaRav Shmuel Shmelke were students of the Mezritcher Maggid. They were amongst the first adherents to the Chassidic movement to hold rabbinic posts in Germany. The famed Rav Moshe Sofer, known as the Chatam Sofer, considered Rav Pinchas to be one of his main teachers. His son, Rav Tzvi Hirsch, followed him as Rav of Frankfurt. Toward the end of his life, the enlightenment and reform movements began their entries into Frankfurt. In 1805, a Reform school was established there, despite the firm opposition of its rabbanim. He authored Sefer Hafla'ah and Sefer HaMikneh -- commentaries on the Talmud -- and Panim Yafot on the Torah.
HaRav Baruch Teomim-Frankel, zt"l, (5520 / 1760 - 5588 / 1828), the Baruch Taam.Harav Baruch Frankel-Teomim was born in 5520/1760. His father was Harav Yehoshua Heschel Feivish, who was Rav in Ostrovtza, Poland. Twenty-four generations of the family had been Rabbanim; Harav Yehoshua Heschel wanted his son to become a Rav and keep the chain intact.
Baruch was sent by his father to learn from leading Gedolim of the era: Harav Lieber Charif, Rav in Cracow, and Harav David Teveli, Rav in Lissa.
When he came of age, Rav Baruch was taken as a chassan by the nagid Harav Yehudah Parnas, rosh hakahal in Wisnicz, Austrian Galicia. His zivug sheini was the daughter of Harav Yehudah Leib HaLevi of Lissa; after her passing, he married the daughter of Harav Tzvi Yehoshua HaLevi Horowitz, son of Harav Shmelke of Nikolsburg, zy”a.
When he was just 18, the kehillah of Wisnicz, Austrian Galicia, appointed Rav Baruch as Rav. Despite his youth, the townspeople heeded his every word. Rav Baruch was Rav there for twenty-three years, until he left because of machloket in the city.
In 5562/1802, he was appointed Rav in Leipnik, Moravia, where he found peace and was able to learn unhindered. There, he founded his famous yeshivah, where thousands of bachurim from all over Europe came to learn. He headed the yeshivah and was deeply involved with it until his last day, despite his commitments as Rav of the city. This yeshivah produced many leading Rabbanim for Klal Yisrael.
In Leipnik, Rav Baruch’s brilliance and abilities became evident. His derech halimud was deep, based on pilpul and cross-referencing.
He was also renowned for his concern and love for every Jew.
After 47 years of disseminating Torah in Leipnik, he was niftar on 7 Tammuz, 5588/1828.
His sons were Harav Yehoshua Heschel, zt”l, Rav in Komarna, and Harav Yosef, zt”l, a nagid in Plonsk who ran the local yeshivah. His sons-in-law were Harav Chaim of Sanz, the Divrei Chaim, founder of the Sanzer dynasty; Harav Manish Mordechai Teumim of Brod; Harav Yechiel Meir Kaminer, father of Harav Yehudah Kaminer, the father-in-law of the Sfat Emet of Ger; Harav Yeshayah Goldshtoff of Cracow, and Harav Yeshayah Schiff of Zamstadt, zecher tzaddikim livrachah.
Rav Baruch wrote divrei Torah which he did not publish, explaining it would take too much time from his yeshivah obligations. After his petirah his son Harav Yehoshua Heschel and his son-in-law, the Sanzer Rebbe, worked on and published his writings. His best-known work is Baruch Taam.
HaRav Yechiel Yehuda Isacsohn, zt”l, (1922-1977). After marrying the youngest daughter of the Sigheter Rebbe (the Atzei Chaim), Rav Yechiel Yehuda served as Rav of Sighet, then moved to Eretz Yisrael where he became Rav of the Achuza-Haifa community. However, when his health weakened him, he was urged to move to Los Angeles. There, in the 1950s, together with a handful of Rabbanim and baalei batim, he founded Yeshiva Torat Emet. (After his petira, his name was added to the yeshiva.) He was also mara d’asra of the Magen Avraham shul (today known as Beit Yehuda, in his memory). In 1989, a Chassidishe Kollel was founded in Los Angeles and was called Kollel Yechiel Yehuda, to mark the import that the Rav had on the community. Today, his grandson, Rav Shlomo Klein, an avreich at the Kollel, serves as Rav of Kehillat Ohr Hachayim.
HaRav Gedalia Schorr, zt”l, (5670 / 1910 - 5739 / 1979), Rosh Yeshivah Torah Vodaath and Beit Medrash Elyon, author of Ohr Gedalyahu.
Born in the town of Istrik,Poland, a shtetl near Pszemiszl, to Rav Avraham Schorr, a Rizhiner chasid.
When Reb Gedalia was 12 years old, his family immigrated to America and settled on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Later they moved to Williamsburg. Young Gedalia dedicated himself to learning with a passion which he maintained all his life.
He was one of the first students of Mesivta Torah Vodaath under Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz. He joined the first group of the Daf Yomi cycle when he was 12 years old, and started delivering a shiur on the Daf when he was 15.
The Rav of Lublin, Harav Meir Shapiro, Zt”l, spent months in the United States when Reb Gedalia was not quite 20. The Lubliner Rav sought out the most promising young men. Of the young Gedalia Schorr he said, “He has the most brilliant mind I have come across.”
At Torah Vodaath, he studied with Rav Dovid Leibowitz, grandson of the Chafetz Chaim’s brother. At 20, Reb Gedalia was appointed R”M of the highest class of the fledging Yeshiva Torah Vodaath. The talmidim he taught were almost the same age as he was.
In 5698/1938, after his chasunah to Rebbetzin Shifrah (Isbee), he left for Europe to Kletzk to grow in Torah and avodat Hashem. There he learned under Harav Aharon Kotler, Zt”l, the Kletzker Rosh Yeshivah. Reb Gedalia remained in Kletzk for only a short time, until the outbreak of WWII one year later, when he was told by the American consul in Warsaw to return home because of the imminent danger.
As the tragic situation of the Yidden in Europe became apparent, Reb Gedalia, along with Reb Elimelech (Mike) Tress of Agudat Yisrael, threw themselves into the insurmountable task of trying to rescue as many of their brethren in Europe as they could. Reb Gedalia invested countless hours and undertook many trips to further rescue efforts, and succeeded in many of them.
In 5708/1948, Harav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, Zt”l, the legendary Menahel of Mesivta Torah Vodaath, was niftar; Reb Gedalia succeeded him as menahel ruchani, along with Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky, a post he maintained for 33 years. In 1956, after the petirah of Rav Reuven Grozovsky, Reb Gedalia was appointed Rosh Yeshivat Torah Vodaath and he also became Rosh Yeshiva of Beit Medrash Elyon, the post-graduate division of Torah Vodaath in Monsey.
Harav Schorr was niftar on 7 Tammuz 5739/1979, after giving a drashah at a talmid's sheva brachot.
His discourses have been collected in the sefer Ohr Gedalyahu.
HaRav Yechiel Chaim Labin, zt”l, (5743 / 1983),of Makov-Yerushalayim.
HaRav Simcha Bunim Alter, zt”l, (5658 / 1898 - 5752 / 1992), the Gerrer Rebbe from 1977-1992; also known as the Lev Simcha.
Harav Simchah Bunim was born in Gur, a suburb of Warsaw, Poland, on 23 Nisan 5658 / 1898. His father was Harav Avraham Mordechai, the Imrei Emet, the oldest son of the Sfat Emet who, in turn, was a grandson of the Chiddushei Harim.
He was named after the Rebbe Reb Bunim of Peshischa. The Imrei Emet said that he wanted a “Rebbe Reb Bunim” in his home; indeed, the cleverness and kedushah of Rav Simchah Bunim was apparent from his youth.
He married his cousin, the daughter of his father’s brother Harav Nechemiah Alter.
His chasunah took place during World War I.
Rav Simchah Bunim revered his father-in-law and attested that he attained a very high level of dveikut. Rav Nechemiah, zt”l, was niftar during the Holocaust years.
The Lev Simchah possessed a deep ahavat Eretz Yisrael, and visited there in 5687 / 1927. In 5694 / 1934, he moved to Eretz Yisrael permanently. However, the outbreak of World War II found the Lev Simchah trapped in Poland, where he had returned to visit his father. With great nissim, he was able to flee together with his father, his brother (the Beit Yisrael) and a few family members to Eretz Yisrael.
After the petirah of his father, the Imrei Emet, his brother, the Beit Yisrael, succeeded to the leadership of Gerrer Chassidut, which he rebuilt and expanded. The Lev Simchah stood beside his holy brother, and with great humility assisted him in his work.
The Lev Simchah originated the daf yomi for the Talmud Yerushalmi.
The Rebbe was niftar on 7 Tammuz 5752/1992.
Rebbetzin Raizel Portugal, A’H, the Skulener Rebbetzin (1925-2005). Born in Yapa, Romania, a city near Sighet, Romania. Her father, Rav Menachem Zev Stern, one of the talmidim of the Satmar Rebbe, was the Rav of Vishava, Romania, and later of Givat Shaul. Her mother was the daughter of Rav Meir Barnet, the Baal Divrei Meir.
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8 Tammuz 5327 - June 15, 1567:
Having become a virtual vassal of Spain,
the Republic of Genoa (Italy) expelled the Jews at the behest of
their Spanish overlords.
8 Tammuz 5594 - July 15, 1834:
Spanish Queen Maria Christina abolished the Office of the Spanish Inquisition, which had
existed for 300 years. However, the right of public worship (including permission to mark
places of worship and advertise religious services) was not granted to
the Jews until 1967.
8 Tammuz 5600 - July 9, 1840:
U.S. President Martin Van Buren protested the Damascus blood libel, in which Syrian Jews were charged with killing two men and using their blood to make Passover matzah. Father Thomas of Damascus (and his Muslim assistant) had disappeared, prompting a blood libel that led to the arrest and torture of 13 Jews. More arrests and atrocities followed, culminating in the kidnapping of 63 Jewish children (compelling them to "reveal" where the blood was hidden), and mob attacks on Jewish communities throughout the Middle East. In England, Jewish leaders Montefiore and Rothschild sought government intervention. In the U.S., Van Buren ordered American diplomats in Turkey and Egypt to lodge an official protest, while thousands of Jews protested in six American cities -- historically the first collective action by American Jews on behalf of their overseas brethren. Bowing to pressure, Syrian officials agreed to release those Jews who had survived the numerous rounds of torture. The story never completely disappeared, and in 1986 Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass published a book, The Matzah of Zion, reviving this libel against the Jews.
8 Tammuz 5663 - July 3, 1903:
A pogrom took place in Bialystok, Poland.
8 Tammuz 5760 - July 11, 2000:
Camp David Summit where Prime Minister Barak was pressured by the U.S. to give the Old City to the Palestinians. President Clinton and PM Barak blame Arafat for the failure to strike a deal. .
8 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Shaul, zt”l, (5550 / 1790), Rav of Amsterdam, author of Binyan Ariel.
HaRav Shlomo bar Yehudah HaCohen, zt"l, (5587 / 1827). Kabbalist and fundraiser sent from Eretz Yisrael, author of Yafeh Sha’ah.
HaRav Shimon Shlomo Gitterman, zt”l, of Savorn, (5608 / 1848).
HaRav Meir Horowitz of Dzikov (Tarnobrzeg), zt”l, (5579 / 1819 - 5637 / 1877), author of Imrei Noam.
Harav Meir of Dzikov's father was Harav Eliezer of Dzikov, son of Harav Naftali of Ropshitz, zt”l. The young Meir merited to know his illustrious grandfather, the heilige Ropshitzer Rav.
Reb Meir was educated by his father and also by his uncle, Harav Asher Yeshaya of Ropshitz, zy”a, one of the Ropshitzer’s sons-in-law. He traveled regularly to Reb Tzvi Hirsch of Rimanov, zy”a, and frequently visited the Divrei Chaim of Sanz, zy”a.
In his youth, Reb Meir was already recognized as a Gadol baTorah, and frequently corresponded on Torah and halachah subjects with Gedolim like Harav Yosef Shaul Nathanson, Harav Shlomo Kluger, and Harav Chaim of Sanz, zy”a.
In 5621/1861, Reb Eliezer was appointed Rav of Dzikov. After the petirah of his father, Reb Meir succeeded him.
During the Imrei Noam’s time there were differences of opinion among the Gedolim over the issue of Jews moving to America, which was then a spiritual wasteland. The Imrei Noam supported those who wished to relocate to the United States, saying, “Even in America, there should resound the words Amen, Yehei Shmei Rabba…!”
He is known by the name of his sefer, Imrei Noam, a number of volumes on Torah, moadim and she’eilot u’teshuvot.
Before the Imrei Noam was niftar, he became extremely weak. His doctors advised him to travel to the health spa of Carlsbad, but Reb Meir did not agree; he preferred to remain at home in Dzikov. His children, though, kept urging him to heed the doctors’ advice.
Finally, the Dzikover Rebbe gave in to their pleas.
He arrived in Carlsbad in 5637/1877 on a Tuesday and the very next day he passed away. By the time his body was brought back to Dzikov for burial, it was already Friday.
The Ahavat Yisrael of Vizhnitz once came into the beit medrash on the yahrtzeit of his father-in-law, the Imrei Noam, and asked those present if they had already recited mishnayot on his father-in-law’s behalf.
The Chassidim were surprised and asked, “Does the Imrei Noam need our mishnayot?”
In answer, the Ahavat Yisroel related that the Imrei Noam had once entered the beit medrash on the yahrtzeit of Reb Naftali of Ropshitz and had asked the young men who were learning if they had learned mishnayot for Reb Naftali. When they expressed surprise, the Imrei Noam explained, “When a person learns mishnayot for the soul of someone who does not need it, the merit of those mishnayot reverts to the learner.”
One of his sons, R’ Tuvia Horowitz, was Rav of Majdan. Another son, Ravi Aharon
Horowitz, married Fradel, a daughter of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz in 1878.
HaRav Yechiel Chaim Halevi Epstein, zt”l, of Ozhorov, (5638 / 1878).
HaRav Yosef Alter Hager, zt”l, of Radovitz-Haifa (5639 / 1879).
HaRav Eliyahu Mani, zt”l, the Re’em, (5578 / 1818 - 5659 / 1899), Rav of Chevron, author of Zichronot Eliyahu. and many more.
Rav Eliyahu ben Suleiman Mani was born in Baghdad in Tammuz, 5578 (1818). He was one of the best-known of the Iraqi Gedolim. The family name, Mani, is a sign of their descent from Dovid Hamelech. Mani stands for Migeza Nin Yishai, descending from the children of Yishai.
Young Eliyahu learned in Baghdad at the Beit Zilcha beit medrash, and was one of the outstanding talmidim of Rav Abdallah Somech. (He married his Rebbi’s sister, Samira.)
Rav Eliyahu was an associate of Rav Yosef Chaim of Baghdad, zt”l, the Ben Ish Chai, and with his blessings, he decided to move to Eretz Yisrael in 5616/1866. He settled in Yerushalayim, where he was warmly received by the Sephardic Rabbanim.
But then, two years after arriving in Eretz Yisrael, Rav Eliyahu was struck with a serious illness which caused him to be bedridden. The doctors knew no cure for his illness, only suggesting that he move to Chevron, where the mountain climate might be better for him. There he slowly regained his strength and played a prominent role in the development of the Jewish community.
When Rav Eliyahu arrived in Chevron, Harav Moshe Pereira, zt”l was the community leader. Rav Moshe Pereira respected Rav Eliyahu highly, and later married off his daughter to Suleiman, the son of Rav Eliyahu.
In Iyar, 5624/1864, Rav Moshe Pereira was niftar. Rav Eliyahu was asked to become Chief Rabbi of Chevron. Initially he refused, but in 5625/1865 he acquiesced, on condition that he would not receive a salary. He would only take the post l’shem Shamayim. He retained this post until his petirah.
Although by nature an unassuming and generous man, Rav Eliyahu was steadfast in matters of halachah.
Rav Eliyahu was niftar on 8 Tammuz, 5659/1899. He was buried in Chevron, near the kever of the Reishit Chochmah.
Rav Eliyahu wrote many sefarim including Birkat Eliyahu on Siddur HaRashash; Mazkir Shalom on Shulchan Aruch; Kisei Eliyahu on Kabbalah; Me’il Eliyahu, his chiddushim on Kabbalah; Maaseh Eliyahu, his responsa in halachah; Karnot Tzaddik; Zichronot Eliyahu, on dinim and halachot; Siach Yitzchak on halachah and many more.
HaRav Chaim Messas (Mashash), zt"l, (5603 / 1843 - 5664 / 1904), Chief Rabbi of Morocco during the early 20th century, author of the Nishmat Chaim.
HaRav Mordechai Twersky of Kuzmir, zt”l, (5678 / 1918).
He had many students, among them Rav Raphael Baruch Toledano, his son Rav Yossef Messas, and many others who became dayanim and taught Torah in Morocco and Eretz Israel.
His work was published in 1949 by his son Rav Yossef, and later republished by the Bnei Issachar foundation thanks to his son Rav Eliyahu.
Harav Mordechai of Kuzmir, born in 5600/1840, was the son of Harav Avraham of Trisk, the Trisker Maggid, who was the son of Harav Mordechai, the Maggid of Chernobyl.
In 5619/1859, Rav Mordechai married Rebbetzin Chana, the daughter of Harav Asher of Stolin. After his chasunah he remained in Karlin, where he was supported by his Rebbetzin’s grandfather, Reb Aharon of Karlin.
Reb Mordechai’s Rebbetzin approached her father-in-law, the Trisker Maggid, numerous times, asking him to daven on her behalf that she should be blessed with a child, to which he agreed. As time passed and she still was not blessed with a child, she approached her father-in-law again. However, the holy Maggid then said to her: “The truth of the matter is that if your husband wanted you to be blessed with a child, you would have already been blessed; but on second thought, with a husband as great as yours, why do you need children? Is he not as good as 10 children?” And she never had children…
After his father’s petirah, Reb Mordechai accepted the cloak of leadership, and the majority of his father’s Chassidim flocked to him. When Reb Mordechai had to flee from Vlodovoki to Galicia, his Chassidim in Warsaw tried to use their connections to enable their Rebbe to return to Russia. Upon hearing what the Chassidim were attempting to do, the Rebbe insisted on remaining in Galicia. He explained: “I do not want to live in Russia at this time, due to the fact that I wish to remove the present czar from power. While residing in Russia, I do not have the power to curse Russia’s leader.” And so it happened: Shortly thereafter, Alexander III died, and his son Nicholas II (the last Russian monarch), succeeded him.
Many different Polish communities sent delegations to the Rebbe, inviting him to settle in their respective communities. The Rebbe chose the city of Kuzmir, in the province of Lublin, as his new hometown.
On the day of his petirah (Thursday, 8 Tammuz), he hired a wagon driver to drive him and his gabbai to the mikveh, which was situated at the edge of the town. Upon exiting the mikveh, he said: “Ich bin in gantzin rein — I am completely purified.”
When he arrived home, he told his gabbai, “I have not yet recited the brachah of Shehecheyanu on cherries this season.” The gabbai brought cherries to the Rebbe’s room, upon which the Rebbe recited the brachah of Shehecheyanu. Reb Mordechai then remained seated and appeared to be engrossed in holy thought. Suddenly, he groaned and fell back into his chair in a faint. Physicians were summoned, but the Rebbe had already returned his pure neshamah to its Creator.
Many of Reb Mordechai’s divrei Torah are recorded in Sefer Maamar Mordechai (Kielce 5679 / 1919).
HaRav Chaim Mordechai Yaakov Gottlieb, zt”l, of Mishkoltz, (5696 / 1936), author of Yagel Yakov.
HaRav Yechezkel Daum, zt"l, (5702 / 1942 - 5753 / 1993). Rav of Ramat Magshimim, Israel.
HaRav Shlomo Eliach He was known as the first father of the prisoners.(year?)
HaRav Avraham HaCohen Rottah, zt"l, (5755 / 1995). One of the heads of the Eidah Chareidit.
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9 Tammuz 3175 - 586 B.C.E.:
The Babylonian armies of King Nevuchadnetzar breached the walls of Yerushalayim / Jerusalem and entered the city prior to the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash.
Tzidkiyahu HaMelech / King Zedekiah of Judah was captured and taken to Bavel / Babylon (Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 39:5). A month later, the capture of Yerushalayim was completed with the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash and the exile of all but a small number of Jews to Bavel).
During the 70-year exile in Bavel, 9 Tammuz was the fourth public fast day. Seventy years later, however, when the Second Beit Hamikdash was built, the fast was abolished and the day was turned into a holiday. Some 500 years later --after the breaking of the wall of the Second Beit Hamikdash by the Romans on the 17th of Tammuz, the Sages decreed the 17th of Tammuz as a fast day to commemorate both tragedies. (Talmud, Rosh Hashanah and Tur Orach Chaim 549).
9 Tammuz - 63 B.C.E.:
Pompey captured Yerushalayim and killed 12,000 Jews, Hy"d.
Pompey had been asked to intervene in an internecine war between Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II for the throne of the Hasmonean Kingdom. His conquest of Yerushalayim, however, spelled the end of
the Hasmonean Dynasty and Jewish independence and the incorporation of Judea into the Roman Republic as a client kingdom.
The Romans entered the Holy of Holies, but Pompey did not touch the temple treasures.
9 Tammuz 4990 - June 20, 1230:
Jews were massacred in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, Hy"d.
9 Tammuz 5004 - June 9, 1244:
At least twenty wagons loaded with Gemaras (Talmud) and commentaries were burned in France. The incident occured on Friday of Parshat Chukat. (There were no printing presses at that time, and many writings of the Baalei Tosafot were lost forever).
The decree was even more severe in Paris, where it was announced that every Jew who had a Talmud in his home would be exiled from France.
According to the Minchat Elazar of Munkacs (Divrei Torah, eight edition, 31), his grandfather, the Bnei Yissaschar, had a tradition that the greatest Baalei Tosafot (most of whom were killed al Kiddush Hashem) wrote their long Tosafot on Perek Meruba of Bava Kama the night before being called to judgement by their wicked enemies. They were threatened that if they refused to convert they would be killed. Apparently, this occured after their first chiddushim were burned.
The Shibbolei Leket on Hilchot Taanit discusses the aftermath of the burning of the Talmud. "We heard that they asked a she'eilat chalom, whether it was a Heavenly decree or not, and they were answered, "Veda gezeirat Oraisa" [the Targum of the verse, Zot chukat HaTorah]. They understood that this hinted that the Friday of Parshat Chukat [the day the Talmud was burned] is a day of evil decrees. From that day on, individuals fasted every year on that day [of the week], the Friday of Parshat Chukat, but not on the day of the month."
Kinnot were composed in commemoration of this Talmud burning. The most famous one is the Kinnah of the Maharam of Rottenberg, "Shaali serufah ba'eish", which is recited by many Ashkenazic kehillot on Tisha B'Av.
9 Tammuz - 1391:
4,000 Jews were killed in Toledo, Spain, Hy"d.
9 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Yaakov Tamerlesh, zt”l, (5438 / 1678), author of Safra D’tzeniasa.
HaRav Yitzchak ben Shangi, zt”l, (5519 / 1759), one of the great scholars of Solonika, and a Kabbalist of Yeshivat Beit El.
HaRav Moshe Rokeach, Hy”d, (5701 / 1941), son of Harav Aharon of Belz.
Harav Moshe Rokeach was the eldest son of Harav Aharon of Belz, zy”a, and Rebbetzin Malka, daughter of Harav Shmuel Rokeach of Skohl (the son of Harav Yehoshua of Belz, zy”a).
Reb Moshe married the daughter of Harav Pinchos Shalom Halevi Rottenberg of Chenshtochov, son of Harav Alter Meir Dovid of Wolbrum, who was a son of the Sar Shalom of Belz, zy”a (his father-in-law was Harav Moshe of Korib). The wedding was the first in the Belzer court after the petirah of Harav Yissachar Dov, who had been niftar in Cheshvan of that year. It took place shortly after Shavuot, 5627/1927.
Reb Moshe was known for his sharp mind; after his father’s tisch he was called upon to explain the divrei Torah of Reb Aharon.
When World War II broke out, Reb Aharon and his family fled Belz. During their stay in Premishlan, Reb Moshe was killed by the Nazis. This is how it happened:
On a Friday afternoon a week or two after the Nazis took control of Premishlan, they set the local shul on fire and threw people into the burning building. The Yidden tried to flee wherever they could. Tragically, together with four other Yidden, Reb Moshe was caught and burned to death.
When Reb Aharon was informed of the heinous murder of his beloved son, he said, “Baruch Hashem, I was zocheh to sacrifice a korban to Hashem…”
HaRav Yehuda Maimon, zt"l, (5722 / 1962), first Israeli minister of religious affairs,
and founder of the HaRav Kook Foundation.
HaRav Zalman Sorotzkin, zt”l, the Lutzker Rav (5641 / 1881 - 5726 / 1966).
Reb Zalman was born in Zagarine, Lithuania, where he initially learned under the tutelage of his father, Harav Ben Tzion, who was the town’s Rav. His mother was the daughter of Harav Chaim Shorin. Later, he went to learn in Slabodka, under Harav Moshe Dinshevski and in Volozhin under Harav Refael Shapira.
Reb Zalman married the daughter of the Telzer Rav and Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav Eliezer Gordon. Afterwards, he learned in Volozhin for several years. Later, he returned to Telshe to help run the yeshiva.
When his father-in-law was niftar in 5671 / 1911, Reb Zalman was offered the position as Rav and Rosh Yeshiva in Telz. He did not accept the position and was shortly afterwards appointed Rav of Voranava, Belarus (near Vilna) at age 30. This enabled him to establish a close relationship with Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzenski. He served as Rav of Voronova for 2 years where he established a yeshiva ketana, then he served as Rav of Dziatlava (Zhetel in Yiddish) for 18 years.
As Zhetel was the birthplace of the Chofetz Chaim, the Chofetz Chaim would affectionately refer to Rav Zalman as "my" rav.
In 5674 / 1914, when the Germans invaded, Reb Zalman moved to Minsk and became a close friend of the Chazon Ish who rented a room from Reb Sorotzkin. When the war ended, Reb Zalman returned to Zhetel. In 5681 / 1921, he was appointed Rav of Lutsk, where he remained until WW II. During the early days of the war, when many yeshivot had to relocate, Reb Zalman served as head of the Vaad Hayeshivot.
Only after Vilna was taken over by the Bolsheviks, did Reb Zalman flee and escape to Eretz Yisrael.
Reb Zalman was one of the founders of Vaad Hayeshivot in Eretz Yisrael, serving as its leader. Alongside Rav Aaron Kotler and the members of the Israeli Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah, he also helped found Chinuch Atzmai in 1953, and he was chosen to head it.
Reb Zalman was niftar on 9 Tammuz 5726 / 1966, at the age of 85. He was buried on Har Hamenuchot.
Reb Zalman wrote Oznaim LaTorah al haTorah and Moznaim LaTorah on the Yamim Tovim, Sheailot Utshuvot Moznaim LaMishpat and HaDeah ve-ha-Dibur which is a collection of derashot.
He was survived by five sons, Harav Elchonon Sorotzkin, zt”l, author of Leman Achai VeRai and Chairman of Vaad Hayeshivot; Harav Baruch Sorotzkin, , zt”l; Rosh Yeshivah of Telshe-Cleveland, Ohio; Harav Eliezer Sorotzkin, zt”l; founder of Kiryat Telz-Stone; Harav Yisrael Sorotzkin, Rosh Yeshivah in Yeshivat Lomza and Rav and Av Beit Din in Petach Tikva; and Harav Ben Tzion Sorotzkin, leader of Chinuch Atzmai.
HaRav Moshe Chevroni, zt”l, (1905 – 1975), the Rosh Yeshiva of Chevron yeshiva. He learned with the Chofetz Chaim as a youth. In 1924 he came to Eretz Yisrael with a group led by the Alter of Slobodka, who established Yeshivat Knesset Yisrael in Chevron. He was a son-in-law of R’ Moshe Mordechai Epstein (rosh yeshiva in Slobodka, Chevron). Author of Masa’at Moshe.
HaRav Yosef Shlomo Dayan, zt”l, (1924 – 1985). He was the scion of an honorable family of Chaleiv that produced many scholars and communal servants. He came to Eretz Yisrael with his family at the age of ten, and as a youth organized a rebellion of the students against the missionary directors of his school. He worked tirelessly to help the public, and was known for his complete devotion to Torah study and his knowledge of Kabbalah. For fifteen years he lived in isolation and prayed at the graves of Tannaim and Amoraim in the north of Israel in Hitbodedut. He always hid his greatness in Torah and appeared as a simple person. He learned Kabbalah from Rav Mordechai Sharabi.
HaRav Dovid ben HaRav Yaakov Aryeh Lipschitz, zt”l, Suvalker Rav, president of Ezrat Torah, and Dean of Yeshiva Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchonon (1906-1993). Known as the “Suvalker Rav,” due to his previous position as the Rabbi of the European town of Suvalk, which he maintained until its capture by the Nazis in 1940. He was born in Minsk, but moved to Grodno as a child, where he later studied in Yeshivat Shaar Hatorah of Rav Shimon Shkop. He transferred to the Mir yeshiva where he studied under R’ Eliezer Yehuda Finkel and Rav Yerucham Levovitz. At age 24, he married Zipporah Chava Yoselewitz and two years later, in 1935, he succeeded his father-in-law as rav of Suvalk. One-half of Suvalk’s 6,000 Jews (including the Lifshitz family) escaped to Lithuania. In June 1941, Rav Lifschitz arrived in San Francisco on a boat that carried several other leading sages. Rav Lifschitz’s first position in the USA was in Chicago, but he soon moved to Yeshivat Rabbienu Yitzchak Elchanan (the rabbinical school of what later became Yeshiva University), where he remained for the rest of his life. He served as a member of the presidium of the Agudath HaRabbonim of America and Canada for many years. A small number of his shmuessen were printed posthumously under the title Tehilah Le’Dovid, and some of his lectures on Talmud were later compiled and published as "Shiurei Rav Dovid Lifshitz"
HaRav Yekusiel Yehuda Halberstam, the Klausenburger Rebbe, zt”l, (1905 - 5754 / 1994). A great-grandson of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz, he was known for his genius as a child, and received Semicha from the greatest of his generation. He spent most of World War II in concentration camps. As a Holocaust survivor who lost his wife and eleven children he encouraged thousands of Holocaust survivors with his great strength and faith. He worked tirelessly with extreme devotion to rebuild Torah institutions. In 1947 he moved to America, and supported European Jews and Torah institutions in Israel. After founded Kiryat Sanz in Netanya in 1956, he moved there in 1960. Using his experiences from the war to stimulate him, Reb Yekusiel vowed to dedicate his life to welfare and good health of all Jewish children. After 15 years of fund-raising, he founded Laniado Hospital in Netanya in 1975, a religious hospital that is directed by Halachic principles. His vision of a proper Jewish hospital was confirmed in 1990, as it was one of the only hospitals in Israel to have every employee working during the 127-day doctors’ strike.
During his last 15 years of life, he founded Kollelei Shas in Eretz Yisrael and America. These Kollelei Shas were intended for premier avreichim who were already known for their sharp intellect and hasmada. The goal of the kollel was that in the course of three years, the members had to complete the entire Shas. Every member had to obligate himself to be tested on 75 blatt Gemara with Tosafot each month and know them by heart! Then, in 1983, at his house in Kiryat Sanz, Netanya, he laid the cornerstone for what would ultimately become Mifal HaShas, where avreichim would learn 30 blatt of Gemara with Tosafot with a built-in review program and be tested monthly on the material learned. After his petira, his eldest surviving son, Rav Zvi Elimelech Halberstam, became the new Sanz Rebbe in Eretz Yisrael, as well as President of the Hospital. His writings have been published and were well received.
HaRav Mendel Falik, zt”l, (2007). Born in Paterson, New Jersey, his family moved to Brooklyn when he was eleven years old so that he could have a proper chinuch. He attended Yeshiva Torah Vodaath until the age of 15, when his parents sent their ben yachid to the Yeshiva of Philadelphia. He then went to Beit Medrash Govoha. After several years, he moved to St. Louis, to begin his career as a marbitz Torah. For close to forty years, Rav Mendel was a mechanech par excellence. For most of those years, he was a rebbi in Yeshiva Torah Temimah.
