-Lag Ba’omer, yahrtzeit of Rav Shimon bar Yochai, author of the Holy Zohar, and a disciple of Rabbi Akiva. After Rabbi Akiva was murdered by the Romans, Rav Shimon bar Yochai, together with his son Rabbi Elazar, he went into hiding in a cave in the mountains near Peki’in in the Galilee, where they stayed for 13 years.Tere, he wrote the Zohar. This body of mystical knowledge was given orally by G-d to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai. With the passage of Israel’s history, these teachings were lost to most people, until R’ Shimon fearing a permanent loss of this knowledge recorded them in the Zohar. After being hidden for a 1000 years, the Zohar was rediscovered by Rabbi Moshe de Leon in Spain, in the 13th century.
-Rav Moshe Isserles (the Rema), on the Shulchan Aruch (1520-1572). Born and died in Cracow, Poland. He composed glosses on those paragraphs of the Shulchan Aruch in which he differs from the author, stating the Halacha as it has been decided by the Ashkenazi authorities, which is binding on Ashkenazi Jews. Rema named his glosses Mappah (“Tablecloth”), as a “cover” for the Shulchan Aruch (“the Set Table”). These glosses have been incorporated into the text and are distinguishable in that they are printed in Rashi script. This consolidation of the two works symbolizes the underlying unity of the Sephardi and Ashkenazi communities. It is thru this unification that the Shulchan Aruch became the universally accepted Code of Law for the entire Jewish people. The Rema also wrote Darkei Moshe, a commentary on the Arba’ah Turim. He became a son-in-law of Rav Shalom Shachna, Rosh Yeshiva of Lublin. He was also related to Rav Meir Katzenelenbogen – the Maharam Padua – and to Rav Shlomo Luria – the Maharshal.
-Reb Moshe Kohen Narol, Rav of Metz and author of Sefer Kel Molei Rachamim (1659)
-Rav Moshe Eiseman, Rosh Yeshiva in Beis Meir-Vineland. He was sent by Rav Yechiel Schlesinger in the Frankfurt yeshiva to Ponevezh. He is a cousin to the Baltimore mashgiach by the same name.
-Rav Dovid Hecksher, Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshiva Kol Torah
-Rav Alter Eliyahu Rubinstein (1947-2005). Born in Siget, Hungary to his father Rav Fishel HaLevi Rubenstein. A few years later his parents moved to Eretz Yisrael and settled in the village Beit Gamliel near Yavneh. After his bar mitzvah, Rav Alter Eliyahu studied under the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe in Netanya . He married the daughter of Rav Yehoshua Deutch, the Av Beis Din of Katamon, Yerushalayim. After studying for a few years in Rechovot, the Rebbe appointed him head of “Kollel Sanz” in Yerushalayim where he served for twenty-two years, from 1970 until 1993. He also headed “Kollel Shomrei Hachomos” and was a member of the “Vaad Rabanei Sanz.” In 1993 he was appointed as rav of the Shomrei Hachomos kehilla in Ramat Shlomo, Yerushalayim. In 2004, Rav Alter Eliyahu was appointed Av Beis Din of the 1,300 families of Kehillas Antwerp, to replace Rav Chaim Kreiswirth.
Today in History – 18 Iyar
· Hundreds of Jews were burned alive in Brussels, and the remainder were banished from the country, 1370.
· The Jewish community of Ettingen, Germany, set this day aside as a day of thanksgiving for their escape from blood-libel charges, 1690
· The Arabs blow up the Churva shul in Yerushalayim, 1948
· The Jewish community of the Old City surrendered to Jordan’s Arab Legion, 1948.