-Rav Chaim Soleveitchik of Volozhin and Brisk (1853-1918). Son of the Beis Halevi, Rav Yosef Dov Soleveitchik, Rav Chaim was born in Volozhin, but moved with his family to Slutzk while still quite young, when his father became Rav of the city. When Rav Chaim was 20, he married Lifsha, the daughter of Rav Raphael Shapira, the son-in-law of the Netziv. Since Rav Raphael was a rish mesivta in Volozhin, Rav Chaim moved there. When Rav Raphael moved away, Rav Chaim took the post of rosh mesivta. Volozhin in 1880. In 1892, following the closing of the Volozhin yeshivah, Rav Chaim moved to Brisk where he succeeded his father as the community Rav. Rav Chaim is buried next to the Netziv in the Jewish cemetery in Warsaw. His oldest son was Rav Moshe, who was the father of Rav Yosef Dov and Rav Ahron Soleveitchik. His other famous son was Rav Yitzchak Zev (the “GRIZ”), also known as Reb Velvel, the Brisker Rav of Yerushalayim.
-Rav Aharon Rokeach, fourth generation Belzer Rebbe (1880-1957). He escaped the Nazis and made aliyah in 1944, establishing his court in Tel Aviv. The current Belzer Rebbe is his nephew.
Today in History – 21 Av
· The second set of Latin Christian anti-Jewish laws were passed, 339 CE. The Laws of Constantius forbade intermarriage between Jewish men and Christian women, and a generation later, in 388, were extended to all marriages between Jews and Christians. Constantius also did away with the right of Jews to possess slaves, thereby arresting conversion to Judaism at the same time as it dealt a blow to the Jews’ economic life.
· German President Paul von Hindenburg dies, paving the way for Hitler’s complete takeover, 1934.
· 24 Yiddish writers of Russia were executed by the Soviet Government, 1952.
· First train with Jews deported from Belgium to Auschwitz, 1942