Yahrtzeits – 16 Iyar
Rav Meir ben Gedaliah of Lublin, author of Maharam on Shas, also known as Meir Einai Chachamim. He was invited to the rabbinate of Cracow in 1587, before the age of 30. In 1591 he became rabbi at Lemberg. In 1613 he became rabbi at Lublin and established a Yeshiva (1558-1616)
Rav Shmuel Waldberg of Yaroslav (1856).
Rav Yechiel Michel Feinstein (1906-2003), born to Rav Avraham Yitzchak in Uzda, Lithuania. At the age of seven Yechiel Michel lost his father and went to live with his grandfather, Rav Dovid Feinstein, the rov of Stravin, Byelorussia. There he learned with his grandfather and uncles, Rav Moshe and Rav Mordechai. After his bar mitzvah he traveled to Slutsk to learn under Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer. When the Bolsheviks arrived, the yeshiva was forced to flee Lithuania, to Kletsk, Poland. There, he continued his studies with Rav Meltzer and Rav Aharon Kotler. After three years, he moved to Mir to learn with Yeruchom Leibovitz. He also learned in Brisk, Grodno, and Vilna. He escaped Europe for America in 1941, traveling together with Rav Aharon Kotler. Upon his arrival he opened a yeshiva in Boston for the talmidim of Yeshivas Mir. Six months later his uncle, Rav Moshe Feinstein, summoned Rav Yechiel Michel to serve at his side as head of Yeshivas Tiferes Yerushalayim in New York. He was to spend the next sixty years there. During a brief trip to Eretz Yisrael in 1946, he married a daughter of the Brisker Rav, Lifsha.
Rav Tzvi Hirsch Rosenbaum (1919-2006). He was a great great grandson of Rav Mordechai of Nadvorno. Born in Sighet in Romania’s Marmorosh region, he went to study at Yeshivas Ohr Torah in Stanislav after his Bar Mitzvah. There he became close to Rav Dovid Halevi Ish Horowitz, author of Imrei Dovid. The day after Purim 1944, the Germans entered Sighet, quickly setting up a ghetto. On 3 Iyar, the Germans took away Rab Tzvi Hirsh’s grandfather, the Kretchinefer Rebbe, and the entire family, sending them to Auschwitz. After six weeks there, Rav Tzvi Hirsch was transferred to a forced labor camp in Shuterberg where he worked in the kitchen. On Tisha B’Av 1945, he arrived in Eretz Yisrael. And opened his first Beis Midrash in Batei Ungarin. In 1975, he opened a Beis Midrash in Bnai Brak and in 1980, another one in Yerushalayim. Rav Tzvi Hirsch was a true talmid chochom in both nigla and nistar, and many miracles are ascribed to him. He was succeeded by his son Rav Zeidel Rosenbaum (Kretshniff Rebbe in New York) and his son Rav Nissan Chaim Rosenbaum (Kretchnif-Sighit Rebbe in Yerushalayim) He also left many dedicated talmidim.
Yahrtzeits – Shabbos, 17 Iyar
Rav Yechezkel Landau, the Noda Beyehuda (1713-1793). Born in Apta, Poland, learned and served in Brody, serving as Av Beis Din at the age of 20 years. In 1755, he was appointed Rav of Prague and all of Bohemia, soon establishing and heading a yeshiva there as well. He also wrote Dagul Meirevavah on the Shulchan Aruch and Tzelach on Shas, as well as Doresh Tziyon and Ahavas Tziyon. He was able to trace his family lineage back to Rashi.
Rav Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sadlikov, grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, author of Degel Machaneh Ephraim (1748-1800). He was born and died in Medzibosh, and his grave is next to that of the Baal Shem Tov. His brother was the famous Reb Baruch of Medzibosh. After the Baal Shem Tov’s passing, Moshe Chaim studied under the Maggid of Mezritch and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye, the author of Toledos Yaakov Yosef.
