Today’s Yahrtzeits and History – 27 Teves

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Rav Shamshon Raphael Hirsch, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (1808-1888). His father, Rav Raphael Aryeh (1777-1857), who changed the family name to Hirsch, was the son of Rav Menachem Mendel Frankfurter of Altuna (1742-1823). Rav Menachem Mendel was a talmid of Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz and was the Rav of three communities of Altuna, Hamburg, and Wandsbeck (“AHU”). At the age of 18, Rav Shamshon Raphael went to Mannheim to learn at the yeshiva of Rav Yaakov Ettlinger, author of Aruch La’ner. Rav Hirsch received smicha from Rav Ettlinger after learning there for a year. Thereafter, he attended the University of Bonn. That education would serve him well later in life as he combated the forces of Reform with eloquence. When he was 21, he was appointed Chief Rabbi of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg. There, he married Chana Judel. He also authored Iggros Hatzafon (The 19th Letters), under the pen name Ben Uziel. One year later, he published Chorev. In 1847, he became Chief Rabbi of Moravia, a region of 50,000 Jews in 52 communities, and which is now the Czech Republic. In 1851, he became the Rav of Frankfurt am Main, which he transformed into a Torah bastion. His best known works are the classic six-volume Commentary on Chumash.

Rav Shmuel Hillel Shenker (1956). His father, Rav Avraham Shenker, was one of Rav Yisrael Salanter’s greatest disciples. Reb Shmuel spent his early years in Slobodka, but he was orphaned of his father at an early age. He thus traveled to the Talmud Torah in Kelm and learned under the Alter, Reb Simcha Zissel. After a number of years, he traveled to Eretz Yisrael with his relative, Reb Tzvi Pesach Frank, who later became chief rabbi of Yerushalaim. In 1895, Reb Shmuel Hillel married the oldest daughter of Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld. On 9 Iyar 1944, his beloved son Reb Mendel Shenker passed away when he was only forty-six. A year later, another son – Yisrael – passed away on 27 Teves 1945.

Rav Kalman Avraham Goldberg (1895-1968). A devoted disciple of the Alter of Novardok, he became Rav in Vasilkov. He moved to America in 1926. In 1928, he was hired to head the beis din for Adas Yisrael, under Rav Velvel Margulies. After Rav Velvel’s petira, he became Rav.

Rav Menashe Yitzchak Meir Eichenstein of Ziditchov -Petach Tikvah (1971)

Rav Avraham Simcha HaKohen Kaplan (1990). Chief Rabbi of Tzefas.

Rav Pinchas Hirschprung, Chief Rabbi of Montreal (1915-1998). At the age 15, he published a Torah journal, Ohel Torah, along with his friend, Rav Yeshaya Yosef Margolin, in Galicia. He then joined Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin, learning under Rav Meir Shapiro. At the outbreak of War World II, Rav Pinchas fled to Vilna, which was still neutral territory. In 1942, he acquired a visa to travel to Canada with a group of students from Mir and Lubavitch. When he arrived in Montreal, he was offered the position of Rav Kehillas Adas Yisrael. When Yeshiva Merkaz Hatorah was established, Rav Pinchas was made its Rosh Yeshiva. Eventually, he was Rav Ha’Ir of Montreal.

Today in History – 27 Teves

· The first Jewish doctor in US, Jacob Lumbrozo, arrives in Maryland, 1656.
· A major earthquake hit Ancona, Italy, 1690. Bechasdei HaShem, there was little damage and no loss of life A local Purim was established by the local Jewish community.
· The Jews of Switzerland were granted equal rights after pressure was exerted by the U.S., 1866

{Yahrtzeits licensed to by Manny Saltiel and Newscenter}


  1. Rav Shamshon Raphael Hirsch, ZT’L, also wrote an extensive commentary on Sefer Tehillim – the Book of Psalms, an extensive commentary on Pirkei Avos – the Chapters of the Fathers, and an extensive commentary on the Siddur – the Daily Prayer Book. Furthermore, he published a monthly Torah journal called “Jeschurun” in which he wrote extensive essays on various Torah topics. (In many places in his commentary on the Chumash, he directs the reader to one of the essays, where he discusses the particular item at greater length and detail.) Later, all of these essays were put together in book form and published in a six volume set titled “Gesammelte Schriften” – “The Collected Writings.”

