This Day in History – 1 Av/July 13

Shaar blatt of the sefer Shiurei Harav Yaakov Moshes Shurkin.

1 Av

In 1657, the mountaintops became visible following the Mabul, according to Rabi Eliezer.

3414, Ezra Hasofer and his followers arrived in Yerushalayim.

In 5703/1943, the mostly Jewish captives in Treblinka initiated a revolt.

In 5707/1947, a British ship seized the S.S. Exodus, which was carrying 4,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors to Eretz Yisrael, and forced it to return to Germany.


2489, Aharon Hakohen, a”h — the only yahrtzeit mentioned in the Torah.

5383/1623, Harav Eliezer Isserlish, zt”l, brother of the Rema

5460/1700, Harav Yosef, zt”l, Rav of Dubna, mechaber of Yesod Yosef

5491/1731, Harav Yisrael Avraham Zev of Chevron, zt”l, mechaber of Orim Gedolim

5502/1742, Harav Asher Ginzburg, zt”l, Rav of Wallerstein, son of the Shaagas Aryeh

5643/1883, Harav Shmuel Ehrenfeld, zt”l, the Chasan Sofer

5663/1903, Harav Aharon Halberstam, zt”l, Rav of Kreiz, son of the Divrei Chaim

5760/2000, Harav Shlomo Halberstam, the Bobover Rebbe, zt”l


Harav Yaakov Moshe Shurkin, Zt”l, Rosh Mesivta of Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin

Harav Yaakov Moshe Shurkin was the younger son of Harav Michel Zalman, zt”l, born in 5662/1902. He was born in a small village, Podobranka, deep in White Russia. His original surname was Shur, which was later changed, most likely to evade the Russian military draft.

He was descended from a prominent Chabad family in Podobranka. His mother’s father was Reb Zalman Freidin, son-in-law of Reb Zalman Chaikin of Podobranka.

Harav Levi Yitzchak Schneersohn, zt”l, was also a grandson of Reb Zalman Chaikin; he and Rav Yaakov Moshe’s mother were first cousins. His son, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt”l, and Rav Yaakov Moshe were second cousins.

When Yaakov Moshe was bar mitzvah, Rav Michel Zalman was suddenly niftar. Now a young orphan, Rav Yaakov Moshe decided to go to Radin, where he learned with extraordinary hasmadah under the Chofetz Chaim for the next 15 years. During his years in yeshivah, his mother also passed away.

Rav Yaakov Moshe was zocheh to be one of those who took part in the taharah of the Chofetz Chaim. Many years later, Harav Mendel Zaks, zt”l, son-in-law of the Chofetz Chaim and Rosh Yeshivah in Radin, wrote the nusach for the matzeivah of Hagaon Harav Shurkin, zt”l.

In 5693/1933 Rav Yaakov Moshe tried to leave Europe to America, but he couldn’t get the right papers, so he went first to Eretz Yisrael.

Two years later, he went on to America. There he married the daughter of Harav Yaakov Kantorovich, zt”l. Rav Yaakov, an uncle of Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, had been Rav of Timkavitch in Russia. When the Communists took over, all Rabbanim were in danger. Rav Kantorovich and Rav Moshe escaped to America, where Rav Kantorovich became a Rav in Trenton, New Jersey. He authored Chiddushei HaGra, and other sefarim.

Rav Yaakov Moshe was a Rosh Mesivta in Yeshiva U’Mesivta Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin from its founding in 5698/1938 until he was niftar on Rosh Chodesh Av 5723/1963.

Several volumes of his shiurim on masechtos have been published as Shiurei Reb Yaakov Moshe.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

July 13

In 1099, the Crusaders launched their final assault on Muslims in Jerusalem.

In 1787, the Congress of the Confederation adopted the Northwest Ordinance, which established a government in the Northwest Territory, an area corresponding to the eastern half of the present-day Midwest.

In 1832, Henry Schoolcraft discovered the source of the Mississippi River in Minnesota.

In 1875, David Brown patented the first cash-carrier system.

In 1977, a blackout hit New York City in the mid-evening as lightning strikes on electrical equipment caused power to fail; widespread looting broke out. (The electricity was restored about 25 hours later.)