Today’s Yahrtzeits and History – 8 Av

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yahrtzeit-candlesRav Shmuel Shmelke Toibish, Rav of Yas (Jassi), author of Chayei Olam, Milchamos Hashem, and Mitzvas Chalitzah (1865).

Rav Yehuda HaLevy of Ragoza, founder of the Jewish yishuv in Yafo (1878).

Rav Simcha Zissel Ziv, the Alter from Kelm (1824-1898). After his marriage, he moved from Kelm to Kovno where he became a talmid muvhak of Rav Yisrael Salanter. In 1862, he opened the Talmud Torah of Kelm, in order to combat the growing influence of haskala. About 15 years later, he and his yeshiva were denounced as “anti-government, and Rav Simcha Zissel had to change his last name from Broide to Ziv. His talmidim included Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel (the Alter of Slobodka), Rav Yosef Yoizel Horowitz (the Alter of Novardok), Rav Aharon Bakst, Rav Reuven Dessler, and his son Rav Nachum Ziv. The yeshiva was always highly restricted and at most it held 30 to 35 talmidim.

Rav Shmuel Luvtzar, author of Olas Shmuel (1898).

Rav Shimon Agasi was born in Baghdad (1852-1914). His family originated in Persia. In Persian, his name Agasi, means “commissioner,” a position some of his forebears, who were very wealthy and influential, had occupied in their native land. Rav Shimon’s father, Rav Aharon, had been a very successful businessman who imported paint from India. At the age of eleven, Shimon began to study in Baghdad’s Medrash Talmud Torah, founded by Rav Abdallah Somech. It developed rapidly to become the top Torah institution in the city, where over three thousand students studied free-of-charge. Among those who learned there were Rav Eliyahu Mani (the chief rav of Chevron), the Ben Ish Chai and Rav Salman Mutzafi. In 1865, a man, named Yitzchak Luria, came to Baghdad and attempted to open an Alliance school, which offered secular studies and tried to modernize the lifestyles of its students. However, Baghdad’s sages placed a cheirem on the school and thwarted his efforts. From Medrash Talmud Torah, Rav Shimon proceeded to its adult division, Beit Zilcha, where he became one of its finest students. His main mentors in Beit Zilcha were Rav Abdallah Somech’s two best students, Rav Shmuel Majled and Rav Nissim HaLevi. At the age of 17, Rav Shimon began to study Kabbalah from Rav Chaim Vital’s Eitz Chaim. A number of years later, he joined the Chacham Yitzchak yeshivah, founded by Rav Yitzchak Berabi Mordechai Sasson, another of Baghdad’s great sages. Among its illustrious students were Rav Yehuda Petaya, Rav Dovid Sofer, Rav Rafael Shlomo Laniado, Rav Nissim Kadouri and Rav Yitzchak Nissim. In 1898, his oldest son, Aharon, passed away on Purim of that year. Rav Agasi was the author of Shem MiShimon.

Rav Meilech Silber, menahel of the Yeshiva of Eastern Parkway (1970). Born in Nuremberg, Germany, his lifetime of serving his fellow Jews began at the age of 7: Rav Avrohom Yitzchok Klein, leader of the Adas Yisroel community in Nuremberg, would send him on secret missions in the early morning hours, going to the houses of poor families, leaving an envelope full of money on the step, knocking on the door, and then running away as fast as he could. With the advent of World War II, the Silber family moved to America, settling in the Bronx. He learned at different periods in RJJ, Torah Vodaas and Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin. He also served as National Director of Pirchei Agudas Yisroel, as well as Head Counselor of Camp Agudah. In 1946, Reb Meilech was sent by Rav Hutner to a new yeshiva in the Crown Heights neighborhood which was searching for a principal. At the time, the yeshiva consisted of 10 kindergartners, two teachers and, now, a principal. From this humble beginning grew the renowned Yeshiva of Eastern Parkway. Throughout the next 25 years, Reb Meilech built the yeshiva into a dynamic force in Torah education. Today, Yeshiva Zichron Meilech, under the leadership of Rav Chaim Leib Epstein, takes its name from Reb Meilech and strives to continue in his path.

Rav Chanoch Henich Dov Zilberfarb, the Koidenover Rebbe (1978).

Today in History – 8 Av

· Jews in Frankfort, Germany were murdered in the Black Death massacres of 1349.
· Expulsion of the Jewish community of Vienna, 1670.
· Jews of Austria were required to take family names, 1787.
· The Jewish Agency (Sochnut) for Palestine was founded, 1929
· The mass deportation of the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto was announced; over the next 53 days, over 300,000 Jews were taken to concentration camps, 1942.
· A jury in Washington DC convicted 12 Hanafi Mulsims on charges stemming from a hostage siege at three building the previous March, 1977.
· Israelreleased 334 Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture to Abu Mazen, the Palestinian Prime Minister, as a confidence building measure. However, Yasser Arafat dismissed the release as “an act of fraud and deceit.”

{Yahrtzeits licensed by Manny Saltiel and Newscenter}


  1. QUESTION: Why are the Mussar leaders known as “Der Alte” when they weren’t necessarily old when bestowed this title?


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