Asher ben Yaakov Avinu
Rav Menachem Mendel Krochmahl of Nikolsburg, the Tzemach Tzedek (~1600-1661). He learned in Krakowat the yeshiva of the Bach, his rebbi muvhak and had a close relationship with the Taz. In 1631, he fled Krakow because of the uprisings of the Cossacks and settled in Moravia, becoming Rav in Krezmir. He later became Rav in Prosnitz, then in 1648 of Nikolsburg. There is a sefer called Pi Tzadik which has been attributed to him, but research has determined that the author is his son, Rav Aryeh Yehuda Leib.
Rav Meshulam Zusha (Rebbe Reb Zusha) from Anapoli (1718-1800). Disciple of Magid of Mezritch; younger brother of the Noam Elimelech.
Rav Simcha Bunim Kalish of Otvotzk and Teveria, son of Rav Menachem Mendel of Vorka. (1907)
Rav Tzvi Hersh Rabinowitz (1910)
Rav Yisrael Chaim Kaplan, talmid at Mir, son-in-law of Rav Yerucham Levovitz, mashgiach at Beth Medrash Elyon in Monsey from mid-1940s until his petira (1970).
Rav Mansour BenShimon, author of Shemen HaMaor (1998)
Today in History – 2 Shevat
· Death of King Alexander Yanai, noted as a holiday in Megillas Taanis (76or 73 BCE)
· Simon dias Solis, a Jew who had converted to Christianity, was arrested for allegedly stealing a silver vessel from a church in Lisbon , 1630. After his hands were cut off, he was dragged through the streets and then burned. The real culprit, a common (Christian) criminal, admitted to the crime one year later. As a result, Solis’ brother, a friar, fled to Amsterdam and reconverted to Judaism.
· Simon Petliura, a Ukrainian nationalist and commander of the Cossacks and Haidamaks, begins his attack against the Jews accusing them of supporting the communist regime, 1919. In Berdichev, Uma, Zhitomir and 372 other Ukrainian cities about a hundred thousand Jews were killed and an equal number wounded in 998 major and 349 minor pogroms. He was murdered by a Jew in Paris in 1926.
· The Wannsee Conference, 1942, convened by Adolf Eichmann, Y”Sh, at which the “final solution” – the destruction of Europe’s 11 million plus Jews was discussed and organized.
· Solomon Mikhoels, a Russian and Yiddish actor was murdered by the secret police under Stalin’s orders, as part of a campaign to eradicate Jewish intellectuals and culture, 1948.
Yahrtzeits – 3 Shevat
Rav Yosef Katz, brother-in-law of the Rema and author of She’eris Yosef (1591). Note: the Admor of Desh, Rav Tzvi Meir Panet (1923-2003) also authored a sefer called Shearis Yosef. Rav Yosef Rakover, Rav of Eibeshetz, author of Mirkeves Hamishna (1703)
Rav Pinchas of Plotzk, talmid of the Vilna Gaon, and author of Maggid Tzedek (1823)
Rav Simcha Bunim of Peshischa (1767-1828). After learning at Mattersdorf and Nikolsburg, Rav Simcha Bunim was introduced to chasidus by his father-in-law, and became a chasid of of the Magid of Kozhnitz and then the Chozeh of Lublin. He followed Rav Yaakov Yitzchak (the Yid Hakadosh) as leader of Pshischa, emphasizing Torah study. Among the followers of his methods were the Kotzker Rebbe, the Vorker Rebbe, the Chadushei Harim of Ger and Rav Chanoch of Alexander.
Rav Moshe Yehuda Leib Zilberberg, Rav of Kutna and Yerushalayim, author of Zayis Raanan and Tiferes Yerushalayim (1865)
Rav Yechezkel Shraga Frankel-Teumim (1885). The son of Rav Yehoshua Heshel and grandson of Rav Baruch (the Baruch Taam), Rav Yechezkel Shraga was a close of chassid of his uncle, the Divrei Chaim of Sanz. He was appointed Rav of Klasna-Vielitshke, two towns which were located close to each other. His thoughts on Chumash and halacha are written in the sefer Divrei Yechezkel. He was succeeded by his son-in-law, Rav Shmuel Shmelke Azriel Frankel-Teumim.
