Yahrtzeits – 5 Kislev
Rav Shmuel Eliezer HaLevi Eidels, the Maharsha (1631 or 1636); born in Krakow in 1555. His father, Rav Yehuda, was an eminent talmid chacham who descended from Rav Yehuda Hachassid, as well as from Rav Akiva Hakohen Katz, the father-in-law of the Shela Hakadosh. His mother was the granddaughter of Rav Yehuda Loewe, the Maharal of Prague. Rebbetzin Eidel Lifschitz of Pozna, the wealthy widow of Rav Moshe Lifschitz, the rav of Brisk, made a match between her daughter and the Maharsha. She also supported her other son-in-law, Rav Moshe Ashkenazi, author of Zichron Moshe, with whom the Maharsha studied. In appreciation of his mother-in-law’s efforts, the Maharsha added the name Eidels to his own name, and from then on called himself Shmuel Eliezer Eidels. Rebbetzin Eidel passed away in 5368 at the age of 100. During his years as rosh yeshiva in Austroha, the Maharsha compiled his monumental Chiddushei Halachos and Chiddushei Aggados on Shas.
Rav Dovid Luria (1798-1855), the Radal, was a student of the Rav of Vilna, Rav Shaul Katzenellenbogen. He wrote an important commentary on Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer. He is also known for known as a commentator on Gemara and Midrash. He also composed halachic responsa and a commentary on Rambam’s Mishneh Torah. Radal’s dedication to learning was legendary. It is said that he did not sleep more than one hour during the short summer nights and three hours in the winter, in addition to an afternoon nap of precisely 12 minutes. In 1854, he was offered the rabbinate of Warsaw. He refused this position despite the encouragement of the Gerrer Rebbe that he take it. However, R’ Dovid did involve himself in communal needs, including a meeting in 1846 (together with R’ Yitzchak of Volozhin) with Sir Moses Montiefore to address the needs of Russian Jewry.
Rav Asher Anshel Yungreiss (Jungreis; Jungreisz), Czenger (Chenger) Rav, the Menuchas Asher (1806-1873).
Rav Baruch Ber Leibowitz Rosh Yeshiva of Kamenitz (1867-1940). He was born in Slutzk to Reb Shmuel Dovid Leibowitz, who was a close follower of the Rav of Slutzk, Rav Yosef Ber Soleveitchik. At the age of 16, he went to Volozhin and became the talmid muvhak of Rav Chaim Brisker. In 1903, he was invited to be Rosh Yeshiva of Kenesses Beis Yitzchak in Slobodka. During World War I, the yeshiva moved to Minsk, and in 1921, to Vilna. Finally, in 1926, it moved to Kamenitz. He was the father-in-law of Rav Reuven Grozovsky, who became his successor. He authored Birkas Shmuel on Shas.
Rav Mordechai Rimer (1928-1999), Mashgiach Ruchni of Yeshivas Kochav M’Yaakov. Born in Munkacz to Rav Binyamin, one of the most prominent Kalushitz Chassidim who was the rosh hakahal of the Sanz beis medrash in the city. Young Mordechai grew up in the home of his grandfather, HaRav Arye Leib Rimer, one of the most prominent Sanzer Chassidim in Kashow. In the winter of 1944, he was taken from the yeshiva of Munkacz, along with his entire family, to the ghetto, and on rosh chodesh Sivan of that year he was taken, along with them, to Auschwitz. Although his entire family was murdered, he lived there until its liberation. After the war, he learned at the Chevron yeshiva under Rav Meir Chodosh. After his marriage in 1950, he learned in the Chevron kollel for another twelve years. At that time, he began to deliver a shiur for baalei batim bnei Torah in the Achva shul, a shiur which he continued to deliver for forty-five years. In 1962, the gaon of Tchebin invited him to be a maggid shiur and mashgiach in his yeshiva, and for thirty- eight years HaRav Mordechai assumed responsibility for the chinuch of the yeshiva’s students. During the Yomim Noraim he regularly served as a ba’al tefilla at the Tchebin yeshiva.
