This Day In History 17 Adar/March 15

Harav Chaim Davidson, Zt”l

In 5677/1917, British troops conquered Baghdad, ending the cruel rule of the Turkish Empire. Jews of Baghdad celebrated the day as a Purim.

In 5703/1943, Bulgarian Commissar for Jewish Affairs Alexander Belev signed an agreement permitting Germany to deport 26,000 Jews to extermination camps. Hy”d.

In 5708/1948, the Jewish quarter of Old Yerushalayim was besieged by Arabs, cutting the inhabitants off from their brethren in New Yerushalayim.


Yahrtzeiten

5643/1883, Harav Shimon Sofer, zt”l, Rav of Cracow and mechaber of Michtav Sofer (Adar II)

5677/1917, Harav Yitzchok Friedman, zy”a, the Pachad Yitzchak of Boyan

5702/1942, Harav Meir Shlomo Yehudah of Mezhritch, zy”a

5722/1962, Harav Yisrael Ze’ev Mintzberg of Yerushalayim, zt”l

5765/2005, Harav Avraham Menachem Danziger of Alexander, zy”a


5614/1854, Harav Chaim Davidson of Warsaw, Zt”l

Harav Chaim was born in Pintchov in 5520/1760. His father was Harav Dovid Tebeli, a famous lamdan of aristocratic lineage. When the Prussian king ordered all the Jews to adopt family names, Rav Chaim chose the name Davidson after his father, Rav Dovid.

Rav Chaim learned under Harav Yaakov of Lisa, the mechaber of Nesivos Hamishpat and Chavos Daas, and received semichah from him.

He married the daughter of Harav Naftali Hirsh Tzentziminer, known as a lamdan and a baal chessed.

Before he became a Rav, Reb Chaim was a businessman. On his business trips, he would stop to learn with Harav Akiva Eiger for weeks on end.

After the petirah of Harav Shlomo Zalman Lifshitz, the Chemdas Shlomo, Rav Chaim was chosen Rav of Warsaw, the second Rav of the city. The Jews in Warsaw said that they had suffered two great losses: the petirah of their Rav, the Chemdas Shlomo, and now the loss of a straight and honest businessman!

The fact is that Rav Chaim was active in the city even before being named Rav. His opinion was valued on halachic and Torah topics, as well as in business. The Chemdas Shlomo was known to say, “Without Reb Chaim, I will not enforce any new decree in the city.”

Despite being quite elderly when he began his tenure as Rav (at the age of 80!), Rav Chaim served in this capacity with great skill and was beloved by the entire kehillah.

In 5614/1854, at 94, feeling that his end was near, Rav Chaim burned all his chiddushei Torah, explaining in his modesty that they were not worthy of being published.

He was niftar on 17 Adar 5614/1854 and buried in Warsaw.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


March 15

In 1820, Maine became the 23rd state.

In 1892, New York State unveiled the new automatic ballot voting machine.

In 1917, Czar Nicholas II abdicated in favor of his brother, Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich, who declined the crown, marking the end of imperial rule in Russia.

In 1922, Sultan Fuad I proclaimed himself the first king of modern Egypt.

In 1937, America’s first hospital blood bank was opened at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.