This Day In History 22 Adar/March 20

Kever of Harav Reuven Grozovsky, zt”l

22 Adar

In 5693/1933, the infamous Dachau concentration camp was established in Germany. The camp, one of the first established by the Nazis, was originally designated as a prison camp for political criminals. After Kristallnacht, the number of Jews imprisoned there kept growing until over 200,000 victims passed through its gates, most of whom perished. The Nazis built a gas chamber in Dachau, but it was never used. This concentration camp was liberated in April 1945 by the U.S. army.


Yahrtzeiten

5489/1729, Harav Eliyahu of Izmir, zt”l, mechaber of Shevet Mussar

5662/1902, Harav Yaakov of Novominsk, zt”l

5763/2003, Harav Yisrael Moshe Dushinsky, zt”l, Gaavad of the Eidah Hachareidis of Yerushalayim


5718/1958

Harav Reuven Grozovsky, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivas Torah Vodaath

Harav Reuven Grozovsky (known as Reuven Minsker) was born in 5656/1896. His father, Harav Shamshon, was the leading Dayan of Minsk, Belarus.

He learned in Yeshivah Knesses Yisrael in Slabodka under Harav Moshe Mordechai Epstein and Harav Nosson Tzvi Finkel (the Alter of Slabodka).

When still young, Reb Reuven began his lifelong campaign to save bnei Torah from being drawn to the ideas of Zionism, Socialism, Marxism, etc., which were devastating to the yeshivos, and destructive to the spiritual essence of the ben Torah.

As a student in Slabodka, he recruited a number of bnei Torah from his hometown of Minsk to join him. One such recruit was Yankel Dolinover. Yankel became better known as Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt”l. Another of Reb Reuven’s charges in Slabodka was the iluy Arke Sislovtzer. Arke became well known as Harav Aharon Kotler, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah, Beis Medrash Govoha.

In 5679/1919, Reb Reuven became the son-in-law of Harav Baruch Ber Leibowitz, zt”l. He moved with him from the Vilna suburb of Lukishuk, where Reb Baruch Ber had maintained his yeshivah, to Kamenitz, where the yeshivah they led flourished until World War II. Reb Reuven eventually became the Rosh Yeshivah.

During World War II, Reb Reuven escaped the Holocaust with a group of his talmidim, landing on the West Coast of the United States in Seattle, Washington.

From there he went on to New York, where he joined Harav Aharon Kotler and Harav Avraham Kalmanowitz, zt”l, in the lobbying and fundraising efforts of the Vaad Hatzalah, aimed at saving Jews from the Nazis.

After the petirah of Harav Shlomo Heiman, zt”l, Reb Reuven was asked by Harav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, zt”l, to head Yeshivah Torah Vodaath in Brooklyn, New York. He was simultaneously Rosh Yeshivah of Beis Medrash Elyon in Monsey.

Six years before his passing, Reb Reuven suffered a stroke which impaired him physically. Nonetheless, he remained mentally alert and was able to learn until his petirah on 22 Adar 5718/1958, at the age of 62.

His shiurim were published under the name Chiddushei Reb Reuven. A selection of his shmuessen, Baayos Hazman, was also published.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


March 20

In 1816, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed its right to review state court decisions.

In 1977, voters in Paris chose former French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac to be the French capital’s first mayor in more than a century.

In 1987, the Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of AZT, a drug with life-prolonging properties.

In 1997, President Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin opened talks in Helsinki, Finland, on the issue of NATO expansion.