Rav Moshe ben Dovid Biderman, the Lelover Rebbe (1776-1850 or 1851). Born in abject poverty, he married Rachel Rivka, a daughter of the Yid Hakadosh of P’shischa. After the latter’s petira in 1813, he became a chasid of Rav Simcha Bunim of P’shischa, along with his friend, Rav Yitzchak of Vorki. In 1843, he finally agreed to a leadership position, agreeing to be rav of the community of Przedborz , Poland . In the last years of his life, he decided to move to Eretz Yisrael. He and many of his Chasidim arrived at Akko on Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan. He traveled to Yerushalyim, but immediately took ill. Tragically, between the illness and the Arabs, he was never able to daven at the kosel, his life-long dream. He was succeeded by his son, Rav Elazar Mendel, and a vibrant community of Lelover Chasidim still exist in Eretz Yisrael today. Sadly, the community in Przedborz – about 4500 Jews – was liquidated at Treblinka.
Rav Menachem Mendel of Vishiva, the She’eris Menachem. (1941)
Rav Yechiel Mordechai Gordon, Rosh Yeshivas Lomza (1965). Among the roshei yeshivos who travelled to the United States to raise funds during WW2 were Rabbis Eliezer Yehuda Finkel from Mir, Yechiel Michael Gordon from Lomza, Aaron Kotler from Kletzk, Shimon Shkopf from Grodno, Elchanan Wasserman from Baranowitz, and Baruch Ber Leibowitz from Kamenetz.
Rav Yitzchak Hakohen Huberman, the tzadik of Raanana. (1896-1977). He was born in Tomashov (Tomaszow Lubelski), near Lublin . An 1895 census reveals that, out of a population of 6,077, over half the citizens, 3,646 were Jews. The first shul in this town was built in 1594, but after the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648-49, only 18 of the original 200 families still remained. The most famous Jew of the town was the Kotzker Rebbe, Rav Menachem Mendel Morgenstern of Tomashov, who lived here until he left for Kotzk. Rav Yitzchak became a follower of the Imrei Emes of Ger and, after his mentor’s petira, of his son, the Beis Yisrael. In 1940, Josef Stalin deported 200,000 Polish Jews, including Rav Yitzchak, to forced labor camps in Siberia and elsewhere. This saved their lives, since most of those left behind were murdered by the Nazis when they invaded Russia , a year later. After the war, Rav Yitzchak served as a rav for six years in Germany before moving to Eretz Yisrael, and settling in Raanana. Rav Yitzchak wrote a collection of chiddushim on Megillas Esther and entitled it Higidah Esther, in his mother’s memory.
Today in History – 13 Teves
· First issue of the Hebrew printing press of Amsterdam , the siddur, 1627.
· Empress Maria Theresa ordered the expulsion of all the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia, 1744.The decree was dropped everywhere but in Prague .
· First Jewish censor was appointed by the Russian government to censor all Hebrew books printed in Russia or imported from other countries, 1798.
· Anti-Jewish riots in Ancona , Italy , 1798.
· Death of merchant-philanthropist Judah Touro, 1854. Touro left behind large foundations for various philanthropic purposes, including completing the Bunker Hill monument, enclosing the Jewish Cemetery in Newport , Rhode Island . His fund combined with Montefiore’s to help build the first housing complex outside the walls of the old city of Yerushalayim , Mishkenot Shananim.
· Romanian Jews were excluded from the medical profession, 1868.
· Hermann Goering appoints Reinhard Heydrich head of Jewish Emigration, 1939.