Yahrzteits – 3 Teves
Rav Avraham Brandwein of Stretyn (1864), the second of four sons of Rav Yehuda Tzvi of Stretyn, who was the foremost student of Rav Uri of Strelisk. Rav Avraham succeeded his father as the Rabbi of Stretyn, after his father’s death in 1854. Rav Avraham left four daughters, and many of the Stretyner Chasidim followed his son-in-law, Rav Uri Rohatyner, and Rav Uri’s son, Yehuda Tzvi, after him. Other Chasidim of Rav Avraham followed Rav Nachman of Bursztyn, who was nifter in 1914.
Rav Yaakov HaCohen Gadisha (1851-1909), Rav and Av Beis Din of Yerba, Tunisia, wrote Kochav Yaakov, Ma’il Yaakov and Halichos Yaakov.
Rav Yechezkel Ezra Yehoshua, Rav of the Iraqi community in Yerushalayim (1941)
Rav Chaim Leib Shmulevitz, rosh yeshivas Mir (1902-1979), born in Stutchin, Poland, where his father, Rav Alter Raphael, was Rosh Yeshiva. His mother, Ettel, was the daughter of Rav Yosef Yoizel Horowitz, the Alter of Novardok. In 1920, both of his parents suddenly died, and Reb Chaim was left to care for his younger brother and two younger sisters. When Rav Chaim was 22, Rav Shimon Shkop, Rosh Yeshiva in Grodno invited him to join his yeshiva. Within three years, Chaim was appointed to a lecturing post in the yeshiva. Reb Chaim continued his studies in Mir where the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, chose him as a suitable match for his daughter. With the outbreak of World War II, he remained with the Mirrer Yeshiva in its exile in Shanghai for five years. After the war, he lived for a short while in America. With the establishment of the Mirrer Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, he immigrated to Eretz Yisrael and served as its Rosh Yeshiva. Rav Chaim authored Sichos Mussar.
Today in History – 3 Teves
· The first evidence of Jews along the Rhine was found in a letter from Emperor Constantine to the prefect of Cologne regarding special taxes applied to them, 321.
Yahrtzeits – 4 Teves
Rav Moshe Zev of Bialystock, author of Maros Hatzovos and Agudas Aizov (1729). He was the founder of Gemilas Chassadim Beis Medrash, Bialystock’s most prominent Torah center, where Rav Meir Simcha of Dvinsk learned after his marriage.
Rav Yehoshua Eizel Charif of Slonim (1801-1872). Born in Glovanka, near Minsk. After many years of learning under the enthusiastic support of his father-in-law, Rav Yitzchak Fein, he became Rav Kalavaria, then Kutno, and finally Slonim (near Grodno). He was mechaber of many sefarim, including Emek Yehoshua, Nachlas Yehoshua, Noam Yerushalmi, Sefas Hanachal, and Atzas Yehoshua.
Rav Gershon Henoch Leiner of Radzin (1839-1891), the Baal Hatecheles. His grandfather was the Rav Mordechai Yosef Leiner of Ishbitz, founder of Ishbitz chassidus after leading a group of disciples from the Court of Reb Menachem Mendel of Kotzk. He replaced his father, Rav Yaakov Leiner, as Rebbe of Ishbitz after the former’s petira in 1878. Rav Gershon Henoch travelled from Radzin to Italy in search of the Chilazon, the marine source from which the dye was obtained. The Chilazon carried the dye in a special sac located in its pharynx. In the famed aquarium at Naples he saw the Chilazon (tuttlefish) and studied the way in which the dye was removed and prepared. He discovered that it was used by artists in their paintings because it would never fade. Although the Maharsham wore a tallis (in private) using Rav Gershon Henoch’s techeiles, in the end, only Radziner Chassidim and some Berslovers wear this techeiles. In recent years, several other species of fish have been suggested as the genuine techeiles. Among his sefarim are Sod Yesharim on the Torah and Yamim Tovim, Orchos Chaim and the tzavaah of the Tanna Rabi Eliezer ben Horkinus, and Tiferes Hachanochi on the Zohar. He also compiles and published the work of his father (Beis Yaakov) and grandfather (Mei Hashiloach).
Rav Yaakov Shaul Katzin, head of New York Aleppo community (1900-1994). Born in Yerushalayim, he learned at Yeshiva Ohel Mo’ed and at Yeshiva Porat Yosef. Yaakov was an orphan at 16 and married at 18. He was appointed Rosh Yeshiva in the then-newly-erected Yeshiva Porat Yosef building. During the course of his life, Yaakov wrote several books on the science of Kabbalah. In 1925, he published Ohr HaLevanah, a commentary with novella from the teachings of Rashash. He also wrote Yesod Ha’Emunah, which included arguments that dispelled doubts about the authenticity of Kabbalah, as well as responsa. In 1931, he published Pri Eitz Hagan, which included biographies of prominent tzadikkim and discussions of their ethical teachings. >From 1928 to the end of 1932, he served as a Dayan in the Supreme Beit Din of the Sephardic Community of Yerushalayim. In 1933, he accepted an offer from Magen Dovid Congregation of Brooklyn, New York to serve as Chief Rabbi and Chief Dayan.
Rav Chaim Shaul Dveik (Dueck), Rosh Yeshiva Hamekubalim of Yerushalayim and author of Eifo (Aifah) Shleima (1933)
Rav Shalom Rokeach, Rav of Skohl (1961)
Mr. Yitzchak Meir (Irving) Bunim (1901-1981). Born in Volozhin, Lithuania to Rav Moshe and Esther Mina Buminowitz, Irving moved to the Lower East Side of New York with most of his family in 1910. (His father moved in 1905.) He and his two brothers were enrolled in Yeshiva Yaakov Yosef, and his father joined the family of Torah Vodaas. As a youth, he joined the fledgling Young Israel movement and made significant inroads from within. In the 1940s, he accepted the presidency of Yeshiva Yaakov Yosef, a position he held for 30 years. He threw himself in the founding of Beis Midrash Govoha and Kollel in Lakewood. He also devoted much time and energy to Chinuch Atzmai and Torah Umesorah. He and his wife, Blanche, raised three children, Rav Amos, Chana, and Judith.
Rebbetzin Recha Schwab (1908-2003). Married in 1931, she moved with Rav Schwab to the United States in 1936, and settled in Washington Heights in 1958. She left this world with 180 descendents, all Torah-observant.
Today in History – 4 Teves
· Jews were excluded by the Nazis from all employment benefits, 1939