This Day in History – 10 Iyar/May 18

The shaar blatt of Maskil el Dal
The shaar blatt of Maskil el Dal

In 5641/1881, anti-Jewish riots broke out in the towns of Shpola and Ananyev, Russia.


5551/1791, Harav Meir Margules, zt”l, mechaber of Meir Nesivim

5591/1831, Harav Moshe Goldman of Zhvil, zt”l

5634/1874, Harav Yitzchak Isaac of Komarna, zt”l

5642/1882, Harav Dovid Twersky of Tolna, zt”l

5677/1917, Harav Mordechai Landau of Strikov, zt”l

5651/1891, Harav Hillel Lichtenstein of Kolomaya, zt”l

Harav Hillel of Kolomaya was born on 11 Kislev 5575/1814 in Vàcz, Hungary to Reb Baruch Benedict. He became a devoted talmid of the Chasam Sofer and was moser nefesh for Torah.

Harav Hillel was revered by all the Gedolim of his time. The Divrei Chaim of Sanz wrote in his approbation to Reb Hillel’s sefer, Maskil el Dal, that Reb Hillel worked exclusively for the sake of Heaven.

Reb Hillel is most famous for his accomplishments while traveling around Eastern Europe strengthening the emunah of the masses. In Avkas Rochel, he wrote that he was born for this purpose, and he cited as evidence two illnesses he had had in his youth that should have prevented him from ever speaking in public.

When he was a very small child, Reb Hillel was bitten by a dog, which left him with a scar from the bite and a stutter from the trauma. The impediment was so severe that his parents sent him to Nitra at the age of six or seven for therapy from a special melamed. Most of the cure was effected through learning to sing trop and to understand the system behind it and, after a few months, the stutter disappeared.

Later, at the age of 17, Reb Hillel contracted a severe lung ailment that left him so short of breath that he could not daven aloud but instead had to rely on thinking the tefillos. The doctors predicted the worst, but miraculously, Reb Hillel recovered.

Reb Hillel was the outspoken leader of the Orthodox kehillos in Hungary. He not only resisted the slightest deviation from traditional minhagim, such as the removal of the bimah from the center of the beis medrash, but also vigorously denounced the adoption of modern social manners and the acquisition of secular education.

He bitterly opposed the Hungarian Jewish Congress of 1868–69 and the establishment of the rabbinical seminary in Budapest. In 5625/1865, he called a Rabbinical convention at Nagy-Mihaly, which protested against the founding of a seminary and sent a committee to the emperor to induce the government to prohibit its establishment.

Reb Hillel’s published works are Mikri Dardaki on the Torah, Maskil el Dal, Avkas Rochel, Eis Laasos, and She’eilos U’teshuvos Beis Hillel. He was niftar on 10 Iyar 5651/1891 and buried in Kolomaya.

May 18

In 1642, the Canadian city of Montreal was founded by French colonists.

In 1765, about one-fourth of Montreal was destroyed by a fire.

In 1910, Halley’s Comet passed by Earth, brushing it with its tail.

In 1969, astronauts Eugene A. Cernan, Thomas P. Stafford and John W. Young blasted off aboard Apollo 10 on a mission to orbit the moon.