Today’s Yahrtzeits and History – 5 Av

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yahrtzeit-candlesRav Yitzchak Luria Ashkenazi from Tzefas, the Arizal (1534-1572), born in Jerusalem, son of Rav Shlomo Luria Ashkenazi, who is believed to be descended from Rav Yechiel Luria, Av Beis Din of Brisk and author of “Chochmas Shlomo on Shas and the Yad Shel Shlomo. His father passed away shortly after his birth, and Rav Klominus taught him. He and his family moved to Egypt when Ran Klominus died. There he learned with Rav Dovid ben Zimra, the Radvaz from age 14. Among the other talmidim was Rav Betzaelel Ashkenazi, author of Shitas Mekubetzes. He moved to Tzefas at age 36, in the same year that the Ramak, Rav Moshe Cordovero, was niftar. He was niftar 2 years later.

Rav Aharon Baal Ruach Hakodesh, Rav of Zlotchov (1659)

Rav Gedalyah Chiyun (1750). Born in Turkey, he founded the Yeshivas Beis Kel (in 1732), which studied Kaballah according to the approach of the ARI. His teacher was the great mekubal, Rav Chaim Alfandari. His greatest student was Rav Shalom Sharabi (Rashash) of Yemen.

Rav Meir Berabi, Rav of Pressburg and author of Chiddushei Maharam Berabi (1789).

Rav Zev Lichtenstein, Rav of Broistitz and author of Kedushas Yisrael (1807)

Rav Shimon Isserlish, Rav of Slutzk and son of the Rema (1811)

Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzensky of Vilna (1863-1940). Born in Ivye, a small town near Vilna where his father ( a talmid of Rav Yisrael Salanter) was Rav for forty years, preceded by his grandfather who had also served as Rav there for forty years, Rav Chaim Ozer was gifted with an infallible memory – never experiencing “forgetting,” as he himself remarked, until his old age. At 15 years of age, he went to the yeshiva of Volozhin and was immediately accepted in Reb Chaim Brisker’s select group. He married the daughter of the Vilna dayan, Reb Lazer, son-in-law of Reb Yisrael Salanter at the age of 20. Two years later, his father-in-law died, and he took the position of dayan in Vilna, and over the next 55 years, he became the unofficial Rav of Vilna. His only child, a girl of seventeen, became ill, was bedridden for three years, and died at twenty. Reb Chaim Ozer was one of the founders of Agudath Israel and the pillar of the movement throughout his life. He authored Sheilos Utshuvos Achi’ezer. With his petira, the Jewish people lost three giants in 10 months: Rav Shimon Shkop, Rosh Yeshiva in Telshe for 25 years, and in Grodno (9 Cheshvan), and Rav Baruch Ber Levovitz of Kamenitz (5 Kislev)

Rav Ezriel Hildesheimer, Rav of Adas Yisrael of Berlin (1820-1899). He learned in the yeshiva of Rav Yaakov Ettlinger, the Aruch Laner, in Altoona. In 1851, he became the Rav of Eisenstadt, Hungary, and moved to Berlin in 1869 to serve as Rav there. The founded and served as the first Rosh Yeshiva of the Berlin Rabbinical Seminary, in response to the growth of Reform in Germany. He authored Sheillos U-teshuvos Rav Azriel and Chiddushei Rav Azriel. The Seminary continued in existence until the late 1930s under the leadership of such figures as R’ Dovid Zvi Hoffman (until 1921), R’ Avraham Eliyahu Kaplan (until 1924) and R’ Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg.

Rav Binyamin Paler (1908-2000), a talmid muvhak of the Brisker Rav, Rav Yitzchak Zev HaLevi Soloveitchik. His mother was a direct descendent of the Rema. Born in Brisk, Rav Binyamin studied in Toras Chessed of Rav Moshe Sokolovski, author of the Imrei Moshe. In 1931, he transferred to the yeshiva of Rav Velvel Soloveitchik, the rav of Brisk. He traveled with the Mir yeshiva to Shanghai, where he drew close to the mashgiach, Rav Yechezkel Levenstein. After the war, he arrived in the United Sates and founded the Beis HaTalmud yeshiva in Brooklyn. Soon afterward he married the daughter of Rav Shmuel Ehrenfeld of Mattersdorf. In 1967, he founded the Mekor Chaim yeshiva, where he taught for over thirty years.

Rav Shimon Nosson Nota Biederman. Born in Tiveria to Rav Yaakov Yitzchak, the Admor of Lelov, a descendent of the first Lelover Rebbe, Rav Dovid, who himself was a talmid of the Chozeh of Lublin. When his father was niftar in 1981, Rav Shimon Nasan Nota became Admor and opened Mosdos Ohr Yaakov in his father’s memory; these included kollelim and chessed organizations. (1930-2004)

Rav Aharon Shakovitzky (1911-2005). Born to Rav Binyamin Shakovitzky, the Maggid of Minsk, Reb Aharon traveled alone to Eretz Yisrael at the age of 12 to study under Rav Leib Chasman at Yeshivas Chevron. He survived the Chevron Massacre of 1929 and later he lived in the home of Rav Yechezkel Sarna. After marrying, he and his wife lived in Tel Aviv and later in Bnei Brak. He studied with hasmodoh and yegi’oh his entire life, never wanting to take on the burden of the rabbinate.

Today in History – 5 Av

· Pope Clement VI forbade forcible baptism of Jews, 1345 (a papal order that was not followed seriously).
· The Russians took Vilna as part of the peace settlement between Chmielnicki and Czar Alexis, in 1655. The Jews of Vilna were once again subject to expulsion and murder.
· Anti-Jewish riots in Posen, 1716.
· Death of physician and zoologist Marcus Eliezer Bloch of Germany, 1799. A member of Moshe Mendelsohn’s circle of German maskilim, he became famous as the first modern fish naturalist (ichthyologist). He classified 1500 species in his 12 volume work Allegemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische. His collection of about 1500 specimens is today preserved at the Museum for Natural History (Naturhistorisches Museum) of the Humboldt University of Berlin.
· Anti-Jewish riots in Budapest following the acquittal of Jews on ritual murder charges, 1883.

{Licensed by Manny Saltiel and Newscenter}


  1. A few mistakes in today’s list of Gedolim
    It is Rav Klonimus not Klominus
    Rav Isserlish could not have been a son of the Rema because The Rema was niftar about 250 years prior to him

  2. “author of “Chochmas Shlomo on Shas and the Yad Shel Shlomo”
    Never heard of Yad Shel Shlomo. Maybe it should say Yam Shel Shlomo, but this is impossible that the Ari’s father is his descendant because he was in the Ari’s generation

  3. I am not sure who sets these short bio’s here. Perhaps a copy from previous years. I am sure though, that through out the years we’ve all found many errors.
    It is in all of our interests to correct these errors. More importantly, I would hope the editors are reading researching and correcting these.
    לעילו נשמת צדיקי עולם.
    יהפכו ימים אלו לששון ושמחה
    בג״צ במהרה.


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