HaRav David Chatato Chaduk, zt”l, author of Dagan Bachurim. (year?)
10 Tammuz - 588 B.C.E.:
When the Babylonians breached the walls of Yerushalayim on the 9th of Tammuz, Tzidkiyahu HaMelech / KingTzedekiah fled the city. He was captured by the Babylonians after fleeing the city of Yerushalayim through
a subterranean tunnel to Yericho, and brought to Riblah, during the 18th year of Nevuchadnetzar's reign. (Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah ch. 39) Nevuchadnetzar forced him to witness the
slaughter of his sons, and then ordered his eyes gouged out.and sent him to Bavel / Babylon, fulfilling
the prophecy of Yechezkel / Ezekiel.
Till today, Tzidkiyahu HaMelech is remembered as a righteous man, while Nevuchadnetzar -- like a long list
of tyrants who sought to oppress the Jewish people -- was degraded and
reduced to the dustbin of history. The biblical Book of Daniel (4:30)
describes how Nevuchadnetzar "was driven from mankind; he ate grass like oxen, and his body was washed by the dew of heaven, until his hair grew like eagles' feathers and his nails were like birds' claws." (Nevuchadnetzar later regained his sanity and returned to rule.)
10 Tammuz 5026 - 1266:
12 Jews of Cologne were killed al kiddush Hashem, Hy"d.
10 Tammuz 5480 - July 16, 1720:
A Fast day was established by the Jewish community of Frankfurt-am-Main to mark the escape of the residents of the Jewish quarter from harm during a major fire in the city.
10 Tammuz 5594 - July 17, 1834:
The community of Tzefat was saved from Arab rioters. The Ovritzer Rebbe, the Bat Ayin, zt"l, established this day as a Yom Tov.
10 Tammuz 5708 - July 17, 1948:
The Israel Defense Forces liberated the town of Nazareth during the War of
10 Tammuz 5720 - July 5, 1960:
The 50-year old Jewish community of the Belgian Congo, consisting of 2500 Jews, fled in the wake of riots which followed independence.
10 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Moshe Ben Harav Yosef, zt"l, killed al kiddush Hashem in Altula. Hy”d, (5000 / 1240).
HaRav Binyamin Levy of Smyrna, zt”l, (5481 / 1721).
HaRav Mordecai of Kremnitz (5573 / 1813). One of the five sons of the Magid of Zlotchov (Rav Yechiel Michel). One of his four brothers was Rav Moshe of Zvhil, the first Zvhiller Rebbe. Rav Mordechai was also the father-in-law of Rav Aharon II of Karlin (the Beit Aharon).
HaRav Eliezer Halevi Horowitz of Neustadt, zt”l, (5603 / 1843). Son of Harav Tzvi, who was the son of Harav Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz, the Chozeh of Lublin. Reb Eliezer was the son-in-law of the “Gutter Yid” of Neustadt, the son of Harav Klonimus Kalman, the Maor V’shemesh of Cracow.
Reb Eliezer was a very close talmid of Reb Yissachar Dov, the Sabba Kaddisha of Radoshitz. His closeness to his Rebbe was so strong that he was niftar less than a month after his revered Rebbe's petirah, seemingly unable to live on without his Rebbe.
His son, Harav Chaim Shmuel, founded the Chassidut of Chentchin.
HaRav Shmuel Rosenberg, zt”l, author of Masa d’Yerushalayim, (5669 / 1909).
HaRav Meir Melul, zt”l, (5735 / 1975), Rav of Barcelona.
11 Tammuz - 1549:
The expulsion of all Marranos in Ghent, Belgium.
11 Tammuz 5534 - June 20, 1774:
The Jews of Algeria escape an attack by the Spanish army under the command of General O'Reilly who were successfully repulsed by the Dey of Algiers, Mohammed ibn Uman. Tradition has
it that flames came out of the graves of the great Rabbis Isaac ben Sheshet and
Solomon ben Simon Duran and contributed to the Spanish defeat. A .Purim of Tammuz ("Red Purim") was established to to commemorate this miracle.
11 Tammuz 5687 - July 11, 1927:
A major earthquake struck Yerushalayim. The Kaf Hachaim notes (576:26) that while many Arabs died, miraculously no Jews were hurt .
11 Tammuz 5695 - July 12, 1935:
Yahrzeit of Colonel Alfred Dreyfus, (1859 - 1935), a Jewish French army officer who was
falsely arrested and charged with treason. Dreyfus was the victim of a
frame-up; falsified documents were exposed in a famous open letter
entitled J'accuse! (I Accuse!). This scandal, which came to be known as the Dreyfus Affair, bitterly divided French society for many years. Dreyfus was stripped of his rank and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil's Island. (Five years later, he was released and later pardoned.) Theodor Herzl, a Jewish journalist reporting on the trial, was so affected by the anti-Semitism and injustice, that he committed his life to vigorously pursuing the cause of Zionism.
11 Tammuz 5701 - July 6, 1941:
HARAV ELCHANAN BUNIM WASSERMAN (Poland) Murdered. Hy"d.
Leader of eastern European Jewry before World War II and talmudic scholar, HaRav Elchanan Bunim Wasserman (1875-1941) was
murdered on this day .
Born in the town of Birz, Lithuania, he learned at Telshe under Rav Eliezer Gordon and Rav Shimon Shkop., then lived with and learned from R’ Chaim Soleveitchik from 1897 to 1899. An outstanding teacher, R' Wasserman joined the Kollel
of the saintly Chofetz Chaim in 1907 (to 1910) becoming his closest disciple and was considered his spiritual heir. He then went to Brisk to be Rosh Yeshiva. He became Rosh Yeshiva of Baranovitch after WW1 in 1920 and grew it from 60 to 500 bachurim
The Yeshiva at Baranovitch was considered one of the most famous in Eastern Europe..
R' Wasserman was one of the main leaders of Agudat Yisroel in Europe. A brilliant
organizer and instructor, he established a grade system for rabbinical studies.
He supported and contributed works to the Mussar movement.
He visited America in 1939, as the Nazi machine was beginning its slaughter of European Jewry. People begged Rav Wasserman to remain in America and avoid imminent catastrophe, but with incredible self-sacrifice he declined, saying that he must return to be with his students.
He was caught by the Nazis with a number of other Rabbanim while visiting Kovno,
taken to a pit near Kovno and executed. His last words were: "The fire which consumes our bodies
be that which the people of Israel will arise to a new life.
Rav Wasserman authored a book of Torah perspectives on contemporary events, Kovetz Ma'amarim, and Talmudic discourses that were published as Kovetz Shiurim. Other works include Ikvita D'Meshicha, Ohel Torah, and Shiurei Rav Elchanan. He was a frequent contributor
to the journal Sharei Tzion. (Some have the Yahrtzeit as 12 Tammuz)
11 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Yitzchak Chiyus (Chayes; Chayus), zt”l, (5373 / 1616). Rav in Prossnitz (Prostejov) and Prague. Author of Pnei Yitzchak (which sets Yoreh Deah to rhyme), Siach Yitzchak (which sets Hilchot Pesach to rhyme), and Pachad Yitzchak, a commentary on the passage in Tractate Gittin which deals with the destruction of the Temple, as well as Api Ravrivi. (others 5345 / 1585),
HaRav Tzvi Hirsch Eichenstein of Zhidatchov, zt”l, (1785- 5591 / 1831), founder of the Zhidachov dynasty and author of Ateret Tzvi. A close disciple of the Chozeh of Lublin, he championed the position that the practice of Chasidism had to be firmly based on the study of the Kabbala of the Ari Hakadosh.
HaRav Avraham Eliezer ben Harav Yosef Damesek of Cracow, zt”l, (5607 / 1847), author of Avnei Kodesh. (others 5601 / 1841). Born in Lask, in 5532 / 1772. In his youth, he learned under the Rav of the city, Harav Meir Tzilch. At a young age he was already regarded as a Torah giant. Unable to support himself in his hometown, Harav Avraham moved to Cracow, where he was appointed to serve as Dayan on the beit din of Harav David Tzvi Halevi.
Harav Avraham was respected across the entire city. At the age of 30, Harav Avraham completed his magnum opus, Avnei Kodesh, his novellae on Shas and Shulchan Aruch. The sefer received warm haskamot from many of the generation’s leading Gedolim. Harav Avraham was also known as an outstanding darshan, and in 5582 / 1822, he published Yikra Dachayei, a compilation of 10 drashot. Harav Avraham also carried on halachic correspondence with the Chasam Sofer and the Noda B’Yehudah.
He was niftar on 11 Tammuz 5607/1847, at the age of 75. His son, Harav Yosef of Piasnesze, replaced him as Dayan in Cracow after his petirah.
HaRav Aharon Moshe Toibish, zt”l, (5612 / 1852), Rav and Av Beit Din of Jassy (Yassy; Iasi; Yosser; Tirgu-Yasski), Romania, and author of Karnei Re’em and To’eifot Re’em. Yassy, the capital of Moldavia, once had 40,000 inhabitants, but fires in 1822 and 1827 reduced that number by half. In 1854, the whole of Moldova was in Bessarabia, a province of Russia. In 1849, 20% were Jews, and in 1908, close to 50% were Jews.
HaRav Reuven Ankora, zt”l, (5677 / 1917). One of the great scholars of Aram Tzovah.
HaRav Elchanan Bunim Wasserman, zt”l, Hy”d, (1875 - 5701 / 1941), Rosh Yeshiva, Baranovitch, author of Kovetz Shiurim, Kovetz Heorot, Kovetz Ma’amarim, Ikvita D’Meshicha, Ohel Torah, and Shiurei Rav Elchanan. See above.
HaRav Yehuda Leib Tzirelson, zt”l, Hy"d, (5620 / 1859 - 5701 / 1941). Harav Yehudah Leib was born on 28 Kislev 5620/1859, in Kozelets, Chernihiv Oblast, Ukraine. He was the son of Harav Moshe Chaim, Rav of Kozelets.
He learned under Harav Yisrael Noach Schneerson, the son of the Tzemach Tzedek of Lubavitch, who gave him semichah.
An iluy, he was appointed Rav of Priluki when he was just 19. At that time he began writing for periodicals in Hebrew, Yiddish and Russian on ongoing Jewish issues, mostly of a political nature. In 5668 / 1908 he became Rav of Kishinev.
In 5671 / 1911 he was one of the 300 prominent Russian Rabbanim who signed a letter defending Mendel Beilis against an anti-Semitic blood libel. That same year he received the title “honorary citizen of the Russian empire.”
Reb Yehudah Leib was among the core group of leaders and Rabbanim who laid the foundation for the Agudat Yisrael movement in Katowicz in 5672 / 1912. He was named to the Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah.
In 5678/1918, Bessarabia became part of Romania and Reb Yehudah Leib was named Chief Rabbi of Bessarabia. He developed a Jewish educational system from kindergarten through yeshivah. After the Soviet Union collapsed, the new Kishinev yeshivah was established in the building of the old one.
In 5680 / 1920, having a fluent knowledge of the Romanian language, Reb Yehudah Leib was elected to represent the Jews of Bessarabia in the Romanian Parliament in Bucharest. By 5682 / 1922, Reb Yehudah Leib was the only Bessarabian Jewish representative in the parliament. Reb Yehudah Leib tried to warn about growing anti-Semitism in Romania, but the delegates refused to publish his speeches in the parliament periodical. As a result, he resigned from parliament in 5686 / 1926.
In 5680 / 1920 Reb Yehudah Leib established the Agudat Yisrael branch in Kishinev, which later became autonomous.
Reb Yehudah Leib chaired the Knessiah Gedolah of Agudat Yisrael twice: in 5683 / 1923, when he strongly supported Harav Meir Shapiro’s innovation, the Daf Yomi, and again in 5689 / 1929.
After the Soviet annexation of Bessarabia and the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Reb Yehudah Leib was labeled by the Communist-backed newspapers as an anti-Soviet agent. Despite this, he didn’t forsake his responsibilities.
On 11 Tammuz 5701 / 1941, Reb Yehudah Leib was killed in the first bombardment of Kishinev by German forces. He was 61.
He was buried in the old cemetery in Kishinev. Later, in 5711 / 1951, when the local authorities planned to construct train tracks over the cemetery, the kevarim were emptied and the meitim were re-interred near the memorial for the many Jews killed in Kishinev.
Reb Yehudah Leib wrote several sefarim, including many halachic teshuvot: She’eilot U’Teshuvot Atzei Levanon, on all four sections of Shulchan Aruch; Hegyon Lev; Maarchei Lev, his drashot; and Lev Yehudah, on halachah.
HaRav Shmuel (“Shmelke”) Pinter, zt”l, (5679 / 1919 - 5754 / 1994), the Bukovska Rav.
Harav Shmuel Shmelke Pinter was born in 5679/1919 in Vienna, Austria. His father was Harav Chaim Pinter, the Rav of Bukovska (Bukowsko), Galicia.
As a young boy, Shmelke learned with his father. At age 11, he left home and went to learn under his older brother, Harav Avraham. Later, Reb Shmelke returned to Vienna and learned under Harav Tzvi Schmerler, zt”l. He also learned for some time under the Tzehlemer Rav, zt”l.
In 5698/1938, after the Anschluss, Reb Shmelke left Austria and moved to London. A few months later, Reb Shmelke brought his father to London as well; Harav Chaim, zt”l, was niftar a short time later.
In London, Reb Shmelke married Gittel, the daughter of Harav Yisrael Aryeh Margulies, the Premishlaner/London Rebbe, zy”a.
After settling in London, Reb Shmelke was appointed Rosh Yeshivah in Yeshivat Merkaz HaTorah, where many war refugees learned. Later, he went on to teach in Yeshivat Chayei Olam.
In 5700/1940, Reb Shmelke was asked to serve as principal in the Yesodei HaTorah schools after the Voidoslaver Rav, zt”l, moved to America. Reb Shmelke was later named president of the school. He ran the Yesodei HaTorah schools for over 50 years.
Reb Shmelke laid the foundations for the flourishing London Torah community that exists today. It is not an exaggeration to say that Yesodei HaTorah is the mother of all of London’s Torah institutions.
Reb Shmelke also served as Rav of Beit Hamedrash Kahal Yeshuot Chaim, Bukovska, in Stamford Hill. It was known as a haven for all Yidden.
Reb Shmelke did his utmost to help both individuals and the community. He understood that helping a Jew could mean saving many future generations, and acted accordingly. Along with his easy smile, he always had a good word for any broken soul.
During his last few months, even though he suffered greatly, Reb Shmelke continued his avodat hakodesh with tremendous simchat hachaim. In 5754/1994, his condition took a turn for the worse. A few days before his petirah, Reb Shmelke called in his family, blessed them all and instructed them to part from him through simchah.
On 11 Tammuz 5754/1994, Reb Shmelke returned his neshamah to its Maker.
Reb Shmelke was buried in the Adat Yisrael cemetery in Enfield, near the kevarim of the Shotzer Rebbe, zy”a, and Harav Yidele Horowitz of Dzikov, zy”a.
HaRav Moshe ben Avraham (Maimon)?(Dayan), zt”l, (year?), a rabbinic judge in Gabbes, and author of Yashir Moshe, (written in 1864).
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12 Tammuz 3333 - 428 B.C.E.:
Yechezkel HaNavi (the Prophet Ezekiel) was instructed by Hashem to lie on his left side for 390 days, in order to atone for the sins of Klal Yisroel. From the 18th of Tammuz the following year, he lay on his right side for 40 days; altogether he remained lying down for 430 days. On the 28th of Av 3334 / 427 B.C..E., he arose, and on the 5th of Elul he received his next nevuah / prophecy. That was about five years before the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash (see Yechezkel, ch. 8-10)..
12 Tammuz 5058 - June 24, 1298:
Twenty-five Jews from 10 families were murdered in Iphofen, Germany, during
the Rindfleisch Persecutions, Hy"d.
12 Tammuz 5058 - June 24, 1298:
The Jews of Weiner-Neustadt, Austria, and Morgentheim, Austria were massacred al Kiddush Hashem,.Hy"d
12 Tammuz 5059 - 1299:
Jews denounced to the Inquisition received the right to face their accusers.
12 Tammuz 5638 - July 13, 1878:
Equal rights for Jews of Romania.
12 Tammuz 5687 - July 12, 1927:
The sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Harav Yosef Yitzchok Schneerson, zt"l, (1880-1950), was officially granted release from his sentence of exile to Kastroma in the interior of Russia. The actual release took place on 13 Tammuz and 12-13 Tammuz is celebrated as a "festival of liberation" in Chabad. This date was also the Rebbe's birthday, and the Shulchan Aruch Harav was printed for the first time on this date as well..
12 Tammuz 5701 - July 7, 1941:
The Nazis murdered 5,000 Jews in the Ninth Fort of Kovna. Among them was Rav Elchonon Wasserman, Rav Yosef Chaim Zaks, a Rosh Yeshiva at Ohel Moshe in Slobodka, and Reb Velvel Grodzensky (son of Rav Avraham, the mashgiach of Slobodka), Hy"d.(See 11 Tammuz).
12 Tammuz 5701 - July 7, 1941:
The Ukrainians murdered 1,200 Jews in a forest near the town of Otynia, in
Stanislavov, Poland. Hy"d
12 Tammuz 5701 - July 7,1941:
The S.S. murdered 2,000 Jews in Rodzislav, in Bialystok, Poland (over the course
of three days). Hy"d
12 Tammuz 5701 - July 7,1941:
The Waffen S.S. in Zborov, Galicia killed 600 Jews. Hy"d.
12 Tammuz 5701 - July 7,1941:
The S.S. found 50 Jews through a registry (of Jews) in Novogrodek, Grodno,
Poland, assembled them right outside of town and murdered them. Hy"d
12 Tammuz 5708 - July 19,1948:
150 Jews were killed in Kahir, Iran, during the riots of 1948, Hy"d . This resulted in practically all the Jews of the Arab countries being driven out.
12 Tammuz 5708 - July 19,1948:
Peak of pogroms against Egyptian Jews. Over 150 killed, Hy"d.
12 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
Rabbeinu Yaakov ben Asher Ashkenazi, zt”l, (1266 - 5108 / 1348), (Others 1268 - 1340), the Baal Haturim.
The Baal Haturim was the third son of Rabbeinu Asher ben Reb Yechiel, commonly known by the acronym "Rosh." The Rosh had four sons: Rabbeinu Yechiel, Rabbeinu Shlomo Hechassid, Rabbeinu Yaakov and Rabbeinu Yehudah (who was the son-in-law of his older brother, Rabbeinu Yaakov). He was born in Cologne (Koln), Germany. (Others have his birthdate as c. 5029–30/1269–70).
In 5063 / 1303, the Rosh fled Germany due to persecution and harassment that followed the arrest of the Maharam of Rottenberg. The Rosh, accompanied by his son, arrived in Barcelona but settled subsequently in Toledo. Rabbeinu Yaakov stood at his father's side at all times and received from him most of his vast Torah knowledge.
His younger brother, Rabbeinu Yehudah, who would marry Rav Yaakov’s daughter, succeeded the Rosh as Rav of Toledo, while Rabbeinu Yaakov himself preferred to take a position on the Beit Din.
Rabbeinu Yaakov endured much travail throughout his life. Deprivation and abject poverty were his daily lot. He tried to earn a living through trade but failed. At one point he asked his father if the words of Chazal (Shabbat118, Pesachim 112) that one should even render his Shabbat like a weekday in order to avoid relying on human help applied to him. He writes in Tur Orach Chaim 242 that his father did not reply.
Nevertheless, despite his suffering, he served Hashem with utmost simchah and devotion.
Rabbeinu Yaakov's monumental work, the four Turim, served as the basis of what would become the Shulchan Aruch. This was a groundbreaking contribution to Jewish scholarship in that it organized all practical Jewish law into four major sections, subdivided into hundreds of chapter headings. It included virtually all opinions available to Rabbeinu Yaakov, as well as a wealth of customs.
This system served as the foundation for all later rabbinic works, including Rabbeinu Yosef Karo's Shulchan Aruch, the standard Code of Jewish Law.
The Tur has four sections, as follows:
Orach Chaim, on day-to-day halachot such as hilchot tefillah, brachot, Shabbat and Yom Tov;
Yoreh Deah, on laws of shechitah, treifah, ribbit and other matters of issur v’heter;
Even haEzer, on laws of marriage and divorce;
Choshen Mishpat, on halachot concerning monetary matters and batei din.
Rabbeinu Yosef Karo later authored Beit Yosef on the Turim, elucidating the Tur and citing all the sources used by the Tur in his work. At times the Beit Yosef differs with the Tur in the psak halachah. Many other giants authored chibburim on the Tur, such as Rav Moshe Isserles, the Rema (Darkei Moshe), Rav Yoel Sirkes,
the Bach (The Beit Chadash), Rav Yehoshua Falk, the Sm"a (Drishah U'Perishah), and Rav Yosef Escapa (the Rosh Yosef), who deals with only a part of the work.
The Tur was reprinted hundreds of times throughout the generations and in recent years has been produced in an elegant new version in which many errors that seeped in over the years have been corrected.
The Shem Hagedolim writes in Erech Turim that due to the infinite holiness of the Baal Haturim, he was zocheh to be so influential that in all succeeding generations a Rav cannot lift a hand in halachah without the Turim!
The Chida comments that without a proper study of the Tur and its commentaries, one cannot begin to determine halachah.
The Baal Haturim also authored Sefer HaRemazim (also known as Kitzur Piskei HaRosh), an abridged version of his father’s compendium of the Talmud, quoted in Sefer Mesharim. In addition, the Baal Haturim authored a peirush on the Torah, known as Peirush Hatur Ha'aruch, which includes a thorough be'ur, similar to those of many other Rishonim. The gematriyot ((numerology or number patterns) and taamei hamesorah that accompanied that peirush are printed in many Chumashim under the name Baal Haturim. He included these gematriyot in order to draw the heart to Torah, as he writes in the introduction. (The Baal Haturim was recently translated into English and elucidated by Rabbi Avi Gold, published by ArtScroll/Mesorah.)
During the last period of his life, Rabbeinu Yaakov wished to settle in Eretz Yisrael and set out on his journey to the Holy Land. But when he arrived in the city of Kio, near Izmir, Turkey, he became ill and was niftar on 12 Tammuz. He was carried back to Toledo and buried near his father.
In 5151/1391, his wife and his daughter, who was the wife of his brother Rabbeinu Yehudah, perished al kiddush Hashem when they took their own lives to avoid forceful conversion during the massacres in Toledo, in which the entire Jewish population either converted or was killed.
HaRav Avraham Gatinio, zt”l, (5471 / 1711), head of the Beit Din of Solonikia, author of Tirat Kesef.
HaRav Eliyahu Yosef Rivlin (1805 – 1865). One of the Sages in Eretz Yisrael, he was a Chabad Chassid, and known for his greatness in the Torah of Chassidut. The Chabad Rebbes would send disciples to him to learn the Chabad way of Chassidut. He moved to Israel in 1847 and headed the Chabad settlement in Jerusalem. Author of Ohalei Yosef.
HaRav Avraham HaCohen Davik Kalusi, zt”l, (5661 / 1901). Head of the Beit Din in Aram Tzova.
HaRav Elya Baruch Kamai, zt”l, Rav and Rosh Yeshivat Mir, Poland, (5600 / 1840 – 5677 / 1917).(Others 5673 / 1913)
Harav Elya Baruch Kamai’s father, Harav Avraham, was a grandson of Harav Avraham, the brother of the Vilna Gaon. Rav Elya was born in Telz. At the age of two, he was orphaned of his father, and his mother then married Harav Chaim Zev Yaffe, a descendant of Harav Mordechai Yaffe, the Levush.
Rav Chaim Zev raised the boy as if he were his own child. When Reb Elya Baruch was 10 years old, his step-grandfather, Harav Tzvi, Rav in Shkod, was niftar. Reb Chaim Zev was named Rav in his stead, and the family moved to Shkod. At the age of 17, Reb Elya Baruch married and settled in Shkod.
In 5628 / 1868, Reb Chaim Zev was niftar, and Reb Elya Baruch succeeded him as Rav of Shkod. He visited Brisk in 5638 / 1878, and met with Harav Yosef Dov Soloveitchick. After talking together in learning, Harav Yosef Dov attested that Reb Elya Baruch was one of the Torah giants of the generation. When the kehillah of Karlin asked Harav Yosef Dov to suggest a suitable Rav for them, he suggested Reb Elya Baruch.
He was Rav in Karlin for seven years. Later, Reb Elya Baruch served three years as Rav in Weckshna, and then in Tchnovtzi until 5659 / 1899, when he was appointed Ram in Mir alongside Harav Eliyahu David Rabinowitz Teumim, the Aderet, who was Rav in the city.
In 5661 / 1901, the Aderet moved to Eretz Yisrael and Reb Elya Baruch was then appointed Rav of Mir, where he stayed for the rest of his life. When his co-rosh yeshiva, Rav Avraham Tiktinsky, retired in 1907, Rav Elya Baruch named his own son-in-law, Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, to the faculty of the yeshiva.
Some of Rav Elya Baruch’s lectures were published under the title Zichron Eliyahu.
Reb Elya Baruch was niftar on 12 Tammuz 5677 / 1917, in Minsk, where he had traveled for the summer, at the age of 77. He was buried in Minsk. Many thousands participated in the levayah, among them the Gedolei Hador. He was succeeded as Rav of Mir by his son, Rav Avraham Zvi Kamai, who was massacred with 2300 of his congregants on 18 Cheshvan in 1942, Hy”d.
HaRav Nissim Benyamin Mordechai Elyashar, zt”l, son of Rav Yaakov Shaul Elyashir who authored Yissa Bracha. (year?)
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13 Tammuz 5283 - 1523:
The first printed edition of the Sefer Hachinuch appeared. (Some say 2 Tammuz).
13 Tammuz 5701- July 8, 1941:
In Vilna, Poland, 500 Jews were shot. Many others were arrested and taken to
concentration camps, by the Lithuanian Security Service. According to the German
reports, 500 Jews were shot every day for a week. Jewish property was confiscated.
13 Tammuz 5701- July 8, 1941:
Compulsory wearing of the yellow star was decreed for all Jews in the Baltic States (Balkans).
13 Tammuz 5702- June 28, 1942:
The Germans captured the city of Minsk (Russia), trapping about 40,000 Jews in the city.
13 Tammuz 5702- June 28, 1942:
The German army commanded by Rommel, ym"s, reached El Alamein, a town in Northern Egypt,
96km west of Alexandria, thereby placing Eretz Yisroel in grave danger. B'Chasdei Hashem, after the Gedolim in Eretz Yisroel held massive tefillah rallies, the Germans retreated, under constant attack by Allied forces.
13 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Moshe Ravkash (Rivka’s), zt”l, (5444 / 1684), author of Be’er Hagolah on Shulchan Aruch. He was one of four great tzadikim of Vilna who lived at the tragic time of the massacres at the hands of the Cossacks in 1655, along with Rav Ephraim (the Shaar Ephraim), Rav Shabbsai Cohen (the Shach), and Rav Shmuel Koidenaver. Approximately 25,000 Jews were killed in and around Vilna, Hy”d. (Others record his yahrtzeit as 9 Sivan).
HaRav Chaim HaKohain Rappaport, zt”l, (5531 / 1771). Rav of Lvov and author of She’eilot U’teshuvot Rabbeinu Chaim Kohain and Zecher HaChaim. Son of Harav Simcha, Rav of Lublin following the Chacham Tzvi. Harav Simcha was asked by the kehillah of Lvov to be their Rav, but en route to the new position, he suddenly passed away in Shabarbashin.
Harav Chaim was well respected in the Torah world, and renowned for his vast knowledge. After his marriage, Harav Chaim served as Rav in Slutsk and later was appointed Rav in Zhittel. Many of the halachic teshuvot in his She’eilot U’teshuvot Rabbeinu Chaim Kohen were written during his tenure in Zhittel.
After a few years in Zhittel, Rav Chaim was taken up as Rav in Lutsk. Letters were addressed to him from all over the Torah world, from the likes of the Noda B’Yehudah and many other Gedolim.
In 5501 / 1741, after Harav Aryeh Leib, the grandson of the Rebbe Reb Heshel of Cracow, was named Rav of Amsterdam, Harav Chaim was appointed Rav in his stead in Lvov (Lemberg). His appointment as Rav was a continuation of his forefathers’; both his father and his grandfather Harav Yosef (the son-in-law of the Maharam of Lublin) also served as Rabbanim of Lvov.
Harav Chaim was Rav in Lvov for the next 30 years, and was known for his true psak, never being swerved by even the most vigorous members of the kehillah.
HaRav Chaim was niftar on 13 Tammuz 5531/1771, in Lvov, where he was buried. His sons were Harav Aryeh Leib, Rosh Yeshiva in Lvov, and Harav Nachman, Rav in Gluna. His sons-in-law were Harav Aharon Ettinger, Rav of Rzeshow, and Harav Yoel Katzenellenbogen, Rav of Waritzov.
HaRav Aryeh Leib (ben Mordechai HaLevi) Epstein, zt”l, (1705 – 5535 / 1775), author of HaPardes. He was an expert in the hidden and revealed Torah. He started off as a merchant, but eventually devoted all his time to learning Torah and giving drashot, (homiletic lectures). In 1741 he became the Rav of Brastovista, then Golinka, and finally Kingsburg.
HaRav Yaakov Pithusi, zt”l, (1812). A Torah scholar of North Africa, he served as a Rav in Tunisia. He moved to Eretz Yisrael, and was sent as an emissary to collect funds for the Israeli settlement. Author of Yerach Yaakov.
HaRav Mordechai (ben Yechiel Michel) of Kremenetz [Kremnica], zt”l, (5580 / 1820).
Harav Mordechai was the youngest of the five sons of the Zlotschover Maggid. His brothers were Harav Yosef of Yampoli, Harav Yitzchak of Radvill, Harav Moshe of Zhvil, the first Zvhiller Rebbe, and Harav Binyamin Zev of Zhbariz. The Zlotchover Maggid referred to his five sons as my “chamisha chumshai Torah,” making the youngest son the equal of sefer Devarim. Indeed, his father would refer to him as “Mishneh Torah,” and sometimes he would call him “Mishneh Lamelech.”
Few details are known about his life. According to some sources he was the son-in-law of Harav Leibush Gurzitzker, one of the greatest talmidim of the Zlotchover Maggid. But according to others his wife was the daughter of Harav Eliezer Melamed of Kolbosov.
Among Rav Mordechai’s greatest talmidim were Harav Meir of Premishlan; Harav Chaim of Chernowitz, the Be’er Mayim Chaim; and Harav Yeshayah Schorr of Yassi, author of Klil Tiferet.
Rav Mordechai was known for his fiery and devout tefillot, in which he would totally immerse himself with intense dveikut to Hashem.
The famed Gaon Harav Yosef Shaul Natanzohn, the Sho’el U’meishiv, told a grandson of Harav Mordechai that he once happened to daven in the beit medrash of Rav Mordechai on Shabbat, and as he davened tefillat Nishmat, he was zocheh to see Rav Mordechai in total hispashtut hagashmiyut. He said that he literally witnessed “Kol atzmotai tomarnah Hashem mi kamocha” as the Rebbe recited these words with intense kedushah.
The famed Harav Meir’l of Premishlan, a prime talmid of Rav Mordechai, attested that malachim feared his word and that he did not stop thinking about the Presence of Hashem for even a moment.
Rav Mordechai would often undertake fasts. His talmid Rav Meir’l of Premishlan asked him how he allowed himself to endanger his already weak body through additional afflictions. Rav Mordechai replied: “And to eat is not a danger? One must in any case rely on the mercy of Hashem, and if so, Hashem can have mercy on one who fasts, too.” (Chassidim Mesaprim)
Ten days before his passing he wrote a detailed will containing many instructions for his children and descendants, including guidance in serving Hashem. Among other things, he wrote, “The ordinary thing is that whatever is done should be with fear of Hashem, accompanied by humility and modesty.”
His sons were Harav Yitzchak of Granov, Harav Yechiel Mechel of Vishnovitz and Harav Yosef of Voltchisk. His sons-in-law were Harav Aharon of Karlin, the Beit Aharon, and, according to some, Harav Yosef Dovid Landau Malik.