Rav Mordechai (“Mottele”) Twerskyof Rachmistrivka (~1830-1921). Born in Rachmistrivka, Podlia (Ukraine), his father Nachman was a grandson of Rav Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl. He moved to Yerushalayim from Europe in 1908 (or 1906). His father, Rav Yochanan Twerski, son of the famous Rebbe Mottele of Chernobyl, was the first Rebbe of the Rachmistrivka dynasty. When his father was niftar in 1895, Ran Menachem and his two brothers shared the Rachmistrivka court together for 11 years. On the first day of Chol Hamoed Pesach in 1921, Rav Mordechai was attacked by a mob of Arabs while on his way to the Kosel. He passed away a month later, due to complications of injuries sustained during that attack.
Rav Pinchas of Ostila Twerski. The son of Rav Mordechai of Rachmistrivka, both of Rav Pinchas’s parents were descendants of the Baal Shem Tov’s greatest talmidim – Rav Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl (on his father’s side) and Rav Pinchas of Koritz (on his mother’s side). After marrying Chana Rochel, the daughter of Rav Yissacher Dov of Belz, Rav Pinchas settled and learned in Blez for 23 years. In 1923, he became the Rav of Ostilla, and after a few years he moved to P’shemish. Rav Pinchas was deported to the Belzec Extermination Camp on the 17th of Iyar in 1943. Close to one million Jews were murdered at Belzec; it is lesser known that other camps since almost no one survived to tell of it. No one knows exactly when Rav Pinchas was niftar, so his yahrtzeits was established on the same day as that of his father. The only member of his family to survive the war was his daughter, who married Rav Yaakov Yosef of Skver. Together, they built Kiryas Skver and the Skverer Torah institutions (1880-1943).
Rav Tzvi Hirsch Rosenbaum, the Kretchnif-Sighet Rebbe (1921-2005).
Rav Nissan Alpert – Born in Europe, he moved to America early in life and became a talmid muvhak of Rav Moshe Feinstein. He became the head of the kollel of Yeshiva Rabbi Isaac Elchonon and as rabbi of the Agudath Israel of Long Island in Far Rockaway. His son-in-law, Rabbi Dovid Weinberger, Rav of Shaaray Tefilah in Lawrence, New York, published much of Rav Alpert’s Chumash commentary in Limudei Nison, which was translated into English as “Rabbi Nison Alpert on the Sidrah.”
Today in History – 16 Iyar
· The Roman legion under Florus plundered Yerushalayim and killed 3600 Jews, 66 C.E.
· Titus recaptured the middle wall of Yerushalayim and razed it, 70 C.E.
· Anti-Jewish riots in Odessa, Russia, 1881
· Anti-Jewish riots in Algeria, 1897.
· Construction began on the first 100 houses to be built in Achuzat Bayit (later known as Tel Aviv), 1909.
· The Nuremburg anti-Jewish laws went into effect in Hungary, 1939.
· The U.S. 7th Army liberated the Dachau concentration camp, 1945.
· Israeli spy Eli Cohen hung in Damascus, 1962.
Today in History – 17 Iyar
· The Roman garrison, on its way to seize the Bais Hamikdosh, was attacked by Jewish forces and compelled to retreat, 66 C.E.
· Jews of Worms were massacred by Crusaders, 1096.
· Jews of England were thrown into prison on charges of coining, 1278.
· 1,200 Jews of Toledo, Spain were killed, 1355.
· English colonists went ashore in Virginia to begin building the first permanent settlement in what would be the United States, 1607. The settled was named Jamestown, after England’s King James I.
· Death of Shmuel Oppenheimer, the leading financier who supplied the Austrian army during their various campaigns, 1703. In 1692 he was falsely arrested by Bishop Kolbnitsch and had to buy his freedom with 500,000 florins. He was the founder of the Viennese Jewish community, receiving permission to settle there after the expulsion of 1670. He supported Jewish communities, and ransomed many Jews from the Turks.
· The Nazis interned 3600 Jews of Russian origin, 1941.