Today’s Yahrtzeits and History – 1-2 Av

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Aharon Hakohen (1395-1272 BCE) [the only yahrtzeit mentioned in the Torah]

Elazar ben Aharon Hakohen

Rav Eliezer Isserlish, brother of the Rema (1623)

Rav Yosef, Rav of Dubna and author of Yesod Yosef (1700)

Rav Yisrael Avraham Zev of Chevron, author of Orim Gedolim (1731)

Rav Asher Ginsburg, Rav of Wallerstein and son of the Shaagas Aryeh (1742)

Rav Chaim of Krasna (1793)

Rav Shmuel Ehrenfeld (1805-1883), author of Chasan Sofer, and Rav in Matersdorf.

Rav Aharon Halberstam (1826-1903). Born in Rudnick to Rav Chaim, the Divrei Chaim of Sanz, he was appointed Rav of Sanz in 1857, during the lifetime of his famous father. After his father’s petira in 1876, Rav Aharon was the one of the sons who did not become a Rebbe, refusing to accept the chassidim who came to his house. Some of his Divrei Torah were published in Meged Eretz by a grand-nephew, Rav Aharon Halberstam of Biale-Bilitz.

Rav Yaakov Moshe Shurkin, Rosh Mesivta Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin, student of the Chafetz Chaim (1963)

Rav Shlomo Halberstam (1908-2000), son of Rav Ben Zion, grandson of Rav Shlomo, founder of the Bobov dynasty. At the outbreak of World War II, he and his father escaped to Lemberg. On the fourth of Av 1942 his father was killed, and Rav Shlomo escaped to the Bochnia Ghetto. In Bochnia, the Rav lost his Rebbetzin and two children. He managed to escape with his only surviving child, Naftali, to Budapest, and then to Bucharest. Rav Shlomo is believed to have been the last remaining Chassidic rabbi to have survived the Holocaust. Born in the Galicia region of central Europe, Rav Shlomo arrived in the United States in 1946,
alone and indigent after his group was largely obliterated by the Nazis. During the war, Rav Shlomo dressed up as a nun in order to rescue other Jews, hiding them in the false bottom of a coal truck. Rav Shlomo is widely credited with rebuilding the Bobover community in the United States.

Today in History – 1 Av

· The prophet Ezra arrives in Yerushalayim, 347 BCE. 1,496 men chose to come with him (this was in the days before subsidies), and Ezra had to persuade 38 Levi’im with their 200 servants (the Levi’im didn’t want to come, and it was only because they were essential for the Temple service that Ezra managed to get them to join him).
· Columbusset sail for the New World, 1492. There is an entry in Columbus’ diary noting the expulsion of Jews from Spain right before he set sail.

· In Poland at the Nazis’ Treblinka concentration camp – located 60 miles northeast of Warsaw, some 600 prisoners staged an uprising and fled into the woods, 1943. On a Monday at about 4:00 p.m., before the resistance leaders could gain full control of the arms cache, a suspicious SS officer was killed by a shot that alerted the camp guards and prematurely signaled the inmates to revolt. During exchanges of gunfire, some prisoners torched parts of the camp. As the escapees ran for their lives, most were gunned down from the camp’s watchtowers or caught and killed later. On the day of the uprising, the camp held approximately 850 prisoners. Some 750 tried to escape. Only 70 survived.

· The S.S. Exodus with 4,000 illegal Jewish immigrants on board was seized by the British and forced to sail back to Germany, 1947. The negative public relations which this generated for the British contributed to their final decision to leave the Middle East in 1948.

· Raoul Wallenberg was reported by Russia to have died in prison, 1947 · Egyptian military officers, led by Gamal Abdel Nasser, launced a successful coup against King Farouk I, 1952

· President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare bill into law, effective the following year.

· Apollo 11 blasted off from Cape Kennedy on the first manned mission to the surface of the moon. 1969.

Yahrtzeits – 2 Av

Rav Aharon Tumim (1630-1690). A rav in Prague from 1659 to 1672, Rav Aharon became Rosh Yeshiva in Worms in 1672. He wrote Mateh Aharon on the Hagadah. In 1687, he accepted a position of Rav of Krakow, but because of political circumstances, he delayed his departure until 1690. Shortly after he left Worms, the city was destroyed by the troops of King Louis XIV. He served in Krakow four months before a Polish nobleman had him arrested; he died as a result of torture.