HaRav Yitzchak Leib Sofer, zt”l, of Drohovitch, (5667 / 1907).
Harav Yitzchak Leib, born 24 Elul 5608 / 1848, was the son of Harav Avraham Shmuel Binyamin Sofer, the Ktav Sofer, son of the Chatam Sofer. He learned in the famed yeshivah of his father.
In 5628 / 1868 he married the daughter of the naggid Reb Dovid Lindenbaum from Drohovitch. For a few years after his marriage he continued to learn in his father’s yeshivah, where he was one of the leading talmidei chachamim. Later he moved to Drohovitch, the city of his father-in-law.
Reb Yitzchak Leib was wealthy, a fact which he utilized for the good of his brethren.
In 5647 / 1887, following the petirah of his uncle Harav Shimon Sofer, Rav of Cracow, Reb Yitzchak Leib was appointed Rav in his place.
All his life he worked to raise the honor and prestige of the Torah and those who learn it, at the same time waging a war against those who sought to uproot traditional Yiddishkeit.
In 5651 / 1891, when Harav Yitzchak Aharon Ittinger, Rav of Lvov, was niftar, Reb Yitzchak Leib was appointed to the prestigious post of Nasi of Eretz Yisrael in Poland.
Reb Yitzchak Leib was known for his open house. He was always available to help his brethren, most notably those who were most in need, orphans and widows.
His son Harav Avraham Chaim Dovid succeeded him as Rav. He also left two sons-in-law: Harav Akiva Sofer, Rav of Pressburg (son of Harav Simchah Bunim Sofer, the Shevet Sofer), and Harav Avraham Freidiger, Rosh Hakahal in Budapest.
He wrote two sefarim: Shem MiShimon, his hesped for his uncle Harav Shimon Sofer, and Sofer Mahir, a collection of his chiddushim on Shas.
Reb Yitzchak Leib was niftar on 13 Tammuz 5667 / 1907 at the age of 58.
HaRav Chanoch Henoch Dov (ben Elazer) Rubin, zt”l, (1920), Sassover Rebbe of London.
HaRav Yoel Planer, zt”l, (5685 / 1925), Rav of Uhel, Hungary.
HaRav Dovid of Rachmastrivka, zt”l, (5710 / 1950).
HaRav Shmuel Sheinberg, zt”l, (1997). Rosh Yeshiva of Migdal HaTorah.
HaRav Yitzchak Eizik Rosenbaum of Zutchka, zt”l, (5666 / 1906 - 5760 / 2000). Born on 21 Tevet 5666/1906, in Chernowitz, Romania. He was the son of Harav Isamar Rosenbaum of Nadvorna, zt”l, and Rebbetzin Malkah, who was the daughter of Harav Asher Yeshayah Rubin of Kolbosov, zt”l. He was named after his mother’s ancestor, Rav Yitzchak Eizik of Komarna.
The Rebbe’s diligence was already evident in his childhood. His father kept young Yitzchak in his beit medrash and hired Hagaon Harav Yitzchak Shapira, zt”l, to learn with him.
At an early age, his family moved to Chernovitz, whose 45,000 Jews constituted about 45% of the city’s population. The first maskilim settled in Chernovitz at the start of the 19th century, and their influence had grown so fast that, by 1849, they controlled the Board of the Jewish community. It was in Chernowitz that secular Yiddishism held a major convocation and proclaimed Yiddish as the Jewish national language in1908.
Rav Yitzchak Eizik married Chana, the daughter of Harav David Hacohen Hollander, zt”l, the Rav of Amsana, Galicia. After his marriage, his father asked him to preside as Rav and Admor in the town of Vashkowitz Two years later, he moved to Zutchka where he remained until World War II. He experienced many miracles during the Holocaust. He often marveled at how he was able to save all his children, some of whom had been captured by the Nazis.
After World War II, in 5707/1947, he published his first sefer, Hameorot Hagedolim. Soon afterwards he settled in Boro Park, where he lived until 1973.
The Zutchker Rebbe took it upon himself to fight Shabbat desecration in the neighborhood. Each Friday he would approach Jewish storeowners and beg them to close their stores on Shabbat. For 10 years he battled for kedushat Shabbat, until finally he succeeded in getting all the local shops to close.
After Rav Yitzchak Eizik’s father passed away, he settled in Tel Aviv to take over his father’s beit medrash, in 1973. In 5741/1981, he opened his own beit medrash in Bnei Brak and eventually launched a project called Shoneh Halachot to encourage the study of hilchot Shabbat.
The Zutchker Rebbe’s door was always open. He refused to restrict his reception hours, saying he had to be available whenever a Jew needed him. Unless the Zutchker Rebbe was speaking to someone, he would be totally immersed in learning.
His old typewriter was always on his desk, and he would type out his own chiddushei Torah. His writings included numerous sefarim and essays on shemirat Shabbat, on tzniut, and on peace and ahavat Yisrael.
On Sunday evening, 13 Tammuz, he felt ill and was taken to Laniado Hospital in Netanya, where he was niftar early Monday morning. His last words were: “It should be good, in ruchniyut and in gashmiyut!”
One of the Rebbe’s sons, Rav Nosson Dovid, took over the Zutchka beit medrash in Bnei Brak. (Others 14 Tammuz)
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A Yom Tov is cited in Megillat Taanit, due to the destruction of the book of laws of the Tzedokim, which countered the true mesorah of Torah sheb'al peh. (the Oral Torah).
14 Tammuz 5058 - 1298:
250 Jews were killed in Rothenburg, Germany, Hy"d..
14 Tammuz 5161 - June 25, 1401:
Thirty Jews of Schaffhausen, Switzerland, who had been charged with ritual murder,
were burned at the stake. Hy"d. After the postilion (coach driver) of the governor killed the four-year-old son of a councilor, charges were lodged against a Jew named Michael Vinelmann, a former resident of Basel, alleging that he had promised the murderer three gulden for the blood of the child. The murderer was broken on the wheel, and the Jew burned alive without trial. Shortly before, a similar accusation had been brought against the Jews of Schaffhausen and been successfully refuted. When news of Michael Vinelmann's fate was brought to Schaffhausen, several of the Jews of the city fled and were soon captured. They were taken back to Schaffhausen, where they were thrown into a dungeon and terribly tortured. Unable to endure the pain, they "confessed" to the crime of which they had been accused, whereupon all the Jews living in Schaffhausen were condemned to death. Thirty Jews were burned alive. Four weeks later, eighteen men and women died at the stake in Winterthur in a similar
14 Tammuz 5536 - July 1, 1776:
Francis Salvador of South Carolina (1747-1776), became the first Jew to die for the cause of American liberty. He was killed during the Revolutionary War. According to some, he was the first Jew to lose his life in defense of the new United States of America.
Salvador was born in London and
as young man settled on a plot of family land in South Carolina. Within a
year, he was elected to South Carolina's General Assembly, the first
Jew to hold legislative office in any of the English colonies. At this
time, the British were encouraging Cherokee Indian tribes to attack
colonial settlements along the frontier. During one such attack,
Salvador mounted his horse and rode to sound the alarm, earning him the
title of "Paul Revere of the South." On a subsequent attack, Salvador led a small army of 330 men; he was shot by a Cherokee, fell into some bushes, and was promptly scalped. He was only 29 years old, but he is remembered as a Jewish-American soldier and statesman.
14 Tammuz Yahrtzeits.
HaRav Yosef Trani, zt"l, the Maharit (1568 - 5399 / 1639). He was born in Tzfat / Safed; his father was Harav Moshe, the Mabit. He learned under Harav Shlomo Sagis, zt”l.
When he was just 12 years old his father was niftar. Nevertheless, he continued to thrive in his learning; at a very young age he knew the entire Shas by heart. He reviewed Shas many times, and it was said of him that he even knew how many letters were contained in it.
He married a descendant of HaRav Yosef Karo. When a plague broke out in Tzfat, he abandoned the city, but returned in 1594 to head a Yeshiva. In 1604, he was appointed Rav of Constantinople and, a few years later, leader of Turkish Jewry. Among his many talmidim were Harav Yehoshua Benbenishti and his brother Harav Chaim, the mechaber of the Knesset Hagedolah; Harav Chaim Algasi; Harav Yitzchak Alfandri; and Harav Yosef Katzkbi.
Rav Yosef was supported by two local affluent Jews so that he would be free to teach Torah.
Rav Yosef was niftar on 14 Tammuz 5399/1639.
He is renowned for his 3 volume work, responsa published under the title She’eilot U’Teshuvot Maharit and Tzofnat Panei’ach, drushim on the Torah.
His two sons, Rav Yeshayah, zt”l, and Rav Moshe, zt”l, were both Gedolei Torah.
HaRav Shmuel Schotten (Shatin) Hachohen, zt”l, (5404 / 1644 –5479 / 1719), the Kos Hayeshuot, also known as the Maharsheshach.
Harav Shmuel Hakohen Shatin was the son of Harav Yosef, Rav of Darmstadt. He was born in 5404 / 1644 in Shatin, Hesse, in Germany. The family descended from Harav Aharon Hakohen of Lunel in Provence, France.
After the petirah of his father, Rav Shmuel served as Rav and Rosh Yeshiva in Darmstadt in Germany.
He was appointed Rosh Yeshiva of the yeshiva in Frankfurt am Main where he served as Rosh Yeshivah until his petirah. He was appointed Rav of the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1685.
Rav Shmuel writes in his introduction to Kos Hayeshuot that he was a Rosh Yeshivah for 22 years and taught thousands of talmidim, many of whom became Roshei Yeshivah and Rabbanim.
Rav Shmuel called his work on Shas “Chiddushei Maharsheshach”, an acronym for his name (MHSSC: Moreinu Harav Shmuel Schotten Cohen). He thought he would print his chiddushim on both Seder Nashim and Seder Nezikin, but not having funds for both, he printed only those on Seder Nezikin — Kos Hayeshuot (based on the Gemara that Seder Nezikin is yeshuot).
Gedolim praised his clear elucidation of the pshat in Gemara. The Avnei Nezer writes in his introduction to Eglei Tal that the Kotzker Rebbe (his father-in-law) told him to learn from the derech halimud of the Maharsha and the Maharsheshach.
With many of his talmidim he also learned Kabbalah, besides the regular sedarim.
In 5471 / 1711 a fire destroyed his home and his manuscripts.
Harav Shmuel was niftar on Shabbat Parashat Balak, 14 Tammuz 5479 / 1719. He was 73. He was buried in Frankfurt.
Harav Shmuel’s son was Harav Moshe. His sons-in-law were Harav Aryeh Leib, Rav in Mattersdorf; and Harav Moshe Sofer, the grandfather of the Chasam Sofer.
The Rebbe Reb Henoch of Aleksander was also a descendant of Harav Shmuel.
HaRav Yitzchak Erdith, zt”l, (5572 / 1812). One of the leaders of Izmir, Turkey, author of Yakar HaErech.
HaRav Yehoshua Heshel (ben Baruch) Frankel-Teumim, zt”l, (1843). The son of the Baruch Ta’am. He lived in Komarna and was a devoted chassid of the Chozeh of Lublin but refused the Chozeh’s suggestion that he lead the Chassidim of eastern Galicia (a position that went to the Sar Shalom of Belz instead).
HaRav Yaakov Yitzhak HaLevi Ruderman, zt”l, (5661 / 1901 - 5747 / 1987) Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Ner Israel, Baltimore.
Born on Shushan Purim in Dolhinov, Russia. His father was his first rebbi. As he grew up, his astuteness and talent became evident; he went on to learn in Yeshivat Knesset Yisrael in Slobodka, then headed by Rav Nosson Zvi Finkel (the Alter) and Rav Moshe Mordechai Epstein. He studied with intense devotion and his fame quickly spread. His rebbeim granted him semichah unequivocally at the age of 24.
Among his colleagues in Slobodka were Rav Reuven Grozovsky; Rav Ruderman’s first cousin, Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky; Rav Aharon Kotler; and Rav Yitzchak Hutner; In ~5686 / 1926, Rav Ruderman published his only written work to appear in his lifetime, Avodat Halevi.
He married Rebbetzin Feige, the daughter of Harav Sheftel Kramer. Subsequently, in 1930, Rav Ruderman joined his father-in-law, Rav Sheftel Kramer, at the latter’s yeshiva in New Haven that later relocated to Cleveland, Ohio.
In 5693 / 1933, Rav Ruderman moved to Baltimore and founded Yeshivat Ner Israel with five talmidim. Under the caring leadership and guidance of its Rosh Yeshivah, it grew by leaps and bounds, attracting many talmidim from across the United States.
In the 1960s, Rav Ruderman founded Ner Yisrael Kollel, where committed talmidim remained in the focused atmosphere of the Yeshivah even after marriage.
Rav Ruderman conveyed to his talmidim the Torah and mussar legacy of Slabodka. He was able to instill self-confidence and self-esteem in his talmidim.In addition, Rav Ruderman’s diligence in study and devotion to Torah served as an example.
He led his Yeshivah tirelessly for 54 years, and built it into one of the largest and most influential yeshivot in America.
He was niftar on 14 Tammuz 5747 / 1987. His petira followed less than one-and-a-half years after the passing of Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky and Rav Moshe Feinstein.
Posthumously, Rav Ruderman’s students have published two volumes of his teachings: Sichot Levi contains mussar/ethical insights based on the weekly parashah, while Mas’at Levi contains lectures on the 19th century work Minchat Chinuch and other Talmudic and halachic insights.
HaRav Mordechai Attiah, zt”l, (1978), Sephardic Rosh Yeshiva in Yerushalayim.
HaRav Yitzchak Eizik (ben Isamar) Rosenbaum, zt”l, (5760 / 2000), the Zutchke (Zutchka) Rebbe (See 13 Tammuz)
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15 Tammuz 3414 - 347 B.C.E.:
Ezra HaSofer left Bavel to go up to Yerushalayim. He left from the Euphrates River (Nehar Peras) and arrived in Yerushalayim 15 days later.
15 Tammuz 5392 - July 4, 1632:
Two years after Miguel Rodrigues was discovered holding Jewish rites and accused of destroying a crucifix, a great Auto da Fe was held in Madrid in the presence of the King, Queen, and foreign ambassadors. Rodrigues, his wife Isabel, and five others were burned alive. Their house was razed and a convent called La Paciencia was built on the site, Hy"d.
15 Tammuz 5503 - July 7, 1743:
Yahrtzeit of the famed Torah scholar and mystic HaRav Chayim ben Attar, zt"l, (1696-1743), author of the Ohr HaChayim commentary on the Torah. (See below)
15 Tammuz 5598 - July 8, 1838:
Druse Arabs attacked the Jews of Tzefat.
15 Tammuz 5680 - July 1, 1920:
England's first High Commissioner for Palestine, Sir Herbert Samuel, took office.
15 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Chaim ben Atar, the Ohr HaChaim Hakadosh, zt”l, (5456 / 1696 – 5503 / 1743), author of the Ohr HaChayim commentary on the Torah.
Born into a well-respected family in Sali,Morocco, his father, Harav Moshe Ben Chaim, traced his lineage to the distinguished and well-known Ben-Attar family of Rabbanim and leaders of Klal Yisrael.
Rav Chaim spent his early years learning with his
grandfather, whose name he shared. Very soon his grandfather realized that the child possessed rare talents and needed to be taught privately.
The young Chaim excelled immensely in Torah, and at a rather young age became well-known as an iluy and diligent masmid.
He also lived and taught in Algiers, Italy, Acco and Yerushalayim, where he settled a year before his passing.
He married his relative, the daughter of Harav Moshe ben Harav Shem Tov Ben-Attar, who was a pious and wealthy layman and a well-known baal chessed.
His father-in-law supported them generously, and even founded a yeshivah in which the Ohr Hachaim quickly became a superior marbitz Torah. His Rebbetzin took care of the physical needs of the talmidim, and was a great tzaddeket in her own right.
His father-in-law was niftar in 5485 / 1725, and with that came a change in the Ohr Hachaim’s material situation. Envying the great fortune he had inherited, many people conspired against him; high government taxes were thrust upon him.
The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh earned his livelihood as a silversmith, yet he always made Torah study his primary occupation. He would sit engrossed in study, and only when his last coin was spent did he engage in worldly matters.
The Ohr HaChaim once mistakenly caused an affront to the King of Morocco, who had him thrown into a pit of lions. The Ohr HaChaim put on his tallit and tefillin, and when he was thrown into the pit, the lions gathered around him respectfully. Seeing this, the king proclaimed, "Now I know there is a God of Israel."
Finally, he was released from prison on the condition that he leave the city. After traveling to several cities he ended up in Livorno, Italy, where he published some of his great works: Ohr Hachaim and Chaifetz Hashem.
The Ohr Hachaim had always yearned and aspired to ascend to Eretz Yisrael and settle in Yerushalayim. With 30 followers he arrived in Eretz Yisrael, four days before Rosh HaShanah in 5502 / 1742 and settled in Acco.
HaRav Chaim and his students spent Yom Kippur in the cave of Eliyahu HaNavi / Elijah the Prophet, on Mount Carmel.
Purim was spent in Tzefat and Miron, where a great deal of time was spent studying the holy Zohar.
On the 15th of Elul of 5503 / 1743, Rav Chaim finally arrived in Yerushalayim with his group. He immediately established a yeshiva called Knesset Yisrael where throngs of talmidim made their way to learn under his guidance. and a second secretive yeshiva for the study of Kabbalah. One of his new students was Rav Chaim Yosef Dovid Azulai, the Chida, who at that time was only 18 years old. In Shem Hagedolim, the Chida attests that he was zocheh to be one of those talmidim.
The Ohr Hachaim authored a number of sefarim, including Pri Toar, on Yoreh De’ah; Rishon L’Tziyon and Chaifetz Hashem on various masechtot; and Ohr Hachaim on Chumash. The sefer Ohr Hachaim became a treasured and revered work. Gedolim and laymen alike throughout the generations treasured the fiery, priceless words of the Ohr Hachaim, which provide a guide to and assistance in avodat Hashem.
The Ohr HaChaim is credited with initiating the idea of placing a note in the Kotel HaMaaravi / Western Wall; he gave this advice to his student, the Chida, who was traveling from Morocco to Eretz Yisrael.
Legend says that he would study in Yerushalayim with Eliyahu HaNavi in the same building where the Arizal was born two centuries earlier. Many stories are told of his holiness and greatness, and of the repeated unsuccessful attempts by HaRav Yisrael Baal Shem Tov to reach the Holy Land and meet with him in the belief that together they could bring the Moshiach and the final redemption, as is evident from correspondence between him and his brother-in-law, Harav Gershon Kitover.
Unfortunately, the Baal Shem Tov’s ascent to Eretz Yisrael, partially for this purpose, was never completed. Many tzaddikim used to say their meeting would have hastened the coming of Moshiach.
The Ohr Hachaim was niftar on 15 Tammuz at the age of 47; he had no children. There is a story that at shalosh seudot that week the Baal Shem Tov declared, “The western light has been extinguished,” referring to the Ohr Hachaim.
A problem arises in regard to this story since 15 Tammuz never falls on Shabbat; rather, it was 14 Tammuz that fell on Shabbat that year. According to some, the yahrtzeit is on 14 Tammuz, and he was buried on Sunday, 15 Tammuz
Today, the grave of the Ohr HaChaim, located on Har Hazeitim / the Mount of Olives in Yerushalayim, is a popular place of pilgrimage and prayer.
HaRav Aryeh Leib Ginzberg, zt”l, (1695 - 5545 / 1785), the Shaagat Aryeh.
Born in Pinsk, he was the son of Rav Asher, Av Beit Din of Pinsk. When he was still young, his family moved to Minsk. A widow in the city had a complete set of the Shas in her home and would loan masechtot to any talmid chacham who needed them. When Aryeh Leib was still a child, he borrowed masechtot from her. Thus, every day, he would complete one masechta, and then ask her to exchange it for a different one. In 1725, when he was only thirty, Rav Aryeh Leib was invited to serve as the Rosh Yeshivah of Minsk, but the laypersons forced him out, since he was unashamed to rebuke them when he felt that it was necessary. Shortly afterwards, he was invited to serve as Rav of Volozhin (where he authored Shaagat Aryeh), and later in Metz, Germany. Prior to his petirah, the Shaagat Aryeh made a siyum of Shas, which he had reviewed one thousand times during his lifetime.
HaRav Aryeh Leibish Halberstadt of Tarnograd, zt”l, (5591 / 1831), Father of the Divrei Chaim.
Harav Aryeh Leibish Halberstadt was born about 5530/1770. His father was Harav Simchah Hirsch, who was the son of Harav Moshe, Rav in Stanov, son of the famed Harav Tzvi Hirsh Charif, zt”l. Their family name was Halberstadt, after the city where Rav Tzvi Hirsh served as Rav.
Reb Aryeh Leibish married the daughter of Harav Dovid of Tarnograd, who was a grandson of Harav Dovid, the youngest son of the Chacham Tzvi.
After his wedding, Reb Aryeh Leibish lived near his father-in-law in Tarnograd, traveling from time to time to Brody. Rebbetzin Miriam was an only daughter; her well-to-do parents bequeathed their properties to their daughter and son-in-law.
During the years he was in Tarnograd, Reb Aryeh Leibush had two sons: Harav Moshe Yosef of Zbarov and Harav Chaim Halberstam of Sanz.
Although Reb Aryeh Leibish was involved in business, he devoted much of his time to learning. He distributed large amounts of tzedakah to the needy, especially for hachnasat kallah and to orphaned families.
Once, a huge fire broke out and devastated most of the city, including his house, which totally burned down.
After the loss of his house in the fire, Reb Aryeh Leibish moved to Sassov.
In Sassov, Reb Aryeh Leibish became close to Harav Moshe Leib of Sassov, with whom he would discuss many lofty Torah topics.
Reb Aryeh Leibish did not remain in Sassov for a long period, and after a while, he returned to Tarnograd, near his father-in-law.
His wife was niftar shortly thereafter and was buried in Tarnograd.
Following her passing, Reb Aryeh Leibish moved to Premisla. He was appointed as Dayan on the beit din of Harav Yosef Asher Ehrenberg. It was said of Harav Yosef Asher that he would not appoint a Dayan to his beit din unless he knew that he was a baal ruach hakodesh…
Reb Aryeh Leibish was niftar on 15 Tammuz 5591/1831, and was buried in Premisla.
Reb Aryeh Leibish’s sons were Harav Moshe Yosef, Rav of Zbarov; Harav Chaim, the Divrei Chaim of Sanz; and Harav Avigdor of Dukla. His sons-in-law were Harav Yosef Babad, (the Minchat Chinuch) and Harav Yisrael Schreiber.
HaRav Menachem Shevicha, zt”l, (1881). One of the great Torah scholars of Aram Tzovah.
HaRav Elazar Weisblum of Reishe (Rzeszów), zt”l, (5598-9 / 1838-9 - 5670 / 1910), Reisha Rebbe, who was raised by the Divrei Chaim, and had a special gift of healing. He was the son of Rav Elimelech Weissblum, zt”l (1817-1849), Rudniker Rebbe, who was a son of Harav Menachem Yissachar Dov of Pshevorsk, zt”l, who in turn was a son of Harav Elimelech of Lizhensk, zy”a.
When he was just 10 years old, Elazar lost both his father, who was niftar on 19 Tevet 5609/1849, and his mother, Rebbetzin Kreindel. Harav Dovid of Dinov, zt”l, the Tzemach Dovid, took the young orphan into his home, along with a sister — who later married Harav Avraham Shmuel Alter Lamm, Rav of Zalkwa, zt”l — and he cared for them for a period of eight months. From there, Rav Elazar moved on to the home of Harav Chaim of Sanz, the Divrei Chaim, zy”a.
In the holy court of Sanz, Rav Elazar, under the watchful eye of the Divrei Chaim, grew steadily in Torah and yirat Shamayim.
When Rav Elazar was relatively young, he was already given semichah by Gedolim of the generation, most notably Harav Chaim Elazar Wachs, the Nefesh Chayah, zt”l. This was, of course, thanks to the great strengths that the Divrei Chaim endowed him with.
In 5612/1852, the Divrei Chaim married Rav Elazar off to his granddaughter, Rebbetzin Breindel, the daughter of his son, Harav Dovid of Kshanov. After the Divrei Chaim’s petirah on 25 Nisan 5636/1876, he moved to Bukovsk, where he was appointed Rav. At this stage, his father’s chassidim anointed Rav Elazar as their Rebbe. Later, Rav Elazar settled in Pshevorsk.
Eventually, the kehillah of Reisha, a leading community in Galicia, invited Elazar to move his court there, which he did.
Although he was known as a poel yeshuot, Rav Elazar himself was not zocheh to have children (the Sanzer Rebbe had promised him otherwise). Forty years after his marriage, his father came to him in a dream, telling him to divorce and remarry, and he would subsequently merit a child. He did so.
His zivug sheini was Rebbetzin Chayah, who was the daughter of Harav Chaim Yonah Heilperin, zt”l, Rav of Reisha. Towards the end of his life Rav Elazar had his only daughter, Kreindel Finkel. She married Harav Shlomo Horowitz, Hy”d. This son-in-law became Rav of Reisha after the petirah of Rav Elazar.
On 15 Tammuz, 5670/1910, Rav Elazar was niftar. He was buried in the ohel of his father in Sokolov.
His sefer, Mishneh L’Melech, was published anonymously in 5662/1902.
HaRav Yaakov Moshe of Komarna, zt”l, (5689 / 1929).
HaRav Shlomo Meshicha, zt’l, (1956). A Kabbalist of Yerushalayim.
HaRav Dovid Moshe Rosenbaum of Kretchnif-Rechovot, zt”l, (5729 / 1969), son of Rav Eliezer Zev Rosenbaum and son-in-law of Rabbi Chaim Mordechai of Nadvorna.
HaRav Amram Blau, zt”l, (1894-1974), head of Neturei Karta in Yerushalayim. He was close with the Brisker Rov and the Chazon Ish and earned their respect. The Neturei Karta movement broke off from Agudath Israel in 1935 because of their insistence on total separation from the Zionist Jewish community. In 1938, Rav Blau and Aharon Katzenellenbogen seceded from the Edah Charedit. For the most part, the members of Neturei Karta are descended from Hungarian Jews that settled in Yerushalayim’s Old City in the early nineteenth century and currently number about 5000. Rav Blau was forced to surrender leadership of Neturei Karta in 1965, after he married Ruth Ben-Dovid, who was a divorced woman and a convert from Catholicism, two years after his first wife, Hinda, passed. She also was a former member of the French Resistance, who had rescued Blau during the Holocaust. In December 2006, Satmar leaders condemned six Neturei Karta adherents as “reckless outcasts” for attending the Holocaust denial conference hosted by Iran. Rav Amram Blau, as well as his successor Rav Aharon Katzenelenbogen, were vehemently opposed to activities of this sort. As an indication of his disfavor, Rav Katzenelenbogen went to the Zionist Israeli secular court to enforce an order forbidding Moshe Hirsh from leaving Israel, to prevent him from engaging in joint activities with Jew-hating Arabs.
HaRav Mordechai Weinberg, zt”l, (1992), Rosh Yeshiva of Montreal.
HaRav Shimon Moshe Diskin, zt"l, (1999). Rosh Yeshiva of Kol Torah, and author of Masa’at HaMelech.
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16 Tammuz 2449 - 1312 B.C.E.:
Moshe delayed coming back from Har Sinai. This was the 40th day following the Giving of the Torah at Har Sinai, and the people of Israel wrongly expected Moshe's return from the mountain (he would actually return on the following day). The eirev rav demanded that the Elders
should appoint a new intermediary, and when they refused, they were
killed. They then turned to Aharon and forced him to make the Egel HaZahav / Golden Calf.
Chur, son of Kalev ben Yefuneh and Miriam Hanevia, (and Moshe's nephew), was killed
by the eirev rav for his protest against making the Egel HaZahav / Golden Calf. As such he was the first Jew to die "Al Kiddush HaShem," in defense of his faith.
As a reward for giving his life to preserve Jewish faith, Chur merited to have a grandson, Betzalel, who became the architect of the Mishkan / Tabernacle; the great King Solomon descended from him as well. During that tense time in the desert, Moshe's brother Aharon used a different strategy to delay the Golden Calf: He pretended to agree to building the Calf, but suggested that they wait until the following day. Aaron hoped that by then Moshe would return to the camp and resolve the issue peacefully.
16 Tammuz 4999 - July 21, 1239:
Pope Gregory IX ordered the confiscation of all manuscripts of the Talmud.
16 Tammuz 5500 - July 11, 1740:
Jews were expelled from Little Russia.
16 Tammuz 5557 - July 10, 1797:
Less then two months after the French, under Napoleon, captured Venice, the ghetto gates were torn down. A tree of liberty was erected while the local populace danced and celebrated. Then, with the active participation of the newly formed civic guard and some of the local priests, the gates were burned in a bonfire. The ghetto was in existence for 281 years and 3 months.
16 Tammuz - 1920:
Sir Herbert Samuel became first British High-Commissioner of Palestine.
16 Tammuz 5701 - July 11, 1941:
All of the Jews who survived the murders in Kaunas, Lithuania, were sent to
the newly erected Slobodka ghetto. The Jews organized an underground with 800
members, many of whom escaped to the forests of Augustova.
16 Tammuz 5760 - July 19, 2000:
Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut was nominated as Al Gore's running mate in the presidential election, becoming the first Jew nominated for this post by a major party. Lieberman, an observant Jew, upended the conventional wisdom that to get ahead in secular society, one had to tone down his Jewishness. Indeed, Lieberman was chosen largely because of his Jewish observance, which earned him the appellation, "moral conscience of the Senate." (Lieberman helped to register black voters in the South during the 1960s, and attended Martin Luther King's historic 1963 march on Washington.) In the November 2000 presidential election, the Gore-Lieberman ticket won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College count, as the Supreme Court stepped in to decide the disputed Florida butterfly ballots. Yet the publicity surrounding Lieberman succeeded in communicating Jewish pride to millions of Americans.
16 Tammuz 5765 - July 23, 2005:
A series of terror attacks, perpetrated by a Wahhabi organization, at Naama Bay in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh. Eighty-eight people were killed, and over 200 were wounded.
16 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
Chur, son of Kalev ben Yefuneh and Miriam Haneviah, who was killed by the eirev rav for his protest against making the Egel HaZahav / Golden Calf (2449 / 1312, B.C.E.)
HaRav Aharon Yosef Baksht, zt”l, Hy”d, (5627 / 1867 - 5701 / 1941), Rav in Lomza and Shoval, among other places. Born in Ivye in 5627/1867. As a bachur he studied in Volozhin and Slabodka. While in Volozhin, he caught the eye of Reb Itzele Peterburger, (also known as Rab' Yitzchak Blazer), a disciple of Harav Yisrael Salanter, founder of the Mussar movement. Reb Itzele introduced Rav Aharon to the derech hamussar. He was known as a giant in Torah and Mussar throughout his life.
He eventually moved to Kelm where he became attached to Reb Simcha Zissel Ziv. He served in no less than thirteen cities, including Baisagola, Semiatitz, Tzaritzin, Poltave, Seduva, Lomza, and Suwalk. He came to Shavel in 5690 / 1930. He married Sarah Rivkah Levin from the town of Shavel, in Lithuania. Even under the Soviets (5700/1940–5701/1941) he kept teaching Torah, with many participants at his drashot.
During the Holocaust, he and his son-in-law, Rav Isaac Rabinowitz of Telshe, were among the first to be murdered when the Germans entered Shavel. He was, unfortunately, the last Rav in Shavel. Hy”d.
HaRav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Kopycznitz (Kapitshnitz), the Kapischnitzer Rebbe, zt”l, (5648 / 1888 - 5727 / 1967). :
Named after the Apta Rov, the Oheiv Yisrael, of whom he was a direct descendant, he was born in Husyatin on 4 Iyar 5648/1888. His father was Harav Yitzchak Meir, the Rebbe of Kopycznitz. He spent his early childhood with his illustrious maternal grandfather, Rav Mordechai Shraga, the Rebbe of Husyatin, son of Rav Yisrael of Ruzhin. When he was six years old, his grandfather was niftar and the family moved to Kapitshnitz, where his father, Rav Yitzchak Meir, opened a Beit Medrash. Harav Avraham Yehoshua traveled often to his great-uncle, Harav David Moshe of Chortkov, who showed him great affection. (The Chortkover Rebbe was also his step-grandfather, as he had married the mother of Harav Yitzchak Meir.)
