Rav Yaakov Leizer, the Pshevorsker Rebbe, also known as RebYankele of Antwerp (1907-1999). Born in the small village of Roig near Riminov in Galicia, he joined the yeshiva in the town of Dukla after his bar mitzvah. Among those who learned there were Reb Yekusiel Halberstam (the future Klausenberger Rebbe) and Reb Pinchos Hirshprung (the future Rav of Montreal). From Dukla, Reb Yankele moved on to Yeshivas Zera Kodesh in Koloshitz. Staying there from 1924 to 1939, Reb Yankele regarded the Koloshitzer Rav as his Rebbe and mentor. His first position was as Rav of Yashlisk, at the age of 24. After his marriage to the daughter of Reb Itzikel, the Rebbe of Pshevorsk in 1934, he lived in the shadow of his shver for the next forty years. When the Germans arrived in Pshevorsk, Reb Itzikel and Reb Yankele fled to Lemberg, which was under the control of Russia. On the 23rd of Sivan 1940 the KGB swooped down on Lemberg and arrested all those who had refused Russian citizenship, among them Reb Itzikel and Reb Yankele. The Jews were put on trains to Siberia. The Germans entered Lemberg a short while later and brutally murdered almost the whole Jewish population. Those who had been exiled to Siberia were the lucky ones. After the war’s end, Reb Yankele took up the position of dayan in the town of Breslau, a position he kept for two years. From Breslau, Reb Yankele moved to Paris where his shver was residing and then finally they both moved to Antwerp. With Reb Itzikel’s petirah on Yom Kippur 1976, Reb Yankele was chosen as his shver’s successor. He was succeeded by his only son, Rav Leibish Leizer.
Today in History – 27 Cheshvan
· The U.S. agrees not to protest against Swiss discrimination against American Jews, 1855.
· Rafa Pass and Mitla Pass fall into Israeli hands, Sinai Campaign, 1956.
· United Nations adopts resolution equating Zionism with racism, 1975.
· Yasser Arafat dies in Paris, 2004.