    So again, the writings of Rav Hirsch:

    Igeres Tzafun – The Nineteen Letters

    Horeb: A Philosophy of Jewish Laws and Observances

    Commentary on the Siddur – Daily Prayer Book

    Commentary on Pirkei Avos – the Chapters of the Fathers

    Commentary on Sefer Tehillim – the Book of Psalms

    Commentary on the Chumash – the Torah

    Gesammelte Schriften – The Collected Writings

  2. When I attended Yeshiva Gedola – Merkaz HaTorah – Tiferes Mordechai in Montreal, one of the senior Talmidim, Rabbi Yom Tov Rubin, Sh’lita, showed me that the introduction to the Lashon HaKodesh version of the Igeres Tzafun relates the following. Soon after its publication, it was read to one of the leading Chassidic Rebbes of that period. Upon hearing it, the Rebbe emphatically exclaimed that IT WAS WRITTEN AL PI RUACH HAKODESH!

    Of course, this is clearly astounding! The Igeres Tzafun – The Nineteen Letters, was just the FIRST Sefer that Rav Hirsch wrote — when he was 27 years old! It is a relatively “short” Sefer, which lays out the basic Yisodos of Torah: of our task of Avodas Hashem, and it was written Al Pi Ruach HaKodesh. So could we even begin to comprehend the immense awesome level of Ruach HaKodesh that went into the Rav’s latter very extensive K’savim and Peirushim???????

  3. (continuation of my previous remark)

    (Rav Hirsch lived in the period of the latter Achronim. So needless to say, could we ever even remotely of remotely of remotely even begin to comprehend the immense awesome level of Ruach HaKodesh that went into the works of the early Achronim, like the Ohr HaChaim, the Maharsha, the Maharal, the Taz, the Bach, and the latter Rishonim, like the Ramban, the Rashba, the Rosh, the Ritva, the Ran, the Rambam, the Rif, and the early Rishonim, like the Ba’alay HaTosafos, Rashi, and the Geonim, and the Amoraim in the Gemora and the Medrosh, and the Tannaim in the Mishna, the Tosefta, and the Zohar, and the Nevi’im in the Kisvei HaKodesh?????????)

  4. Rav Hirsch had ten children, five sons and five daughters. The oldest son, Rav Dr. Menachem Mendel, ZT’L, succeeded his father as principle of the day school. He wrote a commentary on all of the Haftoros of the year and on the Sefer (in Tanach) Trei Asar – the Book of the Twelve Prophets. Another son, Rav Yehuda “Julius,” ZT’L, wrote a commentary on the Sefer (in Tanach) Yeshayah – the Book of Isaiah. Another son, Rav Mordechai, ZT’L, wrote commentary on other Seforim of Tanach.  In each of their commentaries, they all applied “the Derech” – “the methodology and explanations” of their father to the Biblical verses they were commenting on.

  5. The youngest daughter, Tzipora “Sophie,” married Rav Shlomo Zalman “Solomon” Breuer, ZT’L (1850 – 1926), a Talmid of the Yeshiva of the K’sav Sofer in Pressburg, Hungary, who succeeded his father-in-law as Rav of the independent Torah community, called “Khal Adas Jeshurun,” of Frankfort am Main, and opened there a Yeshiva Gedola. He had eight children, seven sons and one daughter; one of the sons, Rav Levy Yoseif “Joseph,” ZT’L (1882 – 1980), succeeded him as Rosh of the yeshiva. Upon increasing Nazi abuse, in 1939, Rav Yoseif and his family emigrated to New York, where he re-established the KAJ community and opened a day school, naming it after his grandfather, “Yeshiva Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch.” He wrote a number of books on Torah topics and a commentary on the Sefer (in Tanach) Yirmiyah – the Book of Jeremiah and a commentary on the Sefer (in Tanach) Yechezkel – the Book of Ezekiel.

    In 1958, the community invited Rav Shimon Mordechai Schwab, ZT’L (1908 – 1995) — who had actually been born and grew up in the KAJ community in Frankfort — to join Rav Yoseif Breuer as associate Rav and later to succeed him. Around 1990, Yibodel L’Chaim Tovim V’Aruchim, Rav Zechariah Gelly, Sh’lita, was invited to join Rav Schwab as associate Rav and later to succeed him. So currently, Rav Zechariah Gelly is the Rav and Rav Yisroel Mantel, Sh’lita, is the associate Rav. Recently though, Rav Gelly has been extremely sick.