Harav Avraham Yehoshua’s greatness shone in every area: in his refinement, in his sharp mind, in his extreme diligence in Torah study, and especially in his extraordinary deeds of tzedakah and chessed and his mesirut nefesh for others.
Harav Avraham Yehoshua married Rebbetzin Sarah Brachah, the daughter of his paternal uncle, Harav Moshe Mordechai of Mezibuzh-Warsaw. The young couple began married life in her parents’ home in Warsaw. During this period, Harav Avraham Yehoshua became known to the gedolim and tzaddikim of Poland, who held him in high esteem. Afterward, Harav Avraham Yehoshua and his family returned to his father’s court in Kapitshnitz.
He moved with his father to Vienna at the outbreak of World War I, and succeeded his father on the first day of Rosh Hashana 5696 / 1935, his father’s petira. Only two years after Reb Avraham Yehoshua became Rebbe, Jewish life was shattered by the German occupation of Vienna. There, during those troubled times, his massive deeds of chessed reached their peak. His home became a center for the thousands of refugees who fled to Vienna. They found in Harav Avrumenyu — as he was fondly known — a listening ear and a fount of practical advice and assistance.
The war left a great many orphans in its wake, with no religious Jewish orphanage to receive them. Harav Avrumenyu made them his highest priority and established a large orphanage in Baden, near Vienna.
The first ones to experience German Nazi cruelty were the Rabbanim. Like the rest, the Kopycznitzer Rebbe was arrested and forced to clean the streets to the amusement of the jeering Germans.
The Nazis made a point of cutting off the beards of distinguished Rabbanim, but this the Kopycznitzer managed to avoid. When his turn came, he stuck out his hand and said to the Nazi officer, “Cut off these two fingers, but don’t touch my beard!” The Nazis were so taken aback by the Rebbe’s courage that they left him alone.
On the advice of his uncle, Harav Yisrael, the Husyatiner Rebbe (who was then already living in Eretz Yisrael), he moved to America, settling in the Lower East Side of New York. As always, he set out immediately to work helping others, never turning down a request from institutions or individuals. His tzedakah and chessed provided significant aid to the recipients, and he did it all with profound respect for their dignity. He later moved to Boro Park.
The Rebbe was among the founding members of Chinuch Atzmai (semi-private religious school system in Eretz Yisrael), together with Reb Aharon Kotler. One of his most faithful followers was the Ponovezher Rav, Reb Yosef Kahaneman.
On 15 Tammuz 5727/1967, the Rebbe planned a trip from his home in Boro Park to Monsey. Taking leave of his aron kodesh and mezuzot and reminding his children to take along a copy of the Ramban’s Shaar Ha’gemul, he set out. That night in Monsey, on 16 Tammuz, he returned his holy soul to its Maker.
Upon his request, the Rebbe was buried in Teveria, near the grave of his uncle, Harav Yisrael of Husyatin. He was succeeded by his son, Harav Moshe Mordechai of Kapitshnitz zt”l. Beloved by all who knew him, he was acknowledged as a true oheiv Yisroel continuing his father's ways with grace and dignity until his sudden petirah on the seventeenth of Nisan 5735 / 1975.
The Kapichnitzer Rebbe, Harav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel, zt"l, with his son and successor HaRav Moshe Mordechai, zt"l.
HaRav Shimon Moshe Diskin, zt”l, (5692 / 1932 - 5759 / 1999), was born in 5692/1932. He was the son of Harav Yehoshua Zelig Diskin, zt”l, Rav of Periaslov (Ukraine) and later in Pardes Chana, Eretz Yisrael, and Rebbetzin Miriam Leah Diskin, a”h. He was a grandson of Rav Shimon Moshe Diskin. When Rav Shimon Moshe was a child, his family immigrated to Eretz Yisrael, settling first in Tel Aviv.
He studied in the Ponevez Yeshivah and was highly regarded by the Ponevezer Rav, Harav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, zt”l, as can be seen in the haskamah to Rav Diskin’s sefer. After his marriage, he and his wife moved to Yerushalayim, where he studied in the Kamenitz-Knesset Beit Yitzchak kollel. From 5733/1973 he served as Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Kol Torah for 26 years.
Despite failing health, he delivered shiurim to his talmidim until his final day. Rav Shimon Moshe was niftar on 16 Tammuz and was buried on Har Hamenuchot.
HaRav Yaakov Shamaryahu Deutch, zt”l, (1993). Head of the Beit Din of Chug Chatam Sofer, Petach Tikva.
17 Tammuz -
Shiva Asar B'Tammuz: Fast Day and beginning of "The
The fast of Shiva Asar B'Tammuz: Declared by the Neviim / Prophets, that marks the beginning of "The Three Weeks,"
a period of mourning for the destruction of Yerushalayim / Jerusalem and the Beit HaMikdash / Holy Temple, culminating
in the fast of Tisha b'Av.
17 Tammuz 1656 - 2105 B.C.E.:
On this day, Noach sent out the dove the first time to see if the waters of
the Mabul / Great Flood have receded; (according to Rab' Eliezer) "But the dove found no rest for the sole
of her foot and she returned to the ark..." (Bereishit / Genesis 8:9). Some say that was a sign that Bnei Yisrael (who are compared to the dove - Shir HaShirim, 2:14) won’t find rest on this day when the walls of Yerushalayim were breached….. See Da’at Zekeinim (Bereishit, 8:3)
The Talmud (Taanit 28b) lists five tragic events in Jewish history that occurred on the 17th of Tammuz, on account of which a fast was instituted on this day:
1) Moshe came down from Har / Mt. Sinai with the first stone Luchot / Tablets,
inscribed with the Aseret Hadibrot / Ten Commandments. Moshe broke the Luchot when he saw the Bnei Yisroel / people of Israel worshipping the Egel HaZahav / Golden Calf (2448/1313 B.C.E. or 2449/1312 B.C.E.)
2) The walls of Yerushalayim were breached in 3339/422 B.C.E. before the destruction
of the Beit HaMikdash / First Temple and in 3829/69 C.E. before the destruction of the Second
Beit HaMikdash, according to the Talmud Yerushalmi, Taanit 4:5 The city of Yerushalayim / Jerusalem
According to the literal meaning of the verse in Melachim / Kings, during the first churban (destruction) this actually took place on 9 Tammuz. [The Yerushalmi states that the wrong date was recorded due to the enormity of the tzarot (troubles).]
3) The korban tamid (the daily sacrificial offering) in the Beit HaMikdash was discontinued,
three weeks before the Babylonians' destruction of the First Beit HaMikdash in 423 BCE.
4) King Menashe placed an idol in the heichal of the (first) Beit HaMikdash.
5) Apostomus, a Greek officer who ruled Eretz Yisrael before the destruction
of the Second Beit HaMikdash, burned a sefer Torah in public (3823/63 B. C.E.), setting a precedent for the horrific burning of Jewish books throughout the centuries. According to some, it was he who placed the idol in the Beit HaMikdash at the same time he burned the sefer Torah.
The fighting in Yerushalayim / Jerusalem continued for three weeks until the 9th of Av, when the Beit HaMikdash was set aflame.
17 Tammuz - 1099:
Crusaders captured Yerushalayim.
17 Tammuz - 1148:
Anti-Jewish riots in Cordova, Spain.
17 Tammuz - 1388:
The Jews of Lithuania received a Charter of Privilege.
17 Tammuz 5151 - June 20, 1391:
While the Jews of Toledo, Spain were commemorating the fall of the Beit HaMikdash, their
Christian neighbors, incited by the archdeacon of Ejica, Ferrand Martinez, attacked. 4,000 Jews were massacred in Toledo, Spain, sparking
pogroms in other Spanish Jewish communities, leading to widespread poverty and
deaths. Rabbeinu Yehudah of Toledo, the son of the Rosh, (Rabbeinu Asher), his wife (the daughter of the Baal Haturim), and his mother-in-law were killed al kiddush Hashem. Hy"d.
This followed massacres in Seville, where 4000 Jews were murdered. Hy"d, and many others were forced to convert, as well as in Cordova.
On Tisha B'Av 5252/1492, 101 years later, the extinction of Spanish Jewry was completed with the mass expulsion.
Our sages found a hint to the tragedies of the seventeenth of Tammuz in the
story of Noach and the dove which took place on this day, as mentioned
above. The dove's not finding a "resting place" alludes to the trials
which the Bnei Yisroel / people of Israel, which are likened to a dove, experienced on
this day many generations later.
17 Tammuz 5536 - July 4, 1776:
The Declaration of Independence was announced in the "new" country
of America promising religious freedom for all.
The Declaration of Independence eventually provided the basis for religious tolerance in most other countries. While there were less than 2,500 Jews within the colonies, approximately 600 Jews participated in the revolution including 24 officers (and the great-grandfather of Supreme Court Justice Cardozo). Isaac Franks, David Salisbury Franks and Solomon Bush all attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. One company in South Carolina had so many Jews that it was called the “Jews Company”.
17 Tammuz 5558 - July 1, 1798:
· Special taxes on Jews were finally abolished in Switzerland.
17 Tammuz 5701 - July 12, 1941:
4000 Jews of the Bialystoker ghetto were shot al kiddush Hashem. Hy"d..
17 Tammuz 5701 - July 12, 1941:
Several hundred Jewish women and girls were abducted from their houses, raped
and shot by the S.S. during the night in Khotin, Ukraine. Hy"d.
17 Tammuz 5730 - July 21, 1970:
All Jewish property was confiscated in Libya.
17 Tammuz 5762 - June 27, 2002:
In a landmark church-state decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that tuition vouchers were constitutional.
17 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
Rabbeinu Yehudah of Toledo, the son of the Rosh, (Rabbeinu Asher), his wife (the daughter of the Baal Haturim), and his mother-in-law were killed al kiddush Hashem. Hy"d. (1391). See above.
HaRav Yitzchak Hakohen Rappaport, zt”l, (1680 - 5515 / 1755), author of Batei Kehunah
He learned in Yerushalayim in Yeshivat Beit Yaakov, but due to the difficult situation in Eretz Yisrael was sent as an emissary to Turkey and the Balkans to raise money. In 1714 he was invited to be the Rav in Izmir, where he served for 36 years. He returned to Yerushalayim in his old age in 1749 and became the Chief Rabbi.
HaRav Chaim Tzvi Mannheimer, zt”l, (5574 / 1814 - 5646 / 1886), Rav of Ungvar and author of Ein Habdolach.
Harav Chaim Tzvi was born in 5574/1814 to Harav Dovid Leib Mannheimer and Rebbetzin Sheindel.
In his youth, Reb Chaim Tzvi learned under Harav Yaakov Koppel Altenkonstanst, also known as Reb Koppel Charif, mechaber of Chiddushei Yaavetz. From this yeshivah, Reb Chaim Tzvi went on to Toplatchon, to the yeshivah of Harav Binyamin Zev Lev, the author of Shaarei Torah. After that, Reb Chaim Tzvi moved on to the yeshivah of the Chatam Sofer — all before he became bar mitzvah!
The Chatam Sofer arranged a shidduch for him with the daughter of a naggid from Grupe who was willing to support a chattan dedicated to learning. Following his wedding to Gittel in 5592/1832, Rav Chaim Tzvi settled near his father-in-law.
A few years later, the Chatam Sofer told him that the time had come to not rely fully on his father-in-law and advised him to take up a Rabbinic position. Reb Chaim Tzvi said he did not feel worthy. The Chatam Sofer told Reb Chaim Tzvi that if he wouldn’t take the Rabbanut by choice, it would fall on him anyway.
Reb Chaim Tzvi went to work for his father-in-law by day and dedicated the nights to Torah learning. Once, on a business trip, he was robbed and badly hurt. When he returned home, he saw a letter from the Chatam Sofer. “I told you to take up a Rabbinic post by choice…” It was then that Reb Chaim Tzvi finally agreed to become a Rav. He accepted an offer from Shutelsdorf, the first kehillah that offered him a position.
Since the city was relatively small, Reb Chaim Tzvi found time for learning and opened a small yeshivah in the city as well. Later, he became Rav in Verboi, after their Rav, Harav Shmuel Zomer, moved to Pupa. In Verboi, Reb Chaim Tzvi also opened a yeshivah.
After the petirah of Harav Meir Asch, the city of Ungvar was without a Rav, and the Haskalah movement was making inroads there. The leaders of the Torah community of the city all agreed that the best person to fill the post was Reb Chaim Tzvi. Thus he became Rav in Ungvar in 5621/1861. Reb Chaim Tzvi also had an impressive yeshivah in Ungvar.
Rav Chaim Tzvi was niftar on 17 Tammuz 5646/1886 and was buried in Ungvar.
A few years before the outbreak of World War II, his talmidim published some of his responsa in Shu”t Ein Habdolach.
HaRav Avraham Tzvi ben Harav Chaim Ungar, zt”l, Hy”d, (5658 / 1898 - 5704/1944), Rav of Kapawar, Hy”d. Born in Tzehelem, (now Deutschkreutz), in Burgenland, Austria, he was a sixth generation descendant of the Panim Me’irot and a descendant of the Arizal.
As a young child he spent many hours of the day learning. Before his bar mitzvah, he was accepted to the yeshiva of his uncle, Harav Eliezer Dovid Greenwald, the Keren L’Dovid, in Tzehelem.
When the Keren L’Dovid left Tzehelem, Reb Avraham Tzvi moved to the yeshiva of Harav Shmuel Rosenberg, the Be’er Shmuel, in Unsdorf. After several years in Unsdorf, Reb Avraham Tzvi returned to Tzehelem. He was given semichah by the Keren L’Dovid in 5674/1914.
During World War I, Reb Avraham Tzvi fled to Vienna, where he became close with Harav Moshe of Shinev, who was also in Vienna.
After his marriage, Reb Avraham Tzvi settled in Beled, where he plumbed the depths of Torah together with his close friend, Harav Yoel Pelner.
Later, he moved to Kapawar, (Kapuvar, a suburb of Shofron, Hungary), where he served as Rav. He opened and developed mosdot of chinuch — a Talmud Torah and a yeshiva — realizing this was the future of Klal Yisrael. He was met with fierce opposition, but Reb Avraham Tzvi did not waver.
Reb Avraham Tzvi was close with many Rebbes, notably the Minchat Elazar of Munkacz.
He was noted for his avodah in tefillah.
When the Nazis reached Hungary in the summer of 5704 / 1944, Reb Avraham Tzvi was not spared. The Nazis deported the Ungar family to the Shopron ghetto near the Hungarian border. From there they were taken to Auschwitz, where the father, mother and five younger children were murdered. Hashem yinkom damam. All five elder brothers survived. Reb Avraham Tzvi was killed on Shabbat, at the age of 46.His five elder sons survived.
His son, Rav Yitzchak Shlomo, related that his father was a mohel, and he took his knife with him even to Auschwitz. On the last day of his life, as he was being transported to his death, he met a lady from his kehillah who had an eight-day-old infant with her. On the train, Reb Avraham Tzvi performed the emotional brit, adding that the baby will now be a Yiddishe boy being mekadesh Shem Shamayim.
After the war, Reb Avraham Tzvi’s son Harav Yitzchak Shlomo moved to Eretz Yisrael and became a Rav in Bnei Brak. He established Yeshivat Machaneh Avraham Chug Chatam Sofer, named in his father’s memory, in 5722 / 1962. He also published his father’s works, Machaneh Avraham on masechtot Mikvaot and Beitzah.
HaRav Yaakov Yosef Herman, zt”l, (1880 - 5727 / 1967). A native of Slutsk, Russia, he immigrated with his parents and younger sister to New York City at the age of 8 and was left on his own five years later after his family returned to Russia. Following his marriage, Herman's home became known for hachnosat orchim - feeding and lodging dozens of people in his home, including visiting European rabbonim seeking kosher meals. He displayed a staunch commitment to mitzvah observance at a time that many abandoned their faith, and urged promising young Jewish men to pursue advanced Torah study in the great yeshivot of Europe, including his own son-in-law, HaRav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, (1910–2012). For his promulgation of Torah values to his co-religionists, Herman was called the "Chofetz Chaim of America" by Rab' Boruch Ber Leibowitz, the Kaminetz rosh yeshiva, who lived with the Hermans for two years while he was fundraising in the United States. Herman's youngest daughter, Ruchoma Shain (died March 2013), immortalized his exploits in "All For The Boss: The life and impact of R' Yaakov Yosef Herman, a Torah pioneer in America" - An affectionate family chronicle, first published by Feldheim in 1984.
HaRav Salman Mutzafi, zt”l, (1900-1975). Born in Baghdad to Rav Tzion Meir, descendant of an illustrious family of Torah scholars who first arrived in Baghdad during the Spanish expulsion. The person who had the greatest influence on Rav Salman during his childhood was the Ben Ish Chai. Every Shabbat, the young Salman accompanied his father to Baghdad’s main shul to hear the Ben Ish Chai’s drasha, which lasted for two hours and was attended by over 2,000 people. In 1934, he moved to Eretz Yisrael. For two full years, he studied the nine volumes of Siddur Harashash, with all of its kabbalistic kavanot. It is said that his prayers have successfully saved the Jewish people on many occasions.
HaRav Shimon Biton, zt”l, (5742 / 1982), Rav and head of the Beit Din of Marseilles and author of Shalmei Shimon.
HaRav Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg, zt”l, (1923 - 5759 / 1999), Rosh Yeshivat Ner Yisrael of Baltimore, the only son-in-law of Harav Ruderman, the founding Rosh Yeshiva.
The Weinberg family is from the Slonimer chasidic dynasty, a Lithuanian chassidut. The approach and relationship of the Slonim chasidim to Torah has been similar to the classical Litvishe approach. The founder of the dynasty was Rav Avrohom ben Yitzchok Mattisyohu Weinberg, the author of Chessed L’Avraham. As a youth, Rav Weinberg studied in the Rabbenu Chaim Berlin yeshiva in New York City under Rav Yitzchok Hutner, a talmid of the Alter of Slobodke. Rav Weinberg married the only daughter of Rav Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman, the rosh yeshiva of Ner Yisroel of Baltimore and another talmid of the Alter. In 1964, Rav Ruderman sent him to Toronto, to preside as the rosh yeshiva of a branch that Ner Yisroel had established there several years earlier. Eight years later, when the yeshiva in Toronto decided to become independent, he returned to Baltimore. Shortly before the petirah of his father-in-law in 1987, Rav Weinberg was asked to preside as the rosh yeshiva of Ner Yisroel in Baltimore. He was a member of the Moetzet Roshei Hayeshivot of Torah Umesorah for many years, and was very active in expanding the projects of this important organization.
HaRav Yaakov Yitzchak Spiegel, zt’l, (1937-2001), Rav of the Romanian shul Khal Shaarei Shomayim, son of Rav Moshe Menachem Spiegel, the Admor of Ostrov-Kalushin (formerly of Brownsville, later of the Lower East Side), and the grandson of Rav Naftali Aryeh Spiegel, the former Rav of Ostrov-Kalushin in Poland; a talmid muvhak of Rav Aharon Kotler.
HaRav Benyamin Mekeketz Didi, zt"l, author of Yad Benyamin on Pirkei Avot. (year??)
HaRav Shlomo Shemamso, zt"l, author of Shoresh Yishai. (year??)
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18 Tammuz 2448 - 1312 B.C.E.:
Moshe Rabbeinu destroyed the Egel HaZahav / Golden Calf, by burning the Calf, crushing it into powder, mixing it with water, and had the Jewish people drink it. The next morning, those who had embraced the Calf were found dead, their bellies miraculously swollen from the water. Moshe then re-ascended Har Sinai to plead Hashem's forgiveness for Klal Yisroel / the Jewish
people. (Shmot / Exodus 32:20; Talmud Taanit 30b. See Tammuz 16 and Tammuz 17)
18 Tammuz 3334 - 427 B.C.E.:
Yechezkel HaNavi (the Prophet Ezekiel) finished the 390 days that he was commanded by Hashem to lie on his left side, (see 12 Tammuz), and started to lie on his right side for 40 days. in order to atone for the sins of Klal Yisroel. Altogether he remained lying down for 430 days. On the 28th of Av 3334/427 B.C..E., he arose, and on the 5th of Elul he received his next nevuah/ prophecy. That was about five years before the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash (see Yechezkel, ch 8-10)...
18 Tammuz - 1099:
· Crusaders herded the Jews of Yerushalayim into a shul and set it aflame. All the Jews perished in the fire and for the 88 years of Crusader control of Yerushalayim, Jews were barred from the city, Hy"d.
18 Tammuz 5029 - June 19, 1269:
King Louis IX ordered that all Jews in France must wear a distinctive yellow "badge of shame." (others 11 Tammuz).
18 Tammuz 5058 - 1298:
The Jewish community of Morgentheim, Austria was massacred, Hy"d.
18 Tammuz - 1453:
41 Jews burned at the stake in Breslau, Hy"d. The remainder of the Jewish population was expelled.
18 Tammuz 5298 - 1538:
The Jewish community of Candia (Crete), Greece, established a Purim.
18 Tammuz 5673 - July 23, 1913:
Rechovot was attacked by the Arabs.
18 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
8 TaHaRav Shmuel Shatin, zt”l, (5479 / 1719), author of Kos Hayeshuot. (According to some, the yahrtzeit is 14 Tammuz.).
HaRav Yehudah Halevi Eidel of Slonim, zt”l, (5565 / 1805) (Others 5548 / 1788 or 1827). Born in Zamosc, Galicia, in 1757 or 1759. His most famous work was Afikei Yehuda, of which only the first volume, containing twenty-four sermons, appeared. His chidushim on Seder Toharot is considered indispensable for anyone studying this topic. He also published a book on Hebrew synonyms called Redifei Maya, and his first book, Safah le-Ne’emanim, a treatise on grammar, (Lemberg, 1793), was what caught the attention of the Vilna Gaon. He had five sons, all of whom became rabbis.
HaRav Avraham ben Harav Yehudah Leib, zt”l, (1788 - 5608 / 1848). Author of Maskil L’eisan (chidushim on parts of Moed and Kodoshim,), Be’er Avraham (chidushim on Shas), Nachal Eisan (chidushim on the first two parts of Rambam’s Yad HaChazakah), and Yad Avraham (chidushim on Yoreh De’ah; notes on Sifre).
HaRav Moshe David Ashkenazi, zt”l, (5534 / 1774 - 5615 / 1855), Rav of Toltshova-Tzefat
His father, Harav Asher Anshil, was Rav in Razdil. He was a descendant of the Chacham Tzvi, the Maginei Shlomo, the Taz and many other leading Gedolei Yisrael. Rav Asher Anshil later moved to Lvov (Lemberg), where he replaced his father, Rav Moshe, as Rav. Reb Asher Anshil was also one of the leading Rabbanim of the Vaad Arba Aratzot.
In 5563/1803, at the age of 29, Reb Moshe David was appointed Rav of Toltshova, Hungary, holding the post for 40 years. During this time, he installed many takanot on behalf of the community. Reb Moshe David also taught many bachurim, and was much loved by the entire community. Reb Moshe David was known as an outstanding gaon and talmid chacham, and was respected by the generation’s tzaddikim and Rebbes.
At the age of 70, in 5603/1843, Reb Moshe David decided to fulfill his life’s dream: to settle in Eretz Yisrael. Before his trip, he traveled to receive the brachot of many Rebbes including the Torat Chaim of Kossov, Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin and Harav Meir of Premishlan. When Reb Moshe David came to Reb Meir Premishlaner, Reb Meir asked him to stay for Shabbat — even though he had planned to travel on Tuesday. He complied with the wish of Reb Meir, although it would delay his plans, and remained for Shabbat. When he reached the port to await the next ship, he heard the news that the previous ship — the one he had wanted to travel on — had sunk.
Upon his arrival in Eretz Yisrael, Reb Moshe David settled in Yerushalayim. Later, he moved to Tzefat, where he was appointed Rav of the Ashkenazic kehillah.
Reb Moshe David wrote Be’er Sheva on the Torah and Toldot Menachem on Shas.
His sons were Harav Shlomo, Rav of Bakshvitz; Harav Mordechai, Rav of Pistick; Harav Yoel, Rav of Zlotchov, and Rav Avraham, who was niftar in his younger years.
Reb Moshe David’s sons-in-law were Harav Yekusiel Yehudah Teitelbaum, the Yetev Lev and Harav Yosef Yoel Deutsch. Reb Moshe David was dynamic until his last day; he even served as sandak at a brit on the day of his passing, 18 Tammuz 5615/1855, at the age of 82. He was buried in the old cemetery of Tzefat.
HaRav Yaakov Aryeh Guterman of Radzymin, zt”l, (5552 / 1792 - 5634 / 1874).
Harav Yaakov Aryeh was born in Cracow, in 5552/1792. His parents were Harav Shlomo and Rebbetzin Binah Gutterman.
He learned in his youth under the Rav of Vorka, Harav Shmuel, a talmid of Harav Akiva Eiger and mechaber of Torat Shmuel.
Reb Yaakov Aryeh was known as one of the most eminent Chassidim in Kozhnitz, and his closeness to the Maggid was due to the influence of his Rebbe, Harav Shmuel.
He was also a Chassid of the Chozeh, which brought Reb Yaakov Aryeh close to the Yehudi Hakadosh of Peshis’cha as well. After the petirah of the Yehudi Hakadosh, Reb Yaakov Aryeh became a Chassid of the Rebbe Reb Bunim of Peshis’cha. The Rebbe Reb Bunim honored Reb Yaakov Aryeh, even giving him kvitlach that he daven on his behalf.
After the petirah of the Rebbe Reb Bunim, Reb Yaakov Aryeh refused to become a Rebbe, but instead became a Chassid of Harav Yitzchak of Vorka. It was only after the petirah of Reb Yitzchak of Vorka in 5608/1848 that Reb Yaakov Aryeh took up the mantle of leadership in Radzymin (Warsaw district).
His fame soon spread throughout Poland as a baal mofes. He attracted thousands of Chassidim and leading tzaddikim.
His aversion to materialism was such that he didn’t know the difference between the various denominations of Polish coins, only knowing that giving “these things” to the poor would “make them happy.” Similarly, his home was always open to the downtrodden and broken-hearted, whom he would amply supply with all their immediate needs.
Reb Yaakov Aryeh was niftar on 18 Tammuz 5634/1874. He was laid to rest in Warsaw’s beit olam, and a distinctive ohel was erected over his kever.
His divrei Torah were written in Bikurei Aviv, on the Torah, and Divrei Aviv, on Medrash for sefer Bereishit. The name Aviv is the roshei teivot of his name, Yaakov Aryeh ben Binah.
Harav Yehoshua of Tomashov, zt”l, (5664 / 1904).
HaRav Chaim Meir Yechiel Shapiro, zt”l, (Naroler Rebbe) (1907-2007). He was a grandson of the Rav of Narol, and a descendant of the Sar Sholom, the first Belzer Rav. When he was a young child, his family fled to Kashuai in Hungary, where his grandfather re-established his court. The family returned to Narol in 1924.
After his grandfather’s petirah, in a decision made by Gedolei Yisrael, Rav Chaim Meir was appointed Rav and Dayan in Narol despite his young age. He received heter horaah from the Beit Din in Lvov, and became a posek for Belzer chassidim.
After the Nazi invasion in 1939, he fled with his family to Taprov, where his father-in-law lived, and stayed until the summer. In June, all Jews who didn’t have passports were seized by police and shipped to Siberia. The Naroler Rav’s family managed to leave Siberia and reach Samarkand where survival was easier. In 1945, the Rav was permitted to leave Russia and go to the west. In 1946, he arrived in Antwerp, and began to give shiurim to the Belzer chassidim who had arrived there. He was active among the refugees here too, helping marry off orphans and setting up their homes. In 1948, the Naroler Rav moved to Brooklyn. A Belzer beit medrash was founded, and the Naroler Rav was appointed at its head. He gave many shiurim among them, a shiur on Minchat Chinuch which he consistently gave for over 70 years. On Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, 1972, the Naroler Rebbe left America and settled in Bnei Brak, where he founded the Naroler beit medrash. The Rebbe left behind his son Rav Berish, Rav of Narol.
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19 Tammuz - 1312 B.C.E.:
Moshe returned to Mt. Sinai a second time. (Rashi says that Elul 1 to Yom Kippur was the third time). (See Tammuz 16, 17 and 18).
19 Tammuz - 1475:
Meshullam Cusi established the first Hebrew press in Italy at Piove di Sacco near Padua and printed Rabbeinu Yaakov ben Asher’s Arbah Turim. The same year he also printed a Selichot.
19 Tammuz 5611 - July 19, 1851:
Passsing of author, journalist, and diplomat Mordechai Manuel Noah. Noah became the United State’s consul to Tunis. Fixated on the problem of a haven for Jewish refugees, he wrote about the importance of a revived Jewish homeland and in 1825, decided to acquire Grand Island in New York as a Jewish city of refuge. He served as Sheriff of New York and was appointed the head of the Democratic Party in New York. In 1837, he came to the conclusion that the best solution was for the Jews to have their own homeland in Eretz Yisrael.
19 Tammuz 5622 - July 17, 1862:
Legislation abolishing discrimination against chaplains’ service in the United States army became a law.
19 Tammuz 5642 - July 6, 1882:
The first 14 members of BILU reached Yaffo.
19 Tammuz 5701 - July 14, 1941:
6,000 Lithuanian Jews.were killed in the Viszalsyan camp. Hy"d.
19 Tammuz 5701 - July 14, 1941:
The Nazis and the Latvian auxiliary Police in Riga, Latvia killed 2,300 Jews Hy"d.
19 Tammuz 5727 - July 27, 1967:
The Allon Plan is unilaterally presented (1967), a strategic proposal for Israel’s retention of the Jordan Valley in the West Bank. It included a series of Jewish settlements and military installations to act as buffers against potential Arab attacks from the east.
19 Tammuz 5761 - July 10, 2001:
In Jedwabne, Poland, Polish President Kwasniewski apologized for the wartime massacre of Jews. The entire town of Jedwabne gleefully participated in the killing of its Jewish residents, Hy"d.
19 Tammuz 5766 - July 15, 2006:
On Friday night, the INS Chanit suffered damage after being struck by a Hezbollah C-802 anti-ship missile during the 2006 Lebanon War. Four crew members were killed. However, one crew member noticed several miracles (for example, if the crew had kept its normal schedule for eating on shifts, tens of sailors would have been killed. Instead they decided to spend the evening together sharing a Shabbat seuda. As a result, one sailor became a chozer b’teshuva (Torah Tavlin. May 21, 2016).
19 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Aharon Shmuel Kaidenover, zt”l, (5384 / 1624 - 5436 / 1676), (Others 5434 / 1674), author of Birchat Hazevach and other seforim. Born in Kaidenov to Harav Yisrael, the Rav of Kaidenov.
He learned under the Rebbe Reb Heshel in Cracow.
At a young age, Reb Shmuel was appointed Rav in a number of kehillot. Among his noted talmidim was the Shach, to whom Reb Shmuel gave a warm haskamah on the first edition of his sefer.
During the calamities of the rebellion of Chmielnicki, known by the acronym of its years Tach v’Tat, 5408–9/1648–9, Reb Shmuel was forced to flee, and his two young daughters were killed. His house was burned down and many of his sefarim were destroyed.
He settled in Poland, and was appointed Rav and Rosh Yeshivah of Nikolsburg.
Following the petirah of the Rebbe Reb Heshel, Reb Shmuel was considered by many to be the leading posek hador.
He would often travel from kehillah to kehillah, and was always received with much honor.
Besides being a leading talmid chacham and posek, Reb Shmuel was also known as a mekubal. Later, Reb Shmuel also served as Rav in other kehillot, among them Brisk, Fiorda and Frankfurt. His last post was in the city of Cracow.
When Reb Shmuel was appointed Rav of Frankfurt, one of the foremost Jewish cities, he thought of remaining there. When he was offered the post of Rav in Cracow, he accepted, explaining that with this he saw a chance to continue the legacy of his Rebbi.
