Today is Rosh Chodesh Shevat, which, according to Beis Shammai, is Rosh Hashanah for the trees, whose significance is primarily in connection with ma’asros, orlah, neta revai, and — according to some — Shemittah.
According to Rabi Yehudah, today is the beginning of the season of kor (extreme cold).
In 2488, “It was in the fortieth year, in the 11th month, on the first of the month, Moshe spoke to the Children of Israel, etc.” (Devarim, perek 1, passuk 3) On this day Moshe Rabbeinu began the recital of mishneh Torah that continued until the 7 Adar, when he was niftar.
Harav Moshe Yechiel Epstein, the Aish Dos of Ozorov, Zy”a
The Rebbe was born in 5650/1890. His father was Harav Avraham Shlomo of Ozorov, zy”a, the She’eiris Brachah, who was a descendant of the first Ozorover Rebbe, Harav Aryeh Leib, zy”a. His mother, Rebbetzin Reitza Mire, a”h, was the daughter of Harav Chaim Shmuel Horowitz, the Rebbe of Chentchin, zy”a.
From a very young age, his hasmadah was astounding, and when he was only 22, he already ruled on halachic questions when his father was out of town.
In 5674/1914 he was officially appointed Rav in Ozorov. He married Rebbetzin Chana, the daughter of Harav Omniel Weltfreid of Povinetz, zt”l.
During WWI he fled Ozorov. Sadly, his wife became gravely ill with typhus and was niftar.
In 5678/1918 his saintly father, the Rebbe, was also niftar, and the Chassidim begged him to succeed him. With the blessings of many tzaddikim, particularly of his Rebbe, Harav Yaakov Moshe of Kamarna, zy”a, he acquiesced. Many unfortunates flocked to his door, and he actively involved himself in communal matters.
In 5680/1920, he remarried. His new wife was the daughter of Harav Menachem Mendel Tennenbaum, a prominent Amshinover Chassid.
A year later, he traveled to the United States on behalf of the then-new Agudas Yisrael. In 5686/1926, he moved there, where he settled on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and later in the Bronx, where his beis medrash was a beacon of inspiration to many.
In 5709/1949, during a visit to Eretz Yisrael, his only son, Reb Alter Avraham Shlomo, was niftar in a tragic manner, and in 5713/1953 his second Rebbetzin was niftar as well.
Subsequent to these tragic events, he ascended to Eretz Yisrael, settling in Bnei Brak. Eventually, he moved to Tel Aviv, where he set up the Ozorover beis medrash. Many Chassidim, left without a manhig after WWII, flocked to his door, and the Rebbe went out of his way to help every single Yid. He was one of the driving forces in Agudas Yisrael, and especially in Chinuch Atzma’i.
During the last Shabbos of his life, he asked to be called up for acharon instead of Levi, his customary aliyah. After Havdalah, he enclosed himself in his room. Shortly thereafter he became ill, and within a few hours he was niftar; he was buried in Bnei Brak. His sefarim are the multi-volumed Aish Dos and Be’er Moshe.
Zechuso yagein aleinu.
In 1904, the Marconi International Marine Communication Company of London announced that the telegraphed letters “CQD” would serve as a maritime distress call. (This was later replaced with “SOS.”)
In 1953, President Truman announced in his State of the Union message to Congress that the United States had developed a hydrogen bomb.
In 1963, the U.S. Post Office raised the cost of a first-class stamp from 4 cents to 5 cents.
In 1989, Emperor Hirohito of Japan died in Tokyo at age 87; he was succeeded by his son, Crown Prince Akihito.
In 2004, President George W. Bush proposed legal status, at least temporarily, for millions of immigrants improperly working in the U.S.
In 2015, masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of a French newspaper that had caricatured the founder of Islam, killing 12 people.