Yahrtzeits – Friday, 29 Teves
Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin (1818-1898), the Rav of Brisk, Yerushalayim leader, son of Rav Binyamin Diskin, Rav of Volkovisk. He was born in Horodno. Reb Yehoshua Leib was engaged before his bar mitzva and at the age of fourteen he married the daughter of Rav Brode and lived with his father-in-law in Wolkowitz. He became rov in various cities such as Lomza, Mezritch, Kovno, Shklov, and finally in Brisk. Moved to Eretz Yisrael after Yom Kippur in 1876.
Rav Yerachmiel Yisrael Yitzchak of Alexander, the Yismach Yisrael (1853-1910). At an early age, his father, Rav Yechiel of Alexander, took him to Rav Menachem Mendel of Vorka, then Rav Beirush of Biala. After the latter’s passing, he became of a chasid of his father. After his father’s passing in 1894, he became the Alexander Rebbe. [1919 according to others]
Rav Marcus (Nosson) Adler, author of Nesina L’ger (1803-1890). He was Rav of Oldenburg, 1829-1830, and Hanover, 1830-1844, and Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, 1844-1890.
Rav Meir Chodosh, mashgiach of Yeshivas Chevron, Ateres Yisrael, and Ohr Elchanan (1898-1989). Born in Patrich, Lithuania, he was a talmid muvhak of the Alter of Slabodka, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel. In the summer of 1925, he accompanied the Alter on the journey to Eretz Yisrael, to join the yeshiva which had been founded a year earlier in Chevron. After his marriage in 1928, Rev Meir was appointed as a maggid shiur in the yeshiva and served as one of the spiritual overseers, alongside Rav Yehuda Leib Chasman. After Rav Chasman’s petirah, he was appointed mashgiach. He lived through the Arab massacre of Chevron’s Jews on Shabbos morning, 16 Av, 1929, as he and his young Rebbetzin hid under the blood-stained bodies of two of the karbonos. Several years after the yeshiva moved to Yerushalayim, Rav Meir was offered a position as Rosh Yeshiva of a new yeshiva in Warsaw. Rebbetzin Chodosh was firmly opposed to this plan; the churban of Europe proved her advice correct.
Rav Daniel Levy (1935-2004). Born the youngest of nine children in Petersfield, England, he learned at Gateshead Yeshiva and Kollel before and for 12 years after his marriage. Following a trip to America, where he learned from Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky, he was chosen as Rav of the Khal Adas Yeshurun of Zurich.
Rav Chaim Shamshon Swiatycki (1914-2004), nephew of the Chazon Ish and scion of the Karelitz dynasty, whose patriarch and matriarch – Rav Shemaryahu Yosef and Rasha Leah, had 15 children. Her third child, Henya Chaya, married Rav Abba Swiatycki, who became Rav of Kosova, after the petira of Rav Shemaryahu Yosef during WW I. Their only child was Rav Chaim. Rav Chaim’s mentor was his uncle, Rav Yitzchak Zundel Karelitz, brother of the Chazon Ish. At the age of 14, he left for Mir, then learned with Rav Baruch Ber Lebovitz in Kaminetz, where he stayed for six years. In 1934, he followed his uncle to Eretz Yisrael to escape conscription. He learned at Yeshiva Chevron in Yerushalayim and Yeshivas Volozhin in Tel Aviv. He then moved to America in 1938 where he joined the faculty at Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim.
Rav Yitzchak Kaduri (1901-2006). Born to to Rab Zeev Diva in Baghdad. Upon his second visit to Eretz Yisrael in 1923, he changed his last name from Diva to Kadouri and fixed his place of study at Yeshivat Porat Yosef in the Old City. He studied Kabbalah under the tutelage of Rabbi Ephraim Cohen and Rabbi Salman Eliyahu (father of former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu). After marrying his first wife, Sarah, HaRav Kadouri lived in Shechunat Habucharim, one of Jerusalem’s first neighborhoods built outside the Old City walls. He would stay at the yeshiva all week, coming home shortly before Shabbos. Following the petira of Rav Ephraim Hakohen, head of Jerusalem’s mekubalim, toward the end of 1949, Rav Kadouri was selected to head the group. He found a new institution called Yeshivat Nachalat Yitzchak. Graced with a phenomenal memory, he was said to have known the entire Babylonian Talmud by heart. His closer students say that the blessing of the Ben Ish Chai and that of the Lubavitcher Rebbe – both of whom blessed him that he might live to see the Final Redeemer – came true. The students say that Rabbi Kaduri told them he met the Messiah on Cheshvan 9, 5764 (Nov. 4, 2003). He reportedly said that the Messiah is not promoting himself, and that a study of his [Rabbi Kaduri’s] words in recent months would provide hints of his identity.
