Yahrtzeits – 16 Shevat
Rav Dovid of Kolomai, a talmid of the Baal Shem Tov (1732)
Rav Yona Navon, Rav of Yerushalayim (1713-1760). Appointed Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Gedulat Mordechai in Yerushalayim at the age of 19 years, he later moved to Italy due to the harsh poverty. Supported by relatives, he published Nechpah Bakessef, his sefer of responsa. He also authored Get Mekushar on the sefer Get Pashut of Rav Moshe ibn Chaviv, as well as Pri Mipri to refute the questions on Pri Chadash raised by the Pri Toar and the Simlah Chadasha. Among his many talmidim was Rav Chaim Yosef Dovid Azoulai, the Chida.
Rav Asher Tzvi of Ostraha, author of Maayan HaChachmah (1817)
Rav Yaakov of Zabeltov (1881)
Rav Shalom Mordechai Hakohen Schwadron, the Maharsham (1835-1911), also known as the Brezaner Rav. He gave s’micha to Rav Meir Shapiro of Lublin. He was the ultimate rabbinical authority not only for the rabbis of Galicia, Poland and even Lithuania, but for the entire Disapora. His writing include “Mishpat Shalom” on Choshen Mishpat, “Darchei Shalom” on Talmud and its commentators, “Da’as Torah” on the laws of kosher slaughter, “Galui Da’as” on sections 61-69 of Yoreh De’ah. One prominent opponent on the latter book was Rav Tzvi Hirsh Shapira, author of “Darchei Tshuvah,” head of the rabbinical court of Monkatch.
Rav Alter Yechezkel Horowitz (1930-1994). At the age of 15, he was deported with his father to Aushwitz, then to Gluzen in Austria. His mother was nifter when he was 12, and his father did not survive the war. In 1946, he joined a yeshiva for refugees in Austria. When he was 19, he came alone to America. He met Rav Aharon Kotler and joined the yeshiva in Lakewood. At the same time, he also became a very close follower of the Satmer Rebbe. In the 1960s, he moved his family to Monsey and became part of the Kollel of Bais Midrash Elyon. In 1968, he opened his beis midrash, the Sanzer Kloiz. In 1984, the Viener Kehilla in Boro Park asked him to serve as their dayan. Thereafter, he also took on the position of Rosh Bais Din of Kehillas Adas Yereim.
Rav Avraham Shlomo Biderman, the Lelover Rebbe of Yerushalayim (1927-2000). Son of Rav Moshe Mordechai of Lelov, he was born in Cracow, Poland, on Rosh Chodesh Adar. He was only four years old when his father decided to take up residence in Eretz Yisrael, settling in the Botei Warsaw neighborhood in Yerushalayim. When his father moved to Tel Aviv in 1943, he transferred to the Beis Yosef Novardok yeshiva. He married the daughter of Rav Zundel Hager. In 1965, when his father moved from Tel Aviv to Bnei Brak, he was appointed rav of the beis medrash in Tel Aviv. With the petirah of his father, Rav Avraham Shlomo was appointed Admor, and he moved to Yerushalayim.
Today in History – 16 Shvat
· The Ramchal (Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzatto) formed his Chabura Hakdosha in Padua, 1731.
· Emancipation for Jews is passed by the Diet in Hungary, 1867.
· Francisco Franco met with Jewish representatives to discuss the legal status of the Jewish community in Spain, 1965
· Opening of the Ivan Demjanjuk trial in Yerushalayim, 1987.
Yahrtzeits – 17 Shevat
Rav Chaim Palagi (Palagi), Rav of Izmir (1788-1858). Rav Chaim derived much of his Torah knowledge from his grandfather, Rav Raphael Yosef (the Chikrei Lev), and together with him, wrote the work, Semicha L’Chaim. After his father’s petirah in 1828, he accepted the positions of dayan and mashgiach ruchani in the Beis Yaakov Rabi yeshivah. In 1855, he was appointed to the position of rav hakollel, the highest rabbinical position in Izmir. During his life, he authored Kaf HaChaim, Moed L’chol Chai , and at least 70 other sefarim. They consist of: twenty-four books on halacha, fifteen on midrashim and homiletics, nine on chiddushim on Bavli and Yerushalmi, seven on Tanach, five on various other subjects and three mussar works. He also wrote a sefer called Tenufas Chaim.
-Rav Yechezkel of Kazmir [Kuzmir] (1772-1856). Born in Plonsk, Poland A disciple of the Chozeh of Lublin, he was the grandfather of the first Modzitzer Rebbe. After opponents of chassidus drove Rav Yechezkel out of Plonsk, he moved to Shanana. Rav Yechezkel became an admor in 1827. After becoming famous throughout Poland, Rav Yechezkel moved to Kuzmir. One of the most idyllic towns in Poland, Kuzmir lies next to the Vistula river, in the shadow of a fourteenth century castle, reputedly built by King Casimir the Great. A Jewish community existed there since 1406 and, by Rav Yechezkel’s time, Jews comprised half the town’s population.Today, Jewish visitors to Poland pass through the town to visit the surviving shul and cemetery that date back to the sixteenth century. Rav Yechezkel’s Torah insights were collected by a son-in-law and published in the sefer, Nechmad MiZahav, which was reprinted, along with other divrei Torah of the dynasty, in the sefer
Toras Yechezkel, in 1973.
-Rav Yehuda Chitrik (1899-2006). A Lubavitcher chassid known for his encyclopedic memory, and for passing on the chassidic mesora of previous Rebbes. A book of translations of his stories, “>From My Father’s Shabbos Table,” was published in 1991. Rabbi Chitrik was born in Russia and was sent by his father at the age of 15 to study at the central Lubavitch yeshiva near Smolensk, Russia. After World War II, he moved to the Netherlands and then to Montreal. He moved to New York City in 1983 after the death of his wife. He is survived by well as over 300 children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Today in History – 17 Shvat
· Purim of Saragossa (Spain), celebrating the escape from destruction of the Jews, 1428.
· Franco met with Jewish representatives to discuss the legal status of the Jewish community in Spain, in 1965, for the first time since the expulsion in 1492.