Today in History – 5 Kislev
· In Sinsig, Germany, a convert to Judaism was arrested for preaching Judaism, 1264. Although tortured, he refused to recant his belief in Judaism and was burned at the stake.
· In La Guardia, Spain, five Jews were accused by Chief Inquisitor Torquemada of murdering a child even though there are no witnesses nor was a body ever found, 1491. Three of his victims are forcibly baptized, strangled, and then burned. The two others were torn apart.
· Expulsion of Portuguese Jews, 1497.
· A commission met at Whitehall to assess the possible re-admittance of the Jews to Great Britain, 1655, concluding that there was no statute which excluded the Jews from the country. But Oliver Cromwell dissolved the commission, considering it too pro-admittance.
· Romanian Jews were barred from the practice of law, 1864.
· Ghettos in Radom, Cracow, and Galicia set up by the Nazis, 1942.
· Road of valor connecting besieged Jerusalem with the rest of the Yishuv was opened, 1948.
Yahrtzeits – 6 Kislev
Rav Yakov Schick of Karlin, author of Mishkenos Yakov (1844).
Rav Menachem Ash, Rav of Ungvar (1869)
Rav Mordechai Dovid Teitelbaum of Drohbitch (1919).
Rav Eliezer Horowitz of Grodzisk (1881-1942). Appointed Rav of Grodisk, in western Galicia (near Tarnow) in 1909, he moved to Tarnow with his family during World War I, serving as Rav and Dayan. He was murdered by the Nazis, along with 3500 other Jews, in Tarnow.
Rav Yaakov Moshe Charlap (1883-1951). Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Merkaz Harav and Rav of Yerushalayim’s Sha’arei Chessed neighborhood. He was a close disciple of Rav Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook. Author of Mei Marom and Michtavei Marom.
Rav Chaim Michoel Dov Weissmandel, Rosh Yeshiva Nitro (Mt. Kisco, NY) yeshiva, Holocaust rescue activist. Author of Min Ha Metzar (1957).
Rav Shlomo Abu Maaravi -founder of Otzer HaTorah network
Rav Yechezkel Shraga Lipshitz-Halberstam, the Stropkover Rebbe (1908-1994). Born in Stropkov, Czechoslovakia, to Rav Yissacher Dov Lifshitz of Ungvar. His paternal grandfather was Rav Rav Aryeh Leibush from Apta, the Yismach Tzadik, and his maternal grandfather was the Rebbe of Stropov, the Divrei Shalom, who was the son of the Divrei Yechezkel of Shinava, the eldest son of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz. Rav Yechezkel Shraga’s first public post was as Rav of Yablonka. After a few years there, he became dayan of Bergsas. During WW2, he was sent to Auschwitz, where his wife and five children perished. After the war, he moved to Eretz Yisrael. In 1954, upon the death of his uncle, Rav Menachem of Stropkov, and Rav Yechezkel was appointed Admor by the Sanz elders of Shinava and Stropkov. He authored Divrei Yechezkel Shraga.
Rav Yechezkel Shraga Landau (1996). Rav of Veretzky in pre-War Europe, he founded Khal Veretzky in Flatbush.
Rav Chaim Shmuel Lopian, author of Ravcha Shmaatsa (1998). The son of Rav Eliyahu Lopian, he was amongst the first students in the Gateshead Kollel under Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler, in 1942. He was the author of Ravcha Shmaatsa
Today in History – 6 Kislev
· Pope Martin V reinstated old privileges of the Jews and ordered that no child under the age of twelve could be forcibly baptized without parental consent, 1420.
· The Shelah Hakadosh arrived in Yerushalayim, 1621.
· Jews barred from settling in Stockholm, Sweden, 1685.
· Recapture of Rostov by Russian forces marks the first major setback suffered by Germany in World War II, 1941.
· Yerushalayim’s new reservoir was opened, 1958, ending a long history of water problems that made Yerushalayim more vulnerable to siege.
· UN General Assembly passes a resolution declaring Zionism to be a form of racism, 1975