Reb Shmuel was niftar on 19 Tammuz 5436/1676, at the age of 52.
He wrote several sefarim: Birchat Hazevach, on Seder Kodshim; Birchat Shmuel, on the Torah; Teshuvot Emunat Shmuel, his responsa; and Tiferet Shmuel, his chiddushim on the Rosh.
His son, Harav Tzvi Hirsh, wrote the sefer Kav Hayashar. It is also known that Harav Nachum, the brother of the Shach, was the son-in-law of Reb Shmuel.
HaRav Yehoshua Frisherman, zt”l, (5666 / 1906), of Tomashov.
Reb Yehoshua was born in 5585/1825. His father was Rav Yosef of Yaritshov–Tomashov. He married the daughter of Harav Aryeh Leib Kanner, son-in-law of Harav Tzvi Hirsch of Rimanov.
A Chassid of many Rebbes of his generation, Reb Yehoshua was especially close with Harav Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov; Harav Chaim Meir Yechiel, the Saraf of Moglenitza; the Sar Shalom of Belz; the Divrei Chaim of Sanz; and Harav Elazar of Kozhnitz.
In his avodat hakodesh, Reb Yehoshua would never rise later than midnight, and he spent his entire day learning. He was a famed baal tzedakah. He was also known for middat hakana’ut, never yielding on even the smallest minhag, including the traditional levush.
Reb Yehoshua visited Eretz Yisrael three times and thought of settling there, but this plan failed to materialize.
Reb Yehoshua was niftar on 19 Tammuz, 5666/1906, at the age of 81.
He was succeeded as Rebbe by his son Harav Yosef Aryeh Leib, zy”a.
His sons-in-law were Harav Yosef Goldmintzer, Dayan in Tomashov; Harav Tzvi Hirsh Elimelech of Halman; and Harav Meir Avraham, Rav in Tomashov.
HaRav Yitzchak Eizek Halevi Herzog, zt”l, (5649 / 1888 - 5719 / 1959), Chief Rabbi of Ireland and later Eretz Yisrael's second Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi. Rav Herzog was born in Lomza, Poland. Until his 16th birthday, he studied at the feet of his father, Rav Yoel Leib Herzog (1865-1933) who later served as Chief Rabbi of Paris.
Rav Yitzchak moved to the United Kingdom with his family in 1898. He studied Oriental languages at the Sorbonne in Paris, and classics and mathematics at the University of London, where he received his doctorate. In his dissertation "The Royal Purple and the Biblical Blue", he identified the shellfish (murex snail) as the source of the "techelet" the long lost blue-purple dye used for making Tzitzit.
He received semicha from Rav Yaakov Wilovski (the Ridbaz, author of a crucial commentary on the Yerushalmi / Jerusalem Talmud). In 1916 he was named Chief Rabbi of Belfast, Ireland. Later he served in the same post in Dublin. In 1922, Rav Herzog became Chief Rabbi of all of Ireland.
Following the passing of Rav Avraham Yitzchak haCohen Kook in 1936, Rav Herzog was invited to become Eretz Yisrael’s second Ashkenazi chief rabbi. After World War II, Rav Herzog went on a rescue mission to redeem Jewish children from the churches and monasteries where they had been hidden during the war. He served as Chief Rabbi until his petira in 1959.
His son, Chaim Herzog, was a general in the Israel Defense Forces and later became ambassador of Israel to the UN and President of Israel. He authored numerous works including Divrei Yitzchak, an anthology of Talmudic discourses, and the halachic work Heichal Yitzchak.
HaRav Eliezer Yehudah (Lazer Yudel) Finkel, zt”l, (5637 / 1877 - 5725 / 1965), Rosh Yeshiva of Mir in both Poland and later Yerushalayim. Reb Lazer Yudel, as he was fondly known, was born to the legendary mussar leader, Harav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, zt”l, the Alter of Slabodka, in 5637/1877. He traveled from yeshivah to yeshivah — to Telshe, then he studied under Rav Chaim Soloveitchik in Brisk. To Halosk, and then to Radin, were he was reputed to have mastered the entire Shas at the tender age of 17— until finally settling in Yeshivat Mir.
He married the daughter of Rav Eliyahu Boruch Kamai (Rosh Yeshiva of Mir) in 5663 / 1903. Three years later he joined the staff of the Mir Yeshiva, and in 1917 became its Rosh Yeshiva upon the death of his father-in-law. During this time as the yeshiva flourished and grew , Rav Leizer Yudel called on the famed Rav Yeruchom Levovitz to serve as the mashgiach of the yeshiva. Also during this time, Rav Leizer Yudel chose one of his prime talmidim, Rav Chaim Shmulevitz, as a son-in-law and eventually his successor as rosh yeshiva of the Mir. Between 5699 / 1939 and 5701 / 1941, because many businesses were taken over by the Soviet government, the Mir Yeshiva left Belarus and was forced to move from place to place. The Rosh Yeshivah was moser nefesh to obtain the necessary funds to keep the yeshivah open.
After the war, the yeshivah returned to its hometown of Mir. It was between the two World Wars that the yeshivah reached its peak, growing into the “yeshivah of roshei yeshivot.”
Rav Finkel, with many other rabbis and yeshiva students went to Lithuania because that country was still independent.
During World War II, hashgachah led to the amazing rescue of the Mirrer Yeshivah. Most of its talmidim were able to escape to Kobe, Japan, and then move on to Shanghai, where they remained until the end of the war.
Reb Lazer Yudel was, in fact, responsible for initiating the series of events that led to the rescue of the bachurim. When the yeshivaleit arrived in Mir, the Polish consulate announced that they were granting Polish passports to whoever applied. Most people refrained, fearing that it was some kind of trick. The Rosh Yeshivah, however, urged all the talmidim to immediately obtain these passports. A day later, the Japanese consulate decided to grant visas to all bearers of Polish passports. Amazingly, the day that the last bachur of the yeshivah got his visa, the consulate closed down!
The story of the escape of the entire Mir Yeshiva to Shanghai during WWII has been the subject of several books. After the war, the rabbis and students founded the Mir Yeshiva in Brooklyn, New York.
In 5701/1941, Reb Lazer Yudel ascended to Eretz Yisrael. There, he invested all his resources to obtain visas for the talmidei hayeshivah to be allowed to enter Eretz Yisrael.
In time, he reestablished Yeshivat Mir in Yerushalayim, with the help of his son-in-law Harav Chaim Shmuelevitz, zt”l, who had joined him in the interim.
About a year before his petirah, Reb Lazer Yudel began suffering from a heart ailment. Nevertheless, he remained strong and kept up his learning and teaching schedule until his very last day. His great heart stopped on 19 Tammuz 5725/1965, and Reb Lazer Yudel returned his soul to its Creator.
He authored Yad Eliezer.
HaRav Ben Zion Abba Shaul, zt”l, (5684 / 1924 - 5758 / 1998), Rosh Yeshivah Porat Yosef in Yerushalayim. Rav Ben Zion was born in Yerushalayim and was the eldest boy in a family of sixteen children. His parents were Harav Eliyahu Abba Shaul, a noted figure in the Yerushalayim Sephardic community, and Banya, a pious woman who instilled ahavat Torah in her children. Although Rav Eliyahu made a living as a shoemaker, he managed to invest long hours each day in Torah study and tefillah and was said to have learned all the halachot of the Ben Ish Chai no less than 52 times.
Despite their poverty, his parents were committed to raising a family of Torah scholars. While some Sephardic families sent their children to receive an “enlightened” education, Rav Eliyahu refused and, instead, sent his children to the Bnei Tzion Talmud Torah in the Bucharian Quarter.
Harav Benzion recalled years later, “We often learned without having eaten anything. Sometimes I would learn all day, hungry, and later tell my mother I had eaten in the yeshivah.”
At the age of 11, Ben Zion entered Porat Yosef, then located in the Old City. There he studied under its venerated Roshei Yeshivah, Harav Yaakov Ades and Harav Ezra Attia, to whom he became very attached. His classmates included the future Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rav Ovadiah Yosef. His teachers were Rav Yehuda Tzadka and Rav Ezra Attiya.
In 5709 / 1949, Harav Abba Shaul married Rebbetzin Hadassah, daughter of Harav Yosef Sharabani and granddaughter of the mekubal Harav Yehoshua Sharabani.
After his wedding, Harav Abba Shaul began serving as a maggid shiur in Yeshivat Porat Yosef; he also taught in the Bnei Tzion cheder. For years he would learn on Fridays b’chavrusa with his father-in-law, Harav Yosef, declaring that these sessions were the main source of his growth in Torah.
Harav Abba Shaul avoided rendering piskei halachah until 1970, when Harav Attia was niftar. At that time he began offering halachic opinions, but only privately. When Harav Yehudah Tzadkah, Rosh Yeshivah of Porat Yosef, began sending halachic queries to him, Harav Abba Shaul finally assumed the role of posek. Following Rav Tzadkah’s petirah in 5743, he also became Rosh Yeshivah of Porat Yosef.
The role that defined him, however, was that of a marbitz Torah. “I have many chiddushim,” he would comment, “but I never wrote them down because I preferred to invest all of my strength in talmidim, and I wasn’t able to do both.” Indeed, his devotion to his talmidim was remarkable.
The joy Harav Abba Shaul felt in performing mitzvot was clear to all around him. Once, while he lay in a hospital bed, attached to machines by tubes, he begged the person at his side not to worry about all the tubes but to please wheel his bed toward the window, so he could recite Kiddush Levanah. For days to come he beamed as he shared with his visitors his great good fortune in having been able to fulfill the mitzvah ofKiddush Levanah.
Harav Abba Shaul was a leader of Sephardic Jewry not just in Eretz Yisrael, but also in countries around the world. He traveled to Iran, England, Italy, France, South America, Mexico, Panama, Colombia, and the United States, strengthening the Sephardic Jews of those countries. He founded batei din for them and provided them with shochtim, mohalim and Rabbanim, thwarting assimilation and heretical influences.
Rav Ben Zion was responsible for a religious revival among Sephardic Jews with his founding of Maayan Hachinuch HaTorani, a network of Torah schools for Sephardic children in Israel, and was widely known for his ability to give blessings that were fulfilled.
He was niftar on 19 Tammuz, and masses of Yidden converged on the Yeshivah Porat Yosef for his levayah. His published works are Ohr L’Tzion, She’eilot U’teshuvot and chiddushim on various subjects.
HaRav Avraham HaLevi Patel, zt”l, (1981). Father-in-law of Rav Ovadia Yosef shlit"a, Author of VaYomer Avraham. among the great leaders of Aram Soba
HaRav Yona Stenzel (Sztencl), zt”l, (1904–1969). Served as a Rav in Tel Aviv and director of that city's kashrut department. Originator of Halacha Yomit and Mishnah Yomit study programs, which are currently administered by his son, Rav Shlomo Sztencl.
HaRav David HaCohen, zt”l, author of Divrei David.(year??)
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20 Tammuz - 1205:
The pope promulgated a Church doctrine which held Jews doomed to perpetual servitude and subjugation because they killed the Christian deity. This classic charge of deicide was officially removed in 1963.
20 Tammuz 5443 - July 14, 1683:
Hungarian rebels known as Kuruc attacked Uhersky Brod in Moravia, killing most of its Jewish inhabitants, Hy"d. Many of the Jews were recent refugees expelled from Vienna in 1670. One of the victims was the Rav and mekubal Nosson Nota Hanover, who had survived the Chmielnicki attacks and authored Yaven Metzula about this period. The book was translated into many languages, including Yiddish (1687), German (1720), French (1855) and English (”Abyss of Despair”, 1950). See below.
20 Tammuz 5549 - July 14, 1789:
Fall of the Bastille. Jews viewed the fall of Bastille as a triumph although by and large they were not allowed to participate in the election of the Estates-General which became the Constituent National Assembly. Many Jews enlisted in the National Guard. At the same time, more then 1,000 Jews in Alsace were forced to flee during the Agrarian revolt there.
20 Tammuz 5654 - July 24, 1894:
Many Jews of Vilna were killed during the Polish uprising. Vilna Jews held a fast day to mark this event.
20 Tammuz 5701 - July 15, 1941:
The Jews of Telz (Telshe/Telsia, Lithuania), including the Roshei Yeshiva, were killed by the Nazis, Hy"d. The date, known as Churban Telshe, is observed today in Telshe communities around the world, with special kinnot recited.
20 Tammuz 5704 - July 11, 1944:
The S.S. proclaimed Hungary (save the capital) free of Jews. The S.S. chief, Standartfuhrer Weesenmayer, certified that 437,402 Jews had been killed. Later that day, the S.S. sent the last 6,000 Jews to the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Birkenau.
20 Tammuz 5704 - July 11, 1944:
The Nazis destroyed the Kovno ghetto.
20 Tammuz 5710 - July 5, 1950:
· The Law of Return is enacted, granting every Jew the absolute right to settle in Eretz Yisrael..
20 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Nosson Nota Hanover, Hy”d, author of Yeven Metzulah, (5443 / 1683). Son of Harav Moshe. It is unknown exactly when he was born, but it is known that he was born in Ostroha, in Ukraine, circa the late 5380s / 1620s.
According to some sources, Reb Nosson Nota learned under the Maharsha, but this is not confirmed, especially in view of the fact that the Maharsha was niftar in 5482 / 1631. (others - Maharshal).
In 5406 / 1646, he traveled to Cracow, where he delivered a spellbinding drasha (the basis of his sefer Taamei Sukkah). Later that year he married and settled in Zaslov, Volhynia, near his father-in-law.
During the Chmielnicki uprising, in 5408–9 / 1648–9, known by the Jewish years as Tach V’Tat, he fled from Poland. He later wrote a historic work on the horrors the Jews faced during these years, describing the course of the uprising in the Polish- Lithuanian Commonwealth from a Jewish perspective. He named this sefer Yeven Metzulah.
In this work, he gives a brief description of the Polish government of the time and of the relations between the Poles, Jews and Cossacks, and the causes that led to the uprising. He also gives a very vivid picture of Jewish life in Poland and the yeshivot during those years. The book was translated into many languages, including Yiddish (1687), German (1720), French (1855) and English (”Abyss of Despair”, 1950).
He also authored Shaarei Tzion, a popular kabalistic sefer of tefilot and minhagim.
He settled in Prague, and then moved to Venice. Some sources say that Reb Nosson Nota also served as Rav in Livorno, Italy. Later he was appointed Rav of Yasi, Moldavia. In 5430 / 1670, Reb Nosson Nota was appointed Rav of Ungarisch-Brod, Moravia — a post he held until his tragic death.
When the Turks placed Vienna under siege, the Hungarians rebelled against the Austrians and destroyed the city Ungarisch-Brod, killing all the Jews in the city’s shul, among them Reb Nosson Nota, on 20 Tammuz 5443/1683, Hy”d.
HaRav Yisrael of Rikel, zt"l, murdered in Kavakaz, Hy”d, (5583 / 1823).
HaRav Moshe Yehudah Twersky, zt”l, of Trisk-Chelm, (5633 / 1873 - 5697 / 1937), author of Imrei Mi.
Harav Moshe Yehudah Leib Twersky was born in 5633/1873. His father was Harav Menachem Nachum of Trisk.
When he became of age, Rav Moshe Yehudah Leib married the daughter of Harav Mordechai Twersky of Koristchov. In his zivug sheini, after the passing of his first Rebbetzin, Rav Moshe Yehudah Leib married the daughter of Harav Pinchas of Konstantin.
Following the petirah of his father, Rav Moshe Yehudah Leib was appointed Rebbe in Bohislov. Like many other Rebbes of the Chernobyl dynasty, Rav Moshe Yehudah Leib also moved to Poland, settling in Chelm, where he replaced his relative Harav Mordechai of Kuzmir, who was niftar childless.
Rav Moshe Yehudah Leib was renowned for his tefillot, known for their fiery hislahavut.
Rav Moshe Yehudah Leib was niftar on 20 Tammuz 5697/1937, in Kielce. He was 64. He was buried near Harav Mordechai of Kuzmir.
The sefer Imrei Mi, a collection of divrei Torah of Rav Moshe Yehudah Leib, was published after his petirah.
His son, Harav Menachem Nachum, Hy”d, succeeded him as Rebbe.
HaRav Avraham Yitzchak (ben Yosef Leib) Bloch, zt”l, Hy”d, (1941), Telsher rosh yeshiva, brother of Rabbi Eliyahu Meir Bloch. Upon his father’s petira, Rav Avraham Yitzchak assumed the leadership of both the yeshiva and the city of Telshe, although he was not yet forty. The yeshiva’s end in Europe began in the summer of 1940, when the Soviets, who had occupied Lithuania, ordered the yeshiva closed. The Nazis entered the city on Rosh Chodesh Tammuz of 1941. After three terrible weeks of torture, on 20 Tammuz the Nazis massacred the male population of the city, including the yeshiva’s administration and student body. The women and children of Telshe were killed on 7 Elul.
HaRav Avraham Chaim (ben Menachem Mendel) Na’eh, zt”l, (5650 / 1890 – 5714 / 1954). Born in Chevron to HaRav Menachem Mendel Na'eh, a Lubavitcher chassid and Rosh Yeshiva of the Magen Avot, a yeshiva founded by the S'dei Chemed. Later, he studied at Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin’s yeshiva, Ohel Moshe, under Rav Yehoshua Leib’s son, Rav Yitzchak Yerucham. In 1912, he published his Chanoch LaNoar, which contains the laws necessary for bar-mitzvah youths.
With the outbreak of World War One, the Turks, who controlled Eretz Yisrael at the time, expelled anyone who was not a Turkish citizen. Most of the exiled Jews, including Rav Avraham Chaim, gathered in Alexandria, Egypt where he founded Yeshivat Eretz Yisrael which had two hundred avreichim and talmidei chachamim, who had been exiled from Yerushalayim, supported fully by Rav Avraham Chaim during the entire war. There, he wrote the halachic work Shenot Chaim, a concise digest of halacha for Sephardic Jews. In Tevet 1918, he returned to Palestine to served as safra de’daina (personal secretary) of the Edah HaChareidit (the prominent Orthodox communal organization), under HaRav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, the Rav of Yerushalayim . In 1948, he founded the Vaad HaRabbanim of Agudat Yisrael. Later, he helped found the chareidi weekly newspaper, Kol Yisrael. Rav Na'eh is best known for his halachic works Ketzot Hashulchan and Shiurei Torah ("measurements of the Torah"), in which he converted archaic halachic measurements into modern terms. Contemporary halachic authorities follow his measurements to this day.
HaRav Menachem Yeshuah, zt”l, (1965). One of the great Torah scholars of Yerushalayim
HaRav Hillel Lichtenstein, zt”l, the Krasne Rav, (5739 / 1979).
The Krasne Rav was born on 12 Tammuz 5660 / 1900. His father, Harav Baruch Bendit, served as Rav in Krasne, Romania, and the surrounding area known as Siebenburgen (Krasne was known as the Yerushalayim of Siebenburgen). The future Krasne Rav was given the name Hillel after his forbear, Harav Hillel of Kalamaya, zt”l, mechaber of Maskil el Dal.
Even as a youngster, Hillel engaged in learning at all times. His father invested a tremendous amount of time in his young son and continuously fed his insatiable hunger for Torah.
He married the daughter of Harav Shlomo Zalman Ehrenreich, Rav of Shamloh. After his chasunah he took over his father’s yeshivah in Krasne. Reb Hillel served as their Rosh Yeshivah and as a living example of an eved Hashem who devoted himself totally to the service of his Creator through learning Torah and intensive tefillah that entailed great mesirut nefesh.
In 5685 / 1925 Reb Hillel was appointed as Rav Hatza’ir, which meant that he now stood alongside his revered father in leading the kehillah of Krasne. Residents of Krasne loved him for his sterling character, his genuine middot tovot. During that period, Reb Hillel began recording his chiddushim.
By war’s end Reb Hillel had lost his entire family; only he and a few talmidim remained alive. Ignoring personal considerations, he thrust himself into rebuilding what was lost. He is especially remembered for his leadership in the DP camp in Landsburg, where he breathed a new ruach chaim into thousands of survivors who were filled with despair. Despite being a kanai by nature, during that period the Krasne Rav worked alongside Rabbanim and askanim of every stripe for the benefit of the survivors. He was the one of the most prominent authority for heter agunot for the she’eirit hapleitah in those years.
In 5708 / 1948 he moved to Paris, where many talmidim and followers clung to his leadership. Despite his weak physical condition and personal losses, Reb Hillel knew no rest. He established a kehillah and shechitah, and busied himself with the needs of the tzibbur — both ruchniyut and gashmiyut. He remained in Paris for four years before moving to America.
Once in America, the Krasne Rav stood at the forefront of those who were rebuilding Yiddishkeit. Reestablishing his esteemed kehillah in Williamsburg, he fought the perils of modern American life. His fiery drashot are remembered by many to this very day — drashot in which he condemned the entertainment media in the strongest terms. He despised all forms of being moreh heter for the sake of convenience.
Eventually he founded a cheder, a yeshivah and mosdot hachessed. He would often remark, “We have to see ourselves as if we are in Krasne, not in America.”
The Krasne Rav was niftar on 20 Tammuz 5739/1979.
HaRav Chaim Shaul Karelitz, zt”l, (5672 / 1912 - 5761 / 2001), Mashgiach of Yeshivat Beit Meir, and Talmud Torah Tashbar, and Gaavad of Badatz Sheirit Yisrael.
Reb Chaim Shaul was born on 8 Elul 5672/1912. His father, Rav Meir, the Rav of Lechowitz, was highly regarded by the Gedolei Hador.
Rav Chaim was a nephew of Rav Avrohom Yeshaya Karelitz (the Chazon Ish).
As a child, Chaim Shaul learned in Vilna and then in the Talmud Torah of Kovslova. In his youth, he learned for a brief period in the Rameilles yeshivah in Vilna under Harav Meir Bassin. Afterward he went to Kosovo, Baranowitz, where he learned under Harav Elchanan Wasserman.
At 18 he moved on to Yeshivat Kamenitz, learning under Harav Baruch Ber Leibowitz for more than 10 years and becoming very close to his rebbi.
When World War II broke out he boarded the very last ship from Vilna to Eretz Yisrael, following most of his family who were already living there. For a brief period he learned in Yeshivat Kamenitz in Yerushalayim; then, on the advice of the Chazon Ish, he moved to Yeshivat Lomza in Petach Tikvah.
In Sivan 5702/1942, Rav Chaim Shaul married Rebbetzin Leah, daughter of Harav Yehoshua Berger, and granddaughter of Harav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, zt”l. Their wedding took place in the home of the Steipler Gaon, zt”l, in Bnei Brak and was attended by the Chazon Ish.
After their marriage, the couple resided in Petach Tikvah, where he continued his Torah studies in the renowned Kollel Torat Eretz Yisrael headed by Harav Yitzchak Katz. The Chazon Ish later asked Rav Chaim Shaul to serve as Rav of Petach Tikvah’s Torah community, but Rav Chaim Shaul did not accept, as he wanted to continue studying Torah undisturbed. Nevertheless, he answered the she’eilot of the many people seeking his halachic guidance.
In 5715/1955, with the petirah of his father, he moved to Bnei Brak to be near his mother, but continued to travel to Petach Tikvah every day to learn in the kollel.
He helped his brother-in-law Harav Zalman Rotberg set up Yeshivat Beit Meir in 5718/1958, and learned and davened there for over 40 years.
He traveled all over Eretz Yisrael, bringing students into the yeshivah. He would personally take care of the needs of these bachurim, studying with them and helping them advance in Torah and yirat Shamayim. Hundreds of students from Sephardic backgrounds are indebted to him.
Rav Chaim Shaul was a member of the Tashbar Talmud Torah presidium and worked hard on behalf of the mosad. His other public activities included being a member of the presidium of Zeirei Agudat Yisrael.
In 5747/1987, Harav Eliezer Menachem Shach, zt”l, asked Rav Chaim Shaul to found She’arit Yisrael and its Vaad Hakashrut in Eretz Yisrael.
Rav Chaim Shaul Karelitz was a gaon in all aspects of Torah. Gedolei Yisrael praised his vast Torah knowledge. He would learn with tremendous fervor, deriving chiyut from Torah study. Even when deeply involved in efforts on behalf of the klal, he would withdraw into himself when he sat down to learn.
Along with his greatness in Torah, he was also a giant in middot. His simplicity, pleasant manner and kindness strongly impacted all who encountered him.
Rav Chaim Shaul was sick for about a month and hospitalized before his petirah.
He was niftar on 20 Tammuz 5761/2001, at age 89, and was buried in the Ponevezer beit olam in Bnei Brak.
HaRav Betzalel Rakow, zt”l, (5763 / 2003), Rav of Gateshead. born in 5687/1927 in Frankfurt, Germany. His father, Rav Yom Tov Lipman, who stemmed from the Tosfot Yom Tov, studied in Volozhin under Rav Isser Zalman of Slutsk.
Even as a child he was graced with noble character and outstanding middot.
His father, Harav Yom Tov, was Rosh Yeshivah in Frankfurt.
After Kristallnacht, his family managed to flee Germany via Antwerp to England in 1939.
Arriving in London threadbare and penniless, Rav Yom Tov went to the beit medrash before he had even arranged a place to sleep.
Years later, Reb Betzalel would recall that during the war he was too frightened to be able to fall asleep at night, but as he tossed and turned in bed he would review his learning from that day.
Rav Betzalel learned at Rav Moshe Schneider’s Torat Emet, along with Rav Moshe Sternbuch and Rav Tuvia Weiss. He totally immersed himself in Torah study and accumulated a wealth of knowledge. By the age of 18, he knew Sidrei Nashim and Nezikim by heart.
By age 18, he became very close to Rav Elya Lopian and Rav Yechezkel Abramski. He then joined the Gateshead Kollel, becoming a talmid muvhak of HaRav Eliyohu Dessler.
Reb Betzalel married the daughter of the Rav of Gateshead, Harav Naftali Shakovitzky. After his marriage he continued his studies, focusing mainly on Seder Kodoshim.
In 1956, he became the rosh yeshiva of Etz Chaim in Montreaux, Switzerland, where he had a great influence on the talmidim. He also developed a close relationship with Rav Yechiel Weinberg and the Brisker Rav.
In 1963, with the petirah of his father-in-law, Harav Rakow was asked to take over as Rav of Gateshead, a post he held for the next four decades. As head of one of the Diaspora’s most famous and illustrious Torah kehillot, his influence spread through Europe and halachic questions reached him from around the world.
Reb Betzalel was the Gateshead community’s central figure and his authority extended to every aspect of life in both ruchniyut and in gashmiyut.
His door was always open, and many approached with their she’eilot and for advice.
Reb Betzalel agreed to be head of the European Agudat Yisrael in order to increase achdut among England’s chareidi communities. Every year he would appear at the Agudah convention in Bournemouth, delivering shiurei Torah and mussar talks to the delegates, and transmitting his great ahavat Hashem and ahavat Yisrael.
Reb Betzalel was niftar on 20 Tammuz 5763/2003, at the age of 76.
After huge levayot in both Gateshead and London, his mittah was flown to Eretz Yisrael, where he was buried on Har Hamenuchot, near Harav Chaim Kreiswirth, zt”l, the late Rav of Antwerp.
He is the author of Birkat Yom Tov. He is the brother of Rav Benzion Rakow, rosh yeshiva of Chayei Olom Yeshiva.
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21 Tammuz 5327 - June 20, 1567:
Jews were not allowed to settle in Brazil, according to a decree issued by
Don Henrique, Regent of Brazil. The 23 Jews of Recife fled to Curacao.
(Some years later, they or their descendants ended up in New Amsterdam in 1654, just two weeks before the Yomim Noraim, and the Dutch Reformed Church gave them a place to daven. That freedom of religion remained in effect until 10 years later, when the British attacked the town and turned it into New York. The Jewish residents fled to three towns primarily—Newport, Rhode Island, Philadelphia and Charleston, SC).
(Somehow, barring Jews from settlement in Brazil does not seem as heinous as the government of Israel dismantling settlements or relinquishing sovereignty over them.)
21 Tammuz 5404 - July 25, 1644:
Don Lopez de Veray Alarcón, a young Christian scholar and Spanish nobleman who was drawn to Judaism by the outrages of the Inquisition, and became a ger tzedek known as Yehuda the Believer,
Hy"d, was murdered by the Spanish Inquisition. He was arrested in Valladolid and imprisoned for five years, resisting all attempts to get him to change his ways. He even circumcised himself with a bone. During the auto-da-fe procession, he chanted Hebrew prayers and while the flames were burning he was heard reciting the psalm “Unto you, G-d, do I lift my soul”. Inquisitor Mirezo wrote: “He was the greatest Jewish heretic that the church ever had.”. The Inquisition "stayed in business" for 182 more years - to the day - see 21 Tammuz 1826 below.
21 Tammuz 5586 - July 26, 1826:
accursed Inquisition, established by Pope Clement IV, in 1267, executed its last victim in Vaalencia, Spain - 559 years later, to the day, Hy"d. (Others 24 Tammuz).
21 Tammuz 5702 - July 6, 1942:
Jews of the ghetto of Bendin, Poland rose up and rebelled against their captors.
21 Tammuz 5723 - July 13, 1963:
The State of Israel instituted a law prohibiting the raising of pigs on Jewish farms. According to Jewish law, one is not allowed to make his livelihood by dealing in non-kosher products. Beyond this, the Talmud states that one should not raise a pig, even as a pet. Why such great opposition against the pig? The answer may be rooted in the fact that the pig is the only animal in the world possessing the outward symbol of kosher (split hooves), but not the inward symbol (chewing cud). The pig therefore represents that which is kosher in outward appearance, but is in fact unclean on the inside. This type of hypocrisy is described by the Talmud as one of the behaviors that Hashem most detests. For that moral reason, the pig is universally viewed as reprehensible to the Jew.
21 Tammuz 5728 - July 17, 1968:
PLO’s Palestinian National Council adopt covenant calling for Israel’s destruction.
21 Tammuz 5739 - July 16, 1979:
Saddam Hussein became president of Iraq.
21 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Eliyahu Baal Shem of Worms, (5396 / 1636), distinguished kabbalist and author of Aderet Eliyahu.
In 5261/1501, there lived in Cracow a Jew by the name of Reb Yosef Yozpa. Close to 50 years old at the time, he was widely respected as a tzaddik; although he called no attention to his exalted ways, he used all his spare time for Torah. Reb Yosef had never married and lived by himself.
Some years later, a Jew from Cracow was killed, leaving a widow. At that period of time Rabbi Yosef Yozpa was studying Torah with Eliyahu HaNavi (Elijah the Prophet). Eliyahu HaNavi told R' Yosef that he was to marry her in order to bring to earth a certain pure soul whose task will be to help all Jews. Reb Yosef went to the local beit din and informed them that he was willing to marry this widow, should she agree.
Immediately, the beit din invited the woman to appear before them. Before they had a chance to tell her anything, she broke down in tears. She explained that lately she had seen her father in her dreams, telling her that she was to marry Reb Yosef Yozpa. Amazed, the beit din informed her that this was the precise reason they had called her in — to ask her opinion on this very matter. The couple was duly married. Within a year they were blessed with a son, whom they named Eliyahu after Eliyahu HaNavi.
At the age of two, the boy was already learning Torah with his father. His father taught him until the age of Bar Mitzva, in holiness and seclusion from mundane matters. Two weeks before Eliyahu’s bar mitzvah, Reb Yosef informed his wife that he would be niftar shortly. He asked her not to mourn his passing too much. He also asked that she allow their son to progress on his own, without interfering.
Reb Yosef then called in the heads of the local kehillah and asked them to tend to the needs of his wife and son. Then he blessed his wife and son, and was niftar.
A few weeks after Eliyahu’s bar mitzvah, he informed his mother that he would be leaving Cracow in search of a place to learn. She agreed to let him go.
During the next 40 years, no one knew of Eliyahu, where he was or what he did. When he settled in Vermeiza (Worms), Germany, in 5368/1608, he was already famous as Rabbi Eliyahu Baal Shem. He came to Worms accompanied by his wife. They had already married off their son and two daughters. R' Eliyahu had gained fame as a performer of wonders and now people streamed to him to find balm for their troubles.
