Rav Yisrael Lipkin Salanter (1810-1883), founder and spiritual father of the Mussar movement. Born in Zager (near Kovno), Lithuania, to Rav Ze’ev Wolf Lipkin, a descendent of the Vilna Gaon, Rav Yisrael became a close talmid Rav Zundel of Salant, who introduced him to the classic works of mussar. In 1840, he became rosh yeshiva of the Rameillas Yeshiva in Vilna, and later opened a yeshiva in Kovno. A compilation of his thoughts were recorded in a sefer, Or Yisrael, written by one of his closest talmidim, Rav Yitzchak Blazer of Petersburg. Among his other close disciples are Rav Simcha Zissel Ziv of Kelm, Rav Yosef Yozel Hurwitz of Novardok
Rav Mordechai Pogramansky, the Iluy from Telz (1950) [or 1946].
Reb Shabsai, father of Rav Yisrael of Koshnitz (1761)
Rav Ephraim Zelaznik (1931-2005), a son in law of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach. In 1956, he became one of the first talmidim in Brisk, under Rav Yosef Dov Soloveichik. He taught at Yeshiva Eretz Tzvi for most of his life.
Rav Zalman Ury (1924-2006). A great-great-grandson of Rav Dovid Teveli, author of Nachalas Dovid, Rav Ury was born in Stolpce, Poland, and studied at Yeshiva Etz Hayim in Kletzk under Rav Aharon Kotler from 1934-1941. At the start of World War II, he was interned in a Siberian Concentration Camp, while his parents and siblings died at the hands of the Nazis. He spent the remainder of the war in Samarkand, Uzbekistan where he met his wife, Eva. They married soon after the war ended and emigrated to the United States in 1947, where he received his semicha at Lakewood. Rav Zalman received his B.S. from Washington University, St. Louis, then moved to Los Angeles in 1957. He earned his M.A. in Education from Loyola University and his Doctor of Education at UCLA. For 47 years, Rav Ury worked with the Bureau of Jewish Education, building and nurturing the yeshiva day school system. Under his direction, yeshiva enrollment in Los Angeles increased from less than
1,000 talmidim to more than 5,500, and the number of schools increased from five in 1960 to 21 by the time of his passing. He wrote over 100 articles and educational materials for journals and books, and authored the books, “The Musar Movement,” and “The Story of Rabbi Yisrael Salanter.” In 2001, he published Kedushas Avraham, a two-volume work containing chidushei Torah, mussar teachings and correspondences with gedolei Yisrael, including Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Henkin and Rav Simcha Wassermann, as well as an essay on his rebbe Rav Yosef Aryeh Leib Nanedik – the mashgiach at Yeshiva Etz Chaim. For many years he served as Rav of Young Israel Congregation of Beverly Hills.
Today in History – 25 Shvat
· In Aragon, an apostate Joshua Lorki (Geronimo de Santa Fe ), known to the Jews as Hamegadef (the blasphemer), convinced anti-Pope Benedict XIII to stage a disputation at Tortosa, beginning February 7, 1413. Presided over by the Pope himself, its sixty-nine sessions lasted until November, 1414. The Jews were led by Rav Vidal Benvenisti and Rav Yosef Albo, the author of Sefer HaIkkarim. As the disputations failed to result in the conversion of the Jews, the pope issued a bill in which he interdicted the learning of Gemara by the Jews, and ordered that gemaras be confiscated and destroyed.
· Charles II of England ordered the Attorney General in 1673 to desist from prosecuting Jewish “offenders” of the Conventicle Act of 1664, which considered as seditious any prayer meeting of more the five persons that was not according to the Book of Common Prayer.
· The French government under Louis Philippe gave financial support to Jewish institutions on par with Christian institutions, 1831.
· First ship with “illegal” immigrants broke through the British blockade, 1934.
· Last of 378 flights which comprised Operation Magic Carpet, which brought over 40,000 Yemenite immigrants to Israel, 1950.