Yahrtzeits – 18 Tammuz
-Rav Yehuda Halevi Eidel of Slonim (1805). Born in Zamosc, Galicia, in 1757 or 1759. His most famous work was Afikei Yehuda. His chidushim on Seder Toharos 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, was what caught the attention of the Vilna Gaon.” He had five sons, all of whom became rabbis.
-Rav Avraham (Maskileison) ben Yehudah Leib (1788-1848). He authored 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 Chazakah), and Yad Avraham (chidushim on Yoreh De’ah; notes on Sifre).
-Rav Moshe Dovid Ashkenazi, Rav of Toltshova-Tzefas (1855).
-Rav Yaakov Aryeh Guterman (1792-1874). A chasid of the Kozhnitzer Maggid, the Chozeh of Lublin, the Yid Hakadosh of Peshischa, and the Rebbe Reb Bunim of Peshischa, he took the mantle of leadership in Radzymin (Warsaw district) after the petira of the Vorka Rebbe in 1848. His divrei Torah were written in Bikkurei Aviv (on Chumash) and Divrei Aviv (on Midrash for Sefer Bereishis).
-Rav Yehoshua of Tomoshov (1904)
-Rav Chaim Meir Yechiel Shapiro (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 Beis 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 beis medrash was founded, and the Naroler Rav was appointed at its head. He gave many shiurim among them, a shiur on Minchas 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 beis medrash. The Rebbe leaves behind his son Rav Berish, Rav of Narol.
Yahrtzeits – 19 Tammuz
-Rav Yitzchak Eizik Halevi Herzog, Chief Rabbi of Ireland and later Palestine (1888-1959). His father, Rav Yoel Leib Herzog (1865-1933) was Chief Rabbi of Paris. From his birth until his 16th birthday, Reb Yitzchak studied at the feet of his father. He was given smicha by Rav Yaakov Willowski (the Ridbaz, author of a peyrush on the Yerushalmi). In 1916, he was named Chief Rabbi of Belfast, Ireland. Later he served in the same post in Dublin, and later he became Chief Rabbi of all of Ireland. Following the passing of Rav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook in 1935, Rav Herzog was invited to become Eretz Yisrael’s second Ashkenazi chief rabbi. He served in that capacity from 1933 until his petira in 1959. He is the author of the Heichal Yitzchok.
-Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, Rosh Yeshivas Mir (1967). He married the daughter of Rav Eliyahu Baruch Kamai (Rosh Yeshiva of Mir) in 1903. Between 1939 and 1941, because many businesses were taken over by the Soviet government, the Mir Yeshiva left Bilarus. Rav Finkel, with many other rabbis and yeshiva students went to Lithuania because that country was still independent. The story of the escape of 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. Rav Finkel survived to establish the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He moved the yeshiva to Yerushalayim in 1944 until his petira.
-Rav Yona Stenzel, initiator of Halacha Yomi and Mishna Yomi
-Rav Bentzion Abba Shaul, rosh yeshiva of Porat Yosef (1998)Today in History – 18 Tammuz
· Crusaders herded the Jews of Yerushalayim into a shul and set it aflame, 1099. All the Jews perished in the fire and for the 88 years of Crusader control of Yerushalayim, Jews were barred from the city.
· Louis IX decreed that all Jews must wear a distinctive yellow badge, 1269.
· Massacre of the Jewish community of Morgentheim, Austria, 1298.
· Jews saved in Candia (Crete) declare the day as Candia Purim, 1583.
· 41 Jews burned at the stake in Breslau, 1453. The remainder of the Jewish population was expelled.
Today in History – 19 Tammuz
· Meshullam Cusi established the first Hebrew press in Italy at Piove di Sacco near Padua and printed Rabbeinu Yaakov b. Asher’s Arbah Turim, 1475. The same year he also printed a Selichos.
· Passing of author, journalist, and diplomat Mordechai Manuel Noah, 1851. 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.
· Legislation abolishing discrimination against chaplains’ service in the United States army became a law, 1862.
· The first 14 members of BILU reached Yaffo, 1882.
· 6,000 Lithuanian Jews were killed in Viszalsyan camp – 1941.
· Kidnappers in Lebanon released Rev. Lawrence Martin Jenco, an American hostage held for nearly 19 months.
· In Jedwabne, Poland, President Kwasniewski apologized for the wartime massacre of Jews, 2001. The entire town of Jedwabne gleefully participated in the killing of its Jewish residents.