Rav Salman Mutzafi (1900-1975). Born in Baghdad to Rav Tzion Meir, who descended from an illustrious family of Torah scholars who first arrived in Baghdad during the Spanish expulsion. The person who had the greatest influence on Rav Salman during his childhood was the Ben Ish Chai. Every Shabbos, the young Salman accompanied his father to Baghdad’s main shul to hear the Ben Ish Chai’s drasha, which lasted for two hours and was attended by over 2,000 people. In 1934, he moved to Eretz Yisrael. For two full years, he studied the nine volumes of Siddur Harashash, with all of its kabbalistic kavanos. It is said that his prayers have successfully saved the Jewish people on many occasions.
Rav Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg (1923-1999). The Weinberg family is from the Slonimer chasidic dynasty, a Lithuanian chassidus. The approach and relationship of the Slonim chasidim to Torah has been similar to the classical Litvishe approach. The founder of the dynasty was Rav Avraham ben Yitzchak Mattisyohu Weinberg, the author of Chessed L’Avraham. As a youth, Rav Weinberg studied in the Rabbenu Chaim Berlin yeshiva in New York City under Rav Yitzchak Hutner, a talmid of the Alter of Slobodke. Rav Weinberg married the only daughter of Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman, the rosh yeshiva of Ner Yisrael of Baltimore and another talmid of the Alter. In 1964, Rav Ruderman sent him to Toronto, to preside as the rosh yeshiva of a branch that Ner Yisrael had established there several years earlier.Eight years later, when the yeshiva in Toronto decided to become independent, he returned to Baltimore. Shortly before the petirah of his father-in-law in 1987, Rav Weinberg was asked to preside as the rosh yeshiva of Ner Yisrael in Baltimore. He was a member of the Moetzes Roshei Hayeshivos of Torah Umesorah for many years, and was very active in expanding the projects of this important organization.
Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Spiegel (1937-2001), Rav of the Romanian shul Khal Shaarei Shomayim, son of Rav Moshe Menachem Spiegel, the Admor of Ostrov-Kalushin (formerly of Brownsville, later of the Lower East Side), and the grandson of Rav Naftali Aryeh Spiegel, the former Rav of Ostrov-Kalushin in Poland; a talmid muvhak of Rav Ahron Kotler.
Today in History – 17 Tammuz
· Crusaders captured Yerushalayim, 1099.
· Anti-Jewish riots in Cordova, Spain, 1148.
· Jews of Lithuania received a Charter of Privilege, 1388.
· The rabble murdered Rav Yehuda, the grandson of the Rosh, together with his family, talmidim and many others in Toledo, incited by the archdeacon of Ejica, Ferrand Martinez, 1391. This followed massacres in Seville, where 4000 Jews were murdered and many others were forced to convert, as well as Cordova.
· The American colonies declared their independence and promised religious freedom for all, 1776. The Declaration of Independence eventually provided the basis for religious tolerance in most other countries. While there were less than 2,500 Jews within the colonies, approximately 600 Jews participated in the revolution including 24 officers (and the great-grandfather of Supreme Court Justice Cardozo). Isaac Franks, David Salisbury Franks and Solomon Bush all attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. One company in South Carolina had so many Jews that it was called the “Jews Company”.
· Special taxes on Jews were finally abolished in Switzerland, 1798
· 4,000 Jews of the ghetto in Bialystok were shot, 1941.
· Libyaordered the confiscation of Jewish property, 1970.
· In a landmark church-state decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that tuition vouchers were constitutional, 2002.