Yahrtzeits – 13 Sivan
-Rav Ephraim Hakohen Katz of Vilna, the Shaar Ephraim (1616-1678). Father-in-law of the Chacham Tzvi. In 1678, he accepted the position of Chief Rav of Yerushalayim. Originally from Vilna, he had been living in Budapest for the last few years. At this time, his oldest son died suddenly at the age of only 30. Then, while sitting shiva, his only other son, Rav Yehuda Leib, fell ill and lay in critical condition. Rav Ephraim davened that Heaven take him rather than his son. Immediately, he fell ill, and his son’s health improved. He instructed his son to publish his sefer, then he passed away.
-Rav Avraham Yitzchaki (1729). Author of Zerah Avraham.
-Rav Shraga Yair Rabinowitz of Biala’varzig (1912). The son of Rav Nosson Dovid of Shidlovitza and author of Aron Eidus.
-Rav Yaakov Meir Biderman, Rav in Warsaw (1869-1941). Son of Rav Shlomo Betzalel Biderman. Son-in-law of the Sefas Emes. He died in the Warsaw Ghetto.
-Rav Yitzchak Eizek Weiss of Spinka, the Chakal Yitzchak (1875-1944). Born to Rav Yosef Meir, the Imrei Yosef, who was the founder of the Spinka court and a talmid of Rav Yitzchak Eizik of Zidichoiv. Rav Eizik’l succeeded his father as Rebbe when Rav Yosef Meir passed away, in 1909. He was also Rosh Yeshiva Of Yeshivas Beis Yosef (named after his father). Rav Yitzchak Eizik was the leader of thousands of Spinka chassidim throughout Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Romania. He authored Chakal Yitzchak. He, along with most of his followers, perished in the Holocaust, and the dynasty was rebuilt by his grandson, Rav Yaakov Yosef.
-Rav Yaakov Mutzafi, Rav of the Sefardic Eida Chareidis in Yerushalayim (1900-1983). The son of Rav Ezra and Mazal Mutzafi, Rav Yaakov was born in Baghdad into a distinguished rabbinical family. He acquired most of his Torah knowledge from his grandfather, Rav Moshe. He also learned in the Beit Zilka Beis Medrash, where his chavrusa was Rav Salman Chuji Abudi, who later became an important dayan. Rav Yaakov married the daughter of Chacham Sasson Dangur, who appointed him rosh yeshivah of Dorshei Torah. After World War II, Rav Yaakov moved to Eretz Yisrael and served as the chazan and maggid shiur in the Shemesh Tzadka shul for thirty years.
-Rav Raphael Yonah Tikochinsky, Rosh Yeshiva of Yerucham. (1989)
Yahrtzeits – 14 Sivan
-Rav Chaim of Volozhin (1749-1821). The most prominent student of the Vilna Gaon, Rav Chaim established the Volozhin yeshiva in 1803, which was to become the classic model of Lithuanian yeshiva. His most famous work was Nefesh Hachaim, in which he emphasizes the power of Torah study and fulfillment of mitzvos to bring a Jew close to G-d. He also authored Ruach Chaim, a commentary on Pirke Avos, and Nishmas Chaim, a collection of responsa.
-Rav Moshe Horowitz, Bostoner Rebbe in New York
-Rav Nissim Yagen (1940-1999). Born in Yerushalayim, Rav Nissim was the oldest son in a family of 14 children. When he was 20, he went to Lakewood to learn with Rav Aharon Kotler and Rav Shneur Kotler for 4 years. He married a year later. His first appointment was as rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Ohel Moed. His first step in reaching out to the secular community was to organize a religious community in Givat Ada near Haifa on behalf of Yeshivas Ohr Somayach. He became the rav of the community which numbered 100 families. When he returned to Yerushalayim a few years later, he was appointed the mashgiach in Yeshivas Or Baruch in Bayit Vegan. It was during the 1973 Yom Kippur War that Rav Nissim resolved to dedicate his life to helping Jews return to Judaism; shortly after the war, he founded Arachim. He may truly be considered among the founding fathers of the Teshuva Movement. In 1979 he founded Kehilas Yaakov Kollel on Yosef Ben Matityahu Street for baalei
teshuva which he continued to run until the end of his life.
-Rav Elazar Menachem Mendel Biderman the Lelover Rebbe (2001)
Today in History – 13 Sivan
· 34 Jewish men and 17 Jewish women were burned at the stake in Blois, France in the first ritual-murder charge on the European continent, 1171.
· First pogrom in Frankfurt-am-Main; Jewish Quarter destroyed, and most Jews massacred, 1241
· 30 Jews from Posing, Hungary, were charged in a blood libel and burned to death, 1678.
· 20 Jews were killed in a bombing in the Jewish Quarter of Cairo, 1948.
· Shalom Schwartzbard assassinated Ukrainian S.V. Petlura in Paris, 1926. His followers were responsible for 493 pogroms in which 50,000 Jews lost their lives. Schwartzbard had fifteen family members killed in Jewish pogroms, and he himself had survived one such attack in 1905 during the Russian Revolution.
Today in History – 14 Sivan
Massacre of the Jews of Frankfurt-am-Main, 1241.