Rav Yosef Kalish, Rebbe of Amshinov (1878-1935). The son of Rav Rav Menachem of Amshinov, grandson of Rav Yaakov Dovid of Amshinov, and great-grandson of Rav Yitzchak of Vorka. Rav Yosef was appointed Rav of Ostrova at the age of 27. He then succeeded his father in 1918. His son, Rav Yaakov Dovid (1906-1942), became Rebbe of Amshinov, upon Rav Yosef’s petrira.
Today in History – 3 Shevat
· Jewish mourners attacked in Fostat , Egypt , 1012
· King Philip Augustus of France arrests large numbers of Jews in shuls on the Shabbos, 1180.
· Jeronimo Jose Ramos, a merchant from Braganza , Portugal, was the last known Jew to be burned alive for secretly practicing Judaism, 1755.
· Date that Hitler (Y”Sh) became Chancellor, 1933.
· Beginning of the evacuation of Auschwitzconcentration camp, 1945
· Soviet and Polish forces liberate Warsaw, 1945.
· FormerU.S. State Department official Alger Hiss, accused of being a Soviet spy in 1948, was found guilty of lying to a Grand Jury. He served 44 months in prison. Hiss maintained his innocence and fought his perjury conviction until his death at age 92 on November 15, 1996.
Yahrtzeits – 4 Shevat
Asher by Yaakov Avinu (1562-1439 B.C.E.)
Rav Yisrael Charif from Stanov, author of Tiferes Yisrael, disciple of the Baal Shem Tov.
Rav Moshe Leib of Sassov (1745-1807). Moshe Leib was a student of Shmuel Shmelke of Nickolsburg, Dov Baer (the Maggid of Mezhirech), and Elimelekh of Lezhynsk. His teachings are contained in the books, Likutei RaMal, Toras ReMaL Hashalem, and Chidushei RaMal.
Rav Avraham Katz of Kalisk (1810). Originally a disciple of the Vilna Gaon, he was advised to visit the Maggid of Mezritch and subsequently became his follower. His prayers were noted for their fervor. In Adar of 1777, he joined his close friend, Rav Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk, in leading 300 chasidim to the Eretz Yisrael. They settled in Teverya. On the death of Rav Menachem Mendel, Rav Avraham became the leader of the chassidic community in Israel.
Rav Avraham Aharon Yudelevitch (1850-1930). Born in Novardok, White Russia, his mother was a sister of Rav Meir Marim Saphit (d. 1873), Rav of Kobrin, White Russia, and author of “Nir,” a famous commentary on the Talmud Yerushalmi. Beginning in 1874, he served as Rav in several Russian towns before moving to Manchester, England, and from there to Boston and finally New York. He was a prolific author. His works include the multi-volume Darash Av, on Chumash and the festivals, and the multi-volume halachic responsa, Beis Av. In Av Be’chochmah, he defends what was probably his best-known and most controversial ruling, that the chalitzah act could be performed al yedei shli’ach. Among those who opposed his ruling were Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer and the Rogatchover.
Rav Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg, author of S’ridei Eish (1885-1966). A student of the Mir and Slabodka yeshivos. When World War 1 broke out he went to Germany and studied at the university of Giessen, receiving a Ph.D. for a thesis on the masorectic text. He subsequently taught and eventually became rector of the Berlin Rabbinical Seminary founded by Rabbi Ezriel Hildeshimer.
Rav Yisrael Abuchatzeira, the Baba Sali (1890-1984). Born in Tafillalt, Morocco, he moved to Eretz Yisrael in 1964, eventually settling in Netivot in southern Israel in 1970.
Rav Yaakov Elazar Friedman (2002), son of Rav Shlomo Zalman Friedman, Rav of Rakoshegy, Hungary. He was a descendent of the Shaarei Torah, Shemen Rokeach, Yerias Shlomo, Ponim Meiros, Chacham Tzvi, Bach, Tosfos Yom Tov, Maharshal, and Levush.
Today in History – 4 Shvat
· Islamists encourage the local population to attack the Jewish community of Zanzur, Libya, 1946. Rioting spread to a number of small towns near Tripoli leaving 180 Jews dead and 9 synagogues destroyed.
· Yeshivas Kol Yaakov was established in Moscow in 1957 with the approval of the Soviet government, after the Communists had destroyed all Jewish religious life during the 1920s and 30s. According to Soviet propaganda, this showed the world that the Communists weren’t anti-Semitic.
· Khomeini takes over Iran, 1979.