In 5587/1826, Harav Dov Ber of Lubavitch, the Admor Ha’emtza’i, was released from prison. The date of his release is celebrated by Lubavitcher Chassidim as a “festival of liberation.”
In 5702/1941, 27,000 Jews of the Riga ghetto were taken for execution by the Nazis. Hy”d.
5503/1742, Harav Aryeh Leib Berlin, zt”l, the Mochiach of Berlin
5681/1920, Harav Pinchas Menachem Elazar of Piltz, zt”l, the Sifsei Tzaddik
5687/1926, Harav Refael Dabosh of Libya, zt”l, Rosh Beis Din in Tripoli
5703/1942, Harav Menachem Nachum of Husyatin-Lemberg, zt”l
5714/1953, Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer, zt”l
5694/1933, Harav Moshe Mordechai Epstein, zt”l, Rosh Yeshivah of Slabodka and Chevron
Harav Moshe Mordechai Epstein was born in the town of Bakst, in the Vilna district of Lithuania, on 20 Adar 5626/1866. His parents were Rav Tzvi Chaim and Baila Chana Epstein. His father, who served as Rav of Bakst, had been affectionately referred to during his days in Yeshivas Volozhin as “the black iluy,” perhaps due to his jet-black hair and beard.
A child prodigy, Reb Moshe Mordechai began learning in Volozhin at the age of 16 under Harav Chaim Soloveitchik, the Brisker Rav. There he met his future brother-in-law, Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer.
After his marriage, Reb Moshe Mordechai moved to his wife’s hometown, in Kovno, and was joined there two years later by Reb Isser Zalman.
In Kovno, the two studied under the renowned mussar master Harav Yitzchak Blazer (Reb Itzele Peterburger), one of Harav Yisrael Salanter’s foremost talmidim. They became intrigued with the study of mussar.
In 5654/1894, the brothers-in-law started teaching in the famed Slabodka yeshivah, not far from Kovno. In 5657/1897 the Alter of Slabodka, Harav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, invited Reb Moshe Mordechai to become the Rosh Yeshivah.
Reb Moshe Mordechai accepted, while Reb Isser Zalman moved to the town of Slutsk to lead the Ridvaz’s yeshivah there. The Slabodka yeshivah flourished under the joint leadership of the Alter and Reb Moshe Mordechai.
In 5684/1924, Reb Moshe Mordechai, the Alter, and most talmidei hayeshivah relocated to Chevron. The yeshivah thrived for five years in Chevron as it had in Europe. But in Av 5689/1929, Arab mobs, incited by the anti-Semitic mufti of Yerushalayim, swarmed into the yeshivah, killing 68 people and wounding many more. Hashem yinkom damam.
In the aftermath, the British authorities evacuated the rest of the Jewish community. The yeshivah relocated to the Geulah section of Yerushalayim; in 5735/1975 it moved to its current location in Givat Mordechai.
Reb Moshe Mordechai was the mechaber of Levush Mordechai, which contains his chiddushim on Shas.
He was niftar on 10 Kislev 5694/1933, at the age of 68.
Zecher tzaddik livrachah.
In 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French.
In 1823, President James Monroe outlined his doctrine opposing European expansion in the Western Hemisphere.
In 1859, militant abolitionist John Brown was hanged for his raid on Harpers Ferry the previous October.
In 1927, Ford Motor Co. unveiled its Model A automobile.
In 1942, an artificially created, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated for the first time at the University of Chicago.
In 1954, the U.S. Senate passed, 67–22, a resolution condemning Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy (R-Wis.), saying he had “acted contrary to senatorial ethics and tended to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute.”
In 1961, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared himself a Marxist-Leninist who would eventually lead Cuba to Communism.
In 1970, the newly created Environmental Protection Agency opened its doors; its first director was William D. Ruckelshaus.
In 1982, in the first operation of its kind, doctors at the University of Utah Medical Center implanted a permanent artificial heart in the chest of retired dentist Dr. Barney Clark, who lived 112 days with the device.
In 1989, President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev held the first talks of their wind-tossed Malta summit aboard the Soviet cruise ship Maxim Gorky.
In 1991, American hostage Joseph Cicippio, held captive in Lebanon for more than five years, was released.