Rabbi Eliyahu possessed a most brilliant mind, capable of absorbing the mystical knowledge that flowed from the Holy Zohar, Ari HaKadosh and R' Moshe Cordovero. At the tender age of 13 he was already master of the study of Kabbala. Gifted with a logical mind, he also possessed the power of clarification and of oratory. He began popularizing the study of Kabbalah among Torah scholars, and thanks to him, it soon became an accepted subject among the other Yeshivot of those times (Worms, Prague, Lublin, and Chelm). His efforts in spreading Kabbalah was met by opposition from some rabbis.
In order to spread Kabbalah even further R' Eliyahu formed a group of Nistarim - tzaddikim who remained anonymous. They were to wander from place to place, to penetrate to the simple folk in the nation and encourage them to do good deeds in service of Hashem, while simultaneously working upon the learned people to introduce the study of Kabbalah to them.
The circle of Nistarim expanded further and further under R' Eliyahu's leadrship. He later transferred the leadership of his philosophy to the Baal Shem of Zamoshtesh who in return transmitted it to Reb Adam Baal Shem of Ropshitz. It was from Reb Adam that this philosophy came to Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov, who then spread Chassidut.
R' Eliyahu resided in Worms for 30 years, where he led a yeshiva of brilliant and renowned scholars. In 1624 he left to settle in Prague, and took his yeshiva along with him. Rab' Yom Tov Lipman Heller, also known as the "Tosfot Yom Tov", was one of his students.
Among his works are Rinat Dodim, Michlal Yofi, and Aderet Eliyahu.
Reb Eliyahu was niftar on 21 Tammuz 5396/1636, at the age of 81.
HaRav Shlomo (Machlama) Chelma of Yerushalayim, zt"l, (1717- 5541 / 1781), Born in Zamosc, he became Rav of Chelm and Lvov (Lemberg). Author of Mirkevet Hamishneh, a work which is considered by many to be among the most important commentaries on Rambam’s Mishneh Torah. He also wrote Kuntres Breichot Bechesbon, a collection of Talmudic math problems and their solutions.
HaRav Shlomo Shemamah, zt"l, (5666 / 1906). Torah scholar of Tunisia, author of Shoresh Yishai.
HaRav Shlomo Polachek, zt"l, (1877 - 5688 / 1928), the Meitscheter Iluy, (the iluy of Meitzit).
Rav Polachek was born in Sinichinitz, near Meitzit, Grodna. He was brought to Volozhin before he reached the age of 12. Referred to as the Meitscheter Illuy by Rav Chaim Soloveitchik zt”l, his bar mitzvah lecture, which he delivered in the yeshiva, made a memorable impression.
He remained at the yeshiva in Volozhin until it closed in the winter of 1892 then he went to learn with his mentor, Rav Chaim Brisker zt”l. Rav Polachek remained in Brisk for four years and then transferred to Yeshivat Knesset Yisroel in Slabodka.
Rav Chaim Soloveitchik said that in all his life he had never come upon a genius of the measure of the Meitscheter. Afterwards, he joined a group of specially selected students in Vilna headed by Rav Chaim Ozer zt”l.
In 1905, when the yeshiva of Lida was founded by Rav Yitzchak Yaakov Reines zt”l, Rav Polachek was asked to be a rosh yeshiva, and he taught Torah there until the outset of World War I. in 1921, he was accepted as the rosh yeshiva of Tachkemoni in Bialystok. After a year he received Rav Dov Revel’s invitation to become a rosh yeshiva at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, arriving in America in 1922. He taught at the Yeshiva for six years and was greatly revered there.
He was also active in the Agudat HaRabbonim of America and in Ezrat Torah.
In 1928 he passed away suddenly, Rav Meir Berlin zt”l said that as great as he was in Torah, Rav Polachek stood out seven measures more in the greatness of his character.
HaRav Avraham Matisyahu (ben Menachem Nachum) Friedman, zt”l, of Stefanest, Romania (5608 / 1847 - 5693 / 1933). Harav Avraham Mattisyahu was born in Sadigura on the last day of Chanukah 5608 / 1847. His father was Harav Menachem Nachum of Shtefenesht, Romania. The holy Ruzhiner, the baby’s grandfather, named his grandson Avraham after his grandfather, Harav Avraham Hamalach, and Mattisyahu because he was born on Chanukah.
He married in 1862, but divorced 11 years later with no children. He then married his cousin Sarah Zipporah, who had been widowed by her first husband. Rav Avraham Mattisyahu adopted her three children; they did not have children of their own.
Upon his father’s petirah on 14 Kislev 5629 / 1868, 21-year-old Reb Avraham Mattisyahu succeeded him as Rebbe in Shtefenesht. Despite his youth he was a strong, effective manhig.
The Rebbe was known as a baal mofes and poel yeshuot, as well as for his extraordinary avodat hatefillah. He would stand in one spot, davening for hours, without moving or uttering a sound.
Once, powerful anti-Semites devised a plot against him and had the Rebbe accused of fomenting a revolution aimed at nothing less than the takeover of Romania. They offered the thousands of people who streamed to him as supposed evidence.
The government quickly arranged a trial. The highest judges made their way to the small town, where a high court was set up in the local police station.
The main witness was called to the stand. When he stood up to speak, his voice left him. The annoyed judge indicated that he should present his testimony in writing, but as soon as he tried, his hands began to shake so violently that he could not write. Grabbing the police chief’s jacket by the lapels, the judge ripped off every medal, rank and insignia. …”
As soon as the judges had recovered their composure, they hastened to apologize to him.
On 21 Tammuz 5693 / 1933, after leading his flock for 65 years, Rav Avraham Mattisyahu was niftar. He was buried in Shtefenesht. In 5729 / 1969 his remains were transferred to the Ruzhiner section of the Nachalat Yitzchak cemetery in Tel Aviv.
HaRav Yehudah HaCohen Shako, zt"l, (1953). Head of the Beit Din in Yerushalayim.
HaRav Levi Yitzchak Leifer, zt"l, (5721 / 1961), the Nadvorne-Arad Rebbe of Haifa.
HaRav Rachamim Naharai, zt"l, (1985). Head of the Beit Din in Paris. Author of Rachameicha Rabim.
HaRav Avraham David Rosenthal, zt"l, (1999). Rav of Shaarei Chesed, Yerushalayim.
HaRav Yonah Ganzweig, zt”l, (1994), pioneer rabbinical leader in Los Angeles, his last years spent as Mora D’asra of Kehillat Tiferet Zvi.
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22 Tammuz - 1320:
In Pastoureaux (Southern France), a crusade against the Jews was started by a shepherd, which then spread throughout most of southern France and northern Spain. One hundred and twenty Jewish communities were consequently destroyed. At Verdun, 500 Jews defended themselves from within a stone tower. Before they were overrun, they preferred to kill themselves.
22 Tammuz - July 1358:
Hundreds of Jews of Catalonia murdered, Hy"d.
22 Tammuz 5317 - July 1557:
Marranos were given permission to leave Portugal.
22 Tammuz 5415 - July 27, 1655:
Jews of New Amsterdam requested permission to open a cemetery. Permission was initially denied and was finally granted a year later..
22 Tammuz 5478 - July 21, 1718:
Death of Shabbsi Ben Yosef, known as the father of the Hebrew bibliography. He was the author of the first bibliography of Hebrew books called Sifsei Yesheinim and ran a printing press in Breslau.
A biblical commentator of repute, his concise analysis of Rashi is printed today in most Chumashim (Sifsei Chachomim). After fighting to set up a printing house, he was jailed numerous times when accused by local Church leaders of printing anti-Christian material. His printing house, founded in 1689, operated for over 150 years.
22 Tammuz 5703 - July 25, 1943:
Benito Mussolini was removed from office.
22 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Shmuel ben Yoel ibn Shuiv, zt”l, Rav in the Aragonese community of Salonica (1528). His father, who was born in Spain and moved to Salonica in 1495, authored Olat Shabbat, Nora Tehillot, and Ein Mishpat.
HaRav Manoach Hendel, zt”l, author of Chochmat Manoach (5371 / 1611).
HaRav Shlomo Halevi ben Harav Meir of Karlin, zt”l, (5498 / 1738 or 5500 / 1740 - 5552 / 1792).
As an impoverished young Torah scholar with no source of financial support, he studied day and night in the beit medrash.
He was a student of the Maggid of Mezritch, as well as talmid and devoted yedid of Harav Aharon Hagadol of Karlin, Russia (near Pinsk), and after Reb Aharon’s passing in 5532 / 1772, Reb Shlomo took on the leadership of Karlin, which he maintained for 20 years.
Under his leadership, Lithuanian Chassidut thrived and expanded. The Rebbe emphasized the avodah of davening with hislahavut in order to maintain closeness to Hashem.
In his youth he traveled, together with Reb Aharon, to the Rebbe Reb Ber, the Maggid of Mezritch. The Rebbe attested that Reb Shlomo was meant for greatness, and referred to his supreme level in kedushah as that of Moshiach ben Yosef.
The Baal HaTanya said of him: “Ehr iz ah tefach hecher fun di velt — He is a tefach higher than the world.”
Reb Shlomo’s talmid Harav Mordechai of Lechovitch claimed that his Rebbe knew the language of the birds, the palm trees and the malachim — everything written in Sukkah 28b about Rabi Yochanan ben Zakkai.
Another talmid, Harav Asher of Stolin, said that his Rebbe was fluent in astrology and astronomy, and that he had learned it all in places where it is forbidden to think of divrei Torah. Others said that he had learned everything there was to know simply by raising his eyes Heavenward.
(Using calculations he originated, he taught that it is permitted to recite Kiddush Levanah with the Shem u’Malchut until 17 24-hour periods after the molad, and indeed, Reb Shlomo’s students and all the Rebbes of the Karlin dynasty did so.)
At the age of 52, Reb Shlomo moved to Ludmir, but he was not to live there long. A war was raging between Russia and Poland, and one Shabbat the Rebbe was (stabbed?) shot al kiddush Hashem by a Cossack. He lived until the following Wednesday, 22 Tammuz 5552/ 1792, when his pure soul left this world.
His yahrtzeit has the gematria of the verse “Vayinatlem vayinasem kol yemei olam — He took them and carried them all the days of the universe.” He was buried in Ludmir.
In 5688 / 1928, Harav Yaakov Moshe Kleinbaum, Av Beit Din of Savala, published Shema Shlomo, divrei Torah and collected writings of Harav Shlomo of Karlin, which was printed in a number of editions. It was reissued in 5746 / 1986 by Machon Zecher Naftali as Shema Shlomo Hashalem, in two volumes.
HaRav Rafael Moshe Elbaz, zt”l, (5656 / 1896). Rav of Tzafru, Morocco, and author of Halacha L’Moshe.
HaRav Yisrael Yosef of Radoshitz, zt"l, (5697 / 1937).
Harav Yisrael Yosef Finkler was the son of Harav Eliezer Dovid of Radoshitz. He married the daughter of Harav Yaakov Tennenwurtzel.
Following the petirah of his father on 22 Adar 5687/1927, Reb Yisrael Yosef was appointed Rav in Radoshitz, and he served the city with integrity and justice.
His older brother Harav Chaim Asher served as Rebbe. Later on, Reb Yisrael Yosef became Rebbe in addition to being the Rav.
Renowned for his greatness in Torah, Reb Yisrael Yosef was considered a gaon. His hours-long tefillot were charged with much emotion, which inspired all those present at the time.
Reb Yisrael Yosef was niftar on 22 Tammuz 5697/1937.
HaRav Avraham Grodzenski, zt"I, (1882 - 5704 / 1944), Mashgiach of Slobodka and author of Torat Avraham. His last three years were spent in the Kovno Ghetto. An account of that period in his life was written by his daughter, Rebbetzin R. Wolbe, who became the wife of Rav Shlomo Wolbe, entitled “Ve’emunatcha Baleilot." He died al kiddush Hashem, along with his sons, Yisrael, Zeev, and Eliezer, and his daughter, Miriam, Hy"d. (others 27 Tammuz 5704 - July 13, 1944).
On June 23, 1941 (27th of Sivan) German bombardment of Lithuania put a stop to the learning in Slobodka, as Kovno took the brunt of the attack.
HaRav Levi Yitzchak Bender, zt”l, (1897-1989). Born in Grodzisk (near Warsaw), he was sent to Yeshivat Mokov when he was ten, where he became drawn to Breslav Chassidut. The teachings of Rav Nachman (who died in 1810) were transmitted chiefly by his talmid, Rav Nasan Sternhartz, who transcribed the Rebbe’s teachings and conversations. After Rav Nasan’s passing in 1844, the torch of Breslav was carried on by a number of leaders, including Rav Nachman of Tulchin (died 1884) and Rav Nachman of Tcherin (died 1894). The fourth generation of leaders included Rav Yitzchak Breiter (died around 1943) and Rav Avraham Chazan (Rav Nachman of Tulchin’s son; died in 1917). Rav Levi Yitzchak, one of the fifth-generation leaders, was a talmid of Rav Avraham Chazan. The sixth generation leaders of our time include Rav Yaakov Meir Shechter (born 1931), one of the well-known gedolim of Eretz Yisrael. After his father-in-law’s passing, Rav Levi Yitzchak moved with his family to Uman, where he remained for twenty years until 1936. After five years in Moscow, Rav Levi Yitzchak, his wife and his daughter, moved to Tashkent in Uzbekistan, Central Asia. In 1945, the family moved to nearby Samerkand, known as the Yerushalayim of Uzbekistan, which had a much larger, loyal Jewish community. In 1949, Rav Levi Yitzchak arrived in Eretz Yisrael, where he helped build Breslav chassidism into the vibrant community of today, and helped establish the main Breslav beis medrash, near the border of the Meah Shearim district.
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23 Tammuz 4859 - 1099:
The Crusaders under Godfrey de Bouillon captured Yerushalayim / Jerusalem from the Muslims. The Crusaders were a Church-sponsored movement to "liberate the Holy Land from the infidels." (En route, the Crusaders carried out a campaign of rape and pillage; an estimated 40% of European Jewry was slaughtered in the process.) The day following their conquest of Yerushalayim, the Crusaders murdered all the city's Jews, by herding them into a synagogue and setting it on fire. Jews were barred from Yerushalayim for the next century. Muslims were also victims of the Crusaders, which historians believe planted a deep-seeded hatred of the West.
23 Tammuz - 1247:
Although the Pope decreed against blood-ritual charges, his decree was ignored for centuries to come.
23 Tammuz 5414 - July 8, 1654:
Jacob Barsimson left Holland aboard the Peartree for New Amsterdam and landed there on August 22, 1654. He was considered the first Jewish resident of New Amsterdam (New York). A month later, Jews who had fled from Brazil due to the Portuguese conquest of the colony joined him.
23 Tammuz 5415 - July 28, 1655:
Bogodan Chmielnicki and his Cossack hordes massacred the Jews of Vilna Hy"d.
23 Tammuz 5615 - July 9, 1855:
HaRav Avraham Yaakov of Sadigura (the son of HaRav Yisrael of Ruzhin, zt"l), was released from prison. He celebrated that day as a Yom Tov.
23 Tammuz 5618 - July 5, 1858:
Baron Lionel de Rothschild became the first Jew to sit in the British parliament, after a new oath of office was agreed upon that did not refer to Christianity.
23 Tammuz 5706 - July 22, 1946:
Members of the Irgun, a militant Zionist organization, dressed as Arabs, set off a bomb in the King David Hotel in Yerushalayim, which had been the base for the British Secretariat and British army headquarters. Telephoned warnings were sent to the switchboard by the hotel's main lobby, the Palestine Post newspaper, and the French consulate, but many officials stayed in the hotel.
Ninety-one people were killed, most of them staff of the secretariat and the hotel, which included 28 British, 41 Arab, 17 Jewish, and 5 others. Around 45 people were injured. The Irgun’s goal was to drive the British out of Palestine. The British did decide to withdraw six months later, when they turned Palestine over to the United Nations. As commander of the Irgun in 1943, Menachem Begin is believed to have been responsible for planning and executing the King David Hotel attack.
23 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Moshe Cordovero, zt"l, (5282 / 1522 – 5330 / 1570),.the Ramak, author of Pardes Rimonim and Tomer Devora among his many other works.
Harav Moshe Cordovero was born in 5282/1522. His birthplace is unknown, but the name Cordovero indicates that his family may have originated in Cordoba, Spain, and perhaps fled from there during the expulsion of 1492 during the Spanish Inquisition.
The Ramak was either born in, or moved soon after to Tzefat, the city that was soon to become famed as a center of Kabbalah and mystical creativity, to Rav Yaakov, one of the exiles from Cordoba, Spain.
He studied under the great kabbalists Rav Shlomo HaLevi Alkabetz (who would become his brother-in-law) and Rav Yosef Karo, the Beit Yosef, author of the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law). The Ramak quickly gained a reputation as an extraordinary genius and a prolific writer. He received semichah from Harav Yaakov Berav.
He headed his own academy of mysticism, during the time of the great Arizal, where Rav Chaim Vital was among his greatest talmidim.
According to his own testimony in the introduction to his first sefer, Pardes Rimonim, (Garden of Pomegranates), written at the age of 20 (or 26 according to others), he heard a bat kol urging him to learn Kabbalah with his brother-in-law, Harav Shlomo Alkabetz, composer of Lechah Dodi.
The Ramak not only mastered the text, but decided to organize the Kabbalistic themes and present them in an organized fashion. This led to the composition of the Ramak's classic Sefer, Pardes Rimonim, which established his reputation as a brilliant Kabbalist and a lucid thinker. Pardes Rimonim presents all the primary kabbalistic topics that had been revealed until then in an orderly system.
His second work — a magnum opus titled Ohr Yakar — was a 16-volume comprehensive commentary on the Zohar and Kabbalistic literature in its entirety, a work to which the Ramak devoted most of his life. It was not published for 400 years. Publication of this multi-volume work was finally begun in 1962 and completed in 1989. Some parts of Ohr Yakar have been published under separate titles, such as Shiur Komah and Tefillah L’Moshe.
His popular Sefer, Tomer Devora (Palm Tree of Devora), is an ethical treatise devoted to the idea of emulating G-d. His sefer, Ohr Ne’erav, explains the necessity of studying Kabbalah but also criticizes those who study this subject without prior Torah knowledge, pointing out that one must first study Torah, Mishnah, and Gemara before studying Kabbalah.
Some other sefarim for which the Ramak is known are Elimah Rabbasi and Sefer Gerushin. Certain parts of the Ramak’s works are still in the form of manuscripts, whereas his existing writings suggest many other compositions which he either intended to write or had actually written, but were lost. Ohr Yakar was first published by Harav Menachem Azariah, the Rama of Pano, who bought the manuscripts from the Ramak’s widow for 1,000 gold coins.
Around 5310/1550, the Ramak founded a yeshiva in Tzefat, which he led for the next 20 years, until his petirah. Among his talmidim were many of the luminaries of Tzefat, including Harav Eliyahu de Vidas, author of Reishit Chochma, Harav Eliyahu Galanti, and Harav Chaim Vital, who later became the disseminator of the teachings of the Arizal. When the Ari arrived in Tzefat, the Ramak was his Rebbe as well.
According to the Chidah, the Ramak was zocheh to see Eliyahu Hanavi.
Although he served as Rosh Yeshiva and as a Dayan, his fame rests on his contribution to Kabbalistic literature and thought.
The Ramak was niftar on 23 Tammuz 5330/1570, at the age of 48. According to the Arizal’s testimony at the levaya, the procession bringing HaRav Cordovero to burial was preceded by two pillars of fire, and, because he was so pure, his death could only be attributed to the chait (sin) of Adam HaRishon. He paraphrased the following passuk to refer to the Ramak: “Vechi yihyeh b’ish chet misat mavet” — when you shall witness a tzaddik, who was without sin; “v’humat” — and nevertheless he was niftar; “V’salisa oso al etz” — assume that this is because of the snake, who enticed Chavah to eat from the tree, and its effect was death.
He was buried in Tzefat’s old cemetery.
Chapter 4 of Tomer Devora concludes as follows:
“A person can purify his Yetzer Hora by leading it towards good, and then even his Yetzer Hora becomes rooted in holiness. This is the elevated level of repentance that a person should contemplate every day--and one should also repent in some [even minor] way every day--so that all his days will be spent in Teshuva!”
The Satmar Rebbe had a kabala from the Divrei Chaim of Sanz that the sefer Tomer Devora is a segula for the "known disease" – may Hashem save us, and if one isn't able to learn it himself, he should have someone read it in front of him. (It is available in English translation).
(Others 22 Tammuz).
HaRav Yechezkel Katzenellenbogen, zt"l, (5509 / 1749), author of Knesset Yechezkel.Rav Yechezkel was born in Brisk on 18 Kislev in 5428/1668 or 5429/1669 (he writes in his tzavaah that he wasn’t sure exactly which year). His father was Rav Avraham, Dayan of the city.
In Brisk, Reb Yechezkel learned under Harav Mordechai Ziskind Rottenberg, Rav of the city, and later under his son Harav Moshe Rottenberg. He was already noted in his youth for his sharp mind and amazing memory.
Reb Yechezkel married the daughter of Rav Shlomo Zalman, a grandson of the Bach and son-in-law of the Tosfot Yom Tov.
He served as Rav in the Lithuanian towns of Zettil, Ruzani, and, in 5464/1704, in Kaidan. In 5473/1713 he was chosen Rav of the prestigious kehillot of Altona, Hamburg and Wandsbek, known by the acronym Ah”u.
As a leading Rav and posek, many she’eilot were addressed to him, and these served as the basis of his sefer She’eilot U’Teshuvot Knesset Yechezkel.
Reb Yechezkel enacted takanot for the improvement of his various kehillot. He was not afraid to defend the rights of the side that won in beit din, even if this meant opposing one of the more prominent members of the kehillah.
He also fought against those who wished to make inroads into traditional Yiddishkeit, especially Shabtai Tzvi,and his followers.
Reb Yechezkel was held in the highest esteem by many of the other Gedolei Hador. Both Ashkenazic and Sephardic Rabbanim sent him she’eilot and discussed Torah topics with him.
Much honored by members of his kehillah, Reb Yechezkel was also given full authority by the government.
He served as Rav of Altona for 36 years, until his petirah on 23 Tammuz 5509/1749.
Besides Knesset Yechezkel, Reb Yechezkel also wrote Lechem Yechezkel on the Rambam and Mayim Yechezkel on Torah.
His sons were Rav Dovid, who replaced him as Rav in Kaidan, and was the Rebbi of the Vilna Gaon; Rav Yaakov; and Rav Feivel. Another son passed away in childhood.
His sons-in-law were Harav Yaakov Halevi Schorr, Rav of Krasz; Harav Yitzchak, Rav of Hena; and Harav Nosson Nota Ashkenazi, Dayan in Altona.
HaRav Yaakov Yosef of Ostrah (Ostroha), zt”l, (5609 / 1849).
Harav Yaakov Yosef of Ostroha was the son of Harav Pinchas, the son of the famed Harav Yaakov Yosef of Ostroha, (after whom he was named), known as Rav Yeivai (an acronym of Yaakov Yosef ben Yehudah).
He succeeded his father as Rebbe after his petirah on 25 Kislev, the first day of Chanukah, 5666/1805. Rav Yaakov Yosef became the leader of an outstanding and sharp group of chassidim.
Rav Yaakov Yosef was a leading talmid and chassid of the Rebbe Harav Baruch of Mezhibuzh. He was noted for his fiery tefillot, filled with dveikut.
Due to a libel against him, Rav Yaakov Yosef was imprisoned together with Harav Avraham Twersky of Trisk.They were released after the trial and those who spread the libel were imprisoned for bringing about the false claims against them.
In the summer of 5609/1849, Rav Yaakov Yosef traveled to Yompola for a visit to the chassidim who lived there. He declared that he would not return to Ostroha; while on this visit, he was suddenly niftar, on 23 Tammuz.
Rav Yaakov Yosef’s sons were Harav Avraham of Kiniev; Harav Elyakim Getzel of Ostroha; and Harav Yitzchak Eizik of Ostroha.
His sons-in-law were Harav Baruch of Konstantin, the son of Harav Yosef of Ostilla; Harav Moshe of Koristchov; Harav Dov Ber of Lechovitch; and Harav Yaakov Shamshon Hager of Kossov.
Some of Rav Yaakov Yosef’s divrei Torah are quoted in the sefarim Sifran shel Tzaddikim and Kol Yehudah.
HaRav Dovid Morgenstern of Kotzk, zt”l, (1809 – 5633 / 1893). Son and successor the Kotzker Rebbe, Rav Menachem Mendel. (Others 5633 / 1873)(Others 22 Tammuz)
HaRav Avraham Yitzchak Heller, zt”l, (5669 / 1909).
HaRav Shaul Moshe Zilberman, zt”l, (5699 / 1939), the Viershaver Rav, and author of Pardes Shaul.
HaRav Nechemia Alter, zt”l, son of the Sfat Emet (5702 / 1942). He was the father-in-law of the Lev Simcha of Ger. (Others 22 Tammuz)
HaRav Gedalya Aharon Kenig, zt”l, author of Chayei Nefesh, founder of Kiryat Breslov in Tzefat (1981). One of the leaders of Breslov, he was a talmid muvhak of Rav Avraham Sternhartz, who encouraged him to establish Kiryat Breslov in Tzefat. He was the author of Chayei Nefesh, a peirush on Rav Chaim Volozhiner's Nefesh HaChaim, proving that there is no argument between Chassidim and Misnagdim on the principles and foundations of Yidishkeit. Parts of this sefer have been translated into English by Rabbis Dovid Sears and Dovid Zeitlin. He was succeeded by his son, Rav Elazar Mordechai Kenig.
HaRav Avrohom Golombeck, zt”l, mashgiach of the Yeshiva of Philadelphia for over 50 years (1937 - 2008). After learning at Yeshivat R' Yaakov Yosef (RJJ), he was chosen to join a group of outstanding students sent to Yeshivat Lakewood to learn under HaRav Aharon Kotler. Thereafter, he learned at Yeshivat Ponovezh in Bnei Brak under the Mashgiach Rav Yechezkel Levenstein. He was sent by Rav Aharon Kotler to Philadelphia.
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24 Tammuz 4859 - 1099:
When the Crusaders under Godfrey de Bouillon captured Yerushalayim / Jerusalem during the First Crusade, many Jews of Yerushalayim were herded into a shul / synagogue. The crusaders then set the shul aflame, burning alive all the Jewish men, women, and children, Hy"d. 20,000 to 30,000 Jews in Yerushalayim were massacred or sold for slaves. For the next 88 years of Crusader control of Yerushalayim, Jews were barred from the city. See 23 Tammuz.
24 Tammuz 5490 - July 9, 1730:
Death of Behrend Lehmann, German philanthropist, court financier and supporter of Torah.
24 Tammuz 5597 - July 27, 1837:
Military tribunal opened proceedings against several dozen Jews, including the Duyanevetzer Rav and the Rizhiner Rebbe, who were alleged to know about the murder of two Jewish informers.
24 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Yitzchak (ben Aryeh) Grodzinski, zt”l, of Vilna, (5626 / 1866).
HaRav Yitzchak Yoel Rabinowitz of Kontkoziva, zt”l, (5600 / 1840 - 5645 / 1885). His father was Reb Gadalya Aharon, the son of Reb Yitzchak Yoel, the son of Reb Gadalya of Linitz, the author of Tshuot Chein and a talmid of the Baal Shem Hakadosh. His maternal grandfather was Reb Shmuel Avrohom Abba, son of Reb Moshe of Slavita, the son of the famed Reb Pinchas of Koritz.
In 5629 / 1869, Reb Yitzchok Yoel was arrested by the Russian government and exiled from city to city. In 5631 / 1871, he was allowed to serve as Rav of Yiktrinoslav (spelling?) under the watchful eyes of the police. A year later, he was freed entirely and permitted to resume a normal existence. That is when he became the Rav in Kantikuziva (today's Prybuzhany, south of Voznesensk in the Mykolaiv Oblast), and remained there until his passing .
The Manastricher Rebbe, the son of Rav Yitzchok Yoel was the author of Divrei Yehoshua and Torat Avot.
HaRav Amram Yishai Halevi Billitzer, zt”l, Rav of Szerencz, (5594 / 1834 - 5649 / 1889). Harav Amram Yishai Halevi Billitzer was born in 5594/1834. His father was Harav Yitzchak Isaac Halevi Billitzer, zt”l, the Rav of Nagiada, in Slovakia, author of Be’er Yitzchak.
Harav Amram Yishai learned under Harav Chaim Sofer, zt”l, author of She’eilot U’teshuvot Machaneh Chaim.
He married Rebbetzin Shifra, the daughter of Reb Shlomo Heiman, a noted talmid chacham from Ungvar.
He was appointed the first official Rav in Szerencz, a growing kehilla in the northeast region of Hungary. He was instrumental in the growth of the kehilla, establishing a yeshiva there in which Torah continued to be taught up until the Holocaust.
Harav Amram Yishai corresponded regularly with his Rebbe, Harav Chaim Sofer. There are many teshuvot written to Harav Amram Yishai in She’eilot U’teshuvot Machaneh Chaim. Likewise, Harav Chaim Sanzer, zy”a, in a teshuva to Harav Amram Yishai (Divrei Chaim, volume 2, Orach Chaim, siman 5) lavishes upon him titles such as charif and chassid.
His son-in-law, Harav Feivish Zvi Gross, in his sefer Nachalat Tzvi, is effusive in his praise of Harav Amram Yishai.
He served as Rav in Szerencz for 35 years, a period of spiritual growth for his kehilla. He was niftar on 24 Tammuz 5649/1889 at the age of 65, and buried in Szerencz. His descendants have erected an ohel over his kever.
He was succeeded in the rabbanut in Szerencz by his illustrious son, Harav Pinchas Billitzer, author of Givat Pinchas, wherein many of Harav Amram Yishai’s chiddushim are printed.
Harav Amram Yishai’s sons-in-law were Harav Chaim Mordechai Adler, Rav of Paryia; Harav Yehudah Leib Lemberger-Lvov, Rav of Ruszhani, and Harav Meshulam Feivish Zvi Gross of Brooklyn, author of Nachalat Tzvi and Ateret Tzvi.
His descendants have erected an ohel over his kever in Szerencz.
HaRav Matisyahu Siriro, zt”l, (5651 / 1891). Torah scholar of Fez, Morocco.
HaRav Yaakov Joseph, zt"l, Rav Hakollel of New York, (5600 / 1840 - 5662 / 1902). The first and only Chief Rabbi of New York.
Harav Yaakov Yosef was born in 5600/1840 in the village of Krez (Krozhe), a province of Kovno, Lithuania.
Yaakov’s intellectual abilities were already apparent when he was young. Though his father, Reb Dov Ber Yosef, did whatever he could to find Rebbeim to learn with his son, his dire financial situation soon left him no choice but to send the boy to work.
Harav Moshe Yitzchak Halevi Revel heard about this situation and set out for Krez. He left Reb Dov Ber a considerable sum of money, and sent Yaakov to the Etz Chaim yeshivah in Volozhin at his expense.
Yaakov studied in Volozhin for a year and gained a sterling reputation. The Rosh Yeshivah, the Netziv, held him in high regard, nicknaming him Reb Yekkele der Charif, “the sharp one.” His fellow students fondly called him “the iluy of Krez.”
At that time, Harav Yisrael Salanter, zt”l, opened a yeshivah in which his unique mussar approach was taught. Rav Yaakov Yosef joined the yeshivah, soon becoming one of its leading students.
Many of Rav Yaakov’s later drashot included concepts he had absorbed during his years at the yeshivah, and he always considered Rav Yisrael to be his Rebbi.
Rav Yaakov married Esther Rochel, the daughter of a Kovno merchant. After the wedding, the young couple settled there. Rav Yaakov taught a daily shiur at the Slabodka beit medrash founded by one of Rav Yisrael’s students.
After several years, Rav Yaakov decided to become a community Rav in Yarburg, in the hope of bringing Yidden closer to Hashem. In 5643/1883 he became Rav in Vilna.
He authored the sefer L’beit Yaakov, published in 1888 in Vilna.
