Today’s Yahrtzeits and History – 16-17 Kislev


yahrtzeit-candleRav Yaakov of Lublin (1644), father of Rav Herschel of Cracow

Rav Shaul Yedidya Elazar Taub (the Imrei Shaul), the second Modzitzer Rebbe. Born in Osherov. (1886-1947). He assumed the leadership of Modzitz upon the passing of his father Rav Yisrael, the Divrei Yisrael, in 1920. From 1940 until 1947 the Rebbe resided in Brooklyn New York. Reb Shaul was probably the most prolific chassidic composer of all time with the total output numbering close to 1000 compositions.

Rav Dovid Leib Schwartz of Bnei Brak, “Der Heiliger Tzadik” (1999)

Rav Menachem Kalish of Amshinov (1860-1917). Succeeded his father, Rav Yaakov Dovid Kalish in 1878, at the young age of 18. One of Rav Menachem’s sons, Rav Yosef, became Rebbe in Amshinov, while his second son, Rav Shimon Shalom, became a Rebbe in Otvotsk. When Rav Yosef passed away, in 1935, his son, Rabbi Yaakov Dovid (1906-1942), was immediately appointed as his successor. His uncle, Rav Shimon Shalom, had fled to Shanghai where he helped the Mir yeshivah escape and, after the war, he went to America. Upon his passing in 1954, he was succeeded by his son, Rav Yerachmiel Yehuda Meir, who set up court in the Yerushalayim neighborhood of Bayit Vegan. Rav Yerachmiel Yehuda Meir’s grandson, Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Milikowski, succeeded him in 1976. Rav Yitzchak Kalish, the son of Rav Yosef, became the Rebbe of Amshinover chassidim in America. Of Amshinov itself, nothing remained.

Today in History – 16 Kislev

·       The author of the Chayei Odom was saved from an explosion, and he fixed the day as a Yom Tov for himself and his descendants, 1803.
·       Hermann Ahlwardt elected to the German Reichstag, 1892, marking the beginning of political anti-Semitism in Germany.
·       The Judenrat was established by the Nazi governor-general of Poland, 1939.
·       The SS began its extermination of the local population of Vladimir-Volynski, Poland, 1943. They were attacked by 30 armed Jews. A number of the SS officers were killed as well as half of the attacking force.
·       UN approves partition plan by a vote of 33-13 with 10 abstentions to create a Jewish and Arab state, 1947. This vote enabled the establishment of the State of Israel as a national homeland for the Jewish People.

Yahrtzeits – 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.

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.

{Yahrtzeits licensed to by Manny Saltiel and Newscenter}


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