  6. All of the K’savim of Rav Hirsch and his sons and Rav Shlomo and Rav Yoseif Breuer were written in the language that the people of their communities then spoke, which was old German. Almost immediately though, during Rav Hirsch’s lifetime, work was begun to put his
    works into Lashon HaKodesh. Rav Yitzchak Elchonon Specter, ZT’L, commissioned a Talmid Chacham, Rav Moshe Zalman Aronsohn, ZT’L, to do this. Rav Aronsohn completed this on the Igeres Tzafun – The Nineteen Letters; he began the Peirush on Chumash, completing a couple of Parshas in Bereishis, but then was Niftar. Since then, most of Rav Hirsch’s writings have been rendered into either Modern Israeli spoken Hebrew or classical Lashon HaKodesh. The Peirush on Chumash has been done a couple times; a new rendition into classical Lashon HaKodesh has just recently been completed.

    By the 1950’s, substantial work had been done in translating Rav Hirsch’s works into English, with the Igeres Tzafun, the Horeb, and the Peirushim on Pirkei Avos, Siddur, Tehillim, and Chumash all now having English versions. The translation of the Horeb was done by one of the grandsons, Dayan Dr. Isadore Grunfeld, ZT’L, and was published by Soncino Press. The translations of the Igeres Tzafun, and the Peirushim on Pirkei Avos, Siddur, and Tehillim, were published by Feldheim. The translation of the Peirush on Chumash was done two times by one of the grandsons, Issac Levy, ZT’L, with a long introduction by Dayan Grunfeld.

    Along with translating the Peirush on Chumash, R’ Levy also translated the Peirush on the Haftoros (which, as related above, was written) by the son Rav Dr. Menachem Mendel. In his preface to this translation, R’ Levy points out that wherever there was an item (mentioned by Rav Mendel) that was explained in more detail in the writings of his father or in the Peirush of his brother Yehuda on Sefer Yeshaya, he would insert (a translation of) that more extensive quote in brackets into the translation. R’ Levy’s translation of the Peirush on Chumash was printed in six volumes (the very extensive Peirush on Sefer Vaiyikra took two volumes), with the translation of the Peirush on the Haftoros being in a seventh volume. This seven volume set was published by Judaica Press; thus, for very many years, these seven beautifully designed blue colored volumes formed what was THE image of the “Hirsch Chumash.”

    For two photos of these sets of the “old” Hirsch Chumash, see and In this photo, note that on the spine cover of the volume of the Haftoros (on the far left of the picture), the author is marked “M. Hirsch,” in contrast to the other volumes that are marked “S. R. Hirsch.” For (as explained above) while the other volumes of the Peirush on the Chumash were done by the father, Rav S. R. Hirsch himself, the volume of the Peirush on the Haftoros was done by the son, Rav Mendel.

  7. [Important Note:

    To give proper credit, I must mention that the original seven volume set of the English translation by Rav Issac Levy of the Rav S. R. Hirsch and Rav Dr. M. Hirsch commentaries on the Chumash and the Haftoros I just related above WAS FIRST PUBLISHED BY BLOCH PUBLISHING COMPANY. (They were large thick blue colored volumes with strong heavy paper that gave a very stately classic look to any library shelf. You can see a photo of them at Later on (I do not know when, just that I do know that by the early 1970’s), it was published by Judaica Press.]

  8. In recent years, new translations into English have been done of: the Igeres Tzafun, the Peirush on Pirkei Avos, the Peirush on Sefer Tehillim, and the Peirush on the Chumash

    They were all published by Feldheim, with the new translation of the Peirush on the Chumash being a joint project of Feldheim and Judaica Press. The new translation of the Peirush by Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch on the Chumash has, so far, been done just on the Peirush on the Chumash itself, along with a new companion volume of a comprehensive index. However, the new translation of the Peirush by Rav Dr. Mendel Hirsch on the Haftoros is currently being worked on.

    Also currently being worked on is a first translation into English of the Peirush by Rav Dr. Mendel Hirsch on Sefer Trei Asar (that was mentioned above). Im Yirtza Hashem, we should see the completion of these new publications soon!

