This Day In History 27 Nisan/April 12

Yahrtzeiten

5565/1805, Harav Yichya Tzalach of Teiman, zt”l, mechaber of Eitz Chaim and Pe’ulas Hatzedek

5567/1807, Harav Yitzchak Ashkenazi, zt”l, mechaber of Taharas Hakodesh

5579/1819, Harav Yehudah Kahana Heller, zt”l, the Kuntres Hasefeikos

5703/1943, Harav Tzvi Aryeh Frumer, Hy”d, the Koziglover Rav

5740/1980, Harav Levi Yitzchak Greenwald, zt”l, the Tzhelemer Rav, who is buried in New York.

5761/2001, Harav Avigdor Miller, zt”l, Rav of Kehillas Bais Yisrael in Flatbush and prolific mechaber of many sefarim in English.


5729/1969, Harav Yeshayah Asher Zelig Margulies, zt”l, Leading Mekubal of Yerushalayim

Harav Yeshayah Asher Zelig Margulies was born in 5654/1894, in Chelm, Poland. His father, Reb Yaakov Tzvi, was a staunch Belzer Chassid.

In 5666/1906, his father sent him to learn in Yerushalayim, upon the advice of the Belzer Rebbe, Harav Yissachar Dov, zy”a.

In Yerushalayim, young Asher Zelig learned in Yeshivas Chayei Olam. Later he learned in Yeshivas Chevron and in Yeshivas Toras Emes of Lubavitch. He married and settled in Yerushalayim.

During World War I, the Ottoman Empire expelled all foreign residents from Eretz Yisrael, and thus Rav Asher Zelig and many others were sent to Egypt. There, Rav Asher Zelig joined Yeshivas Eretz Yisrael in Alexandria, which was led by Harav Menachem Mendel Na’eh, zt”l, and his son Harav Avraham Chaim Na’eh, zt”l.

In 5680/1919, all the refugees returned to Eretz Yisrael.

Rav Asher Zelig’s first Rebbe was Harav Avraham Simchah Horowitz, zt”l, the Barnover Rebbe, a scion of the Ropshitz dynasty. Rav Asher Zelig was very close to Reb Avraham Simchah until the latter’s petirah, on 15 Adar 1 5676/1916.

Rav Asher Zelig was one of the close talmidim of Harav Chaim Shaul Dwek, zt”l, learning Kabbalah under him in his yeshivah, Yeshivas Rechovos Hanahar. In 5685/1925, Rav Asher Zelig traveled to Damascus, upon instruction from Rav Chaim Shaul, to daven at the kever of Harav Chaim Vital, zt”l.

Another of Rav Asher Zelig’s Rebbes was the famed mekubal Harav Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari, zt”l, known as the Saba Kadisha. Rav Asher Zelig published the responsa of the Saba Kadisha. Through the Saba Kadisha, he was introduced to the Minchas Elazar of Munkatch, zy”a.

Rav Asher Zelig would travel several times a year to Meron to the kever of the Rashbi. Lag BaOmer was celebrated as a Yom Tov. He would give haircuts to many children, with the special silver scissors he had especially for Lag BaOmer.

Rav Asher Zelig printed close to 30 sifrei Kabbalah, and his marginal annotations are found in many works.

He was niftar on 27 Nisan 5729/1969.

His only son was Rav Yitzchak Chaim. His sons-in-law were Harav Efraim Fishel Eizenbach, Rosh Yeshivas Shaar HaShamayim; Harav Yoel Samet; Harav Berel Chanoun; and Harav Yosef Weinstock.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


April 12

In 1606, England adopted as its flag the original version of the Union Jack.

In 1861, the American Civil War began as Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

In 1945, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Ga., at age 63; he was succeeded by Vice President Harry S. Truman.

In 1955, the Salk vaccine against polio was declared safe and effective.

In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly in space, orbiting the earth once before making a safe landing.

In 1981, the space shuttle Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on its first test flight.