Today’s Yahrtzeits & History – 8-9 Sivan


flicker_10039Yahrtzeits – 8 Sivan

Rav Moshe Blau, Agudas Yisrael activist and a 6th generation of the Old Yishuv. He was the editor of Agudah’s local weekly, Kol Yisrael, and was the brother of Rav Amram Blau of Neturei Karta. From 1933-1945, Rav Blau headed the chareidi community in Jerusalem, working with Yishuv leaders in its dealings with the British Mandate authorities. He died while rescuing Jewish survivors. In 1946, Rabbi Moshe Blau suddenly died in a very dramatic way, at the age of 61: He was on a boat on his way to Europe and the U.S. and died on the Mediterranean island of Messina, where he had been taken off the boat in an effort to perform an emergency operation. His body was flown to Eretz Israel. (1885-1946)

Rav Yissachor Dov Goldstein, head of Kolel Shomrei Hachomos, author of the Likutei He’aros on the Teshuvos Chasam Sofer (1988)

Rav Menachem Manish Safrin (Safra), the Kamarna Rebbe of Bnei Brak (1990)

Rav Zalman Rotberg, Rosh Yeshivas Beis Meir, Bnei Brak (1913-2002). Born in in Lepnishock, Lithuania, to Rav Tuvia Rotberg, a close student of the Chofetz Chaim. Even before he was thirteen, Reb Zalman began to study in the Grodno yeshiva under Rav Moshe Mordechai Shkop, the son of HaRav Shimon Shkop. When he was fifteen he went to the Mirrer Yeshiva, where he became close to Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel and Rav Yeruchom Lebowitz. He moved to Israel in 1936. In 1954, Rav Zalman moved to Bnei Brak where he began to serve as a ram in the Tifferes Tzion yeshiva. Following the petiroh of his father-in-law Rav Meir Karelitz in 1955, Rav Zalman established the Beis Meir yeshiva in his memory. The Beis Meir yeshiva opened in 1958 with six students, and slowly developed into a large yeshiva. In addition to his activities in Beis Meir, he was also a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Degel Hatorah. He taught Torah for over sixty years to thousands of students, and produced legions of talmidei chachomim who themselves became gedolim in Torah and mussar.

Yahrtzeits – 9 Sivan

Rav Moshe Rivkes, author of Beer Hagolah on Shulchan Aruch (1672 or 1684). He was one of four great tzadikim of Vilna who lived at the tragic time of the massacres at the hands of the Cossacks in 1655, along with Rav Ephraim (the Shaar Ephraim), Rav Shabbsai Cohen (the Shach), and Rav Shmuel Koidenaver. Approximately 25,000 Jews were killed in and around Vilna.
-Rav Yisrael of Shklov (~1770-1839). He first came to study with the Vilna Gaon in 1797, only six months before the latter’s petira. During that half-year, however, R’ Yisrael was a constant companion of the Gaon. Afterwards, Rav Yisrael took upon himself to publish his teacher’s works. Among R’ Yisrael’s publications was Be’ur Ha’Gra on Orach Chaim. In 1809, Rav Yisrael led the third group from among the Gaon’s students to make aliyah. Like its predecessors, the group settled in Tzefas, where the community of the Gaon’s students, known as the “Perushim,” numbered 40 families. Rav Yisrael was sent back to Europe to fundraise for three years, during which time he published his own and the Gaon’s commentaries on Maseches Shekalim. In 1814, Tzefas was struck first by a plague and then by physical disasters, and, in a matter of a few months, Rav Yisrael lost his wife, children and parents. He later remarried and began a second family, but the community of Tzefas continued to suffer at the hands of the Arabs and the Druze. The community was further decimated by an earthquake on January 1, 1837 which killed thousands of Jews throughout Eretz Yisrael. Rav Yisrael himself died in Teveryah. Among the works he left was Pe’as Ha’shulchan, a supplement to the Shulchan Aruch covering the laws pertaining to Eretz Yisrael.