    Boruch Hashem, very recently, there was just completed a first translation into English of the Peirush by Rav Julius Hirsch on Sefer Yeshaya (that was mentioned above). It was published by Feldheim.

  9. As related above, along with the Igeres Tzafun, the Horeb, and the several Peirushim, Rav Hirsch had very extensive K’savim of the numerous essays he had written for his monthly Torah journal, the Jeshurun; they were put together and published as the “Gesammelte Schriften” — “The Collected Writings.” Understandably, to render this entire virtual little “library” into English would be a huge undertaking that would have to come in stages. Probably the first step was a volume, titled “Timeless Torah,” published by Feldheim; it was a sampling of Rav Hirsch’s works, with pieces from each of his books and commentaries, including the Collected Writings.

    Probably the next step came in 1956 with the translation by the grandson, Dayan Grunfeld, of a significant chuck of the Collected Writings. It was titled “Judaism Eternal,” was published by Soncino Press, and came in a beautiful two volume slip case set. It was reprinted many times; at, Amazon has has a number of copies of it for sale.

    I can never forget the Sunday in 1974 when upon browsing in a Seforim store, I saw on a table a thin grey booklet titled “The Shemone Esrei,” by Rav S. R. Hirsch. It was one of the essays from the Collected Writings, and it had been translated into English by the grandson, Issac Levy, the same person who had translated the commentaries on the Chumash and Haftoros. Needless to say, I was extremely excited to see that this work even existed and readily purchased it, and, later on, learned through it. (Whoever does learn this essay, his or her Davening will henceforth be totally different!)

    Throughout the Collected Writings, Rav Hirsch has numerous pieces that discuss themes of the Sefer (In Tanach) Mishlei – Proverbs. In the mid-1970’s, some scholars collected all of these pieces together and translated them into English and put them into one book, which in 1976 was published by Feldheim with the title “From the Wisdom of Mishle.”

    In his commentary on Chumash, his commentary on the Siddur, and his Collected Writings, Rav S. R. Hirsch has extensive explanations and discussions about Yetzias Mitzraim – the Exodus from Egypt, the Yom Tov of Pesach, and the prayers said at a Yom Tov meal. In the mid-1980’s, scholars went through all of these items and took all of the parts of them that would explain the text of the Haggadah Shel Pesach, translated them into English, and put them together as a commentary on the Haggadah. It was published by Feldheim with the title “The Hirsch Haggadah.”

    In the late 1980’s, work was begun on the huge, gigantic task to translate into English, the entire Collected Writings. This time, EVERYTHING was to be translated — wall to wall! Understandably, this large project took quite a number of years, with each year or so, a new volume becoming available. Finally, it was pretty much completed, published by Feldheim, in a large, beautiful eight volume slip case set. in 2012, a new ninth volume was added, which contains some more essays AND a comprehensive index.

  10. 2 comments/corrections.
    Dayan Dr. Isadore Grunfeld Z”TL was not a grandson of Rabbi S.R. Hirsch. Dr. Isaac Levy Z”L was a grandson
    of Rav Hirsch, son of his youngest daughter Jenny.

    The “new” English translation of the Chumash is a translation of the Hebrew edition translated from German by 2 great grandsons of Rav Hirsch, Mordchai Breuer (son of Dr. Isaac) and Mordechai Breuer (son of Shimshon).

    The 19 letters were first translated into English by Rabbi Bernard Drachman, Rabbi of Cng. Bnai Ephraim in NYC known today as Park East Synagogue in 1899.

  11. I am a (former) native of Montreal. I distinctly remember that Rav Pinchas Hirschprung, A’H, when he arrived in Montreal, circa 1941, was the Rav of the old Adas Yeshurun Shul; then located on Saint Urbain Street; Not Kehillas Adas Yisroel. In latter years, I was well acquainted with the Rav.
    The old Adas Yeshurun Shul hosted, in 1946, a Friday night “Tish” of the Modzitzer Rebbe, Reb Shaul Yedidya Elazar Taub, Z’L, (1886-1947). And, the renowned Cantor, Louis “Leibele” Waldman, A’H, (1907-1969), lead the Shabbos morning services there, circa the mid 1950’s. As a kid I had the good fortune to accompany my Father, A’H, to both events.


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