-Rav Moshe Rivkes, author of Beer Hagolah on Shulchan Aruch (1672 or 1684). 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.
-Rav Yisrael of Shklov (~1770-1839). He first came to study with the Vilna Gaon in 1797, only six months before the latter’s petira. During that half-year, however, R’ Yisrael was a constant companion of the Gaon. Afterwards, Rav Yisrael took upon himself to publish his teacher’s works. Among R’ Yisrael’s publications was Be’ur Ha’Gra on Orach Chaim. In 1809, Rav Yisrael led the third group from among the Gaon’s students to make aliyah. Like its predecessors, the group settled in Tzefas, where the community of the Gaon’s students, known as the “Perushim,” numbered 40 families. Rav Yisrael was sent back to Europe to fundraise for three years, during which time he published his own and the Gaon’s commentaries on Maseches Shekalim. In 1814, Tzefas was struck first by a plague and then by physical disasters, and, in a matter of a few months, Rav Yisrael lost his wife, children and parents. He later remarried and began a second family, but the community of Tzefas continued to suffer at the hands of the Arabs and the Druze. The community was further decimated by an earthquake on January 1, 1837 which killed thousands of Jews throughout Eretz Yisrael. Rav Yisrael himself died in Teveryah. Among the works he left was Pe’as Ha’shulchan, a supplement to the Shulchan Aruch covering the laws pertaining to Eretz Yisrael.
-Rav Yitzchak Eizik Eichenstein of Ziditchov, Galicia (1805-1873), the only son of Rav Yissacher Berish (a talmid of the Chozeh of Lublin). He was the author of Likutei Maharya. His uncle, Rav Tzvi Hersh (the Ateres Tzvi, 1763-1831), was the first Rebbe of Ziditchov. Among the primary talmidim of Rav Yitzchak Eizik were Rav Yosef Meir of Spinka and Rav Shalom Mordechai Hakohen Schwadron. The next Ziditchover Rebbe, Rav Yehoshua Eichenstein (d. 1940), moved from Galitzia to Chicago in 1922.
-Rav Aharon Konvarti, Rosh Yeshivas Hamekubalim Beis Kel in Yerushalayim; author of sheilos uteshuvos Kapei Aharon (1879)
-Rav Yitzchak Eizik Halevi Bilitzer (1801-1887). Born in Unsdorf. He succeeded Rav Meshulam Lieberman as Rav of Nagyida, a small town near Kashua in Slovakia, in 1837, and remained in that capacity for 50 years. Some of his Chidushei Torah were published posthumously in Beer Yitzchak.
-Rav Avraham Tzvi Perlmutter, Rav in Warsaw (1930)
-Rav Yaakov Chaim Sofer, author of Kaf Hachaim, (1870-1939). Born in Baghdad and studied there under the Ben Ish Chai and Rav Abdalah Somech. In 1904, he embarked to Eretz Yisrael. Once in Yerushalayim, he began to study in the kabbalistic Beis Kel yeshiva in the Old City. This yeshiva, founded by Rav Gedalya Chayon, attracted many of the city’s great kabbalistic sages, among them the Rashash, who eventually became its rosh yeshiva. In 1909, Rav Yaakov Chaim transferred to the newly founded Shoshanim leDovid yeshiva, located in the Beis Yisrael section of Yerushalayim. In addition to the Kaf Hachaim, he authored Kol Yaakov (on the laws of writing sifrei Torah, tefillin, and mezuzos, as well as various kavanos required for the writing and the donning of tefillin), Yagel Yaakov (a compendium of the Shabbos drashos he delivered while he was in aveilus for his father),and Yismach Yisrael (other chiddushim on the parsha).
-Rav Yechezkel Mertz (1908-1972). Born in Kashau, Hungary (today it’s part of Slovakia), he lost his wife and five childrens at the hands of the Nazis, and found his way to Budapest after the War. In 1952, he settled in Williamsburg, NY, and founded a shul. His Torah thoughts and chidushim on Shas are recorded in the sefer Tiferes Yechezkel.
Today in History – 9 Sivan
· 30 Jews of Posing, Hungary, were charged with a blood libel and burned, 1529.
· The republic of Croatia issued an order depriving all Jews of their property and compelling them to wear a yellow badge with the letter Z, 1941. Croatia was occupied by Nazi forces and with its Moslem allies, some 700,000 Serbs and 75,000 Jews and Gypsies were killed. The Independent State of Croatia was set up after the German and Italian invasions and run by the fascist Ustashe regime as a puppet state. The central Ustashe aim was to cleanse Croatia of “foreign” elements and to turn Croatia into a “100% Roman Catholic state.” Jasenovac was the site of the largest Ustashe death camp, and some estimates claim as many as several hundred thousand dead. Ante Pavelic was the leader of the Ustashe regime. The Herzegovina region of Bosnia became a stronghold of the Croatian Ustashe movement allied to the Nazis. Local clergy was seen condoning and supporting Ustashe mass slayings of ethnic Serbs. One in six of Croatia’s prewar population
· Jewish community of Khonia, Crete, dating from Roman times, came to an end when the ship Danai into which all the Jews had been herded was towed out to sea and sunk, 1944.