Yahrtzeits – 11 Tammuz
Rav Yitzchak Chiyus (1616). Rav in Prossnitz (Prostejov) and Prague. Author of Pnei Yitzchak (which sets Yoreh Deah to rhyme), Siach Yitzchak (which sets Hilchos Pesach to rhyme), and Pachad Yitzchak, a commentary on the passage in Tractate Gittin which deals with the destruction of the Temple, as well as Api Rav’reve.
Rav Aharon Moshe Toibish, Rav and Av Beis Din of Jassy (Yassy; Iasi; Yosser; Tirgu-Yasski), Romania, and author of Karnei Re’em and To’eifos Re’em. Yassy, the capital of Moldavia, once had 40,000 inhabitants, but fires in 1822 and 1827 reduced that number by a half. In 1854, the whole of Moldova was in Bessarabia, a province of Russia. In 1849, 20% were Jews, and in 1908, close to 50% were Jews.
Rav Tzvi Hirsch Eichenstein of Zhidatchov (1785-1831), founder of the Zhidachov dynasty and author of Ateres Tzvi. A close disciple of the Chozeh of Lublin, he championed the position that the practice of Chasidism had to be firmly based on the study of the Kabbala of the Ari Hakadosh.
Rav Avraham Damesek of Krakow, author of Avnei Kodesh (1841).
Rav Yehuda Leib Tzirelson (1859-1941). In 1908, he became Rav and Av Beis Din in Kishinev. In 1912 he was among core Jewish leaders and rabbis who laid the foundation to Agudath Israel movement. In 1918 Bessarabia became part of Romania and R. Tsirelson was nominated Chief Rabbi of the whole Bessarabia. In 1920 having enough knowledge of Romanian language he was elected to represent Jews of Bessarabia in the Parliament of Romania in Bucharest. In 1922 he became the only Bessarabian Jewish representative in the parliament.
Rav Elchonon Bunim Wasserman, author of Kovetz Shiurim, Kovetz Heoros, Kovetz Maamarim and Ikvesa D’Meshicha. Born in the town of Birz, Lithuania, he learned at Telshe under Rav Eliezer Gordon and Rav Shimon Shkop., then lived with and learned from R’ Chaim Soleveitchik from 1897 to 1899. He learned from the Chafetz Chaim 1907-10, becoming his closest disciple, then went to Brisk to be Rosh Yeshiva. Became Rosh Yeshiva of Brananovich after WW1 in 1920 and grew it from 60 to 500 bachurim. (1875-1941) (12 Tammuz, according to some)
Rav Shmuel (“Shmelke”) Pinter, the Bukovsker Rebbe (1919-1994).
Yahrtzeits – 12 Tammuz
Rabbeinu Yaakov ben Asher, the Baal Haturim (1268-1340), son of the Rosh. When his father fled Germany with his entire family to Spain in 1803, Rav Yaakov first lived with his brother Rav Yechiel, in Barcelona, then moved to Toledo, where his father was Rav. His younger brother, Rav Yehuda, who would marry Rav Yaakov’s daughter, succeeded the Rosh as Rav of Toledo, while Rav Yaakov himself preferred to take a position on the Beis Din. His monumental halchic work, the Arba’ah Turim included virtually all opinions available to Rav Yaakov, as well as a wealth of customs. The many commentators on the Tur include those of Rav Yosef Karo (the Beis Yosef), Rav Moshe Isserles (Darkei Moshe), Rav Yoel Sirkes (The Beis Chadash), Rav Yehoshua Falk (Derishah uPerishah), and Rav Yosef Escapa (the Rosh Yosef), who deals with only a part of the work. The Chida comments that without a proper study of the Tur and its commentaries, one cannot begin to determine halachah. Rav Yaakov also authored Sefer HaRemazim (also known as Kitzur Piskei HaRosh), an abridged version of his father’s compendium of the Talmud, quoted in Sefer Mesharim. Rav Yaakov died in Toledo.
Rav Eliyahu Baruch Kamai, Mirrer Rosh Yeshiva (1840-1917). A descendant of Rav Avraham, the brother of the Vilna Gaon, Rav Elya was born in Telz. His father died when the boy was only two, and the boy’s teacher was his stepfather and future father-in-law, Rav Chaim Zev Jaffe. Beginning in 1868, Rav Elya Baruch also succeeded Rav Chaim Zev as rabbi of the town of Shkod, Lithuania. In 1899, Rav Elya Baruch was called to serve as rosh yeshiva of the Mirrer Yeshiva. In 1901, Rav Elya Baruch also became Rav of the town of Mir. When his co-rosh yeshiva, Rav Avraham Tiktinsky, retired in 1907, Rav Elya Baruch named his own son-in-law, Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, to the faculty of the yeshiva. Some of Rav Elya Baruch’s lectures were published under the title Zichron Eliyahu. He was succeeded as Rav of Mir by his son, Rav Avraham Zvi Kamai, who was massacred with 2300 of his congregants on 18 Cheshvan in 1942.
Today in History – 11 Tammuz
· King Louis IX of France decreed that all Jews must wear the distinctive yellow badge, 1269.
· The expulsion of all Marranos in Ghent, Belgium, 1549.
· “Red Purim” in Algiers, 1774. The Spanish armada under O Reilly tried to capture the city, and the Jews were in danger, but were finally saved.
· Earthquake in environs of Yerushalayim, 1927. The Kaf Hachaim notes (576:26) that although many Arabs died, miraculously not a single Jew was injured.
· Death of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, 1935
Today in History – 12 Tammuz
· Massacre of the Jews of Weiner-Neustadt and Morgentheim, Austria, 1298.
· Jews denounced to the Inquisition received the right to face their accusers, 1298.
· Equal rights for Jews of Romania, 1878.
· Release of Rav Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson of Lubavitch from Soviet prison, 1927
· Lithuanian Nazis executed 5000 Jews in the Ninth Fort of Kovno, among them Rav Elchonon Wasserman, Rav Yosef Chaim Zaks, a Rosh Yeshiva at Ohel Moshe in Slobodka, and Reb Velvel Grodzensky (son of Rav Avraham, the mashgiach of Slobodka),1941.
· Peak of pogroms against Egyptian Jews, 1948. Over 150 killed