Yahrtzeits, Friday, 12 Av
Rav Zevulun Aryeh Graz (1904-1989). Born in Ozband, Lithuania, to Rav Yosef Nesanael, a student of the Alter of Kelm and, for a while, the menahel ruchani of the Telz yeshivah. As a youngster, Rav Zevulun Aryeh studied for a while in Kelm, and then under Rav Eliyahu Lopian in Telz. In 1924, he joined a group of Telz students to Eretz Yisrael to study in the Knesses Yisrael yeshivah in Chevron, a branch of Slabodka. After the massacre of 1929, the survivors left Chevron and settled in Yerushalayim. Rav Zevulun Aryeh noved back to Lithuania in 1931, married, and delivered shiur at Yeshivah Ohel Moshe. Later, Rav Zevulun Aryeh studied in the Kovna kollel of Rav Avraham Kahana-Shapiro, the Dvar Avraham. In 1939, when the Nazis overran Lithuania, Rav Zevulun Aryeh, who already possessed Palestinian citizenship, headed back for Eretz Yisrael. Upon arriving, he moved to Chadera, where he stayed for 10 years. Rav Tzvi Yehuda Meltzer, the brother-in-law of Rav Aharon Kotler, was Rav of Pardess Channah at that time. Opening a branch of the Kletzk yeshivah in Pardess Channah, he invited Rav Zevulun Aryeh to deliver shiurim there. When Rav Tzvi Yehuda moved his yeshivah to Rechovot, he asked Rav Zevulun Aryeh to join him there, too. Every Erev Shabbos, Rav Zevulun Aryeh would return from Rechovot to his home in Chadera for Shabbos, in an armored vehicle that protected him from Arab snipers.
Rav Binyamin Wolf Lev, author of Shaarei Torah (1829)
Rav Aryeh Leib Katzenelenbogen, Rav of Brisk (1837)
Rav Yeshaya Weltfried of Kalisch (1939), a descendent of the Chozeh of Lublin from his mother’s side. He married the daughter of Rav Yechiel Danziger, the first Alexander Rebbe, and eventually moved to Kalisch, where he established his court. He was nifter a month before the onset of WW II. One of his sons, Rav Chaim, survived the Holocaust and was niftar in 1997 in Eretz Yisrael.
Yahrtzeits, Shabbos, 13 Av
Rav Mordechai Banet of Nikolsburg, Hungary, author of Parashas Mordechai (1753-1829)
Rav Nosson Nota Shapira, author of Megaleh Amukos and Ranav Ofanim (1585-1633). Eliyahu HaNavi is said to have visited with him regularly. Son of Rav Shlomo Shapira, and grandson of Rav Matisyahu ben Yosef Treves of Provence (1325-1382) who was appointed Chief Rabbi of Paris by Charles the Fifth. The Shapiro family comes from the German town of Speyer from where the founder of the family escaped at the time of the First Crusade in 1096.
Rav Hillel of Paritsh (1795-1864). A chassid of Rav Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, the Tzemach Tsedek, he served as the Rav of Bobruisk for many years, and authored Pelach HaRimon, a work of deep chassidic thought.
Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin, Menahel of Ezras Torah (1881-1973). Born in the Mohilev province of Russia, he studied at the Mir Yeshiva at the age of 15. Soon after, he became the youngest student in the yeshiva of Slutsk headed by R’ Isser Zalman Meltzer. In 1923, R’ Henkin was on the verge of being deported to a Soviet labor camp when he escaped to the United States. After being detained on Ellis Island for five weeks, he obtained a rabbinic position on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Shortly thereafter, R’ Henkin published his important work on the laws of marriage and divorce entitled Perushei Ivra. In 1925, he was appointed Executive Director of the charitable organization Ezras Torah. He would remain in this position for 48 years. The halachic rulings in the Ezras Torah calendar are Rav Henkin’s, based on his work, Edut Le’Yisrael.
Rav Yosef Greenwald of Pupa (1984), author of Vayechi Yosef. Son of Rav Yaakov Yechezkel Greenwald, the previous Pupa Rebbe, author of Vayaged Yaakov, and grandson of Rav Moshe Greenwald of Chust, author of Arugas HaBosem.
Rav Zelig Epstein, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Shaar HaTorah (Grodna) in Queens NY (2009).
Today in History – 12 Av
· By order of King James I of Aragon, the Ramban was forced to a public debate with Pablo Christiani, a Jewish convert to Christianity, 1263. As a result of his decisive victory – and hence embrassment of the King’s religion – the Ramban was forced to leave Spain and move to Eretz Yisrael.
· Thirty-six Jews were burned at the stake in Berlin, 1510.
· The Russian government removed the ban on Hebrew and Yiddish periodicals, 1918.
· Russian army liberated the city of Kovno, 1944.
· An uprising broke out in Warsaw against Nazi occupation. The revolt lasted 2 months before being subdued, 1944.
· Expulsion of Jews in Gaza begins and is completed 5 days later, 2005. Instead of being used for profitable agricultural endeavors, Gush Katif becomes a hotbed of terrorist camps.
Today in History – 13 Av
· Jews of Wurzburg were massacred, 1298.
· 16 Jews were burned at the stake in Barcelona, 1488.
· A handful of Jewish survivors of the Kovno Ghetto – including Rav Efrayim Oshri, author of Responsa from the Holocaust – emerged from hiding, 1944.
· French Marshal Henri Petain died in 1951. Head of the Vichi government during Nazi rule, Petain went on trial charge with treason. He was condemned to death but his sentence was commuted and he died in prison.
· The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal handed down its first conviction for genocide, finding a Bosnian Serb general, Radislav Krstic, guilty of the deaths of up to 8000 Muslims, for which he received a 35-year sentence.
· Death of Harel Oz Ben-Nun and Shneur Zalman Liebman, students of Yeshiva Od Yosef Chai in Yitzhar, murdered al-kiddush-Hashem by Palestinian terrorists (1998).
· Death of Rav Klonimus Kalman Kryman (1914-2004). He learned in the Ger mesivta in Warsaw, and lost his entire extended family during the Holacaust. He served as baal koreh and baal toke’ah at Yagdil Torah’s beis kenesses of Chassidei Ger for over 30 years