Rav Yehuda Fatiyah (1859-1942), the foremost student of the Ben Ish Chai, who said that he was the reincarnation of the “Noda B’Yehuda.” He said that he had to come back to the earth for although in his last lifetime, he was a tzaddik, he did not fulfill his Torah obligation to study Kabbalah. So in this life, the study of Kabbalah was his main focus and tikkun. Born in Baghdad, he eventually moved to Eretz Yisrael, where he was niftar. His most famous sefer, Minchas Yehuda, is one of the most revelatory works about demons, how they act and deceive people. He was an expert in exposing these demons and casting them out. He also authored Beis Lechem Yehuda.
Rav Meir Ashkenazi, Rav of Shanghai (1891-1954). Born in Tcherikov, in Russia’s Pale of Settlement., to Lubavitcher Chassidim. At the outbreak of the First World War, his family — together with many others — fled Russia to Manchuria. It was there, in the city of Harbin, that Rav Meir and Toiba Liba were married. Rav Ashkenazi and his family moved to the port-city of Vladivostok on the eastern coast of Russia. Not long afterwards, in 1918, the community there appointed Rav Ashkenazi as their rabbi. After seven years, he moved to assist the small Jewish community in Shanghai, China.Deteriorating conditions in Europe in the 1930’s led to a slow stream of German, Austrian, and Russian Jews into the Far East, which increased considerably at the outbreak of the Second World War. By the end of 1941, there were 18,000 Jewish refugees in Shanghai, ten times the number of Jews in Shanghai just ten years earlier.
Rav Yoel Teitelbaum of Sighet, the Satmar Rav (1888-1979). A descendent of the Yismach Moshe (Rav Moshe Teitelbaum of Ujhel), “Reb Yoilish” traced his ancestry to the Maharsha and the Rema. He received his early training from his father, Rav Yomtov Lipa Teitelbaum, Rav of Sighet and author of Kedushas Yomtov. He then became a chasid of Rav Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam in Shinava (the Divrei Yechezkel). At the age of 17, he was appointed Rav of Musza in Czechoslovakia. After appointments at Orshova and Kroli, he became Rav of Satmar from 1935 to 1944. He was one of 1684 Hungarian Jews saved from the Nazi killing machine as a result of the negotiations of Rav Michael Ber Weissmandl with Adolf Eichmann. In 1946, he arrived in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and rebuilt to Satmar community. He authored V’yoel Moshe and Divrei Yoel.
Rav Eliyahu Baruch Goldschmidt (1935-2000). Rav Elya was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where his parents had moved in 1938, along with their three-year-old son, in flight from Nazi Germany. Rav Elya moved to Lakewood in 1960 and drew close to Rav Aharon Kotler. He spent 20 years at Lakewood, followed by another 20 years as mashgiach ruchani at Yeshiva Gedolah Zichron Moshe of South Fallsburg. Rav Elya was suddenly niftar while working on a new sefer on Shalom bayis entitled Dear Son, planned as a counterpart to his best- selling Dear Daughter on the same subject.
Today in History – 26 Av
· The Crusader kingdom comes to an end when Akko fell into the hands of Khalil al Ashraf of the Mamluk dynasty in Egypt, 1291.
· Pogroms break out in Barcelona, and hundreds of Jews killed and hundreds others forcibly converted, 1391. The Jewish community comes to an end.
· Frei Diogo Da Assumpcao, a young, partly Jewish Franciscan friar who was attracted to Judaism, was burnt alive in Lisbon at the age of 25, 1603. When he tried to flee to England, he was arrested, imprisoned and subjected to constant attempts to force him to renounce Judaism. During his imprisonment, he lit candles Friday night. His arguments against Christianity were published and gained wide popularity.
· A group of 70 followers of the Vilna Gaon arrived in Eretz Yisrael, 1809. Many minhagei Yerushalayim derive from the traditions they brought with them.
· Englandallowed Jews to hold the ancient and important office of Sheriff, 1835.
· The Turkish government renounced its sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael and recognized the British Mandate, 1920.
· 10,000 Jews were sent from Borislav Ghetto to Bergen Belsen, 1942, in the first mass deportation of Jews to the gas chambers.