Rav Shimshon Wertheimer (1658-1724). Born in Worms, Germany, he learned in the yeshivas of Worms and Frankfurt. After marrying the daughter of the Rav of Manheim in 1684, he moved to Vienna. Within a few years, he became the wealthiest Jew of his day. He served as finance minister for Austrian emperors Leopold I, Josef I and Karl IV. In exchange for his services, Reb Shimshon requested better treatment for his fellow Jews throughout the Austrio-Hungarian Empire. He negotiated the Jews’ right to live in major cities, including Vienna and Frankfurt, he saved the Jews of Rothenberg from expulsion, and he intervened to save Jews of Worms and Frankfurt. He was also a talmid chacham and helped to establish 40 kehillos in Hungary. He founded and endowed a yeshiva in Frankfurt, setting up his son-in-law, Rav Moshe Kann, as Rosh Yeshiva. In Vienna, he set up a beis din. In 1712, he rebuilt the city of Nikolsburg, which had burned down. Reb Shimshon was also in
charge of transferring monies to Eretz Yisrael from all of Europe. He also left behind kisvei yad on Torah, Midrash, and Kabbalah.
Rav Asher, author of Mayim Adirim (1804).
Rav Avraham Mordechai of Pintchov (Pinczow), a chassid of the Chozeh of Lublin (1824). His stories of the Baal Shem Tov appear in a sefer called Maaseh Hashem, written by his talmid and son-in-law, Rav Yitzchak Yeduah Yechiel Safrin of Komarno.
Rav Shlomo Chaim Perlow of Koidenov (1862). A grandon of Rav Mordechai Yaffe of Lechovitch, he was raised by his maternal grandfather, Rav Asher Perlow of Karlin, after his father died, and therefore he is also known by the last name of Perlow. After his uncle, Rav Noach of Lechovitch, died, all the chassidim flocked to Rav Shlomo. He had several sons that became great Rebbes in their own right.
Rav Yehuda Levi (1783-1879). Born in Sarajevo to Reb Menachem Levi, he emigrated to Eretz Yisrael, and became Chief Rabbi of Yerushalayim in 1845. He passed away in Yaffa.
Today in History – 17 Av
· The Queen of Poland granted the Jews of Pinsk all the rights already granted to the Jews of Lithuania, 1533.
· Riots break out in Yekaterinoslav (Dnipropetrovsk) in 1882 and spread throughout Russia.
· 120 Jewish families arrived in Buenos Aires, 1889, “giving birth” to the modern Argentinean Jewish community. The community today numbers between 250,000 and 300,000 Jews, maybe as many as 200,000 in Buenos Aires.
· Anti-Jewish riots in Bransk, Poland, 1938.
· British Prime Minister Winston Churchill paid tribute to the Royal Air Force during World War II with his famous quote: “Never…was so much owed by so many to so few,” 1940.
· Oil pipeline from Eilat to Haifa was completed, 1958.
· Iraq annexes Kuwait, 1990, prompting the first Gulf War which resulted in a barrage of 39 SCUDs attacking Israel.