This Day In History 1 Kislev/December 1

1 Kislev

In 5548 /1787, Emperor Joseph II of Austria-Hungary forced Jews to adopt Christian family names.

5769/2008, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg, Hy”d, were among 200 people killed when terrorists attacked Mumbai, India.


5202/1441, Harav Efraim Alankava, zt”l, Rav of Telmisan, Algeria, mechaber of Shaar Kevod Hashem

5312/1551, Harav Trivash of Mantova, zt”l

5319/1558, Harav Shalom Shachna, Rav of Lublin, zt”l

5472/1711, Harav Moshe Chafetz, zt”l, mechaber of Meleches Shabbos

5614/1853, Harav Avraham Eiger of Posen, zt”l

5653/1892, Harav Chaim Nosson Dembitzer, zt”l, mechaber of Klilas Yofi

5665/1904, Harav Moshe Hager of Radovitz, zt”l, mechaber of Vayikach Moshe

5672/1911, Harav Yitzchak Leveton, zt”l, a Chacham in Aram Tzova

5697/1936, Harav Yisrael Ungar of Zavna, zt”l


Harav Yosef Shmuel of Cracow, zt”l, the Mesores Hashas

Harav Shmuel (the name Yosef was added later) was born in Kremnitz. His father, Harav Tzvi Hirsh, was his main rebbi.

Reb Shmuel settled in Cracow after marrying the daughter of Reb Chaim Yeshayah the blacksmith, who generously supported his son-in-law.

The Gedolim in Cracow at that time, among them the Maginei Shlomo and the Tosafos Yom Tov, recognized the greatness of Reb Shmuel and appointed him to serve on the city’s beis din.

After Harav Yeshayah Horowitz, the grandson of the Shelah Hakadosh, was appointed Rav in Posen, and therefore left his earlier post in Frankfurt, the Frankfurt kehillah asked Reb Shmuel if he would agree to serve as their Rav. He refused their offer, and the delegation left Cracow brokenhearted.

Soon after they left the city, Reb Shmuel became deathly ill. The doctors could find neither cause nor cure for his disease. Many tefillos were said on his behalf, and the name Yosef was added to his name. During his illness, Reb Shmuel promised that were he to overcome it, he would take up the post of Rav in Frankfurt. He understood that turning down the position was the reason behind his illness.

As soon as he was healthy enough, he moved to Frankfurt and became its Rav. This was in Tammuz 5450/1690.

In Frankfurt, Reb Shmuel established a yeshivah, teaching hundreds of talmidim, many of whom became Gedolei Yisrael. He raised the prestige of the Torah and those who toiled over it.

His soft and gracious ways were his trademark, and his care for orphans and poor families was legendary.

Reb Shmuel was niftar on 1 Kislev, 5464/1703, after serving as Rav in Frankfurt for 14 years, and 26 years in Cracow.

Reb Shmuel was survived by his son Harav Aryeh Leib, who was Rav in Mattersdorf, and two sons-in-law, Harav Aharon and Harav Pinchas Auerbach, the mechaber of Halachah Berurah on Orach Chaim.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

Dec. 2

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln sent his Second Annual Message to Congress, in which he called for the abolition of slavery, and went on to say, “Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves.”

In 1942, nationwide gasoline rationing went into effect in the United States.

In 1955, Rosa Parks, an African- American seamstress, was arrested after refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus; the incident sparked a year-long boycott of buses by African-Americans.

In 1990, British and French workers digging the Channel Tunnel between their countries finally met after knocking out a passage in a service tunnel.

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