This Day In History 10 Sivan/May 24

Yahrtzeiten

5571/1811, Harav Yishmael HaKohen zt”l, Rav of Modina, mechaber of Zera Emes

5574/1814, Harav Binyamin Zev Wolf Boskowitz, zt”l, of Kelen, mechaber of Seder Lemishne

5654/1894, Harav Moshe, Rebbe of Rozvadov, zt”l, son of Harav Eliezer of Dzikov

5694/1934, Harav Ezra Harari-Raful, zt”l, mekubal of Aleppo, founder of Yeshivos Ohel Moed, Beis Yosef and Magen Dovid

5704/1944, Harav Mordechai Rottenberg, Hy”d, Rav of Antwerp and mechaber of Yad Mordechai


5502/1742, Harav Elazar Rokeach, Zt”l, the Maaseh Rokeach

Harav Elazar Rokeach was born in Cracow, Poland. His father was Harav Shmuel Shmelke, zt”l, Rav of the Polish cities of Liska and Alkish.

Rav Elazar served as Rav in Akov, Poland, then in Tarnow, and finally in Brody for 20 years. He became the Rav of Amsterdam on 27 Elul 5495/1735.

When Rav Elazar arrived in Holland, the country was suffering from a plague of worms and the country’s agriculture was in danger of ruin. When the king of Holland heard about the newly arriving tzaddik, he asked him to pray for the removal of this threat. He did so, and the worms emerged from the ground, and entered the sea where they drowned.

A commemorative coin was minted by the Dutch government for this miracle, bearing the image of the Maaseh Rokeach on one side, and pesukei Tehillim on the other.

The Maaseh Rokeach remained at that post until 5500/1740, when his sefer, Maaseh Rokeach, was published, on the Torah and Shas. Afterwards, Rav Elazar announced he would step down as Rav of Amsterdam and ascend to Eretz Yisrael.

On the night of Rosh Hashanah, he was on a boat heading towards Eretz Yisrael. A storm struck and the boat was buffeted so severely that a gaping hole appeared; the boat was in danger of sinking. The Rav blew the shofar at dawn and the storm suddenly abated. He arrived in Eretz Yisrael on Chol Hamoed Sukkos 5501/1741, and settled in Tzfas.

His desire for a life of peace and Torah study did not, however, materialize. He was appointed as the Nasi of the Jewish community in Eretz Yisrael and followers of the Shabbsai Tzvi cult made his life very difficult. He had fought their influence in Amsterdam and combated them in Eretz Yisrael as well.

One of the reasons Rav Elazar wanted to ascend to Eretz Yisrael was to meet Harav Nachman of Horodenka, zt”l, one of the talmidim of the Baal Shem Tov, who had settled there. His hope was that together with Rav Nachman, he could hasten the coming of Moshiach.

Upon his arrival, however, he discovered that Rav Nachman had returned to Europe. When Rav Nachman heard of Rav Elazar’s arrival in Eretz Yisrael, he hurried back, but by the time he returned, Rav Elazar had already returned his holy neshamah to its Creator.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


May 24

In 1844, Samuel F.B. Morse transmitted the message “What hath G-d wrought” from Washington to Baltimore as he formally opened America’s first telegraph line.

In 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan, was dedicated by President Chester Alan Arthur and New York Gov. Grover Cleveland.

In 1937, in a set of rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Social Security Act of 1935.

In 1958, the United Press International was formed through a merger of the United Press and the International News Service.