This Day In History 20 Tammuz/July 14

Harav Meir Karelitz, zt”l

In 5654/1894, many Jews of Vilna were killed during the Polish uprising. Jews of Vilna held a fast day to commemorate the tragedy.

In 5704/1944, the Nazis destroyed the Kovno ghetto.


Yahrtzeiten

5443/1683, Harav Nosson Nota Hanover, zt”l, Hy”d, mechaber of Yevein Hametzulah

5739/1979, Harav Hillel Lichtenstein, zt”l, the Krasna Rav

5763/2003, Harav Betzalel Rakow, zt”l, Rav of Gateshead


5761/2001, Harav Chaim Shaul Karelitz, zt”l, Mashgiach of Yeshivas Beis Meir

Harav Chaim Shaul Karelitz was born on 8 Elul 5672/1912. His father, Rav Meir, zt”l, the Rav of Lachowitz, was highly regarded by the Gedolei Hador.

As a child, Reb Chaim Shaul learned in Vilna and then in the Talmud Torah of Kovslova. In his youth, he learned for a brief period in the Ramailles yeshivah in Vilna under Harav Meir Bassin, zt”l. Afterward he went to Baranovitch, where he learned under Harav Elchanan Wasserman, zt”l.

At 18 he moved on to Yeshivas Kamenitz, learning under Harav Baruch Ber Leibowitz, zt”l, for more than 10 years.

When World War II broke out, he boarded the very last ship from Vilna to Eretz Yisrael, following most of his family who already lived there. For a brief period he learned in Yeshivas Kamenitz in Yerushalayim; then, on the advice of the Chazon Ish, zt”l, he moved on to Yeshivas Lomza in Petach Tikvah.

In Sivan 5702/1942, Rav Chaim Shaul married Leah, a”h, daughter of Harav Yehoshua Berger, zt”l, and granddaughter of Harav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, zt”l. Their wedding took place in the home of the Steipler Gaon, zt”l, in Bnei Brak and was attended by the Chazon Ish.

After their marriage, the couple resided in Petach Tikvah, where Rav Chaim Shaul continued his Torah studies in the renowned Kollel Toras Eretz Yisrael, headed by Harav Yitzchak Katz, zt”l.

In 5715/1955, with the petirah of his father, Rav Meir, Rav Chaim Shaul moved to Bnei Brak to be near his mother, but he continued to travel every day to Petach Tikvah to learn in the kollel.

Rav Chaim Shaul was a member of the Tashbar Talmud Torah presidium and worked hard on behalf of the mosad. His other public activities included being a member of the presidium of Zeirei Agudas Yisrael.

In 5747/1987, Harav Eliezer Menachem Shach, zt”l, asked Rav Chaim Shaul to found She’aris Yisrael and its Vaad Hakashrus in Eretz Yisrael.

Harav Chaim Shaul Karelitz was a gaon in all aspects of Torah. Gedolei Yisrael praised his vast Torah knowledge. He would learn with tremendous fervor, deriving vigor from Torah study. Even when deeply involved in efforts on behalf of the klal, he would withdraw into himself when he sat down to learn.

Rav Chaim Shaul was hospitalized for about a month before his petirah.

He was niftar on 20 Tammuz 5761/2001, and was buried in the Ponevezer beis olam in Bnei Brak.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


July 14

In 1789, in an event symbolizing the start of the French Revolution, citizens of Paris stormed the Bastille prison and released the seven prisoners inside.

In 1798, Congress passed the Sedition Act, making it a federal crime to publish false, scandalous or malicious writing about the United States government.

In 1933, all German political parties, except the Nazi Party, were outlawed.

In 1945, Italy formally declared war on Japan, its former Axis partner during World War II.