Yahrtzeits – Shabbos, 1 Shvat
Rav Nota of Chelm, the Neta Shaahuim (1812)
Rav Moshe Schick, the Maharam Shick (1807-1879). His “last name” was created by his family in response to a demand by government agencies; it is an acrostic for “Shem Yehudi Kodesh.” Born in Brezheva, a small town in Hungary, he was sent at the age of 11 to learn with his uncle, Rav Yitzchak Frankel, av beis din in Regendorf. When he was 14, he was sent to learn under the Chasam Sofer in Pressburg, where he stayed for six years. When he was 20, he married his cousin, Gittel Frankel. He was appointed Rav in Yargen in 1838, the year of the Chasam Sofer’s petira, then became Rav in Chust.
Rav Moshe Yechiel Halevi Epstein from Ozerov (1890-1971), great-grandson of Rav Leibish, the first Ozerover Rebbe. In 1912, he became Rav of Ozerov and in 1918, he replaced his father as Rebbe. During World War I, Ozerov burned down, with only 22 houses left standing (only 11 of Jewish inhabitants). In 1920, he traveled to America to publicize the importance of Agudas Israel, and in 1927, he moved his family to the Bronx. He moved to Eretz Yisrael in 1949 and settled in Tel Aviv. Rav Moshe Yechiel wrote two monumental works, Aish Daas, comprised of 11 volumes, and Be’er Moshe, 12 volumes on Chumasah and Tanach. Each volume contained at least 500 pages, over 10,000 pages in all. Two biographies have been written about him, “Balabas Aish” and “The Aish Daas of Ozerov.” Rav Moshe Yechiel was succeeded by his son-in-law, Rav Tanchum Binyamin Becker.
Rav Avraham Yehuda Farbstein (1917-1997), Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Chevron. Rav Farbstein’s father was one of the founders of Bnei Brak and was head of its first city council. As a youth, Reb Avraham Yehuda studied in the Chevron Yeshiva and the Mir Yeshiva in Europe. Rav Farbstein’s wife was a daughter of Rav Yechezkel Sarna, He taught in the Chevron Yeshiva for 50 years.
Rav Binyamin Rabinowitz, chaver beis din of Eida Chareidis (2002)
Rebbetzin Menucha Ettel Nekritz (1914-2006), granddaughter of the Alter of Novardok, and the daughter of Rav Avraham Yaffen, the rosh yeshiva of Novardok in Poland. Born in 1914 in Bialystock, Poland. She was named after Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz’s mother Ettel – the sister of her mother – with the name Menucha added because her aunt had died young. The Alter was nifter when she was six years old, and her father, Rav Yaffen, ran the large network of Novardok yeshivas that were spread out all over Poland. Its nerve center was in Bialystok. She married Rav Yehuda Leib Nekritz in 1935.
Today in History – 29 Teves
· The 400 Jews of Verona, Italy, completed their shul after moving into their ghetto and being given the keys to the ghetto gates, 1600.
· The Jews are readmitted to the city of Worms under orders of the Bishop of Speyer and with the backing of Frederick ‘s troops, 1616.
· Recife, Brazil conquered by Portugal, ending the legal existence of the prosperous Jewish community there, 1654. Forced to flee, the Jews left for the northern American hemisphere where they were the first Jews to settle New Amsterdam whose name was later changed to New York.
· The Rhode Island Assembly cancelled the “rights and property” of three members of the Hart family for supporting the British, 1780. Isaac Hart was put to death for the same offense.
· Ezekiel Hart (1767-1843), first Jew to be elected to the Canadian Parliament, was denied his seat because he refused to take the Christian oath of office, 1808.
· Hitler proclaims to German parliament his intention to exterminate all European Jews, 1939.
· The Iron Guard revolt in Romania led to the first massacre of Jews there in World War II, 1941.
· Beginning of First Gulf War, 1990. Israel went into a state of alert as war broke out. Over the next month and a half until Purim, 39 SCUDs fell on Israel causing major damage but with only one human casualty.
· Death of Reb Leibel Rudolph (1942-1998). After a successful career as a Hollywood producer, Leibel began producing Aish Hatorah banquets. Soon, he began a program designed to give every young Jew in Los Angeles a chance to try Shabbos, calling it “The Bart Stern Shabbos Experience.” He was also instrumental in developing a successful One-On-One Learning Program in Los Angeles.
· A tragedy was narrowly averted in the Jewish ghetto of Rome after a mob set fire to the ghetto gates, 1793. The fire would likely have swallowed the entire ghetto if not for a downpour of rain.
· Sultan Abdul Mejid, under pressure from the Montefiore delegation sent in response to the Damascus blood libel, issued a Firman against blood libels, 1840. He also unconditionally released the nine Jewish accused who had survived their tortures. (Four had already succumbed.)
· The beginning of the BILU movement (Bais Yaakov L’chu V’nelcha) in Russia , 1882. The movement was formed by Russian students at the University of Kharkov, creating their own Zionist group which called for active colonization of Israel .