When Harav Avraham Asch was niftar in 5647/1887, the leaders of the community, (the Association of American Orthodox Hebrew Congregations), invited Harav Yaakov Yosef to assume the position of Chief Rabbi, officially called “Rav Hakollel.” The late Rav had maintained authority over the 15 major batei medrash that existed in New York at that time.
On 28 Tammuz 5648/1888, Harav Yaakov Yosef arrived in New York and lead the fledging group of Eastern European immigrants - - at a time when America had little infrastructure for Jewish education, kashrut, and other keys to Jewish continuity.
At first, the New York Jewish community united around their new Chief Rabbi. But unfortunately, the situation soon changed. Certain elements in the community took control of kashrut and marketed non-kosher foods, claiming they were kosher.
Rav Joseph fought vigorously to uphold Jewish tradition, but it was an uphill battle against a Jewish community that was assimilating, and against a government that was not yet fully supportive of religious rights. Tragically, Rav Joseph often bore the brunt of mockery and scorn from Jews who saw him as clinging to the "old ways," and he withdrew from public life after suffering a debilitating stroke.His condition deteriorated sharply, and he was niftar on 24 Tammuz 5662/1902.
Although he fought a losing battle in the kosher meat and poultry industry, he managed to achieve some notable accomplishments, including the hiring of qualified shochtim, introducing irremovable seals ("plumba") to identify kosher birds, and setting up Mashgichim to oversee slaughter houses. He also took an active role in establishing the Etz Chaim Yeshiva—the first yeshiva on the Lower East Side, which was founded in 1866. (It was the forerunner of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary).
Sadly, Rav Yaakov Yosef was accorded great honor only twice during his tenure as Chief Rabbi. When he arrived in 1888, noting that more than a 100,000 people gathered to welcome him, The New York Times heralded him as an ecclesiastical giant in describing his grand arrival and royal reception. For months, New York City newspapers continued to report about the huge attendances for his weekly Shabbat drashot.
A crowd estimated at 100,000 lined the route of his funeral; the largest New York City had ever seen. His aron (casket) was carried through the streets of Manhattan (later taken by boat across the East River to Queens).
Rav Yaakov was buried in Union Field Cemetery on Cyprus Avenue in Ridgewood, Queens.
The tragic story of Rav Yaakov Joseph’s tenure as chief rabbi of New York concluded with an infamous anti-Semitic incident at his funeral. As the procession turned onto Grand Street, the mourners were attacked by a barrage of bottles and buckets of water by employees of the R. Hoe and Co. The police were called in and over 300 Jews required medical attention, injured primarily by the policemen.
Ironically, on June 15, 1904, more than 1,300 members of New York City”s Kleindeutschland (little Germany), which included the majority of the R. Hoe and Co. workforce, boarded the General Slocum steamboat to spend the day at Locust Grove on Long Island Sound. As the steamboat passed East 90th street on the East River it became engulfed into a ball of fire. More than 1,020 people died by the time the boat finally docked. Due to the tragedy within the next few years the entire neighborhood collapsed. Was the tragedy divine retribution for the attack on Rav Joseph’s funeral procession two years earlier? Who knows?
After Rav Joseph's death, a dispute ensued who should be his successor; it went unresolved and the office of Chief Rabbi ended. It marked the end of the attempt to establish a central rabbinical authority over New York’s Jewish community.
A great biography is available in Hebrew or English, “The Rav Hakolel and his Generation” by Rabbi Yonah Landau. For a review, click here.
Menachem Mendel Beilis z”l, (5694 / 1934), of the well known “Beilis Trial." Accused of ritual murder in Kiev, in a notorious 1913 trial, which at that time resonated all over the world. When his trial ended he left Russia and traveled to the USA where he died. His Yahrtzeit is the same day as the Yahrtzeit of the Rav Hakolel of NY, zt”l, (see above) and he is buried only a short distance from the Rav.
HaRav Mordechai ben R. Tuvia Babrinitzer, zt”l, (5696 / 1936).
HaRav Yaakov ben R. Yitzchak Babrinitzer, zt”l, (5696 / 1936).
HaRav Kamus Pellach, zt”l, (1941). Head of the Beit Din and a Kabbalist in Tripoli.
HaRav Yehudah Kravitz, zt”l, (1995). Rosh Yeshivah of Tiferet Tzvi.
A talmid of the Chofetz Chaim, he established the Gemach Merkazi in Yerushalayim.
HaRav Yitzchak Kolitz, zt”l, (1922 - 5673 / 2003). Born in Elita, Lithuania, to Rav Eliyahu Dovid Nachman Kolitz, Rav of the town and a chavrusa of the Chazon Ish for many years. His father passed away when he was 3 years old. After spending several years in the public school, Rav Yitzchak went to Slobodka when he was 10 years old. In 1935, he moved to Eretz Yisrael with his mother and older brother. At the age of 14, he met Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer, with whom he developed a close relationship for life. He learned at Chevron and became close to Rav Yechezkel Sarna. After the 1948 war, he became a magid shiur in a yeshiva in Rechovot; during that time, he became a ben bayit of the Chazon Ish. In 1955, he was appointed a dayan in Tel Aviv, then Av Beit Din, then Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, and later Yerushalayim (following Rav Bezalel Zolti). (Others 25 Tammuz).
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25 Tammuz - 1388:
Jews of Lithuania received a Charter of Privilege.
25 Tammuz 5662 - July 30, 1902:
Anti-Jewish rioters attacked the levayah / funeral of Harav Yaakov Joseph zt"l, in New York City.
When the entourage passed the R. Hoe and Company factory, its non-Jewish workers threw refuse and rocks at the aron / bier. Local police arrived and a terrible fight, heavy with anti-Semitic overtones, ensued. more than 300 Jews were hospitalized as a result, injured primarily by the policemen.
Ironically, on June 15, 1904, more than 1,300 members of New York City”s Kleindeutschland (little Germany), which included the majority of the R. Hoe and Co. workforce, boarded the General Slocum steamboat to spend the day at Locust Grove on Long Island Sound. As the steamboat passed East 90th street on the East River it became engulfed into a ball of fire. More than 1,020 people died by the time the boat finally docked. Due to the tragedy within the next few years the entire neighborhood collapsed. Was the tragedy divine retribution for the attack on Rav Joseph’s funeral procession two years earlier? Who knows?
25 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Aharon Berachia ben Moshe of Modina zt"l, (? - 5399 / 1639). An Italian Kabbalist,
Harav Aharon Berachia was the son of Harav Moshe of Modena, and his mother was the daughter of Rav Shlomo, son of Harav Mordechai of Modena.
He learned under the Rema and the mekubalim Harav Hillel of Modena and Harav Menachem Azaria of Pano.
At the request of the Burial Society at Mantua, he instituted rites for them. He is best known for his Maavar Yabok, a Shulchan Aruch-style work, which contains mystical dissertations on purity and holiness, listing the hanhagot in one’s life from the day he is born until his passing, including when deathly ill, R”l.
Many of the prayers recited at the gravesites of the deceased were composed by him. Tradition has it that an angel called a "maggid" would come and study with him, similar to the angel that would visit Rav Yosef Karo.
He also wrote additional prayers to be offered for the sick and the dead, as well as a code of conduct for their treatment. It also includes the tefillot to be said when the neshamah departs, and instructions for the chevrah kaddisha. Over time this sefer became well known, with many learning it ahead of their passing in order to prepare themselves for their last days.
The sefer is comprised of four sections: Sifsei Tzaddik, listing the pesukim for those who are sick; Sfat Emes, a section dedicated to the chevrah kaddisha; and tefillot and supplications for aliyat haneshamah of the departed. It also describes the eternal rest of the tzaddikim.
The Chida writes that Rav Aharon Berachia also wrote a commentary on Tikkunei Zohar entitled Bigdei Kodesh; and Me’irei Shachar, a list of tefillot for those who rise early.(Others 26 or 27 Tammuz).
HaRav Aryeh Leib Gunzberg (5455 / 1695 - 5545 / 1785), popularly known by the title of his book of responsa, Sha'agat Aryeh (the Lion's Roar). Harav Aryeh Leib was born in 5455/1695 in Lithuania. His father, Harav Asher, was Rav in Pinsk and one of the leading Rabbanim of his time.
He moved with his family to Minsk when he was still young. A widow in the city had a complete set of the Shas in her home and would loan masechtot to any talmid chacham who needed them. When Aryeh Leib was still a child, he borrowed masechtot from her. Thus, every day, he would complete one masechta, and then ask her to exchange it for a different one.
In 1725, when he was only thirty, Rav Aryeh Leib was invited to serve as the Rosh Yeshiva of Minsk, but the laypersons forced him out, since he was unashamed to rebuke them when he felt that it was necessary.
His first post was as Rosh Yeshivah in Volozhin. One of his prize talmidim was Harav Chaim Volozhiner. Interestingly, his sefer Sha’agat Aryeh was already published at this time, yet he was not given a fitting post and was forced to constantly move on.
The Shaagas Aryeh was renowned for his hasmadah.
It is related that once, Reb Aryeh Leib was in Frankfurt and he took lodgings at the home of Harav Pinchas Horowitz, the author of Hafla’ah and Panim Yafot. He didn’t recognize his guest, and offered him a bed. The “simple” guest asked for three Gemarot for the night — Yevamot, Kesubot and Kiddushin. The Hafla’ah was surprised, but willingly filled his guest’s request. Some hours later, the Hafla’ah peeked into the room of his guest and saw him laboring over the Gemara. By morning, he had finished all three masechtot — no small feat by anyone’s standards! The Hafla’ah began to ask him questions on his learning. Within minutes, he realized that this guest was none other than Reb Aryeh Leib, the Sha’agat Aryeh.
The Gaon of Vilna related that the Sha'agat Aryeh could arrange the entire Talmud in his mind and summarize it all.
He founded a Yeshiva in Minsk in 1732. In 1750 he became the Rav of Volozhin, and lived in very pressed circumstances. He often collided with wealthy leaders of the city, and was forced to move from town to town. In 5526/1766, he was appointed Rav in Metz, where he served until his petira.
When he accepted the position of Rav in Metz he was nearly 70 years old. The leaders of the community expressed doubts because he was already an elderly man. He asked them how long they expected a Rav to last, and they answered, for about 20 years. Indeed, he was niftar some 20 years later, when he was 90 years old.
A few months before his petira, Reb Aryeh Leib invited the community for a siyum haShas. He was in especially high spirits at this siyum. When he was asked what the reason was for this, he explained that this was his thousandth siyum on the Shas.
Reb Aryeh Leib was niftar on 25 Tammuz 5545/1785. (Some give the day of his petira as 15 Tammuz; other sources give it as 25 Sivan.)
He wrote Sha’agat Aryeh; Gevurat Ari on masechet Yoma, and Turei Even on masechet Rosh Hashana. His writings, marked by their brilliant insight and depth, are widely studied today.
HaRav Meir of Apta, zt”l, (5591 / 1831), author of Ohr Lashamayim.).
He was the Rav of Apta after the Ohev Yisrael, who moved to Mezhibuz, after sensing that Rav Meir was supposed to become Rav of Apta. Rav Meir was a talmid muvhak of the Chozeh of Lublin. One of his most famous talmidim was the Tiferet Shlomo of Radomsk
HaRav Yisrael Eliyahu Yehoshua Trunk, zt”l, (1820 or 1821- 5653 / 1893), Rav of Kutna, and one of the early supporters of Chibbat Tzion.
Born in Plotsk, Poland, he received most of his teaching from his father, who was niftar when the boy was just 11. As a teenager, he spent 3 months with the Kotzker Rebbe, who’s direction he followed for the remainder of his life. When he was twenty, Rav Yisrael Eliyahu Yehoshua founded a yeshiva and served as rav in Shrensk for seven years, Gabin (from 1847), Vorka (from 1850), where his fame as a posek grew, Poltusk (from 1853). In 1860, he moved to Kutna, which lies near Gustenin and Zichlin. (The first record of Jews in Kutna is a document from 1513, in which King Zigmund of Poland grants a year’s moratorium to the gentile debtors of three Kutna Jews - Moshe, Shlomo and Liebke).
To the end of his life he was Rav of Kutna and was known throughout the world as Yisrael Eliyahu Yehoshua Trunk of Kutna. He consistently refused to leave for larger rabbinates to which he was invited from time to time.
He was especially close to the rebbe of Gur, R' Yitchok Meir. He joined the Chibbat Tzion movement with the initial activity of R' Tzvi Hirsch Kalischer, whom he encouraged in his letters. In 1886 he visited Eretz Yisrael and encouraged the pioneers who were then experiencing the initial difficulties of settlement. He was among the rabbis who permitted agricultural work during the sabbatical year in Eretz Yisrael.
Only one of his sefarim, Yeshuot Yisrael (1870), on Choshen Mishpat, was published during his lifetime. The remainder were published posthumously by his grandson as Yeshuot Malko (1927–39), and Yavin Da'at (1932), on Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah with responsa.
His only son, Rav Moshe Pinchas, succeeded him as Rav in Kutna. The demise of the Kutna kehilla came when the Nazis finished liquidating its remaining Jews on March 26, 1942, Hy"d.(Others 27 Tammuz).
HaRav Simcha Shmuel Shulman, zt"l, (1913).
HaRav Yeshayah Zilberstein of Veitzen, zt”l, (5617 / 1857 - 5690 / 1930), author of Masei L’melech on the Rambam.
Harav Yeshayah Zilberstein was born in 5617/1857. His father was Harav Dovid Yehudah Leib, author of Shvilei Dovid.
In his early years he lived in Yerushalayim, where the Imrei Binah attested that he would become a Gadol b’Yisrael.
Later, Reb Yeshayah returned with his father to Hungary. While still a bachur, he became Rav in Terebesh. He corresponded with leading Gedolim of his era, including the Maharam Schick and others. He was counted among the three leading Gedolim in Hungary in his time.
Reb Yeshayah was renowned for his hasmadah. His first chiddushim were printed at the end of his father’s sefer.
After his marriage in 5639/1879 to the daughter of Harav Moshe Tzvi Stern, Rav of Elishtaba, he refused to support himself with Rabbanut and opened a factory instead. According to the testimony of residents of the city, his factory looked more like a sefarim store than a factory, as it was full of sefarim which Reb Yeshayah pored over at all hours of the day.
A few years later, at the age of 27, Reb Yeshayah became Rav in Weitzen. He founded a yeshivah and strengthened the kehillah in Torah and yirat Shamayim. He would learn for hours after Shacharit and put his chiddushei Torah to paper, all the while wrapped in his tallit and tefillin.
Reb Yeshayah served as Rav in Weitzen for close to 50 years, and was one of Hungarian Jewry’s outspoken leaders and fighters in its war against those who wished to do away with the mesorah.
Reb Yeshayah was niftar on 25 Tammuz 5690/1930, at age 73.
Among his sefarim is Maasei Lamelech on the Rambam.
HaRav Naftali Suissah, zt”l, (1947). The Rav of Sus and Agfiah in Morocco.
HaRav Yosef Yitzchak Rottenberg, zt”l, (1996), the head of Belgian community
HaRav Yitzchak Kolitz, zt”l, (1922 - 5673 / 2003), Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and later of Yerushalayim. (See 24 Tammuz).
26 Tammuz 4947 - 1187:
Saladin's muslim army defeated the Crusader army, led by Guy De Ludignan, the "King of Yerushalayim," at Karnei Chittin / Horns of Hittin, a site near the Kinneret in the Galil. This defeat marked the beginning of the end of the Crusader kingdom.
26 Tammuz - 1345:
A pope (Clement V?) banned forced baptism of Jews, 1345. This decree was overturned by subsequent popes in 1597 and 1747.
26 Tammuz 5519 - July 21, 1759:
The Baal Shem Tov and Harav Chaim Hakohain Rappaport, the Rav of Lemberg (Lvov), at the demand
of the Bishop of Lemberg, debated the heretical Frankists. By winning the
debate, they prevented the Talmud from being burned. A Yom Tov is celebrated in some Chassidic courts to commemorate this event, particularly in the Ruzhiner dynasty.
26 Tammuz 5568 - July 21, 1808:
Napoleon decreed that all Jews of the French Empire must adopt family names.
26 Tammuz 5685 - July 18, 1925:
Adolf Hitler, yemach shemo, published his personal manifesto, Mein Kampf.
26 Tammuz 5701 - July 21, 1941:
The Jews of Upina, Lithuania, were executed by the Nazis, Hy"d.
26 Tammuz 5702 - 1942:
The Jews of Salonika (Thessaloniki) were rounded up to be deported to the German camps. Although 2.5 billion drachmas were raised for the release of 4,000 young men, this only managed to delay the deportation until the following March, when 46,061 of Salonika’s 54,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz, most of them gassed on arrival.
26 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Aharon Berachiah of Modena, zt”l, (5399 / 1639), author of Maavar Yabok.(See 25 Tammuz).
HaRav Nachum (ben Zelig) Trivitch, zt”l, (1842), Chief Rabbi of Nikolsburg, author of Shalom Yerushalayim.
HaRav Yechiel Mechel of Pruzhnitz, zt”l, (5638 / 1878).
HaRav Shlomo ben Yosef Ganzfried, zt"l, (1804 - 5646 / 1886), author of the popular Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (Concise Code of Jewish Law), and other works.
Born in Uzhhorod (Ungvar) in the Carpathian region of the Habsburg Empire (now Ukraine). When he was eight years old, Shlomo's father, Rav Yosef, passed way, and Ungvar's chief rabbi, Rav Tzvi Hirsh Heller, assumed legal guardianship of Shlomo. In 1830, he abandoned his work as a wine merchant and accepted the position of Rav of Brezovica (Brezevitz). In 1849, he returned to Ungvar to serve as a rabbinical judge where he fought against the Reform movement, serving as the head of Shomrei HaDat. Realizing that the average Jew required a basic knowledge of practical halachah, because he is not in a position to study and comprehend Rav Yosef Karo's original Code and its many commentaries, Rav Ganzfried compiled the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, an abbreviated digest of Jewish law. To this day, the immensely popular Kitzur Shulchan Aruch remains a classic halachic work, and it has been translated into many languages. It is estimated that over two million copies have been printed. In addition to the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, he authored many works including Kesset HaSofer, a halachic primer for scribes, and Pnei Shlomo, a commentary on the Talmud. (Other sources list his yahrtzeit as Tammuz 28).
HaRav Aryeh Leib Broide of Lvov, zt”l (5688 / 1928).
HaRav Sinai Halberstam of Zhemigrod, (5630 / 1870 - 5701 / 1941), zt ”l.
Rav Chaim of Sanz especially treasured his fourth son, Rav Baruch of Gorlitz, saying that a lofty soul such as his had not descended to the world for the past three hundred years. When he was fourteen, Rav Baruch married the daughter of Rav Yekusiel Yehudah Teitelbaum, the Yitav Lev of Sighet and a talmid of Rav Chaim Sanzer, and in 5630 / 1870, Rav Sinai was born to the couple, in Rudnik.
When his father, Harav Baruch of Gorlitz, asked his own father, the Divrei Chaim of Sanz, what to name the baby, the Sanzer Rav said he should name him after Reb Baruch’s maternal great-grandfather, Reb Elazar Nissan of Drohobitch, zy”a, the father of his father-in-law, the Yitav Lev of Sighet, zy”a. But then the Divrei Chaim asked another gadol who was present for his own opinion.
“It is the custom,” the gadol replied diffidently, “that one does not name after a person who was niftar young,” and Reb Elazar Nissan had been niftar young.
The Divrei Chaim thought for a moment. “Then name him Sinai, for that has the same letters as Nissan, and may he grow up to be a Sinai ve’oker harim, a giant in the depth and breadth of Torah.”
At a young age, Reb Sinai married the daughter of Harav Naftali Horowitz of Melitz, zy”a.
Reb Sinai was known for his chessed, even in his early years. When Reb Sinai was a newlywed, still living with his in-laws in Melitz, his Rebbetzin noticed that some of his garments were missing. Reb Sinai had been given 18 undershirts for the wedding, and now he had only 10. At the first opportunity his wife questioned him about this, and he answered that he had noticed a fine person at the mikveh who had only one tattered undershirt to his name, so he gave him one of his own. Eighteen were more than he needed, he explained, and he had given the man one after another, until he had given him eight in all.
Reb Sinai was appointed Rav of Koloshitz after his wedding. He served there briefly until the elderly Rav of Zhemigrad was niftar, leaving his position to “a grandson of the Divrei Chaim.” When the post was offered to Reb Sinai, in 5664/1904, he was reminded of an incident that had occurred many years before. He had been in Zhemigrad with his father for a simchah, and his father had offered him a public l’chaim as “Rav of Zhemigrad.” The Chassidim of Zhemigrad had tried to protest, but the reigning Rav had hushed them. “There is nothing to correct,” he had said.
With this authorization, Reb Sinai accepted the rabbanut of Zhemigrad and faithfully led the town for over 30 years. (Zhemigrad was a scenic mountain town about 150 kilometers from Cracow, where Jews had lived since at least 1410. Zmigród had a relatively small community - a 1900 census records it having 1,240 Jews out of a total population of 2,249. Nowadays, this region of Austrian-controlled Galicia is part of Poland).
He was renowned as a darshan and composer of niggunim, and for caring for the poor with mesirut nefesh, and he rose every night at chatzot to learn Kabbalah until the morning.
Every Purim, Reb Sinai received several mishloach manot containing envelopes with tzedaka as one of the major components. His Rebbetzin used to collect the envelopes, tally the contents and deliver the sum to the Rebbe. He would then review his list of needy recipients and send new envelopes of money out with his gabbai all over town. By evening, not a penny was left in the house.
When he became ill later in his life, he moved to Cracow where he could receive treatment. A few years later, the Nazis overran Poland and he fled to Lemberg, Galicia, to be under the Soviets. Tragically, his Rebbetzin passed away en route and was buried in Boberka.
The Soviets exiled Reb Sinai and his family to Siberia on a dangerously overcrowded train, in which the prisoners were confined for weeks. Reb Sinai did not survive the trip. He was niftar on 26 Tammuz 5701/1941 and was buried in the forests of Omsk, Siberia. Clean white fabric was miraculously procured, which was used as tachrichim, and the family was further privileged to erect a matzeiva on his kever in the forest.
His sons that perished in the Holocaust were Harav Chaim Yehudah, Rav in Aushpitzin; Harav Avraham Abish of Satmar; Harav Dovid of Radomsk; Harav Aharon of Zitomir; Harav Yechezkel of Ridnick; Harav Baruch of Zokilkov. His son-in-law was Harav Baruch of Sanz-Gribov. Hashem yinkom damam.
His sons that survived the war are Harav Yaakov of Tchakava, Yerushalayim; Harav Yisrael of Zhemigrad-New York; Harav Aryeh Leibish, of Zhemigrad-Bnei Brak. His son-in-law was Harav Yaakov Moskowitz of Shotz, Haifa.
HaRav Menachem Shabtai Attas, zt”l, (1942), leader of Greek Jewry, who suffered a fatal heart attack during the round-up and humiliation of the city’s Jews by the Nazis.
Asher Aharon Gross, (5743 / July 7, 1983), an 18 year old Yeshiva student was murdered by Arabs in Chevron. He was one of the founding members of the class of talmidim who started Yeshiva Shovei Chevron. The yeshiva reestablished full time Torah study in Chevron since the Chevron Yeshiva was destroyed in 1929.
The spot where he was murdered is now called, Kikar Gross, Gross Square. Hy"d.
HaRav Nachman Bulman, zt”l, (5685 / 1925 - 5762 / 2002), Mashgiach of Yeshivat Ohr Somayach.
His parents, Reb Meir and Ettel Bulman were Gerrer chasidim who had moved to the Lower East Side from Poland. Reb Meir had lost his first wife in childbirth and his second wife in a pogrom. He had also lost two children. In their 40s, the Bulmans received a bracha from the Imrei Emet of Ger, and on 22 Tevet 5685/1925, Rav Nachman was born in New York.
Nachman was one of the few American boys to receive a yeshivah education in those days. He attended Yeshivat Rabbenu Yitzchak Elchonon and then studied in its rabbinical program. He received semicha and a B.A. (in philosophy) from Yeshiva College. During the week, he learned in the Litvishe yeshiva way. On Shabbat and Yom Tov he absorbed the atmosphere of his parents’ Polishe shteibel with a love of chassidut. For years, he was also a frequent visitor at the tishin of the Modzitzer Rebbe, Rav Shaul Yedidya Taub, and he remained close to the Modzitzer Rebbes until his petirah.
In 1950, Reb Nachman married Shaindel Freund, his aiyshet chayil for 52 years.
By the time he received semichah, he had offers to officiate in the most prestigious shuls in America. But many American shuls did not have mechitzot that conformed to his non-compromising standards. So he and his Rebbetzin, Shaindel, moved to the tiny Orthodox community of Danville, Virginia, which consisted of about 30 families, whose shul had an upstairs women’s gallery.
When Rosh Hashanah arrived, Rav Nachman was horrified to discover that instead of the women using the gallery, the congregants had erected a mechitzah much lower than halachically acceptable in the main shul. In response to Rav Nachman’s demand, a better, makeshift mechitzah was set up. In protest, some women refused to enter the building and remained outside on the shul steps.
After the Torah reading, Rav Bulman rose and told the mispallelim, “This is probably the last time I’ll be davening with you, but before I leave I want you all to understand the meaning of a shul and its sanctity.” He proceeded to deliver a fiery drashah on the subject. He stayed on as Rav for 3 years.
From 1953-1954, Rav Bulman served as mashgiach in Yeshivat Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchonon. He was once again pulled to the world of rabbanut when he became rav in South Fallsburg, N.Y., in 1954.
During this time, he founded the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY), together with Rabbis Weitman, Goodman, and Chait. His next position was as head of Adat Jeshurun synagogue in Newport News, Virginia, beginning in 5717 / 1957. Young servicemen from the nearby nuclear research base were often his Shabbat guests and many became shomrei mitzvot through his influence.
Rabbi Bulman then returned to his position as mashgiach in Yeshiva University from 1962-1963, and then worked for Torah Umesorah from 1963-1967.
At that time, he decided that it was high time American orthodoxy had an articulate voice of its own in English. He not only was one of the founders of the Jewish Observer,but even wrote many of its articles for several years under various pseudonyms. He also wrote the article in the first edition explaining the reason for the founding of the new magazine. He also assisted Torah Umesorah and founded the Teachers Training Program in Yeshivat Ner Yisroel, Baltimore. Every Sunday he would make the six-hour round trip journey from New York to teach there.
Together with Eliyahu Kitov, Rav Bulman translated and published the famous works “A Jew and His Home” and “The Book of Our Heritage” which are mainstays of English speaking frum homes, and which have never gone out of print since.
In 1967, he took his next rabbinical position as the rav of the Young Israel of Far Rockaway. During this time, he founded Sarah Schenirer High School and Seminary in 1968, and the Yeshiva of Far Rockaway (Yeshivat Derech Eison), and he taught in both places.
Rav Nachman yearned his whole life to live in Eretz Yisrael. In 5735 / 1975 his dream finally came true when he settled in the Sanhedria section of Yerushalayim, where he became the unofficial rav of the Modzitz shtieble, and the mashgiach of Yeshivat Ohr Someach, where he taught and inspired countless people.
One of Harav Bulman’s most cherished dreams was to lead a community that would serve as a magnet for American olim. To further that aim, in 5739 / 1979 he founded the Torah community of Kiryat Nachliel in Migdal Ha’emek and he lived there until 1993.
Just two years before his petirah, Harav Bulman moved to Neve Yaakov, in northeast Yerushalayim, where he founded the Nachliel beit medrash.
Harav Nachman was niftar on 26 Tammuz; his levayah was held in Yeshivat Ohr Somayach.
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Birth and yahrtzeit of Yosef ben Yaakov Avinu (2200 / 1561 - 2310 / 1451 BCE). According to most opinions, however, the actual date was 2 Tammuz. (See 1 and 2 Tammuz).
27 Tammuz 4965 - 1205:
Pope Innocent III published official Church doctrine that the Jews were doomed to eternal damnation for the crucifixion of Oso Ha'Ish. This charge of deicide was the basis for much anti-Semitism throughout the Middle Ages. It wasn't until 1963, with the Second Vatican Council, that Church doctrine was officially revised.
There are still many Christians who believe in the guilt of the Jews, and many who act upon that belief.
27 Tammuz 5082 - 1322:
France expelled all its Jews for the third time. After having been allowed back into France in the year 1315 (after the
expulsion in 1306 by Philip IV), the Jews were once again expelled from
France by Charles IV, who thus broke the pledge made by his predecessors
in 1315 that the Jews would be able to stay in France for at least 12
27 Tammuz - 1555:
Pope Paul IV issued the papal decree, Cum Nimis Absurdum, which subjected Jews under his dominion (in Rome) to a myriad of restrictions and humiliations, most notably forcing them to live in ghettos.
27 Tammuz 5498 - July 15, 1738:
A Jew, Baruch Laibov, and Alexander Voznitzin, a Russian Naval officer who had converted to Judaism, having been influenced and taught by Laibov, were both burned at the stake with the approval of Empress Anna Johanova, in St. Petersburg, Hy"d.
27 Tammuz 5653 - July 11, 1893:
Jews of Holstein, Germany were granted equality.
27 Tammuz 5728 - July 23, 1968:
The first and only successful hijacking of an El Al aircraft - heading from Rome to Israel - took place when a Boeing 707 jet carrying 10 crew members and 38 passengers was taken over by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The terrorists diverted the plane to Algiers. Most of the passengers were released quickly. Seven crew members and five Israeli male passengers were held hostage for five weeks and released after 40 days of negotiation.
27 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
Birth and yahrtzeit of Yosef ben Yaakov Avinu (2200 / 1561 - 2310 / 1451 BCE). According to most opinions, however, the actual date was 1 or 2 Tammuz..
(See 1 and 2 Tammuz).
HaRav Aharon Berachia ben Moshe of Modina, zt"l, (? - 5399 / 1639). author of Maavar Yabok. (See 25 Tammuz)
HaRav Yitzchak Charif of Sambur, zt”l, (5593 / 1833), (Others 5573 / 1813), author of Sheilot U’teshuvot Pnei Yitzchak and Ha’elef Lecha Shlomo on Shas. He was the son of Rav Moshe of Dregatchin, author of Maggid Mishneh on the Mishnat Chassidim.
Harav Yitzchak was known as a Gadol in both nigleh and nistar. Many of the generation’s tzaddikim held him in the highest esteem.
When Harav Yitzchak was appointed Rav of Sambur, the non-Jewish ruler of the region came to receive his blessing. Harav Yitzchak was well respected and admired by the members of the kehilla for his fatherly love and dedication to all their needs. Despite his lofty level of Torah and kedusha, Reb Yitzchak was involved in all that was happening in the city, and thus drew the people close to the Torah.
Many kehillot wanted to have Harav Yitzchak as their Rav. Following the petira of Harav Meir Berabi, the kehilla of Pressburg sought to appoint Harav Yitzchak as their Rav. So as not to delay his decision, they sent a ktav rabbanut right away to the home of the Rosh Hakahal of Sambur. Upon receiving the letter, the Rosh Hakahal decided not to show it to Harav Yitzchak, fearing that he would leave the city. When the kehilla of Pressburg didn’t receive any response from Harav Yitzchak, they sent another letter — again to the Rosh Hakahal — and again he didn’t pass it on.
When they realized that Harav Yitzchak was not responding, the Pressburg kehilla sent a letter to Harav Meshulam Igra, and in their letter they related the whole issue, that they sent Reb Yitzchak two letters, and since he ignored them, they were now offering Harav Igra the Rabbanut.
Harav Meshulam Igra was tempted to accept the prestigious Rabbanut of Pressburg, but upon hearing that Reb Yitzchak had declined, he wanted to discuss the matter with him, and hear his opinion. He traveled to Sambur to meet with Harav Yitzchak. Upon his arrival in Sambur, Harav Yitzchak arranged for a lavish seudah to be held in honor of the guest, with the leaders of the kehilla attending as well. During the seuda, Harav Meshulam asked Harav Yitzchak why he didn’t accept the rabbanut of Pressburg. Harav Yitzchak looked up in amazement and said that he had never received such an offer.
The Rosh Hakahal stood up and confessed that he was the one who had received — and hidden — the letters, explaining that he did not want Harav Yitzchak to leave the city.