Rav Aharon Yosef Baksht, known in mussar circles as Reb Archik (1863-1941). Born in Iyola, Lithuania (near Vilna), an only child to Rav Yeshayahu Baksht, he left home to study in Volozhin when he was 14. After studying under Rav Yitzchak Blazer at Halvayas HaMeis yeshiva in Slobodka, for three years, he transferred to the Beis Hatalmud in Kelm and became one of Rav Shimcha Zissel’s most outstanding talmidim. After his marriage, he took his first rabbinical post in Bisgola, near Shavli. Thereafter, he served at Simiatitz (1896-1901), Volgograd (later known as Stalingrad), Shadova, Suvalk, and eventually – in 1926 – in Lomza, where he also founded a Kollel. In 1937, he moved to Shavli to replace Rav Meir Atlas and founded a yeshiva. He was shot and murdered by the Nazis. Sadly, his many chidushim and commentary on the Yerushalmi were also destroyed.

Rav Gedaliah Silverstone (1871-1944). Born in Eastern Europe in 1871, he studied in the yeshiva of Telshe under Rav Eliezer Gordon. In 1901, Rav Silverstone became Chief Rabbi of Belfast (Ireland). In approximately 1906, he moved to Washington, D.C. where he served several congregations, including Tifereth Israel (which was then Orthodox) and Ohev Shalom. During the 1930s he settled in Eretz Yisrael. His works include Beis Meir, Yeshuah Gedolah, Pirchei Aviv, Sukkas Shalom and a Haggadah commentary entitled Korban Pesach.

Rav Moshe Stern, the Debrecziner Rav, author of Be’er Moshe (1914-1997). Born in Neuhaizal, Slovakia, on Hoshana Rabah, his father, Rav Avraham, was the Rav of Neuhaizal, a historian and author of the sefarim, Gapei Eish on the Shas, Shulchan Eish and Melitzei Eish. After learning with his father and grandfather, Rav Moshe left Neuhaizal to study in Yeshivas Pressburg, headed by the Chasam Sofer’s great-grandson, Rav Akiva Sofer, the Daas Sofer. Rav Moshe married a daughter of Rav Mordechai Nissan HaKohen Strasser, a grandson of the Chasam Sofer. After his marriage, he moved to Debrecen, Hungary’s second largest city, where Jews had been barred from living until 1840. Debrecen had served as the capital of Hungary twice, once in 1849, and a second time, in 1944. In Debrecen, he was appointed a poseik and dayan. By 1941, 9,142 Jews lived in Debrecen and comprised about 7% of its population. After the war, about 4,640 Jews returned to Debrecen making it the largest Jewish community in the area. Rav Moshe restructured the kehillah. Together with the Admor of Erlau, he even founded a yeshivah in Budapest. In about 1950, Rav Moshe was invited to be the rav of Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he stayed for a year. Soon afterwards, Rav Moshe moved to New York and established his ‘Kahal Yesodei HaTorah’ whose congregants were mostly immigrants from Hungary. In 1969, Rav Moshe began publishing his sefer of responsa, Be’er Moshe. Another of Rav Moshe’s sefarim is his “Kunterus Ha’Electric” where he discusses the dozens of shaylos involved with electricity, such as accepting testimony over the phone and setting up alarms to work on Shabbos.

Today in History – 2 Av

· Roman general Titus commenced battering the walls of the courtyard of the Beis Hamikdash, 70 CE
· Pope Clement IV establishes the Inquisition in Rome, 1267
· Pope Gregory X banned blood-ritual charges against the Jews, 1274. This was neither the first nor the last time a pope tried to ban charges of ritual murder against the Jews. None were very successful.
· Edward I of England issued the proclamation to expel the Jews. After returning from his Crusade, Edward was deeply in debt. He summoned his knights to impose a steep tax and to make the tax more palatable, he offered to expel all the Jews. The heavy tax legislation was passed, and the widely popular expulsion order which was issued, met with little resistance, and was quickly carried out.
· 38 Jews were burned at the stake in Berlin, (Prussia), 1510.
· Last execution of the Inquisition in Peru took place in 1806.
· The first train with Jews from Holland left for a death camp, 1942
· French police rounded up 30,000 Jews (including 4500 children) for deportation, 1942. Only 30 adults are known to have survived the round up.

{Yahrtzeits licensed to by Manny Saltiel and Newscenter}


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