Rav Yisrael Meir Kagan of Radin (1838-1933). As a 9-year-old boy, he entered the yeshiva in Vilna. After marrying at 17 years of age, he continued his Torah studies, in spite of extreme poverty, spending every waking moment engrossed in the holy books.. The Chofetz Chaim who refused to accept a post as rabbi, opened a general store. His wife, insisting that he continue his Torah studies, managed the store. In 1869 he founded the Yeshivah of Radin. When he was 35 (1873) he published his first book, Chafetz Chaim, a compilation of the laws concerning leshon hara – spreading gossip and slander. He ultimately published over 20 books, including Ahavas Chesed, on the mitzvah of lending money, Machaneh Yisrael for Jews serving in non-Jewish armies, and Nidchei Yisrael for Jews who moved to places where there were few religious Jews, particularly America. Probably the most important book he wrote was the Mishna Berurah, a six volume commentary on Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, which deals with the general laws of daily conduct, such as prayers, tefillin, blessings, Shabbat, and Festivals. It consists of 6 volumes and took 25 years to complete.
Rav Yechezkel Abramsky, Dayan in Slutsk and London, and Chief Dayan of the British Empire (1886-1976). He learned at the Beis Yosef yeshivah of Novardok under the Alter, Rav Yoizel Horowitz, as well as at Telz, Mir and Slabodka. He eventually became a close talmid of Rav Chaim Soloveitchik of Brisk. Rav Yechezkel spent the first half of his life serving as a rav or dayan in various communities, and in 1924, he became rav of the Slutsk, with a kehillah of over ten thousand Jews. After the Russian revolution, Rav Yechezkel fought desperately against the Communist decrees to destroy religion, and he was sentenced to five years in Siberia, in 1929. In 1931, he was released, and the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, Rabbi Joseph H. Hertz, persuaded him to serve as Av Beis Din in London. In 1951, Rav Yechezkel moved from London to Eretz Yisrael, where Rav Eizik Sher invited him to give regular shiurim in Slabodka in Bnei Brak. Rav Yechezkel wrote twenty-five seforim in his lifetime, the best known being his monumental Chazon Yechezkel, a commentary on the entire Tosefta.
Rav Uziel, first Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel (1953)
Rav Yitzchak Flusberg (1941-2004). Born in Tel Aviv, he learned at the Chevron Yeshiva In Yerushalayim under Rav Meir Chadash. For a number of years, he served as Rosh Yeshiva at Tiferes Hakarmel in Chaifa. He was among the founders of Gerrer shtieblech in Golders Green in London and in Toronto, and he was one of the primary founders of the Mifal Chessed organization of Ger in Eretz Yisrael.
Today in History – 24 Elul
· King Dovid marries Batsheva
· Zerubavel and Yehoshua ben Yehotzedek begin hewing wood and cutting stones to construct Beis Hamikdash (Chaggai 1), 351 B.C.E.
· Anti-Jewish riots in 2 Swiss cities, 1802.
· Nazis ordered the liquidation of Bialystok ghetto, 1942.
· Israel and the PLO exchange letters formally recognizing each other, 1993. US recognizes PLO the following day.
Yahrtzeits, Shabbos, 25 Elul
R. Elazar son of R. Shimon bar Yochai (102 CE)
Rav Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov (1721-1786). The son of son of Rabbi Yitzchak of Drohovitch, he was introduced by his father to the Baal Shem Tov at a young age. He was also a student of the Maggid of Mezritch. Many of his teachings are collected in Mayim Rabim. His disciples included Rav Yehoshua Heshel of Apta. The Zlotschover Maggid also had five sons, each of whom became Rebbe in a different place. They were R’ Yosef of Yampola, R’ Mordechai of Kremnitz, R’ Yitzchak of Radvil, R’ Binyamin of Zbariz and R’ Moshe of Zvhil, the first Zvhiller Rebbe.
Rav Avraham Horowitz, talmid muvhak of the Steipler Gaon. He learned at Novardok Yeshiva in Tel Aviv, then at Eitz Chaim in Yerushalayim. When he was 18, he married the daughter of Rav Chaim Yehuda Leib Auerbach, father of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach. He became the chavrusa of the Steipler Gaon for decades and wrote a sefer called Orchos Rabbeinu detailing the customs and daily life of the Steipler and the Chazon Ish (with whom he was also very close). He also authored a set of halachic sefarim called Devar Halacha. (1925-2004).
Today in History, Shabbos, 25 Elul
· The wall around Yerushalayim was completed under the leadership of Nechemia (Nechemia 6:15), 371 B.C.E.
· A group of 23 Jews from Recife, Brazil arrived in New Amsterdam (later to be called New York), 1654. They were the pioneers of New York’s Jewish community.