Reb Yitzchak ruled that the Rabbanut rightfully belonged to Harav Meshulam Igra, for he was the one to receive the ktav rabbanut.
He was niftar on 27 Tammuz 5593/1833.
HaRav Nachum Tarbitch, zt”l, (5608 / 1848), author of Kovetz al HaRambam.
HaRav Shmuel Aharon Rubin, zt”l, (5637 / 1877), Rav of Kartshin
Harav Shmuel Aharon Rubin was born around 5584/1824. His father was Harav Tzvi Elazar, a Dayan in Cracow. He was a descendant of (and named after) Harav Shmuel Aharon of Kaidonov.
He learned under Harav Moshe Wolf Frenkel, Rav of Pshevorsk and author of Meishiv Kahalachah. After his marriage he settled in Brigel where his father-in-law lived, and became close to Harav Aryeh Lifschitz, the Aryeh D’bei Ilai. Following the petirah of the Aryeh D’bei Ilai, he traveled to the court of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz.
Reb Shmuel Aharon was also close with the leading Poskim of his time, especially Harav Yosef Shaul Natansohn, who wrote him many halachic responsa and gave a warm haskamah to his sefer Beit Aharon on hilchot Gittin.
In 5625/1865 Reb Shmuel Aharon was appointed Rav of Zvarow, and a short while later of Kartshin. The Divrei Chaim, together with Harav Tzvi Hirsch of Rimanov, wrote a letter to the kehillah of Kartshin in praise of their new Rav.
Reb Shmuel Aharon wrote several sefarim: Beit Aharon on Gittin; Haggadah Shel Pesach Lachma Anya; a commentary on Psikta Rabbasi; She’eilot U’Teshuvot Shem Olam; Drashot Beit Aharon and others.
He was niftar on 27 Tammuz 5637/1877 in Karlsbad and buried in Cracow, near the kever of his father.
HaRav Yaakov Shaul Elyashar of Yerushalayim, zt”l, (5666 / 1906), author of Yisa Ish, Yisa Bracha and other sefarim.
HaRav Yaakov Adess, zt”l (5658 / 1898 - 5723 / 1963), born in Yerushalayim on 8 Adar 5658 / 1898, the youngest of four sons. The family had only recently moved from their native Syrian town of Aram Tzova (Aleppo/ Halab).
He received his early education from his great father, Rav Avraham Chaim Adess. In 5670 / 1910, his father placed him in Yeshivat Ohel Moed, where he learned under Rav Raphael Shlomo Laniado and Rav Yosef Yedid Halevi. There, he stayed as magid shiur from 1920-1923, when the yeshiva disbanded at the outbreak of World War I.
While most of the students fled either to Egypt or Bukhara, Harav Yaakov remained in Yerushalayim, where he continued studying diligently despite hunger and the threat of war and disease.
On 5 Adar II 5679 / 1919, Harav Addes married Chaya Esther, daughter of Harav Ezra Harari Raful, one of the founders of Yeshivat Ohel Moed.
“In the home of my father-in-law,” recalled Harav Addes, “conversation centered exclusively around ideas from the Chovot Halevavot and Reishit Chochmah. … The atmosphere was like that of the simchat beit hasho’eivah.” From his youth Harav Addes knew the entire sefer Chovot Halevavot by heart.
In 5683 / 1923, Ohel Moed joined with Yeshivat Porat Yosef, where Harav Yaakov began teaching; he became Rosh Yeshivah in 5695 / 1935.
That year, Rav Yaakov, one of the senior maggidei shiur in Porat Yosef, was appointed by the Rishon LeTzion, Rav Yaakov Meir, to be a member of the Sephardic beit din, and he officiated in this capacity until 5703 / 1943. Then, in 5704 / 1944, he was appointed to a seat on the Sephardic beit din of Tel Aviv and at the same time he also became Rav of a shul of the Tel Aviv Syrian community. He left his home in Yerushalayim at the beginning of the week and returned right before Shabbat.
In 5705 / 1945, he was appointed Dayan in Yerushalayim, and 10 years later he was elected to the Beit Din Hagadol, first as a Dayan and later as Av Beit Din, along with Harav Betzalel Zolty, Chief Rabbi of Yerushalayim, and Harav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zecher tzaddikim livrachah. He held this position until his petirah in 5723 / 1963..
Once, upon returning from a visit to Harav Yehudah Attia, he recounted with awe and emotion that Harav Attia had been lying in bed, his body wracked with pain, singing techinot of Shabbat with great joy. “If only I could be buried next to him,” Harav Ades uttered longingly.
Years later, when Harav Addes was niftar and his body brought for burial, a certain spot was decided upon, although it was dark and hard to see. The following day it was discovered that he had been laid to rest next to Harav Yehudah Attia.
Most of his writings on Shas were destroyed when the Jordanians captured the Old City in 1948. Though his chiddushim were printed posthumously, he himself gave them the title Chedvat Yaakov, which means both “the joy of Yaakov” and, if read as an abbreviation, “the chiddushei Torah of Yaakov.”
HaRav Shmuel Rozovski, zt”l, (5739 / 1913 - 1979), Rosh Yeshivat Ponovezh. Born in Grodna to Rav Michel Dovid (Rav of Grodna for 40 years) and Sarah Pearl, daughter of Rav Avraham Gelburd, who had served as Grodna’s previous rav for almost 50 years. At a very young age, he began to study in the Shaar HaTorah Yeshiva of Grodna, under Rav Shimon Shkop, eventually becoming his talmid muvhak. In 1935, his father was niftar, and the gedolei Torah urged Rav Shmuel to succeed him. However, he was drafted into the Russian army and moved to Eretz Yisrael. There he began studying in the Lomza Yeshiva in Petach Tikvah. In 1944, Rav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman opened the Ponovezh Yeshiva and chose Rav Shmuel, only 30 at the time, to head the yeshiva. Later on, he was joined by Rav Dovid Povarsky and Rav Elazar Menachem Man Shach. Subsequently, he was asked by Rav Kahaneman to head the newly founded Grodna Yeshiva in Ashdod.
HaRav Elimelech Ehrlich, zt”l, (1914-1989), a seventh generation Karlin chossid, was born in the town of Kodznahorodok, next to Stolin, not far from the border of Poland and Russia. During WW II, his family moved to Samarkand. There, he composed Yiddish niggunim for the many Jewish refugees, cheering their broken hearts. His role in life was thus fixed. After the war, in Paris, Rav Yom Tov discovered a new brand of fire which began to kindle in his heart: Novardok. He later moved to New York, and then to Eretz Yisrael.
HaRav Mordechai (ben Yitzchak) Twersky, the Skverer Rebbe of Flatbush, zt”l (1924 - 5767 / 2007). Born in Kishinev, he moved with his family to America when he was four months old. When his father was niftar in 1941, Rav Mordechai and his brother, Rav Dovid, ran their father’s beit midrash in Boro Park. Rav Mordechai opened the Skverer beit midrash in 1970.
28 Tammuz 5213 - 1453:
The Church burned 41 Jews at the stake in Breslau, Germany, Hy"d, and then expelled
the remaining Jews.
28 Tammuz - 1571:
The ghetto in Florence, Italy was established.
28 Tammuz 5476 - July 18, 1716:
The Jews of Brussels, Belgium were given notice of expulsion.
28 Tammuz 5493 - July 11, 1733:
Soon after the colony of Georgia was settled by General James Oglethorpe, the first group of Jews arrived in Savanna from England. The approximately 40 Jews included Dr. Samuel Nunez, a former court physician, and Abraham de Leon, who introduced viniculture to the colony. Later that same month a group of 12 indigent German Jewish families also arrived. Oglethorpe was originally against allowing the Jews to remain, until the doctor helped stop an epidemic. (In the 1700’s, Sephardic Jews were considered richer, more educated and more aristocratic than the poorer and more primitive German Jews. One hundred and fifty years later, the German Jews looked down on Eastern European Jews as more primitive, and 100 years after that, the Askenazic German and East European Jews looked down on the Sephardic Jews.).
28 Tammuz 5595 - July 25, 1835:
Arabs rampaged against Jews in Chevron, Hy"d.
28 Tammuz 5638 - July 29, 1878:
German elections resulted in the reactionary element having a dominant voice in the Reichstag. This date is considered the birthday of modern German anti-Semitism.
28 Tammuz 5682 - July 24, 1922:
The League of Nations confirmed Britain’s mandate to administer Palestine, territory, taken from the Ottoman Empire following World War
I. The Mandate charged Britain with securing the establishment of the
Jewish national home, and safeguarding the civil and religious rights of
all the inhabitants of Palestine. Just a few months later, Britain
decided to lop off 77% of the land and use it to establish the Hashemite
Kingdom of Transjordan (today called Jordan). In ensuing years, Jewish
immigration to Palestine created much Arab resentment, and the British
responded by placing strict limitations on Jewish immigration. This
policy had lethal consequences for Jews fleeing Hitler's ovens. When the
British continued to placate the Arabs, for example by restricting
Jewish land purchases, a revolt was organized by Zionist groups. By 1948
this pressure had forced the British out of Palestine, clearing the way
for an independent State of Israel.
28 Tammuz 5702 - July 13, 1942:
The Nazis killed 5,000 Jews in Rovno, Polish Ukraine, Hy"d.
The majority of the Jews of town, around 23,000 people, had been murdered shortly after the Germans invaded in June 1941. Between 5,000 and 7,000 Jews remained in the ghetto that was established there.
28 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
HaRav Elazar Weissblum of Lizhensk, zt”l, (5566 / 1806). He was the oldest son of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk.
It is related that Elazar was not studious as a boy, but at bar mitzvah he changed completely and became a serious, dedicated learner.
He married the daughter of Harav Yisrael Tzvi Hirsh, Rav of Grodzisk; his zivug sheini was the daughter of Harav Shmuel Melamed of Shinev.
He would journey to the Maggid of Kozhnitz and to the court of Reb Mordechai of Neshchiz.
Reb Elazar served as his father’s secretary; his father gave him much honor. After his father’s petirah (21 Adar 5546/1786), he undertook the publication of Noam Elimelech and other works of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech. His father’s sefer, Noam Elimelech, contains several letters of Rav Elazar in the back.
Reb Elazar succeeded his father as Rebbe in Lizhensk. In his humility, he turned down the suggestion of Rav Naftali Tzvi of Ropshitz that he travel from city to city, for he felt that the people were honoring him only for his father’s sake, and he did not want to receive false honor.
He was niftar on 28 Tammuz 5566/1806, and buried in the outer room of his father’s tziyun in Lizhensk.
His sons were Rav Naftali of Lizhensk and Rav Mendel Ber (others - Menachem Yissachar Ber) of Pshevorsk;
His sons-in-law were Reb Moshe Elyakim Briyeh, the son of the Kozhnitzer Maggid; Reb Chaim Meir Yechiel of Mogelnitza; Reb Shmuel Zanvil Bindiger of Bariyov; Reb Elimelech of Rimanov, a grandson of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech; and another grandson of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech..
HaRav Moshe ben Tzvi Hirsch Teitelbaum, zt"l, (5519 / 1759 - 5601 / 1841), the Yismach Moshe, founder of Satmar and Sighet dynasties.
The Yismach Moshe was born in 5519 / 1759 in Przemysl. His father was Harav Tzvi Hirsch. He was a direct descendent of the Rema.
Harav Moshe studied under his uncle, Harav Yosef, Av Beit Din of Kolbosov, and under his cousin Harav Aryeh Leib Halevi, Av Beit Din of Striszov. At 13, he married the daughter of Harav Nisan of Przemysl and continued learning Torah under his rebbi in Striszov for another three years.
In 5545 / 1785, at the age of 26, Rav Moshe was appointed Rav and Av Beit Din of Shinova (Shinev). He taught Rav Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam of Shinova, the author of Divrei Yechezkel.
He made a shiduch with his only daughter to the gaon Harav Aryeh Leibush Lipshitz, who encouraged him to travel to the Chozeh of Lublin. He intended to ask the Chozeh how Chassidim could demonstrate constant happiness when the Shulchan Aruch clearly advises Jews to assume a serious demeanor in deference to the Churban Beit Hamikdash.
But when Harav Moshe entered the Chozeh’s inner sanctum, the Chozeh asked why he looked sad and worried. The Chozeh explained that Chassidim display happiness and keep the requisite seriousness in their hearts. In awe, the Yismach Moshe accepted the Chozeh as his Rebbe.
Toward the end of 5568 / 1808, Harav Moshe assumed the rabbanut of Újhely, Hungary, where he served as Rav and Av Beit Din for 33 years. He was one of the first to introduce Chassidut to Hungary and was the patriarch of the Hungarian Chassidic dynasties, Satmar and Sighet.
At 82, en route to the brit of a great-grandson, he fell ill. On Shabbat, 28 Tammuz 5601 / 1841, he davened the weekly Shemoneh Esrei during Minchah. When he reached Hashiveinu Avinu l’Torasecha, his holy neshamah departed.
His works include She’eilot U’teshuvot Heishiv Moshe, Yismach Moshe on Chumash and Nach, andTefillah L’Moshe on Tehillim.
HaRav Yeshayahu Meshulam Zusha Twersky, zt”l, (1881).
Harav Yeshayahu Meshulam Zusha Twersky was the son of Rav Aharon, Rebbe of Chernobyl, who was the son of Rav Mordechai, the Chernobyler Maggid.
He married the daughter of Harav Menachem Nachum Twersky of Makrov, his uncle (his father’s brother). His zivug sheini was the daughter of Harav Pinchas Shapira, son of Harav Shmuel Abba of Slavita; his third zivug was the daughter of Harav Tzvi of Skver, grandson of the Baal Shem Tov.
Following the petirah of his father on 5 Kislev 5632/1872, Rav Yeshayahu Meshulam Zusha succeeded as Rebbe in Chernobyl.
Niftar on 28 Tammuz 5641/1881, he himself was succeeded as Rebbe by his son Harav Shlomo Bentzion.
His daughter from his zivug sheini married Harav Yissachar Dov Rokeach of Belz. From his third zivug, his sons-in-law were: Harav Zev Wolf Twersky of Rachmistrivka, Harav Nachum Yosef Ben Zion Twersky of Koristchov and Harav Shlomo Shmuel Twersky, son of his brother Rav Baruch Asher.
HaRav Shlomo (ben Yosef) Ganzfried, zt"l, (1804 - 5646 / 1886), author of the popular Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (Concise Code of Jewish Law), and other works.
Born in Ungwar, Hungary, his father died while he was still young, and he was raised by the Rav of Ungwar, Rav Tzvi Hirsch Heller. (See 26 Tammuz).
HaRav Nachman (ben Chaim Aryeh) HaKohen Kahana, zt”l, (5664 / 1904). He was the Av Beit Din of Spinka. He was the son-in-law of the first Spinka Rebbe, the Imrei Yosef. He wrote sefer Orchot Chaim on Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim.
HaRav Yaakov Shaul Elyashar, zt”l, (1817-1906). Born to Rav Eliezer Yerucham Elyashar in Tzefat, young Yaakov Shaul moved with his mother at the age of six to Yerushalayim; his father died a year later. His mother’s second husband, Rav Binyamin Mordechai Navon, took the boy under his wing.
In 1883, Rav Yaakov Shaul agreed to become the Chief Rabbi of Israel, the Rishon L’tzion. At the inauguration, he also received the title of Chacham Bashi by the Turkish rulers. Rav Yaakov Shaul authored the sefer Yissa Bracha. His son, Rav Nissim Elyashar, founded a charedi community in Yerushalayim and named it Givat Shaul, in his father’s honor.
HaRav Chaim (ben Moshe) Friedlander, zt”l, (1923 - 5746 / 1986), mashgiach in Ponovezh.
Born in Breslau, Germany, he moved with his family to Eretz Tisrael before the war broke out. He was among those in the first group of seven talmidim when Yeshiva Ponevezh opened in Bnai Brak in 1943. He is considered one of the closest disciples of Rav Dessler. Author of Sifsei Chaim, Rinat Chaim (on the tefillot of Yamim Noraim) and Mesilot Chaim B’Chinuch.
HaRav Shlomo Eliezer Tene, zt”l, (1914-1986), Av Beit Din of Tel Aviv, formerly Chief Rabbi of Beer Sheva, author of Birchat Shlomo.
HaRav Amram (ben Shmuel Dovid) Taub, zt"l, the Brider Rebbe of Baltimore (2007). For over 50 years, he was the Rav of Beit Medrash Arugat Habosem after being sent to Baltimore by the Satmar Rav, with whom he was very close.
HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zt”l, (5670 / 1910 - 5772 / 2012).
HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv was a world renowned scholar and halachic authority who resided in a small apartment on the edge of the Meah She'arim section of Yerushalayim. Even at the advanced age of 102, Rabbi Elyashiv remaind active in the community and was the paramount leader of the Lithuanian community both in Israel and elsewhere. Most Ashkenazi Jews regarded him as the absolute contemporary leading authority on Jewish law.
Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv was a grandson of the great kabbalist Rav Shlomo Elyashiv (1841-1925) from Siauliai (Shavel), Lithuania, known as the Leshem after his kabbalistic work Leshem Shevo V'Achlama. It is known that the Chofetz Chaim of Radin encouraged people to seek out Rav Shlomo Elyashiv adding that "Although in Olam Hazeh, this world, we can see him and come close to him, in Olam Haba, the next world, who knows if we'll merit such an opportunity?"
The father of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv was Rav Avrohom Erener, the Chief Rabbi of the city of Gomel (Homel). His mother was Chaya Moussa Elyashiv, a daughter of Rav Shlomo Elyashiv the Leshem.
Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv was an only child, born in Gomol, Lithuania, to his parents after 17 years of marriage. The Elyashiv family with the assistance of Rav Abraham Yitzchok Kook, Chief Rabbi of Israel planned to emigrate to Palestine in 1922 when Yosef Shalom was 12 years old. Rabbi Avrohom, following advice from the Chofetz Chaim, changed his family name to that of his father-in-law, so that the family would have a uniform immigration certificate.
In 1929, upon the suggestion of Rav Kook, Rav Yosef Shalom met and married Sheina Chaya, a daughter of the Tzaddik of Yerushalayim Rabbi Aryeh Levin. Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and his wife had five sons and seven daughters.
In an earlier stage in his life, Rav Elyashiv served for many years as a Dayan in the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, achieving a position on its Supreme Rabbinical Court. During his tenure in the Chief Rabbinate, he was close to other great Torah scholars on the Beit Din such as Rav Betzalel Zolty, Rav Yaakov Ades, Rav Eliezer Goldsmidt, and Rav Ovadia Yosef.
Rav Elyashiv resigned from the Rabbinate in 1972. He has since then abstained from assuming a position with the government. However Rav Elyashiv holds great sway over rabbinical appointments and other important proceedings in Israel.
In 1989, Rav Elazar Menachem Mann Shach, the famed Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevezh and undisputed leader of Orthodoxy in Israel requested that Rav Elyashiv take a more active role in Jewish public life. It did not take very long and Rav Shach, who had lost virtually all his vision and hearing, passed the mantle of leadership to Rav Elyashiv, who carried the position until his petira.
In 1989 Rav Elyashiv became the spiritual leader of the Degel HaTorah party, currently part of the umbrella United Torah Judaism list in the Israelis parliament, the Knesset. He held great influence over the policies of Degel HaTorah which abided by all his rulings and instructions. Most of the Roshei Yeshiva associated with the Agudath Israel of America movement actively and frequently sought out his opinions and followed his advice and guidelines concerning a wide array of policy and communal issues affecting the welfare of Orthodox Judaism.
Rav Elyashiv spent most of his days engaged in study and delivers lectures in Talmud and Shulchan Aruch at a synagogue in the Meah She'arim area in Yerushalayim where he lived. He received supplicants from all over the world answering a multitude of complex Halachic inquiries. Despite his exceptional scholarship and influence, Rav Elyashiv held no official title, neither as head of a congregation, yeshiva, or particular community.
Many of Rav Elyashiv's Halachic rulings and sermons have been recorded in several books by his students. His multi-volume Kovetz Teshuvot contains responsa resulting from questions asked of him over many years. Some of his ethical comments on the Torah dating back to the 1950s were collected and published as Divrei Aggadah.
For more than eighty years since his wedding, Rav Elyashiv's daily schedule has included anywhere between 16 to 20 hours of intensive Torah study. Although stricken with several illnesses throughout his childhood and adult life, Rabbi Elyashiv overcame all his physical obstacles, and continued his rigid schedule of study, prayer, and involvement in all aspects of concern to World Jewry.
Rav Elyashiv and his wife had twelve children. One son died of an illness at a young age. His daughters all married prominent Rabbinic scholars. The eldest daughter Bat Sheva was married to Rav Chaim Kanievsky, world famous scholar and posek who lives in Bnei Brak. The second, Sarah, was the wife of the late Rav Yisroel Yosef Yisroelson, head of the Bar Shaul Kolel in Rehovot. The third, Ettil, was the wife of Rav Elchonon Berlin, Rabbi of the Achva shul. The fourth, Shoshana, was married to Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein, Chief Rabbi of Ramat Elchanan in Bnei Brak. The fifth, Leah, is the wife of Rav Azriel Auerbach, the son of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, and right hand man of his father-in-law. The sixth, Gittlel, is married to Rav Binyamin Rimmer, Rosh yeshiva at the Tshebiner Yeshiva in Yerushalayim and at the Kiryat Melech Yeshiva in Bnei Brak. A seventh daughter, Rivkah, was tragically killed by Jordanian shelling in 1948.
In spite of his advanced age and extremely tight schedule, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv had tremendous concern for the poor and neglected families in Israel. He was an ardent supporter of and made time to assist the Rabbi Meir Baal Haness Salant charity fund in every which way possible.
Even at the extreme advanced age of 102, all of Klal Yisroel fervently prayed for the continued health and welfare of Rav Elyashiv that G-d give him strength to carry on with his holy task of study, prayer, and communal work on behalf of the welfare of world Jewry. It was a terrible loss for the Jewish Nation when Rabbi Elyashiv passed away on July 18, 2012.
He merited to have all of his living grandchildren marry during his lifetime, the last one having married several months prior to his petira. In 2009, one of Rav Elyashiv’s great-great-grandchildren had a son. The child represented the sixth generation of living Elyashivs. In all, the Rav is survived by about 1,000 descendants.
Harav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zt”l
HaRav Moshe Mordechai (ben Meir) Chodosh, zt"l, (1940-2016), Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Ohr Elchanan in Yerushalayim. He assumed the leadership of the Yeshiva after the petira of Rav Simcha Wasserman, who founded the Yeshiva. Rav Simcha headed the yeshiva but asked Rav Meir Chodosh, the mashgiach of the Chevron Yeshiva, to serve as mashgiach, and his son, Rav Moshe Mordechai, to serve as rosh yeshiva. The yeshiva expanded to include its main branch in Yerushalayim, and three other branches, in Tiverya, in Rishon L’tzion, and in Kiryat Brachfeld in Modiin Illit.
Yahrtzeit of the Tanna Rav Yochanan HaSandlar, one of the main students of R' Akiva and a contemporary of R' Shimon bar Yochai.
29 Tammuz 4865 - 1105 C.E.:
Yahrtzeit of Rashi Hakadosh.
Rabbeinu Shlomo Yitzchaki, zt”l (4800 / 1040 - 4865 / 1105). Known by the acronym, “Rashi,” he was born in Troyes, France, was descended from Rav Yochanan HaSandler, (whose Yahrtzeit is on the same day), who traced his lineage to Dovid Hamelech / King David. He wrote commentaries on Tanach, the Mishnah, the Talmud and the Midrash. His works are such an essential part of Jewish literature, that the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) considers it mandatory for every Jew to study the Torah with Rashi's commentary weekly. Numerous commentaries have been authored on his commentary. Rashi's fundamental commentary on the Talmud, which covers almost the entire Talmud Bavli (Babylonian), is considered essential to the basic understanding of the text to this very day. The commentary has been included in every printed version of the Talmud since the first Italian printings.
Rashi was born in Troyes, France, in 4800 / 1040.
Seder Hadorot relates the well-known story about Rashi’s birth. His father, Rabbeinu Yitzchak, refused to sell a priceless gem the gentiles sought to adorn their church. Instead, he cast the diamond into the ocean. As a reward, it was declared in Heaven that Rabbeinu Yitzchak would have a son who would light up the world.
The following story is told about the mother of Rashi, although many accredit it to the mother of Reb Yehudah Hachassid: Rashi’s mother davened daily in the Worms shul for a son who would be great in Torah knowledge. One day, the bishop, who enjoyed running down Yidden with his carriage, came charging down the street. She pressed herself against the hard brick wall — which miraculously sank inward, protecting her and her future son from the oncoming carriage. The niche in the wall is still intact. According to this mesorah, Rashi’s parents moved to Troyes afterwards.
He received his early Talmudic training from his father, Rabbi Yitzchak. At a young age he went to Worms, Germany, to broaden his knowledge under Rav Yaakov ben Yakar. At the age of 25 he returned to his native Troyes, where he established a yeshivah that attracted many students from France and Germany. He never accepted any salaried Rabbinical position.He earned his livelihood as a wine merchant in France, . (Troyes, where Rashi lived, was the capital of the “Champagne Region” of Northern France.) where his grandchildren composed the Tosafot commentary on the Talmud, which is second only to Rashi in being indispensable for a proper understanding of the text.
The reverence accorded to Rashi’s peirush is extraordinary. The Ramban writes, “If one departs from the words of Rashi, it is as if he has departed from life itself.”
Incidentally, the well-known “Rashi script” is not the script Rashi himself used. These letters were introduced in the late 1400s by Italian printers, since usage of this font allows one to squeeze more words on each line. The first known sefer to be printed on a printing press was Rashi on Chumash, which was printed without the text of the Chumash, in Italy in 1475.
Amazingly, Rashi accomplished all his work during the period of the Crusades, when life was extremely dangerous for the Jews.
Rashi had three daughters, who were great scholars in their own right, but also were married to men of greatness, and had children known as the “Baalei Tosafot,” the most famous of whom, Rav Yaakov ben Meir, was known as Rabbeinu Tam.
Many tzaddikim considered learning Rashi to be a segulah to achieve yirat Shamayim in avodat Hashem.
Rashi was niftar on 29 Tammuz while writing his peirush on Masechet Makkot; his holy neshamah departed as he wrote the word tahor. The general consensus is that he was buried in Troyes.
In recent times, a matzeivah was erected in the area in which Rashi is buried.
Incidentally, Rashi's commentaries are the primary source of information for the study of French language and culture in the Middle Ages. The recent 900th anniversary of his death was widely commemorated in France, with public ceremonies, conferences, and a postage stamp issued in his honor.
29 Tammuz - 1349:
Jews of Frankfurt killed in the Black Death massacres, Hy"d.
29 Tammuz 5674 - July 23, 1914:
Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The dispute led to World War I.
29 Tammuz 5701 - July 24, 1941:
The Nazis murdered all the Jewish men of Grodz, Lithuania, Hy"d.
29 Tammuz Yahrtzeits
The Tanna Rav Yochanan HaSandlar, one of the main students of R' Akiva and a contemporary of R' Shimon bar Yochai.
Rabbeinu Shlomo Yitzchaki, zt”l (1040 - 4865 / 1105). Known by the acronym, “Rashi,” he was descended from Rav Yochanan HaSandler, (whose Yahrtzeit is on the same day), who traced his lineage to Dovid Hamelech / King David. SEE ABOVE FOR MORE
HaRav Avraham Shaar Aryeh ben Dovid of Portilioni (Porto Leone), zt"l, (5372 / 1612), author of Shiltei Hagiborim, a work on the Beit HaMikdash and Bigdei Kehuna, quoted extensively by the Tosfot Yom Tov. (Not to be confused with The Shiltei Hagiborim on the Rif by Rav Yehoshua Boaz ben Simon Baruch, d.1557).
The Portilioni family included an impressive number of physicians, going back to the 15th century. Rav Avraham was also the personal physician of the royal family in Italy and Pope Gregory gave him special permission to heal Christian patients.
He wrote several treatises on general medical matters, on drugs and on surgery. At the age of 65 he had a stroke which left paralyzed the left part of his body. From this time on, he was immobile except for his right hand. He was convinced that that terrible illness was caused by a long negligence of the study of the Torah. It was following that realization that he wrote the encyclopedic treatise for which he is famous.
HaRav Moshe of Zalishin (Zaloshin), zt”l, (5591 / 1831), author of Mishpat Tzedek.
Rav Moshe was born in 5549/1789. His father was Rav Gershon. His mother, Esther, was the daughter of Rav Yechiel Michel of Zaloshin, a great talmid chacham and head of a family of distinguished descendants.
Much about Rav Moshe’s life is clouded in obscurity; there are significant gaps in our knowledge of his family background and his early years.
From a young age, Reb Moshe’s fierce love for Hashem and for his fellow Jews was apparent. Harav Ephraim Zalman Margulies, zt”l, wrote in his haskama to Reb Moshe’s Tikkun Shabbat, “I have heard that he has an outstanding reputation — his name and community are known all over — that from his childhood he was dedicated to wholehearted service of Hashem and since his youth he has applied himself to Torah and avodah …”
Rav Moshe’s tefillot were emotional outpourings, uttered slowly and with care as he pronounced each word. He often led the tefillah on Shabbat and Yom Tov, in particular on the Yamim Nora’im.
Reb Moshe was an ardent advocate of immersing in the mikveh, fervently extolling the practice in his Mishpat Tzedek.
He was extremely sensitive to others’ suffering. On seeing a fellow Jew weighed down by troubles, he directed his energies to providing relief, whether monetary, physical or emotional support. When this did not suffice, he would speak to the sufferer at length, using his special gifts of expression to ease the pain, extend comfort and encourage hope for a yeshuah from Hashem.
Another mitzvah close to his heart was enabling poor brides to marry. On one occasion he set out on foot for Warsaw to raise funds for a bride whose father was unable to provide her with a dowry. He made a point of serving as mohel in Zaloshin and the surrounding villages. He would walk long distances in order to perform this mitzvah.
Rav Moshe’s originality was also apparent in the sefarim he wrote. In the introduction to Mishpat Tzedek, he explained that he was led to write the sefer upon seeing how many of his fellow Jews were unable to come to terms with the various kinds of suffering that they experienced. They were unaware of the positive aspects of suffering and that it is for the sufferer’s ultimate benefit.
The sefer is full of ideas and teachings on accepting suffering lovingly, with many related pieces on Torah, tefillah and avodat Hashem in general, and special customs and tefillot for times of distress.
Rav Moshe did not live to see his sefer completed. He was niftar on Erev Rosh Chodesh Av 5591/1831, at age 42. The sefer was edited by his close disciple, Harav Yisroel Ze’ev of Zaloshin, who published it after his Rebbe’s petirah.
His other sefarim are Tikkun Shabbat and Geulat Yisrael.
HaRav Zvi Yosef (“Herschel”) Wasilski, zt”l, (1922-1981). Born in Vilna, Lithuania, raised in Oszmiana. At age thirteen his parents sent him to learn in Baranovitch, where he became a talmid muvhak of Reb Elchonon Wasserman. After World War II broke out, Reb Herschel and the rest of the Baranovitch Yeshiva relocated to Vilna, where the elder Rav Wasilski was involved in the Vaad HaYeshivot with Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzensky. Despite social upheaval and fear, the bochurim continued to learn Torah for another year. However, when the Nazis approached the city he bid farewell to his father and mother and joined the fleeing refugees, never to see his parents again. Captured by the Russian army, Reb Herschel spent the war years in Siberia, and toward the end in Samarkand, finally emigrating to America. Soon after his arrival in New York on Dec. 7, 1946, Reb Herschel, now all of twenty-four, joined the Kollel of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, and soon became menahel of the evening classes program, a position he maintained from 1959-1967; then he served as a maggid shiur in the mesivta under Rabbi Reuven Grozovsky from 1952-1954. He subsequently worked as melamed in Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, a job he held until his petira.
HaRav Yitzchak Shraga Feivel Warhaftig, zt”l, (5698 /1938 – 5761 / 2001). Rosh Yeshiva in the Belz Yeshiva in Yerushalayim.
There is no 30 Tammuz
There is no 31 Tammuz
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