Today’s History and Yahrtzeits – 17-18 Kislev


flicker_100392Yahrtzeits – 17 Kislev

Rav Yosef Yoizel Horowitz, Alter of Novardok (1849[or 1858]-1919). Born in the Lithuanian town of Plongian to Rav Shlomo Zalman, Rav and Dayan of the town, Rav Yosef Yoizel joined Kovno’s Kollel Perushim where he studied under Rav Itzele Blazer, Rav Naftali Amsterdam and Rav Avraham Shenker, spending at least 18 hours a day – most of the time standing- studying. He also spent two lengthy periods learning in solitude – first, he secluded himself in a small room for a year and a half after tragically losing his first wife during childbirth; later, learning in a room in a forest for 12 years, leaving only to visit his family for Shabbosos. In 1894, Rav Yosef Yoizel began to visit the Alter of Kelm, Rav Simcha Zissel Ziv. Later, he established a large yeshiva in Novorodok and was responsible for creating a whole network of yeshivas. During the War, in 1914, he moved the yeshiva – with its bachurim – to Hommel in the Ukraine, as the Germans advanced on Novardok. In 1918, he moved it to Kiev.

Rav Chai Taib of Tunisia, author of HaLev Hitin (1835)

Rav Shlomo Heiman, Rosh Yeshiva of Beis Medrash Elyon, Tora Vodaas (1893-1944). Born in Parenz, near Minsk, Reb Shlomo entered the yeshiva in Halusk at age 12, where he learned under Rav Baruch Ber Leibowitz. He remained there until 1917, when he married Chaya Feiga Rudensky of Volozhin. That year, he was appointed by Rav Baruch Ber to serve as Rosh Yeshiva in Knesses Bais Yitzchak. When anti-Semitic harassment forced him to leave the area, the Chafetz Chaim asked Rav Shlomo to teach in his yeshiva. When WWI ended, Rav Elchonon Wasserman asked Rav Shlomo to be a Rosh Yeshiva in Baranovitch. In 1927 Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzenski invited Rav Shlomo to be Rosh Yeshiva of the Ramailles Yeshiva in Vilna, a position he held for almost eight years. In 1935, with Rav Chaim Ozer’s approval, Rav Shlomo accepted an invitation to head Yeshiva Torah Vodaas. Thus he was spared, through hashgacha pratis, the horrors of WWII. Since he arrived in America a few years before the onset of the Holocaust, he was able to aid in the rescue of Bnei Torah and Rebbeim.

Rav Avraham Yochanan Blumenthal (1877-1966). Born to his parents one year after they made aliyah from Hungary, he married in 1895, and – despite the death of three of his children and his wife’s becoming hard of hearing – he began an orphanage for the destitute of Yerushalayim during World War I. Beis Zion Blumenthal has been continued by his grandson, Rav Eliezer Rakovsky (d. 1996) and his great grandson, Rav Baruch Rakovsky.

Yahrtzeits – 18 Kislev

Rabbeinu Avraham ben HaRambam, the only son of the Rambam, born to him by his second wife. Born in Fostat, Egypt (1186-1238). Author of Hamaspik L’avdei Hashem.

Rav Aryeh Leib Darshan of Posen (1736)

Rav Baruch of Mezhbizh (1756 [or 1753] -1811), son of Rav Yechiel Ashkenazi and Adel, the only daughter of the Baal Shem Tov. Educated by Rav Pinchas of Koritz and the Maggid of Mezritch, he began serving as Rebbe in Tulchin. After the passing of his older brother, the Degel Machane Ephraim in 1798, Rav Baruch settled in Mezhibizh.

Rav Yekusiel Shmelke of Sassov (1857)

Rav Yosef Yitzchak of Ovritch, son of the Tzemach Tzedek of Lubavitch, and father of Rebbitzen Shterna Sarah who was the wife of the Rebbe RaShaB (1877).

Rav Mordechai Alishberg of Boisk (1889)

Rav Chaim Tzvi Ehrenreich, author of ShU”T Kav Chaim (1875-1936). Born in Savrantz, his grandfather was Rav Avraham Yehuda Scwartz, the Kol Aryeh. His primary teacher was brother, Rav Shlomo Zalman Ehrenreich, Rav of Shamlau and author of Lechem Shlomo. Rav Chaim Tzvi became Rav of the Mahd community when he was 57, succeeding his father-in-law. He was also Av Beis Din of Mahd for over thirty years. In 1923, he published Ketzeit Hamteh on the mateh Ephraim (by Rav Ephraim Zalman Margulies of Brodt) on the halachos of Chodesh Elul and Chodesh Tishrei. In 1932, he published Shaarei Chaim on Shaarei Epharim, dealing with halachos of krias Hatorah. His magnus opus, Kav Chaim, comprised 102 (gematria of Kav) Teshuvos in practical halacha.

Rav Eliezer Zev Rosenbaum of Rackov (1998)

Rav Tzvi Menachem Teller, Rosh Yeshiva at the Bais Medrash L’Torah (Skokie Yeshiva) (1951-2007). His parents were Gerrer Chasidim from distinguished lineage, descended from Rav Yitzchok of Vorki. Upon advice of the Gerrer Rebbe, the Bais Yisrael, young Tzvi Teller went to a Lithuanian style Yeshiva. He learned at the Ponovezh Yeshiva for seven years as a talmid of Rav Dovid Povarsky and Rav Shmuel Rozovsky. After marrying, the couple moved to Seattle where Rav Tzvi became a principal for 3 years. In 1975, they then moved to Skokie.

Today in History – 17 Kislev

· Ezra went to the Bais Hamikdosh and fasted, davened and cried in public, 348 BCE. A large assembly joined him in tefillah, and the kohanim swore to send away their non-Jewish wives.
· Massacre of Jews of Ausburg, Germany, 1349.
· Anti-Jewish riots in Paris which result in many Jews killed, 1380.
· In Mexico, Luis de Carvajal el Mozo, his mother, and three sisters were burned at the stake together with five other Crypto-Jews who were also accused of Judaizing, 1596.
· Jews of Nassau, Germany granted equality, 1848.
· Anti-Jewish violence in Bucharest, 1897.
· Polish soldiers organized a pogrom against Jews of Galicia, Poland, 1918.
· End of the Hungarian death march of Jews, 1944.
· A day after the United Nations vote, the Israeli War of Independence begins when a bus near Lod is attacked and five of its passengers killed, 1947. The Arabs proclaim a general strike and attack the Jewish commercial quarter near the Old City of Yerushalayim.

Today in History – 18 Kislev

· Isaac De Castro Tartas was burned at the stake in Lisbon in 1647 at the age of 21. Although he was a Dutch citizen, he was condemned when he refused to accept Christianity.
· Catherine II of Russia permitted all foreigners except Jews to settle and travel in Russia, 1762.
· A decree in Strasbourg outlaws the performance of bris milah and the wearing of beards. All books in Hebrew are ordered to be burned, 1793.
· The first Kibbutz, Degania, was established in pre-state Israel, 1909, by Aaron David Gordon (1856-1922), who was considered the visionary of the militantly secular kibbutz movement. In 2005, breaking with its lengthy secular tradition, Degania opened its first synagogue.
· Polish forces attack Jews of Lvov, 1918.
· Hermann Goering announced consideration of Madagascar as a home for European Jewry, 1938.
· Extermination Camp in Chelmo opened, 1941.
· First intifada starts in Israeli-administered areas, 1987.

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