Today’s Yahrtzeits & History – 1 Iyar


flicker_100392Reb Abba Shaul, one of the Talmudic sages

Rav Yaakov Beirav, born neat Toledo, in Spain. After serving as a rabbinical leader in Fez, Morocco, and Cairo, Egypt, he became the chief rabbi of Tzefas. He reinstituted semicha in Eretz Yisrael (1474-1546)

Rav Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk (1720or 1730-1788). A close talmid of the Maggid of Mezritch, he – along with Rav Avraham of Kalisk – led a contingency of 300 chassidim to Eretz Yisrael in what was the first large aliya of the talmidim HaBesht.

Rav Tzvi Hirsch Ashkenazi, the Chacham Tzvi (1660-1718); learned in Salinka at 14 years of age under Rav Eliyahu Covo; married the daughter of the Av Beis Din of Altuna-Hamburg-Wandsbeck (AHU) in 1689, and succeeded him in 1705; became Azhkenazi Rav of Amsterdam in 1710; went to Temishlev, Poland in 1714; then to Lemberg (Lvov); father of Rav Yaakov Emden.

Rav Akiva Yosef Schlesinger, the Lev Ha’ivri (1922)

Rav Avraham of Slonim, the Beis Avraham (1889-1933), grandson of the founder of Slonimer Chasidus, the Chesed L’Avraham.

Rav Moshe Shmuel (ben Aryeh) Shapira (1914-2006). A descendent of the Netziv, young Moshe Shmuel moved with his family from Bialystok to Minsk during WW I, where his uncle, Rav Chaim of Brisk, lived at the time. In 1933 Rav Moshe Shmuel set out for Yeshivas Ohel Torah of Baranovitch headed by Rav Elchonon Wasserman. In 1936, he moved to Mir, where became a talmid muvhak of Rav Baruch Ber Lebowitz of Kaminetz. In 1938 he fled to Eretz Yisrael. His cousin, the Brisker Rav, arrived in Eretz Yisrael around the same time, and Rav Moshe Shmuel became one of his closest talmidim. After his marriage in 1946 he learnt in Kollel Chazon Ish for a year and then served as a maggid shiur in Yeshivas Kol Torah in Yerushalayim for three years. The Chazon Ish requested him to open a yeshiva in Beer Yaakov together with Rav Shlomo Wolbe. In 1963 Rav Moshe Shmuel published the first volume of his sefer “Kuntrus HaBiurim”. It included his shiurim on Gittin, Kiddushin and Nedarim. He printed ten additional volumes over the years. He also wrote the seforim “Shaarei Shemu’os” and “Zahav Misheva.” Most of his voluminous writings are, however, still unpublished. Rav Moshe Shmuel was a member of the Vaad HaYeshivos for fifty years.

Today in History – 1 Iyar

· Moshe carried out a census of all Bnei Israel in the Sinai Desert according to Hashem’s instructions, 1309 BCE.
· The construction of the First Beis Hamikdosh began on this day, 831 BCE..
· The foundation of the Second Bais Hamikdosh was laid, c. 360 BCE.

{Manny Newscenter}


  1. It is also the first Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Gedaliah Anemer zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva of Greater Washington, and Rov of Young Israel Shomrei Emunah, Silver Spring, MD