Yahrtzeits – 15 Elul
Rav Chanoch Henach Eiges of Vilna, author of Marcheshes. Learned under Rav Alexander Moshe Lapidus at his Kollel in Rassein.
Rav Yaakov Koppel Chassid, the chazzan of the Baal Shem Tov and founder of the Kosov and Vizhnitz dynasties (1787). Born in Kolomaya, Ukraine, he was able to trace his family-tree through his father, Rav Nechemyah Feivel, back to the Baalei Tosfos of Provence and beyond, to Dovid HaMelech. His most famous work, Shaar Gan Eden, was printed posthumously in 1854.He also wrote a kabbalist commentary on the Siddur Kol Yaakov, printed in 1859, based on the nusach of the Arizal, and a kabbalistic commentary on the Haggadah. Some of his Torah ideas are quoted by his son, Rav Menachem Mendel of Kosov, in his sefer, Ahavas Shalom.
Yahrtzeits – 16 Elul
Rav Avraham Landau, the Strikover Rebbe of Bnei Brak (1917-2001). Born in Kinov, in the Ostrovtze region of Poland. His father, Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Dan, served as rav of the city. Avraham was raised by his grandfather, Rav Elimelech Menachem Mendel. At the age of 13, Avraham began to study in the Chachmei Lublin yeshiva. When the second World War broke out, he was at his parents’ home and he fled with his father to Lodz, from which the family fled to Warsaw, and from there, at the directive of his father, Avraham fled to Baranowitz. A week after his arrival in Baranowitz he fled to Vilna, during Chanukah 1939. There, he began to study under the Griz (Rav Velvel Soloveitchik) of Brisk. In 1946, he married a great-granddaughter of the Chiddushei Harim of Gur. After their marriage he learned that his father and eight of his siblings had perished in the Holocaust, and that only he and his sister remained alive from the entire Strikover dynasty.
Today in History – 15 Elul
· Jews of Palma were massacred, 1391.
· The right to public worship is denied to the Jews of New York because freedom of religion applied to Christians only, 1685. (44 years – almost to the day – later, the foundation was laid for the first shul in New York (and all of North America.)
· Russiaunder the anti-Semitic Nicholas I decrees the 25-year draft of Jewish boys between the ages of twelve and twenty-five, 1827. This became known as the infamous Cantonists decree. For the next thirty years, approximately seventy thousand Jews, fifty thousand of whom were children, were forced into the military and many were tortured until they agreed to be baptized. The decree was rescinded shortly after Nicholas I’s death on Purim 1855.
· Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat sign the Camp David agreement giving back all the Sinai to Egypt, 1978.
Today in History – 16 Elul
· Hitler issued Directive no. 1, 1939 ordering the attack on Poland to begin at dawn the following day.
· Nazi decree forbidding non-Jews to work for Jews, 1940.
· Whole Jewish community of Meretsch, Lithuania, massacred by the Nazis, 1941.
· Illegal Jewish immigrants exiled to Mauritius by the British, were admitted into Eretz Yisrael, 1945.
· Death of Reb Simon Wiesenthal, famed Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter (1909-2005)