Today’s Yahrtzeits – 4 Iyar

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flicker_100393-Rav Yosef Dov (Yoshe Ber) Soloveitchik of Brisk, the Beis Halevi, father of Rav Chaim Solevetchik. Yosef Dov (1820-1892) was born in Nisvizh, near Minsk, to Reb Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik. Rav Yitzchak Zev was a grandson through his mother of Rav Chaim of Volozhin. Although Reb Yitzchak Zev was not a Rav he was known as a baki in Shas and Shulchan Aruch. By the time Yosef Dov was ten he knew Mesechtas Bava Kama, Bava Metzia, Bava Basra, Brachos, Gittin and Kiddushin by heart and was already writing his own chiddushim. When he was 11 his father brought him to Volozhin to learn under his uncle, Rav Itzeleh, the Rosh Yeshiva and son of Rav Chaim of Volozhin. After his marriage, his father-in-law supported him for thirteen years. In 1849, Rav Itzeleh of Volozhin passed away. Less than four years later, his successor, Rav Eliezer Yitzchak Fried also passed away. The Rabbanim decided that two descendants of Rav Chaim of Volozhin, the Netziv and the Beis Haleivi, would lead the yeshiva. The Netziv would be Rosh Yeshiva and the Beis Haleivi would be assistant Rosh Yeshiva.The sefer Beis Haleivi is comprised primarily from the shiurim he gave in Volozhin. His derech halimud was something that was completely new and original to the Volozhiner Yeshiva and was very different from the traditional way that shiurim were given there. His sefer Beis Haleivi was published in 1863. In 1865, a delegation from the city of Slutzk came to the Beis Haleivi to present him with a ksav rabbanus that was signed by all of the respected members of the community and recommended by Rav Yitzchak Elchonon Spektor, the Kovno Rav. The Beis Haleivi served as Rav of Slutzk for close to ten years, but his unbending battle against the maskilim and the wealthy eventually forced him from the city. In 1865, a delegation from Brisk came to him and offered him the position of Rav to replace Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin who had just moved to Eretz Yisrael. The Beis Haleivi served as Rav in Brisk for 17 years until his passing.
-Rav Yaakov Sasportes, Rav of Amsterdam and antagonist of Shabtai Tzvi (1695). He served as envoy to the Spanish court in Morocco and later became head of the yeshiva in Amsterdam. In his battle against Shabsaism, he produced Tzitzis Novel Zvi in which he collected vast material, including pamphlets and letters, and refuted Shabsi Tzvi’s messianism in detail.

-Rav Shmuel Eliyahu Taub, Modzhitzer-Tel Aviv Rebbe (1984)

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