Rav Yitzchak Eizik Eichenstein of Ziditchov, Galicia (1805-1873), the only son of Rav Yissacher Berish (a talmid of the Chozeh of Lublin). He was the author of Likutei Maharya. His uncle, Rav Tzvi Hersh (the Ateres Tzvi, 1763-1831), was the first Rebbe of Ziditchov. Among the primary talmidim of Rav Yitzchak Eizik were Rav Yosef Meir of Spinka and Rav Shalom Mordechai Hakohen Schwadron. The next Ziditchover Rebbe, Rav Yehoshua Eichenstein (d. 1940), moved from Galitzia to Chicago in 1922.

Rav Aharon Konvarti, Rosh Yeshivas Hamekubalim Beis Kel in Yerushalayim; author of sheilos uteshuvos Kapei Aharon (1879)

Rav Yitzchak Eizik Halevi Bilitzer (1801-1887). Born in Unsdorf. He succeeded Rav Meshulam Lieberman as Rav of Nagyida, a small town near Kashua in Slovakia, in 1837, and remained in that capacity for 50 years. Some of his Chidushei Torah were published posthumously in Beer Yitzchak.

Rav Avraham Tzvi Perlmutter, Rav in Warsaw (1930)

Rav Yaakov Chaim Sofer, author of Kaf Hachaim, (1870-1939). Born in Baghdad and studied there under the Ben Ish Chai and Rav Abdalah Somech. In 1904, he embarked to Eretz Yisrael. Once in Yerushalayim, he began to study in the kabbalistic Beis Kel yeshiva in the Old City. This yeshiva, founded by Rav Gedalya Chayon, attracted many of the city’s great kabbalistic sages, among them the Rashash, who eventually became its rosh yeshiva. In 1909, Rav Yaakov Chaim transferred to the newly founded Shoshanim leDovid yeshiva, located in the Beis Yisrael section of Yerushalayim. In addition to the Kaf Hachaim, he authored Kol Yaakov (on the laws of writing sifrei Torah, tefillin, and mezuzos, as well as various kavanos required for the writing and the donning of tefillin), Yagel Yaakov (a compendium of the Shabbos drashos he delivered while he was in aveilus for his father),and Yismach Yisrael (other chiddushim on the parsha).

Rav Yechezkel Mertz (1908-1972). Born in Kashau, Hungary (today it’s part of Slovakia), he lost his wife and five childrens at the hands of the Nazis, and found his way to Budapest after the War. In 1952, he settled in Williamsburg, NY, and founded a shul. His Torah thoughts and chidushim on Shas are recorded in the sefer Tiferes Yechezkel.

Today in History – 8 Sivan

· Anti-Jewish riots broke out in Emden, Prussia, 1762.
· “The Great Plunder” of Tzefas began June 15 (8 Sivan), 1834, and resulted in many deaths and tremendous destruction and injury. At the time, Tzefas, with a population of about 2,000 Jews, was the largest community in the entire land of Yisrael.
· A pogrom broke out in Bialystok, Russia, 1906.
· Auschwitz was opened, 1940. Approx. 2.5 million people were killed and another 500,000 died of starvation and disease there.
· Himmler ordered the liquidation of all Polish ghettos, 1943.
· Former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi – along with 14 other people – was assassinated by a female suicide bomber near Madras, 1991. The assassin, Thenmuli Rajaratnam, was an associate of The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the Tamil Tigers)

Today in History – 9 Sivan

· 30 Jews of Posing, Hungary, were charged with a blood libel and burned, 1529.
· The republic of Croatia issued an order depriving all Jews of their property and compelling them to wear a yellow badge with the letter Z, 1941. Croatia was occupied by Nazi forces and with its Moslem allies, some 700,000 Serbs and 75,000 Jews and Gypsies were killed. The Independent State of Croatia was set up after the German and Italian invasions and run by the fascist Ustashe regime as a puppet state. The central Ustashe aim was to cleanse Croatia of “foreign” elements and to turn Croatia into a “100% Roman Catholic state.” Jasenovac was the site of the largest Ustashe death camp, and some estimates claim as many as several hundred thousand dead. Ante Pavelic was the leader of the Ustashe regime. The Herzegovina region of Bosnia became a stronghold of the Croatian Ustashe movement allied to the Nazis. Local clergy was seen condoning and supporting Ustashe mass slayings of ethnic Serbs. One in six of Croatia’s prewar population
· Jewish community of Khonia, Crete, dating from Roman times, came to an end when the ship Danai into which all the Jews had been herded was towed out to sea and sunk, 1944.

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