Yahrtzeits – 10 Av
-Yissachor ben Yaakov Avinu (1564 BCE)
-Rav Don Yitzchak Abarbanel (1437-1508). Abrabanel was born in Lisbon, Portugal, to an illustrious Sephardic family which traced its lineage back to Dovid Hamelech. His grandfather, Rav Shmuel, escaped from Seville, Spain, when the Catolics destroyed the Jewish quarter, mudering many Jews. When Rav Yitzchak was only 20, he completed his first book, Ateres Zekeinim, and began to work on his famous commentary on the Torah. In the Summer of 1471, following the victory of King Alfonso V over Morocco, an emissary of the Moroccan Jewish community, Emmanuel ben Yitzchak, approached Don Yitzchak Abrabanel with a plea to assist in the ransom of 250 Jewish would-be slaves. The Abarbanel was not only successful, he added his own funds to supply food and medicine. Abarbanel served as treasurer to King Alfonso until he was forced to move to Castile (Spain) and eventually entered the service of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1484. In March 1492, an edict was issued
expelling the Jews from Spain, after the conquest of Granade. Despite his political influence he was unable to prevent the expulsion in 1492 and refused the king’s offer to remain at his post, choosing instead to throw in his lot with his people. On Tisha B’Av, he led 300,000 Jews out of the country. Only 10% reached safe shores. Rav Yitzchak found asylum in Naples, where he remained for seven years, until the French invaded. He then fled to Corfu and finally – in 1503 – to Venice, where he died. Most of his writings were composed in his later years when he was free of governmental responsibilities.
-Rav Avraham Tzvi Margulies, Rav of Glusk (1861-1908). He traced his lineage through 16 consecutive generations of Rabbanus, to the Chacham Tzvi, the Megaleh Amukos, the Maharsha, the Maharal miPrague, the Rema, all the way to Rabbeinu Hai Gaon. He was known for his exceptional hasmada. Rav Yisrael Yitzchak Reizman, dayan of the Eidah Hachareidis, testified that Rav Avraham Tzvi made a grand siyum every year at Simchas Torah to mark his completion of Talmud Bavli, Talmud Yerushalmi, the Arbah Turim, Shulchan Aruch and the entire Rambam. In 1908, he moved to Eretz Yisrael. He authored Chemdas Yerushalayim, in which he attempts to answer the apparent contradictions between the Yerushalmi and the Bavli. He also authored Jeren Orah on the Chumash and Yomim Tovim.
-Rav Shimon Ziat, one of the rabbonim of the Aram Tzova (Aleppo) community in Eretz Israel (1905-2000). When he was very young, his father passed away and, at the age of 14, he fled to Mexico City due to the hunger which prevailed in Syria after the First World War. His mentor was the mekubal Rav Mordechai Attias. In 1961, he moved to Eretz Yisrael with his entire family, settling in Bnei Brak where his sons founded Torah institutions and taught Torah.
Yahrtzeits – 11 Av
-Rav Hillel of Paritch, author of Pelach Harimon (1795-1864). A talmid muvhak of Rav Avraham Dov, Rav of Zhitomer. He served as Rav of Patrich, and later succeeded Rav Baruch Mordechai in Bobroisk. His other writings are included in Imrei Noam and Likutei Beurim (a commentary on various works of the Mitteler Rebbe of Lubavitch).
-Rav Yitzchak Blazer, author of Pri Yitzchak and Kochvei Ohr (1837-1907). One of the leading disciples of Rav Yisrael Salanter, Rav Yitzchak was born in Vilna, married at the age of 15, and moved to Kovno. At the age of 15, he became the Rabbi of St. Petersburg (hence his “other” name, Reb Itzele Peterberg), a position he held for 16 years. He spent the last 3 years of his life in Yerushalayim.
-Rav Aharon Perlow, the Stoliner-Warsaw Rebbe (1942)
Today in History – 10 Av
· Eliahu Hanavi went up to heaven on day after Shabbos Nachamu
· Jews expelled from France during reign of Philip IV, 1306. (They were readmitted nine years later.)
· Hundreds of Jews of Catalonia (region of Barcelona) were murdered, 1358.
· Columbusset sail for the New World, 1492.
· Jews expelled from Portugal, 1497.
· Jews of Rome were forced to move into a ghetto, 1555.
· The new Amsterdam synagogue “Talmud Torah” was inaugurated with great ceremony, 1675. Amsterdam had over four thousand Jewish families at that time. The shul is still in existence today
· Prussian Jewry granted equality, 1847
· The British Aliens Act, which had a clear anti-Jewish bias, became a law in 1905, a piece of legislation designed to stop or at least slow the influx of Jews who were fleeing from the pogroms in Eastern Europe at that time. This first introduced the concept of port controls, operated by immigration officers who would inspect immigrants upon arrival.
· With Iranian help, Hezbollah bombs the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires-killing 86 and injuring over 200, 1994
Today in History – 11 Av
· A shul located in Callinicum on the Euphrates was looted and burned by Church officials, 388 CE. St. Ambrose, one of the four Latin doctors of the Catholic church, defended the action. He reprimanded Roman Emperor Theodosius the Great for ordering the local Bishop to pay restitution, even though expropriation was illegal under Roman law. St. Ambrose offered to burn the shul in Milan on his own.
· Arabs wrested control of most of Eretz Yisrael from the Byzantines, 636.
· Anti-Jewish riots in Arnstadt, Germany, 1264.
· Anti-Jewish riots in Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland), 1360, in which many Jews were killed, and the rest expelled.
· The date of a letter written by a Jesuit Missionary traveling though China which describes his meetings with Ai T’ien, a Chinese Jewish teacher, 1605. Most of what we know regarding the old Kaifeng Jewish community is from this correspondence.
· The Persian army under Nadir Kuli lays siege to reoccupy Baghdad, but is surrounded at Kirkuk by the Ottomans and forced to flee in disorder, 1733. This day was celebrated as a holiday by the Jews.
· Edict of expulsion of Bohemian Jews was revoked by Empress Maria Theresa, 1748.
· The emperor of Bohemia ordered that Jews who volunteered for army service should be allowed to marry outside the restricted quota of marriage of Jews, in 1797.
· The Common Council of New York City revoked the license of a non-Jewish butcher for affixing Jewish seals to non-kosher meat, 1796. This is the earliest act of legal intervention in protection of kashrus in the U.S.
· Arab forces blew up the Latrun pumping station, 1948, cutting off Yerushalayim’s water supply
· Iraq invaded Kuwait, 1990.